Kennebec Journal columnist Dave Dyer gets a Death Valley Driver into a trash can from Limitless Wrestling star Ace Romero, left, during “Leave No Doubt” on Aug. 6 at the Morgan Hill Event Center in Hermon. Contributed photo from WillowPix.net

 

There’s highs and lows that can come with being a professional wrestler.

Nine months ago, I wrestled in my first main event, going 15 minutes in the ring with one of my mentors, DangerKid, in the first Limitless Dojo Student Showcase at Ronco’s Sports Bar in Brewer.

Today, I am nearly three weeks removed from umbilical hernia surgery, under orders from my doctor to not pick up anything over 10 pounds until Dec. 17 and no strenuous activity until January. No picking up my 5-year old daughter, Scout. I’m barely allowed to pick up my Yorkshire Terrier, Humphrey.

Again, highs and lows.

That’s not to say I didn’t have a successful 2021. Far from it. In fact, I left my last appearance for Limitless Wrestling — in August for the show “Leave No Doubt” at the Morgan Hill Event Center in Hermon — on a high. Or a low, depending on how you look at it. I got to be a part of the main event of that show, standing at ringside in support of my boss, Eric Johnson, as he took on Ace Romero in a street fight. It was a match that took a physical toll on both men, but Romero made sure I got my fill as well. Early in the match, he managed to deliver a Death Valley Driver — hoisting an opponent on your shoulders in a fireman’s carry before flipping them off you and onto the mat — on me square into a metal trash can. Let me tell you, it didn’t tickle.

If that wasn’t enough, when I tried to hit Romero with a trash can later in the match, he moved out of the way, and I managed to bounce the trash can off the ropes and back into my face, staggering me enough for Romero to hit me with his signature move, a package piledriver, before he beat Johnson, sending us both home in defeat.

I already knew then it was getting to be time to think about surgery. I’d had a hernia for a while, but this year it became more pronounced and was becoming noticeable. I even started feeling it during matches, a sort of tugging sensation you don’t want to feel when routinely slamming opponents who weight 225 pounds or more.

Having surgery was a tough call to make, especially with the momentum I felt like I was making. In July, I got the opportunity to take part in a weekend seminar hosted by New England All-Star Wrestling in Rockland, Massachusetts. The seminar was run by Tom Prichard — or “Dr. Tom” as he’s known in the wrestling industry. Prichard is a former wrestler — most likely known for his time as one-half of the tag teams “The Heavenly Bodies” and “The Bodydonnas” in World Wrestling Entertainment in the 1990s — who’s now a world renown wrestling trainer, with Kurt Angle, Randy Orton and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson among the list of former students. It was an excellent weekend on learning how to deliver a good, well-timed promo, as well as have some mock matches with opponents I’ve never been in the ring with before. If that wasn’t enough, I earned my first out-of-state booking that same weekend, taking part in a battle royal.

Kennebec Journal columnist Dave Dyer, middle, stands with wrestling trainers Tom Prichard, left, and Danny Cage during a New England All-Star Wrestling seminar in July in Rockland, Massachusetts. Prichard has trained World Wrestling Entertainment stars Randy Orton and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, among others. Contributed photo/Dave Dyer

I got a chance to work a couple of fair shows for the North Atlantic Wrestling Association, including my debut at the Skowhegan Fair, where I got to once again be on the same card as WWE Hall of Famer Tony Atlas, a rite of passage for any Maine-based professional wrestler. For those who don’t know, Atlas worked in nearly every major wrestling organization in the 1980s and 1990s, and was one-half of the WWE’s first African-American tag team champions, along with Rocky Johnson, the father of Dwayne Johnson.

After working a couple of NAWA shows in September, it was finally time. I made the call to have the surgery, which ended up being a simple procedure at Waldo County Hospital in Belfast. The surgery included putting mesh into my abdomen. I feel like I’m part robot now.

Physically, I feel great, like I can jump back into the ring right now. The curse of abdominal surgery is the waiting process. But it’s a great chance to heal up and come up with new ideas. New spots, new moves, new promos. Maybe I’ll finally get a “Belfast Bulldog” t-shirt made, like I’ve been planning to do for months.

The end of 2021 may not have gone my way. But I’ll be good to go with the start of the new year, and I have a feeling 2022 is going to be good to the old Belfast Bulldog.

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