The History of Wrestling in Brantford
Wrestling has been a staple in Brantford Ontario since approximately the 1950’s with wrestling events were being held at the Armories and the Brantford and District Civic Centre for the most part. Brantford also being the home of Canadian wrestling legend Killer Joe Christie who also wrestled as the Destroyer and the Masked Marvel. Joe lived here until June 6 1999 when he passed away.
Brantford hosted both National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) and World Wrestling Federation (WWF now WWE) shows presented by Frank and then Jack Tunney. The NWA did TV tapings here every few weeks until 1984 when Frank Tunny passed away and his nephew Jack took over Maple Leaf Wrestling and started presenting WWF shows and TV Tapings here at the Civic Centre until 1986. Brantford had such legends wrestle here as Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat, Bret Hart, The British Bulldogs, The Fabulous Freebirds, Hulk Hogan, Big John Studd and Andre The Giant to name a few.
Through the 70’s and 80 Big Bear Productions ran shows at the Armories and The Civic Centre. While the Tunney’s ran the Bigger cities like Toronto and Hamilton. Dave McKigney ran the promotion in the smaller cities along the 400 series of highways in Ontario as well as some bigger cities like London, Kitchener, and Hamilton but for the most part smaller ones like Brantford, Simcoe, Welland etc. The Bearmans roster consisted The Original Sheik, Crazy Chris Colt, Luis Martinez, Johnny Valiant, and Wipper Watson Jr.
The Bearman ran shows here until The Ontario Athletic Commission forced him out of the Province in 1988. Dave then went to Newfoundland and started running very successful shows until July 5, 1988 when he swerved to avoid a Moose and was in a fatal car accident that took Adrian Adonis’, Pat Kelly’s and Dave’s life with Mike Kelly being injured in the accident as well.
After the Dave McKigney and the Tunney’s stopped running shows here some independent wrestling shows came here CCW, RWA and then in 2003 CIWA from Peterborough, Ontario with wrestler Outlaw Scott Chase promoting the show. After the CIWA show Scott then purchased GLCW out of Hamilton Ontario and ran shows with Rory McAllister of the Highlanders and then in 2005 with Me until Scott shut the company down in late 2005.
In 2006 a Battle for Brantford began when I started running shows at J’s Place in Brantford on February 26, 2006 under the Independent Pro Wrestling (IPW) name and Pure Wrestling Association (PWA) started running shows in the same venue on March 12, 2006. IPW went on hiatus after their June 18, 2008 event while PWA went on to run weekly shows starting August 6, 2006 to November 26, 2006 and April 12 2007 to August 4, 2007 then holding their last show to date on April 27, 2008.
On October 5, 2008 IPW returned to Brantford and were running shows at J’s Place. Starting in 2015, IPW has been holding their annual Canada Day Cup at Lion’s Park in Brantford.
By Mike Shea
Independent Pro Wrestling.
SLAM! Wrestling Website
PWA website www.pwacanada.com
Ontario Indy Wrestling Elite – www.owie.ca