Thrash wrestling bodyslams its way into TRU

Headlocks and suplexes galore, as independent wrestling show comes to Kamloops

Dropkicks, suplexes, and a barbed wire baseball bat were front-and-center Friday night as Thrash Wrestling hosted TRU Nightmare on campus in the CAC’s Grand Hall.

Approximately 150 to 200 Kamloops residents and TRU students came out at 7:00 p.m. on Oct. 27 to witness the action. Thrash Wrestling is the most prominent pro wrestling organization in the province’s interior, and this is the first time in its over-a-decade-long history that they have hosted an event at the university.

Thrash Wrestling’s owner, Nick Szalanski, said that hosting the event at TRU allowed students who otherwise may not attend the opportunity to see what they had to offer, adding that he’s hoping to host more events on campus in the future. 

“This looks like a pretty healthy venue to bring wrestling to. A lot of the kids on campus seemed right into it, and you get a lot of walkup,” Szalanski said. “Some people didn’t even know what it was, and they were just amazed by it.”

The card kicked off with Penticton’s Brayden Goss attempting to re-earn his Thrash Heavyweight Championship from ‘The Aviator,’ Sean Gaston. For about 20 minutes, the two went back and forth, throwing each other around the ring, hitting elbow drops, and running knees on each other while simultaneously bantering with a group of lively hecklers in the audience. Gaston eventually rolled Goss up into a pin, with the referee making a three-count to retain his belt. 

Later in the card, Nanaimo’s BJ Laredo and Vernon’s Cope took to the canvas for what was the most hard-hitting affair on the card. The prize on the line — Cope’s BC Interior Championship belt. The two exchanged brutal suplexes, dropkicks, and splashes, with neither losing any drive in the process. At one point, Laredo tangled Cope in the ropes and began beating at his opponent’s chest with open-palm, knife-edge chops, somewhat reminiscent of WWE Superstar Sheamus and his infamous “Ten Beats of the Bodhran.”

BJ Loredo recovers from blow by challenger, Cope. Deiveek Agarwal/The Omega

However, the challenger’s offensive fury would not prove enough to put the champion down. In the closing moments of the bout, Laredo would find himself locked into a devastating triangle choke hold, and with no escape in sight, the ref stopped the match. As the decision was announced, the referee raised Cope’s arm in victory, still the BC Interior Champion.

In the co-main event of the evening, the ‘Hillbilly Hound Dog’ Drayco squared off against the ‘The Devil Himself’ Derek Drexl. During the match – perhaps the most bizarre of the night – audiences were stunned as they watched the demonic Drexl repeatedly pinch and bite his opponent’s nipples. In a strange twist of fate very few could have seen coming, Drexl welcomed the same treatment for himself, exposing his chest and inviting his opponent to give him a taste of his medicine. 

With the audience’s support, Drayco rallied and secured the victory. However, it was fittingly Drexl who chased his opponent backstage following the match’s conclusion.

Kamloops-born Justin Cider poses with former WWE Superstar Phil “CM Punk” Brooks at an unrelated event. Justin Cider, Instagram/Submitted

Kamloops’ only current resident on the card was set to close the evening in the main event tag team match. Cougar Meat’s Kyle Sebastian and Collin Cutler were set to take on Enterprise’s Charlie Joseph and Kamloops’ Justin Cider. With the hometown hero on their side, Enterprise was the fan favourite in this bout. After a back-and-forth slugfest, Cider secured the win for his team—a perfect ending for the 41-year-old Cider, who began training just four years ago.

“It’s the experience of a lifetime. It’s what I’ve always waited for. It made all the hard work worth it,” Cider said. “All the years of hard work, all the practice, all the drive, all the training has all been worth it to come to this moment to get to this for the people that I love.”

Based on the success of the show, Szalanski said that it is “a pretty safe bet” that TRU students will be seeing the promotion show up again on campus in the near future.
On Nov. 18, Thrash will be hosting a card in Penticton that will be one of their largest, as it includes a former WWE superstar. Information about this and future Thrash events can be found on their social media pages.