It was a good time to be a pro wrestling fan in the lakecity Sunday when Canadian Wrestling’s Elite rolled into town with its nation-sweeping Juice Is On The Loose Tour.
Wrestling fans of all ages in Williams Lake were right into the action from the opening bell to the finish — cheering their favourites, while booing and heckling the villains throughout the evening at a packed Elks Hall.
The Winnipeg-based CWE stop in Williams Lake was the first time the professional wrestling promotion had come to town.
CWE promoter and owner Danny Warren, whose ring name is Hotshot Danny Duggan, picked up the CWE heavyweight title after a win over The Canadian Crusher AJ Sanchez in the main event of the night.
After the show, Duggan invited all of the children into the ring to celebrate his title win, and to announce that he was so pleased with the attendance and fan support of the show that CWE had already rebooked the Elks Hall to come back to the lakecity for an upcoming show on May 10.
Headlining the tour, which is spanning 31 Canadian cities in 31 days, from Eastern Canada to Western Canada, is former WCW and WWE lucha libre superstar Juventud ‘The Juice’ Guerrera of Mexico.
Prior to the show Guerrera told the Tribune he was having a blast travelling across Canada, and said he enjoys performing in front of more intimate crowds.
“It’s good to be around this area,” he said of Williams Lake. “There’s no difference for me whether I’m wrestling in front of thousands of people [with WCW/WWE] as long as I’m able to perform for the people.
“I’ve been on the major stage of wrestling, but this kind of show is very special to me.”
The Canadian Crusher AJ Sanchez, who played the ‘bad guy’ in the main event versus Duggan, taunted the lakecity crowd following his entrance to the ring, promptly receiving a chorus of boos from the audience.
While the villain inside the ring, the Canadian Crusher, a 17-year veteran of professional wrestling who started at the age of 16, said there’s nothing quite like being able to travel the world while doing what you love.
“I enjoy competing with the stars, themselves, and seeing the kids light up — that’s always enjoyable for me,” he said.
Midway through the show, longtime professional wrestling fans and husband and wife duo of Robert and Janet Thompson — two of the most vocal members of the audience who were having a grand, old time taunting the competitors — found themselves in the thick of the action.
Wrestler Camaro Cope seemingly had taken enough verbal abuse from the couple, and marched into the crowd to confront the duo as part of the show.
Defending her husband, Janet set her walker aside to shake a threatening fist at the chiseled brawler, who was hilariously taken aback by the gesture.
“We love everything about wrestling,” Janet said with a wide grin. Robert added he watches wrestling every time it’s on TV.
“Ever since I was a little boy.”
They said the opportunity to see a professional wrestling show live in Williams Lake was a great experience.
“It gives everybody some great entertainment,” he said. “Something a little different than what we’re used to here.”
Meanwhile, a few members of the Williams Lake Rustlers Rugby Football Club were in the audience to support their acquaintance Stuart Brown of Prince George, who goes by the name Mauler inside the ring.
Mauler was pitted against two opponents in a triple-threat match and, ultimately, emerged the victor after a brutal brawl which extended to the outside of the ring and into the crowd where garbage cans, pop cans, pizza boxes and other foreign objects were utilized by his opponents in order to attempt to gain the upper hand in the match.
After his win and during the intermission, Mauler popped into the crowd to say a quick hello to his past rugby mates who he said he’s played with and against over the years as a player for the Prince Rupert Seamen Rugby Club and, later the Prince George Gnats.
When asked, he said he wrestled his first match in December of 2000.
“I always loved it as a kid and I love being out there and being able to control the crowd — to make them cheer and boo,” he said.
“This was my first time wrestling in Williams Lake, and I loved it. Any time you can get a full house it’s great, and this crowd has been amazing.”