Not many people in WWE have had worse luck than NXT UK's Eddie Dennis. Following a serious pectoral injury in 2018, the Welshman would be sidelined for six months in 2019 after a second pectoral tear on the opposite side.
All that seems to mean, though, is that Dennis is eager to make up for lost time - and what better way to kickstart 2020 than with a colossal clash at NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool II against one of the "founding fathers" of the brand - Trent Seven?
I had the opportunity recently to catch up with Eddie Dennis to discuss his injury, "Oh, my God" moments in WWE, and which skills he was able to transfer from his previous role of teaching over to professional wrestling.
Hi, Eddie, thanks for chatting with me. So, there's only one place I can start - if I begin at a low point, we can only go up from there! You've just recently returned from a pretty serious injury. Can you tell us a little bit about the recovery process and just what it was like sitting on the sidelines for so long?
Yeah. So, I tore my left pectoral in March of this year. I actually tore my right pectoral in January 2018, so I was really aware this time. So, the second it snapped, it snapped at an independent show and the second it snapped, I kind of knew that it was gone because the feeling was exactly the same as before.
So, I immediately contacted the same surgeon who did my first surgery, to start the ball rolling.
The surgery was kind of different from the first time because, this time, it tore between the muscle and tendon, instead of the tendon and the bone - which is a slightly trickier repair to do, a little bit of a more long-winded recovery process, or at least it felt that way.
I'm a pretty positive person so, on the surface, I think people were just seeing me crack on with my physiotherapy - but the reality of it, what's going on in your head, is a little bit different. Especially because I spent so much time sat on the sidelines of 2018 as well, to realize I'd spend over half of 2019 on the sidelines was a pretty sobering process.
I remember just being sat... My girlfriend drove me back from the hospital and I was like, "I'm just going to go to the park by myself," and I just went and sat on a bench at the park and I've got a photograph on my phone, I don't know why, but I took a photograph just to remember that moment. I was sort of like, "Here we go again," you know, "Another six months of not being able to do what I love to do," and really not being sure, when I did come back, what kind of shape or state of repair I'd be in because I have bilateral pectoral tears now and both have been surgically put back together.
Yeah, it goes through peaks and troughs, right? So, you have really bad moments. Missing out on flying out to WrestleMania for Axxess weekend is a low moment, missing out on TakeOver in Cardiff is a really, REALLY low moment.
But there are high moments in there as well. As much as missing out on TakeOver: Cardiff was a low moment, to watch a brand which I've been a part of, and still felt like I was a part of, putting on a live special in my country for the first time ever, the first live special in Wales, live on the WWE Network, in front of millions of people, the largest event that you can imagine being put on in South Wales, was a high moment at the same time as it being a low moment - because I desperately wanted to be out there, obviously, but to be sat watching my peers, friends, and colleagues who I'd known my entire life get their opportunity was pretty special, too.
NEXT: Eddie Dennis discusses his "Oh, my God" moments in WWE