November 25, 2004
CWA officially joins the NWA
By COREY DAVID LACROIX -- SLAM! Wrestling
“It’s a great day for us. To be at this stage a year later, we’re very proud of that,” said Patrick Lono, a member of the CWA management team and broadcast personality.
“We are now affiliated with the oldest professional wrestling organization in the world and that lends a lot of credibility to our product from the stand point of dealing with the fans and possible sponsors within the business community.”
Prior to the promotion’s card, the CWA roster gathered at ringside for the official announcement, which included a video presentation of various NWA board members and wrestlers issuing good tidings to the newest member of their family.
Distinguishing one wrestling group from another is an elusive endeavor in the already overcrowded Montreal wrestling landscape. By joining the NWA, there is hope that CWA will be able to make itself into a unique entity within the city’s teeming indy scene.
“It provides us with an opportunity to differentiate our product,” said Lono, explaining how the CWA is clearly focusing on attracting a broad spectrum of athletic talent. In particular, the desire to maintain heavyweight grapplers
“The tendency today is to go towards smaller wrestlers. We decided to go towards a different approach and focus on the heavyweights. We probably have one of the strongest heavyweight divisions in the province.”
It was a buoyant atmosphere among the wrestlers and staff Saturday night; a sense that the future will get better. But that was not always the case.
First launched in August of 2003, CWA struggled to draw patrons.
“There was minimum success simply because of a lack of experience,” is how Lono described the state of the promotion at that time.
“Things weren’t easy and unfortunately at that point, CWA had not built up a very good reputation with the wrestlers and the fans. It was a challenge in the beginning and it still is a challenge today to get bigger and better.”
The current management team took charge of the promotion in December of last year and quickly set out a game plan to make CWA a must see attraction. Not an easy task, bearing in mind that on almost every weekend, there are two or more wrestling shows taking place in Montreal and surrounding vicinity, splintering the local fan base.
Ultimately, it was the roster that had to turn business around.
“We’ve been fortunate thus far that we’ve had some great talent come to us. Some of the elite of the province is with us right now and we’re very happy to have them all here. Everybody works very hard and the product has just gotten better and better.”
Dru Onyx is one of the members of the roster who has benefited greatly with his affiliation with the NWA.
“As a fan of the sport, I have always loved the NWA and what it means -- tradition, strong wrestling and a commitment to excellence,” said Onyx.
“It was always in my mind that if I had a chance to wrestle for any promotion, it would be the NWA.”
Not only is Onyx the current CWA Heavyweight Champion, but he also holds the NWA British Commonwealth title and the NWA UK-Hammerlock title.
“A dream was fulfilled,” he said in describing his current multi-title reign.
“When I started winning titles I saw it as an opportunity to better myself as a worker and get some name recognition. The NWA allows that by giving you a medium to wrestle in different places and network with people.”
The opportunity to travel and gain exposure has placed Onyx in an envious position among the vast majority of independent wrestlers in the Quebec. But rather than hog the spotlight all to himself, he decided to spearhead the effort to establish CWA as a full-fledge, NWA member. In doing so, the hope is to grant wrestlers the opportunity to travel beyond the borders of Quebec and show what they can do in the ring elsewhere.
“How good can you be if you’re stuck in one place? I think that’s the biggest problem with workers in Quebec. They don’t venture out,” said Onyx.
“They never see the bigger picture, they never see the possibility. Now I’m providing an opportunity to people who are dedicated to the craft to put up or shut up. There’s a lot of talented people in CWA that should get an opportunity if it’s presented to them.”
“In Dru, we have one of the most complete workers in the province,” praised Lono on how invaluable Onyx has been to the promotion.
“He’s a guy who can deliver in the ring, has great promo skills, knows how to showcase his talent and knows how to showcase the talents of others. Dru has really carried this promotion on his shoulders and has always been about promoting CWA ahead of himself. Without him, none of this would have been possible.”
Aside from there NWA membership, the promotion is also turning heads with their emphasis on utilizing multi-media via their website.
“What’s lacking with indy promotions is the multi-media production,” said LuFisto.
It was just last year that the seven-year female wrestling veteran went back to school to retrain in the multi-media field. Prior to this, she has spent most of her career maintaining her own personal website.
“You can have the best workers, but you need the production to match the talent. You want to produce a wrestling show, but also a show itself. It’s all about story telling,” she said.
By utilizing her skills in designing event posters, entrance videos and interview segments, LuFisto is helping to transfer story lines from the venue to the internet where fans can follow along on the latest sagas and feuds.
“Every promo that is presented on the website throughout the month is presented at the show,” she said. “We want to make sure that if you miss a show, you will be able to follow along and understand what’s going on. Why are these two guys wrestling each other? What’s the purpose of this feud? Where is it going?”
Despite clocking some 60 hours a month into the various media formats needed for the promotion’s site and live show, it is time spent pursuing a passion on two fronts.
“Not only am I working in multi-media in videos, graphics and websites which I love to do, but I’m also mixing it with my other passion, wrestling. So I’m really happy working for CWA-NWA Quebec,” she said.
“The internet is a market that you definitely have to cater to,” added Lano.
“It allows people to follow the story lines and it’s been very profitable for us. People enjoy it and it keeps bringing the fans to the show, which is the goal of any promotion.”
With 2005 on the horizon, CWA-NWA Quebec will have no shortage of wrestling as they attempt to elevate their product even further, including the addition of the NWA Canadian Tag Team championship.
great honor for us that the NWA would trust us to run with that title,” said
Lano. “We’re also looking to bring in new talent. We started off small and
we’re getting bigger every time. It’s the formula that’s working for us and
we’re going to stick with it.”
Corey David Lacroix can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.