Arctic wrestling company ready to rumble in the fall

Totally Arctic Wrestling’s first show is scheduled to take place in Inuvik on Nov. 16

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Over a year ago, wrestling super-fans Dez Loreen and Wade Blu Gruben came up with the idea to put together their own wrestling match.

“It was going to be a video of the two of us in a studio on a plywood stage. We started planning what a match would look like if we were going to wrestle a match,” said Loreen. “We started practicing, with the goal that we were going to wrestle each other first, then dub it over with our own commentary, and then go a step further and do a pre-match and post-match interview with ourselves.”

But after realizing how much time they would need to invest into making such a video, the two figured that they would do things the right way and actually develop an organized wrestling show.

“We started talking about this after the initial discussion of that wrestling video we were going to do, that match,” said Loreen “What if we actually did this? What if we actually trained and put on a show?”

The two then launched Totally Arctic Wrestling (TAW) in June, a wrestling company based in Inuvik. The group’s roster has grown to 14 wrestlers since then, and are currently preparing for their first training camp in October.

Longtime wrestling fans Dez Loreen, left and Wade Blu Gruben founded Totally Arctic Wrestling in June 2019. Aaron Hemens/NNSL photo
Longtime wrestling fans Dez Loreen, left and Wade Blu Gruben founded Totally Arctic Wrestling in June 2019. Aaron Hemens/NNSL photo

“It’s something we’re invested in. It’s something we want to learn,” said Loreen. “We’ve been students of it for so long, that now it’s just a matter of getting the tweaking and learning that. As fans, I think we have a good base to start to learn how to be pro wrestlers.”

From Oct.17 to 20, two professional wrestlers from Kelowna, B.C.’s Big West Wrestling organization will be in town to teach the group the ins-and-outs of wrestling.

“The first two nights are going to be based on mic work, character building – stuff that’s not physical,” said Loreen. “The 19th and 20th are going to be full days in the ring, learning the basics; bumps, break-falls, basic holds, basic moves and really basic ring psychology to give us an idea of how to string moves and spots together.”

Once training camp is complete, the next big event on TAW’s list is their first show, titled “Proving Ground”, which is scheduled to take place in Inuvik on Nov. 16.

“We’re going to have a full production crew there filming it. There’s gonna be a live crowd. It’s going to be pre-taped,” said Loreen.

He added that professional wrestler David Benoit, son of late WWE wrestler Chris Benoit, will have a role in the show.

“David Benoit is going to be involved in the show is what we’re saying for now. That’s as far as we’re going to take it for now,” he said.

From now until Proving Ground, brief promotional videos revolving around the show’s characters and storyline will be uploaded periodically on TAW’s social media platforms.

“This is a story. There’s something to be invested in, so we need to get people invested into it,” said Loreen. “So that’s what these videos are for: to get people into it.”

Gruben’s wrestling persona will be a character named “Blu”, while Loreen will rotate between the masked hero “Deztro” and a villain named “Zane Matthew”.

“We’re doing it the right way and we’re doing it for the right reasons. We’re not out there trying to hurt ourselves or use light bulbs and tacks – just garbage, backyard wrestling that you see on Youtube,” said Loreen. “This is two very big fans of the art who want to give back to something we’ve loved for so long.”

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Aaron Hemens served as the editor of the Inuvik Drum from January to August 2019. He's responsible for reporting on everything Inuvik, from covering community gatherings and sporting events, to writing the weekly columns. He's a dedicated photographer who loves getting to know the town through the community members that he meets. He's originally from Ottawa, Ont., where he graduated from Carleton University's journalism program in 2018. He can be contacted at 867-777-4545 or at inuvikdrum@nnsl.com. You can check out his photos on his Instagram account: @aaron.hemens.