There’s a new IWA promotion in Manitoba. But fear not, the legendary Tony Condello is still involved. In fact, it was Condello who agreed to lend the initials from his long-running International Wrestling Alliance to the newcomer Indigenous Wrestling Alliance.
Nelson Mayer is the man behind the new promotion and company WarPath Promotions, which is 100% aboriginal. Mayer also wrestled in the 1980s for Condello as The Renegade. He wanted Condello on his side, and didn’t want to compete with his old friend.
“He is THE promoter, as far as I’m concerned, in Canada,” Mayer said of Condello. “Tony and I got together and made our plans, and he’s been advising me every step of the way in terms of needing to be on TV in order to develop your market, what goes behind all aspect of promotion in setting up a wrestling show.”
The Indigenous Wrestling Alliance has a big TV taping set for January 27 at the Winnipeg Convention Centre on Jan 27. Booked for the card are Curt Hennig and Jerry Lynn, along with IWA stars Stands With The Thunder and Dr. Luther. The show starts at 7:30 pm.
Scoring a TV deal, ideally with the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network across Canada, and on CKY in Winnipeg, is only a small part of Mayer’s grand plan.
“I’ve got three parts to the business. The first part is a TV taping. Second part is the development for the running of shows in the aboriginal communities. And the third part is training,” explained Mayer, 45. In the various native newspapers across Canada, Mayer is encouraging aboriginals who are interested in a career in wrestling to contact him through the paper. In February, he and Condello will start contacting those that they think have potential.
“We’re looking at the whole aspect of people involved, not just the wrestling end of it, but valets, managers, referees. There’s a lot of job opportunities within the wrestling field,” Mayer said. “I’m thinking that it would be very nice if we could start getting some of the employment aspects of the wrestling industry filtering through to my community. And wrestling has always been big within the aboriginal community.”
Condello was a natural choice as a partner. “I got involved when Mr. Mayer approached me because I’ve been in the business a long, long time,” he said. The 60-year-old Condello stressed that he was just the promoter in the new arrangement, called upon to make decisions about the wrestlers and the wrestling content.
Bringing Condello in meant instant credibility for Mayer. He approached APTN last year about the idea for a wrestling show, but Winnipeg’s CKY called him when they heard about the promotion. “They heard that Tony was involved again in doing wrestling, and developing something for TV, and they asked if they could look at our tapes,” Mayer said.
Neither Condello nor Mayer wanted to talk much about the All-Canadian Wrestling promotion, based out of Cambridge, Ontario, which recently ran a pilot for a wrestling show of their own on APTN. ACW is also trying to arrange their own regular show on the national network.
“It is competition,” Mayer said hesitantly. “I don’t want to knock another wrestling company, but another wrestling company could capitalize on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. I want to capitalize on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, but highlighting aboriginal wrestlers, aboriginal talent, and as well, having some of the backstage, behind-the-scenes aboriginal people too.”