Professional wrestler makes tour stop in Sherman - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Professional wrestler makes tour stop in Sherman

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SHERMAN -- A professional wrestler is squaring off with an opponent at a ring in Sherman on Friday.

It's an event attracting a lot of attention from fans in the area.

All week, crews have been preparing the ring for what's expected to be an event bursting at the seams.

Friday night, professional wrestler "Short Sleeve Sampson" will headline a stop on his 40-city farewell tour at the Sherman Elks Lodge.

"This building will hold 250 so I'm expecting at least up to that max," Lodge chairman Ron Engelke said.

After 15 years in the business, Sampson -- whose real name is Dan Dilucchio -- recently announced he's retiring.

"But before doing that, I wanted to show my appreciation and my respect for all the fans and promoters that have supported me throughout the years," Sampson said.

Sampson has made numerous appearances on the pro-wrestling circuit, including many on WWE.

Despite his height -- four feet two inches -- he portrays an extra-large personality in the ring where he's paid to play up his image.

"I've definitely had critics that have come up," Sampson said. "We live in a society today where everyone tries to be politically correct. This is wrestling, first of all. This is not the place to have a political platform. I've developed a character, put out a persona, ultimately, to entertain fans," he continued. "On the outside of this business, this is how I support my family and if I'm not working I cannot support my family."

Brianna Hines is a member of the Texoma affiliate of the National Wrestling Alliance. She often performs during the monthly fight night held at the Lodge. "When we crawl in that ring, we're putting our life in eachother's hands because if one things goes wrong, you can be paralyzed."

At the age of 40, Sampson says he didn't take the decision to retire lightly.

But, his career isn't down for the count. He plans to pursue acting on the silver and small screens.

But first, he says he had to thank fans on his farewell tour.

"That's what this whole tour is about. It's giving back to them. It's saying thank you so much for the last 15 years of allowing me to live my dream and I just want them to be able to know they're really appreciated and loved," Sampson said.

Tickets to Friday's event are $15.

Doors open at 7pm.