For decades, Hamilton was known as the wrestling factory of North America, turning out talent year after year.
Now, a new art exhibit in the city highlights the rich history and the working-class conditions of the time.
Long before “let’s get ready to rumble” was uttered in a wrestling ring, local wrestlers were pursuing their passion part-time.
Ernie “The Executioner” Moore pulled double duty, working at The Hamilton Spectator during the day and wrestling at night. He gained fame in the sixties when he stepped into a role of a fellow wrestler who couldn’t make it to an event. Moore donned a mask as part of his gear and the crowd bought into it.
“I was the bad guy, and the promoter came in and said Ernie, you’re never going to take that mask off again,” said Moore.
Moore is a source of inspiration for the art exhibit “Punching the Clock: Working to Wrestle in Hamilton.“
Dave Kuruc created the exhibit to display the explosion of amateur wrestling amid the industrial neighbourhoods in the mid-20th century.
“The key with this show is that we wanted to let people know that in Hamitlon at one point, wrestling was king,’ said Kuruc.
During that time, Hamilton was dubbed “The Factory” for producing some of the best talents in wrestling in North America.
Wrestling was also a staple program on CHCH TV. The broadcaster produced wrestling matches from the early sixties into the late eighties.
“Even if you didn’t like wrestling, you knew that wrestling was taking place in Hamilton,” said Kuruc. “CHCH for sure for me as a kid, that’s where I watched wrestling.”
The exhibit also features the next generation of wrestlers. Julian Micevski, who wrestles under the name All Ego Ethan Page, was born in Hamilton and has had a successful career on the independent wrestling circuit.
“Not only seeing myself on the wall, but people of history that have wrestled and come from Hamilton. It’s honour to be one of the people to represent this city,” said Micevski.
For more information on “Punching the Clock: Working to Wrestle in Hamilton”, click here.