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Stampede comes to Barrie
Fundriasing event coming to ANAF Club on Sunday
By LANCE HOLDFORTH - Special to the Barrie Examiner




Professional wrestlers won't be pulling punches when they enter the ring during Stampede Wrestling's first live event in Ontario on Sunday.

Barrie residents are in for an action-packed evening as some of the world's best wrestlers take to the Army, Navy and Air Force (ANAF) Club to meet fans, take photos and battle their way to glory.

"It should be one of the best events in wrestling that we've had here (in Barrie)," said Stampede president, Smith Hart. "It's going to be old-school wrestling."

Hart comes from a long line of grapplers, and is the oldest brother of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) stars Bret "Hitman" Hart and Owen Hart.

"I'm trying to give them (Barrie residents) a taste of what we were all about -- the Hart family and Stampede Wrestling which was shown down here (Barrie) in the '80s," Smith said. "It's just the kind of wrestling all the Hart brothers learned and developed."

Hart's nephew and former WWE superstar, Harry Smith, son of former wrestler "The British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith, will take on Fit Finlay in the main event, which Hart said won't disappoint the crowd.

"(Harry) knows almost every aspect of wrestling. He's been trained by so many experts in Japan, and in the Dungeon by his father, by his uncles in the Hart family and Billy Robinson," Hart said. "Fit Finlay is the same thing. He doesn't have Harry's size or youth, but that's going to be the main event."

Hart's father, Stu Hart, formed Stampede in 1948 in Calgary after leaving the Canadian Olympic wrestling team to turn professional.

Hart now calls Barrie home, and looks forward to entertaining his neighbours with the skills passed down from his father.

"We have to give them good solid wrestling," he said. "It's always a different flavour, but it's the same idea; David is capable of beating Goliath."

Stu and his sons developed their wrestling style in the Dungeon, the Harts' family gym, for more than 50 years and have seen it become a standard in the WWE.

"Stampede Wrestling is a very entertaining television show," Hart said. "We've done some pretty good shows before in Orillia, Barrie and this area. There's really a great fan base."

The six-match event will be in support of the Seasons Centre for Grieving Children in Barrie, an organization helping children cope with the loss of a parent.

"It's an incredible charity. It reminds us of Smith's brother, Owen," said Matt Lund, Stampede's general manager.

"Owen, when he passed, left behind two small children. They were left without a father, left without a parent and that's a very hard thing for a child to cope with."

Owen Hart died in 1999 following a stunt he performed while wrestling at a WWE pay-per-view event in Kansas City, Missouri.

A percentage from the proceeds of the event and DVD sales will go to the charity.

Lund said the event will give visitors a chance to meet with wrestlers and even get in the ring with them.

"It's very interactive with the fans," he said. "You can actually get in the ring and get a photo with the wrestlers."

Doors open at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 to $25 and can be purchased at The Other Place at 34 Mary St., Body Systems Nutrition, 636 Yonge St. Unit D1, or at the ANAF at 7 George St., Unit 365, the day of the event.

RELATED LINKS

  • Nov. 4, 2011: Stampede Wrestling relaunches ... in Ontario?
  • Facebook page for the November 6th show