January 24, 2008
Newfoundland hosting Sailor White tribute show
By RICHARD KAMCHEN - SLAM! Wrestling
Republic Pro Wrestling will stage its first-ever show January 26, an all-ages event at St. John's, Newfoundland's CLB Armoury to honour deceased wrestler and trainer Ed "Sailor" White.
"We all have a common bond in a gentleman who helped every one of us develop in the late Sailor White," said RPW booker Stephen Clarke, who also wrestles as Lance Romance. "January 26th is a night for this gentleman. It's a night we show him appreciation for everything that he's done for us, and the opportunity that he's created for some of us. A lot of us never got to give him a final goodbye, so this is our way of paying tribute. It'll be a special night."
The show's main event will be an eight-man tourney to crown the promotion's first title holder.
"We are having a tournament in memory of Sailor for the Newfoundland Heritage Championship, a title which is from the now defunct Cutting Edge Wrestling that Sailor held in 2000," said RPW owner Mike Barrington, who befriended White in 1999. "The tournament will involve eight participants comprised of the best of the best in Newfoundland."
The first round matches are 14-year veteran Vince Austin vs. Norman Tharx; "The Newfie Bullet" Blake Maxwell, a recent Lance Storm wrestling school graduate vs. eight-year vet Lance Romance; British Columbia-trained JX Phlex, a multi-title holder throughout the Canadian indy circuit vs. "Nasty" Nick Dyson; and Mike Burry vs. Magnus.
Many of those vying for the belt were former White trainees.
"I can't tell you how excited I am to have the title resurrected, and the tournament itself," said Austin.
Also on the card will be a 10-man Royal Rumble-style match, with the winner receiving a money in the bank title shot. The featured participants will be Gerald B. O'Neill, Jonny Xtreme, Dylan Davis, Loco, Peter Walley, Johnny Chaos, "Big" Mac Bradley, Andrew Hawk, Chris Blade and Justin Lock.
Barrington formed RPW in late November 2007 and has been involved in the Newfoundland wrestling scene since 1999, starting with Cutting Edge Wrestling. Steadily becoming more involved, Barrington said he took over the reigns of the Provincial Wrestling Alliance in January 2007.
"Gone are the days when Sailor White and Hartford Love would sell out the old Memorial Stadium, replaced with teenagers in a 12-by-12 ring that was not safe, wrestling 'hardcore,'" said Barrington. "I had enough of the bad reputation and decided to do my best to make things semi-respectable on the island. I built a new safe ring and made changes to the structure of PWA that would force the members to take it seriously, or get out."
After a falling out, Barrington walked away from PWA and it has since closed down, he said. He then started up RPW, taking "98%" of the PWA roster with him.
"I know the crew we have now are good guys and are going to work very hard to gain that respect, and at the same time make every effort to put on a great, action packed wrestling show."
"Guys are hitting the gym hard, ordering new gear, constantly watching tapes and sharing ideas. I've never seen that in my eight years of working this territory for the six or seven promotions that have ran here over that span. I think a lot of the boys feel that this could be their last chance to succeed, so they're all working hard to make it work," said Clarke.
Clarke said RPW has been in contact with wrestlers, one of whom is a trainer, from the Maritimes who will be appearing on a regular basis, as well as workers from Quebec and Ontario who will appear when feasible.
"This will definitely benefit us, and show everyone how committed we are to making this work," Clarke said.
Winnipeg correspondent Richard Kamchen can be e-mailed at email@example.com.