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Wrestler has his class act rumbled

UNITED STATES

A New York City teacher who took sick leave to care for his "anorexic sister" was actually moonlighting as a professional wrestler called Matt Striker before thousands of baying fans on a popular TV wrestling show, SmackDown!

Social studies teacher Matthew Kaye was rumbled after his colleagues at Benjamin Cardozo high school in Queens were tipped off about thisisstriker.com, a website showcasing his pumped-up, medallion-wearing, trash-talking alter-ego and his exploits against arch-nemesis Kurt Angle.

Admittedly, students may have already been on to Mr Kaye, who also went by the names "Hot Stuff" and "Hydro" in the ring and was famous for showy signature manoeuvres called "lungblower" and "overdrive".

"I swear I saw him on SmackDown! last week," reads a posting in March about Mr Kaye on ratemyteacher.com, a popular US student gossip web site.

New York education officials recommended late last month that Mr Kaye, who resigned in April with disciplinary action pending, be struck off as a teacher.

A letter from investigators to the city's schools' chief Joel Klein, shared with The TES, recounts the story of "administrators' discovery that Kaye was a professional wrestler known as Matt Striker".

As well as cooking up a cover story about escorting his anorexic sister back to New York from California while he was actually touring Japan with a wrestling troupe, Kaye had his mother call in sick on his behalf, telling Benjamin Cardozo high staff that her son was handling a "family emergency".

An unrepentant Kaye came out swinging on his website last week. "It's better to be hated for who you are than to be loved for who you're not," he reasoned.

By the time of his resignation, he added, he genuinely was sick. "I had two lumps removed from my back - you can see the scars when you come to boo me."

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