Doors weren’t just opened in Albertan wrestling this weekend - they were blown off their hinges.

It was a landmark weekend for professional wrestling scene in the province, with three shows hosted between the 11th and 12th throughout Alberta. Real Canadian Wrestling, Lakeland Pro Wrestling and the Prairie Wrestling Alliance were all in action this weekend, and as can be expected from any of the province’s numerous promotions at this point, all three were outstanding shows; however, a number of in-show and post-show developments that truly sent shockwaves throughout the scene.

First, some background.

Alberta Indy Dream Matches

Even prior to this weekend’s developments, Alberta wrestling was set to make a statement on January 11th and 12th. Not one, but two first-time-ever matches would be taking place over the course of two days, with “God’s Gift to Wrestling” Michael Richard Blais set to face off with Pride in Radway, Alberta, with RCW Canadian Heavyweight Champion Christian Strife set to face off with Mitch “Danger Zone” Clarke the following evening in Bonnyville.

Both were dream matches for many in the Alberta independent scene, despite only the former being advertised as such; the open-door policy (or lack thereof) in the Edmonton and Calgary areas had all but eliminated the possibility of either match occurring within city limits. The fact these matches were even booked was a statement in itself and provided an exciting opportunity for some of Alberta’s smaller wrestling scenes to truly get a glimpse of the talent contained in the province.

January 11th

On January 11, 2018, professional wrestling returned to Radway, Alberta for the first time in 31 years. Both the match card and the seats were packed, with many eager to get their first glimpse of live pro wrestling in over three decades. To be blunt, it was an outstanding show from front-to-back; from the opening match of Dean Richtor vs. Cameron Stevens, the action was fantastic, and the crowd was equal to the task. It was an excellent wrestling event, period; whether it be the terrific in-ring work from all involved, the RCW debuts the Canadian Wildlife Federation and Kylie Morgan - who some may recognize as the excellent manager of now-PWA Tag Team Champions the League - or simply the experience of watching a show for the first time in a new location, it truly was a unique show for all involved.

The building was raucous from the start and was completely frenzied by the time former PWA Champion Michael Richard Blais and CWC Canadian Champion Pride squared off for the Alberta Indy Dream Match.

It’s hard to undersell the importance of this match; truly, it was a dream match in every sense of the word. The sight of Pride and MRB across a ring from each other was something many hardcore Albertan fans never thought they would see and throughout the entirety of their 30-minute classic, the building nearly shook with noise. It’s a match that can’t be described as anything but must-watch, with both Blais and Pride pushing to prove themselves as the best professional wrestler in Alberta.

Unfortunately - or fortunately, depending on how you look at it - it’s a question that still remains after the events near the conclusion of the match

Late in the match, just following a devastating MRB Brainbuster to Pride, an unidentified assailant ran into the ring brandishing a championship belt and began to assault both Pride and Blais, ending the match in a no contest. While it was a disappointing finish to an otherwise classic match, the anger turned to shock when the assailant was revealed to be none other than PPW Heavyweight Champion and Monster Pro Wrestling roster member Chris Perish. The tagSTRUGGLE member continued to assault the other two competitors before grabbing a microphone and verbally lambasting both Pride and Blais. There are few better on the microphone than Perish, and his fiery promo to close the show was one of the best heard province-wide in years.

As Perish alludes to in the above tweet, it’s hard to undersell the impact of Friday’s show. Between the three wrestlers closing out Friday’s show, five separate promotions and three separate championships were featured. More importantly, it set the stage for a continued feud between three of the top names on the independent scene in the province - and that’s without mentioning the formidable backup that each wrestler comes prepared with. While nothing has been confirmed as far as Blais goes, a match between Pride and Perish was set for February 23rd in Bruderheim, Alberta. Despite previously facing off, the two haven’t battled since Pride’s recent hot streak began. It’s yet another tilt that can be described as an indy dream match, and one that Albertan wrestling fans should be very, very excited for.

While Friday night in Radway featured some incredible developments, it was truly only the spark that set the fire for what was to come.

January 12th

Unfortunately, due to injury, the second advertised match between Christian Strife and Mitch Clarke was unable to take place. It did, however, set the stage for further developments on the previous night’s events.

Fresh off of his shocking appearance in Radway the previous evening, Chris Perish entered Bonnyville looking for a shot at Pride prior to their previously announced February 23rd match for RCW. Entering the show-opening Battle Royal for a match with Pride in the main event of the evening, Perish looked primed to win before interference from the First of the Fallen caused the PPW Champion to be eliminated.

However, it didn’t mean Perish was out of action for the evening. With neither of their scheduled opponents able to compete, the tagSTRUGGLE member took on the aforementioned Christian Strife in a champion-versus-champion thriller. Again, it was another match that wrestling fans had anticipated for a long while, but city boundaries had prevented from happening. For the first-time-ever, the RCW Champion would face off with the PPW Champion, and both men left it all on the line in what was a fantastic match. Yet again, however, it was another dream match ruined by the actions of others.

In eerily similar events to the evening before, Pride interrupted the match as it neared an incredible climax. It was the former Jack’s smirking revenge for Perish’s interference in Radway, with Strife as collateral damage in what is now sure to be a four-way feud.

Pride, however, received his just desserts during the evening’s main event. During the main event match between Pride and battle royal winner Adam Sky, Perish emerged to distract the RCW Jr. Heavyweight Champion and allowed Sky to roll him up for the victory. Immediately following, the former CWC Champion absolutely decimated Pride in yet another statement to build on the night before.

Both Pride and Perish made statements on Saturday, and while neither was able to gain an upper hand over the other prior to their match in Bruderheim on February 23, both showed why they’re two of the top names in Alberta today. Now, with Christian Strife also speaking out against the events of the 12th, the independent scene in the province has never been more unpredictable.

What’s Next?

Well, the doors have officially been opened, to say the least.

This weekend saw five different championship belts represented across three different promotions. Subsequently, the main event scene province-wide is already being talked about on a level not seen in years. Officially, the only development to come out of the weekend is a scheduled match between Chris Perish and Pride on February 23rd; however, unofficially the scene is as unpredictable as ever in the most positive way. Outside of a post-match promo, Michael Richard Blais has been conspicuously silent on the matter, and it’s only a matter of time before the former Prairie Wrestling Alliance Champion strikes. Additionally, it will be interesting to see where Christian Strife gets involved after making comments online that Pride’s “receipts were in the mail”.

As mentioned, I don’t believe we’ve even begun to see all the key players in this inter-promotional feud get involved. Envy already made her presence known throughout Friday’s main event in Radway, and her impact on Pride’s success can’t be understated. However, it’s not as though Perish, Strife and Blais don’t come well-equipped with some backup of their own. It’s only a matter of time before tagSTRUGGLE, the Western Lions and Strife’s numerous allies in the RCW locker room come calling.

It’s a damn exciting time to be an Albertan wrestling fan. Buckle up, folks - we’re just getting started.

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Spencer Love

Once stood in front of Cedric Alexander in line at a hotel. Slightly big deal.

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