In 2001, a short-lived promotion called Matrats was founded in Calgary, Alberta. The promotion, which featured the likes of Randy Myers, Davey Boy Smith Jr, TJ Wilson, Natalya, and more may not have lasted long but was a great indication of the talent coming out of the Albertan professional wrestling scene at the time.
Myers recently joined me to discuss the Matrats promotion itself, Eric Bischoff’s involvement with the promotion, and why it ultimately failed.
A brief background on the short-lived Matrats promotion:
“Basically what Matrats was, was it was a promotion for people under the age of 25. The idea was it was going to be a kids’ wrestling promotion. Basically, more athletic, kind of more the style you’re seeing in PWG today or any of the independents, even DEFY in the States or across the world. Kind of like a higher-impact, faster style, more athleticism, (and a) heavy emphasis on creativity within the moveset. There was just these incredible talents, so there was like TJ Wilson, Teddy Hart, Jack Evans was there, Rene Dupree was there at the time. Even like there (were) two boys by the name of Nick Nogg and Pete Wilson who were incredible (at) inventing moves, like three or four moves a day that you see now popping up and people are like ‘oh my god, I can’t believe that happened,’ and I’ve seen them forever ago. I was there the day the 630 was invented. Here we were, just like a bunch of rag-tag kids that Teddy had put together.”
“There was a person named Graham Owens who had invested, because he had seen Teddy Hart at Stampede Wrestling, and was a cameraman I believe. He saw that the kids’ matches were just this different level and different style that could maybe really be harnessed and sold. So, he propositioned this show, and it was called Matrats. It was short-lived, but it was very almost like Wrestling Society X ended up being on MTV. It was like that youth, high-energy, MTV-kind-of-audience-style wrestling show. It was really fun.”
Eric Bischoff’s involvement with Matrats:
“Eric Bischoff was involved. He was at the Palace show, which was my first live wrestling match, and he was also at another show that was actually the first time I ever took a bump on a show. So, yeah, Eric Bischoff was involved, and Jason Hervey, who was the brother Wayne on the Wonder Years, was there as well. At the Palace show, we had Don Callis (and) Mauro as the commentators, so it was phenomenal. Joey Styles was there. It was crazy.”
Why the promotion fell through:
“I think the idea of selling a children’s wrestling program, especially when you think of wrestling, especially at that time in the early 2000s, it was kind of a dark spot within entertainment. There was a lot of deaths and there was a lot of negativity around it, so the idea of having children involved in that, I think, was kind of a harder sell than you would think. Especially with injuries and stuff like that, the idea of seeing grown adults hitting each other and stuff like that, consenting adults hitting each other, that’s okay, but the idea of children, it’s kind of blurry. I’m not exactly sure, but that would be my guess as to why things fell through.”
Please credit Spencer Love/Love Wrestling with any transcriptions used.