By Josh Truba
There are two kinds of people in this world: those who love wrestling and admit it, and those who love wrestling but refuse to admit it.
For some reason, we all hold wrestling dear. It’s a common denominator among the human race. It was a part of our childhood and it remains a constant today. It’s complete sensationalism and we cannot help but be enchanted when we watch it.
When I speak of wrestling, I mean professional wrestling, not that Olympic style grappling the Euro trash likes. I don’t know what type of depraved individuals find that trash entertaining, but I definitely do not.
Not only is Olympic style boring, I also question its legitimacy. How do you wrestle without a ring, loud-mouth managers, trash talk, grandstanding, and high risk finishing moves? Someone may have an answer for me, but I don’t want to hear it. The bottom line is, Olympic wrestling is boring while p-r-o-f-e-s-s-i-o-n-a-l wrestling has everything going for it. It’s an intense hybrid of sport and entertainment that has the ability to captivate its viewer with hilarious dialogue, passionate feuds and extreme action.
We are all familiar with giant wrestling federations like the WWF and WCW, but we have a local wrestling scene here in Calgary that people often forget. CAN-AM wrestling operates out of Calgary with many of the personalities that we remember from the glory days of Stampede Wrestling contributing to its product. For a long time they wrestled Tuesday nights at the Back Alley and they’re currently on a tour of small town Alberta and Saskatchewan.
As part of the University of Calgary’s Go Deep or Go Home extravaganza, CAN-AM will present "The Rage in the Cage" at the MacEwan Hall Ballroom on Saturday night. A day pass for the spectacular will cost $15, but will also get you into the Football game (which is free anyway) and BBQ before wrestling and the following Zuckerbaby concert. If you only want in on the wrestling portion, an individual ticket is $8.
The CAN-AM show will be well worth the $8, especially with the addition of the cage to the traditional card. The cage is 16x16x12′ tall and will provide a new dimension of excitement to the entire event.
But don’t get the wrong idea, the wrestlers of CAN-AM are stuck in Calgary for a reason. If they could be in a major wrestling federation they would be. Most of them are mechanics and used car salesmen who smoke too much and moonlight as pro wrestlers clinging to a fading dream of making it big. That said, there are some decent wrestlers in the show.
CAN-AM’s marquee talent is the Cuban Assassin. This guy has been around since Moby Dick was a minnow and it shows. Although he spends his time away from the ring at a local nursing home, he can still wrestle and his ring savvy is unparalleled. The foreign object is handled with skill and efficacy in his hand. He’s a craftsman in the squared circle. His tirades on the microphone are as hilarious as his insults of "Canadian Pigs" in broken English.
Another main CAN-AM attraction is Black Bart. This guy has good mic skills and talks smack like George "the animal" Steele eats turnbuckles. The fans love to get into it with Bart, and he is only too happy to reply with some low brow rebuttal concerning your mother, or something he did with your girlfriend last night. The guy is comedy plus, and he is the show’s best technical wrestler. He has a large repertoire of moves and isn’t afraid to use them. But until he learns to hook the leg and avoid the rookie mistakes, he’ll never make the big time.
Other standouts include former Stampede hog smoker Bif Wellington, Steve Wilde, Otto Gentile, Phil Frenzy, Steve Rivers, and Pit Bull Kid.
CAN-AM also reminds us of our youth and the radiance of a local product in which we could take pride. It was the starting place for Honky Tonk Wayne, Brett and Owen Hart, Davey Boy Smith, Jim "the Anvil" Neidhart, and Chris Benoit. We also remember J. R. Foley and his mayoral candidacy, the Karachi Vice, Champagne Jerry Morrow, Bad News Allen, Jason the Terrible, Mr. Hito, and all the other colourful personalities of the show. Ed Whalen’s commentary was legendary as he chased wrestlers
crazily with the microphone and ended each show with his world famous phrase; "In the mean time and in-between time, that’s it, another edition of Stampede Wrestling."
Those were great Saturday afternoons at the Pavilion in Victoria Park.
If you are bitter because you reckon "it’s fake," I want to remind you that fake and choreographed are not the same thing. We all know it’s choreographed, and we don’t care. It’s all about entertainment. You know you love it, and when you’re home alone, you can’t stop watching it. So you may as well come clean and profess your love for pro wrestling publicly.
Mark my words, this Saturday’s Rage in the Cage will be a "ring-a-ding-dong-dandy," and, in the immortal words of Billy "Red" Lyons: "Don’t ya dare miss it!"