Vance Nevada won the NWA Canadian Heavyweight Championship Title over three months ago. It was not the first title he has ever won — in total, he has held 16 different titles in his 13-year career as a pro wrestler. But winning the Canadian Title was nonetheless a special moment for the veteran of the independent circuit — not just because it makes him a champion, but because it provides the opportunity to make other men champions too.
Vance Nevada and the NWA Canadian title
“I think that at this point in my career, looking around at the independent scene and the volume of guys that are actually traveling and trying to build up themselves, their brand and the business is at an all-time low,” Nevada said in a recent interview with SLAM! Wrestling. “As Canadian champion, I genuinely want to get out and wrestle against the best talent in each circuit and create an interest in Canadian wrestling again.”
The opportunity to create some excitement on the Canadian circuit is something Nevada takes seriously. “In the history of this title, nobody has ever made an effort to make it a truly national symbol of the apex of the business in Canada,” he explained. “When the title originated, it was showcased in Toronto, but not really prominently featured on a consistent basis anywhere else in the country. In 1999, it basically became the Winnipeg title — now, I hope to get out and defend it across the country and make it a truly national benchmark for wrestlers plugging away on the Canadian scene.”
Becoming a champion is one of the many reasons athletes strive to become wrestlers — few other sports highlight a single person to represent an entire division the way wrestling does. The focus, however, tends to be on the Big Title, the one that everyone knows and talks about. The Canadian Title is not necessarily one of those titles. That doesn’t make it any less valuable, Nevada said.
“This one was more of a personal victory than a professional one for me,” he said of his title win. “Having grown up in the quagmire of Winnipeg wrestling politics, I watched as the powers that be within the Canadian branch of the NWA continually tried to close doors for me both locally and internationally. In fact, on a number of occasions, as I worked toward building the credibility of the title with the Winnipeg champion, my efforts were thwarted by the promoters that wouldn’t even allow me a match with the champion. To now hold the NWA Canadian title and take an active role in being a visible and traveling champion is something that I certainly relish a great deal.”
But Vance Nevada is not content to simply sit back and relish his moment as champion — winning the Canadian Title means defending it as a Canadian Champion, which means taking the championship on the road all across the road — something that hasn’t been done for some time.
“There have been a number of great guys in the past seven years to hold the title but I haven’t really seen anyone make an effort to make the title mean something across the country,” Nevada remarked. “It’s not a regional title, it’s a national one — and that status can only be commanded if the belt is defended from province to province.”
So Nevada has taken his title from British Columbia to Alberta to Manitoba and Ontario. He has wrestled for Power Zone Wrestling, Premier Championship Wrestling, River City Wrestling and the Pure Wrestling Association. And he has no plans to stop.
“I am currently negotiating with promoters on the east coast for title defenses in the coming months,” he said. “I think that in a short time, I have done a lot to make people aware of the title and the champion.”
Along the way, his crusade has turned some heads. Tim Strom, the co-owner of Power Zone Wrestling said Nevada has been an excellent ambassador for Canadian wrestling.
“He has been a phenomenal ambassador and I say this for very specific reasons. We are a new promotion that has only been running shows since October 2005 and Vance’s love of wrestling has helped us immensely. His experience and insight is something I personally seek out when considering talent use, booking direction and overall business structure. I trust his judgment because when all else fails, Vance is a fan of great wrestling.”
When asked if he believed Nevada was a worthy and deserving Canadian Champion, his answer was instantaneous. “He’s exactly what you read about in Ric Flair’s book. He’s a guy who can have a great match with anyone. A guy who can instantly elevate other talent by telling a compelling championship story with him. He can travel as an ambassador, a leader in the locker room — even when that locker room isn’t his home territory. Vance has all those qualities and he understands it’s all about giving the fans the memory of having seen a big championship match.”
Strom suggested it wasn’t just the fans and wrestling promotions that can benefit from a giving a good NWA Canadian Champion at the helm, but individual wrestlers would come out on top as well. “Vance is not the type of performer to take from a company and not give back. In losing to Vance Nevada, one of our top, young talents came out looking stronger and has gained considerable momentum as a result of having an NWA Title match with him.”
For Nevada, it does all come back to the other hungry wrestlers competing all over the country. It’s all about the next NWA Canadian Champion and for him — whoever and wherever he may be — he has this advice:
“There is a lot involved with being a champion — it’s more than just wearing a belt to the ring and wrestling your heart out every night. There is a lot of professional pride, poise, and political awareness involved. There is a very specific statement that you make to wrestling audiences, promoters, and your peers as the man at the top of the roster. And it is heavy pressure — both from the top contenders now, the future contenders who have their eyes open for a spot, and perhaps most importantly, the disgruntled guys that aren’t getting booked at all.
“If you want to succeed in wrestling, you need to be aware of all of these people … plus the promoters as well as the wrestling fans. And while all of this ‘awareness’ weighs on you — never lose sight of why you got into this business in the first place, and why you continue to lace up the boots night after night.”
Vance Nevada next defends the Canadian Title October 11th for Power Zone Wrestling in Lethbridge, Alberta.