Dante's Inferno: Singapore's First WWE Superstar Makes A Fiery Debut
John Cena, The Rock and The Undertaker might be household names to wrestling fans worldwide, but the next big WWE Superstar could very well be in our midst - and from this island.
Meet Sean Tan. He is 25 and a true blue Singaporean. He also just happens to be the first Southeast Asian in history to sign with the biggest sports entertainment company in the world, WWE. Talk about being a trailblazer.
On Wednesday (22 Sep), the wrestler made his televised debut for WWE's developmental brand, NXT 2.0, competing under the moniker Dante Chen.
What a surreal moment it was to witness one of our own appear in an arena accompanied by the glitz and pageantry of a WWE entrance, complete with an announcer bellowing, "From Singaporeeeee...".
Oh and for those keeping score, Dante capped off his eye-catching debut with a dominant squash victory that lasted slightly over a minute.
Character Bio: Like many wrestlers, Dante was a fan of the product, first and foremost.
In an interview with local wrestling podcast Kick To The Gut, he opened up about his childhood playing WWE video games with his older brother while sneakily watching wrestling on television, even though it was banned by his parents.
"I actually found out later that my mother was a wrestling fan back in the 80s as well," he revealed. It wasn't until he met fellow local wrestler "The Statement" Andreuw Tang, who co-founded homegrown promotion Singapore Pro Wrestling in 2012 and became his mentor, that he began to take training seriously.
Dante's passion, dedication and drive eventually won him not only fans from all over the region, but also multiple championships.
Achievement Unlocked: Everything changed for Dante in 2019 when he participated in a WWE tryout that was held in Shanghai for Asian hopefuls. His impressive in-ring abilities and imposing physique (1.84m) separated him from the pack and led to his life-changing contract.
"To the believers, thank you and don't stop supporting the dreamers. To the doubters, thank you and it's never too late to start," Dante wrote in a heartfelt Instagram post upon the official announcement of his signing.
Earlier, he relocated to the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida to begin his training at the company's state-of-art facility for prospective recruits - rubbing shoulders with WWE legends and coaches such as his hero Shawn Michaels - and to pursue a lifelong dream.
Level Up: Now that Dante has made his official televised debut, the sky's the limit for this young stallion. From Toa Payoh to the US, it's certainly been a crazy journey thus far. But it's only just the beginning.
Dante now has his sights set on winning gold in the near future. "Go for the wins, they lead to championships. 1-0," he posted on social media right after his victory.
It might not be Dante's peak just yet, but all of us Singaporeans will be there with him for the climb, every step of the way.