Killian in the Name Of: The Rise of Killian Dain

Photo: WWE

Killian Dain is a twelve-year veteran, an Irish born bruiser that has seen his share of challenges throughout his career. His athletic career began as a goalkeeper for his university soccer club, and the 6’4, 300 pounder also utilized his strength by competing for his university rugby team as well. Fans today can see he possesses agility in the ring, which he applied when he played basketball growing up. However, he was drawn to wrestling as a child, and it is that which stuck with him throughout his life. In the early part of his career, he trained in Scotland under Robbie Brookside, who helped him early on in his career and has been reunited with him, since Brookside is a coach at the WWE Performance Center.

A young Big Damo (Damian O’Connor) (Photo: David Wilson)

What is interesting to note is that, regardless of Killian Dain’s upbringing, he ensured his political inclinations didn’t affect his public persona. As a native of Ireland, political strife was part of his early life, but Dain ensured that he was judged by what he did in the ring and not what he believed outside of it. After competing in and around the United Kingdom, it became important for the man once known as Big Damo to cut his teeth competing abroad. What he did was to come to North America, introducing fans to an imposing, intimidating figure that they came to both fear and admire.

Killian Dain’s look doesn’t necessarily conform to the style that WWE has established over the years. However, there have been changes in perception of what talent should look like, and he certainly smashes that stereotype out of the water. He is the epitome of not judging a book by its cover. His size, shape, long hair and beard could easily be considered as not aesthetically appealing. However, when he steps into a ring he convinces fans that he is able to do things that many his size are unable to do.

Photo: WWE

Brookside clearly knew something that others, who hadn’t seen him wrestle, didn’t know was there. His mobility and agility are incredible considering his size.  What is also interesting to note is that age, which has usually been a factor for WWE in the past, wasn’t in Dain’s case. At just over 32 years of age, he has many matches ahead of him, both during his time in NXT and perhaps as part of the WWE’s main roster. He recently faced Drew McIntyre to determine the number one contender for the NXT championship, and in doing so really got the attention of those watching. This monster of a man withstood McIntyre’s finisher and rose again, needing to be knocked out in order for him to be defeated. This isn’t the first instance when Killian Dain and Drew McIntyre have faced one another, as the two squared off in 2014 for McIntyre’s EVOLVE Championship, in a match held in McIntyre’s home country of Scotland.

Photo: WWE

While Brookside contributed to Dain’s early development, his continued ties to Ireland are still prevalent today. Illustrating this, he was also trained at one point by former WWE Universal and NXT champion Finn Balor, and Fit Finlay was considered a major influence on his style of wrestling. Like Finlay, he hails from Belfast, Ireland, and both are seen as bruisers because of their rough, no nonsense style in the ring. But Killian Dain is of a size and stature that Finley and Balor do not have.

Alongside SAnitY stablemates (l-r) Alexander Wolfe, Eric Young and Nikki Cross (Photo: WWE)

For some, he is an unknown commodity, and doesn’t on first look appear to be an engaging and athletic character, but that doesn’t mean his opponents think the same way. Shinsuke Nakamura, Roderick Strong, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and Tomohiro Ishii are just some of the well known names that he has faced around the world. In his short time with NXT, he has been used in crucial matches that didn’t just help him, but those around him. He was also part of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 33, and as one of the final three men left in the ring, was close to winning it as well. For some, that may not seem like that much of an accomplishment, but when we consider that he was already a part of WrestleMania after less than a year in NXT, it suggests that his ceiling for is quite high. Certainly it suggests that WWE officials are quite high on him, and for good reason.

Dain makes his entrance at WrestleMania 33 (Photo: WWE)

Unlike some big men that tend to lack the mobility and agility to move around the ring, Dain has created an opportunity to not just be a part of WWE, but to have a successful future there. What does the balance of 2017 and 2018 have in store for Killian Dain? If the past is any indication, things are definitely looking up.

Killian Dain flies during War Games (Photo: WWE)


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