Killian Dain

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Killian Dain
Killian Dain.jpg
Damian in May 2017
Birth name Damian Mackle
Born (1985-02-20) 20 February 1985 (age 34)
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Residence Orlando, Florida, United States
Spouse(s) Nikki Cross (m. 2019)[1]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Big Damo
Damian O'Connor
Killian Dain
Billed height 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)[2]
Billed weight 322 lb (146 kg)[2]
Billed from Belfast, Northern Ireland[2]
Trained by Robbie Brookside
Debut 2005

Damian Mackle (born 20 February 1985) is an Irish[3] professional wrestler. He is currently signed to WWE, where he performs on the SmackDown brand under the ring name Killian Dain. In WWE he was best known as a member of the stable Sanity. He previously competed on the independent circuit under the ring name Big Damo, which is derived from his first ring name, Damian O'Connor.[4]

Prior to joining WWE he was perhaps best known for his work with Insane Championship Wrestling, where he won the ICW World Heavyweight Championship.[5][6][7] He also wrestled for numerous promotions on the British independent circuit, around Europe, and in the USA including Progress Wrestling, Revolution Pro Wrestling, Westside Xtreme Wrestling, Absolute Intense Wrestling, Beyond Wrestling, Premier British Wrestling, Scottish Wrestling Alliance, WCPW (now Defiant Wrestling) and IPW:UK.[8][9][10][11][12]

On 19 October 2016, it was announced by WWE that Mackle had signed a developmental contract with the company and had arrived at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida.[13]

Early life

Mackle played as a goalkeeper for his university football side.[14] He also played rugby union (up to university level), basketball and judo.[14] He stated that as a child he was attracted to professional wrestling because of the "larger than life" personas and face paint of wrestlers such as Sting and The Ultimate Warrior.[15] He cites fellow countryman Fit Finlay as a huge influence on his wrestling style and inspiration for his success.[16]

Professional wrestling career

Early career (2005–2010)

Mackle trained in Scotland at NWA Scotland under Robbie Brookside (now a trainer at WWE NXT). Of Brookside, he stated; "I don't think there is enough hyperbole to explain how good a coach he is...I can't think of a better coach I'd met in any sport".[15] After training at NWA Scotland, Mackle debuted for the Scottish Wrestling Alliance at the age of 20 under the ring name Damian O'Connor. He originally wrestled in Scotland and the North of England as a tag team called "Britain's Most Wanted" with Scott Renwick. Together the two won a variety of tournaments and tag team championships in promotions such as SWA (4 times), W3L (2 times), SSW and 3CW. While they never officially split up, they would both focus on singles competition around 2009. This proved to be fruitful for both and O'Connor started touring his native Ireland, the United Kingdom, mainland Europe and the United States. O'Connor would win the Heavyweight Titles in SWE, W3L, XWA, Pride as well as the Laird of the Ring Title in SWA. In 2009, O'Connor took over the SWA training school named the "Source Wrestling School". O'Connor has trained numerous wrestlers, including Joe Coffey, Joe Hendry and Nikki Cross.[17]

Insane Championship Wrestling (2013–2016, 2018)

O'Connor wrestled sporadically for ICW between 2009 and 2012 under various gimmicks, but his return in November 2013 saw him debut as Big Damo. Damo defeated Chris Renfrew for the ICW World Heavyweight Championship in Belfast on 27 February 2016,[18] marking the first time the title changed hands outside of Glasgow and making Damo the first ever Irish-born champion. On 31 July 2016, at Shug's Hoose Party III, Damo was defeated for the Championship by Joe Coffey.[19]

On 11 November 2018. O'Connor (as Killian Dain) returned to ICW for one night only, defeating Mikey Whiplash. [20]

Independent circuit (2014–2016)

In December 2014, Damo unsuccessfully challenged Drew Galloway for the EVOLVE Championship in Inverness, Scotland.[21]

In 2014, Damo debuted in Revolution Pro Wrestling.[22] In 2015, he wrestled NJPW greats Tomohiro Ishii,[23] Hiroshi Tanahashi[24] Shinsuke Nakamura,[25] as well as Tommaso Ciampa.[26] In 2016, he wrestled international wrestlers "Speedball" Mike Bailey,[27] Roderick Strong,[28] Dalton Castle,[29] Big Daddy Walter[30] and Matt Sydal.[31]

In October 2015, Damo debuted for Global Force Wrestling (GFW) on their UK Invasion tour, losing to Bram.[32]

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2016)

In January 2016, Damo appeared for TNA as part of their Maximum Impact tour of the UK, where he unsuccessfully challenged for the TNA King of the Mountain Championship on two occasions on the March 1 episode of Impact Wrestling, Damo lost to Eric Young in a KOTM title match.[33] At One Night Only Joker's Wild 2016, Damo and Jimmy Havoc lost to Drew Galloway and Mike Bennett. On the March 8 episode of Impact Wrestling, Damo competed in a King of the Mountain match which was won by Eric Young.


NXT (2016–2018)

In June 2016, it was reported that Mackle had signed with WWE to perform on their NXT brand.[34][35] On 19 October 2016, it was announced by WWE that Mackle had signed a developmental contract with the company and had arrived at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida.[13] On 4 November, Mackle appeared at an NXT house show and cut a promo.[36] On 11 November, at a house show in St. Augustine, Florida, Mackle made his in-ring debut under the Damian O'Connor ring name, defeating Rich Swann.[37] He then reverted to using the ring name Damo.

On 7 December episode of NXT, Damo attacked No Way Jose and seemed to align himself with the heel stable SAnitY, which generally attacks face wrestlers.[38] In January 2017, he began to wrestle under the new ring name Killian Dain.[39] On 18 January, Dain joined SAnitY in an official capacity after attacking Tye Dillinger and accepting Sawyer Fulton's jacket from Eric Young. On 25 January, Dain appeared as part of SAnitY for the first time, attacking Chris Atkins by Eric Young's order.[40] On 8 February episode of NXT, Dain teamed with Young and Alexander Wolfe to defeat Tye Dillinger, No Way Jose and Roderick Strong.[41] At WrestleMania 33, Dain would make it to the final three in the André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, before being eliminated by eventual winner Mojo Rawley. On 19 July episode of NXT, Dain lost his first televised singles match in WWE, to Drew McIntyre, in a No.1 Contender match for the NXT Championship. On the March 28, 2018 airing of NXT, Dain was named as one of the six participants in the ladder match to determine the inaugural NXT North American Champion, in which he lost. On the April 18 airing of NXT, he lost a No Disqualification Match to Lars Sullivan.

SmackDown (2018–2019)

During the 2018 WWE Superstar Shake-up, Dain and the rest of Sanity, excluding Nikki Cross, were drafted to SmackDown. Prior to draft, he declared that Cross is still part of the stable. They debuted on the June 19 episode of Smackdown Live where they attacked The Usos. on the July 3 episode of Smackdown Live, Sanity attacked The New Day during The New Day's first annual 3rd of July Pancake Eating Contest. on the July 10 episode of Smackdown Live, Sanity and The Bludgeon Brothers lost to Team Hell No and The New Day. at Extreme Rules (2018), Sanity picked up their first win by defeating New Day in a Tables match.

Return to singles competition (2019–present)

Following the first day of the 2019 WWE Superstar Shake-up which saw Eric Young being sent to WWE Raw, Dain tweeted goodbyes to both Young and Wolfe indicating that Sanity were no more. "I'll miss you both terribly. Had the time of my life as part of Sanity!! You are phenomenal in the ring and outside of it. Thanks to everyone who supported us."[42] On May 16, 2019 in Tampa, Florida at a NXT house show, Dain wrestled for the brand, defeating Jermaine Haley and was attacked by Kassius Ohno after, with a match set for the next day's live event.[43]

Personal life

Mackle is a lifelong supporter of Premier League team Manchester United and NBA team Orlando Magic.[14] He has stated that he believes wrestling – unlike other sports – can be a uniting factor for people in his native Belfast as there are "no (sectarian) affiliations" in wrestling. He stated that he would not support Scottish football because there is "a lot of connotations" with sectarianism. He grew up in what he described as a mixed area and is conscious of keeping political affiliations out of his public life.[44]

On January 17, 2019, Mackle married fellow WWE wrestler, Nicola Glencross, known by her ring name Nikki Cross.[45]

Other media

Dain made his WWE video game debut as a playable character in WWE 2K18 and returned in WWE 2K19

Championships and accomplishments

  • 3 Count Wrestling
    • 3CW Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Scott Renwick[7]
  • Insane Championship Wrestling
  • Pride Wrestling
    • Pride Wrestling Championship (1 time)[7]
  • Pro Wrestling Illustrated
    • PWI ranked him #119 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2018[46]
  • Reckless Intent Wrestling
    • Reckless Intent Hardcore Championship (1 time)
    • Reckless Intent Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • Scottish Wrestling Alliance
    • SWA Laird of the Ring Championship (1 time)[7]
    • SWA Tag Team Championship (6 times) – with Scott Renwick (4), Pete O'Neil (1), Micken (1)[7]
  • Scottish Wrestling Entertainment
    • SWE Heavyweight Champion (1 time)
  • What Culture Pro Wrestling
    • WCPW Championship (1 time)[47]
  • World Wide Wrestling League
    • W3L Heavyweight Champion (1 time)[7]
    • W3L Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Scott Renwick[7]
    • W3L Heavyweight Title Tournament (2011)
  • X Wrestling Alliance
    • XWA British Heavyweight Champion (1 time)[7]
    • XWA British Heavyweight Title Tournament (2014)


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  46. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) 500 for 2018". Retrieved 28 September 2018.
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  48. ^ "Daily Update: NXT year-end awards, TakeOver, Impact ratings". 27 January 2018.

External links

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