Canada has always produced world-class wrestlers—the Hart brothers, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Killer Kowalski—but Quebec breeds the craziest ones of all. When local wrestling debuted on TV in the 1950s, Quebecois kids had the choice of going to church or watching Gilles “The Fish” Poisson pile-drive some nameless black guy on Sunday mornings. The churches emptied out almost over night. Legends like Andre the Giant, Maurice “Mad Dog” Vachon, and Tom Pouce (a midget who fought bears) are some of this province’s freakier wrestlers. But no one comes close to the sheer insanity of the International Wrestling Syndicate. “The IWS is for hardcore fans who want to watch the ring literally explode,” explains the federation’s bigwig PCP Crazy Fucking Manny. “We have explosives attached to the ropes, barbed-wire matches, neon tubes getting smashed in wrestlers’ faces, thumbtacks on the ring mat. We have pyro going off, roaring crowds, and babes doing hot oil wrestling at halftime.”
Founded in 1998, the IWS has been attracting thousands of fans to their monthly live performances. As they themselves put it, the IWS is “the only truly innovative, sexually appealing, and realistically violent show in the country.” The league has also been making waves outside the ring: last year, several IWS fans (who claimed to be linked to the FLQ, a radical separatist movement) were arrested after attacking the Baie D’Urfé city hall with a chainsaw. Police found homemade pipe bombs in their car. Heating things up further, IWS wrestler Career Killer (real name: Kurt Lauder, age 23) was charged with the murder of a teenage girl this summer. His parents were also charged with being accessories after the fact. Unlike other wrestling leagues, where the action is supposed to be fake, the IWS seems violently real. For info on their monthly shows: www.syndicatewrestling.com.