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by on 2003-03-18

The originator of locally-based wrestling in Manitoba has issued a warning that the local industry may be doomed unless changes are made in the way underage and other performers are brought into the business. The comments were provoked by a recent statement from River City Wrestling promoter Wayne Stanton comparing the recent debut of 4 underage valets in a "tag match" to the early start of Brian Jewel and Harry Smith to the industry.

Walter Shefchyk also disputed claims made by Stanton linking himself to the success of New Brand and of performers who started at Chalmers Rec Centre in the 80's, saying "Wayne needs to smarten up real fast."

Despite claims on the RCW website that Stanton was PR man for NBW in it's 1981-83 heyday, Shefchyk said that Stanton was never employed in that or any capacity by the promotion. Other than occasional ring announcing for the group at Chalmers in the early 80's, Stanton was a worker at Chalmers Community Centre who arranged a meeting with the board that opened the door.

"I'll give him, he arranged a meeting and he for sure wanted us in Chalmers but it isn't like there weren't other places to run at the time. Wayne had nothing to do with the wrestling business whatsoever, until his partners in the original River City in 92 legitimized him by letting him ride their credibility with the boys and media. He had nothing to do with New Brand Wrestling's success at all, or with River City's. When he said in his bullshit history story, how had it not been for NBW there would be no RCW today, well I want to completely disassociate my legacy from what he is doing now. That statement is an insult. He is not in the legitimate wrestling business at all."


Walter: "In the summer of 1983 a young strapping quiet kid from Elmwood started helping with the ring. He came up on the Ontario trip where we imported Ron "Might Zulu" Pope, and midgets Stanley Littlejohn who did an episode of Miami Vice, and the late Little Coco. In a tag match in Melita just prior, I hit my knee on a piece of the ring and could barely walk the next day.

Jumpin Jeff Grae was coming down for training and Brian, who was 17 at the time, got in there and showed tremendous natural ability. He went on the road to Ontario doing the ring and was kept protected in his matches at all times. He was in there with Caveman Broda and Mike Stone and Chris Pepper, guys who were pros and understood the game.

Even comparing Brian to Harry Smith is a joke. I saw Harry in Calgary when I visited with Bret Hart awhile back, Harry is tall and skinny, he was born into the business being a Hart and he is not really a good athlete. Harry is no Jewel. Not even close.

Brian, this was a different human being than the average teenager. He is not some pansy. He knew how to handle himself and would have excelled in any sport he had tried in my opinion. Brian was tough as nails, had great athletic talent and by 1986 was working on top in Kansas City with Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair. To prepare for that he was working the Road Warriors and Nick Bockwinkel on AWA TV and in the Arena, and took 2 trips to the Maritimes.

To compare letting some 14 and 16 year old girls in the ring with Brian Jewel's start is absurd. Jewel was a respectful young man in a controlled supervised professional environment, these are children running wild. They are not either superior athletes who are being trained properly, or born into the business with an advantage of being immersed into the culture from a young age. Those entrees are at least recognized as somewhat legitimate ways for 17 year olds to begin a career."


"Wayne has opened the door to anybody to get in his ring, anyone at all, without any qualifying, without them paying their dues, and who think he has an entree into the business for them. They are not getting properly trained or prepared for the business at all. The veterans all know this. Tod Bullet wrote all about it when he left as booker. It is a fact these kids will end up working wrestlers who will have no respect for them and someone will get hurt, and that is on Wayne's head. He himself has never been man enough to get in the ring, but he has no problem exposing the business to kids who are not capable of protecting themselves. I have a problem with that.

He has made his illigitimate wrestling into a beauty contest for 10 year olds. As a parent of a 15 year old daughter, not only are RCW's practices dangerous but in my opinion they cater to unhealthy whims. Wayne has no idea what he is doing with this stuff and catering to the egos of all these young girls is pathetic. A locker room cannot possibly operate in that environment.

Then he puts that pillar of the community, Louie who I well know and consider a marginal character, and then this unkempt guy tells people in the community he is a wrestling commissioner- well it hurts the entire industry. It is like a pretend world for people who cannot compete on the up-and-up.

There is no doubt the industry in Manitoba is threatened by Wayne's business practices, and that is why he should stop claiming he had anything to do with the success in New Brand's days. We opened the door for indy wrestling, not this stuff. Wayne snuck in when Dave Pinsky and Doug McColl worked with him in the original River City, and he coattailed their work and respect from the industry... even if there was no study into regulation again, which I have heard was in part provoked by the underage valet controversy, sooner or later there will be an insurance problem guaranteed. Wayne is being naive.

Someones parents are going to lose their house because their kids are let into Wayne's ring to play wrestler, and whatever waivers they signed are useless in court. When the insurance companies refuse to cover an incident because the participants are underage or untrained, flying around like the second coming of the Hardy Boys, or because the insurance is otherwise invalidated by some other practice, well that will cause lots of repercussions and kill indy wrestling for everyone because the City will get sued for sure. Or one of these kids will themselves get hurt. That isn't fair to the guys who make a living at this or are legit athletes. It isn't fair to the fans who can't afford to go to bars or pay Vince McMahon's prices. This is a profession, not a hobby for Wayne Stanton to pretend he is part of, to gratify his ego by leading a bunch of kids on who can get very hurt physically and emotionally. That is not the legacy of New Brand Wrestling, and Stanton better smarten up real fast and stop using the name of New Brand and our performers to give himself some credibility."

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Quotes 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".
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