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Stampede Wrestling brings big show to Cochrane
Local wrestler Devon Nicholson taking on seven–foot behemoth in main event
By CORY PYTLARZ - Cochrane Times




It's not everyday that you see a Cochrane man fight a giant.

But this is exactly what will be taking place at the Spray Lake Sawmills Sports Centre May 12 when Stampede Wrestling comes to town and local wrestler Devon Nicholson meets seven-foot, 385-pound ex-WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) star Matt Morgan in the main event.

"He just basically destroys people," admits Nicholson, 23, of his daunting opponent. "I usually do a lot of suplexes and stuff, and he's going to be hard guy to suplex."

An understatement perhaps.

"My game plan would just be to wear him out," Nicholson hints. "Hopefully his cardio will be a little worse than mine, and he'll probably be a bit slower than me."

At six feet four inches and 285 pounds, Nicholson, a.k.a. Kid Nichols, is no lightweight himself. To be sure, not many local jocks would poke him in the chest.

Yet the local ring king, who moved to Cochrane about five years ago from Ottawa, is a big enough man to admit he's just a tad afraid of his upcoming opponent.

"Yeah, there's some fear," he says, "because if he hits you it's going to hurt.

"If he throws me or power-bombs me or something, I'm coming down from seven feet ... it's pretty dangerous getting in there."

The David versus Goliath match-up will be just one of seven matches on the card next month as Cochrane wrestling fans will get a chance to see a mix of old-school stars and a crop of young wrestlers who are looking to make their mark on the wrestling world.

Highlighting the line-up will be the Honky Tonk Man, who most casual fans haven't see for the last two decades or so since he was battling the likes of Randy 'Macho Man' Savage and 'Hacksaw' Jim Duggan.

"The Honky Tonk Man is one of my favourite guys from the '80s," says Nicholson, who is organizing the event.

"I know he draws well wherever he goes. He still wrestles two or three times a week."

Former WWE stars Lance Storm and Rhino will also be going head-to-head.

"There's going to be all different types of matches," Nicholson says. "The Honky Tonk Man's will be more probably a comedy match.

"It's going to be a family-oriented show," Nicholson assures.

"The last one ... there was a bit of swearing and I can guarantee you there's not going to be any foul-language this time.

"There won't be really any bad matches on the card," he adds.

"All of those guys, fans will be able to get pictures and autographs with them in the intermission."

But though the evening offers an adrenalin rush, let's be honest. Wrestling is a fake, choreographed drama, right?

Not according to Nicholson.

In fact, he invites skeptics to step inside the ring to find out.

"Get in there, because I guarantee you it's not," he says. "I've been in real fights, and I've been in lots of amateur fights and wrestling is more real.

"You can't really say it's fake. You hear it when you're hit," he adds. "When you're getting thrown down from seven feet ... it's going to hurt."

Nicholson has been wrestling professionally since July 2001, and he's probably best known as the character Hannibal in Puerto Rico, where he recently held the IWA Intercontinental Championship belt.

So successful was his recent nine-month stint as a villain in the Central American country that the local kid is now moving there permanently this summer.

"I can wrestle full-time there," he says. "I don't think I lost for the first five months I was out there, and they really liked my character."

With five hours of wrestling coverage on TV each week, you could say that Puerto Rico is wrestling-crazy.

"Out of three million people on the island, one million watch the show every week," Nicholson explains.

His ultimate goal, however, continues to be the glitz and glamour of the WWE.

"I've got three try–outs in May," Nicholson says. "You go back there and work out with the guys in the afternoon, and you possibly get a match at night if they have time."

And he knows the routine well, having taken part in 10 try-outs already to date. He even got in a match last May on SmackDown versus Heidenreich.

"I basically just got my butt kicked," he laughs. "It was fun because that was the biggest crowd I had wrestled in front of at that point."

But despite the beating, Nicholson says he relished the experience.

"I know a lot of guys freeze up when they get in there, but I felt completely at home," he says. "It was probably the happiest moment of my life."

Nicholson also has matches slated this year in Nigeria, Europe and possibly Japan.

"This year I have a lot of opportunities to go other places," he says. "There's jobs everywhere."

Tickets to the May 12 show in Cochrane can be purchased at the Spray Lake Arena box office. General tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door, while ringside seats are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. The event begins at 7:30 p.m.

RELATED LINKS

  • May 24, 2005: Cochrane's 'Kid' coming home for more Karnage
  • June 9, 2005: Kid Nichols headed to Puerto Rico
  • Stampede Wrestling website