Cottage CountryCon spawned a rare occurrence in the Orillia area this past weekend: a live pro wrestling card.
Saturday’s menu of matches was nothing short of bizarre, featuring a match between independent wrestler Craven, who took on a guy dressed as The Amazing Spider-Man. In this match Spider-Man took advantage of his imaginary super powers and pulled Craven down from the top rope, using imaginary spider webs.
The strange card also featured Doink the Clown, (clearly not ‘the’ infamous Doink), who defeated Brian Fury after he slapped Fury in the rear region multiple times.
The highlight of the show was the match between The Terminator and another imposter superhero, Robin, who clearly missed his more well-known partner in crime-fighting. Although the crowd that quickly began to form around the ring in the middle of the very busy event at Rotary Place was getting behind Robin, he fell to defeat.
The final match of the show featured a tag-team match between four masked wrestlers who were introduced as The Ghosts of Batman. Everyone in the crowd expected Batman and a partner to be their opponents, instead it was two Orillia boys dressed as Mario and Luigi, the Super Mario Brothers who went on to be victorious.
Upon reflection, it's almost impossible to call what happened "professional wrestling" due to the production level of the show. However, despite that, I realized as I was watching, that I was having a great time. I took a look around and acknowledged that everyone in attendance was transfixed by the show. Children, adults, everyone was involved, smiling, cheering and genuinely enjoying the show.
It made me realize that Orillia would be a great spot for a pro-wrestling promotion, especially with sports entertainment in Orillia being at an all-time low compared to the days of the Orillia Travelways junior hockey dynasty and the Orillia Majors baseball team and the buzz around those clubs.
After the show I had a chance to speak to Matt Garrett, a former pro wrestler and promoter from Orillia, who helped put on the card for Cottage CountryCon.
“The wrestlers are dying to come to Orillia (and) the fans in Orillia want it," Garrett said. He went on to say: “All it would take is a venue and everything else would be easy.”
Garrett, whose knowledge of the business is quite extensive - he has wrestled all over the world and has ran pop-up shows in Orillia since 2007. Big stars and Hall of Famers of wrestling’s past have come through Orillia for Garrett’s shows, most notably Jake ‘The Snake” Roberts, Brutus ‘The Barber” Beefcake, ‘Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, X-Pac and Jeff Jarrett.
Garrett believes that if he could find a venue to open their doors consistently for pro wrestling in Orillia, he could run a successful promotion here with a show once a month.
With the amount of pro wrestling in Simcoe County scarce, and the community support that is given to the odd pop-up show that happens in the region, whether it’s Garrett or a different promoter, a family-friendly wrestling promotion in Orillia could be a fun positive for the community.