Hospital worker by day, pro wrestler by night: Meet the St. Luke's manager who moonlights in the ring
- A manager of inventory control for St. Luke's University Health Network has an interesting moonlight gig — as a professional wrestler
- His stage name is "Big Dan Champion"
- He's on the card Saturday night for a wrestling show at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks
BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Dan English knew his cover had been blown when a colleague in his hospital shouted "Big Dan!" from down the hall.
Previously, he had only heard that name in the wrestling ring — not in his day job as a manager of inventory control for St. Luke's University Health Network.
"As a kid, I loved it. From the age like five to, you know, as a teenager. So when I was in high school, a few of my friends started wrestling in the backyard; we built a ring in the backyard and would do little fake shows on weekends. And from there, me and a handful of friends went [to] a wrestling camp and we got trained and started doing real shows where we can make a little bit of money."Dan "Big Dan Champion" English, pro wrestler and St. Luke's hospital employee
His wrestling name is "Big Dan Champion."
He's 39 and works throughout four hospitals in the daytime, and does performance-heavy, WWE-style pro wrestling on many nights and weekends.
He puts on quite a show and openly admits he talks a bit of trash in the ring — and doesn't shy away from a heaving body slam.
NEW MV! (did it myself). 6’5 275lbs with lil’ pep in his step. Please RT, QT and tag places you’d like to see BIG DAN!! pic.twitter.com/FmFHr94GZb— Big Dan Champion (@DanChamp4) September 3, 2022
He stands at a towering 6-foot-5, and weighs around 270 pounds — details proudly displayed in his Twitter bio, right next to the words "King of Lehigh Valley" and "biggest man you've ever seen."
English, who played soccer at Phillipsburg High School, said he got into wrestling as a fun thing to do when he was a kid.
"As a kid, I loved it," he said. "From the age like five to, you know, as a teenager. So when I was in high school, a few of my friends started wrestling in the back yard; we built a ring in the backyard and would do little fake shows on weekends.
"And from there, me and a handful of friends went [to] a wrestling camp and we got trained and started doing real shows where we can make a little bit of money."
He wrestles locally, with a company called Lehigh Valley Athletics Council.
"We run shows all over the Lehigh Valley, we run circles in Bethlehem," English said. "We did a show at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown. "
Jekyll and Hyde
At work, it's almost jarring how buttoned-up and professional he is compared to his pro wrestling persona.
At St. Luke's he's clean-cut, appears with a tucked-in shirt, and even offers a gentle handshake.
His desk area is tidy, and there isn't even a wrestling figurine or any sort of decoration besides a motivational "DETERMINATION" poster, which he said was probably about 30 years old and hung long before his time at the hospital.
His role is to make sure inventory is ordered, topped up and distributed to people who need it. He works between four St. Luke's hospitals: Easton, Warren, Monroe County and Anderson. He's a manager who leads a team of people — who he says he treats a lot more nicely than his opponents in the wrestling ring.
Surprisingly, he said the wrestling and health care jobs go hand-in-hand.
"One thing is with wrestling, I travel all over the place, and I have to work with people that I never met before," English said. "We might have totally different backgrounds. But we have to make it work, we have to get in the ring and put on the show. Same thing with [at the hospitals], there's a lot of employees here that I've never met have a different background, and it doesn't really matter. You just have to get the job done. You know, just got to find a way to make everything work."
Much of the conditioning for his wrestling career actually happens through his workplace, at a fitness class he attends through St. Luke's three times a week.
Big Dan Champion has a show coming up Saturday night — SteelStacks Smackdown II at Musikfest Cafe in the ArtsQuest Center.
"It's gonna be a stacked card," English said. "Tickets are still available. We're doing a donation drive for New Bethany. You bring in a non-perishable food item, and you can win a bunch of cool prizes."
Tickets are available at the SteelStacks website.