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  Feb 25, 1999

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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

Stampede Wrestling to return

Calgary promotion hits the mat again April 2

By ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

Stampede Wrestling is ready to return to the scene of the crime.

After grappling with the idea for years, organizers Bruce and Ross Hart will reintroduce the popular wrestling circuit Good Friday at the Pavilion on Stampede Grounds with a lineup that includes big name alumnus "British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith, Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart and Tatanka.

"We see it as the launching pad for the return of Stampede Wrestling," said Bruce, who has signed a letter of intent with A-Channel to broadcast the show every Saturday afternoon.

"This is sort of the pilot and we're looking to start running it regularly in the fall."

A-Channel assistant GM, Al Thorgeirson, confirmed the station has a keen interest in bringing back the show, which Calgarians tuned into for almost 30 years dating back to 1957.

Founded and promoted by the Harts' father, Stu, the Stampede Wrestling circuit produced dozens of talented young wrestlers who have since moved on to international fame and fortune in the World Wrestling Federation or World Championship Wrestling. Two of those big names include brothers Owen and Bret, who currently wrestle in the WWF and WCW respectively.

"I'd love to be there on Good Friday, but I'll be wrestling in Germany," said Owen.

"I've run into all sorts of former wrestlers who still want to wrestle and have heard rumours that my brothers were going to bring Stampede Wrestling back. It's nice to see it's finally going to become a reality ..."

Owen said it was the Friday night fights at the Pavilion where young, hungry wrestlers were willing to take risks to get discovered. Wrestlers like Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit are two others who learned their trade with Stampede Wrestling and are hoping to return for the April 2 card.

"They're both trying to get permission from the WCW like Davey Boy did," said Bruce, who is also trying to contact Bret. Other confirmed wrestlers include Arc Angel, Giant Titan, Powerhouse Anderson and Neidhart.

Bruce and Ross have spent the last decade training young wrestlers in the family's infamous "dungeon" with an eye on preparing them for this and other circuits. Names like "Pistol" Pawluk, Dirty Dick Raines, Hot Shot Johnny Devine, Irish Red O'Riordan, Red Thunder and Badlands Bill Rodgers will form the nucleus of Stampede Wrestling's next generation.

"(Former Stamp) Marvin "Big Daddy" Pope has trained and had about 40 matches with us and Anthony McClanahan will get his neck brace off soon and join us," said Bruce.

Tickets will be on sale soon at Ticketmaster and net proceeds will go to the Quest Children's Society, which is a privately funded school for special needs kids.