Director’s Cut: Dillinger | – WWE Sports

In 2014, a small independent card in a smaller town just outside Cleveland, Ohio, laces up newly purchased wrestling shoes as an aspiring newcomer prepares for the first match of the night. I did. When he looked into the match before his debut, he was overwhelmed by the fact that he was only a few minutes away from stepping into the ring in front of a paid spectator. Despite the fact that there were only two games waiting for his contest, the horror felt as if it took him hours to hear the opening bell.

Do you think the same panicked hopeful has become one of the loudest, crudest and most reckless fighters on today’s independent circuit?

Derek Dillinger, a 30-year-old athlete who combines a dynamic inling style with dramatic flares, can captivate one of the few independent spectators today. With a blend of Ford Coppola-inspired personas and many of the sport’s throwback elements, promoters turned to Grappler, who recently called himself a director. .. Derek went up on stage as he jumped through the curtains into the spotlight of professional wrestling. When he was nervous behind the scenes before his professional debut six years ago, a platform he didn’t know would be his second nature.

But in the example of life that imitated art, his upbringing and journey to sports entertainment did not show glitz or charm.

From a working-class family, Derek lived a fairly humble family life. To support his family, his father worked overtime for several hours and had little time to spend with his loved ones during the week. Still, he confirmed that he would squeeze as much time as possible with Derek, and the two would unite in professional wrestling, watch Monday Night Wars together while surfing the channel, or put a clunky VHS tape in a VCR and pirated ECW I watched the show.

“Every week, my dad and I watched WWF and WCW on TV and had a great time before introducing ECW. Every two weeks we went to see independent wrestling at Cleveland All Wrestling. When my dad introduced me to ECW, I knew I love professional wrestling, “Derek explained.

Promoted by the late JT Lightning, which many consider to be the godfather of Cleveland’s independent scene, these Cleveland All-Pro events provided a glimpse into home-like sports for aspiring wrestlers. Through his connection with JT, Derek planned to start learning rope, but Lightning tragically died of cancer before the lesson began. Instead, Derek found Ricky Shane Page, a longtime veteran of Ohio. He travels abroad and is the current game changer wrestling champion, teaching him sports. Despite introducing the best world of sports entertainment, Dillinger found that some real-life obstacles made it difficult to learn to operate.

“The thinking process was very difficult. I have dyslexia. I have ADD, I don’t know the difference between my left and right, and then I was in a terrible shape. I myself Although very critical of the training, the main part of the training was to open the ears and close the mouth, “he explained.

Ricky Shane Page ran hundreds of miles on the road before taking a break and became one of the most famous independent names, but despite the hurdles faced by learning disabilities, Derek’s tenacity and I highly appreciated that I refused to give up. To him. Derek, the only student at the time, appeared weekly and experienced the tedious process of learning how to ring safely. What he didn’t know was that Ricky didn’t benefit from his role as a trainer because the fees he paid for training barely covered the rent of the facility and spent time looking at the potential of the students. It was that.

“I was the only student at the time, but I learned later. My tuition was directed towards paying the rent for the facility and Rick trained me for free. I can’t thank Rick. The training at was great. I can’t thank Rick for helping me lay the foundation for my professional wrestling career, “Derek commented.

Even after making his debut in the first match mentioned above, Dillinger wanted to consume as much knowledge as possible. Ricky is often in various states during his travels, and Derek paired up with Matt Justice, a longtime prominent figure in Ohio. He is another diverse aspect of sports.

“Sitting under his learning tree was a completely different style of wrestling than what I learned from Ricky. Matt is very knowledgeable, has a coaching mindset, and has a button. I know exactly how to push to get the most out of it. Matt gave me a lot of psychological stuff when I didn’t know I needed it. Looking back on everything he did It makes a lot of sense. Training with Matt was probably the toughest workout I’ve endured, “says Derek.

Dillinger didn’t understand how tough the regiment was until he saw Justice set up a ring in the garage one winter morning. Derek fell on the cold canvas inside when the snow fell outside, as Justice did not have a heating system in the makeshift training center. Derek cites his passion for sports entertainment twice a week because he commute to work in a frigid square for an hour.

After understanding the basics, Dillinger expanded the personas in the ring, and when he stepped into the ring rope, he sought to create a unique performance inspired by fandom and real-life hobbies.

“I have a degree in visual communication and graphic design. I also took some film classes that changed my life. I took 80’s films and, more importantly, 80’s. I’m a big fan of horror movies. The more grainy gussets in a video, the more I love it. If you watch any of my short videos I release, they all include what I love. Whether it’s a movie clip, rap music, or the clothes I’m wearing, “he said.

Derek Dillinger’s skills became aware of him both inside and outside his hometown as his career progressed over the past few years and he realized he was a performer. He started the flagship of Absolute Intense Wrestling, one of the longest-running and most famous organizations in his hometown. He also impressed Ryse Wrestling, a Pittsburgh-based group that is considered the fastest-growing promotion in a steel city with a mix of talented prospects and established veterans.

“I am very grateful to be able to work in Absolute Intense Wrestling. John Soane is awesome. Thorne gives me lots of opportunities to work with many ECW Legends and some of the most famous names in the current indie scene. That said, I think one of my favorite highlights is working with Tracy Smothers in one of the last games, “Derek said.

“Everyone thinks booking is a pressure gig, but pressure is different for everyone. I’ve known Derek since Derek’s invasion. Derek has done everything I’ve ever done. He was the man who advocated at the place. Derek is very passionate about wrestling. Few people are as serious and mindful as Derek. For me, he wants you to put in a card. It’s a human prototype, versatile, attracting attention and selling tickets, “added Markus Mann, one of Ryse’s main organizers.

When Derek isn’t in the limelight alongside one of AIW’s most prominent factions, The Production, he finds himself as a member of Ryse’s The Grind House with one of the most respected veterans in the Pittsburgh region, Shirley Doe. I can. Malicious duos are known to produce cheers from the crowd and mess in the ring during most Ryse events. Considered one of the smartest minds of his generation, Doe saw Derek’s potential very early in Ryse’s existence.

“He’s not only the best wrestler in Pittsburgh, but also the best secret in the indies. He’s the person I’ve seen most often in many ways, and who he is. That’s why I’ve always been looking for him for at least five years, even before everyone knows, “Doe explained.

Derek found that juggling real-life responsibilities and chasing professional wrestling stardom can be a difficult act to balance. To get the most out of his time, he cites the recent switch from his job as a radiologist to the insurance industry as a move to increase the flexibility of traveling when new wrestling opportunities emerge. Despite the changes, he believes he has done the right thing because he is a further dedication to his ultimate goal as a professional wrestler and is making it bigger with a full-time contract with a national organization. I will. We still don’t know where Derek Dillinger will land next, but his story speaks to his personal growth and pride in achieving his goal of becoming professional wrestling. When he first saw something bigger than life, he thought he couldn’t achieve it. A person was shining through his TV screen.

What do you think? Please comment below on your thoughts, opinions, feedback and other suggestions.

Until next week
-Jim Ramotta

Follow me on Twitter @ jimlamotta by email |

– WWE Sports

Director’s Cut: Dillinger | Director’s Cut: Dillinger |

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