Danie Dharma is 33years old. He is primarily a competitive bodybuilder. He initially took up bodybuilding as he used to be a short and skinny kid, at that time he was around 5ft 2, just slightly over 100lbs and was bullied, beaten and rejected throughout his high school days.
He took up bodybuilding to turn his life around. Pro-wrestling kind of took him to a direction as most of the wrestlers back then looked like amateur bodybuilders themselves. After watching Triple H he felt that if he looked like him, that would pretty much solve all his problems. It has been 18 years since he started bodybuilding at 15 years old.
Today he is a multi-time national champion in bodybuilding, former Mr Singapore, and also a gold medalist at an Asian and a World-Regional championship. Throughout these years he never thought he would become a wrestler, but wrestling always drew him to it. He would buy all the WWE PPV DVDs and particularly re-watch the matches with the big, muscled men like Batista and Bobby Lashley. Their physiques and personas just inspired him very much.
After finishing 10-years in the Singapore Navy in 2016 he had lots of free time. I wanted to take up a second sport and chose pro-wrestling over boxing as it had intrigued him all those years. At this point in time, he was 5ft 8, around 210lbs. He then attended wrestling training regularly and before he knew it he made my first appearance in a wrestling ring about 4 months later.
Q. Currently which promotion are you wrestling for?
– I currently wrestle for Singapore Pro Wrestling (SPW).
Q. One of my questions was going to ask if you watched wrestling as a kid and what was your first wrestling memory?
– I first watched wrestling when I was probably 6 years old. The earliest memories I can recall would be the ladder match between Razor Ramon and Shawn Micheals, The Undertaker, Yokozuna, Lex Lugar and the other guys of that era.
Q. Who trained you?
– The one who trained me was the co-founder of SPW and also Singapore’s first-ever pro-wrestler, The Statement Andruew Tang. The Statement also became my in-ring mentor when I made my debut, accompanying me to the ring for my first few matches, and also working as my tag team partner. We did a couple of tag-team matches which frankly were the more memorable matches I have ever had.
Q. On a scale of 1 to 10 how hard the wrestling mat is, and then how hard are the ropes when you are running off them?
– If we use the floor as the benchmark for level 10, I would say the mat (I’m referring to the ring) would be something like 5 to 6. Ropes would be perhaps a 7. Most wrestling audiences might think the mat is as soft as a bed, but it is far from that. The wrestlers make it look easy, but it does take quite some conditioning to take repeated bumps.
A bad landing can snap your ankle or your neck, as you probably would have seen from wrestling botch videos out there. If I look way back, after my first bumps training my back actually hurt for 3 weeks as I didn’t land correctly.
The ropes have to be hard. Huge guys bounce off them, high fliers springboard off them and some daredevils even walk on them before jumping off. I would give them a rating of 7-8. Again, the ropes are a lot more dangerous than they look, we can get burns or cuts from them, and if you are jumping out of the ring and a foot got caught on the rope, you may get seriously injured as you would likely fall headfirst to the floor below.
A rope snapping while a wrestler bounces off them from a simple Irish whip could have the same aftermath as well.
Q. How is it wrestling for a smaller crowd than an average wrestling event?
– With a smaller crowd, there would be a lot more crowd interaction. The match would have to be more intense, you would have to look at the audience and show your emotions to the crowd more, and you will have to hit your opponents harder, especially when on the outside. You will find it somewhat easier to react to the crowd, or even do interactive stuff with them during a match.
Q. Have you ever travelled to other countries to wrestle?
– Sadly, no. I was given the opportunity on two occasions to travel to India to be part of Wrestle Square’s show (Dangal Ke Soorma), but unfortunately, on both occasions, my full-time job at the time didn’t allow it.
Q. Where’s the weirdest place or what’s the strangest events you have wrestled at?
– The weirdest for me would be at a corporate show just a month ago. The ring was set up in the middle of a CANTEEN! It was one of the better crowds though. It was an Indian worker crowd and being Indian myself, I became a babyface by default. The promoter even asked to do some mic work after my match in Tamil (Spoken language), and I got a huge pop!
Q. Do you want to wrestle on a big show like Wrestlemania? Is that something you can imagine or is that not where you want to go with your career aspirations?
– If I do make it to Wrestlemania, it would indeed be a dream come true. I have always dreamed of representing my country in big sporting events and raising the Singapore flag in victory at the end!
Q. What’re your favourite matches of all times, if you could pick one or two?
– My favourite match of all time would be Bobby Lashley vs. John Cena from WWE The Great American Bash 2007.
My favourite match of my own would be from SPW Into the Mist, which just passed 2 weeks ago. Former WWE superstar The Japanese Buzzsaw, Tajiri came to Singapore and was in the main event match with none other than The Statement! I was in a triple threat match between Da Butcherman, The Black Arrow and myself. I went in as the Singapore Championship belt holder but lost it after Butcherman pinned The Black Arrow.
Despite the outcome, this was my most favourite match that I have ever performed. The video will be out in probably a month or two. Do subscribe to the Destroyer Dharma Official Playlist on Youtube, or my Facebook page so you will be the first to be notified when the video is out!
Q. What your finisher?
– I primarily use the chokeslam, but I prefer using the Destroyer Death Drop (basically a body press slam variation). Already used it in two matches so far, hoping to build it up.
Q. To wrap things up is there anything that you would want to say to your fans, or anyone thinking about becoming a wrestler?
– To the fans, I would really like to thank you for supporting the sport. As a wrestling fan myself, I can totally understand why people love watching it, and I hope to deliver more good matches for you guys.
As for those who want to take it up, it will be one hell of a ride. A lot of it may look easy, but only because the wrestlers have practised it so much. Taking bumps, taking punches and being thrown out through the ropes onto the floor become like second nature to us. Take your time and learn the basics, don’t rush it. Also, I hope wrestling trainees will take their appearances and fitness levels more seriously.
Back in the day, wrestling intrigued me because every wrestler came out looking like a superstar. They just stole the spotlight just by their appearances even before displaying their personas! These days, many wrestlers look like everyday people, and I feel this has killed part of the appeal of wrestling. Wish you guys all the best!