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Ottawa Impact!

Ottawa Impact!

Article by Andre Gagne and Keith Whittier / Photos by Andre Gagne

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Chairs are flying, bodies crashing, turkey’s bouncing off the table and mashed potatoes are streaking the wall. Either it’s a typical Thanksgiving dinner with the in-laws or wrestling has returned to Lansdowne Park’s Aberdeen Pavilion.  

“It’s time to send those Eskimos back to the igloos where they belong!”

Yup, has to be wrestling.

The audience erupts in a choir of boos directed towards current Impact Wrestling Global champ Eli Drake. Even the most hardboiled Canuck wouldn’t make such a crack but the crowd sure ate it up like a plate of poutine. The avalanche of loathing that hit Drake could have slammed him back to his hometown Orlando.

Drake and a slew of his jacked up Impact Wrestling comrades may have been seen around the Capital a lot these last few days. The wrestling organization held their annual pay per view Bound for Glory, this past Sunday and has taken up residency here hosting shows every weekday as they record future shows. For wrestling fans it’s a powerslam of awesome as not only do they get a week of bone crunching action but  those who attend have multiple chances to see their mug splashed across the Fight Network or PPV.

Ottawa Life was on hand for a Tuesday night slobberknocker with 119-year-old Aberdeen serving as a perfect backdrop for this event which saw many fans of the squared circle come out to see their favourite superstars. There were older fans, younger fans, couples, etc, proving once again that this business attracts a wide audience, there is truly something for everyone…even those dudes with beards painted in glitter, the guy who looked like a mime and the person enthusiastically brandishing a sign that read “Grape Juice”.

The evening kicked off with fan-favorite Moose firing up the audience. With a name of a beast so evocative of the Canadian wildness, it wasn’t hard to back the guy. His battering ram headbutt even had a few fans hoisting up some makeshift antlers. The official television tapings began with a triple threat featuring Impact Knockouts Laurel Van Ness, Traci Spinelli and a returning Madison Rayne.

Cowboy James Storm’s appearance swiggin’ some good old Canadian beer received an expected cheer but the crowd really got to their feet when a vile King Mo spit the cold brew at Storm and at least a few people in the first row. You just don’t mess with Canadian beer, man! The main event saw Alberto El Patron face Johnny Impact in a wild match that could’t stay in Impact’s six-sided ring alone.

It was the 5 on 5 Turkey Bowl that saw the most unhinged action of the night. Though Thanksgiving has come and gone in a tryptophan haze here in Canada, our neighbours down South ride the gravy train come November 23. The turkey dinner, however, got served a little early courtesy of famed Chef Robert Irvine. Married to recently retired Canadian Impact Knockout Gail Kim, the chef’s bounty filled the arena with a tasty aroma as the wrestlers made their way down to the feast before battling it out over who would have to wear the infamous turkey suit.

Who knew chanting “gobble gobble” with hundreds of fans could be so enjoyable? We’re not going to spoil who received the dishonor but will say it does get messy.

Watch out for flying bread rolls, folks!

As mentioned, Impact is in town all week. Many fans were saying that they were going for the entire run because it was rare to host so many tapings in one place. After taking in Tuesday night’s show we could appreciate the sentiment.

Ottawa Life had the chance to speak with Impact wrestler Bobby Lashley, a guy who likes to keep busy. The 2005 Pro Wrestling Illustrated Rookie of the Year has competed in mixed-martial arts with Bellator and has wrestled since the early 2000’s. He’s a 4 time Impact Heavyweight chapion, WWE United States Champ and has held the ECW title twice. Not tough enough?  He’s also a former US Army sergeant and he shows no signs of slowing down!.

Ottawa Life: How has the experience been with his promotion?

Bobby Lashley:  It gives me an opportunity to wrestle. We have great wrestlers and my game has changed for the better. I am having great matches for the fans.

You have had the opportunity of entertaining fans all over the world for years, what keeps you coming back?

I love what I do. If you look at my social media you will see I’m not about the drama, all I care about is I come to wrestle. After that I go home and I hang out with my kids. And if I stay out of that part of the business then I have fun doing it.

For those who aren’t familiar with Impact, why should they come out and see the show?

One thing is it’s fun. We put on a really good show and we are excited about it. We are a little more personal with our crowd. We see people before, during and after the show and make the fans part of the show.

You have been in Ottawa for a few days., what are you liking about the city?

I love Canadian fans in general. They always get hype. It’s a different kind of fan base. People stop me on the street and are very friendly. I love the excitement I get from the crowd.

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