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Kamel’s aiming to be NXT big thing in wrestling

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Kamel Dickinson is preparing to fulfil a lifelong dream to be the first Bermudian to wrestle for World Wrestling Entertainment.

Mr Dickinson this year became the first Bermudian to sign with the company, and is set to start work in its developmental league, NXT on Monday.

“It's incredible,” he said. “It's been a long process, but now I've finally gone through the contract, the background checks, the medicals and physicals, and now I'm finally here.”

Mr Dickinson said he wanted to pursue wrestling ever since he was a child, but focused on acting instead when he was younger because he was worried his family wouldn't approve.

He graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles, but in 2011 he decided to try his hand a wresting, following in the footsteps of his heroes Stone Cold Steve Austin and Ricky ‘The Dragon' Steamboat.

Mr Dickinson said that after completing the three month beginners training course at Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) in Kentucky, he was invited to join trainer Nick Dinsmore, better known as former WWE superstar Eugene, on the road, wrestling for around $20 a show.

He was eventually offered a match with Ring of Honor, the third largest wrestling promotion in the US, but unfortunately, the match didn't end the way Mr Dickinson wanted it.

“My opponent rock bottomed me and I basically landed on the back of my head with all 200lbs of him on top,” he said. “I had blood coming out of my nose and my vision went dark. The match was only about two minutes and I was concussed for about a week.”

Shortly afterwards he suffered a leg injury and returned to Bermuda. While here, he contacted the WWE and was able to secure a place in a tryout being held in Birmingham, UK. Still wearing a knee brace, Mr Dickinson battled through the trials — only to be pulled aside to be told he was too short.

He said he was heartbroken, but veteran wrestling stars William Regal and Norman Smiley both offered him encouragement, urging him to try his hand at Florida Championship Wresting, now known as NXT, where those signed by WWE trained.

Mr Dickinson took their advice and enrolled in their training programme last January, learning to wrestle in the WWE style, but returned to Kentucky to get more experience in the wrestling ring.

Last summer he was able to arrange another tryout with the WWE, travelling to Illinois where the company was hosting it's pay-per-view event ‘Payback'.

“We actually didn't do anything that day except for eat,” he said. “We sat around in catering with some of the wrestlers. I met John Cena, Randy Orton, Big Show, all the big guys, the smaller guys, everything. We were just sitting, eating and talking.”

Two days later, Mr Dickinson was given his tryout opportunity as the company prepared its weekly Smackdown broadcast.

He returned to Bermuda, and called the company again in September to get another tryout, but instead was told that they were sending his information to [wrestler and WWE executive vice president] Triple H with a view to getting him a contract.

“A few weeks after that I finally heard back that they wanted to sign me,” he said. “I start on Monday.”

Mr Dickinson is scheduled to leave the Island this weekend for Florida, where he will join fellow WWE developmental wrestlers at NXT — where Bermuda resident and former WWE Champion John “Bradshaw” Layfield acts as commissioner.

Along with sharpening his skills at the WWE's recently erected performance centre, Mr Dickinson hopes to join the NXT wrestlers as they perform across Florida and eventually appear on NXT television, which is broadcast internationally on the WWE Network.

“I'm really looking forward to working with the people they have at NXT,” Mr Dickinson said. “Dusty Rhodes is down there, Ricky Steamboat. I heard on his podcast that Stone Cold Steve Austin is going to be coming down there at some point soon. That's going to be amazing because I love that guy.

“But I'm most excited to be back working with Nick [Dinsmore]. He was re-signed back in September. That's number one for me, personally. He's had faith in me the entire time. He's had my back more than anybody. He's the reason I kept on going, so I owe everything to Nick.”

Mr Dickinson said he wants to continue promoting his Bermudian heritage as part of his character, but is looking for suggestions from the public for a new name to use in NXT.

“If anyone is out there that has a name that they think is suitable, for me, e-mail me or Facebook me,” he said. “My character is based on Gombeys but it's more of a gombey king than a gombey itself. I don't want to go out there dancing.”

Gombey warrior: Kamel Dickinson. (Photo by Akil Simmons)

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Published May 03, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated May 02, 2014 at 10:51 pm)

Kamel’s aiming to be NXT big thing in wrestling

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