EN TER TAIN M EN T
Photo by: Richard Strickland
Entering the Ring
San Diego’s only professional wrestling company hosts live events in Escondido BY WHITNEY BUTLER | PHOTOS BY CASEY WRIGHTSMAN
AS AN OUTSIDER to the world of professional wrestling, I am stuck
“It’s not something you can easily describe,” said Dino, recalling his
on the sidelines, a spectator in the stands. Are these matches fully cho-
birthday. “It was such a real experience.”
around a nucleus. He is the owner and promoter of San Diego’s only
home on TV. In 1998, Dino found what he was looking for: an adver-
reographed? Is that real blood?
Jeff Dino, on the other hand, is circling the ring like an electron
professional wrestling company, which he founded in 2007. Dino
moved to Carlsbad from Long Island when he was 7 years old. His mother and father opened an Italian food restaurant inside a few old train cars at Solana Station, which he explains are no longer there. In
1993, on Dino’s 11th birthday, his father took him to see his first WWF
live event at the San Diego Sports Arena. The rest, as they say, is history.
Some passions are unique to a childhood experience. If you’re lucky
enough to have one, like Dino, then you can guess how his story unfolds. In a single moment, his journey revealed.
But those live WWF experiences were few and far between, as well
as expensive. For several years, Dino was stuck watching wrestling at tisement in the Union Tribune featuring a local wrestling event and training school located in Vista.
“It gave me something I could look forward to,” said Dino. “…They
knew me there. It was called Palace of Pain.”
Dino was able to find part-time work at Palace of Pain, assisting with
the website, schedules and marketing material.
“We scheduled local talent from all around San Diego,” said Dino, “as
well as outsiders from Los Angeles, even Yuma, Arizona.”
Palace of Pain closed down in 2001, but not before Dino was able to
incubate his growing passion, as well as build a small community of
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Fall 2015 | 19
The Escondido Magazine is publish quarterly by the Escondido Chamber of Commerce for the City of Escondido, Ca.