Hart gives up wrestling secret
‘Entertainment’ confession gets it off sports hook
Ten-year-old boys, cover your ears — wrestling is officially entertainment, with the result figured out before the adversaries ever step in the ring.
And because of that definition — accepted by a civic committee Wednesday — wrestling won’t be governed under the city’s combative sports bylaw, which covers boxing, Muay Thai and kick-boxing events.
“We don’t need to be under the same regulation. It’s more entertainment, we’re very open about it being predetermined,” said Ross Hart, an adviser to Stampede Wrestling, adding that such an admission would have been unthinkable 20 years ago. “It’s a different generation we live in now.
“Professional wrestling is a sporting event, very athletic, it requires a lot of physical talent, certainly, and it can be dangerous at times, but it’s certainly not combative in the sense Muay Thai or kick-boxing is.”
Stampede Wrestling runs matches every two weeks at the Ogden Legion.
Hart said had they remained under the new combative sports bylaw, it likely would have been the end of the storied event.
The new bylaw requires $120 licences for promoters, officials, contenders and the event itself.
As well, a doctor and ambulance would be required for each event, rather than the St. John Ambulance personnel Stampede Wrestling uses.
“There’s no way we could afford that,” Hart said. “We don’t have the budget of Muay Thai or kick-boxing.”
Chief licence inspector Marc Halat said wrestling will now be covered by its business licence, as an entertainment establishment, putting it in the same category as bowling alleys, drive-ins or strip clubs.
The days when professional wrestling matches, such as this between the Undertaker and Vader, were touted as sporting events are over. Stampede Wrestling adviser Ross Hart says they are staged, “more entertainment.”