[flagallery gid=29 name=”Squared Circle Wrestling”].
Nearly every ringside seat at Variety Village had a young fan squirming in it when The Fraternity swaggered into the building on Jan. 25.
Sporting preppy clothes and Ivy League ‘tude, the three Squared Circle wrestlers got boos when they tried to haul away the referee and wipe out their rival, Will White, in a three-on-one.
But White beat the odds. He sent the square-chinned Trent Gibson and Bradford Montague packing, then schooled their curly-haired leader, Channing Decker, with a Flying Senton Bomb.
It was all for a good cause, says Squared Circle Wrestling‘s Jordan Marques.
“Every year we try to donate our time to help Variety Village,” Marques said, noting that the event was the fourth free show the North York wrestling outfit has staged at Variety, and 100 per cent of the proceeds go to its kids’ programs. The Scarborough recreation centre is designed floor to ceiling for people of all physical abilities.
Like the many boys and girls who flooded the ring for a half-time photo with the likes of Jasmin, or BEARicade, or the moustachioed El Hijo del Bigote, Variety’s own events coordinator Nina Chamberlain said she got bitten by the wrestling bug early.
“We went every second Sunday,” Chamberlain said, recalling how her father, who knew wrestlers in the WWF (now WWE), used to take her to Maple Leaf Gardens in the heyday of “King Kong” Angelo Mosca.
In those days, Chamberlain said there were just a handful of female wrestlers (Squared Circle has a whole female division, The Bombshells), and all the story lines and costumes were much simpler.
“If you got a velvet rope, you were special,” she said. “Now you see these outfits they have – you don’t even know what to say!”
Another big change since show wrestling’s early days is that promoters now freely admit it’s all for fun.
But while the fights are choreographed, Marques said they are not fixed.
“If you go out there and you’re a hero, and the crowd starts booing you for whatever reason, you’ve got to know to switch it and be the villain.
“A lot of people think it’s, I don’t know, maybe like a movie fight scene, but it’s not,” he said. “It’s sports entertainment, but we train as if it’s a real fight.”
Marques knows what that feels like, too.
Besides 12 years of tough cardio, back flips and broken falls at Squared Circle, the 28-year-old has also fought mixed-martial arts, boxing and submission wrestling matches all over Canada, the US, even Japan.
While on Japan’s Zero 1 wrestling circuit, Marques trained eight hours a day in Tokyo and competed in matches that only end when a fighter taps out in pain.
“It’s intense,” he said, smiling ruefully. “Your ligaments become very sore the next day.”
Wrestling in Japan reshaped his style, Marques said, but Canada has thrown him some life-changing fights, too. With Squared Circle he has performed for capacity crowds in Nunavut and, more recently, for a class full of sociology grad students.
“Their final exam is to watch our wrestling event in Brock University and write a report about it,” he said, laughing. “That would be the greatest final exam ever.”