WWE signs up 'Belfast Beast' Damo O'Connor
Hulk Hogan, the Undertaker, The Rock and now the Belfast Beast - a Northern Ireland man is bidding to become one of the superstars of the biggest wrestling entertainment show on the planet.
Belfast man Damian Mackle has been signed up for World Wrestling Entertainment's (WWE) performance centre in Florida.
He is one of nine recruits that include four big names from the independent wrestling world, a former NFL running back and an American Army veteran.
Performance centre recruits usually progress to WWE NXT - the WWE's proving ground for talent - before graduating to the big shows and the mega popular pay-per-view events.
Should he impress, the wrestler - who performs under Big Damo, the Hound of Ulster and the Belfast Beast - could find himself going toe-to-toe with superstars, The Rock, Brock Lesnar and John Cena.
The WWE is watched around the world by over 650million people and made household names out of the likes of Hulk Hogan and The Rock, who also went on to forge a successful movie career.
One wrestling expert said the WWE scouted the world for the best up-and-coming talent in search of future superstars, adding: "He has a real shot."
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Described as a 6ft 4" 322lb "barrell-chested brute", Mackle was inspired by local hero and legendary tough man - and fellow Northern Ireland man - Fit Finlay.
He made his ring debut in 2005, and has studied under former WWE Universal and NXT Champion Finn Balor and current NXT coach Robbie Brookside.
The Beast was a premier super-heavyweight on the independent scene, having wrestled under the banners of UK-based Insane Championship Wrestling, New Japan Pro Wrestling and New England-based Beyond Wrestling, among other organizations.
He has also locked horns with Samoa Joe and NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura in the past.
His signature finishing moves include the Ulster Plantation, the Van-DAMO-Nator and the Bann River Boot.
On his online bio he describes himself as a brawler with a brutal and realistic style and has a penchant for standing on his opponent's chest.
Damo said he was "excited and honoured to follow in the footsteps of phenomenal Irish wrestlers" following the announcement he was to join the WWE.
"It's only the beginning," He said.
"Thanks to my family for their continued support and thanks to everyone who has helped me along the way."
Paul “Triple H” Levesque, WWE executive vice president added: "WWE is constantly scouting the world for the most talented athletes and entertainers.
“This new class will have every opportunity to fulfill their dreams of becoming a WWE Superstar, as they train out of the WWE Performance Center in Orlando.”Northern Irish wrestler Big Damo is coming to the WWE
Belfast Telegraph Digital