It was standing room only at the Arborg community Hall, when over 250 people crammed into the north room to take in the Steel Town Pro Wrestling (SPW) night, Mar. 23.
This was Chip Fletcher’s last fight in Arborg, and his second last pro wrestling fight, forever. Fletcher’s final match will be fought in Winnipeg on Apr. 13, at the Casa Do Minho at 1080 Wall St. The date coincides with SPW’s fifth anniversary.
Will he lose his championship belt, or will he go out on top? Whichever way it goes, it is sure to have wrestling fans on the edge of their seats.
Fletcher, now 41, had a wresting career that spanned 22 years. During that time he has fought in over 575 matches. In the early part of his career, Fletcher’s moniker was Chip “The Kid” Fletcher. Over time, however, he became more audacious, earning the name, Chip “Hardcore” Fletcher–“hardcore” because of the no-holds-barred fighting style, which includes employing unusual weapons like forks, chains, chairs and licence plates. It is a fight in which anything goes, and can draw some real blood.
It might surprise some to learn just how un-hardcore (i.e. nice) Fletcher is in person though. In Arborg he is better known as the friendly Chicken Chef employee, Roland Sutyla. He is a man with a heart of gold, warm and accepting of others, and someone who speaks highly of his fellow wrestlers and all the fans.
“I’m going to miss it because of the fans. There’s no other feeling like having the fans cheering your name,” he said.
Fletcher says he will remain involved in the sport, either as a manager or as a referee but, as for fighting, the sport has taken its toll on his body.
“The biggest thing is, I’d like to thank (the fans) for supporting me. It’s because of them I got to relive the dream of being a wrestler. ”
The match in Arborg, between Fletcher and the infamous Marius, was the eighth and last match of the night. It was the fight everyone was waiting for, and it did not disappoint.
Just as the match started, the emcee announced that a special guest referee would be standing in: Primo Latino Gibby Guraro, who happens to be from Gimli, and Fletcher’s ally.
“A special guest referee,” Marius spat. “There’s nothing worse than someone from Arborg and someone from Gimli.”
He turned to Guraro. “Let me remind you that this is a hardcore match, ” he said. “The next time you try to cow me out, I’m going to punch you in the teeth.”
The crowd was not impressed. They continued to cheer Fletcher on throughout the match.
After some initial battering by Marius, Fletcher “clothes-lined” Marius three times before knocking the wind from him.
Marius could do nothing for himself but call for a time out, and Fletcher seized upon this opportunity to access his arsenal of weapons, hidden behind the curtains beneath the ring. He pulled out a pair of crutches, some long Japanese Kendo sticks, and a couple licence plates, and threw them into the ring.
As he was getting back to the fight, Fletcher was intercepted by Marius who had grabbed one of the crutches and began beating on him.
This riled the fans even more.
After a lot of hard hits, Marius had Fletcher down for a count of two.
“He’s not done,” said the referee.
“He will be soon,” retorted Marius.
Marius then slammed the top side of the crutch onto Fletcher’s forehead, but he managed to stagger to his feet. Gibby Guraro tossed Fletcher a weapon, one of the licence plates. Fletcher grabbed a second one and slammed them on either side of Marius’s head, like cymbals.
The fight then spilled onto the floor when Fletcher threw Marius over the ropes, landing him within inches of a group of boys, fans of Fletcher. The pair climbed their way back into the ring.
“Chip Fletcher you’re going to die,” Marius bellowed.
He threw Fletcher out of the other side of the ring, causing visible discomfort to Fletcher’s shoulder.
Once back into the ring, he tried to pile drive Fletcher’s head into the mat, one of the Wrestling’s most dangerous moves. Fletcher got his second wind though, spun out, and gave the knee to Marius before segueing into his finishing move, the DDT, securing Marius’ head under his arm and driving him down hard.
With this, Fletcher emerged the victor, holding on to his hardcore championship belt.
For those who missed this incredible event, it was taped for national television and will soon be aired on Channel 9 Shaw Winnipeg, the date of which will be announced.