New Evolution Wrestling’s Republic Rumble Showcases Newfoundland’s Evolving Pro Wrestling Scene

“Dynamite” Dylan Davis takes flight against Psycho Mitch, Photo by Ritche Perez

New Evolution Wrestling (NEW) is proving to be in a league of their own in terms of independent pro wrestling in Newfoundland. With a thorough marketing strategy, the ability to bring in recognizable names, a deal with Rogers TV and loyal fans, NEW manages to attract a capacity crowd to their events at the CLB Armoury. Friday, April 20th was no exception, as NEW put off their third Republic Rumble event.

The Republic Rumble show featured a number of matches and was main-evented by the Republic Rumble match, an over the top rope elimination contest similar to WWE’s Royal Rumble. Like the Royal Rumble, winning the Republic Rumble presents a championship opportunity. This year’s winner would receive a “Golden Ticket” championship shot good for any NEW event, anywhere, anytime up to one year.

The Republic Rumble match, as well as an appearance by former WWE Superstar Joey Mercury, along with the rest of the NEW roster, proved to be an enticing show as the event was sold out. NEW owner, Travis Canning said that despite having to make some changes to their capacity numbers to fall in line with fire regulations, “we were still at capacity with approximately 450 [people] seated plus people standing throughout the venue.”

Those in attendance saw NEW’s Newfoundland Tag Team and Interprovincial championships defended and retained as well as former WWE Superstar Joey Mercury gain a pinfall victory over “Thoroughbred” Blake Maxwell. The NEW World Heavyweight Championship was also successfully defended when champion “Dynamite” Dylan Davis won his match against Psycho Mitch via disqualification. The evening’s main event, the Republic Rumble match itself saw Blake Maxwell shake off his loss from earlier in the night and punch his “Golden Ticket” championship opportunity after he won the Rumble in a controversial manner.

Canning and NEW work very hard to put on a great show for fans by creating local stars and pairing them with popular wrestlers from WWE and other promotions such as Rene Dupree, Billy Gunn, Tommy Dreamer, Tito Santana and The Hurricane. Planning for an event usually starts a year in advance in terms of scheduling and storylines. “There’s a lot that goes into it,” said Canning. “It’s time-consuming and you have to find people who are available for your shows, so we cannot simply wing it.” NEW runs an event every four to six weeks at locations like the CLB Armoury in St. John’s but they also tour throughout Newfoundland taking the show to a number of towns like Whitbourne, Green’s Harbour, Clarenville and Bay Roberts.

Along with touring the province and their shows at the CLB Armoury, NEW performed in front of fans in St. John’s Mile One Centre during the St. John’s Edge basketball game in February. A special offer allowed NEW fans to use their ticket stubs from the previous event for a special “Buy One Get One Free” ticket offer with The Edge. A ring was set up beside the basketball court and those in attendance were treated to a match for the NEW Heavyweight Championship, which saw the champion, “Dynamite” Dylan Davis successfully defend against “Wild Thing” Tony King.

In terms of planning to bring in famous outside talent, Canning said that he is eager to work with Tommy Dreamer again, even though the ECW Original has already appeared at a NEW event. “The benefits of booking a guy like him go well beyond any finance sheet,” he said. “[Dreamer is] a guy I hope to bring back again soon. He’s one of those guys who always gives back.”

Fans who were not able to attend NEW’s Republic Rumble should keep an eye out for the event to be aired on Rogers TV as well as the promotion’s YouTube channel within the next few months. There is a process from going from what fans see at the CLB Armoury to what airs on TV as shows are edited and broken up into episodes for future viewing.  Wrestling enthusiasts from outside Newfoundland who are fans of the NEW talent may also get a chance to check them out in person as wrestlers such as current NEW World Heavyweight Champion “Dynamite” Dylan Davis, “Maverick” Matt Wheeler, The American Patriot, and Max Power work shows throughout Atlantic Canada with such promotions as Ultimate Championship Wrestling, and New Breed Wrestling.

It truly is a testament to the hard work and dedication that Canning and the NEW roster put into their product. Fans certainly recognize this as many were just as excited to meet and take pictures with local NEW wrestlers like “Dynamite” Dylan Davis and Blake Maxwell as they were with the visiting Joey Mercury. Canning credits this success to hard work, good luck and karma. In an interview with The Muse, he said, “In the past two years we’ve gone full throttle. We just worked our asses off and things just kinda fell into place”.

NEW’s evolution of professional wrestling in Newfoundland continues on May 25 at the CLB Armoury in St. John’s.

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