Now I had a rather scathing tale to bring to you this week, one that would have brought anger, distress, confusion, and all the emotions. But this week I need to talk about a match this past weekend. It was a bit of a coming out party for one of our columnists on Pro Wrestling Post and had a huge effect on me, Jack Pride.
This past Saturday was Real Canadian Wrestling’s monthly venture into Red Deer, where wrestling is a bit of the Wild West, where anyone and everyone can show up. And in the Main Event, we had the culmination of a trilogy of main event spectacles.
On one end, we have Michael Richard Blais. Many can debate that MRB is not only the best wrestler in Alberta, if not Canada, not signed to a major promotion. Hell, in my opinion, he is better than half the wrestlers that are signed. “God’s Gift to Professional Wrestling” has been involved in Main Event after Main Event for years now. Even when he is not in the Main Event Position, he has been the Main Event match. He has broken the internet once this year, and with facing Teddy Hart as part of the Prairie Wrestling Alliance’s Night of Champions this Saturday, he is more than likely to do it again.
On the other end, we have the home-town home-grown Jack Pride. I’ve watched Pride work over the last three years and go through various metamorphoses. From the underdog hero to the man who snapped after Chris Perish cut his hair, to the cult leader herding his sheep, to his current split personality, Pride has been going through a search to find his true self. No one questioned that he has great talent, but there were so many questions when it came to that ability. Is his mouth getting in the way of his talent? Is he more show than go? Was he only raised to a higher level because of his working relationship with Envy? Can he produce a big match when it is needed?” These are all questions that kept Pride out of what many considered Elite status in Alberta Wrestling.
Saturday Night changed all that.
Coming into this match, Blais promoted through various media that he wanted to push Pride to his limits, to see if he could push back and raise himself to another level. Pride retorted that his current mindset, Pride, had made a truce with his former self “Jack Pride”, with the sole purpose of taking out “Gods Gift to Wrestling”. Pride understood that it would take everything he has to defeat a man who is the best in Alberta and is right on top of his game right now.
The start of the match was unique in many ways. First comes out Blais, who normally comes out last, being a top guy. The crowd was lukewarm to MRB, not sure whether to cheer or boo him, torn when it comes to thinking about his opponent. And then Pride adorned in his new black and white gear makes his way out. It seems the new gear has produced a bit of a mindset change, being less condescending to the fans, but not going out to look for their cheers. It was a razor-focused determination. Along with that, Pride didn’t ask for the mic, as a pre-match Pride promo putting down the fans is usually a staple. It almost seemed surreal that Pride just wanted to get the match started.
What followed as the bell rang was something out of a wrestling work of art. You couldn’t have painted a more perfect script. The match started and MRB developed into the face of the match, Pride the heel. As Pride was taking control, it appeared that he was starting to flow into old tendencies. Tormenting the fans, cheap shots, everything to come up with an edge. But as the flow of the match went on, something happened. It is hard to explain the feeling. The vibe in the room started to change. It became so intense that the locker room emptied, all wanting to watch this match.
Blais looked to finish off Pride but just couldn’t get the three. Whether it be by a reversal, movement or by determination, Pride escaped both Blais’ Spinebuster and 450 Splash. Throughout this, the crowd started to turn. Fans starting to will Pride on, while laying back on MRB. It wasn’t a full double-turn, but I can’t remember a match where a wrestler, on his own, became a face from a heel in a match without the other man turning as well.
The ending of this match was crazy, with both men going through a table on the outside, followed by Blais hitting a standing Spanish Fly. Still couldn’t get the three. Finally, MRB hit his Spinebuster, followed by a 450 splash, and after 36 minutes and 24 seconds, the match was over. Michael Richard Blais was victorious over Pride.
Following the match, MRB grabbed the mic, showing the scars of the battle he had been in, and thanked Pride for the match. “I have been following your career for the last two years, and despite what anyone thinks, you are one hell of a professional wrestler, and you deserve all of that Pride you have inside of you. Wherever we have fought, whether it be here or somewhere else, I wanted to bring out the best in you and did that tonight. So, thank you Jack Pride.”
As someone recording the night, something special happened in that match. In the crowd, in the ring, and in Pride. It was almost a coming of age moment. Most people who have watched Pride knew that he is special. Tonight, he proved that he was elite.
Many people will debate who are the top wrestlers in the province right now. While it is subjective and may have different people in different orders on the list, tonight Pride cemented his name in EVERY conversation. Without saying a word all night, his actions spoke more volumes than most would think imaginable. Pride is not only what his name is, but it is also what he deserves to feel after that performance. Not only did he shut up all the doubters in this performance, but he made everyone who has stood behind him from Day One fill with Pride!!!
For a review of the full card from Red Deer, check out the column by Spencer Love coming this week on Win Column Sports. Hopefully, this match will be available on YouTube or twitch very soon.