Festival offers a force to be reckoned with

Big Jess Youngblood simultaneously takes out opponants Strife and The Nightmare, during the Force Pro Wrestling Show. See story page 29.

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – Force Pro Wrestling returned to Morinville during St. Jean Baptiste Festival 2012, pleasing fans and newcomers with a five-card, two-hour show of professional wrestling.

The Morinville News-sponsored event took place at the arena, a little more traditional wrestling venue than the Community Cultural Centre where the Edmonton-based wrestling group performed their inaugural show. As was the case last August, the Morinville stop provided another first for the show – the unveiling of their new 20-foot by 20-foot wrestling ring.

The additional four feet provided some extra benefits for the audience and some extra challenges for the wrestlers. “That extra step for the wrestlers makes a world of difference,” said Force Pro co-producer Jay Bardyla. “They can move a little bit faster. They can throw a little bit harder. It gives these guys the freedom to execute moves that are just high flying, dynamic, and just look awesome.

But while pulling the action together inside the ring may have been easy for the athletes, pulling them into Morinville was not as easy as it should have been. “It was a challenging show to put together,” Bardyla said. “We had a bunch of grudge matches, guys who didn’t want to get back together in the ring; guys who didn’t even want to come back to Morinville for whatever reason.”

One of those wrestlers, Calgary-based Hotshot Johnny Devine, had a particular loathing for Morinville, a town he frequently referred to as Moron Vile. It was an epithet that got some of the hometown crowd in a snit, prompting them to cheer on his opponent High Risk Andrew Hawks. Devine, a former TNA wrestler, bested Hawks in the title match, but was impressed by the up-and-coming wrestler’s performance.

Not everyone involved with Force Pro Wrestling has the distaste for the community Devine possesses. Bardyla said the company was pleased to be here. “It was a great honour to be welcomed back here to do the show at the St. Jean Baptiste Festival,” Bardyla said. “We had a great time and I hope all the fans had a great time.”

One of the approximately 130 who came to the Sunday show was Councillor Paul Krauskopf. Although not a wrestling fan or follower, Krauskopf was impressed with the show. “I’m not really a fan of wrestling, but I enjoy watching the acrobatics, and I appreciate how much time these guys spend training because you cannot do all that stuff without getting hurt,” he said. “It’s amazing what they can do.”

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