“None of those three communities are ready for what we’re bringing. We are planning something so big that we’re going to have people talking, for rest of their lives, about that time those two boys put on wrestling shows in the North.”
Dez Loreen, co-founder of Totally Arctic Wrestling (TAW), has one wrestling night in Inuvik under his belt. Now he’s back for more – and he’s expanding the number of locations.
TAW bills itself as Canada’s most northerly and only Inuvialuit-owned pro wrestling promoter. A second show in Inuvik is now planned alongside events in Tuktoyaktuk and Aklavik.
The first show – dubbed Proving Ground and featuring both locals and professionals – packed the Ingamo Hall Friendship Centre in mid-November.
“We knew the buzz was big enough in the community. I was expecting a full house,” Loreen recalled. “But honestly, at the beginning, we expected to wrestle in front of 20 people and they’d be laughing … instead, what we got was 150-plus of the craziest, wildest people in Inuvik that wanted to see a pro wrestling show and came dressed accordingly.”
TAW sold out of T-shirts that night – all 15 that the group had for sale.
“It was truly mind-blowing for me and I was happy for the opportunity,” said co-founder Wade Blu Gruben.
The next event, Retribution, will take place in Inuvik on April 24, Loreen told Cabin Sports Radio this week. Tickets go on sale this Saturday with the aim of raising enough money to bring pro wrestlers up to the community and stage development camps for local amateurs.
Retribution will be followed, two days later, by what is likely the first-ever show on the Arctic Ocean in Tuktoyaktok. Clash at the Coast will be a free event for the community, Loreen said. He hopes to see the seats filled with locals.
“We’re learning, but we’re in a special situation where we get to put on shows for our community already,” Loreen said, explaining that in the south, wrestlers would need to train for years before they’d be invited to perform.
TAW said fans requested women’s wrestling be brought north. In response, the company has secured the services of The Vixen Jade and Scarlett Black, wrestlers from the Okanagan.
“We’re bringing them up here to reignite their feud that has been going on now for years,” Loreen said.
He added Mitch Clarke, the Edmonton-based Monster Pro Westling heavyweight champion, will be coming up for the show. The rest of the card is to be announced on YouTube soon.
“We’re going to continue our story,” Loreen said of the Tuk event, “so it’s not just going to be Retribution all over again.”
For those who can’t attend in person, Loreen said the show will be taped.
Never Say Die
After the April matches, TAW is scheduled to return in August with shows on August 21 in Inuvik and August 23 in Aklavik.
Borrowing from the hamlet’s motto, the Aklavik show will be called Never Say Die.
“We’re going to haul everything on boats. We’re going to take the Mackenzie River … it’s going to be great,” Loreen said.
“Because who knows how long it’s going to last? That’s why we’re playing every show as though it could be our last, because nothing is promised in this world.”