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NWA eyes Canadian expansion


By GREG OLIVER -- SLAM! Wrestling
NWA President Howard Brody.
The National Wrestling Alliance has expansion in mind, and two big voids to fill.

And no one is more aware of it than NWA President Howard Brody.

"We certainly have two very interesting voids to fill," said Brody from his Florida home. "Eastern Canada and the western U.S. We're sort of mirroring each other."

The two Canadian-NWA affiliates -- Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling out of B.C., and the Canadian Wrestling Federation out of Winnipeg -- are both strong promotions that have been running for a number of years now. In fact, ECCW may be Canada's busiest promotion, with dozens of shows in the past month.

Of course, it's a long way between Winnipeg and Vancouver. Hence, the reasoning behind the NWA floating a story recently through their web site (newly launched at www.nwa-wrestling.com) that it had Stampede Wrestling in mind for its next target.

"I think if Stampede Wrestling comes aboard, basically the four western provinces of Canada will be covered by the NWA," explained Brody before continuing.

"I've spoken to both Ross and Bruce Hart and there is some interest in coming on board. I think that will be down the road. It won't be tomorrow."

Putting Stampede, or perhaps another Albertan promotion like Can-Am Wrestling, between ECCW and the CWF would serve another purpose too.

For CWF promoter Ernie Todd, Stampede would be a perfect buffer, a "middleman" between the two promotions which are currently at war.

At the core of the inter-promotional feud are the NWA Canadian titles. The NWA Canadian champ is E.Z. Ryder, and the NWA Canadian lightheavyweight champ is "Showtime" Robby Royce, both of the CWF, while the NWA Canadian tag belts are in ECCW with "Rocket" Randy Tyler & "Ironman" Mike Roselli.

CWF wrestlers are heading west this month for some ECCW shows, and ECCW comes east in June.

Besides Stampede, the NWA is looking for a southern Ontario promotion to hook up with after the recent expulsion of Sean Brown's Maple Leaf Wrestling.

"Sean Brown's out of the organization," said Brody. "He basically started working for another group. He wasn't running any shows. Basically, he just said he wasn't interested in pursuing anything. NWA Maple Leaf is no longer in existence."

The NWA recently changed its guidelines for admitting promotions, said Brody. "We want promotions to be a little bit more stable. We're going to be a little bit more choosy about who we bring into the organization. They have to come through with a really strong recommendation before we take it to a vote."

The CWF's Todd is also concerned with the growth of the NWA alliance in Canada, but has his own promotion's growth also in mind.

Todd is planning to run Northern Ontario this summer, and has the rights up to Thunder Bay. He also hopes to run a satellite CWF / NWA in Saskatchewan.

He too learned from the Maple Leaf Wrestling experience.

"We want to make sure that the same thing that happened with Maple Leaf where the guy comes in and boom, he's gone right away," said Todd.

A promotion who joins the NWA has the rights to use the historic name and logo, do cross-promots, borrow wrestlers from other affiliated promotions and use current NWA World Champion Naoya Ogawa, who beat Dan 'The Beast' Severn in March, on occasion.