Friday, June 23, 2017

In Photos: Wrestlers after the bell

John Lehmann

What do the fearsome characters of professional wrestling do when they’re not in the ring? We take a look in this photo essay

Photos and text courtesy of The Globe And Mail – John Lehman

Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling, the largest wrestling company in Canada, is celebrating its 18th year. Globe and Mail photojournalist John Lehmann created these photo diptychs by photographing the wrestlers at a recent match in their full kits, then making matching portraits of them in the context of their day jobs a few days later.

image1 By day David Elmhurst can be found working as a skilled carpenter, construction worker, deckhand or actor, but by night he becomes King of the Yukon. Mr. Elmhurst would like to wrestle full time, and not just because of the natural high he gets from entertaining the fans. He says the freedom in the art form is such that now, most people accept it as just entertainment. The only limit is your imagination.




image3Tony Fondrick works at Granville Island Brewing Company, but by night he wrestles as Tony Baroni. Mr. Fondrick admits he is too old to be a full-time wrestler but enjoys performing and the extra cash the part-time gig brings in.






image2By day Randy Hawkins works at a call center for an insurance company, but by night he becomes Carl Cunningham, one half of the wrestling tag team called the Cunninghams. Mr. Hawkins hopes to one day quit his day job and become a full-time wrestler.





image4By day Brady Roberts is a working actor, but by night he plays the part of Brady Malibu. Mr. Roberts was an actor first but he wants to succeed as both a pro wrestler and an actor, and says the best part about wrestling is performing for big crowds of screaming fans. “You can’t beat that kind of rush, and that’s the biggest difference for me between acting and wrestling.”





image5By day Jack Stewart works as a mover for Iron Man Moving, but by night he becomes Jack Cunningham as half of the wrestling tag team called the Cunninghams. Mr. Stewart hopes to one day quit his day job and become a full-time wrestler, unless his other passion as a stand-up comic takes off first.





image6By day Harv Sihra studies history at Douglas College and works part time at Sports Check, but by night he becomes part of the wrestling tag-team duo called The Bollywood Boyz with his brother Gurv. Mr. Sihra hopes to one day become a full-time wrestler.





image7By day Gurv Sihra is a store investigator, but by night he becomes part of the wrestling tag-team duo The Bollywood Boyz with his brother Harv. The two brothers currently wrestle with Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling and both hope to one day become full-time wrestlers.





image8By day Matthew Nebeker works in the IT field, but by night he becomes Ethan HD, part of the wrestling tag team called American Guns. Mr. Nebeker hopes to one day quit his day job and become a full-time wrestler.






image9By day Kenny Lush works as a landscaper, but by night the former punk rock musician becomes Loose Cannon Kenny Lush. Mr. Luah has a realistic view of his future as a professional wrestler and knows he is already over hill. But he still enjoys the camaraderie and the fans.





There’s a lot of acting involved in wrestling, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy, says the co-owner of Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling – Canada’s largest wrestling company.

“We always hate it when people say wrestling is fake,” says Mary Diaz. “It’s not fake. It’s predestined and possibly choreographed. If someone is thrown through a table, that is happening and they have to stay in character.”

Ms. Diaz says wrestlers routinely have to switch between being good guys – i.e. a “babyface” – and bad guys – also known as a “heel.” “It’s like any performance – TV, movies or even singing. They have to be good at acting or they wouldn’t have a character,” says Ms. Diaz. Her 18-year-old Port Coquitlam-based operation puts on various regular events with its cast of heels and babyfaces. On July 12, they will be holding the Tables, Ladders and Chairs event at the venerable Commodore Ballroom.

The title refers to the weapon of choice for performers, but Ms. Diaz says not to be fooled by the furor. “In real life, [wrestlers] are some of the nicest people around. But in character, they’re not so nice necessarily. It’s acting.”

– Ian Bailey

The Globe and Mail










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