The 32-year-old Chris Dickinson, an indie wrestling veteran of 17+ years, was headed towards what could have been the biggest week of his pro wrestling career. The former Catch Point member had been making his name on the scene and was coming off a two-year period in 2018-19 that was the best in his career. 2020 had gotten off to much the same start as Dickinson was wrestling everywhere including making his debut in Japan for FREEDOMS and Pro Wrestling Zero 1. The longtime Beyond and GCW star was largely becoming a name you couldn’t ignore and WrestleMania Week was going to further solidify that status.
Known as the “Dirty Daddy, Dickinson had NINE huge matches planned for the big week, several of which were going to be against prominent Japanese stars. At Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport 3, he was set to face Minoru Suzuki; at ICW New York No Holds Barred Vol. 3, he was going to be facing Masashi Takeda; and at the Wrestling Revolver’s Pancakes & Piledrivers, he was set to wrestle Shingo Takagi. Three huge matches that in the blink of an eye turned into zero as Dickinson had to watch as the coronavirus led to the cancellation of every single one of the nine cards he was booked on. Every single big event, ever single potential star-making moment was gone in a flash, swept away by the ever-evolving pandemic that has affected and disrupted just about every aspect of daily life.
I’m reading so many nice things everyone is saying tonight about the show and it really feels good to hear how you feel. Thank you all so much everyone who donated to us and if even you couldn’t thank you for watching. We set a record on IWTV because of you.
I love you all.
— Chris Dickinson (@DirtyDickinson) March 21, 2020
For Dickinson, who has made a full-time living on wrestling for the past four years, the cancellations were absolutely devastating, not just in terms of dollars and cents, though he estimated his losses would be in the thousands for booking fees alone had the week gotten called off as it did, but also from a personal standpoint. Dickinson, in an interview with VICE, said “it’s extremely demoralizing,” and noted that he “had a lot riding on some of these matches and a lot of eyes on me. This is a time where I could really break through to the next level, and it’s either going to be postponed or some of these opportunities may never present themselves again.”
Chris Dickinson wasn’t the only independent wrestler to be gutted by the cancellation of all kinds of wrestling events, not just ones during WrestleMania Week. All throughout the indies, major tournaments and cards have been called off or postponed. Even the bigger companies like NWA, MLW, and Ring of Honor have stopped running live events and WWE and AEW are, for now, running events with no fans. Much like it has the rest of the sports world, wrestling has been hit hard by coronavirus, but indie wrestling, in particular, is facing a blow that won’t be easy to come back from.
— SirLARIATO (@SirLARIATO) March 21, 2020
On Friday night, at night two of GCW’s Acid Cup 2, an empty arena event held to help raise some money for the wrestlers like Dickinson, who were missing out on upcoming paydays, the idea of an uncertain future was underlined in one of the most heartfelt, honest and vulnerable promos you’ll ever hear. Dickinson, who won the tournament, didn’t speak as his persona, the Dirty Daddy, he spoke as Chris, the man whose livelihood had vanished and he didn’t know when he’d get it back.
“This is really rough for me personally,” Dickinson began. “When they told me I had an opportunity to wrestle a couple of times, I jumped at it this as this is my life and this is what I do…These are times where the future is completely uncertain. We don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s easy to say we do know what’s going to happen and be confident about things but we really don’t. Some of us don’t have no jobs. I don’t have a real job,” Dickinson said. “This is my job, and I make decent money doing this. I love doing this and was able to turn this into a career because I love it…We can’t help what’s going on right now but the fact that there’s people out there who care so much that are willing to donate to help us feed ourselves and pay some bills-I mean it’s that serious right now, it’s that serious. We don’t know what’s going to happen but the fact that you people love wrestling that much is the reason why we are all here tonight.”
— SirLARIATO (@SirLARIATO) March 21, 2020
It was at this point that Chris Dickinson got emotional, real and outright raw with those watching the stream on IWTV.
“I have to be completely honest, I’m not gonna lie, I’m miserable on the inside because I’m hurt, hurt for myself, hurt for my friends, hurt for the future, hurt for wrestling because I love wrestling so much but we’re gonna do what we’ve got to do. You put your head down and keep on moving forward and keep on working… We know whats on the line and our future is on the line so we have to give it everything we’ve got.”
On Thursday and Friday, Chris Dickinson and the rest of the GCW locker room absolutely gave it everything they got, putting on two nights of shows that combined great wrestling with fun moments. It all centered around the tournament for the Acid Cup, however, which saw Dickinson wrestle three times on Friday en route to claiming the trophy. In his post-match promo, Dickinson noted he believed in the adage that you are only as good as your last match. And the reality for these wrestlers is for some of them, Friday night may have been their last match for a while.
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. You can watch the full two-night Acid Cup 2, and support GCW and nearly 100 other independent wrestling promotions at IWTV.