Saturday, January 7, 2012

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.

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