Dak Draper Talks His Beginning Up To ROH’s Best In The World

Wrestling (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)
Wrestling (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images) /

“The Mile High Magnum,” Dak Draper debuted in Ring of Honor in 2019. He debuted in a big way, having won the Top Prospect’s tournament that year. Draper continues to show every single week why he is one of the best young guns in Ring of Honor today.

Growing Up The Mile High Magnum

“I remember being a professional wrestling fan ever since I was a kid,” Draper said. “The first wrestler I remember was Macho Man Randy Savage.” Draper recalls his father playing high school football against the Macho Man. “I was also a huge Razor Ramon, Stone Cold, and DX fan,” said Draper.

“My mom didn’t like that I watched professional wrestling, so she told me if I wanted to watch it, I had to go to wrestling practice,” Draper said. “I went to professional wrestling practice in Colorado Springs and that was what I had to do in order to be able to watch Raw every Monday.”

“I ended up getting good at it and falling in love with amateur wrestling too.” Wrestling then took over Draper’s life from that point on. “This helped me meet Jerry Brisco, and he got me set up with a WWE tryout. The rest is history.”

“I always set my goals high,” said Draper. “My original trainer, Pat Tanaka, always taught me to set my goals high. He also taught me to always be able to move and take the bigger opportunities. I lived in six cities in seven years and this is because of better opportunities, which I learned from my parents.”

Dream comes true?

Dak Draper debuted on NXT back in 2012. “It was really cool,” said Draper. “I learned a lot and wish I could have gone through it maybe being a little bit more mature. But, it’s a time I’m glad I went through because it taught me a lot about the fundamentals of professional wrestling and so many things that a lot of guys don’t get to learn that early on in their careers.”

“It’s pretty cool to see how successful people have been and how your friends are doing as well,” said Draper. When Draper first started at NXT, he recalls being close with Angelo Dawkins and Sawyer Fulton. “It was us three in a tiny, dirty apartment. It’s really cool to see us all doing our own thing and killing it whether in WWE, Impact, or Ring of Honor.”

“When I got signed to NXT, Nick Dinsmore was a big help to me,” said Draper. “He really helped me to grow as a wrestler with the way he coached, there are not enough good things I can say about him. Also, Billy Gunn was a big help to me as well. That’s because we were both big guys who could move better than most big guys.” Draper also joked about how Billy can move better than him, even though he’s like “70 years old.”

So was it a dream come true?  “At the time it was a dream come true,” said Draper. “I was so naive and didn’t realize how much work needed to be done still. The contract only gets you there, but the hard work takes you to that next level.” Draper was unfortunately released from his contract back in 2014. However, Draper’s career was not over there.

A New Beginning- Draper Debuts for Ring Of Honor

After getting released, Draper spent four years approximately wrestling all over the world. In 2019, Draper made his debut for Ring of Honor where he has been wrestling ever since. The “Mile High Magnum” debuted in a massive way, winning the 2019 Top Prospect Tournament.

“It felt really good,” said Draper. “Even when I was in NXT, I loved the guys in Ring of Honor. Everyone there, bell-to-bell, is so good. It felt really good to move in that direction. I knew I would be able to really challenge myself here so I was so excited.”

“I was really excited when I saw the announcement of the Pure Division,” Draper said. “I thought with my background I was sure to be in the tournament. I was an alternate and it was miserable. I sat in my hotel room for six days and it sucked. It left a sour taste in my mouth. But, then I got into the Pure Divison. I got to show how useful my life in amateur wrestling and MMA is.”

Dak Draper came up short at the 19th Anniversary Show of Ring of Honor when he challenged Jonathan Gresham for the Pure Championship. “I’ve wrestled future world champions in MMA, those guys are top-tier athletes. Gresham is a top-tier athlete himself. You can’t describe how good he is, you have to feel it.”

Draper talks about how much he learned about himself in that match too. “I didn’t tap out. I look at how I never gave up in that match. There was never a time where I thought I was going to lose. I have the champions mentality. I don’t know how to lose.”

Dak Draper Looks To Win Gold Sunday, July 11 at Best In The World

This Sunday is Ring of Honor’s first pay-per-view with fans back. “Best In The World” will kick off Ring of Honor’s return to having fans and will feature some of the best wrestlers in the world. Dak Draper will be teaming with Dalton Castle and Eli Isom to take on, Shane Taylor Promotions for the Ring of Honor Six-Man Tag Team Championships.

“I know SOS from Shane Taylor Promotions very well,” said Draper. “I know those guys, and how dangerous they can be. On the flip side, I know their habits as well.” Draper says that a big knock he hears about his team is that he, Castle, and Isom have never teamed together before.

“As the lifelong athlete that I have been,  I have been on all-star teams before. Your first game together is the only game you play,” said Draper.  I’m on a team of exceptional athletes. In this case, we have three exceptional singles wrestlers. We have Dalton, who is a former World Champion, Dak Draper who is the 2019 Top Prospect Tournament winner, and Eli Isom, who allegedly beat me in a match, so he has to be good.”

“I’m excited to team with Dalton for many reasons,” said Draper. “My main reason is to be able to learn from a world champion. He got to be where I want to be. With Eli, over the past two matches that we’ve had, he’s won my respect. I’m looking to learn from Dalton and teach Eli. Who knows, sometimes when you teach people, you can learn something yourself.”

What’s Next for Dak Draper?

“I definitely plan on coming out of “Best In The World” as six-man tag team champions,” said Draper. “I plan on taking that belt to Colorado to show my entire family. We also will probably have to come up with a team name and start defending our newly won Ring of Honor Six-Man Tag Team Championships. I’m excited to see how this team can form around me. I’m the glue and the heartbeat of this team.”

“I view my whole career as a body of work. When people look back, I want them to see Dak Draper as someone who has wrestled all over, in every division. I want to leave a big footprint on this company.”

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