Wrestling Then and Now

by Dale Pierce

DALE PIERCE: Where were you trained and by what wrestler?

VANCE NEVADA: I broke into the business in 1993 in Manitoba, Canada. Initially I was trained by Ernest Rheault but then later worked extensively with Robby Royce and Eddie Watts.

DP: Where was your first match and with what wrestler?

VN: My first match was at the Chalmers community club in Winnipeg, Manitoba against a fellow rookie, Keith Neilson, who was wrestling as the masked "El Diablo."

DP: Where have you wrestled?

VN: I have wrestled from coast to coast in Canada, including runs for Emile Dupre's Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling, to Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling on the west coast. I have also made select appearances in the Mid-Atlantic in 1995 & '96, and more recently have appeared for companies up and down the American Pacific Coast.

DP: Are there any notable differences between the Canadian indys and American indys you have wrestled for?

VN: Canadian indys get virtually no exposure in the wrestling magazines. Despite boasting some incredible talents, the Canadian indy scene isn't well promoted. In the mean time, you may have an American promoter that runs weekly shows in some barn with a crew of sub-par guys and he is getting regular press. (No offense to anyone who may indeed wrestle in barns regularly.)

DP: Do you have any interetsing stories from these promotions and your experiences with them?

VN: Probably the most unique experience wrestling on the Canadian indys has been the winter campaigns to the far north. Many of these towns are so remote that during the summer, the only way to reach them is by boat or plane. In the winter, there is a window of three weeks when the lakes are frozen enough to allow the ice to be used as a road, and we would travel for the duration of that three weeks across thousands of miles of frozen lakes to wrestle in front of essentially captive audiences in each town.

DP: What wrestlers did you grow up watching?

VN: Growing up in Manitoba, AWA was the staple. Guys like Rick Martel, Jim Brunzell, and Curt Hennig. When their television presence in that area was usurped by McMahon, that became THE show here. Then it was guys like Randy Savage, Bret Hart, and Ricky Steamboat.

DP: What made you want to be a wrestler to begin with?

VN: I decided at an early age that this was what I wanted to do, but it was 1986 when a friend and I attended an independent wrestling show that his cousin was headlining on that I realized that, "Hey, this is a realistic dream." Four years later, that wrestler (who is known worldwide as Chi Chi Cruz, today) was a main attraction on a local television product and at that point I knew that this was something that I had to pursue.

DP: Who are some of the best on the indy scene up your way?

VN: Well, in the Pacific Northwest there are veterans like Moondog Moretti, Michelle Starr, The Grappler, and Fidel Sierra who are all very well recognized. But of the upcomers are guys like Tony Kozina, Scotty Mac, Disco Fury, Dave Richards ... I could go on for days on this one. Most of the best talent can be found on a site www.justwrestling.ca

DP: Have you had any serious injuries?

VN: I like to consider myself pretty lucky. I haven't been sidelined with too many injuries. But it is quite a list when I sit down and think about it. I've had my nose broken, my hand broken, have bone chips in both elbows, have a chipped cheek bone, one tooth which is half plaster, I have twisted my spine twice, and have so much scar tissue in my neck that it would take three years of massage therapy to get that to return to a "normal" level.

DP: What would you suggest for indy wrestlers looking to find bookings in Canada?

VN: Investigate who you are dealing with. Make sure that they have a track record of treating their talent well and are respected by people that have worked for them before. There are a lot of promotions out there, and (like the U.S., I suppose) there are some that should be avoided like the plague.

DP: Do they have athletic commissions up there, and are they a pain in the ass?

VN: There are athletic commissions (civic) in Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton. The province of Ontario has a commission governing the whole state, which I understand has proven to be a thorn in the side of the business and has hindered its development there in recent years.

DP: Do you have a Web page or a way for fans to contact you?

VN: Anyone looking for in-depth info about myself can check my home page at www.vancenevada.com There is an e-mail option from the site, and that is the best way for the fans to reach me.

DP: Are there any indy promotions in the USA you would like to work for and have not yet?

VN: There are lots of them. In particular, I would be very interested to work for some of the east coast promotions.

DP: How do you feel about the backyard wrestling trend? Do they have kids doing this in Canada or is this just a fad in the U.S.A.?

VN: Backyard wrestling has been a huge problem in Canada as well and has probably created more headaches here as some promoters, in failing to secure qualified wrestlers, have allowed these jokers a forum to "wrestle" in front of audiences on professional shows. It has damaged the ability of respectable promoters to rebuild the business in many cases.

DP: Closing comments?

VN: Take every opportunity that you can to support independent wrestling. There are a lot of great talents out there that you aren't getting a chance to see on TV who have a great deal of ability and charisma.

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