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New breed of wrestling fans get behind popular wrestling series

Wrestlers now eager to perform as part of Barrie Wrestling promotion; Group of fans call themselves 'The 705 Mafia'

The true main event of Canada Day weekend in Simcoe County was held in downtown Barrie, Sunday afternoon, where despite extreme heat, Barrie Wrestling put on an extravagant show in front of a crowd of 200-plus fans.

Barrie was treated to a star-studded line-up, matches with huge implications and even some major upsets.

The biggest upset of the card was delivered by ‘The Baddest Woman in Barrie’ Jody Threat, who demanded an inter-gender match with Aaron Orion, and dominated. 

The other big upset was delivered by one of pro-wrestling’s newest up-and-coming stars, Puff. The big man who danced his way to the ring, knocked off one of the most talented stars in the Canadian pro-wrestling circuit, Kevin Blackwood.

The co-main events of the evening stole the show, starting with the Three Pistols Championship match. ‘The New Sensation’ Mark Wheeler battled Lionel Knight, who is managed by Mike ‘Nug’ Nahrgang of Sportsnet’s wrestling talk show, Aftermath.

Wheeler isn’t likable, but he is impressive and he put everything on the line in this match, even creating a distraction for Knight, by smashing ‘Nug’ into the ring post on the outside, and eventually picked up the victory.

The 400 North tag team championship belts were on the line in the final contest of the show. The Fraternity challenged Flight or Fight, not only for the titles but for the careers of the team made up of Gabriel Fuerza and Vaughn Vertigo, who are the backbone of the company. It was a back and forth tilt that truly earned its main event spot, and had Barrie Wrestling fans walking away happy, as Fight or Flight retained the titles.

Barrie Wrestling was truly impressive this weekend and left everyone in attendance excited for more. Fans were engaged the entire show, the matches were high quality and the story telling was smart and calculative, which is something a lot of promotions lack today.

After the show I caught up with Shawn Gibson, the lead man on Barrie Wrestling’s management team, to find out what Barrie Wrestling’s secret is to their success and loyal fan following, and it turns out the credit all goes to the fans and the wrestlers themselves.

“When we first started out, a lot of the fans were the kind that loved the larger-than-life and the colourful characters, the old-school kind of fans,” said Gibson. “In our second year, a group came to a show and they were nuts, they are the new age type of fan, starting all the chants, had shirts made up, watch the current product and they started calling themselves ‘The Front Row Lunatics’.  

“Now we got a group of fans that call themselves ‘The 705 Mafia’. It really took on a life of its own when the fans decided they wanted to get more involved in a respectful way.”

Gibson also alluded to the beginning stages of the now three-year-old Barrie Wrestling, and the lack of interest from pro wrestlers to come to Simcoe County.

“When we first started there wasn’t a lot of interest from wrestlers to come up to Barrie, but our core guys got the word out about the quality of our product and how great of a locker room we have, and now I have wrestlers say to me, ‘I’d love to get on your card, I hear you have a great locker room,’ and that’s the big reason they want to come here,” said Gibson.

If you’re looking to get into the action of Barrie Wrestling, this Saturday they have an even bigger card on deck. Jody Threat looks to continue on her rampage when she takes on Beautiful Beaa, and once again the Three Pistols Championship will be on the line. Bell time is 5 p.m. and all the action happens at 49 Ferris Lane.