The Alberta Pipeline | Tales from Ringside

Over the last few months, there has been a huge influx of exposure of new talents on the WWE global brand. With the Mae Young Classic coming to a close, and the debut of NXT: UK, a ton of brand-new wrestlers have been given the chance to be seen on one of the world’s most publicized stages. Most people think that most of these talents are basically home-grown. However, with many, that is not the case, as the Alberta pipeline has been one of the major pipelines for strong rosters.

Going back to the infamous Hart Dungeon, you have a who‘s who of WWE Alumni that have gone through the vigorous training of Stu Hart. Talents such as Chris Jericho, Tyson Kidd, Davey Boy Smith, Brian Pillman, current WWE Superstar Natalya, and a plethora of others have gone through the trials of the Dungeon and have produced some the best WWE Matches ever seen.

The Alberta Pipeline

What a lot of people don’t know is that there is a whole new crop of talent that has gone through Alberta since then to make it into some of the biggest promotions in the world. Just to list a few, current WWE Superstars Tyler Breeze, Ascension member Viktor, Jinder Mahal, Peyton Royce, NXT: UK star Amir Jordan, and newest signee to NXT Chelsea Green, all got their feet wet in Alberta before branching out worldwide. Also, Impact Wrestling talents Gursinder Singh, and Raj Singh were both working in Alberta just a few years ago. One of my favorite matches I’ve ever called involved Gursinder in tag action with Real Canadian Wrestling.

Gursinder Singh was known in his early times in Alberta as “The Cockiest Man on the Planet” Tony Cage. Check him out as he teams up with Tiger Ali to go up against Brandon Van Danielson and Michael Richard Blais. They are also known as the Western Lions. One of the best matches to come out of Alberta in 2016.

Gisele and MRB

But my tale for this week includes two special women that I got a chance to see in November of 2015 go head-to-head for the first time, and now both are now two of the biggest stars on the independent scene. Gisele Shaw has rocketed into the United States market as one of the newest signees to the Women of Wrestling promotion based out of California, as well she has recently appeared on Impact Wrestling. And Rachael Ellering, who has gone on to not only perform for Stardom in Japan (where the likes of Io Sharai, Kairi Sane, and Toni Storm have performed) but has also highlighted an Impact Wrestling Pay Per View as well as taking part in both Mae Young Classic Tournaments.

Prior to appearing on IMPACT Wrestling, Gisele Shaw made her mark in Alberta. It was there were she competed in Real Canadian Wrestling and the Prairie Wrestling Alliance.  Check out this 2016 match against one of Alberta’s Best, Michael Richard Blais.

The Alberta Pipeline

Lance Storm Wrestling

Back in November 2015, I was sure I was one of the few Alberta Wrestling Fans who had not seen Lance Storm wrestle live. The head trainer for the Storm Wrestling Academy, he has produced a Who‘s Who of wrestling talent to be groomed for the WWE. Between his work in Ohio Valley Wrestling and his own camp, Lance has an amazing reputation for giving wrestlers strong fundamentals, both technically and mentally, to produce some of the most solid workers in the world. So, when he announces he is going to work a Prairie Wrestling Alliance match in Calgary, it was something I could not miss. So I and the rest of the podcast gang load up the car for a three-hour drive down south to check it out.

The match Lance was scheduled to be in was with three of his students as a mixed tag.  Brett Morgan was a solid heel. He was established over the last year to be one of the most hated in the company.  Teaming with Brett was Gisele at the time, she had a few matches under her belt. It was while working for Real Canadian Wrestling. But in the PWA she had been essentially a manager, nowhere near the level she is at now! And Lance’s tag partner was Rachael Ellering.  Now the name or course sounded familiar. Her father was a famous wrestler and manager. But that doesn’t always translate to good talent down the family tree. Lance was there, and he had a reputation for producing talent. You had a feeling it was going to be a good match.

The Alberta Pipeline

“Queen of Strong Smile” Rachael Ellering

My first ever interview was with the future “Queen of Strong Smile” Rachael Ellering, talking about herself and her life currently north of the border.

The match was unbelievable. With all four pulling everyone through a great story. They had that crowd eating out of the palm of their hand.  The standing ovation following the match was great to see. The crowd was very supportive and it was just a hint of what was to come.  Following the show, my buddy Andre C took my mic and got a quick post-show interview with Rachael.  The start of the Queen of Strong Smile had begun.

That night was the start of a four-month feud between Gisele and Rachael that felt like a Big Fight Match every time they would face each other. They both brought the intensity, and the best out of each other. And I was privileged enough to witness it all from the front row! Both these ladies have become two of my favorite wrestlers in the world today. I find it somewhat appropriate that they are listed side-by-side in the latest Pro Wrestling Illustrated Top 100 for 2018.

Gisele has a level of excitement and confidence in every match she is in, and every time I see Rachael get in the ring, a vibe of a Big Money Fight is still there, like her match is always the main event. Rachael was my first ever interview. Not only is she a top tier wrestler, but she is also a top-tier person. She was part of the Alberta pipeline.

The Albert Pipeline

Support Independent Wrestling

So, my suggestion to everyone is to support your independent wrestling, whether it be going to shows, or checking them out online, including on Because you may be going to a show based on one attraction but come out appreciating a brand-new star. And you can say you were a true fan since Day One!!!

Next Time… The Art of Fan Interaction and A Tribute to the Duke of Alberta Wrestling

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