Brecksville man on NBC's American Ninja Warrior

On Monday night Brecksville's own Matt Capiccioni made a prime time appearance on NBC's "American Ninja Warrior."

Also known as MDogg Matt Cross in the world of pro wrestling, being on the show has been a huge dream.

"I think 'American Ninja Warrior' is like perfectly suited for what I bring to the table," said Capiccioni, whose background also includes more than a decade of gymnastics.

"Everyone is like 'This show is perfect for you,' like 'Dude check it out.' The world is your obstacle course now you can do it on a show," he continued.

A maniac, or a self-proclaimed crazy dude with a beard, Matt recently traveled to St. Louis for the show's regional qualifier.

It was an experience he calls once in a lifetime, competing with some of the best athletes from all over.

"These are legitimate people who have won gold medals and represented our country and all of a sudden that alone is humbling," said Capiccioni. "You're like 'OK, I better step up my game because I don't want to get embarrassed.' "

Matt and his fellow competitors encountered two never-before-seen obstacles in the regional qualifier, which was taped in the middle of the night in below-freezing temperatures.

"They put one obstacle after another obstacle after another, so endurance and stamina becomes a huge factor and the cold and elements and everything," he said.

However Matt prides himself on tackling challenges head on, armed with not just muscles but a contagious sense of humor.

"I've watched every previous season, and you get a lot of stories that are nice, but they get kind of tired. ... It's 'I'm doing this for my brother, who had the common cold once, and he almost didn't sleep that night, but he got some Robitussin and now he's OK,' " he joked.

"I don't have anything like that. ... Nobody I know is sick, nobody I know is dying. I'm just a crazy dude with a beard that wants to do an obstacle course and wear 1970s gold women's body building shorts and just leave it all out there," he said.

Capiccioni finished 32 out of roughly 120 contestants, meaning he will serve as the second alternate in the show's St. Louis finals.

If you would like to follow Matt's journey through life's obstacles, you can find him on Twitter @mdoggmattcross and Facebook (Mobile users:


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