CRMW: Shane Bower

October 09, 2007

This week Iím going to take another look back at one of the promoters I worked for during my career. This week Iím going to talk about Shane Bower, better know as pro-wrestler Beef (sometimes Biff) Wellington. Before going any further I should point out that Shane passed away earlier this year and is no longer with us. I have a tribute commentary about him in the Tribute section on the Commentary page of this website.

After Stampede Wrestling closed down in late 1989, CNWA (Canadian National Wrestling Alliance) took over with a weekly Friday night wrestling show in Calgary. CNWA lasted about two years, and shortly after they shut down Canadian Rocky Mountain Wrestling (CRMW) took over.

CRMW ran a weekly Friday night show at the Victoria Park Community Center just north of the Stampede grounds here in Calgary. Ed Langley was the promoter of record but Shane Bower ran CRMW and called all the shots despite using Edís promoterís license.

I worked for CRMW off and on between other bookings from 1992 thru 1995. This was a very big time in my career and I had a ton of great matches and learned a lot during my time there. I worked programs with Johnny Smith, Gerry Morrow, and Chris Jericho, and even got to do my first bit of booking with CRMW.

We didnít have TV (apart from the occasional show being covered by a local cable access channel) but with a show in the same building every Friday night we ran one or two basic angles to stretch out the main event match ups. As green as I was at the time I was one of the better local workers so I was a top baby face for CRMW. Shane was both the promoter and the booker but he kept the booking very simple and let the top guys, for the most part, do what we wanted. Shane would let us know how many weeks he would want a program to last and we would just run our plans past him before we did them, which is how I got my first taste of booking. Shane was a very hands off booker, and the only real booking influence he had was implementing his plan to make the main event matches go long to dominate the card in order to keep the work rate higher. The under neither matches (which featured inexperienced workers) were kept quite short while the better workers (the Main Event matches) would often go 30 minutes or more.

The long matches and the chance to work long programs with Gerry, Johnny, and Jericho were the reasons I learned so much working CRMW. I had the longest match of my career in CRMW doing a 45 minutes time limit draw with Johnny Smith. I did a 30 minute Iron Match as well as 2 Ladder Matches with Chris Jericho for the CRMW Mid Heavy Weight Title. The crowds were never big for CRMW but the work was regular and at that stage of my career, regular work was the most important thing.

The pay system in CRMW was strange. We got paid a week behind when working for CRMW. Everywhere else I worked you got paid at the end of the night but in CRMW we got paid at the next weekís show. The reason we were given for this was that Shane didnít get the promotionís cut of the gate from the Community Center (which sold the tickets) till the next day, so it would be easier to just pay us all the following week. I didnít necessarily believe this story, and figured it was just a means by which to make us all work the first show for free, but as I mentioned earlier I was more interested in working regularly than bickering over one pay day. Shane was always true to his word on money and I was always paid on time the following week.

That is not to say that CRMW and Shane Bower donít owe me money. Come on nowÖ this is Indy Wrestling; promoters always owe you money (LOL). When you get paid for your match on the next show you quickly come to the conclusion that as soon as you stop working for the promotion you wonít be making that next show and will not be getting your last pay cheque. This is what happened to me. I worked my last match for CRMW, headed over seas for another booking and never made it to nor worked another CRMW show, and thus never received my last $50 pay day (I was paid huge in those days LOL).

I canít say I made much or any effort to collect that last payday, so I certainly canít blame Shane for not getting it to me. I pretty much accepted the fact that I wouldnít get that last pay cheque long before working my last CRMW match and have nothing but fond memories of my time there. I gained so much valuable experience working for CRMW and had some of the most fun matches of my career there. My only regret is that I didnít make a better effort to keep in touch with Shane over the years. When he died this June it had been likely 12 years since I had seen or last spoken to him.

Lance Storm