Entertained by everything from over-the-top gimmicks to insane aerial manoeuvres, residents gathered at the Royal Canadian Legion on Pape Avenue to catch the Toronto debut of Combat Revolution Wrestling.
The Nov. 19 show, held at 1083 Pape Ave., was co-promoted by Michael Sisay, who also wrestled at the event under the name Amanuel.
Based in Lahine, Que., CRW was founded in 2008 by promoter, and current CRW Champion, Black Dynamite.
“I wrestled for him a lot,” said Sisay. “I also worked with Colt Cabana for him. It’s a great federation, one of my favourite federations, so I thought, why not bring it to Toronto?”
Sisay, 20, never imagined four years ago when he started wrestling that he would be promoting his own show. He became a professional wrestler in 2015 after watching Randy Orton hit an unforgettable “RKO” on Seth Rollins at Wrestlemania 31, and began travelling all across Ontario to hone his craft.
At the East York show, Amanuel competed in a triple-threat match, where he was able to pull off the victory after he hit his finishing move, “The Backstabber,” on former WWE superstar JTG. He won a huge ovation from fans.
JTG was one of the main attractions at the CRW event. He made his professional wrestling debut in 2006 and soon appeared on WWE’s flagship show, Monday Night Raw. He formed a tag team with Shad Gaspard called “Cryme Tyme,” in which both men were portrayed as hustlers, often stealing from other wrestlers and then selling them to fans.
JTG left the WWE in June 2014 and now competes at smaller independent wrestling shows in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. He believes that performing in front of 50 people is just as gratifying as being in front of 70,000 fans at Wrestlemania.
“If it’s 50 people or 50,000 people, I enjoy my craft and I love performing,” JTG said.
After competing in his match at the Royal Legion, JTG said, “I tore the house down. I had a triple-threat match and I came up short a little bit, but it’s a triple-threat match. You have to have your eyes on two opponents.”
The main event, between Kobe Durst and Black Dynamite, was for the CRW Championship. Clotheslines were thrown, referees knocked out, suicide dives to the outside of the ring were attempted, and Black Dynamite retained his CRW Championship.
Sitting in the front row, East York resident Daniel Moniz had a great time watching the matches on the card from start to finish. Attending his first CRW show, Moniz said it was fun to see the different types of performers competing in the ring.
“This was my first time watching this type of wrestling, and it was great to see them (the wrestlers),” Moniz said.
With the first CRW show in Toronto a success, Sisay was pleased to see the excitement on the fans’ faces during the matches. Seeing his family and friends sitting with the crowd, he believes wrestling is a great way for the community to come together.
“Wrestling is fun for everyone, doesn’t matter what age or if you are male or female,” he said. “We’ll entertain you and make you happy.”