July 16, 2003
Brito's CPW trying to grow
By GREG OLIVER -- Producer, SLAM! Wrestling
The call of wrestling has never really left Gino Brito Sr.'s blood, so it's no surprise that he finds himself promoting shows again. His little promotion in Hull, Canadian Professional Wrestling, has managed to draw crowds of over 600 people every couple of months. Now, aligned with Montreal promoter Paul Leduc's FLQ, Brito is on the hunt for bigger talent. Literally.
"Right now I'm trying to get wrestlers, I'm trying to beef them up a bit," Brito told SLAM! Wrestling. "It's nice to have the small guys, but I can to see that to draw in wrestling, you've got to have a mix of everything. We're building it up and it's coming up good."
His old friend Leduc shares the goal of finding bigger talent. According to Leduc, the basics of the business haven't changed much over the years. "The fan, he sits there to see somebody bigger than him. If he sees somebody of his size, smaller than him, he doesn't have an interest. ... We've found out it's good to have one match of high flyers. But high flyers are like the girls and the midgets, after you've seen them two, three times, it's always the same thing."
Brito has been using talent like Guy Sauriol, Wild Dangerous Dan, Righteous Rick Sterling, Thunder, Rock Hard Nick Diamond, Dynamite Tommy Blade, Psycho, Paranoid Jake Matthews, Lollipop, MVP Michael Von Payton, Brigitte, Christian Pitt, Shane Simmons, Mr. Know It All Shawn Demers on his shows in Hull. The crowds have responded, and are definitely a mix of the French and English population. "You have a split, you do, because you can hear it," said Brito. "During intermission, anyone who wants to have their picture taken with the wrestlers, so you can tell, because half of them come and talk English, half talk French."
The next show in Hull at Hull's CPW Arena is Aug. 9, and there is a show in Gracefield, Que. on July 20th. "We're not trying to fight the WWE. We're just trying to see how far we can push this thing," said Brito. "We are hoping that one day there maybe we can get it going and go to the arena, Robert Guertin Arena. But not right now. It's not ready for that."
The alliance with Leduc's Federation Lutte Quebecoise (which runs weekly in Montreal in a church hall) resulted in an angle that built up over a few shows. Eventually, it came to a head with one match. If the representative from Canadian Professional Wrestling won, then FLQ would have to change its name to the Quebec Wrestling Federation, with no French allowed. The FLQ escaped with a win to protect its heritage.
Neither man has ruled out TV down the road, especially given Brito's years of experience with International Wrestling in the 1980s. But Leduc wants to see the talent base expand throughout Quebec first. "Today for production, you need at least 150 guys for one year because all the towns want new faces," Leduc said. "We need guys from certain parts of the province because when you're making a TV show, it's good to have different guys from certain parts of the province to have interest."
Having faced a serious of health challenges - including an upcoming return to the hospital - Leduc is grateful for the opportunity to continue to work in the business he loves. "I'm glad I have that to keep me alive," he said with a laugh. "We have fun, me and Gino, we really have fun."
Greg Oliver founded SLAM! Wrestling with John Powell way back in 1996, and has been writing about pro wrestling since 1985. He is the author of the recently published book The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Canadians from ECW Press. Order it from Highspots.com. Greg can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.