AUNDECK OMNI KANING—The stands at the Four Directions multi-use complex were filled to capacity as an unusual group of motivational speakers brought their own personal messages about pushing back against bullying to Island community youth. While the speakers were challenging their young audience members to stand up against bullying, a full-on pro-wrestling ring bearing the Canadian Wrestling Federation (CWF) ‘Adrenaline’ banner was taking shape behind them.

“CWF Canada takes pride in our First Nation communities that we have visited over the past 22 years,” said owner/promoter Kryss Thorne. “CWF is Canada’s biggest touring promotion and 90 percent of our events are done on First Nations territories. Whether we are travelling on ice roads, gravel, fly-in, by boat, or drive, CWF gets there.”

Following a soup and sandwich lunch, the motivational speakers reappear through the curtains, this time decked out in the garish costumes and makeup of their trade and soon, bodies are flying through the air with somewhat less than the greatest of ease—with plenty of loud and brutal landings. This is not a sports entertainment industry for the faint of heart or weak of body.

Youth from Whitefish River First Nation pose with Cody Deaner.

The youth (and more than a few adults) were buzzing with excitement as they cheered their favourites on and called out the dastardly villains and their tricks. The wrestlers engaged with the youth wholeheartedly; headliner Cody Deaner was huddled in a strategy session with dozens of young supporters before the main event.

Later in the match, the children called out challenger Dirty Rex Atkins as he cheated his way to winning the CWF championship belt in a questionable match, eventually unmasking the villain’s hidden weapon and a disqualification that led to an exciting six-person rumble in the ring.

The afternoon’s matchups included crowd favourite Cody Blade versus the evil Red Mask, with Blade winning handily despite the Mask’s nefarious moves; the bodacious Gisele Shaw making mincemeat of the maple leaf flag-drapped poseur Matthew Mountie and D-Man falling to the Cree warrior Shadow XTreme.

Gisele Shaw triumphs over Matthew Mountie at the Canadian Wrestling Federation show in Aundeck Omni Kaning last week.
photos by Michael Erskine

In a particularly odious intro, Matthew Mountie came in with a Canadian flag draped around his shoulders to the national anthem. Although everyone stood for the anthem, it was clear from the background video (with images of the infamous White Paper author Pierre Elliott Trudeau flashing on the screen) that the trappings belayed an evil soul. The First Nation focus of the event was not entirely subtle in its imagery.

But at the end of the day the message was one of hope, determination, perseverance and hope with good triumphant over evil in the end. It’s a message the world could use a lot more of in these troubled days.