I'm overstepping my boundaries already by using your real name, but I'm doing it because that's the guy that I believe that I got to know over the better part of a year.
As our third annual Superkick the Holidays approaches, we all felt that it was more than necessary to thank one of our most instrumental allies as he goes on to work for World Wrestling Entertainment.
I'll never forget first learning of you, learning about you, and learning with you. I would love to walk through this wonderful journey of kindness and friendship here.
It was just before we became a tax exempt organization - a huge step for us that no one on our end would have expected. We ran a campaign called #SuperkickHate, an effort to raise funds through clothing sales to benefit all of those affected by the Pulse Nightclub massacre in 2016. If you purchased a shirt (simply with the words "Superkick Hate"), the entire cut that we received from that sale went directly into the fund. We were doing something that simply wasn't happening then; the campaign was an effort to state that the pro wrestling community stood with the LGBTQ community. Chris joined us as one of our greatest allies and advocates in a message against hatred.
You helped us raise money on top of your own generous contribution, and as soon as you received your shirt, you wore it proudly to TV back when you worked for Sinclair. It meant the world to us as an organization, and your endorsement (that we called "the pledge", in retrospect a ridiculous thing to call an endorsement) of us helped us grow as an organization. We added your merchandise to the rotation of inventory, making you the first wrestler not named Matt or Nick Jackson to be so embraced by us. We wanted to maintain our identity as the charity for the Bucks, but wanted to address that there were more wrestlers to help make money, and more people to clothe.
The rest was a wrap. I learned of Chris Dijak, a man who always cared for the well-being of fans, fellow workers, the underprivileged, and animals. In fact, before Cody became an independent star, it was Chris who was the most prominent advocate of animal well-being in the business. Some would argue that he still is. We were so proud, as a Christmas gift from us, to drop a donation to his favorite animal charity in his name.
Learning about Dijak, Donovan that is, was just as joyous as learning of the man behind the character. He was a top prospect in Ring of Honor; an imposing figure with dashing good looks and a move set meant for men 100 pounds and 4 inches less than his. I got the privilege to see him perform twice live at ROH in New York and watching him live was an experience. Seeing that dude perform a corkscrew moonsault is a sight to see.
I was disappointed when he and Sinclair parted ways because I thought he well deserved to be under the lights of a mainstream promotion with good television exposure. It didn't stop me from watching his work, however. Dijak ended up being one of the best independent workers on the circuit, killing it every night against a variety of opponents. He established an organic, unique rivalry with the remarkable Keith Lee in what may be the most athletic and best overall big man feud in the business in the last several years, ending appropriately (for the time being) in Dijak's only appearance at PWG's Battle of Los Angeles tournament.
Probably most important, the man we at The Superkick Foundation have learned the most from taught us to never lose focus of the bigger picture in helping people. Through his support of animal rights, he has inspired us to become more than a simple charity, but advocates for the voiceless and defenseless. He's reminded us through his actions to keep giving, stay grateful and to be humble. Chris was instrumental in bringing upon a new, charity movement to the business. A year ago, charitable deeds among wrestlers were not remotely as frequent. Today, the business we know and love have united in the name of loving causes, helping people who need it the most.
As Dijak heads to Orlando to the Performance Center, WWE fans will get feast their eyes on a super athlete and a superstar, but also an incredibly compassionate, warm, and good human being.
Chris, thank you for all you've done to help our organization and for all you've done for people in need, people in distress, and animals. I've enjoyed getting to know you and I know you won't forget us. I'm looking forward to seeing you do big things, winning big titles, and doing big flips. I'm more than confident that you'll continue to give to people - perhaps even more over, now.
We're all happy for you. I only regret that we didn't get you some business cards to give out to the bosses. Ha!
Thank you for all that you've done for us, and everyone else.
Image credit: WWE.com