By: B.P. Burke
Through most of 2022, Dio Bando was a rookie on the rise, running neck-and-neck with his frequent rival, Nolan Pierce, as the leaders of a new generation of PPW Stars.
Capping off his first year by defeating Pierce and winning the PPW Television Title sent “The Neckbreak Kid” to new heights, but winning one’s first major title is a double-edged sword. All the cliches about going from the hunter to the hunted are true, and not everyone is equipped to handle that pressure.
But not everyone is Dio Bando.
Any fear of a “sophomore jinx” was eradicated at PPW Lives, when Bando faced off with one of the most talented wrestlers in the world, VSK, in his first title defense and left victorious. It’s easy to get caught up in shortcuts and underhanded tactics, and while Bando is no stranger to employing both, his methods have led him to have one of the most remarkable win-loss records in all of PPW.
The path of a champion is never an easy one, and Bando’s toughest test to date is coming on November 11th at Remembrance, when he faces one of, if not the greatest PPW champion in our 10+ year history, Breaux Keller. When great title reigns are discussed, Keller’s run with the Heavyweight Title in 2021 and 2022 is one of the first that comes to mind, with Keller defeating the likes of Action Andretti, Richard Holliday, VSK, Facade, and many others over the course of his 336-day reign at the top of PPW - a span of time that also saw Keller compete in AEW and WWE.
Keller’s resume would impress most wrestlers, but, again, Dio Bando isn’t most wrestlers.
While most young wrestlers can take time to adjust to a rise in the level of competition as they climb up the ranks, Bando has thrived in the spotlight. “I am the best television champion of all time,” Bando said in an interview after his victory over VSK. “I am the best in PPW, and I am going to continue this reign of terror. The Dio Bando era has just begun”
Very large words from someone whose reign as champion consists of one (admittedly impressive) successful defense, but that kind of confidence is at the core of everything that Bando does. You don’t have to talk to him long to understand that he means and believes every last word he says.
And if he can defeat Breaux Keller, he’ll be well on his way to proving himself right.