Michelle Starr is proud to be the new NWA Canadian champion.

“It means a lot” to be NWA Canadian champion, Starr said down the line from ECCW’s Langley, B.C. House of Pain training school. “It’s a national title and it brings recognition to the west coast NWA promotion.”

Starr beat E.Z. Ryder of the Manitoba-based CWF promotion on Saturday, June 26 in Winnipeg for the title. But he didn’t do it by himself. An old adversary of Ryder’s, the CWF promoter and NWA Board of Governors member Ernie Todd stuck his nose – well, actually the Canadian belt into the nose (and face) of Ryder, causing the champ to get knocked out and Starr to score the pinfall.

“My whole goal in life was to get that belt away from [Ryder]” said Todd in an interview with SLAM! Wrestling. He arranged to bring Starr into the CWF and join the Canadian Cartel, which also includes Crusher Carlson, Bad Boy Brian Jewel and Spyder.

“I thought I was a better man than E.Z. Ryder. He turned his back on me last year” at the NWA 50th anniversary show, said Todd.

The former champ Ryder admits that he and Todd have “grown apart” but vowed to regain the title when he travels out to B.C. for four shows, July 22 to 25, and four matches against Starr.

“I’ve got my plane ticket booked and an open contract – cage, barbed wire, no DQ – it doesn’t matter,” said Ryder.

The champ and new Canadian Cartel member Starr foresees four different hardcore-type of matches on Ryder’s west coast swing. And hardcore is both a specialty of Starr’s and the Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling promotion. He expects there to be one chain match, one street fight, a cage match, and just for good measure, a traditional match.

Ryder scoffed at the challenge of hardcore matches. “I can throw a table just like everybody else.”

Despite their negative words for each other, both Starr and Ryder recognize the value in having the NWA Canadian title be a sought-after commodity, defended in both Canadian promotions – and hopefully elsewhere.

Both want to be the champion come September 25, 1999, when the NWA holds its 51 st convention in Charlotte, N.C. and be in the Queen’s Cup match against the United Kingdom’s Gary Steele.