Isn’t WrestleMania still a few months away? Wrestling fans in Caledonia, Ontario may be confused this weekend, given the number of legends that are going to be there for Championship Wrestling International’s Fall Brawl event. Over a dozen former WWE stars, along with several of Ontario’s finest independent talent, will be on hand for the event, which is also a fundraiser for the Miles To Go cancer support group.
Sid Vicious, Brutus Beefcake, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, Tatanka, the Highlanders, the New Age Outlaws, Sean “X-Pac” Waltman, Steve Corino, Scott Steiner, and Greg “the Hammer” Valentine are just some of the names that have been booked for the show. They will join local favourites like Tyson Dux, the Flatliners, Michael Elgin, Big Daddy Hammer, Rip Impact, RJ City, and Sebastian Suave, in making what promoter Nick “Nitro” Wyman hopes will be the biggest show of the year.
“I want to make a statement in Ontario,” he told SLAM! Wrestling just days before the big event,”and try to provide (fans with) pro wrestling the way we remember it. I love the idea of (presenting them) with another option besides (WWE). I know the fans want to see it, and I’m (going to) give it to them.”
Maybe even more importantly, Wyman wants to use the show to raise awareness and money for Miles To Go. The charity has a great deal of personal significance for Wyman, as his mother Rosanne was a spokesperson for the group before succumbing to the illness in 2008.
“My mother was the perfect advocate for the group, as she survived cancer twice. She (handled a lot of) the speaking engagements, and was even pictured on a book with Lance Armstrong. She’s the main reason why I’m putting on the event. She was the best woman in the world, and I want to immortalize her wishes of hope for survivors.”
Still, even though it’s very much a labour of love, there are still practical matters that need to be dealt with when putting on a show of this magnitude. Finances, production, talent wrangling, and booking are all part of putting on an event. Fortunately, Wyman isn’t doing this alone, and has a solid team helping him out.
“I have some very large supporters,” he said. “I have a lot of sponsors who want to support this and give help to the charity, so that helps (with the costs). I’ve hired a team of advertisers and formed a board of directors that meet every two weeks.”
One of the people involved is occasional SLAM! Wrestling contributor Donnie Abreu, who is involved in the booking of the card. Abreu is excited about the show, and is quite pleased with the product that they will be presenting on Saturday.
“When there is this much talent on a show,” he said, “management has to determine the best way to use that talent. Failure to do so can really hurt the event. I’m incredibly happy with the way the card looks on paper.”
Which, obviously, is the point when putting on a wrestling show. Not just for the fans in attendance, but also for people who will watch the show later on — and Wyman noted that there will be plenty of opportunities for them to do so.
“We have a TV deal,” he shared,” and will be recording six episodes at the show. Also, the show Mantracker will be there, taping the match featuring Turcan Celik, who is a cast member of that show. Also, I just confirmed and signed a deal with a film company that is producing a documentary about wrestling at the event’s venue, and they will be filming at the event as well.”
In addition to the wrestling show, the weekend will include another fundraising event, called Big Hair For Little Kids. That event, which will be held in Brantford, Ontario on Friday, November 5, will benefit two foundations geared at supporting child cancer patients. Brutus Beefcake will be at the event, signing autographs and doing some of his trademark “cutting and strutting.”
In all, the weekend promises to be a huge one for wrestling fans, and Wyman is hopeful that this will be just one of many more to come. He’s planning to book four to five shows next year, of equal size and calibre.
“We will not be a flash in the pan,” he predicted. “I want to continue to raise support and awareness for my show and for the charity because I really do want to make a difference.”