Windsor·Video

No legs? No problem for aspiring professional wrestler in Windsor

Cameron Adamson has been training at Can-Am Wrestling School in Windsor, Ont. for more than a year. He is on a mission to pursue his childhood dream and refuses to let his physical disability stand in his way.

The UWindsor law graduate is not letting his physical disability stand in his way

Cameron Adamson trains at Can-Am Wrestling School in Windsor, Ont. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

He was born with a physical disability but that's not stopping him from pursuing his childhood passion.

Professional wrestling has long been criticized for being "fake." But there's nothing fake about the discipline and athleticism needed to make it in this highly-unique business.

Cameron Adamson — a student at Windsor's Can-Am Wrestling School — has been training to make it in the business for more than a year.

But there is one thing that makes him stand out next to his peers.

He has no legs.

Cameron Adamson performs crunches with his fellow Can-Am Wrestling School classmates. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

Humble beginnings

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Adamson moved in 2006 to attend the University of Windsor faculty of law.

He graduated three years later, but quickly realized he wanted to pursue his true passion.

"I've always been interested in professional wrestling," Adamson said. "I love the showmanship aspect of it. I love the connection with the crowd. And I certainly grew up as a fan."

In January of 2017, Adamson signed up to become a student at Can-Am Wrestling School.

"I think the concern was that they would put me off to a corner where I might not get to do anything or they would just throw me in the ring and say, "Hey, we have a novelty (act) here,'" said Adamson.

Instead, the school fully embraced Adamson as part of their family.

"They work with me to make sure my safety's protected, while also letting me do the things I'm able to do. They treat me as much a part of the family as anyone else," said Adamson.

Cameron Adamson observes a training session at Can-Am Wrestling School. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

Treated the same as everyone else

But Adamson still needed to adapt to the athletics standards of the wrestling business.

"Everybody can learn how to do something ... When you're missing your legs, it's a different set of techniques in figuring out what will work and how that works."

He said the school still pushes him just as hard as everyone else.

During warm-ups, Adamson does exercises like push-ups and planks — using the ropes to support himself.

Watch Cameron Adamson in action at Can-Am Wrestling School:

Watch Cameron Adamson perform push-ups, splashes and submission holds. 0:46

Living his dream

Adamson has performed at two professional wrestling events as a referee. He said it is an honour to be able to be a part of the business he has loved from childhood.

"You need a ref to count. You need a ref to keep order. So I'm very proud to be that ... knock-on-wood, I get to ref some more."

But his experience goes beyond the confines of the ring. Adamson is also involved with the preparation of events.

"It's always an honour because whether you're in the ring working a match or reffing a match or setting up the ring or putting out flyers, every job is important. There's no such thing as a small job," he said.

"That's one thing Can-Am dojo really emphasizes and has taught me — that there's a lot of work that goes into putting on a show and entertaining the fans."

Adam "Phil Atlas" Filangeri once performed for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in May 2008. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

Earning the respect of his peers

Can-Am Wrestling School has trained many of today's top national, international and local professional wrestlers since 1993.

(To avoid being bombarded by wrestling fans, the school's location is kept secret from the public.)

He's here more than anyone else ... I respect that.- Can-Am Wrestling school head trainer Adam Filangeri

Adam Filangeri — one of Can-Am Wrestling School's head trainers — performs in the ring as Phil Atlas and has been wrestling for 14 years. He said Adamson has earned the respect of his peers.

"He wants to try a bunch of stuff that I would necessarily say he shouldn't try, but he wants to get in [the ring] as much as he can." said Filangeri.

Head trainer Adam Filangeri helps Cameron Adamson with his in-ring movement at Can-Am Wrestling School. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

Potential for success

With Adamson missing both legs, there may be limitations for success in the highly-competitive world of professional wrestling.

WWE — the most popular professional wrestling organization in the world — has only signed one performer to its roster with a physical disability.

Zach Gowen signed with the company in 2003 with one leg having been amputated. He was released from the company after just one year.

But Adamson does not care about that. He is just enjoying the ride no matter how far it takes him.

"Everyone deserves a shot. And that's what we're giving him," said Filangeri.

About the Author

Sanjay Maru is a reporter at CBC Windsor. Email him at sanjay.maru@cbc.ca.

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