Bradford Gillis is a wrestler who puts physicality first. His gear, merch and style are minimalist and fundamental not only in the ring but in all aspects of his life. Minimalist and fundamental however do not necessarily equate to conventional in his case.
Growing up on the east coast of Canada, Gillis did not discover professional wrestling as early as his peers. Without cable TV, access to the mania was lost on him until his teenage years. “I went to a pay-per-view with my Mom in 2007, Hell in a Cell. [We] would go to the movies regularly. In October 2007 there wasn’t a whole lot of options so we went as a lark,” Gillis told SlamWrestling.net. He was immediately captivated and has been ever since.
Prior to that, his juvenile entertainment interests consisted of Pokemon and Beyblade, not only the TV shows, but the trading/gaming cards and toys too. His interest in wrestling merch as a fan would not be as obsessive as his childhood anime interests, only buying a shirt or novelty sporadically.
Gillis debuted in 2012 in Ottawa, where he attended high school years earlier. He trained at Rob Fuego’s Squared Circle Training in Toronto. Later he sharpened his skills at Texas Wrestling Academy in San Antonio, and kept sharp by regularly attending Santino Marella’s Battle Arts Academy up until recently.
There have been no T-shirts so far for Gillis. Instead, 8×10 photos have been the lifeblood of his gimmick table monetization. But the 8x10s are seemingly an afterthought and supplemental to the charismatic and interactive merch table experience he provides.
This crowd psychology is not something he learned in college or in pro wrestling training. No, he learned it on the job of his full time profession as a friendly neighbourhood webslinger.
He first donned the webbed attire while attending high school in Ottawa. “I saw an ad for a birthday party company and worked for them for a couple of months. I stayed with the company for a while after I moved to Toronto to attend Humber College.” The gig didn’t last long, as Gillis soon thought to go into business for himself.
For his 19th birthday Gillis’ mother bought him his own Spider-Man suit to do parties independently but he confesses, “I never really got around to it.”
He wore the outfit for fun and attention around Ottawa and at Toronto’s Nuit Blanche Art Festival. But a light bulb turned on upon seeing another local “hero” in action: Toronto Batman. “I thought it was so cool. His suit looked awesome and I thought it was so cool he was getting paid.”
Gillis’ first outing as Spider-Man was in Niagara Falls. “People started putting money in my box. I didn’t even have to ask. I made $90 in 20 minutes.” After getting home to Toronto, Gillis abruptly got a buskers license and has been at it ever since.
As Toronto Spider-Man, Gillis’ shtick is pretty simple: Strike up a conversation with passersby and hoist them up on the shoulders.
Since Spider-Man does not come with the built-in plastic, molded, musculature of Batman, to be able to fill the red and blue outfit, and lift customers Gillis has a strict diet and gym routine. The self-described “carnivore” only eats meat and meat products (up to five pounds of beef per day) and hits the gym twice per day. It helps with the wrestling 8x10s too.
Since the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic have cut Gillis’ web slinging days short, the former Bradford Montague has now decided to rebrand himself as his real self upon returning home to the town of Montague, Prince Edward Island, this past summer where he looks forward to returning to donning the various tights once again.
WEEKLY NEWS & NOTES by Dr. Colossus
-Super 7 formally announced their newest fully detailed and articulated wrestling figures, The Good Brothers, Gallows and Anderson. The set follows the successful sales of New Japan series 1 and the Major Wrestling figure podcast figures. Series 2 of New Japan should be arriving soon.
-Amazon released yet another exclusive Undertaker Funko Pop, this time in his Boneyard Match attire. This closely follows their release of the Glow in the Dark Ministry Undertaker.
-Impact teased its next series of Micro Brawlers releasing soon on ShopImpact.com. The series features TNA World Champion Moose, Eddie Edwards, Jordynne Grace, Doc Gallows and Abyss.
-AEW series 2 & 3 both being spotted at Walmart in the U.S., nothing in Canada as of yet.