He’s survived matches with Cody Rhodes, Samoa Joe and KENTA but Michael Richard Blais is literally in for the longest night of his life on Saturday (May 13).
The Alberta wrestler is set to take on the Infinity Gauntlet – he will be in the ring for eight straight hours to not only celebrate his 20 years in the business but also to raise donations in support of the Edmonton-based Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation.
The event will be streamed on May 13th from noon to 9 p.m. MST at youtube.com/godsgiftmrb and each match will have a 30-minute time limit. After every fourth match there will be a brief five-minute or less intermission and all the results will be tallied. The ultimate goal for Blais is to earn more wins than losses, but in reality, he said it’s a way to give back and reflect on an amazing 20-year ride.
Blais said he had been thinking about doing some sort of event to recognize his time in the business for years, but that the eight-hour gauntlet is one that’s easy for everyone to wrap their heads around.
“Everybody knows what an eight-hour work day is,” he said. “So even if they don’t understand wrestling they can understand an eight-hour work day.”
He said the majority of the matches will be singles but hinted at some surprises throughout the stream. Speaking of surprises, Blais said he’s been astonished at the support his fundraiser has already received.
He had initially set a goal for $1,600 – $100 for every half hour – but just eight hours after launching the fundraiser it had been hit. That goal was quickly bumped up to $5,000, which was again smashed. The new goal is now set at $10,000, and as of press time the total raised sits just under $8,000.
Blais said it’s staggering and inspiring to see the support.
“It makes me proud of the wrestling community,” he said. “Wrestling is filled with a lot of really good people and when you get to the core of it, it’s probably the most supportive and best group of people you can meet in life.”
He shared that his longest match was a 70-minute contest with Brandon Van Danielson about 10 years ago. Blais said he felt great after that match (despite losing), and he’s confident he can hold up during the Infinity Gauntlet.
Lasting 20 years in the pro wrestling business is a remarkable accomplishment especially considering Blais first started training at the age of 13. He was obsessed with the sport as a kid growing up in Calgary and nearly got on the short-lived Matrats TV show before it got shelved. Eventually he got connected to the local indie scene and began his education in the sport with members of the Hart family.
Trained primarily by TJ Wilson and Randy Myers, Blais said he was learning the ropes for years before finally earning an opportunity on a Prairie Wrestling Alliance show. He said he was a chubby kid and promoters were initially reluctant to use him, but over time he earned the respect of Wilson who told local promoters to give him an opportunity.
“Me and Brandon [Van Danielson] trained two or three days a week and it turned into four to five days a week with TJ and the training was as hard as some of the matches we would do years later,” he said. “I probably did 200 matches just in that training school. It was about two years before TJ kept pushing promoters constantly to get us on shows.”
Blais said learning for such a long time before performing in front of fans was actually a blessing in disguise. He said he was so comfortable in the ring by the time he made his debut and he learned the fundamentals. He believes that is why he has had so few injuries in his career despite being known for taking spectacular high risks.
Blais was originally known as Chucky Blaze and Chucky the Boy Wonder and early on competed mostly for the Calgary-based Stampede Wrestling and the PWA. He won the Stampede British Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight title in 2007 – a championship with a fantastic lineage including winners like Bret Hart, The Dynamite Kid, Owen Hart and Chris Benoit. Blais was the second-last holder of that belt.
He went on to win the PWA Cruiserweight title, PWA Canadian Tag Team titles and made his B.C. debut in 2008. He continued making his way up the cards all over western Canada and then won the PWA title on June 23, 2012.
Blais established himself as a main event talent in PWA for much of the 2010s and became a go-to guy for big name fly-in talent like the aforementioned Samoa Joe and Cody Rhodes. Blais said PWA promoter Kurt Sorochan built the brand into something special.
“When I started, the goal locally was always PWA,” he said. “It was the benchmark for Alberta wrestling for a number of years. Kurt built such a good thing. He reached beyond the area and brought in guys like Cody and Joe and drew big crowds at his shows at NAIT. It was always seen as a top company at that time.”
He said the matches with Joe (2015) and Cody (2016 and 2017) were big for his confidence and growth. Blais said his first match with Cody was one of the American Nightmare’s early matches after leaving WWE. Cody called up Wilson and asked who he should wrestle in Alberta – Wilson recommended Blais. Cody watched videos of Blais and said expressed interest in working with him. He said Cody gave him a massive compliment after their first match.
“He gave me a big hug and said it was just like working TJ,” Blais recalled. “To me that was the biggest compliment ever because TJ is my mentor and I consider him to be one of the best ever in-ring wrestlers.”
Blais said he and Cody worked twice more and they felt more like peers. The duo’s final match was a 30-minute draw for both the PWA and ROH title on Nov. 25, 2017 in Edmonton.
While he was starring all over western Canada, he was also trying to earn an opportunity with WWE. He appeared on Monday Night RAW on Feb. 6, 2017 as “Rob Kelly” – one of four men who lost in a handicap match to Braun Strowman. He also appeared on NXT teaming with the former Lars Sullivan and losing to the team of Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano.
Blais went on to perform on 205 Live and battled Hideo Itami (aka: KENTA). He’s also been an extra numerous times for WWE. He attended a try-out in 2019 and wrestling for a big company is still on his list of goals.
“It’s one of those things where the timing hasn’t worked out,” he said. “I was emailing William Regal back and forth for a while and everyone I’ve talked to from there has been super complimentary. It’s still a goal for me.”
After several years away, 2022 saw Blais explode back on the scene in B.C. He competed for the Vancouver-based Nation Extreme Wrestling and is the current WrestleCore champion. He has been the Vancouver-based company’s Infinity title holder since Aug. 14, 2022.
“The B.C. scene is really popping off and I think it’s because the people that stuck it out worked really hard to change from the way it was before,” he said. “Specifically, the Lions Gate Dojo with Nicole [Matthews] and Arty [Spencer] – everyone is supportive of each other and people want to see everyone succeed.”
Blais said he really enjoys the atmosphere at WrestleCore and promoter Kobra Kai encourages wrestlers to be creative.
“He has such a ridiculous mind and comes up with these crazy things but he’s so good at pulling out strengths in people,” he said. “He motivates you to try different things.”
He said he sees similar positive things with Edmonton’s Love Pro Wrestling, which launched in 2021. He said promoter Spencer Love has created a brand with a lot of potential and is a great place for wrestlers to grow.
“Everybody is working hard to make sure everyone is successful,” he said. “There’s a real focus on helping people get seen and Spencer has brought in some really good talent. He’s doing what I always hoped would happen in Alberta – it’s a different vibe and people are encouraged to think outside the box.”
Blais is a former LPW Grand Champion and has been one of the key performers in the promotion.
The end of the pandemic also made it easier for Blais to achieve another goal – compete for the Washington State-based DEFY. He made his debut there on March 11, 2023.
On top of all his work in the ring, Blais is also a trainer. He is the head of the Clandestine Wrestling Society training school. Based in Edmonton, the school has helped develop several notable talents including Zoe Sager, Taryn From Accounting and Steven Crowe.
Blais said he actually enjoys training more than wrestling these days.
“I never thought I’d like anything more than myself wrestling,” he said, with a chuckle. “But when I see the light bulb go off in someone’s head, it’s so amazing and you get such an exciting feeling.”
He said aside from Sager, TFA and Crowe, Alberta talents to watch for include Reid Matthews and Marz the Specialist. On the B.C. scene, he said newcomer Casey Ferreira and State of Emergency’s Sebastian Wolfe and Miles Deville all have tremendous potential.
Blais said it should be a busy summer, as he will be competing regularly for LPW and WrestleCore. LPW shows occur on the last Thursday and Friday of each month in Edmonton.
WrestleCore has The WrestleCore of Oz show set for Vancouver’s Rickshaw Theatre on June 9 and then a special show at the Russell and Roots music festival on July 29 in Surrey. The promotion closes off the summer with the annual two-day Lucha Libre Spectacular outdoor show at The Waldorf in Vancouver on Aug. 5 and 6.
For more on Blais, visit clandestinewrestlingsociety.com.