One of the enduring stories that cuts across the entire industry has been that of Tony Condello's Northern tours of the remote reaches of Manitoba. Many of the most famous names in the business have braved the frozen wilderness, taking van rides lasting 30 hours at a stretch, the winter roads and perilous crossings of lakes and rivers.
Those of you who have read anything on these pages or in the personal blogs of performers like Lance Storm, Edge et al, know that the trips are something that you never forget and that mark you for an entire career.
Words, as has often been said about those trips, cannot do them justice.
Luckily, fans across Canada will be able to watch a documentary done on the trip, Wrestling with the North, which will air tonight at 5 p.m. on Channel 19.
I have viewed the preview of the show and it does a fairly good job of capturing the tours, although I would criticize it for focusing too much on the story of one wrestler and not enough on the hardships of both the wrestlers and the folks that live in the communities they visit.
What I would say is that the Northern tour experience was very valuable to many of us on a personal level, as it enabled us to visit First Nation communities and meet the folks that live there and learn about their way of life. I have been to a great number of these communities both here and in Saskatchewan and Ontario in the early stages of my career, and I place a high value on the time spent there, as it offers a unique perspective on the Northern way of life that many of us city folk will never get.
Of course, there are the wrestlers in the show that entertain. Tony Condello is the star of any show he is on, and one of the most entertaining people that I have ever been around. Crash Crimson comes off as a happy-go-lucky, loveable tough guy, which is pretty much what he is in real life.
Veterans like Chi Chi Cruz and Kerry Brown give a frame of reference to compare the green young guys to.
The show is definitely worth a look, and all I would say to you is that as hard as it seems on the show, remember, it is 20 times tougher than that.
Wrestlemania XX is getting good reviews, especially for the main event which saw Chris Benoit win the World title. ... Predictably, Brock Lesnar did the job on his way to (hopefully) the NFL. Brock apparently walked out on a 10-year, seven million-dollar contract. He must really hate the travel. ... Scott D'Amore is getting rave reviews for his stint as an on-camera performer on NWA TNA.