Adam Dykes, who wrestled across the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada since 1996 as El Antorchia (later Torch) and then as Adam Firestorm, took his own life on Thursday evening, according to his brother’s posting on Facebook.
Jules Dykes wrote: “I will love you forever. Fiercely and deeply. You were the one person in this world who understood me. You were a piece of me that lived somewhere else. I will NEVER be the same. This world is now a very dark place. I miss you desperately, deeply, and forever.”
His wife, Emele Aitken Dykes, also made a posting to Facebook: “There are no words. I am so sad and so sorry and I know God holds you in the palm of his hands. Thomas and I will always love and miss you.”
Dykes, a native of Auckland, New Zealand, who moved to Vancouver when his father got a job with Expo 86, was a devoted student of the art and history of professional wrestling with an extensive video library and a fondness for old school AWA, NWA and WWWF, and for quirky — as in really bad — matches as well.
His website bio stated, “I’m not sure what the first match I ever saw was, but it involved Rick Martel, and I remember being impressed with his athleticism and acrobatics. Little did I know he was a major player back home in New Zealand.”
Trained in theatre and radio, a skilled videographer and voice artist, he hosted a wrestling hotline and published a mag and programs for local promotions with his friend James Olson. They trained together in John Parlett’s backyard and he was part of the earliest ECCW shows at the Eagles Hall with Billy Two Eagles and Matt Borne main eventing in bloody brawls.
As Torch he became an ECCW fan favorite for his clever and acrobatic style in their late-’90s heyday, capturing the ECCW Heavyweight title, the NWA Canadian Junior Heavyweight Title (twice), the Pacific Northwest Junior Heavyweight title (twice), and unifying the NWA Canadian and NWA Pacific Northwest Junior Heavyweight titles. As Adam Firestorm, he was ranked in the PWI top 500 at 422 in 2000, 269 in 2002 and 317 in 2005. He was also known for wrestling and commentary on the Portland Wrestling TV show.
Operating a home business under Adam Firestorm Productions, he developed websites and produced television and online episodes and commercials for promotions such as Wrestling Supershow. He was also involved with the Island Sports and Entertainment proposal that got to pitch for financing on CBC-TV’s Dragons Den, after producing a demo reel (and did the commentary with Marty Goldstein) for a successful pitch to get ISE’s Power Pro Wrestling optioned by KVOS in Washington State. His last video was the passing of the Olympic Torch not far from his home.
Adam was a passenger in a van that was severely damaged after colliding with an elk on Vancouver Island last month returning from an indy card home to Victoria. He wrote about it on his blog:
“Shows don’t occur too often around here anymore, so I jumped at the chance to work on a PWA show here in Victoria, BC. I had such a good time catching up with people, and enjoyed being back in the show atmosphere again that even though my booking for the next night’s All Star Wrestling show fell through, I decided to head up to Campbell River anyway, just to help out or hang out.
“Of course, the number one rule of wrestling is “always bring your gear.” I ended up wrestling my old nemesis Disco Fury in the opener. I won’t lie and say that it was a mat classic, but it was great to be in a ring again, even if it was for the last time. Disco and I have literally had hundreds of matches over the years, and I don’t think I would have done the match if it had been with anyone else.
The Facebook pictures showed bloody pock-marks all over his face, or as he put it to me, “I got an elk’s ass in my face, so I sold a bit.”
His website further described the incident:
“I got a mouthful of glass, and a few days later I am STILL finding glass in my ears, up my nose, in my scalp, hands, everywhere. The next day it was still in my shoes and socks… Everyone got rattled severely from the impact. I’m still stiff and sore and walk like the Iron Sheik. My head is healing way fast, and my leg looks nothing like it did even yesterday. We were very lucky that a first aid attendant was driving past, and he was able to check on us and make sure the RCMP and an ambulance were on the way. Initially, I was told that I’d need to go to the hospital, but after getting cleaned up a bit, they realized none of my cuts needed stitches. I did have hundreds of cuts, mind you, but they were all caused by smaller pieces of flying glass, and not major shards or anything.
So we are all very lucky. And I can joke that I took an elk’s butt to the face and lived to talk about. Even perhaps comment on any recent meals he had eaten. When you look at what was left of the van, you can see how very close I came to being killed. It’s a very humbling (second Sheiky reference!) and sobering (obviously not a Sheik reference) experience.
At the time of his passing, Dykes was preparing a development treatment for a new outreach project with Goldstein and former Stampede wrestler Dan Kroffat, that arose from the sudden death in September of Kerry Brown. Adam was married with one son, but the marriage was not smooth for the past several months.
His website remains at www.adamfirestorm.com. He is survived by his parents Merv and Tina and siblings Jason, Jules, and Katina.
His final blog post was about the passing of Captain Lou Albano.
Captain Lou Albano R.I.P.
By Adam Firestorm on October 24th, 2009
Well, I’ve been taking it easy of late. You know, recovering from the elk accident and whatnot, and generally being rather thankful for what I have. In fact, we celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving last week, so it was a good time to reflect.
I was very sad to hear about the passing of one of the truly great pro wrestling performers, Captain Lou Albano.
When I was younger, I owned a copy of the Coliseum Home Video release “The Life and Times of Captain Louis Albano,” and I watched it so many times, I am really shocked the tape didn’t disintegrate.
For a long time after he made his transition from full-time wrestler to manager in the WWWF, Lou was a hated villain. He was kooky, he was goofy, he was wacky (aren;t those all words meaning the same thing?). But one thing he certainly was was COLORFUL. He walked the line between madman and genius in his television interviews, and gave his wrestlers instant credibility (and hatred) just but their association with him. In fact, it’s somewhat safe to say that in those days, Lou was in the top three heels in the company. “Huh?” you ask, “a manager was one of the top heels?” Absolutely. The hated Albano would bring in wrestler after wrestler to attack and attempt to dethrone the perennial babyface WWWF champion Bruno Sammartino (and succeeded with Ivan Koloff), and later with Pedro Morales and Bob Backlund.
He was so establised and known, that by the time wrestling made it’s huge mainstream/crossover effort in the mid-1980s, Albano was at the helm, seeing the error of his ways and the “Guiding Light” in fact embraced the light. He also helped spearhead the “Rock ‘n Wrestling Connection,” which garnered a type of coverage not usually afforded that seedy pro wrestling stuff.
He also dedicated his time to a number of charities. For a time, he acted as co-chair (with Cyndi Lauper) of the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, raising millions of dollars for the cause. Of course, he also had action figures, appeared in the WWF cartoon, and went on to do movies and the Super Mario Brothers Super Show (where he played Mario in the live-action segments).
Those who know me also know I love a lot of the work the WWE production department has done with some of the special videos that air on television and pay-per-view. I honestly think they’ve slipped in quality in recent years, but that’s just me. This past week, however, I feel they regained their award-winning reputation. What was the subject of the video? A tribute to the life and times of Lou Albano. I honestly think it was a great piece, and I’ve included the video below for you to enjoy as well. R.I.P. Capper! Thanks for the memories.