BANG! PRO WRESTLING
2021 TERMINUS COMPLEX
This was it.
The Godslayer of Bang! Pro Wrestling was down in the middle of the ring.
“The Flyin’ Hawaiian” Bryan Dawkins was ascending the turnbuckle, on his way to the top rope to set up the Hawaiian Hangover.
A low buzz was emanating from the sold out crowd, there to watch the first matchups of the 2021 Terminus Complex, but was growing into roar. The thousands in attendance could feel the tide turning in favor of the underdog and were responding in tow.
Dawkins knew he’d have one shot to nail this and silence the Godslayer. He had wrestled one hell of a match, staying out of his opponent’s violent grasp and using his speed and elusiveness to his advantage. Dawkins’ quickness had allowed him to stay one step ahead of his opponent for the majority of the match, but he finally had Hanazawa in the middle of the ring and was ready to end this.
However, as he hopped to the top rope, a collective groan told Dawkins that the situation had changed. Akira Hanazawa was no rookie. No, the Godslayer had the wherewithal to roll out of the ring to safety.
Thinking quickly, Dawkins opted to stay true to his high risk tendencies, launching his body toward his Hanazawa with a high, arcing moonsault! The move was on target!
…until the True Ace of Bang! sidestepped the move, sending Dawkins to no man’s land.
Luckily, Dawkins had the athleticism to continue his rotation to allow for a rolling landing. Bryan had practiced this bailout on numerous occasions without issue.
Unfortunately, today was not one of those occasions.
As soon as his feet hit the ground, the Flyin’ Hawaiian knew something was off. His left knee felt…loose? And putting weight on the leg was a struggle at best. However, Dawkins’ biggest issue was that there was a 285 pound freight train making a bee line directly for him.
The knee-jerk (pardon the pun) reaction was to use his athleticism to dodge the refrigerator of a man who was hurtling toward him.
The hobbled knee had other ideas.
As soon as the instinctive move was made, said knee buckled and Dawkins crumpled to the ground. Fortunately, the freight train named Hanazawa ended up colliding face-first into the ringpost.
The one-legged Hawaiian clawed his way back into the ring, hoping, praying that the referee would speed up his ten-count and bring this match to a merciful end. As he pulled himself from the canvas and leaned against the turnbuckle for support, a crimson mask rose from ringside, spitting blood and malice in his direction. That mask belonged to one Akira Hanazawa and spelled disaster for his hobbled opponent.
As the Godslayer entered the ring, the crowd peaked into a frenzy – they could smell the end.
The mountain of a man charged the corner, where he was met by…nothing?
Dawkins managed to springboard from the broad back of Akira and landed gingerly in the middle of the ring. Unphased by the counter, Hanazawa plunged like a submarine toward Dawkins’ bad leg.
The arena heard a loud pop followed by a primal scream.
The bad leg was made even worse after absorbing a shoulder tackle from the 285 pound bully of Bang! The ligaments, which had already been pushed past their limits, were pushed even more. The joint collapsed like it was made from cardboard tubes. The human body was not made to withstand such brutal force.
The contest was over.
The match was not.
Hanazawa continued the assault to the one-legged Dawkins for a short time, ragdolling his handicapped foe around the ring before putting him quickly out of his misery with a Ragnarok Driver for the quick pin.
As the referee counted the pin, Dawkins drifted in and out of consciousness. The last thing he would hear that night would be the theme of the future Terminus Complex winner fading into the roar of the thousands in attendance.
Upon his exit from PRIME in 2011, Bryan Dawkins fell out of love with the wrestling business. That young Hawaiian caught a big break, made it to the big leagues in 2008 and fell victim to complacency. While he certainly wouldn’t admit it back then, the stage was too big for him and he didn’t take his role seriously. Immaturity was the root of the issue when it came to Bryan Dawkins’ first PRIME run. Did he achieve “success”? Depends on what you consider success. Was he beloved by the fans? Sure. Did he rub elbows with the big players of that day? Sure. But real success eluded him. More than that, happiness eluded him.
In 2012, an upstart wrestling promotion based out ot Japan was looking for international talent to join its ranks. That promotion was Bang! Pro Wrestling, founded by Inoue and Ryuunosuke Doi. Bang! was like a buffet for professional wrestling fans – it had something for everyone. You could see a wrestling match involving a wrestling bicycle or refrigerator in one match followed by another with two of the top talents in the wrestling world.
Dawkins fell in love with wrestling again. For the better part of the next nine years, Bryan Dawkins wrestled for Bang! throughout Japan. He clashed with the best of the best that Bang! had to offer including Curtis Alexander Brown, “Hawkeye” Taka Sakaragi, Ryota Saijo and most notably, “The Ace of Spades” Izou Yoshida. Dawkins and Yoshida had a series of classic matches, some of which are regarded as the best that Bang! has ever seen.
2021 was Dawkins’ most successful year as a professional wrestler. It was also his most consistent. For the first time in his career, he wrestled weekly throughout 2021 leading into the Terminus Complex. His merchandise was selling – he was a fan favorite due to his high flying, risk taking, win-at-all-costs style and because of that, people were willing to wear his logo across their chest (or eyes, in the case of his one-of-a-kind white sunglasses with one orange and one aqua lens).
Other promoters wanted him to work for them. He wasn’t a liability and was never a locker room problem. He came in, took care of business and took care of the organization on the way out the door. He was easy to work with and caused no drama. A real character guy.
This wasn’t the same Bryan Dawkins who joined PRIME in 2008. He had grown into a locker room leader and was destined for Bang! stardom.
And then the 2021 Terminus Complex happened.
TRI-FORCE JIU JITSU ACADEMY
“This next promotion applies to a student who has been practicing with Tri-Force since 2012. Aside from his recent absence due to serious injury, he has been a staple of this academy and is overwhelmingly deserving of this honor. Please congratulate Bryan Dawkins on his promotion to brown belt!”
The gym erupted with cheers as Dawkins stepped up to Coach Bando to accept his promotion. This had been a long time coming – eleven years of consistent training, save for the year that he spent recovering from the gruesome injury suffered at the hands of Hanazawa.
Dawkins was beaming. This was a real achievement that was earned by the long hours, early mornings and late nights at the gym, honing his craft and remaining humble.
After the celebration had died down, he sat in the corner of the gym alongside Devin, another ex-pat living in Osaka. Dawkins, still wearing his gi and new belt, sat stoically watching the rest of the party.
“Hell of an accomplishment, especially considering what you’ve gone through the past few years, huh?”
“Sure is, bruh. Sure is.”
Dawkins lingered on that thought for a moment.
“How many surgeries was it?”
“Three. One for the broken fibula and tibia. One to reset the bones again after they weren’t healin’ properly. Then one to repair the torn ACL, MCL and PCL.”
His hand traced that left knee. Those scars would be a constant reminder of that night in the TC-X.
“Damn man…that’s rough.”
“Can’t dwell on the past though, ya know? I think this happened for a reason. I couldn’t keep beating myself up like that, bruh. Years and years of that style were takin’ a toll. Couldn’t do that forever.”
He was right. Truthfully, it was a minor miracle that this was the first real injury he had suffered during his time in the ring. Bumps and bruises happen, freak accidents will occur, but when you wrestle the style that Bryan Dawkins had become accustomed to, you’re wrestling on borrowed time. Dawkins had never met a ladder he didn’t climb, a balcony too high or a gap too large to clear to execute a spectacular move. And yet the only time this came around to bite him was against the Godslayer.
“Gave me time to reassess, ya know? I’ve been training jiu jitsu for nearly a decade now, bruh. I know there’s an overlap there. I know there’s a way to apply the knowledge I’ve gained and become a dangerous bruh in the ring.”
“Can’t say you’re wrong there, my man. Coach Bando is one of the best in the country to learn from and you’ve been working with him for a hell of a lot longer than I have. I’m sure he’s taught you a thing or two that only a few people in the world have perfected.”
“Yeah bruh, Bando is a bad, bad man.” Dawkins smiles in admiration of his coach and friend. Devin changes topics.
“So when are you going back to Bang!?”
Ah damn, not that topic.
“Well, bruh…” Dawkins trails off. He hadn’t let anyone know about his decision to return to the States. Only Inoue and Ryuunosuke Doi knew he wasn’t returning to Bang!, at least not on a full time basis.
Dawkins had heard through the grapevine throughout his recovery that his old friend Lindsay Troy was resurrecting PRIME. Obviously the timing wasn’t ideal as Dawkins was in the middle of a lengthy and complicate rehabilitation process. That didn’t stop Dawkins from keeping tabs on his old stomping grounds. As his leg strengthened and he got closer and closer to 100%, the decision became obvious. He had to go home. Not to Hawaii, but to PRIME.
Confusion was painted across Devin’s face.
“Ya bruh, I made the decision to return to PRIME. I’ve got some unfinished business to take care of and given what I’ve been through in the past couple years, I’m thinkin’ it’s time. I’m a different wrestler than I was twelve years ago and I need to see how I stack up to the best in the world.”
Devin sat quietly, staring off into the gym, surely disappointed by the sudden news.
“I can’t do what I used to, bruh. I can’t zip around the ring. I can’t take those huge risks, jumpin’ off ladders and balconies. Can’t fly.”
The silence is broken.
“Know what you can do? Break arms. Or legs. Or choke a dude out. Couldn’t do that before, could ya?”
Dawkins chuckles. He’s not sure he had ever attempted a true submission inside a wrestling ring before. So much of what he did before was based on flying through the air, sacrificing his body and well being in exchange for damage to his opponent.
“Nah bruh, no way. Never even tried. Guess we’re gonna find out soon. I leave in January.”
Bryan was right – he is a far cry from the wrestler he was back in 2011.
2024’s Bryan Dawkins IS different.
He has filled out his six foot tall frame nicely, now weighing a solid 230 pounds. Years of jiu jitsu grappling has given him strength that he hadn’t even dreamt of before. That training has also given him an arsenal of submissions that would make most professional wrestlers jealous.
He looks different – his years in Japan have clearly had influence over him. Japanese Irezumi tattoo sleeves cover his arms. Those tattoos have meaning to him – perseverance, growth, learning to love the journey.
And what a journey it has been.
This is certainly not the Bryan Dawkins that PRIME is used to, but they’d better get ready.
The new Bruh is back.