Take one look at Devon Nicholson and it becomes clear immediately that it’s not the brightest idea to get him in a foul mood.
Former OFSAA champion Devon Nicholson, who works at the Ray Friel Recreation Centre’s weight room, plans to take another shot at the amateur wrestling ranks while continuing to work towards his long-term pro wrestling career goals. Photo by Dan Plouffe
Unfortunately for Nicholson’s opponents at the recent Ontario grappling championships, they found out the hard way as the 270-lb. heavyweight tore through them without having a point scored against him in six matches.
“I was really grumpy during the day because I had to be there from 9 a.m. and all of my matches were at the very end,” explains Nicholson, who didn’t have a break longer than four minutes between his matches at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School. “Even when I was exhausted, all I was thinking about was, ‘I didn’t come here to sit all day for nothing.’”
Nicholson wasn’t terribly fond of the competition schedule that held each weight class’s matches one after the other instead of progressing round-by-round, but the 27-year-old was pleased to keep intact his undefeated record at Sir Wil – dating back to the former Cairine Wilson Wildcat’s high school days when he was a two-time OFSAA champion as well as junior national amateur wrestling champ.
“It was kind of neat – like a trip down memory lane,” Nicholson grins. “It was a lot of fun. And it’s always nice to win tournaments.”
A return to the amateur ranks is a recent development for Nicholson, who’s made a career as a pro wrestler – facing legends such as Kevin Nash, Terry Funk, Abdullah the Butcher and Brutus the Barber Beefcake in the squared-circle – as well as a promoter.
“I’ve had a lot of pro wrestling championships, but I want some more real championships that are recognized at a national or international level,” says Nicholson, whose long-term goal is to wrestle in WWE. “When I finally get back in there, I want to have all the credentials.”
Nicholson plans to continue promoting shows occasionally – New Brunswick is his next stop in mid-September – and he also hopes that his background as pro wrestler could help to get his name on a few mixed martial arts cards.
“Pro wrestling offers me a bit of an advantage,” notes the Ray Friel Recreation Centre employee who loves being the bad-guy wrestler. “You’re used to wrestling in front of thousands of people, so you don’t really get nervous in a match like some other people might.
“It really pays to have a good personality in MMA, so I have that as well. If you’re just a flat fighter with a normal haircut, you’re not going to be noticed as much.”
On top of competitions for grappling (submission wrestling), Nicholson plans to attend all the important Canadian amateur wrestling events in the coming years to take a run at making the London Olympics team.
“I’m 27 now, so I’m pretty much at my physical prime,” Nicholson says. “The Olympics are in 2012, so if I do want to give it a try, now’s the time.”