Hello everyone! My name is Mike Malowany (pronounced Maloney, regardless of how many wrestlers screw it up), and I am the senior engineer at Backbreaker Media, a podcast and video channel covering wrestling in Alberta, Canada. I want to thank you for checking out my first blog post for www.prowrestlingpost.com. I will be presenting articles about life in the Alberta Wrestling scene, and how unique and untapped the product is up here. In many ways, Alberta Wrestling is the Rodney Dangerfield of Wrestling in Canada… Just doesn’t get any respect. But in this post, I will give you a little background on myself and how I ended up where I am today with my tales from the ref.
Living just outside of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, I grew up a wrestling fan. My earliest memories of wrestling were having a bunch of friends get together to watch Wrestlemania III on a scrambled signal. Been a huge fan ever since. I’ve always been a guy with an opinion when it comes to the product, whether it be how crazy storylines have been too simple production credits/questions. So in 2010, I became a regular call-in on Inside the Squared Circle, one of the first fan’s call-in show on blogtalkradio.com. Darrell Mays, Thomas Keister and I would always have a great time and some big debate on the storylines of the day. In 2011, I branched out to my own call-in show, The Blown Call Show, where I covered WWE and the Canadian Football League. A fun 90 minutes every two weeks. If you’re wondering about The Blown Call Show, many people know me by my pseudonym Mike the Ref (easier to pronounce than Malowany apparently). Another story for later.
Fast forward to 2015, I found an ad in a local newspaper about Hurricane Helms wrestling in Edmonton. I went to check it out and was introduced to the Prairie Wrestling Alliance. A casino ballroom, a decent sized crowd, but the noise… oh, the noise… the crowd was so into the matches, with guys I have never heard of. Watching these guys tell a story that was easy to pick up on got me hooked. To my surprise, the promoter mentioned that they had been running for over 10 years. How in the hell did I miss this kind of action right under my nose? Been to monthly shows ever since and have gained some new friends, which have been dubbed the “Front Row Mafia”. Again, another story for another day.
From there, I was introduced to Monster Pro Wrestling and Real Canadian Wrestling. Each promotion had their own little niche of action and their own separate fan base. Such great action and I could not believe I had been missing out. Made me wonder how many other people were missing out on the action and decided to make a change to the podcast. So, the Edmonton Sports Podcast Network (or ESPN… I am a sucker for acronyms) was created, highlighting the best of the Indy wrestling scene in Edmonton. The podcast was simply myself and a few of my friends just chatting about how each show went, and how everyone was missing out. The wrestlers and promotions appreciated our work, and crowds did go up. I like to feel that we had a small part in that.
In 2016, I was brought in by Monster Pro Officials to call their new attempt to produce online content. I and my buddy Andre C began to stream shows via YouTube. From there, we expanded to cover other promotions, to get more exposure to a truly untapped product. Due to the changes in YouTube earlier this year the product has turned into On-Demand Video.
In between all this, it seems that this guy who has an opinion seemed to be good for a position of authority in front of the camera. I became a ring announcer, and soon after General Manager, of Real Canadian Wrestling. Left that in mid-2017 and continued the podcast. Then the Edmonton Combat Sports Ban occurred in December, in which wrestling became an unfortunate casualty. I became a bit of a voice for the fans and someone who isn’t afraid to be a little politically incorrect, not having anyone horse in the race. After the ban was lifted, I was asked by Monster Pro Wrestling to become General Manager to lift their company to the next level. I am still in that role, wrapping up my contract at the end of 2018. With our recent expansion and name change to Backbreaker Media, myself and my associates are now covering promotions all over the Province, not just the Edmonton area. And we are in a very unique position by covering every promotion and having access to every company.
Wrestling has always been my mistress… my companion… something that just brings a smile to my face. Not only the action, but the people involved. From fans to wrestlers, to support staff, there are many stories to tell, and experiences of being out here in anonymity. I am here to tell those stories, and I hope you join me on this journey!
Next time: The Women’s Evolution and the Alberta pipeline
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