Get ready for some slams, as pro wrestling is set to return to the Cariboo later this week.
Monster Pro Wrestling will be hosting shows in Quesnel and Williams Lake on Saturday, May 14, and Sunday, May 15 respectively.
The show in Quesnel will take place in the St. Ann’s Parish Hall with opening bell at 7:00 p.m. and the show in Williams Lake is set for the Williams Lake Curling Club beginning at 3 p.m.
Two local wrestlers are confirmed on the card, in Williams Lake’s Stu Krool (Stuart McLellan), and Quesnel’s Rebel Knoxville. The two began training to become wrestlers during the pandemic, with their first matches taking place in empty gyms in front of virtually no fans.
Knoxville said his first match was in front of around 40 people, but his second show was in front of 450 people.
“It was a little bit of a shock,” he said with a laugh.
“I’ve been driving ten hours to do shows in Calgary, and then driving home right after and working all week for a while now, so it’s nice to have something a little more in the area.”
Krool began wrestling in truly empty arenas, with nothing but the referee and fellow wrestlers to react to. He’s shot up the rankings of Monster Pro Wrestling, even holding the promotion’s tag team championship with partner Propayne before losing the belts in early May to Rapid Fire, a team made up of Bobby Brake and Mighty KC.
“(Shows with no fans) helped me for sure,” Krool said.
“Having to figure everything out in there with no noise, so if you make any mistakes, everybody knows. It made you a really, really good wrestler.”
Both wrestlers said these initial stops were hopefully the first of many throughout the Cariboo. Krool said he hoped to turn the Cariboo into a traditional wrestling territory with monthly stops throughout the region.
“If I’m going to wrestle, I want it to be in front of a lot of people, and for them to have a good time,” Krool said.
“That’s what Monster Pro Wrestling is to us. We don’t just roll through town, put up a poster and set up a ring and go at it. We’re making it more than that.”
The 34-year-old Knoxville, said he was inspired by Diamond Dallas Page, a major star in the late-90s who also started wrestling when he was in his mid-30s, and went on to become a world champion in WCW.
“(Page) was the only reason I gave it a shot,” Knoxville, who is a lifelong wrestling fan, said.
“I just wanted to do it for fun, and once I started doing it, it turns out I was pretty damn good at it. Guys are working well into their 50s now, so I really think I’ve got a shot at something a little more.”
Krool took a more traditional path towards pro wrestling, after a successful boxing career which saw him capture a Canadian championship.
“It’s starting to come full circle for me,” Krool said on his development as a wrestler.
“It’s getting to look more like T.V. all the time… I’m happy doing just doing small promotions in the Cariboo.”
Knoxville said the group coming to the Cariboo has a good mix of veterans and rookie talent.
“Tickets are selling really fast, and a lot of people I didn’t take for wrestling fans are coming out,” he said.
“There will be a lot of first-timers there I think… It’s gonna get messy, but it’s gonna be fun.”
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