Edmonton

Ring the bell! Edmonton expected to allow professional wrestling to resume

The City of Edmonton is expected to lift the moratorium on professional wrestling events next week after hearing from stakeholders on Wednesday.

Council to vote on amendment Wednesday; moratorium to remain in place for other combative sports

Edmonton professional wrestling will likely continue at the Northgate Lions Seniors Centre, Don Iveson says. (Ariel Fournier/CBC)

The City of Edmonton is expected to once again allow professional wrestling events to happen in the city.

An amendment to the moratorium banning all combative sports in Edmonton for at least one year will be tabled to council on Jan. 23, where council is expected to allow wrestling events in the city.

Kurt Sorochan with the Pro Wrestling Alliance told the Public Services Committee wrestlers are performers, not combatants.

"We have pre-determined outcomes. We are 100 per cent entertainment," Sorochan told the committee on Wednesday.

Mayor Don Iveson agreed.

"My heart is broken to find out that it's a predetermined outcome," Iveson said. "It's like finding out that Santa Claus isn't real, but nonetheless they'll be back in business in a week."

Council put the moratorium on combative sports in place following the death of MMA fighter Tim Hague during a boxing match in June 2017.

But the wrestling community managed to differentiate itself from other combative sports like boxing and MMA, so council is moving quickly to reinstate it.

The wrestling community would welcome the amendment to the moratorium, which forced the postponement of a WWE event scheduled for Feb. 9 at Rogers Place. It's not clear when or if the cancelled and postponed event will be rescheduled.

Wrestling fans 'just ecstatic'

Valerie Legarde, 57 and her partner, 72-year-old Eugene Jolivette are big wrestling fans. The Edmonton couple has inadvertently become part of the act after one of the wrestlers, Sheik Shabaz, stole Eugene's hat during one of his performances — something that's now become a regular part of his routine.

"Ever since then, we've been going every time we've been able to," Legarde said.

With the moratorium in place, they were worried about how they would get their next wrestling fix. But on Thursday, they found out the city was likely going to lift the moratorium within a week.

Val Legarde, left, and Eugene Jolivette, right, are 'ecstatic' that Edmonton pro wrestling may be allowed again. (Ariel Fournier/CBC)

"We've been wondering where it was going to be, what we were going to do, how far we we'd have to travel," Legarde said. "Now that they're going to have it back in the city, I can't wait for the first one.

"Eugene and I are just ecstatic."​

But don't be too quick to dust off your Hulkamania do-rag yet — council still has to vote on the amendment on Jan. 23.

Council will review the moratorium on other combative sports on Feb. 21.

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