When it comes to learning how to wrestle in the Pacific Northwest, there aren’t any better options than the Lions Gate Dojo. Headed up by some of Canada’s premier independent talent, the school has played host to a number of the country’s up-and-coming young prospects including Golden Boy Travis Williams and The Voros Twins.
Of course, the school was something I had to ask one of their head trainers, Nicole Matthews, about as part of our recent interview for Love Wrestling.
“Yeah, so there’s a group of four of us. Me, Artemis Spencer, Billy Suede, and Tony Baroni. And yeah, we’re running the school,” Matthews says proudly of the school’s core group. “We’ve been training for a while. In particular, like Artemis has been training for 14 years – sorry, he’s just right here confirming facts!” she laughs.
“I’ve been training for the past eight years, about, on and off, and same with Tony and Suede,” Matthews continues. “We just decided instead of training for other people, we’re gonna start a school ourselves and train that way. It’s been awesome. It’s been a really good experience. You know, not everyone’s like back to training quite yet. Just like with, you know, 2020 the whole thing.”
While, of course, the trainers’ respective resumes more than speak for themselves, great wrestling schools and trainers, admittedly, few and far between when compared to the sheer number of options available. When comparing some of the more run-of-the-mill training centres to the Lions Gate Dojo, I asked, what differentiates you as THE school?
“You know, I think the four of us a are pretty good mix because we all have very similar fundamentals,” responded the former ECCW Champion. “We all have similar philosophies on training, but we all like doing different things and different aspects of wrestling.”
“So, you know, Tony Baroni is really good about talking about psychology, and doing that type of – you know, [we] kind of keep taking him there. I’m not much of a talker at training honestly, which might shock some people because, like, I can talk all the time. So, I don’t really love talking about that, and so that’s great that Tony loves talking about it. Suede’s great at the fundamentals and kind of focusing – and he kind of has that 80s, 90s style of wrestling a little more so. I love just like doing spots at training, like go-go-go kind of chain wrestling, roll off-type of spots. I just like doing a lot of action in my training. And, you know, Artemis does all the hard stuff like lucha techniques and like catch wrestling techniques. I’m a student when I go to his classes still, because, like, lucha wrestling is not my specialty, but it’s a really good – he’s a great trainer, and it’s good to learn from him.”
“We’re all rooted in the same fundamental principles,” she concludes. “But, we all enjoy different parts of those kind of fundamentals. All our classes are much different than each other. So I feel like we offer a really good variety. And, I think for the most part, we’re, you know, BC style. We’re all very laid back for the most part, and we try to create a positive, fun environment. But, you know, also making sure people are working hard and stuff, but it’s less military, you know, go-go-go. [It’s] more like people want to work hard because they want to work hard.”
Please credit Spencer Love/Love Wrestling with any transcriptions used.