REAL NAME: Verne Siebert
BORN: Oct. 15, 1957 in Victoria, B.C.
6’0″, 215 pounds
AKA/NICKNAMES: “Vicious” Verne Seibert, “Weasel” Verne Seibert, Nature Boy Sweetan
As a kid growing up in Victoria, B.C., Siebert knew what he wanted to do with his life. “I always wanted to get into wrestling,” he told SLAM! Wrestling. “I worked out until I was big enough.”
Once he was over 200 pounds in 1980, he sought out Rocky Dellaserra for training. It was through one on one sessions with Dellaserra in New Westminster, B.C. that he learned the mat game.
In late 1981, he started with All Star Wrestling, and was a regular on Al Tomko’s circuit until 1986, when he hit the road.
Right from the start, Siebert had double duty for the Vancouver-based All-Star Wrestling. He would often wrestle in an opening match, then return to the ring at the end of the night to referee the main event.
Siebert always saw the extra work as a great opportunity. The fans saw him as the troubleshooting ref in the heat of the night’s featured attraction, and he could learn from the stars.
Siebert took his act to Portland, Montreal, Minnesota independents and the Maritimes. Out east for Emile Dupre, he was billed as Nature Boy Sweetan.
Still, it’s from his time in All Star that he’s most identified. He was generally a heel, and can brag about being “burned by cigarettes by old ladies” as only successful heels can. “I tried to make everything look as solid as possible,” he explained.
Siebert admitted that he had some ups and downs with All Star promoter Al Tomko. On one hand, Tomko heavily promoted himself (and later his sons Rick Davis and The Frog) and easily lost track of what angles they had run the week before.
On the other hand, though, Siebert thinks that Tomko had it right. “I think in some ways, he was ahead of his time,” he said. “He had the music for the wrestlers way before it was [big] … and he would try to get guys moving in the match when we were on TV — don’t just lay on the mat.” Over the past decade, Siebert hasn’t been wrestling much. He would wrestle and referee for WCCW, the predecessor of ECCW. Now, he helps train wrestlers at ECCW’s House of Pain and referees on local shows.
His real job is promoting sports card and memorabilia shows. Wrestling-wise, he’s been a collector of wrestling tapes for years and actually has a collection of All Star Wrestling, Stampede, Portland, and George Cannon’s Superstars of Wrestling shows.
I remember Verne fondly from his days in Al Tomko’s All Star Wrestling. Though he often worked the preliminaries jobbing to the superstars you could see the improvement in his abilities as time went by. Some of the beatings he took in that ring were vicious but there he was week after week, stepping into the ring for more. I had the pleasure of meeting Vern at one of his conventions. I’d dropped a parcel and he actually tracked me down to return it. Always the gentleman.
Ranj Samra, Vancouver BC
Seeing the newly-posted profile of Verne Siebert brought back a kinda funny memory for me. I remember in the mid-80s watching WWF TV on CHCH-11 like a good little 13 year-old Hulkamaniac. During the commercials I would flip over to indy wrestling either from Montreal or Vancouver, depending on the schedule. I remember seeing Verne get squashed by Bundy on WWF TV and when I flipped over to Vancouver indy-wrestling (I believe it was Diamond Timothy Flowers’ promotion; if it wasn’t run by him he at least wrestled there) where Siebert was the champ. That was probably one of the events that tipped the scale for me in terms of knowing wrestling was under kayfabe. Wrestling historians like to talk about the time Rick Rude was on Raw and Nitro the same night but they never seem to mention the afternoon that Verne Siebert was on WWF TV and Vancouver indy TV the same day! 🙂
Verne is one of the nicest persons I have ever met in the wrestling game. I had first met him briefly in 1989 through Tim Flowers, and when I returned to the territory in 1999 to help film a documentary about ECCW there he was, hand extended, a big smile on his face, wanting to talk about our many friends in common, with whom we had both worked.
Verne has a video collection that is superior to any other I have come across in Canada, better than my own legendary library for sure. He has spent countless hours with the young workers in BC helping to teach and train, working hard for local outfits and never says a bad word about anyone. What a gem of a guy.
Verne Siebert is a credit to the business. Verne when I get back to Vancouver, I promise, dinner at Anton’s on me.
Marty Goldstein, on location in Los Angeles