December 9, 2005
Border tougher for wrestlersLex woes common: promoter
By PAUL TURENNE - Winnipeg Sun
Wrestlers, it seems, have more trouble getting into Canada than other travellers.
The Winnipeg Sun ran a story yesterday [Perplexed on Lex] about how former World Wrestling Federation star Lex Luger didn't make it into Canada for a pair of Action Wrestling Entertainment shows at the University of Manitoba this week.
The Canada Border Services Agency was restricted by privacy laws and could not say why Luger was turned away, and AWE promoter Mike Davidson said he did not know the official reason. (Luger was later held in the Hennepin County Jail in Minneapolis on outstanding drug charges.)
But yesterday's story prompted another local wrestling promoter to vent about the border.
"It's very rare (wrestlers) can ever come in without a problem," said Andrew Shallcross, director of operations for Premier Championship Wrestling. "The worst feeling as a promoter is standing at the airport gate waiting to see if your guy comes through.
"I've talked to guys who used to be in the WWE and they say Canada's terrible and Winnipeg is the worst."
Shallcross said he even had trouble getting Steve Corino, a Winnipeg-born Canadian citizen, into Winnipeg recently. The border officer told Corino someone had phoned ahead and warned them he was coming, something Shallcross says happens suspiciously often in the wrestling world.
Loretta Nyhus, a spokeswoman for the Canada Border Services Agency, said wrestlers are considered performing artists, and usually don't even need a permit to come to a show in Canada, depending on a few variables.
The officers work within certain legal parameters, she said.
Other Winnipeggers who deal regularly with the border say it's a piece of cake.
"In 23 years I've only had two or three people not get across the border," said Dave McKeigan, manager of the Pyramid Cabaret. "Basically, if you do everything you're supposed to do you won't have a problem."
Craig Heisinger, general manager of the Manitoba Moose, said the team addresses border issues at a meeting before the season and almost never has any problems.