Original Published 23:44 May 26, 2022
By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
After more than half a century of hiatus, professional wrestling officially returned to Siksika Nation on May 21 and it’s looking like it’s here to stay.
Siksika Nation council and Siksika Health Services have partnered with Dungeon Wrestling, a relatively new promotion based out of Calgary, operated by Dallas Hart.
“It’s a first of its kind of an event in Siksika. Back in the day, (we) used to have wrestling events, but there hasn’t been anything like this in (more than 50 years),” said Siksika Councilman Carlin Black Rabbit. “(Siksika Health Services) CEO, Tyler White, he has a good relationship with the Hart family … so it was just ongoing conversations of the family wanting to be more connected with the nation and vise-versa.”
According to White, the initiative is all about building relationships, having a platform and an opportunity to bring in community, bring in families and bring in kids to enjoy the sport.
“We’re hoping the community comes out and the surrounding areas come out to support what we’re doing here … this is certainly an outlet, a social gathering where we can come together in a good way,” said White. “I think beyond this, we’re really hoping that this will continue and have other wrestling events, other First Nations, and other communities (involved) and be able to extend the Dungeon Wrestling brand.”
Additionally, White said Siksika Nation is in talks with Dungeon Wrestling and the Hart family to potentially begin having wrestling camps and training made locally available for youth to take advantage of.
“The early discussions we had with Dallas and Tyler was to maybe create a wrestling school out here on the nation – give our youth another option or opportunity to do something in their lives,” added Black Rabbit. “There are a lot of wrestling fans out here on the nation. There’s a science behind it, there is coordination, there is so much training that goes into wrestling that a lot of people don’t know about.”
Dallas Hart explained his promotion pays homage to his grandfather’s old promotion, Stampede Wrestling.
He said Dungeon Wrestling aims to maintain the “old school” feel of the old promotion, while encouraging people to come out and see something new.
“The original (promotion) that my grandfather had was Stampede Wrestling, and he used to train guys at the Hart House in the basement and it was known as ‘The Dungeon,’” he said. “We just modified the Stampede Wrestling name to Dungeon Wrestling, but we wanted to have the old school Stampede Wrestling feel.”
No other events have been officially scheduled yet in Siksika Nation, but locals and folks from surrounding communities are encouraged to stay tuned and keep an eye out for more to come.
This item reprinted with permission from Strathmore Times, Strathmore, Alberta