The Territory That Could Have Been pt.2
Behind the Story So Far
The story of how a Winnipeg wrestling production even got
to the point of being recruited to run shows in the Maritimes
is worth telling, as it helps in understanding the strange
twisting events that almost resulted in a great Canadian
crew, including future WWF stars, coming together.
Not many people have gotten calls out of the blue, asking
if they would be interested in helping produce a wrestling
tour in a dead territory halfway across the country. In
1996, the Maritimes was dead as a doornail. Stephen Pettipas
had tried to follow in Emile Dupre's footsteps and had failed
I was just such a person, getting a phone call one August
morning begging me to bring the dormant Rough House Rasslin'
productions to new Brunswick. An invitation from a backer
halfway across the country was not only unexpected but flattering.
However,I was still not interested.
I had broken a major scandal about the very corrupt Manitoba
Boxing and Wrestling Commission on CBC TV in March 1995,
and I was feeding stories to local media outlets. Also I
was very much enjoying that summer, as a particularly sexy
20 year old ex-girlfriend had come back into my life and
we were enjoying a rather fun and unconventional relationship,
and I was producing bar events and working with big music
acts in the evenings. I had been left very disillusioned
by my experience in the wrestling industry in 1994 and continued
developing a career outside of it until my concerns were
But almost for 2 weeks every morning the phone rang. How
do I find out if there is a wrestling commission, how much
should we budget for the boys, is radio a good PR option...
Finally the question that broke my resolve. The company
needed a ring. Having never been to the Maritimes, I had
no idea where to start, and to top it off the frequent morning
calls were ruining my fun. So I suggested the friend/promoter
call a retired wrestler I knew who had worked for Emile.
Maybe he could help her out.
By that evening, the phone rang and I got an offer I had
to consider. A deal had been struck and I was volunteered
to come out of retirement myself. I was now more convinced
than ever that Dirty Dan Denton was a hell of a worker,
in all meanings of the term.
Dan was living in New York, having basically retired from
the ring in 1991 to work as a journalist in Mexico City.
Born in Fredricton, he convinced the promoter to pay him
a very healthy sum to headline the shows as Canadian Heavyweight
Champion, as he never lost the belt he won in the waning
days of Al Tomko's All Star Wrestling in Vancouver.
In part one, a number of bases were covered quickly, and
were not as simple as it sounded. Denton engineered an agreement
for all my basic concerns to be met, such as booking autonomy,
all crew expenses paid, my payoff, and proof of funding
on deposit. I was then able to put together half the crew
out of Winnipeg, and were the guys ever stoked, especially
Kerry Brown and Stan Saxon.
Kerry had enjoyed huge success in the early 80's in Quebec
and the Maritimes as Rick Valentine, but as an old style
"big ugly heel" the WWF and evryone else had passed him
by. Between Dan as a returning home town boy cum champion,
and Kerry's notoriety, there was no doubt the shows would
Saxon had gone to work for Emile as a rookie and blew out
his knee against Leo Burke. He was now developing a new
character, the masked Brother Midnite, and his Dusty Rhodes/Midnite
Rider interview style was hilarious. He figured that in
the still-christian influenced Maritimes, he had a winning
idea, and I agreed.
Still, we needed half a crew, mostly of babyfaces. It was
then that Denton figured we should call a friend and fellow
journalist he had worked with for Grand Prix who was now
training guys in Toronto.
Enter Ron Hutchison.
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from the boys:
Ed Moretti says "Relax there kid. Who's calling this match...them or us? They bought the tickets to see us, not the other way around".