May 30, 2024

Co Antrim WWE superfan (4) meets his hero Cody Rhodes after giving powerslam to health issues

Ballymoney boy Ollie Beverland and family lock up with wrestling star Cody Rhodes

Oliver Beverland, better known as Ollie, met the WWE undisputed champion along with his family before a sold-out show at Belfast’s SSE Arena.

The four-year-old, who has faced numerous health challenges, was able to go toe-to-toe with his hero after his dad Dylan’s pleas were answered on social media, after promising one day that he’d make his son’s dreams come true.

Ollie Beverland, his brother Carson, and parents Dylan and Victoria meet Cody Rhodes at SSE Arena in Belfast

“The whole thing started off maybe a year ago, it was through a wish charity, Rays of Sunshine,” Dylan said.

“Ollie’s wish was to meet Cody Rhodes, but when the WWE was contacted, they said that due to scheduling, they couldn’t facilitate a meet at that time.

“So I took it upon myself to try to make it happen. I was just getting the word out on social media as much as I could and then on Friday night we finally heard back and it just snowballed.”

Ollie and big brother Carson, who are from Ballymoney, were kept in the dark until they were taken backstage.

“It was only on Friday night that I received a message from Cody, and the UK representative for the WWE tour then got in contact with us,” Dylan said.

“We kept it a secret from the boys, they didn’t really know what was going on until they had walked through the door.”

Dylan said the siblings were left speechless by the surprise.

They wore matching custom-made outfits matching Cody’s distinctive wrestling attire.

“We were taken backstage before the show into the dressing rooms and we really thought that would be it,” Dylan said.

“But then the WWE rep messaged me and said that Cody would be keeping a wee eye out for them during his entrance, so we didn’t know that was going to happen.”

During his entrance, Cody approached the boys and lifted them onto the edge of the ring as the thousands in attendance cheered on.

Ollie and Carson wore custom-made outfits to the show

Dylan recalled: “Last year, at the end of the night Cody was going around everyone near the ring and I took the two boys down.

“We stood there for about an hour and Cody got to about a metre away and then he turned and went to the far side.

“So we just missed him and we were actually talking to him about it on Saturday.”

He said the experience has left a lasting impression on the brothers, who “keep re-enacting” moments from the meeting.

Ollie has been a fan of Cody — the son of legendary wrestler, booker and trainer Dusty Rhodes — for over two years after first discovering wrestling during one of his hospital stays.

Dylan said: “We were over in Sheffield hospital for about a month for tests, and while we were over there I just happened to start showing them a couple of wrestling videos and it just took off.

“The first time he saw Cody, that was him!”

Ollie was born in June 2019 with a malrotation in his bowel, which was the start of a long and difficult journey with his health.

After surgery to correct the issue, he spent 10 months in the Royal Hospital for Sick Children as he couldn’t absorb his food.

During this time, Ollie received the first of over 20 blood transfusions that he needed as doctors tried to discover the cause of an internal bleeding.

He continued to be in and out of hospital, and in December 2022, just five days before Christmas, he suffered a massive hematemesis which saw him admitted to ICU.

In the new year, Ollie was flown to King’s College Hospital in London where he went through a seven-hour operation to fix blood vessels in his gut to stop the bleeding.

Ollie loving life at the show

Dylan explained: “Since then, he’s been a lot better. He has had a few setbacks with infections because he has as wee line in his heart, but he’s been a lot better.

“It was very touch and go that Christmas.”

The loving father added it was during this tough period that he made a promise to Ollie that he would “try everything” to make sure his son would finally meet his hero.

He revealed being able to finally deliver on his promise was a “real relief”.

“On Friday night when I received the message, I froze. It was overwhelming,” he said.

“It was a last-ditch attempt on Friday evening, I thought I would try just one last time.”

And Ollie may even get to meet his hero once more just after his fifth birthday in June.

Cody personally gifted the family four tickets to the WWE show Clash at the Castle which is set to take place in Glasgow on June 15.

The video of Ollie and his family meeting Cody has been posted on the WWE’s social media channels, gaining nearly half a million views in less than 24 hours through Facebook, Instagram and X.

In the main event at the SSE on Saturday, Cody defeated Japanese wrestler Shinsuke Nakamura.

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