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Rasslers real Bible thumpers
By PAUL TURENNE - Winnipeg Sun




WINNIPEG - Bibles and body slams don't normally mix, but Sunday afternoon a Norwood-area church will introduce its congregation to the Camel Clutch with the hope that wrestling can update the Anglican image.

Following tomorrow's 11 a.m. service at St. Philip's Anglican Church, local rassler Hulk Hollywood will walk up to the lectern and invite the congregation downstairs for some turnbuckle-shaking action.

"I want the church to be sort of cool and hip. Tradition is fine, but let's get on with it," said David Bain, a congregant at St. Philip's who does outreach work for the church.

"This should show that we're not stiff."

Bain, who runs Savin' Dave's Gift Emporium on Broadway, got the idea to bring wrestling to the church after attending a River City Wrestling show just down the street at the Broadway Neighbourhood Centre.

He was looking for a way to update the church's image and possibly attract more people and figured the squared circle might be the way to go.

"Everyone wrestles with God in one way or another," said Bain.

"Wrestling has always been about the classic battle between good and evil."

Bain approached River City Wrestling owner Wayne Stanton, who agreed to work on the piledrivers-and-pews project.

Tomorrow's two-match mini-show at St. Philip's will serve as a demonstration to show the mostly older congregation what pro wrestling is all about, said Bain, who added he's confident they'll be impressed.

If the church gives Bain the go-ahead, he and Stanton will then go through with a summer event they've had in the works for a while.

"What the church would like to do is bring in four big-name Christian wrestlers and have them wrestle on Saturday and speak at four different churches on Sunday," said Stanton.

No names have yet been confirmed, but Stanton said he's been talking to King Kong Bundy, The Honky Tonk Man and Hacksaw Jim Duggan, among others.

The event would likely take place at the Duckworth Centre in August or September, he said.

"The theory is you use their celebrity to pack the house, fill the pews," said Bain.