Michael Richard Blais and Brandon Van Danielson are no strangers to speculation. The duo best known as the Western Lions have earned their reputations as the two top talents on the Albertan independent scene today, both as singles competitors and as their formidable tag team. The pair has held every championship across the Prairie Wrestling Alliance; truly, it’s a matter of when, not if, the Western Lions will be making their way to the major promotion of their choice.
Frankly, something along those lines was what many expected when Blais announced he’d be given free rein to speak his mind at PWA Hysteria on Saturday, April 20th. However, with Van Danielson absent, “God’s Gift to Wrestling” took to the ring far more sombre than his usual charismatic self. After exchanging a handshake with long-time rival Marky, Blais was handed the mic.
The emotion that filled Blais was obvious from the onset. A hush fell over the Northgate Lions Centre, with seemingly every fan on the edge of their seat as they prepared for the Western Lions’ announcement.
However, no one could have expected the series of events that Blais words would trigger.
As the former champion measuredly spoke, the PWA faithful hung on to every word. Beginning his promo by thanking the fans, “God’s Gift to Wrestling” spoke at length about the Western Lion’s journey to the top of the Alberta independent scene. Despite the havoc the duo has caused, Blais said, the support from the fans have caused the two to reflect on their actions of the previous years.
That’s where the bombshell was dropped.
While not officially decided upon, Blais declared that the Western Lions could be taking a break from the PWA, with the exception of June’s PWA Night of Champions.
“Honestly, we legit aren’t 100% sure what we are doing in PWA right now, other than my match with Ted (Hart) being on for sure,” said Blais in a quote obtained by the WCSN. “All the fan support lately despite failing to get the PWA Title kind of making us question our actions the last couple years to kinda step aside a bit see if some of the guys (in the locker room) could step up maybe.”
Unfortunately, stepping up is exactly what Kenneth Anthony and Colton Kelly of the Millennial Rebels had planned.
Ever the opportunists, the pair entered the ring with Anthony taking exception to Blais’ words. The Millennial Rebels verbally lambasted God’s Gift to Wrestling, calling not only he but Van Danielson as well a pair of “broken down 30-year-old failures.” It wasn’t long before a match was set for later in the evening, with Blais set to take on Anthony.
“Once Kenneth interrupted me and said what he said, (respect) kinda went out the window,” Blais commented. “Don’t disrespect us – we’ll remind you that you still aren’t on our level.”
It’s said often, but there’s a reason Blais is considered one of, if not the, best wrestlers in Western Canada; however, Anthony has quietly worked his way up the ranks over the past number of years to become one of the savviest wrestlers on the independent scene today. Where years ago this may have been considered an easy victory for Blais, it was Anthony who dominated the majority of the match. While a pre-match attack during Blais’ entrance was responsible for a portion of Anthony’s dominance, it was still jarring to see MRB dominated as thoroughly as he was from the onset of the match.
However, as is so often the case, Blais was able to find a way to win. His trademark kick combo followed by a Code Red seemingly out of nowhere led to the Western Lions’ hand being raised in victory.
It wasn’t the match that had people talking, however, but the gutless post-match attack from the Millennial Rebels.
Immediately following the Blais/Anthony tilt, the Rebels launched their assault, with both Kelly and Anthony ruthlessly beating down their exhausted opponent. While Blais valiantly fought, he was unable to overcome the numbers advantage of the duo at hand. An audible gasp was heard from the crowd as Anthony procured a pair of scissors and stared menacingly at a prone MRB, his intentions immediately clear. Grabbing Blais by the hair, Anthony cut off a formidable piece of Blais signature blonde locks.
— PWA Wrestling (@PWAwrestlingca) April 22, 2019
It’s been years since this sentence was said in Albertan wrestling, but as his assailants walked away, Blais was left laying in the middle of the ring. There was no Brandon Van Danielson charging in to save the day. Unfortunately, the numbers advantage fell in the favour of the Millennial Rebels this time.
For the first time in recent memory, the Western Lions were broken.
Less than 24 hours after the brutal post-match assault, Blais broke his silence on Twitter.
My head won’t stop spinning, my mind is a mess. I’m broken. I’m angry. I’m defeated. I want revenge. I want to forget. I want to fight. I’m done.
— Michael R. Blais (@GodsGiftMRB) April 22, 2019
Thus far, Van Danielson has been unavailable for comment.
With a broken Blais and an absent BVD, the landscape of the Prairie Wrestling Alliance has truly shifted. Even with Blais confirmed to return in June, speculation has run rampant around the future of the Lions. Will we see Brandon Van Danielson in a PWA ring again? How will MRB respond to the heinous attack at the hands of the Rebels?
Could this truly be the end of the most dominant duo in PWA history?
“BVD and I are back to square one,” stated Blais. “On one hand, we want to just walk away if this is how it’s gonna be. On the other hand, we’ve never been about giving in. Part of our talks has been wanting revenge. Part of them has been that it’s not worth it at this point.”
“We really don’t know.”