Dylan Davis is an individual who has held the NSPW Maritime Championship, along with a myriad of other belts. The Moondog reps that East Coast Strong Style and this pro wrestling path began years back with Jason Burry.
At the age of 16, Davis began honing his craft en route to his in-ring debut in the mid 2000’s. The first foray into the ring was informed by surrounding circumstance however.
“That was 2006 I believe. Upstairs at the St John’s curling club. Up until that point, I would help with the ring. And I would more or less volunteer as a ref. So, I think we spent the entire summer in someone’s yard in the old ring that was used for Atomic Wrestling Entertainment. It was an old boxing ring. All wood, no give at all to it. So we spent two months every day for hours bumping in this horrible ring.”
Dylan Davis continued, “There was this show, they had a match announced where someone never came. So, you know, Burry looked at me and ‘well, you’re here’. Which led to me getting squashed in two minutes, I think it was.”
Davis was mainly refereeing at the time but thereafter began transitioning into the role of being a full-time wrestler.
“For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be a pro wrestler. Back then that was the earliest intro into wrestling. But I believe it was like 2005. I believe Mainstream Wrestling had a show also at the REMAX Centre which is the curling club. And they held a seminar. You pay like 40 bucks and you train with Kowboy Mike Hughes and the Boston Bad Boy Jason Rumble.”
“So the only two lads from here to do it was myself and The Maverick Matt Wheeler. So, you know, more or less Mike Hughes gave us the real raw intro into what pro wrestling actually it is. Because up to that point, we knew wrestling as like the local scene.”
Dylan Davis continued, “Just all fun and games. Then you look at it from the real point of view that Mike Hughes gave us. That day I was like ‘Okay, this is a tough sport’. So now I’d watch wrestling online, videos whenever I could.”
“I just knew that was something that I wanted to do. No matter what obstacles came my way. It was definitely a dream that I had to make happen. I reffed for a few years, I did rumbles here and there. Small matches, very easy tag stuff, or whatever it is.”
Beyond the increases in physical development, the character dynamics of the presentation began going through different permutations over time for Davis.
“I think it was 2008, my good friend Mike Barrington opened up Republic Pro Wrestling… (got) this new gimmick because up to that point I was just using my real name and I was a nobody. No character, right?”
Dylan Davis continued, “Next day I look on Facebook and was announced as Hip-Hop Dylan Davis. That was the re-intro to trying to turn the local scene into something more. Because it definitely had a lot of potential for growth. So I think that was the point where everyone made the big move from the small local events to where we all wanted more.”
“Fast forward to 2010, Legend City Wrestling. From our point of view, it got more real. The promoter at the time brought in guys like Mike Hughes and Rhyno. Names that helped not only myself grow, but the other guys here as well.”
Republic Pro Wrestling & Getting in Work at Junctions
Dylan Davis stated, “For me, I was lucky enough to work guys like Magnus (Don Martini) with Andrew Hawk and Scott Zero at the time… In my eyes, three of the very best guys on the island at the time.”
“Back then I was very new. For me to be here now today is because of guys like them. They gave me a chance to do this crazy wrestling thing. Have you learn and not just be cold or mean towards the new guy. They actually came in and said ‘here’s what we’re going to do’ and they gave me something. Helped me out.”
Davis is a real student of the game and learning from guys like Cowboy Mike Hughes and Tyson Dux galvanizes that knowledge even further. A lot of time was spent under the proverbial learning tree with those men and several other industry veterans in general.
“Respect those who came before you. You’ll always learn. You’ll never learn everything in wrestling. For me, whenever I can, I try to pick the brain of someone whose done a lot more than me. It’s a respect thing.”
“Me being from here, from Newfoundland. We never had the opportunities that most people have in the mainland, because there’s no schools here. So for people here, the only time I would learn anything new was when we had a tour and they’d bring in some guys.”
The Kevin Nash Connection
“So, he was flying in for a big show we were holding…So I’m at the gym working out. I’m just done. One of the guys who was helping out with rides says ‘hey, I’m here with Kevin Nash. He wants to work out’. I’m like ‘oh okay, this is cool’…My first time meeting Kevin Nash. I’m still very new. It’s Kevin Nash, come on? Wolfpac, man.”
Davis likened the visual of walking in the gym with Kevin Nash to Twins with Danny Devito and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Nash was described as a funny guy who was respectful and cool to everyone.
Dylan Davis’ reference of that two-person seminar years back with Mainstream Wrestling circa 2007 had compounded importance later on. Ten years afterwards, he is in the position of contending for the MSW Heavyweight Title in summer 2017.
“It’s one thing I said, like, ‘wow, this is like full circle’. You ask some guys and they’ll say, well, MSW isn’t a really big company. It doesn’t mean anything. Well, in that perspective, yes. But look at it from my point of view, looking at somebody from that side. We paid to do the whole thing, we trained with Mike Hughes”
Dylan Davis continued, “The following year the promoter Devin Chittick is coming back to St John’s and asked me ‘hey, do you want to help me poster the town for the event and we’ll give you a spot on the card?’. So I like print posters and poster all over St John’s. And then the day of the show came and Devin sort of never had a spot for me…I was sort of bitter about it, you know? Whatever.”
“MSW had new ownership that I got along with very well, but they still booked Devin… So it came down to me, Devin Chittick, and this match somewhere in New Brunswick…It came down to me and Devin. This is my full circle moment right here. Fast forward to when I won the belt, to me it was a big deal. To others, probably small potatoes. But definitely a full circle moment for me.”
Dylan Davis’ Dad
The localized importance of this moment came in his father’s following of the local wrestling scene through the years. Something that underpinned his upbringing in the nascent days of Dylan Davis’ wrestling fandom.
“So my dad was definitely a big influence on me wrestling. Being a fan of wrestling and everything in between. Because it would go from wrestling figures, we would legit rent every pay-per-view.”
“We would drive into Cable 9 or something like that and we’d rent this big old box each month. We’d sit around, we had snacks, we’d watch wrestling and stuff. In between matches, we’d wrestle. My dad was also into the gym as well. When I was a kid, my dad was huge.”
When Davis’ parents divorced, going to his dad’s place meant a steady viewing of Nitro and Thunder. The WCW influences of guys like Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko were impactful early on.
Nowadays his parents are huge fans of Dylan Davis. In equal amounts per Davis as he chuckled.
Differing Psychology in Ontario & Quebec
In working Greektown Wrestling in Ontario and in a variety of Quebec promotions, Davis has learned about the many different psychology considerations depending on which territory he’s performing in.
“110 percent. I find the style of wrestling around here in Newfoundland is very old school. Good versus bad…Same as in the Maritimes. Old school, but I find lately there’s a new twist to it where there’s new school now. But for me to go from Newfoundland to Maritimes then to Quebec for NSPW, their talent is unreal. It is just levels above what I was.”
Dylan Davis continued, “So for me to be able to travel there at a regular…At one point, I think I was going there every three weeks. Working guys like Marko Estrada, Matt Angel, Travis Toxic. I think I worked everybody on the roster, except for Kevin Blanchard. Which sucked because that match was booked before this COVID-19 stuff happened, to be honest.”
“So my time in the last four and a half years traveling to Ontario, Quebec, and stuff it’s been just constant learning for me. The growth has been unreal. To watch my matches from four years ago to now, it blows my mind. My style’s different.”
In addition to singles work, tag team permutations like Da B’ys with Matt Wheeler have been notable in Davis’ run.
With the pivot from one on one competition to working within a tandem, new lessons were certainly taken in.
“Going from one on one to like tag-team stuff was definitely a learning curve for me as well. To learn tag team psychology. Lucky enough again, we had a chance to work guys like Kickin N Stompin, TDT…We had this big angle with Sabotage. Which led to actually a main event ladder match in Halifax.”
“So for us to get the main event spot, it was one of those things that was a big deal for us. Some might see it as small potatoes you know… Going back to wrestling was definitely something new to me. And I couldn’t ask for better people to work with in a year and a half. Sabotage; just the guys that really took care of us the year.”
An intriuging location Da B’ys wrestled at was in Bear River at the Bear River First Nation Cultural Center. Those sort of shows have similar stylistic hallmarks of the Tony Condello death tour.
In as far as bringing entertainment to relatively remote communities that usually don’t have those kind of events to look forward to. This creates a powderkeg sort of reaction whereby the cathartic reactions of the crowd are especially pronounced.
“Those Labrador tours were the Newfoundland death tours. It was just constant bad luck. I believe one of the tours we had was with Hacksaw Jim Duggan. So what happened was the ferry which was backed up for a few days with ice. A lot of people waiting to get on it.”
Dylan Davis continued, “Hacksaw was one of the veterans so he went first. So they left Dan, Myself, Brendan Hynes, Matt Wheeler, Tyler Marsh stuck in Blanc-Sablon, Quebec. This is legit a ghost town. We rent this hotel and I swear to god it was a haunted hotel. Nobody there, really weird.”
“Creepy, so Dan’s gonna find us a room. And then we notice behind the hotel is just a pond with some swans. We’re looking and Wheels goes ‘You know what would be crazy? If those swans turn right now and chased us’.”
“With that, the swans turned their heads. Four of them and they come at us. And I think all of us except myself, they piled into a phone booth until they ran away…So we’re stuck there for like two days after that. And then finally get home…The juice was not worth the squeeze, if I can say that, you know what I mean.”
“But that being said, it was definitely a good learning experience. Because it was a different crowd, different atmosphere, and a real taste of how harsh wrestling and the road can be.”
Wrestling Michael Elgin
Seeing Michael Elgin in Ring of Honor was huge for Davis and he found himself gravitating towards Big Mike’s style.
Years after that, he got to work him as part of that standing 8 tournament that UCW did in conjunction with NSPW and working Elgin was an impactful moment in Davis’ career.
Davis also has cool cases of previously working with AEW staples like Stu Grayson and Evil Uno, known from The Dark Order.
Specific to the Michael Elgin match though, Dylan Davis offered up a variety of thoughts and feelings from that tilt.
“For me that was nerve-wracking. So I remember Mike (Elgin) from ROH years ago. I remember being like ‘this guy’s so different’. Just I’m a big fan of his work. So, when they announced a tournament, they were gonna have somebody from each province as a best in Canada. They said you’re gonna represent Newfoundland. That moment alone for me, it was so beyond. I was so proud.”
“All I want to do is put home on the map. There are not many guys from here that make it. No one knows we exist here. So I want to be the best but I want people to know where I’m from. But going back to that with Mike (Elgin), someone I respected. Nerve-wracking, nervous, focused. My training in the gym went up. I was just intense about everything.”
The Moondogs & Newfoundland Wrestling History
The New Moondog gimmick articulates the appreciation for Newfoundland wrestling history too. The First Newfoundlander to get to WWE was Sailor White, a former WWF Tag Team Champion with The Moon Dogs.
It relates back to that newer permutation in Newfoundland wrestling that combines aspects of 80’s storytelling with some of the newer in-ring technique based considerations.
A true confluence of what is going on within this physical artform in his home province.
“Yeah, so it started as paying respects to him and his look…Wrestling wants a certain image and there’s a certain projected expectation of what wrestlers should look like. There’s never somebody that’s unorthodox or very different. I’m thinking like okay, well why, you know? it’s something that no one ever seen before.”
Davis has been aiming to be the anti-wrestler. The gimmick was cultivated on a fishing boat that he began working on since COVID-19 and rampant lockdowns took hold.
What began as an homage to The Moondogs from the WWF days became Dylan Davis’ own hybrid expression.
“Again, like I said wrestling is very much a lot of the same thing just rehashed. There’s no one that stands out that’s unorthodox and different. I think the Moondog gimmick is what you’re going to see from me in the future. It’s going to be something that pro wrestling has never seen ever before. So I’m stoked to push this thing. Keep pushing the envelope and just showing everyone what the new Moondog thing is.”
Davis also had a cameo on Republic of Doyle and a bunch of people reached out after. Some stunt work saw him shoving the show’s lead actor despite the relative brevity of the scene.
“I see you on TV!” was a common refrain Davis heard from his involvement in the popular Canadian TV series.
Dylan moved back to Newfoundland recently with the intent to start his own wrestling promotion out there. Building something very special for the fans with a level of not being able to disclose some details as of yet.
If the same level of effort and thoughtfulness is applied to this promotion that Davis applies to his own in ring career, I think we’re looking at a promotion that will flourish for years to come.