Thursday, July 24, 2014

Wrestlers thump the capital’s four-frou image


xxxvka-wrestling-475801-jpgIt was a year ago this week that we last saw Chicken.

He was swapping nostalgia with Natasha Wild at a table in Monty’s, where he worked for the best part of 16 years. Wild, an exotic dancer, was about to perform the last act of the brass pole ballet before the peeler bar closed for good.

As you might expect, Natasha Wild was not the name on her birth certificate. Nor was Chicken the name on his. He picked up the nickname years ago in a throw-a-rubber-chicken-in-a-beer-bucket bar contest.

Fast forward to today. Chicken is better known as Wayne Kalnciems now. His long ponytail is gone, sacrificed to a cancer fundraiser. He has reinvented himself as a wrestling promoter.

Not a big-time, big-arena kind of wrestling, mind. No, this is more like the brand Kalnciems grew up watching at Memorial Arena and the Esquimalt Legion. The Velox rugby club, where he has staged three events since last summer, holds just 325 people.

It’s still a reminder, though, that there’s more to Victoria than the tea-and-flowers image we sell the tourists (and ourselves).

On Wednesday, Kalnciems was at Langford’s Crusher Combat Sports to promote the Jan. 25 ECCW Victorious show at the Gordon Head Road rugby club. ECCW stands for Vancouver-based Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling, with which he has teamed. Tickets are being sold at Lyle’s Place on Yates.

Again, this isn’t the flashy WWE experience that boomed in the 1980s and 1990s with the likes of Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Bret (The Hitman) Hart.

This is closer to the 1960s All-Star Wrestling show broadcast from Vancouver with the likes of Gene Kiniski and the Brute, or the Stampede Wrestling events that Bret’s dad, Stu Hart, once staged in small-town rinks and cow palaces across Western Canada.

Don’t confuse it with the brutality of mixed martial arts, which has elbowed wrestling into the shadows. MMA is blood sport. Wrestling is family-friendly theatre, they say.

“It’s a show,” says Scotty Mac, who both performs in and runs ECCW. “There are storylines. There are characters. There are plot lines.” It’s up to the actors to convince the patrons to suspend their disbelief, just like at the movies.

Every player has a role. Ravenous Randy is a bad guy — flame-haired, punked out, every father’s worst nightmare. John Atlas is the baby-faced good guy. Scotty Mac is a good guy in Vancouver, but rotten to the core on this side of the water, where Kalnciems plays his evil manager. (Kalnciems isn’t a wrestler, but inevitably gets clobbered by somebody. “I got spit on by an old lady at the last show. She hit me with her cane.”)

No one is getting rich. Everyone has a day job. Wrestler Lak Siddartha, who grew up on the Ultimate Warrior and the Undertaker, drives a Bluebird Cab in Victoria. John Atlas will be better remembered by Victorians as football and rugby player Mike Mizerski, the doorman who was shot in the leg outside the Strathcona Hotel last February.

Atlas/Mizerski loves being on the circuit, even when it means five guys in a car driving to Kelowna for a Saturday night show, then back to Vancouver for another on Sunday. “You have to have the passion for it,” he says.

If the fights are scripted, the pain is real. Concussions are common. Ravenous Randy broke his leg once. Scotty has broken his nose, his wrist. He no longer does a move where he comes off the top rope. “My hips can’t take it anymore.”

Yet these guys are all genuinely pumped about what they do. It’s endearing.

It’s also refreshing that this all flies in the face of Victoria’s oh-so-precious stereotype. There wasn’t a tweed jacket or pair of skinny jeans in sight Wednesday. (Here’s a stolen joke: Q: How many hipsters does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: It’s an obscure number. You wouldn’t know it.)

It was, in fact, a reminder of a side of us that some don’t see. For every bohemian coffee shop there’s a Tim Hortons. LoJo might be packed with frou-frou boutiques, but it was the opening of Target that made Victorians squeal like schoolgirls. Neither the McPherson Playhouse nor the Royal Theatre can hold the kind of crowd that Western Speedway pulls on a summer Saturday night. We’re still Canajun, eh?

This might be the City of Gardens, of the Symphony Splash and the Art Walk. It’s also a city where guys named Chicken can make 10-year-olds happy with wrestling shows.

© Copyright Times Colonist


6 Responses to “Wrestlers thump the capital’s four-frou image”
  1. Pregnant and nursing women are not encouraged to use chamomile in treating hair loss.
    Because these supplements do not contain harsh chemicals, it can be used over time without causing
    long-term side effects. Hair loss is one of the most popular health issues all over
    the world.

  2. To check if the flush valve is the cause of
    the leak, simply shut off the water supply to the toilet.
    Perhaps each toilet flush is becoming a little slower,
    or the tub isn’t draining after a shower, or an ominous noise is emanating from the sink.
    Due to the high level of customization, it is very easy
    to ruin or severely impair a character in Champions Online.

  3. It is highly motivational and helps you to make several new friends.

    * Stick to top of things by checking the enrollment plus sing up deadlines.
    Over the years, many people have purchased wheeled carry carts
    in order to make it easier to move large, bulky, or
    heavy items. Time Efficiency – Since attending fitness boot camp training entails more preparation for
    disciplinary actions in case one decides to become a
    slacker, one learns more time management when doing
    fitness boot camp routines. People who are pretty lean and thin are also not
    fit. -based company started franchising in 2003, Camp Bow Wow has sold more than 200 franchises in 38 states, plus one in Canada.
    MAIC includes kids’ summer camps in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and Indiana.
    Did you know that you can deduct your kids’ summer camp expenses in certain cases.
    Cost effectiveness is another huge benefit of being part of a
    boot camp. Otherwise, just report your success to Colonel Hsu.

  4. CPA certificate holders are required to maintain and improve their professional competence
    through continued professional education (CPE) learning activities.

    There are lots of online communities that
    you could benefit from. Module 4: No cost Internet site readers Instruments: This module
    teaches you the way you may possibly generate visitors with
    your delivers totally free.

  5. How many ways are there of going green in beauty schools.
    Flat paint is the best choice for hiding rough spots and surface imperfections, which makes it perfect for ceilings
    and walls. Toilet paper is among the most essential product because you are always going to need it and you
    use it all the time.

  6. Yes, fashion trends are referential and recurring, but at the same time new ones pop up, allowing us to visually
    reflect the world around us. Indeed, Roberto Cavalli has drawn its own spot as one of Hollywood’s
    most sought-after Italian fashion brands. Perhaps you are a model who wants to expand your
    portfolio with a range of startling shots that show off your versatility and individual flair.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!