Toughness, skill, heart, and determination are just a few attributes that wrestler Damien Wayne possesses, but let’s not forget about his passion for the sport of wrestling because no one can take that away from the three-time former NWA National Heavyweight Champion.
Wayne grew up in Virginia and he was exposed to the Crockets and NWA’s Mid Atlantic Wrestling Promotion. There might have been other wrestling programs that he had watched on television, but nothing could replace his affection for the National Wrestling Alliance.
“Back in the day, that company and that championship belt, no matter who held it has always been regarded at the highest level,” said Damien Wayne. “All the places it has been defended and the legacy behind that belt are incredible. I know today that it doesn’t mean what it used to, but those three letters to me still mean something.”
From the age of seven, Wayne was a huge wrestling fan and it was a big part of his life. It was always something that he was interested in pursuing, but he was bit by the baseball bug and discovered that it was a sport he was pretty good at.
He played baseball through high school, but a shoulder injury eliminated any hopes of a future with the game, and he hung up his glove for good. By the age of 25, Wayne was married and was busy raising children with his wife and though his love for wrestling never went away, it was not the priority he was focusing on.
Then one day in 2001, he discovered Virginia Championship Wrestling through the internet.
“It was funny because they ran shows for three years literally two blocks from where I worked for 14 years. I never knew they were running shows there,” said Wayne. “I emailed them, but I was 30 years old and 166 pounds, so being a wrestler was pretty much out of the question at that point in my head, but I wanted to be a referee or be on the ring crew. I just wanted to be a part of it.”
It was in November when Wayne reached out to the promotion that is now Vanguard Championship Wrestling. As luck would have it, the promotion company was going to start a school at the turn of the year, and Wayne had made up his mind that this was what he was going to do. This is where his toughness and determination came into play. Wayne showed up at the wrestling school with 26 other potential students, but within a couple of days, the size of the class was much different.
“I was the only one left. They all dropped like flies,” said Wayne. “Nothing is going to kill my passion for professional wrestling. I have had some things happen to me over the years that the normal wrestler would have quit over, but I have a passion for it.”
Wayne has a passion for wrestling, the NWA, and a strong desire to win the company’s championship belt. Throughout his career, Wayne has had a handful of title opportunities as far as challenging for the prestigious wrestling title. Though he has come close to winning it, fulfilling his ultimate dream has eluded him, leaving Wayne with feelings of frustration and disappointment.
In his second attempt to gain the title from former Champion Adam Pearce, the two men fought and wrestled to a one-hour draw, but not before they exhausted every bit of energy that was in their bodies. The match see-sawed back and forth the entire 60 minutes with neither man willing to give in to each other.
Wayne and Pearce were fighting with purpose and fury, one man wanted to win the belt and the other man wanted to keep it. Pearce wasn’t going to let Wayne take it away from him, at least without him having to work or die for it.
“It was an amazing match. It was like I was doing magic and the magic was there,” said Wayne. I thought I could have gone another 30 minutes.”
The only thing that would have made that night any more amazing was if Wayne would have defeated Pearce for the belt. It looked like Wayne had won the title. He clearly pinned Pearce in the middle of the ring. The fans that had filled the venue near Richmond, Virginia that evening thought that they had witnessed history.
Wayne thought he made history, and for a brief moment, Pearce thought his NWA Title reign had come to an end. Reality finally set in when it was brought to the referee’s attention that the time limit of the match expired right before the official was able to get the third count on the pin.
The fans went wild, and the guest presenter, former WWE Diva Sunny, brought the belt into the ring and awarded Wayne with it. Wayne was holding the belt in his hands thinking he achieved his life-long dream until the event officials explained to him what happened and forced him to relinquish the title that rightfully belonged to Pearce.
“Knowing that I had to give it back hurt, but just having my name associated with that title is an accomplishment,” said Wayne. “That’s what I grew up on. I went to the Hampton Arena and the Norfolk Scope so many times to watch Flair and Dusty wrestle for that belt, I have to admit it got to me.”
It got to him because he loves the sport of wrestling and he understands what the NWA Title means to him, his fellow wrestlers, and those who came before him. It doesn’t matter to him who holds the belt. He will face them anytime and anywhere.
Damien Wayne has the heart of a champion, the determination to do what it takes to win, the skills to ensure a victory, and the toughness to defend and keep the World Championship around his waist.
Wayne is a wrestler that his competitors need to watch out for, and someone they should fear. Wayne’s dream of winning the NWA World Heavyweight Championship didn’t begin when he started wrestling at 30 years old in 2001. His dream of becoming Champion of the World started when he was seven years old.