By Étienne Thevou
Morinville – There will be plenty of action bouncing off the ropes this August when Force Pro wrestling comes to town with an evening of high-energy sports entertainment. A Show of Force, will take place at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre Aug. 20 and promises two-hours of high-flying wrestling action from more than a dozen performers. While many of the names will be familiar to followers of Alberta’s pro wrestling scene, the banner under which they are assembled is new.
Force Pro Wrestling is the brainchild of Ivan Thompson, a wrestler who has been in the Alberta scene for many years, who decided to create a new brand of wrestling entertainment, a more flexible show suitable for a variety of venues, and one that offers audiences something a little greater than the normal six-bouts-and-out program common in the industry today. Partnered with Thompson is Jay Bardyla, owner of the Happy Harbor comic store chain, an expert in all matters related to pop culture. Bardyla was brought in to make sure the shows were entertaining in a big way with cross-generational appeal. UIltimately, the tag team of Thompson and Bardyla combine their talents to create a unique product people have not seen in a very long time.
“It’s something that appeals to as many people as possible, and not just something that appeals to hard core wrestling fans or something that just appeals to drunks in a bar,” Bardyla said of the concept. “There has to be a show that a family can go to and be fine with.” And while Force Pro Wrestling will offer a kid-friendly show as it will in Morinville, it will also offer shows that are a little more adult oriented. Regardless of the show or audience, the key is entertainment. “You need to make sure that you can get the audience and the crowd involved,” Bardyla said. “You want to make sure that you’ve always got a tether, a connection, an investment for them.”
That is precisely the mix the sports entertainment company is looking to bring to Morinville in August, a cutting edge performance that is new but harkens back to an era parents and grandparents will remember with fondness.
“People can expect a lot of fun,” Bardyla said of Force Pro Wrestling’s upcoming Morinville show. “That’s what we were asked to bring to the show. Bring something that’s going to be entertaining for six-to-sixty kind of crowds, that’s just going to be a great couple hours of enjoyment. Things that people can get involved in. They can cheer, they can boo and just really get engaged in the performance, and not have to worry about whether little Bobby or Suzy should see this.”
One bout Bardyla is certain will get the crowd cheering is when the local boy gets in the ring. . “One of our wrestlers is Sgt. Hazard who is from Morinville,” the wrestling promoter said. “I’d hope everyone will want to see one of their home town boys squaring off in the ring against the evil menace that he’ll be facing for the evening.”
But while the local contender promises to provide plenty of excitement, Bardyla, Thompson and the rest of Force Pro Wrestling are looking to supply an evening of colourful good guys, bad guys and some pretty big contenders for the main event: Hot Shot Johnny Devine and Camikaze.
“Hot Shot Johnny Devine – he’s got some cred,” Bardyla said of the veteran wrestler. “He’s been in Alberta a very long time. He’s made it up to the big leagues. He’s performed with WWE and TNA Wrestling, which are the two major televised promotions worldwide.” The wrestling promoter said Devine, who has held a few belts, is a fantastic performer who he regards as a delightful heel. “He really knows how to work a crowd and I think that we’ll see that,” Bardyla said, adding Devine’s opponent, Camikaze, is what people pay to see. A wrestling performer Bardyla compares to Evil Knieval. “You don’t want to see anyone get hurt, but you want to see people do things that are absolutely insane – that human beings are not supposed to be doing. This is what Camikaze does. He goes out there and does the flips and the flying, and all sorts of crazy stuff. This is the stuff you just sit back in your chair and go, ‘Wow, did a human being just do that? That’s insane.’”
Bardlya said the Morinville’s show’s main event will combine the two performers’ different styles and attitudes into what he believes will be an incredibly explosive match.
“We’re honoured that we get to do our big premiere show in Morinville,” Bardyla said. “It’s going to be fantastic. The venue’s fantastic, and I think the fact that we’ve got a home-town hero and a couple of big names coming in to really work the crowd over is going to be great. From our end, we’re going to do everything that we possibly can to put on the most amazing show in Morinville.”
A Show of Force is brought to Morinville by Art of Conversation, Monday Morning News and Morinvillenews.com, and is sponsored by Noah’s Ark Pets and Supplies and Sobeys. Tickets are $10 advance, $15 at the door for general admission. A limited number of VIP Ringside seats are available at $20 each ($25 at the door). Tickets are available at Noah’s Ark Pets and Supplies and Sobeys in Morinville or online from aoconline.ca.