If you pull up too early for the Knights of Columbus hall for an Alpha-1 Wrestling show, you’ll have to fight for a spot in the parking lot, which has already been overtaken by Sunday morning attendees of the church next door. Seating, merch tables, and the ring itself have to be set up in between the already existing Christmas decorations, including a roughly ten-foot-tall Christmas tree glittering in the corner. Highspots have to be carefully planned and navigated around three massive electric chandeliers (though in the past that hasn’t always been done so successfully).
During one sunny day this winter, With Spandex spent the day discovering just what it is that makes Alpha-1, in our opinion, the epitome of independent wrestling.
If you’re sitting in the basement of a Knights of Columbus Hall an hour outside of Toronto and you don’t think you are what you are, you better embrace it. — Colt Cabana to the audience booing after being called a “shitty wrestling show.”
It’s hard to describe the city of Hamilton to people who aren’t from Southern Ontario. Beleaguered by the economic fluctuations that come with being built on the steel industry, the industrial city carries an unequivocal sense of pride in being the beleaguered but proud blue collar rival to the big city lights of Toronto. That same spirit and sense of community can be found coursing through the veins of Its fans are always game to play along, booing the heels and clinging fiercely loyal to their favourites, Canadian or not. In fact, its most beloved wrestlers hails from Sandusky, Ohio.
“It’s weird. I don’t know what I did to make [that loyalty] happen, I was just myself,” says wrestler Rickey Shane Page. “It’s kinda what I do everywhere, I just try to be myself, and it took off. If someone asked me to do it again somewhere else I wouldn’t be able to because I don’t know what I did.”