The wild and wacky world of pro wrestling

John
John Browne
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Anything for a laugh and a reaction

"Is that the best you've got, Bee?" It's unlikely you have ever heard that line before. Not outside of professional wrestling, anyway.

But what do you expect from a big, mean looking, bearded man clad in black who struts into the ring with a German flag and gives the infamous salute to the fans.

Giant Grimez lands on the floor in near the front row during a MainStream Wrestling Entertainment (MSWE) match at the Jack Byrne arena in Torbay recently. - Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

"Is that the best you've got, Bee?" It's unlikely you have ever heard that line before. Not outside of professional wrestling, anyway.

But what do you expect from a big, mean looking, bearded man clad in black who struts into the ring with a German flag and gives the infamous salute to the fans.

Clearly, Josef Von Schmidt, announced as hailing from "East Berlin," was the bad guy in a match Tuesday night at the Jack Byrne Arena in Torbay against the black and yellow-masked Bee Machine, sometimes known as "Killer Bee".

The bad guy, who has been known to "pie-face" a fan or two, likes to interact with the spectators, so when a kid shouts out something negative at him, he quickly responds: "Your mother should be arrested."

Later in the same match, Von Schmidt finds himself out of the ring and in the face of a chubby kid who may or may not have said something to him.

Von Schmidt is an intimidating 6-5, 250-pounder and you are expecting something real nasty to come out of his mouth.

"You," Von Schmidt shouts, pointing to the youngster, "... stay away from the cupcakes!"

And so it goes.

Like most bad guys in pro wrestling, Von Schmidt eventually got his comeuppance, but not after a decidely-illegal move against the Bee.

With referee Adam Pelley out of the ring after sustaining an eye injury, Von Schmidt took advantage of the situation and cold-cocked Bee Machine from behind with the German flag pole.

"Get up Spidey," a young fan, confusing his superheroes, implores the Bee Machine.

Many of the crowd of just under 300 boo loudly as Von Schmidt climbs out of the ring and begins to walk out of the arena believing he's won the match despite his dastardly deed.

But wait. Not so quick, bad guy.

Seconds later, promoter and ring announcer Derin Crittick reveals, to the delight of the fans, that Von Schmidt has been disqualified for - you guessed it -clobbering his opponent with a flag pole.

The fans cheer.

Even comic mayhem, it seems, has its limits.

That's the way it goes in MainStream Wrestling Entertainment (MSWE), and any other pro wrestling outfit you can think of.

Crittick, who said he's been bringing his show to the province for the past five years, boasts, "The longest reigning, independent, professional wrestling circuit in Eastern Canada." And he's equally proud that MSWE is celebrating its 10 anniversary this year.

MSWE follows the template of pro wrestling's long tradition of pitting good buys against bad guys, and establishing who's who as quickly as possible is essential in getting the fans involved in the pro wrestling card at this level.

Most of the kids know the names and roles of their WWE superstar wrestlers, but these guys in their unfamiliar costumes could be bad or good. The kids need to know who to cheer for and who to boo if you are going to keep their interest.

Is the 338-pound green-painted head Giant Grimez good or bad?

Well, when he comes on the arena floor, he's exchanging high-fives with the fans and will let you take a picture with him in the ring (for $5), so he must be the good guy, even if he's a little scary.

The bad guys, like the grumpy Mauler, refuses to slap hands with the kids when he enters the arena - an easy clue that he's the bad guy in the Casket Match against Giant Grimez, which ends the two-hour program that evening.

The crowd in Torbay this week seemed a little hesitant, at first, to embrace these guys, but warmed-up considerably around he middle of the second match which featured Crabmeister who, the announcer said, was from St. John's.

The Crabmeister's outfit, which is hard to describe, drew the best response from the crowd.

His schtick included him crouching over and moving, mostly side to side, then wriggling his hands in front of the fans and his opponent's face while screaming "Arrrarrah!," or something akin to that sound.

It was silly, but it was a hoot and the young and old spectators clearly got a kick out of it.

While the older teenager and some adults may have taken a while to get involved vocally, the kids at the event responded much quicker with wide-eye amazement and awe, especially in the presence of the seven-foot Giant Grimez.

Northern Bay native Trisha Snelgrove and her husband, Keith, brought their three children - Coady (5), Riley (7) and Emily (9) - to the event and the kids were able to get their picture taken in the ring with Giant Grimez.

Mrs. Snelgrove laughed and said she wasn't a wrestling fan, "until the kids came along," before adding, "I must say we're enjoying it all and having a good time," and her children nodded their heads in agreement.

Later in the program, the mother of three had to run with her youngest in her arms to avoid a wrestler who was sent flying into the ringside seats.

Nine-year-old Dalton Hickey from Torbay got his T-shirt signed by Grimez and said he doesn't think he'll ever wash it again. Dalton said he didn't have a favourite in the event, but he "liked them all."

Ten-year-old Cole Hiller, proudly wearing an Undertaker T-shirt, is originally from Ontario but currently lives in Torbay, said he watches lots of wrestling on TV and he rated the event, "pretty cool."

Cole, who has several wrestling DVDs and Wii games, was seeing his favourite sport for the first time.

Nine-year-old Nanthan Winsor, who moved to St. John's from British Columbia, said it was also the first time he'd seen wrestling live and he rated it as, "really cool."

Nathan, holding an Undertaker action figure in his hands which he purchased at the souvenir stand, liked all of the wrestlers Tuesday night, but his favourite is WWE's tag team star, Jeff Hardy.

The souvenir stand was a busy place during the intermission. Among other items, kids were buying photos of the wrestlers who were on the program. They could purchase yellow Bee Machine foam fingers for $10 a pop, under a sign that said "only 100 made."

Action figures were on sale for $12 and $14 and 20 bucks would get you a wrestling T-shirt. You could also pick up wrestling videos and, oddly enough, Don Cherry's Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em hockey videos.

Everyone in MSWE has to chip in, so it was no surprise to see referee Adam Pelly selling 50-50 tickets at the break.

Pelley, who will turn 31 next month, is a former wrestler who had to give up the sport due to a back injury, has been involved with MSWE for about seven years.

The Halifax native who was diagnosed with schizophrenia 10 years ago and has written a book about it called Promises. He is usually a quiet-spoken guy, but had to yell, "Get out of the ring!" at about a dozen kids who were bouncing around during the intermission.

The program concluded with the main event Casket Match.

The object in winning the Casket Match, if it wasn't already obvious, is to put your opponent into the casket and close the lid. The thing that becomes rather obvious to the fans is that there's no way the seven-foot Grimez can fit into a six-foot coffin, but that's the fun of it.

That's the joke.

The Mauler never does find a way to stuff Grimez into the ratty looking, black casket and close the top to seal the deal and before long, Grimez gets the job done to the delight of the spectators.

Grimez proved to be the most popular wrestler, undoubtably because of his his stature and his willingness to sign dozens of autographs for the kids.

And, as it turns out, even giants need grooming.

About a half hour after the event was over and all of the fans had gone, Grimez emerged from the dressing room area wearing only a towel around his waist.

"Hey," he shouted to one of his wrestling buddies, who were helping to dismantle the ring, "got any shower gel?"

jbrowne@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Giant Grimez

Geographic location: Torbay, East Berlin, St. John's Eastern Canada Northern Bay Ontario British Columbia Halifax

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Recent comments

  • Justin
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    Looks like the place was sold out! How can a parent succumb their children to this foolishness is beyond me!!!

  • Justine
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    I, along with about 200 other moms, took my 9-year-old son to the show in Lewisporte and it was nothing short of amazing! These guys are incredible athletes, showmen, and treated by boy like a little VIP signing autographs for him, letting him draw the 50/50 ticket, and ring the bell after the performance. It was clearly a family show like they advertise (there was a bumble bee, a green giant, and a bunch more friendly caracatures) and they were great performances. Everyone there knew it was just a show and the crowd had the time of their lives. I have no issue at all with taking my kids to this entertainment event, thanks!

  • Jackie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Pro Wrestling isn't genuine Sport -- it's fake acrobatics performed by oversized men. If foolish people want to pay to see this silly entertainment, that's fine. Just don't pretend it's anything more than orchestrated Flimflammery!

    Genuine wrestling is performed in university sports programs and at Olympic events.

  • daniel
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    I don't know if I should laugh or cry.

  • Justin
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    Looks like the place was sold out! How can a parent succumb their children to this foolishness is beyond me!!!

  • Justine
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    I, along with about 200 other moms, took my 9-year-old son to the show in Lewisporte and it was nothing short of amazing! These guys are incredible athletes, showmen, and treated by boy like a little VIP signing autographs for him, letting him draw the 50/50 ticket, and ring the bell after the performance. It was clearly a family show like they advertise (there was a bumble bee, a green giant, and a bunch more friendly caracatures) and they were great performances. Everyone there knew it was just a show and the crowd had the time of their lives. I have no issue at all with taking my kids to this entertainment event, thanks!

  • Jackie
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    Pro Wrestling isn't genuine Sport -- it's fake acrobatics performed by oversized men. If foolish people want to pay to see this silly entertainment, that's fine. Just don't pretend it's anything more than orchestrated Flimflammery!

    Genuine wrestling is performed in university sports programs and at Olympic events.

  • daniel
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    I don't know if I should laugh or cry.