Pro Wrestling
Pro Wrestling

Damian Mackle (February 20, 1985) is an Irish professional wrestler previously signed to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) on the NXT brand under the ring name Killian Dain.

Early life

Mackle played as a goalkeeper for his university football side. He also played rugby union (up to university level), basketball and judo. 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. He cites fellow countryman Fit Finlay as a huge influence on his wrestling style and inspiration for his success.

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." 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.

Independent circuit

Insane Championship Wrestling (2013–2016)

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, 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.

Evolve Wrestling (2014)

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

Revolution Pro Wrestling (2014−2016)

In 2014, Damo debuted in Revolution Pro Wrestling. In 2015, he wrestled NJPW greats Tomohiro Ishii, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Shinsuke Nakamura, as well as Tommaso Ciampa. In 2016, he wrestled international wrestlers "Speedball" Mike Bailey, Roderick Strong, Dalton Castle, Big Daddy Walter and Matt Sydal.

Global Force Wrestling (2015-2016)

In October 2015, Damo debuted for Global Force Wrestling (GFW) on their UK Invasion tour, losing to Bram. Damo lost to Kenny Omega

What Culture Pro Wrestling (2016)

In 2016, Damo made his debut with What Culture Pro Wrestling on the June 28 episode of Loaded, defeating Joe Hendry in a number one contenders match for the WCPW World Championship. On July 25 at Built to Destroy, Damo defeated Rampage to become the inaugural WCPW World Champion. On September 3 at Stacked, Damo would lose the title to Joseph Conners in a four-way match also involving Rampage and Hendry. On the September 24 episode of Loaded, Damo would be defeated by Alberto El Patrón, where following the stipulation made by WCPW General Manager Adam Pacitti, Damo was fired from WCPW.

On the October 2 episode of Loaded, Damo returned to WCPW after announcing that Pacitti allowed him back. On October 12 at True Legacy, Damo would face Kirby in a losing effort. This would be Damo's final appearance for the company, where he would show his respect to Kirby and announce he would be heading to Orlando.

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.

World Wrestling Entertainment

NXT (2016–2018)

Main article: Sanity In June 2016, it was reported that Mackle had signed with WWE to perform on their NXT brand. On October 19, 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. On November 4 Mackle appeared at an NXT house show and cut a promo. On November 11, at a house show in St. Augustine, Florida, Mackle made his in-ring debut under the Damian O'Connor ring name, defeating Rich Swann. He then reverted to using the ring name Damo.

On the December 7 episode of NXT, Damo attacked No Way Jose and seemed to align himself with the heel stable SAnitY, which generally attacks face wrestlers. In January 2017, he began to wrestle under the new ring name Killian Dain. On January 18, Dain joined Sanity in an official capacity after attacking Tye Dillinger and accepting Sawyer Fulton's jacket from Eric Young. On January 25, Dain appeared as part of SAnitY for the first time, attacking Chris Atkins by Eric Young's order. On the February 8 episode of NXT, Dain teamed with Young and Alexander Wolfe to defeat Tye Dillinger, No Way Jose and Roderick Strong. 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 the July 19 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. At NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III, Dain and Sanity leader Eric Young defeated The Authors Of Pain to become the new NXT Tag Team Champions. Their reign ended on the December 20 episode of NXT during which they lost to Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly.

During the early half of 2018, Dain continued wrestling at NXT Live events. At NXT TakeOver: New Orleans, Dain competed in a six-man Ladder match for the NXT North American Championship. He made his final televised appearance of the year on the April 18 episode of NXT during which Dain lost a singles match against Lars Sullivan.

Dain made his televised return the following year on the August 21 episode of NXT during which he defeated Matt Riddle.

Main roster (2018-2019)

After the conclusion of the 2018 Superstar draft, Dain joined the SmackDown Live brand. Along with his Sanity teammates (except for Nikki Cross), Dain and team Sanity debuted on June 26 episode of SmackDown Live during which they lost a six-man tag match against Jeff Hardy & The Usos. On the July 24 episode of SmackDown Live, Dain and Alexander Wolfe represented Sanity in a Tag Team Title No.1 Contendership Tournament during which they were eliminated in the first round by members of The New Day Big E & Xavier Woods. During later SmackDown Live programs, Dain would join one of his teammates in their bid to win No.1 Contendership status for the Tag Team Championship. Dain and his team would however, compete for the tag team titles during the WWE Live events inside of triple threat and fatal four-way formats. Dain made his final televised appearance of the year on the 18 December episode of SmackDown Live, during which he and Alexander Wolfe teamed with The Bar in an eight-man tag match lost against Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows & The Usos.

Dain returned on the April 2 episode of SmackDown Live, during which he and Sanity lost a Three-On-One Handicap Falls Count Anywhere match against The Miz.

Personal life

Mackle is a lifelong supporter of Premier League team Manchester United and NBA team Orlando Magic. 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.

Other media

Dain made his WWE video game debut as a playable character in WWE 2K18.

Wrestling facts

  • Finishing moves
    • Cóiste Bodhar (Lifting inverted DDT)
    • Cú Chulainn's Wrath (Double underhook crossface)
    • PiledriverWCPW
    • Ulster Plantation (One-handed electric chair driver)
    • Van-Damo-Nator (Corner-to-corner front missile dropkick to a steel chair against the face of an opponent seated in the corner)
  • Nicknames
    • "The Beast of Belfast"
    • "The Hound of Ulster"
  • Entrance themes
    • "Controlled Chaos" by CFO$ (NXT; November 30, 2016–April 15, 2019; used while a part of SAnitY)
    • "Beast of Belfast" by CFO$ (NXT)
    • "Beast" By Neil Mcdougall

Championships and accomplishments

  • Scottish Wrestling Alliance
    • SWA Laird Of The Ring Championship
    • SWA Tag Team Championship (6 times)
    • 2010 SWA Wrestler of the Year
    • 2011 SWA Wrestler of the Year
  • Pride Wrestling
    • Pride Wrestling Heavyweight Championship

External links