The New York Times has published a feature story on Phillip Thies, who formerly competed for WWE as Damien Demento.
At the Tachi Gallery in TriBeCa, a show of his paintings and sculptures opened on Thursday. The former WWE Superstar hopes his show will be "an open slap to the art community," but that he also hopes art world insiders would find his work "provocative and sincere."
After his semi-professional football career tanked, he entered the professional wrestling industry in 1987 as Jonn Reinhart before settling on the eccentric Damien Demento persona with WWE. Billed as hailing from "the outer reaches of your mind," Thies faced a number of famous wrestlers including Bob Backlund, Tatanka, Mr. Perfect, Virgil and most notably The Undertaker in the main event of the debut episode of Raw. He left the organization in 1993 and ultimately wrestling altogether following a dispute about drug testing.
Thies says he would consider a full-fledged wrestling comeback if a "decent offer" came along. He still trains at the same wrestling school in Brooklyn he started at years ago and has participated in several matches in recent years.
"It's like an old girlfriend — you only remember the good stuff," Thies says.