Welcome To The (Battle) War

Battlewar Brings the Ruckus to Foufounes Électriques

Standing at five-foot-ten and 140 pounds in the confines of Foufounes Électriques, James McGee, better known as Twiggy, isn’t your prototypical wrestler. Donning shades, a Michael Jackson jacket from the “Thriller” music video, a red headband and red, white and black chaps, he resembles a trick-or-treater more than your average wrestler.

“What are you trying to say?” Twiggy said, insulted at The Link’s suggestion that he doesn’t fit the stereotype of a wrestler. “What I lack in muscle, I make up for in speed, poise and agility.

“Can you imagine what it’s like if I bunch these skinny fingers up, balled them into a fist and punch you in the face? It’s like getting hit in the face with a jagged stone. It’s all bone.”

Lacking in burliness, but not in confidence, Twiggy is one of the major players of Battlewar, a wrestling collective set up at Foufounes Électriques by Twiggy’s mild-mannered alter-ego, James McGee, and his business partner and fellow wrestler, Mike Dupont (a.k.a. Giant Tiger).

“Me and [Mike] were talking about how it was a shame that there wasn’t really that over-the-top wrestling company in the city that audiences flock to,” said McGee.

McGee and Dupont committed to doing a wrestling show in 2012 and haven’t looked back since. Twenty-three shows later, Battlewar will celebrate its third year of existence this year.

This past weekend Battlewar 24 took place, featuring a full slate of solo and tag-team matches.

In addition to Twiggy, Battlewar 24 featured a mixed bag of wrestlers who all differ in size, strength and personalities.

“You’re seeing a variety show of professional wrestlers,” said McGee. “There’s big guys, there’s small guys, there’s fat guys, there’s skinny guys and they’re all doing different things to characters unique to who they are.”

For starters, there’s the demonic Dirty Buxx Belmar, whose voice sounds like a raspy, chilling mixture of Batman and The Joker. The reigning champion of Battlewar sports black marker on his face and chest.

“I’m a dirty man; I do weird stuff and I like to do it,” he grunts. “I do exactly what I want, is there a problem with that? You can get in the ring with me if you wish,” he told The Link menacingly.

There’s Twiggy’s former tag-team partner, Franky the Mobster, who boasts a six-foot-one, 220-plus pound frame; veins bulge from his neck and muscular, tattoo-adorned arms.

The two were once a fearsome tandem known as The Rock ‘N’ Roid Express, who served painful takedowns onto their opponents and became crowd favourites. This past Sunday, however, the duo was forced to part ways after losing their tag-team match against The Tankmen, a match where the
winners would remain together and the losers would separate.

After their defeat, Franky addressed the crowd, saddened at the thought of no longer being able to fight with his scrawny mate. The crowd gave a mixture of cheers and taunts. Once Franky couldn’t handle the taunts, he fought back.

“I wish cancer upon all of your mothers,” Franky said, prompting “ooohhs” and boos from the crowd.

Giant Tiger is another character, a short, chunky man who wears a tiger mask and boasts of his sexual prowess in the arena. He wished for “something heavy” on Sunday night and he got it in Mike Gibson, a massive man who was practically unmovable. Giant Tiger comically attempted to lift Gibson off his feet numerous times, but to no avail.

Tiger soon met his fate as Gibson manhandled and crushed his opponent with slams and takedowns. It didn’t stop Tiger from boogieing to his entrance music “Getting Jiggy With It” by Will Smith in defeat.

Scenes in Battlewar are choreographed beforehand, decisions are predetermined and, of course, the reactions to pain are loud and excessive. However, there is real physicality—in some cases, even blood.

Body slams, flips, and takedowns. Punches, slaps, kicks and shoves. The bodies fly and land painfully on the canvas, or in the audience. Meanwhile, an animated crowd cheers and heckles the wrestlers, while delivering “ooohs” and “ahhhs” to every slam.

“It’s physical theatre,” said McGee.

“We were just looking for something to capture the imagination of wrestling audiences in the city of Montreal where we showcase the best pro wrestlers that the city has to offer.”