There’s little doubt that Mitch Clarke and Lumberjack Larry Woods are one of the most beloved tag teams in the Alberta independent wrestling scene. Since their respective debuts for Monster Pro Wrestling, both Mitch and Larry have proven to be two of the most popular members of the MPW roster. The two truly represent the very essence of being Albertan, with both bringing a unique element to their partnership that makes them one of the most dominant duos in Alberta today.
Clarke, fighting out of Edmonton, has earned his reputation as one of the most dangerous wrestlers in Alberta today. Since transitioning from the UFC to wrestling, the former fighter has developed a style all his own inside the squared circle, seamlessly incorporating a variety of holds and submissions from his UFC days into his in-ring arsenal. His 11-5 record inside the Octagon speaks for itself, and recent marquee matches against Nasty Nate Nixon have only proven that Clarke is one of the wrestlers to watch in the Albertan independent scene.
Woods, from Elk Point, Alberta, is simply one of the most entertaining wrestlers in Western Canada. While the Lumberjack is certainly a terrific technical wrestler in his own right, Woods is best known for his endless enthusiasm both in-and-out of the ring. His boundless energy serves not only to fire up a crowd but wear his opponents down to the point of submission.
“We feed off of each other,” explains Clarke. “Larry is a ball of energy and I’m the technical powerhouse. Larry brings my energy up and I tend to centre him a bit more.
“The big thing is neither us have quit in us.”
Since their formation, the team has shown that not only can they win the hearts of wrestling fans, but dominate inside the ring as well. The current MPW Tag Team Champions are experiencing their most successful run yet, both together and individually. Woods has parlayed his recent success into a main-event match against Michael Richard Blais in his hometown on May 31, while Clarke recently headlined MPW’s Lloydminster debut.
While both Woods and Clarke have experienced previous success, 2019 has truly elevated the duo to the upper echelon of Albertan independent wrestling.
The duo’s beginnings weren’t exactly out of a desire to team together, says Lumberjack Larry, but a necessity.
“If I remember correctly, I was just coming back from having ACL surgery,” comments Woods of the duo’s formation. “I was getting jumped show after a show by the Catalyst since Rick Jules was the one that wrecked my knee at the 2017 MPW Ripper Royal. I finally had a tag match against the Catalyst and needed a partner. Mitch Clarke was happy to help me out.”
“(When) Larry was coming back from his injury, I had unfinished business with them as well,” states Clarke. “There’s always safety in numbers, especially when dealing with groups of cheating wrestlers.”
The duo’s first match together was a triple threat against the Supreme Squad and the Catalyst at the 2018 MPW Summer Scorcher. From the onset, the pair’s chemistry was evident. Woods boundless energy meshed seamlessly with Clarke’s submission-based offence to lead the pair to a win in their debut together.
“Little did I know that this would be more than a match,” Woods finishes, “but the beginning of a brotherhood.”
Tag Team Success
It was evident following their first match together that there was palpable chemistry between the two. It sparked a desire in both Clarke and Woods to continue teaming alongside each other.
The results were instantaneous.
On August 4, 2020 - less than one month after first teaming together - Mitch and Larry reached the apex of the Monster Pro Wrestling tag team division, winning their first MPW Tag Team Championships.
#AndNew @MPWWRESTLING Renegade Tag Team Champions… Lumberjack Larry Woods & Danger Zone @MitchClarkeMMA. Details later tonight on Quick Calls with @miketheref @thatcanadaguy @dawrestlingmind on https://t.co/s9cuAeMXzR pic.twitter.com/jipyYC5ccJ
— Backbreaker Media (@BackbreakerMedi) August 5, 2020
“We have a job to defend the Tag Titles, and we want to be the best Tag Team in Alberta,” commented Clarke following the victory.
While the pair would, unfortunately, lose the championships that October to King B and TY Jackson at MPW Vindication that October, it only served to fan the flames of Clarke and Wood’s desire to be the top tag team in the province.
Reaching the Top
Despite the loss of their tag team championships, Mitch and Larry continued to build their case as lynchpins of the MPW tag team division. The duo continued to wrestle hard-hitting matches with the likes of the Catalyst and the Tattooed Terminators, consistently impressing the MPW faithful with their stellar blend of entertainment and technical prowess. The duo was able to earn a second opportunity at the tag team titles, and on March 23, Mitch and Larry became two-time MPW Tag Team Champions with a statement victory in the Renegade Tag Team Battle Royal.
“We work so well together because we have a passion for wrestling and the drove to be the best,” explains Woods. “We’re constantly working and training coming up with new tag moves and building our chemistry as wrestlers and as brothers.”
However, the pair evidently wasn’t satisfied with simply regaining their championships. Both Mitch and Larry entered the 2019 Leo Burke Cup as singles competitors, the duo’s first true tests alone since forming in 2018. It was a chance for the two to both make statements, and the two certainly did.
On May 4th, Mitch and Larry became the first-ever co-winners of the Leo Burke, joining the likes of Chris Perish, Tyler James and Steve Rivers as victors in the fabled tournament. It was yet more evidence that the pair have become two of the top prospects in the Alberta independent scene.
However, despite their success as singles competitors, says Clarke, there are no plans for the duo to split up any time soon.
“The successes as a tag team keep us together,” Clarke states. “Neither of us are selfish or looking just for personal glory, it’s about the team. Nothing has changed, we both keep working hard and just want to show we’re the best tag team out there.”
It’s a statement Woods echoes.
“(Our bond) has only gotten stronger. We are both very competitive athletes.”
Woods chuckles before making his final statement.
“I would be lying to you if I didn’t say I would like to have a rematch,” he laughs. “A little Balboa and Creed rematch.”
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