Flashback continued: Hosting Teen Pro Wrestling

After the Midget Mania venture met with some success, Phil Watson turned his attention back to Teen Pro Wrestling. He set up shop in Picton, Ontario and recruited some trainees. They set up in a cold cottage living commune-style, with the ring installed in the warehouse of a carpet dealer. The boys would spend their days training in the ring and hustling tickets by telephone. Evenings were spent watching traded copies of Japanese matches, which featured a fast-paced high-spot style not being performed in North America at the time.

The live-in trainees included "Bloody" Bill Skullion, who was probably beyond his actual teenage years by that point. A skinny kid named Dennis Stewart was there, training to become Buford T Butterworth. He was tremendously enthusiastic and seemed naturally gifted. Some years later, Dennis would eventually gain an astonishing amount of muscle and would go on to great success on the Ontario independent wrestling scene as Danger Boy Derek Wylde. Also in the house were two even skinnier kids from Newfoundland whose accents were impenetrable. Dennis wrote a story about them that I won't repeat here.

I dropped by for a weekend visit to the camp with the guys I'd done training with when Phil was set up in Aurora, Ontario -- Kevin, Sean aka "Lex", and Arun. We found the boys training hard with an import from Boston going by the name of Cameron Crude. Also skinny. Skinny wrestlers, but they could really go.

Anyway, with the freshly-trained Buford T Butterworth, Skullion and Rock Island Rebels, plus some imports from a US outfit called New England Wrestling, Phil arranged for the first TV taping of Teen Pro Wrestling. I'd host two episodes to be recorded in Listowel, Ontario. I seem to recall another show in Palmerston, but I have no tape from there, so it might just be in my head.

Here's Part 1 of Episode 1 -- the rest is on my YouTube channel, which is now chock-a-block with midget and Teen Pro wrestling clips from the 1990s. And, as usual, I'll caution that I hadn't yet "found my voice," so the performance is a little embarrassing.

Flashback: Hosting Midget Mania

Yes, more midget wrestling.

It's early 1992. Phil Watson, aka Whipper Watson Junior, has come off a heart attack and put together an ambitious plan to tour an all-midget professional wrestling show with Teen Pro Wrestling as an added attraction.

Me, I'm in my last year of high school and a dedicated volunteer at the local Rogers Cable community television station. Between us, we arrange to have the debut performance of Midget Mania taped for TV.

The setting is the Village Inn in Bradford, Ontario. It's a bar. It's ... it's not a nice bar. The ring barely fits. The crowd is intoxicated. But they're into the action.

I'm calling the matches by myself, and it's the first time I'm hosting a TV program. In hindsight, it's not great. It could be worse.

There are five videos here, but I'll embed just the first one. You can find the rest on my youtube channel.



In this show, you'll see the biggest midget wrestling stars of the day, including:

  • Little Farmer Pete
  • The Irish Leprechaun
  • Tiger Jackson
  • Little Mr. T
  • Little John Adams
  • Rebel Joe Kidd
Plus, the first ever over-the-middle-rope Midget Mania Battle Royal.

Flashback: Refereeing midget wrestling

Back in my teens, I got involved with a fledgling professional wrestling outfit started by Phil Watson, aka Whipper Watson Junior, aka the son of Canadian pro wrestling legend Whipper Billy Watson.

In an era when Family Ties and The Cosby Show were topping the TV ratings with casts of teenagers, Phil figured there was money to be made promoting teenagers wrestling teenagers. He called the promotion Teen Pro Wrestling. It would feature faster action than was being showcased in the WWF, which was itself in a major slump heading into the Uncle Sam vs Vince McMahon steroid trials.

I did some training. Frankly, I wasn't very good. I've never been an athlete, I wasn't good at taking bumps, and Phil never actually "smartened us up" to the business. If I knew then what I know about the wrestling business now, I'd have done much better. But now I'm 38 years old and when I take bumps, it's an accident.



Teen Pro Wrestling didn't take off like Phil figured, either. After a heart attack and goodness knows what else, he tried promoting an all-midget wrestling show called Midget Mania. I did solo play-by-play on the first TV taping -- I may post that on YouTube soon. He also did a tour in the summer of 1992.

So, here's me refereeing the opening match of the August 15, 1992 show in Bracebridge, Ontario. You can't see it from the camera angle, but the stands were absolutely packed. I don't know why ringside was empty, but the bleachers in the arena were full.

Teen Pro Wrestling eventually made an attempt at promoting a string of shows. There were three or four TV tapings, and the action was way ahead of its time. A few stars even emerged from the roster, most famously a guy named Scott. No, not me. Not famous for wrestling, anyway. He was Scott Taylor, better known as Scotty 2 Hotty of the WWF.

Last I heard about Phil, he was living in the Picton, Ontario area, still promoting midgets, or as they're known now, "little people." You may have heard of the Canadian Half-Pints -- kind of like the Harlem Globetrotters, only they're dwarves. Dwarfs. Spell-check says dwarfs.

Today was my last day at work, and I'm okay with that

Today marks a weird spot on the calendar for me. It’s one of those landmarks that really doesn’t mean anything, other than to illustrate the...