Britt Baker made it through her last wrestling match by the skin of her teeth.
The former Pittsburgher, who is the only fully licensed and practicing dentist in the professional wrestling industry, is coming back to town to reclaim her crown.
On Wednesday, April 20, All Elite Wrestling will take over the Petersen Events Center in Oakland and broadcast the action live on TBS. Baker plans to fight tooth and nail to earn the AEW Women’s World Championship title, which she lost a month ago. Tickets to the 7 p.m. event are available online.
“I feel like I have a lot to prove,” says Baker, who practices dentistry in Orlando, Florida. “When I started out, I was a babyface, a good guy; now I play the villain, which I prefer. You really get to explore different levels of your character and storytelling.”
When her name is announced, the crowd chants “DMD! DMD! DMD!” Her opponents have to just grin and bear it.
Baker grew up in Punxsutawney. Although she’s a lifelong fan of Pittsburgh sports teams, she didn’t catch the wrestling bug until she was in high school. She went from watching stars such as All Elite’s Chris Jericho on TV to attending independent wrestling matches in local VFW halls.
An athlete in her own right, Baker was always getting into foul trouble on the high school basketball court. She figured her aggressiveness would serve her well in the ring. She tried out for the Pittsburgh-based International Wrestling Cartel, where she impressed organizers with her high-octane antics and pearly whites.
Gleefully pile driving people into the mat proved to be a nice reprieve from the grueling dental classes she was taking at the University of Pittsburgh.
Baker completed her secondary wrestling training in Cleveland while still enrolled at Pitt. She even sold her textbooks to buy tickets to World Wrestling Entertainment’s Royal Rumble so she could study the moves of her idols Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks and Bayley — known collectively as The Four Horsewomen.
In 2015, Baker wrestled in her first professional match at a 100-seat gymnasium in White Oak.
This week she’ll duke it out in front of thousands. Joining her will be Mark Henry, billed as the “World’s Strongest Man,” Dutch wrestler Malakai Black, Jungle Boy, Ricky Starks and Adam Cole, who just so happens to be Baker’s real-life boyfriend.
She hopes she’ll end the night with her signature move – the Lockjaw – and inspire other girls to take a bite out of the sport, which is becoming a bastion for female badasses from the Burgh.
“You don’t have to commit to just one dream,” Baker says of her dual passions. “You can do whatever you want.”
Brews & Bruises Festival features beer and bodyslams
When wrestler Adam Bey steps into the ring, the goal is to crush his opponents like beer cans. Unfortunately, he’s usually the one who gets his keg kicked.
The 6-foot-3-inch co-owner of 412 Brewery takes his 27-year losing streak in stride.
“I am probably one of the worst technical wrestlers out there,” he says with a laugh. “I’m in my late-40s. I’ve wrestled in over a thousand matches and lost about 90 percent of them.”
Now, Bey is combining his love of beer and wrestling by organizing the Brews & Bruises Festival.
On June 4 at noon, things will heat up at the Rostraver Ice Garden at 111 Gallitin Road in Belle Vernon. The inaugural event will feature 15 breweries (plus a cidery, meadery and distillery) and seven wrestling matches. More than 300 attendees are expected to raise a taster glass at the showdown.
Bey, whose gimmick is playing a happy-go-lucky barroom hero, says the event is a great form of cross-promotion that will introduce craft beer fans to indie wrestling and vice versa. Tickets are available online.
Inspired by high-flying luchadores from south of the border, 412 Brewery at 847 Western Ave. on the North Side is whipping up a Mexican lager for Brews & Bruises. Many other participating beer-makers are partnering with a wrestler to create their own themed libations.
As a member of the Pittsburgh Brewery and Taproom Diversity Council, Bey is always looking for creative ways to diversify the industry.
Due to his hulking frame, friends suggested that the New York City native go into wrestling, which he did on a whim. Now a fan favorite with the Intergender Bonanza, he celebrates every win (and loss) by cracking open a beer.
When he moved to Pittsburgh six years ago, Bey started frequenting Fury Brewing Company in Irwin. (The brewery closed permanently in 2021 due to the pandemic). Eventually, he offered to help out in the taproom. Turns out those big guns are great for lugging bags of malted barley.
Bey and Ryan Slicker (former co-owner and brewer at Fury), along with business partners Michael Lingsch, Rocco Ieraci and Malcolm Frazer, took over 412 Brewery last year, which also proved to be a busy one in the ring for the Happy Hour Wrestler.
“I had a huge 2021,” he says. “I got to work one of the WrestleMania lead-up shows in Tampa, Florida. I’ve accomplished way more than I expected.”