Canadian wrestling fans are in for an extra special Canada Day celebration, as TigerFest returns to Brampton July 1. One of the stars expected to appear at the event will be former WWE and New Japan Pro Wrestling superstar Harry Smith.
“I’m glad to see other wrestlers up there like Sonjay Dutt, who is a good friend of mine, and will be a part of the show,” Smith said. “I have friends like Will Hunter and Ronnie Gaffe, and my Uncle Smith sometimes resides in Ontario too.”
TigerFest is a one-day festival, run by legendary pro wrestlers Tiger Jeet Singh and his son Tiger Ali Singh. This year marks the 18th annual TigerFest and the event was created to raise money to support hospitals, public schools and generally any other organizations in need of financial assistance. Donations from this year’s event will be contributed towards William Osler Health System Foundation and Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness.
This is a very family-friendly event, which involves live music, amusement rides, miniature golf and of course, wrestling. Being a member of the Hart family, Smith is well aware that Canada loves wrestling. He’s had plenty of great memories of Canada Day himself, and hopes to create new ones at TigerFest on Monday.
“Oh yes, many great Canada Day memories, most being spent in Calgary of course,” Smith said. “My grandfather’s house was just such an amazing place; so many great memories of being there.”
Over the years, TigerFest has developed a bit of a South Asian theme, featuring Bollywood dancers, and East Indian singers and wrestlers as well. But the Tigers were always able to attract a diverse audience and the event is certainly open to all cultures.
“My opponent or opponents have yet to be announced. I’m looking forward to the event overall though,” Smith said. “Tiger Sr. and Jr. both have great reputations in Canada. Being able to be a part of this event is a huge honour. Tiger was a huge star in Japan too, and is a legend there. I’m now making a home in New Japan Pro Wrestling, the same promotion that Tiger was once a huge star of too.”
Smith is no stranger to the South Asian culture. He did spend a bit of time touring India, through Jeff Jarrett’s Ring Ka King project.
“India experience was good; production was awesome, except I got very ill and wound up bed-ridden in a hospital bed in Punai, India. It was I think from ice that had melted in a drink, and it was a very scary experience,” Smith said. “Working with Jeff was good. He was very good friends with my Uncle Owen, and thinks the world of my family. There were never any real serious talks about me going to TNA, but it is a possibility someday. I think things have worked out perfectly with New Japan, and I feel that I am having more success there than ever. Like I mentioned before, Tiger Singh made a huge career in Japan, and in the U.S. and Canada, but he was known best in Japan. It’s just such a great place.”
The wrestling begins at 6 p.m. and will feature several former WWE, TNA and ECW stars, as well as two current ROH stars (Rhino and Steve Corino) and an appearance by both Tiger Ali Singh, who will compete in the main event, and his father Tiger Jeet Singh. There will also be a meet-and-greet with the Tigers and the other superstars after the event. In addition to this, there will be a concert, featuring a performance by the band Hedley, and an appearance by Canadian Olympian and 2010 Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist in wrestling, Ohenewa Akuffo, who will serve as guest timekeeper for the wrestling event.
TigerFest takes place Monday, July 1 in Brampton, Ontario at Donald M. Gordon Chinguacousy Park (9050 Bramalea Rd.) from 12 noon to 10 p.m.