CHERRY HILL, NJ — There’s an NWA Canadian champ in our land again.

Saturday night in Cherry Hill, New Jersey at the NWA 50th Anniversary show, Winnipeg’s E.Z. Ryder became the new champion.

After the match, he was understandably excited.

E.Z. Ryder poses with valet-for-a-night Strawberry Field. — Photo by Greg Oliver

“I came one helluva a long way to get this. And after getting this, I know that it’s all worthwhile.”

Ryder wrestles from the NWA affiliate Canadian Championship Wrestling in Manitoba, promoted by Ernie Todd, who was on hand in Jersey to see to his employee crowned.

The match was originally scheduled to be a three-way dance between representatives of the three Canadian NWA promotions. Slater Jeffries from the Chatham, Ontario-based Maple Leaf Wrestling was the first to pull out for personal reasons. The NWA covered its tail by ‘suspending’ Jeffries from allegedly negotiating to sell his spot in the match to Mike Rosselli from the B.C.-based Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling. The ECCW champ Mr. Gillis was also supposed to be in the three-way dance, but no-showed.

“At this point in time, I don’t care who I was in the ring, I believed I was going to win,” said Ryder after the match. “If guys can’t show up for their contracts, that’s their problem.”

Ryder beat ‘Bad Intentions’ Paul Atlas, billed from Toronto and the fictitious NWA Canada East promotion. The end came about when Atlas was slapped by Ryder’s valet-for-the-night, Strawberry Fields, and Ryder rolled him up for the quick pin.

Backstage with the new belt, Ryder and Fields were surrounded by photographers from wrestling magazines and fans.

The new champ vowed that he’s “not not going to be one of those closet champions. This thing’s going to be up for grabs, and I’m going to defend this thing the best I can, whether it’s in Canada, or down here in the United States. This just shows how the NWA is breaking new ground, tearing down the boundaries, heading north towards Canada.”

He is scheduled to defend the title on a CWF show on October 29th at Stag-r-lee’s Roadhouse in Winnipeg.

Though the NWA considers the NWA Canadian title a new belt, SLAM! Wrestling considers it a revival of the Canadian title that was defended out of Jack Tunney’s Toronto Maple Leaf Wrestling when the stars of the NWA came to town in the late seventies and early eighties. The title faded from sight, last seen on the late Dino Bravo, after Tunney aligned himself with the WWF.

A few of the names to wear the Canadian strap are Angelo Mosca, Iron Sheik, Sgt. Slaughter and Dino Bravo.