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Pro wrestling duo headed for SLO event has gear stolen during Fresno stop

Brett Hyde AKA Damian Drake, left, and Thomas Dantonio AKA Spyder Warrior, were set to wrestle in San Luis Obispo on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. Then their ring gear was stolen.
Brett Hyde AKA Damian Drake, left, and Thomas Dantonio AKA Spyder Warrior, were set to wrestle in San Luis Obispo on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. Then their ring gear was stolen.

A pair of Las Vegas-based professional wrestlers are hoping to tag in some support from fans after their ring gear was stolen, forcing them to cancel a planned appearance Sunday in San Luis Obispo.

Thomas Dantonio and Brett Hyde — better known to their fans as Spyder Warrior and Damian Drake, also called the Midnight Marvels — stopped for a bite to eat at a Fresno restaurant before a wrestling show Saturday when they learned from bystanders that a man broke into Dantonio’s vehicle.

Dantonio said he and his friend ran outside and checked the car.

“All the stuff was gone,” he said.

That included at least $1,500 in custom-embroidered wrestling gear and attire — the duo’s distinctive superhero-themed outfits so recognizable to their fans.

This was no act of scripted villainy perpetrated by wrestling villians, otherwise known as heels. Dantonio and Hyde — who normally play the heroes, or babyfaces — filed a police report and later learned their car was likely one of a series of vehicles hit by a suspected burglar.

The promoter of the Fresno show offered to provide the two men with spare ring gear, but Dantonio said they instead decided “to go home and figure everything out.”

That meant losing out on a booking in SLO the next day.

“We wanted them here, and we missed them,” Cen-Cal Pro Wrestling board member Dennis Balsamo said. “We’ve used them for a couple of shows; they’re always very entertaining.”

Having returned home and discovered that nothing irreplaceable was taken, Dantonio said, “We’re better now emotionally.”

The two were reassured by the support of fans who, in three days, raised more than $740 of the $1,500 GoFundMe goal to replace the gear — a fundraising smackdown.

“It feels amazing,” Dantonio said. “I didn’t expect the turnout to be that quick.”

The GoFundMe runs through Friday, and donors will be rewarded with custom Midnight Marvels buttons, autographed pictures and T-shirts, depending on the size of the donation.

With any money raised in excess of $1,500, the two will hold a drawing for a special dinner for one donor at Dantonio’s father’s Las Vegas restaurant, or some other gesture of gratitude.

Among those listed as a donor on the GoFundMe was former WWE wrestler Sinn Bodhi, who performed at the same Cen-Cal Pro Wrestling event in SLO at which the Midnight Marvels were scheduled. Cen-Cal Pro Wrestling also made a donation and offered two complementary ringside tickets to their next event to any fan who donates $50 or more.

Cen-Cal Professional Wrestling brings competitors from all over to vie for the championship title at The Graduate in San Luis Obispo, Sunday, February 12, 2017.

“We appreciate our talent; we take care of our talent,” Balsamo said.

Dantonio said the Midnight Marvels will likely return to SLO at Cen-Cal Pro Wrestling’s planned Oct. 21 show.

“We’re trying to make San Luis Obispo and Cen-Cal Pro Wrestling much more of a priority,” he said.

Andrew Sheeler: 805-781-7929, @andrewsheeler

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