After dedicating the last six years of his life to professional wrestling, Dontae Smiley of Dallas, Texas is starting to see the fruits of his labors.

The 32-year-old physical trainer has been grinding out a name for himself on the independent scene with All-Star, VIP, and SOAR Championship Wrestling promotions.

“I would be lying if I didn’t want things to happen faster,” Smiley explained. “It takes a while for people to get an opportunity, especially in this business.”

The dynamics of professional wrestling have evolved over the years. What was true for success 20 years ago isn’t the working model today.

Today, a wrestler can make a living on the independent scene due to all of the promotions to wrestle at, the streaming apps, and the merchandise sales that are available to them.

“Who wouldn’t want to make a living doing what they love to do, especially in professional wrestling?” Smiley said. “A lot of wrestlers want to work at WWE and AEW because of their contracts and that’s where the money is at.

With 2020 being a challenge for many people around the world, an opportunity opened up the doors for Dontae. His time had arrived to step on the big stage and he was ready to perform.

His hard work gained him a trip to Jacksonville, Florida to have a couple of matches against the teams of the Lucha Brothers and Best Friends for All Elite Wrestling with his partner Max Stardom.

“Even though it was during the Covid era, I was wrestling for a television audience of thousands and maybe millions of people,” Smiley continues. “It was amazing to be in the locker room with the caliber of guys they brought over.”

Within the past 10 years, the in-ring sport has evolved. Not long ago the stages were minimal, but wrestlers who wanted to make their dreams happen pressed on. The talent hired by the company surpassed the expectations of the fans since AEW’s development in January of 2019.

With names like the Young Bucks, Cody Rhodes, Kenny Omega, Chris Jericho, and Jon Moxley on the roster, only mean continual excitement and success for years to come. On his visit to the sunshine state, Dontae had a chance to spend some time with a couple of veterans in the business.

“I got to talk to Jerry Lynn and I had a real good connection with him when I was out there,” Smiley shared. “I also got some great advice from Christopher Daniels too.”

Since beginning his wrestling journey, not only has Dontae gained 45 pounds of muscle, he has also progressed into his wrestling skills and athleticism. The desired result when one is going all out to be the best he can be.

His performance at AEW was a step in the right direction in achieving his dream. Though, the man from North Texas wants more. Donate’s wrestling abilities not only caught the attention of Matt and Nick Jackson they also interested the company’s CEO, Tony Kahn.

“My head is in the right spot and I’m a patient individual,” Smiley said. “We have a lot of stuff planned for 2021 that is going to take a lot of people by surprise.”


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