It could very well be the biggest independent professional wrestling show of the year in Canada.
Pro Wrestling LIVE! will take place on June 26 at the Oshawa Civic Centre, featuring an impressive collection of big name stars; Mick Foley, Raven, Jimmy Hart, Kamala, Kid Kash, Bobby Roode, Petey Williams, Samoa Joe, American Dragon Bryan Danielson, Gail Kim and more.
The event is being presented by Warrior 1 Wrestling (W1W) and, for event coordinator Nick Cvjetkovich (aka professional wrestler Sinn), it is a bold venture spurred by his career wrestling on the independent wrestling circuit.
“It was just doing tonnes of different indy shows and seeing how badly stuff is done,” he told SLAM! Wrestling. “Don’t get me wrong, there are good shows here and there. But for every good show, there are a hundred crappy ones. They don’t promote anything; they just figure they’ll put up a website and a couple of posters and it’s going to draw a million people. Then they just end up getting the same 100 people every time. It’s just getting more and more uninspired. I’m just getting fed up with something that I grew up loving. ”
It is a blunt but honest assessment from this veteran grappler, making his pro debut in 2000. Since then, he has journeyed across the continent and overseas, learning his trade and experiencing first hand the sometimes chaotic nature of a live professional wrestling show. “I’ve seen a lot of situations where with a minimum of effort or if egos were just slightly checked, that things could be so much better. There’s a lot of politics in wrestling, there’s a lot of neglect in wrestling.”
With a private financial backer, Sinn is now taking those crucial lessons and observations he has made over the years and will take on the task of making this show shine above all the rest. Sinn readily admitted it will be monumental undertaking.
“Myself, I’m far from being a business man. I’m more of a hippy at heart,” admitted Sinn.
“I basically had to adapt and pull off something that is important to me. Putting on a good wrestling show is important to me, so I really had to figure out ‘What do I have to do?’ This being such a big show, I sure bit off one hell of a learning curve, but it’s gotta be like that.”
Selecting the Oshawa Civic Centre was not done random. It is a building that hosts a variety of large scale live events, including World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) shows.
“I picked the Oshawa Civic Centre because proper wrestling shows have been done there,” he explained, making it clear that proper facilities go a long way in upholding the image of a professional wrestling organization. “To me, it sets a standard for a show and what, to me, a wrestling show should be. I think all of these wrestlers don’t deserve to be wrestling in some little barn somewhere.”
His vision for W1W is simple; establish a promotion that will act as a co-op of big name wrestlers, independent, up-and-coming grapplers and promoters who can all come together under the W1W banner and deliver quality wrestling shows. The Oshawa show will be the testing ground to see if this philosophy can hold up.
“It’s a round table of people that want to contribute and avoid the politics and backstabbing. I am learning the hard truth about life and the way people have their own agendas,” he said. “I’m just going to do my best to keep this show as positive and successful as possible and align myself with people who want to put on a good show and have fun.”
A key goal in mind for Sinn with striving to make the promotion a success will be to ensure area independent wrestlers have a chance to be showcased at live events, wrestling against established names and in doing so, build a name for themselves.
“You have to build and inspire your talent. That’s what ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling) was so good at. If they didn’t have young guys being successful against the older guys, you wouldn’t have your Rob Van Dams and your Sabus. That’s what I want to do here and bring in some of these names and mixing them with guys who are really talented, they’re just young and haven’t had the TV time that other guys have had. I want to offset that and build these guys so people treat the local guys as a commodity. I don’t want people sitting there and going ‘Oh I know who’s going to win this.'”
Interacting with established stars and veterans is something Sinn knows all too well, having the fortune to tour with various promotions in the past where elder statesmen were kind enough to share their insights.
“I would just soak up every story, every bit of advice that old timers told me and I was respectful about it,” he said. “To me, it was just like listening to a story teller at a camp fire. It was entertaining — I would listen to Buddy Lane, Koko B. Ware, Bill Dundee, Jerry Lawler, Afa, Sika — everybody and anybody that would explain things to me and teach me stuff. I can learn technically how to do this flashy move, but learning what the old timers refer to as the dying art, is what really interests me. As far as the old timers go, if you’re respectful and work hard, they’ll open up to you. It’s just a matter of the young guys finding the time and place to actually get these guys to teach them stuff.”
Those experiences have played a critical role in allowing Sinn to call upon the various names that will be appearing at the event. “I’ve done my share and I’ve earned a lot of respect with a lot of the old timers who are not so quick to dish out respect. If I wasn’t on the road busting my ass the way I do, half of the main guys wouldn’t be at the show.”
One such wrestler that Sinn was lucky enough to meet and earn a healthy rapport with is Kid Kash.
“Everybody knows he’s crazy. I love him because he’s a good crazy,” Sinn told. “He’ll vent on somebody that he figures is totally lacking in respect. I’ve slept over at his place, cooked me home-cooked meals — he would tell me ‘You know what man, you know why I like you? Because you work hard, you paid your dues.’ To me, hearing something from somebody like that who I respect just fuels me even more to give back to the business that I’m working at.”
Crucial to the success of the show will be a strong fan turnout. Sinn did not hesitate to challenge wrestling fans in the area to make their presence known.
“If fans want to see something of quality, then they’re just going to have to support the show. If the fans respond, then that will just give me a budget to put on more and better.”