The Bay Roberts grappler
Brandon Hynes making name inside the squared circle
Bursting through the curtain at Ascension Collegiate in Bay Roberts, Brandon Hynes is heading to work.
Originally from Cambridge, Ont., and billed as ‘Bulldog’ and wrestling in the main event of Legend City Wrestling’s annual Klondye Days card, Hynes is slated to square off with Mr. Fantastic.
Hynes’ moved to Bay Roberts in 2010, but he has family from Spaniard’s Bay and spent many summers in the region.
He shows no emotion as he makes his way towards the ring in the middle of the gym and greeted by a chorus of boos from the some 100 fans inside the sweltering gymnasium.
Tonight, the third day of the tour, Hynes is slated to play, in wrestling terms, the heel character. To the outside world, he is the bad guy. He is destined for underhandedness and dirty tactics.
Mr. Fantastic is the epitome of the good guy, or babyface, for LCW. He wears a mask that thrills children, is their heavyweight champion, his biceps bulge and he dances in the ring at the end of his matches.
In the moments leading up to the first lockup between the men, cracks start to show in Hynes’ visage. When the villain, you’re expected to be deceitful and dislike the fans.
But at certain points of the match, Hynes is doing something heels do not do, unless hurting an opponent.
Hynes is smiling.
“It is hard to go full heel when I know family is in the audience,” he said moments after the show’s conclusion.
It is not an overpowering smile, just a simple grin and he is sharing it with family.
Living in Bay Roberts, Hynes has half-a-dozen family members. One of those is Jaime Kel loway of Bay Roberts.
“It’s a big laugh,” said Kelloway. “We joke about it at home.”
On this evening, Hynes is performing twice. First in the bout with Fantastic, followed by a tag match in the main event.
It is a grueling match featuring big moves and changes in momentum. It is Hynes’ 12th match in three days. “It’s tough,” he said. Professional wrestling has the reputation of being fake. In a way it is. The stories are scripted and the athletes play characters different from who they are in real life.
What is not fake, however, is the punishment they inflict on their bodies every night.
“All that is out there is wood and metal, so it takes its toll,” said Hynes.
Hynes, 22, has been a professional for five years, and started wrestling while still living in Cambridge. Taking a couple of classes at a local gym, the wrestling bug never really caught on until a friend of Hynes’ mother invited him to a show.
“That’s when I got hooked,” he said.
Hynes started with the Pure Wrestling Association in Cambridge. He wrestled his first match on July 21, 2009 in Kitchener, Ont., against an opponent named Warhead. He did not win the match, but it got his foot in the door.
“It was pretty cool. It was a small crowd, but it was a life-changing experience,” said Hynes.
Performing to the crowd
Professional wrestling, at its core, is one part well-orchestrated performance and one part athletic showcase. Wrestlers work with each other on some of the finer points of the match, but leave the middle parts up to interpretation.
The reaction of the crowd may shift a match in a certain direction, while improvisation does the rest.
“It is the crowd interaction for me,” said Hynes, when asked what he enjoys about the profession.
Four years of high school drama helps with that.
Every night he puts on the tights and laces up his boots, Hynes is living out a dream he’s had since he was younger.
“Making people happy is what I like to do,” he said.
How does his family feel about
Hynes getting thrown around the ring? “I loving seeing him get thrown around,” said Jamie with a laugh.
Bay Roberts professional wrestler Brandon Hynes (centre) watches the action unfold in front of him from the apron.