SLAM! Wrestling Canadian Hall of Fame: Tornado Tony Kozina
5'6", 168 pounds
Tony Kozina. Courtesy ECCW.|
CLICK HERE for a Real Video Clip of Kozina challenging NWA Canadian Jr. Heavyweight champion Robbie Royce.
"Tornado" Tony Kozina is a whirlwind of a wrestler for someone who's only
been competing in the sport for two years.
The current NWA Pacific Northwest Jr. Heavyweight champion has been turning
heads in Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling (ECCW), an NWA-affiliated promotion based
out of British Columbia which will be running a full-time schedule this
fall as they plan to expand into Oregon and Washington.
Kozina will also be venturing to Manitoba for a three-day tour this
weekend, as he'll be wrestling NWA Canadian Jr. Heavyweight Champion Robbie
Royce on June 26th in Winnipeg for promoter Ernie Todd's NWA Canadian
Wrestling Federation. Many expect the youngster to capture the NWA Canadian Jr. Heavyweight title.
On the way back to B.C., Kozina will be making stops
for Can-Am Wrestling in Grand Prairie, Alberta and Stampede Wrestling in
This windstorm of a schedule is typical for Kozina. He has worked hard to
prove the critics, who told him he was too small to make it as a pro
"I go started in wrestling through Billy Jack Haynes," Kozina told SLAM!
Wrestling. "He had a radio show in Portland, Oregon and I told him how
WCW's Power Plant had told me to bulk up before I start training. He told
me he was starting a wrestling school and that he would teach me."
Kozina, who stands 5'6" and weighs a mere 168 pounds, has had to rely on
his undaunted determination, as well as the help of several veterans, to
make it where he is today.
"After training with Billy Jack, I refereed for three months for Sandy
Barr's Championship Wrestling USA in Vancouver, Washington. I always
brought along my wrestling gear hoping for a chance to wrestle," said
"One night they were short a man and needed someone to fill in," recalled
Kozina. "Booker Matt Borne (the original Doink) looked at me and asked if
I was ready and I said yeah!"
From there, Kozina worked on the independent circuit, travelling up and
down the West Coast of Canada and the U.S. He gained invaluable experience
in the Mexican-wrestling style, working for a Lucha Libre promotion based
in Los Angeles as well as working a four-day tour for Rey Misterio Sr's
ProMell promotion when they toured Oregon last year.
"Misterio saw one of my matches live and liked what he saw and booked me on
his shows," stated Kozina. Adapting to the Lucha Libre style was not a
problem for Kozina.
"I fell right in," said Kozina. "The Lucha style is a lot more acrobatic.
There are more flying around and more interesting moves. I wrestle a
similar style so it came naturally to me. Once I got past the language
barrier, it was no problem at all."
Kozina credits several veterans of the sport for helping him along in his
"Every dressing room I've walked into has been fantastic," stated Kozina.
"There's always been a veteran that's helped me along and taken me under
their wing. Guys like Borne, Haynes and Michelle Starr
have all helped a
lot and I've sucked up everything they've told me like a sponge."
Kozina cites matches with veterans like Col. DeBeers, Ole Olson and Buddy
Wayne as career hi-lights.
"I wrestled Matt Borne in some tag matches which was great," remembered
As far as future plans go, Kozina will be splitting his time between ECCW
and several other promotions along the West Coast.
"I've contacted and sent my photos to World Power Wrestling, a Lucha
promotion in Anaheim, California as well as to promoter Benjamin Mora in
Tijuana, Mexico," said Kozina. "Someday I'd love to go to Mexico or Japan.
I don't think the WWF would be the place for me because they don't have a
light heavyweight division."
By JOHN MOLINARO
, SLAM! Sports
March 23, 2000: Tony Kozina: A champion year