Headlocks and crowd pops will be on the menu for the biggest professional wrestling event of 2019, New Evolution Wrestling’s annual SummerCade
In four years, New Evolution Wrestling has quickly become the gold standard for professional wrestling in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Featuring the best local talent on the island, a healthy roster comprised of rotating come-from-aways and legendary superstars that pack venues in St. John’s and beyond, NEW has built a reputation for action packed events structured on transparency and honesty for their audience. You know what you get when you purchase a ticket to New Evolution Wrestling.
“I think that’s why we kind of have gotten as far as we’ve gotten because people realize that we aren’t messing around,” says NEW owner-operator Travis Canning. “You have to give them something to come back to and you have to give them something that they’re not gonna be turned away from.”
Canning is joined by the Newfoundland Heritage Champion “Dirty” Don Martini, a 19 year veteran of the local circuit who proudly defends the cross-promotion title through NEW and longtime local promotion CEW.
“I started in 2000 and Sailor White was actually the Heritage Champion,” Martini recalls, reflecting on the lineage of the oldest title in Newfoundland wrestling. “I started when I was just a young peasant kid and I was doing whatever I could for CEW. It was still bar shows and I wasn’t legal age to be in the bar. I was trying to work security, work the camera, whatever I could do to try to get in and get a couple of bumps. Someone had to show me something.”
‘Dirty’ Don’s 20th year
Martini first won the title in 2004, winning it again most recently in 2018, continuing a history with the prestigious belt that has stretched 15 years.
He was 16 years old when he ‘broke in’ to the business. Heading into NEW’s biggest event of the year, the fourth annual SummerCade on June 22nd at the Capital Hyundai Arena in St. John’s, Martini nears the landmark 20th anniversary since his in-ring debut.
“I lied about my age. I said I was 17 going on 18 and then I got in my first match and they found out afterwards and I had to convince my parents to come in and sign a waiver to let me continue doing it. I made my start in September of 2000 so it means that now I’m literally five months away from 20 years in local wrestling,” he said, flabbergasted. “Saying that out loud it sounds insane to me. It doesn’t seem like that length of time like. My knees … that feels like about that amount of time, but it doesn’t sound like that amount of time.”
The stacked summer showcase features legendary WWE Hall of Famer, “The Enforcer” Arn Anderson, Impact superstar and Cruiserweight Classic alumni Tyson Dux, former WWE star Carlito and a host of local favourites including NEW Heavyweight Champion Blake Maxwell, ‘Hellraiser’ Justin Lock, the power couple Vera Vyne and Matt Wheeler, the NEW Interprovincial Champion Buck Gotch and many more.
The card, much like wrestling itself, is dynamic, diverse and has something for every taste and preferences.
“It’s about tapping into different markets,” says Canning. “Bringing in Arn Anderson is going to bring an old school wrestling fan, but if you put someone like Tyson Dux for your hardcore wrestling fan, you will get to see a wrestling clinic. Then Carlito will get you like mid 2000 (era fans). So it’s all about just targeting different audiences from like a business standpoint and then just bringing it all together and putting everybody in the right places.”
For Martini, while the heart and passion of the major players and dedicated workers of the local circuit has remained constant since his early days, the professionalism and level of athlete has grown exponentially.
“A large amount of professionalism has come over the years,” he admits. “You went back to the cornerstone days of 98 and 2000, you’d go into it and you’ll have a laugh. You have fun but you’re not going to see a lot of mat technicians. There is a certainly a calibre of wrestler that has started over the last 10 years in local wrestling. It has really upped its game and professionalism and not just the wrestling itself, but with the presentation at the shows, the names that are brought in, the ways the shows are advertised and put together. And no one has done that better than NEW.”
“We still have that vibe that existed and still exists from CEW, but we also have the pure wrestling, we have the nostalgia act, we have a lot of these things which makes NEW what it is,” says Canning. “That’s kind of where we’re at with it and that’s what makes a show like SummerCade blow the roof off the building because we put everything all under one roof.”
For VIP and general admission tickets as well as more information on NEW shows in Whitbourne and Grand Falls-Windsor this summer visit the promotion’s official social medias and newevolutionwrestling.com