04:00PM, Monday 01 August 2022
Photo by Andrew Timms, courtesy of WWE
A former teacher who worked at LVS Ascot has made it as a pro wrestler in the WWE – fulfilling a lifelong dream. Eddie Dennis, 36, taught maths at LVS Ascot from 2010 to 2018.
But since the age of four or five, Eddie dreamed of being a wrestler. He grew up to have the body type for it, now standing at a billed height of 6 ft 6 ins.
“When you’re a child and you’re asked what you want to do, my answer was always pro wrestling,” said Eddie.
“As you get older, you’re encouraged to pick a more sensible answer – but I never had a more sensible answer.”
Though he attempted to get into wrestling professionally, he found that it wasn’t a viable professional option in the UK, despite training professionally in Canada for six months.
“I spent about a year sofa surfing to try and make it work, but the scene in the UK was really small,” Eddie said.
He trained to be a teacher, having ‘done OK academically’ in school. Eddie joined LVS and began teaching maths, really with a view to raise money that would allow him to continue wrestling.
Eddie continued to take part in small, independent wrestling on the side, following his passion even if he couldn’t make it work as a career. Then he got an offer to be the head of year nine at LVS and his priorities shifted.
“I told myself if I got that post, I would commit myself to teaching,” he said.
He then took over headship of the junior school at 29 years old. Eddie continued with this for two years.
The extra work, however, made it hard for him to continue to find time for wrestling.
“Even getting to one show at the weekend was a struggle,” he said.
Meanwhile, the wrestling scene in the UK was ‘growing exponentially’. The WWE held its first champion tournament in the UK in 2017.
“Others were giving up their jobs to pursue pro wrestling,” Eddie said. “Lots of my friends were getting into tournaments, while I watched them from my sofa with my fiancé and my cat.
“I thought, ‘I should be there with them.’ That irked me for a couple of weeks – until I handed in my notice.”
Eddie worked as an independent wrestler for six months, then in May 2018, signed a contract with WWE, and is still with them five years on.
He has been able to bring his background as a humble teacher into his wrestling persona – as there has been a recent diminishing of the trend towards more ‘ridiculous, outlandish characters’.
Indeed, his time as a teacher has helped Eddie, giving him practice performing to a tough crowd.
“People say they don’t understand how I can get out there in Lycra and perform, but when you go out there, you’re already a winner. People have bought a ticket – they’re going to enjoy what you bring. When you go into a maths GCSE class, trying to engage young people, there’s a good chance they’re not going to enjoy what you deliver.”
As such, Eddie made his lessons entertaining by bringing his own energy and flair to the classroom.
His thought was: ‘I’m not sure I can make Pythagoras interesting but I can make myself interesting.’
Now Eddie is getting ready to perform at the WWE Clash at the Castle (at the Principality Stadium in his native home of Wales) on September 3.
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