When it comes to wrestling it’s all about the show – bigger, better, and flashier is what fans love to see. Newfoundland and Labrador’s own Legend City Wrestling took that philosophy to heart last week when they brought some of the biggest names in wrestling to Grand Falls-Windsor for a night of fanfare and fun.
Among the names on the ticket were fan favourites like Kowboy Mike Hughes, Mr. Fantastic, and Rhino, who surprised fans when he walked on stage as he wasn’t advertised as part of the show. There were also some new faces in the Newfoundland and Labrador circuit such as Niki Nitro, Portia Perez, Colt Cabana, and the famous Scott Steiner.
But by far the biggest drawing factor for fans was the presence of pop culture icon and one of the biggest wrestling legends of all time, Rowdy Roddy Piper.
Whether you know him from his time with the WWE, or his lead role in the cult classic horror film They Live, Piper, also known as Hot Rod, brought his star quality to the Joe Byrne Memorial stadium Wednesday evening.
According to Jim Thompson, LCW promoter, Steiner and Piper were only part of the last two shows of the seven-show circuit. He credits the large turnout in Grand Falls-Windsor to their participation.
“I think we had anywhere from 600-800 fans,” he said. “Which is absolutely awesome for Grand Falls-Windsor.”
And there was no question who the fans were there to see when Piper walked onto the stadium floor, clad in his signature kilt and a Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts jersey.
Piper addressed the crowd in his true showman style, flashing his charming smile, and letting his fans know how happy he was to be visiting Newfoundland and Labrador.
After getting the fans riled up, “Piper’s Pit” commenced, with Piper egging on Kowboy Mike Hughes and Colt Cabana as they wrestled for the LCW heavyweight title. Piper cheered on challenger Cabana, who ended up taking the title from the villainous Hughes.
Piper spoke with the Advertiser after the show, and said he was having a great time being a part of the LCW tour.
“I was in Aruba yesterday with their prime minister, so it was a four flighter just to get here,” he said, adding, it was worth it. “I forgot there was a special breed of people in Newfoundland, they’ve very down-to-earth…they’ve been so kind to me.”
Piper said the trip also gave him the chance to say goodbye to an old friend, fellow wrestler Adrian Adonis, who was killed in a car crash along with two other wrestlers near Lewisporte in 1988.
“I forgot there was a special breed of people in Newfoundland, they’ve very down-to-earth…they’ve been so kind to me.” - – Rowdy Roddy Piper
“(Adonis) is the guy responsible for me buying my first house,” he said. “I got the opportunity to pay my respects and for that alone I’m grateful.”
Piper said he was impressed with the professionalism and caliber of wrestling LCW has offered fans in Newfoundland in Labrador.
“The promoters at LCW have treated me with a tremendous amount of respect. They brought my son here with me so he could share this with me,” he said. “They do a fine job of bringing the best talent they can, but the league itself has some great talent, too, I watched it there tonight and was very impressed.”
Though LCW’s brand of wrestling is aimed at providing a family-friendly experience for children, there’s no doubt that bringing legends like Piper and Steiner to the stage brought out the inner kid in many fans.
Friends Mark Simms and Cory Downey came from Lewisporte dressed in home made Hot Rod T-shirts, excited to catch a glimpse of their childhood hero.
“I was a wrestling fan when I was a kid like 20 years ago, and I haven’t been watching it much in the last couple of years, but when I heard Roddy Piper was going to be here, I had to come out,” said Simms.
“(Piper) was definitely worth showing up for, the guy is an excellent showman,” added Downey.
Wrestler and Grand Falls-Windsor native Matt Burns was slated to be part of the show on Wednesday. Unfortunately, an injury kept him out of the matches, but not out of the ring – he acted as referee for the evening.
A big fan of Piper, Burns said it was an honour to be part of the show.
“To have (Piper) shake my hand in the ring and compliment my referee skills was pretty cool,” he told the Advertiser after the show.
Thompson said thanks to great support from fans, wrestling enthusiasts can expect to see more big names coming through town in the future.
“We keep looking to get bigger and better, we did Bret Hart in June, we did Hot Rod this time, and we’re looking to do another big name in June,” said Thompson. “There are no words to describe how pleased I am with how everything went down.”