Prairie Wrestling Alliance prides itself on relationship with fans

Michael Richard Blaise faces off against Samoa Joe at the PWA's Christmas Slam on Nov. 25, 2017. COURTESY: Kurt Sorochan / Prairie Wrestling Association.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article originally called the PWA the Prairie Wrestling Association. It has since been corrected to say it is called the Prairie Wrestling Alliance. We apologize for the error.

Of all the sports Western Canada is known for, professional wrestling is probably not the first thing people go to. That might be because pro wrestling leans just as much on the theatrical side as sport, with its predetermined outcomes and complex ongoing storylines.

In point of fact, however, pro wrestling has a history in Alberta that runs back almost two decades, under the banner of the Prairie Wrestling Alliance (PWA).

On June 23, the PWA will be hosting Night of Champions 16 , an event billed as the largest event of its kind in all of Canada. The show will be held in the main gymnasium at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton.

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Kurt Sorochan, one of the founders of the PWA, said there’s always been a dedicated pro wrestling culture in the city.

“There’s a lot of very smart fans [here],” he says.

“They really understand how wrestling works. They really understand the entertainment. So there’s a big fan base to draw from.”

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One of these fans, Spencer Love, enjoys the bouts so much he writes a recap of what happened after every match and puts it up online for his site, Win Column Sports.

Love said the appeal of the matches comes in part from the connection between the community and the performers.

“The fan experience is incredible. It’s not like going to a movie, where you simply sit and watch for a few hours and are entertained. It’s far more interactive and far more fun.”

Sorochan maintains that the entertainment on offer at the shows is of the same standard that could be found in the mainstream world of pro wrestling.

“Overall, we’ll deliver the same kind of action that people will see on TV with WWE – with very high-calibre talent,” he says. “We bring in a lot of special guests, a lot of former WWE wrestlers, a lot of legends.”

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WWE superstars like Mick Foley, AJ Styles and Samoa Joe are a few of the big pro wrestling names who’ve stepped into the PWA ring since the promotion started.

Sorochan said that in addition to bringing in wrestlers from the WWE, the PWA has also played an important role as a launchpad into the big leagues.

“A lot of our wrestlers left us to go to WWE,” he says. “We’re their primary place to wrestle but they’ll venture out into other places.”

Although Sorochan holds that the events the PWA sets up are on par with WWE, he said a unique feature of these promotions is their accessibility.

“There’s really no restrictions for us but we’re very, very family friendly,” he says. “We consider that to be our niche and it’s very important to us that we have that brand of entertainment because I think it attracts a lot more fans for us.”

“Just seeing how excited kids at the shows get to meet guys like Mo Jabari and Kenny Stryker is enough,” Love says, “but seeing those guys take the time out of their day for everyone and just be so genuinely great to them is huge for me.”

Tickets to Night of Champions 16 are available at Paws The Cat Cafe, on 10588 109 St., and Variant Edition: Comics and Culture, on 10132 – 151 St.


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