The Beast Of Belfast: Interview With Damo O’Connor

Damo O’connor is one of the top wrestlers in the United Kingdom, he’s 6’4 , 320lbs, but don’t let this man’s size fool you, he’s extremely swift and technically gifted, definitely breaks the mold of the common big man in wrestling. Damo has been taught by some of the best, Fergal Devitt (WWE’s Finn Balor), Doug Williams, and Robbie Brookeside are just a few names Damo has learned from over the years, and now some great talent learn from or have learned from Damo, Nikki Storm and Viper are two examples of that. I got the chance to get some questions in with Damo so Everyone can get to know the man that will be facing Ishii at Rev Pro’s Summer Sizzler Event in June and #1 contender to Drew Galloway’s ICW World Heavyweight Title.

Q: So what made you decide to become a wrestler, was it something you always wanted to be since you were a kid or was there a certain moment where it just clicked that this was the profession for you?

I knew when I was maybe 15 that I wanted to be a wrestler. I’m sure as a child I always wanted to be one, but with the availability of the Internet I was able to research it properly. I don’t think there was a specific moment of clarity but a childish dream became an adults mission the older I got. I was very sporty. I played every sport but I loved the rough and tumble of rugby, soccer and judo. So I spent the next couple of years figuring out where to train to be a wrestler. There was nothing in Ireland at that time so I knew I’d have to travel to the UK to find schools and coaches. When I was 18 I left home traveled around the UK and got started.
Q: Fergal Devitt was one of your trainers, how was that experience learning under him and how does it feel now watching him do such great things in WWE?
Fergal gave us his time when he didnt have to, I mean he could have made much more money elsewhere. I’m forever grateful he was available to us because he opened my mind. He made me realise that what we had in Scotland wasn’t good enough. We needed to be fitter. We needed to take our training more seriously. We had to work twice as hard. He helped the ones who wanted to improve and made us believe that we could do anything in wrestling as long as we worked for it. It was through him that I understood match structure. Especially match endings. Which in my view he is easily among the best in the world at.
I love watching him but I’ve enjoyed watching him for the best part of 10 years! I’m just delighted to see him perform over that time for the top two companies in the world and know that the sky is the limit for him.
Q: you’ve faced some of the best talent Europe has to offer, who would you say your favorite opponent(s) is?
I’ve been very lucky in recent times. Almost everyone I wanted to wrestle I have in the last year. Right now i could rhyme off 30-40 folk I genuinely love wrestling for different reasons. The talent level right now in Europe is at an insane high.
I really enjoy wrestling technicians, strikers or flyers because my brain can get a work out and try to come up with something different but right now Rampage Brown and Joe Coffey are my favourite opponents. Bigger guys with agility and technical ability who can go. The main reason I enjoy working them is because we can structure literally nothing beforehand and go out there and give it our all and have a cracking match. I know if I’m on with them I’m going to have a great night.
There’s also Mikey Whiplash, Dave Mastiff and Drew Galloway. Each of them is absolutely brilliant. Martin Stone, Tommy End, Jack Gallagher and Zack Sabre too. the list goes on!
 Q: Do you currently have any dream opponents you haven’t faced that you would like to soon?
 Fit Finlay, Daniel Bryan and Fergal Devitt (Finn Balor) would be my dream opponents.
Q: You’re a big guy, but extremely agile and very technically gifted who are some guys you watched growing up that you would say influenced your wrestling style?
I’m a huge fan of Vader, Mark Henry, Giant Bernard, and Bam Bam Bigelow. Big guys who were able to move. Able to go that extra mile or had that ace in the hole. I also loved Mighty John Quinn, Pete Roberts and Pat Roach. Roberts especially is a huge inspiration.
But my biggest influence is Fit Finlay. Realism is key for me. Finlay treated every opponent like a real fight. What would you do against a man this size, that size. I loved that. I think he was a success everywhere he went because he stuck to that principal .
Q: You have some big opportunities coming your way, facing Tomohiro Ishii in June for Rev Pro and facing Drew Galloway for the ICW World Heavyweight Championship, would you say this is all the years starting to pay off or is this still just the Beginning for you?
I believe I am gaining momentum but this is really just the start. I’m never satisfied with my matches. I’m never satisfied with my look. I know I can get better. I know I can train under better coaches and pick up experience from better wrestlers than myself.
Ishii will be a perfect example and a hell of a learning experience as I’ll be in there with one of NJPW’s finest.  It will also be interesting to see what level I am at in comparison. I enjoy his work, especially against larger opponents so I’m looking forward to it.
Drew is a different animal. I have had cracking matches with him already and we will tear the house down for ICW. He requested me specifically and championed me to other promoters so I will repay the faith he has in me.
 Q: You debuted for Progress Wrestling in London not to long ago, do you see a bright future for yourself there? And how excited are you for the Super Strong Style Tournament?
Progress is an intriguing company. They have a very unique style, they love the hard hitting, nitty gritty. That is exactly my ethos and I believe I can not only fit in with their style, but I can thrive in that environment.
The SSS Tournament will be a belter. Its an amazing line up. I’ll be going all out to win it and get a shot at the Progress Wrestling Championship. Starting with Tommaso Ciampa, we will bring the real fight to London.
 Q: Who would you say is the person you want to face the most in that tournament?
Whoever the other finalist is. Plain and simple.
 Q: You’ve wrestled all over the UK, is North America in your sights in the near future? If so are there any certain promotions you’d like to work with?
North America is somewhere that is on the planner. I have immediate goals that I wish to satisfy but if a package is presented to me I’d definitely be interested in checking it out.
 Q: You’ve been wrestling for about 10 years, SWA was one of the first promotions you’ve wrestled for and you still wrestle there today, how has the experience of watching a promotion grow for a decade and being there for the ride been?
It’s hard to explain. I have both loved and hated it. At the start I thought it was great. A rising company. It managed to put on some huge shows.
But later on owners lost the heart to muck in and make it grow further. I had to take it over for a couple of years as it was going to die otherwise. That stunted my own career a bit and I was probably an idiot for letting sentiment prevail.
However, I have made some brilliant friends through SWA and I can now watch it succeed under some fantastic new owners. They did a double header of shows that had 580 and 700 at the end of April. I’m delighted to be apart of the roster and see where they go next.
 Q: In ICW’s Sheffield show you did a great job in commentary for the main event, is that a job you would be interested in once you’re done wrestling?
I enjoy doing commentary. If i can help put other people over and explain a story to the fans watching then sure, I’d love to do it when wrestling winds down.
 Q: with so many things you can do in Wrestling these days,what would you say is the one you want to do the most  Is it WWE, NJPW, just making a name the UK wrestling scene, what is your top goal?
My top goal is I want to be the number 1  performer in the world. Failing that I want to be the best I can possibly be. If i can reach my potential then I’ll know I’ve given it my all.
I knew I was squandering any potential I had by running SWA. But now it is in better hands and I know the impetus is on me to improve. There are no limitations or excuses.
I am currently making my living off wrestling. Of course you can always make a better living. But if i can make it to one of the top companies in the world then I know I’ll have the very best facilities and best coaches required to improve myself. Physically, mentally, in front of camera and in ring.

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