Welcome and thank you for visiting the Cauliflower Alley Club’s “Learning Series” events page. It is here that you will find the line-up and schedule of the CAC’s Learning Series events held annually at our fabulous reunion in Las Vegas.
Unlike traditional, one-off seminars or events held around the country, the Cauliflower Alley Club is unique in that, in addition to our fabulous banquets, awards and other CAC-related activities, the CAC offers its reunion attendees an opportunity to attend a full two days of seminars conducted by industry experts. You can choose to attend one learning experience or, hopefully, all of them. The choice is yours because admission to every one of the seminars is included in the purchase of your reunion ticket and up-to-date CAC membership.
The CAC is so fortunate to have a wealth of very knowledgeable industry professionals in our midst—professionals who graciously volunteer their time to instruct, educate and share their knowledge with those who are willing to listen—professionals who all do it for free because, like us, they believe in the CAC mission to financially assist those in the wrestling industry who have fallen on difficult financial times.
We are eternally grateful to our Learning Series presenters and hosts, as well as all of our CAC membership. Please drop by our Learning Series presentation room when you are at this year's reunion. You’ll be amazed at what you can learn and the fun you’ll have while learning it!
Reunion Seminar Administrator
Tracy Smothers: The Wild-Eyed Southern Boy: My Life Inside & Outside of Wrestling and How You Can Learn From It!
Joining us for the first time in 2020, Tracy Smothers is a ring veteran from the Southern United States that has pretty much seen it all and done it all as well. From being the first person in Springfield, Tennessee high school history to go to the state championship in amateur wrestling to competing in Memphis Wrestling, Florida Championship Wrestling, World Championship Wrestling, World Wrestling Federation, Extreme Championship Wrestling, Smoky Mountain Wrestling, and all points in between, the “wild-eyed Southern boy” can teach you a lot of things, including how to wrestle a real live unmuzzled bear, and live to tell about it!
CAC radio co-host Jim Valley will delve into the mind of Tracy in what should be a very interesting and entertaining chit-chat. Tracy will dish the dirt on everything from why the airports are a bigger work than pro wrestling to his thoughts on strong-style wrestling, old-school wrestling versus modern-day wrestling, and even getting hired and fired by World Wrestling Entertainment’s Bruce Prichard, a.k.a. Brother Love.
No topic will be off limits and Tracy will shoot from the hip. He’s a straight talker, no-nonsense, old-school professional wrestler and the Cauliflower Alley Club is delighted to present Tracy Smothers as part of our 2020 Learning Series at our 55th annual reunion.
Pacific Northwest Wrestling: Vancouver Wrestling Then and Now
As a follow-up to our very popular Portland Wrestling seminar of 2018 the Cauliflower Alley Club continues with the Pacific Northwest theme this year and presents a Learning Series event devoted to the wrestling action on Canada’s west coast, specifically the province of British Columbia and the province’s biggest city, Vancouver.
Touching on the earliest days of professional wrestling in BC promoted by Rod Fenton under the banner of Big Time Wrestling and continuing on through the famed All Star Wrestling era of Sandor Kovac, Gene Kiniski and Al Tomko up until the present day incarnation of All Star Wrestling under the direction of CAC lifetime member Mark Vellios (a.k.a Michelle Starr) this is a learning series event that is bound to be both informative and entertaining.
Our panelists for this group chat have a wealth of knowledge of everything that is British Columbia wrestling. They’ve lived it, they’ve loved it, and they’re ready to share their stories and experiences for all CAC members.
Expected discussions to be included would have to be many funny stories on “Sgt. Master” Al Tomko, the road stories, the characters and the struggles of both the territory days of BC wrestling as well as the state of the game today for up and coming British Columbian wrestlers. Find out some background on current WWE stars Tyler Breeze, Kyle O’Reilly, The Singh Brothers, Mauro Ranallo, and “The Man” Becky Lynch who all got their early starts in the Vancouver, British Columbia area.
Panelists scheduled are:
Vance Nevada: Wrestler, historian, author and The EAR’s newly-minted editor Vance, in addition to giving his input, will act as the host and moderator or this learning series event.
Bobby Bass: “No Class” Bobby Bass was a 5-time Canadian tag team champion in the NWA Vancouver (All Star Wrestling) territory between 1977 and 1979. He held the titles with such partners as the Iron Sheik, the Black Avenger (Moose Morowski), Joe Palardy, and Yaki Joe.
Fidel Sierra: During the early 1980’s Fidel Sierra often made the trip up to Al Tomko’s All Star Wrestling territory from Portland Wrestling, having been sent up by Portland Promoter Don Owen. He often made the trip with other Portland Wrestling mainstays Rip Oliver and “Playboy” Buddy Rose. Sierra, who worked BC as “The Destoryer”, says that working Al Tomko’s shows was very interesting and he promises to tell us about it as part of the Vancouver Wrestling: Then and Now panel.
Kevin Jefferies: A cagey veteran that is originally from Vancouver but now calls Kelowna, British Columbia home Kevin has both wrestled and referred. His employers throughout the years have included British Columbia’s All Star Wrestling, Stu Hart’s Stampede Wrestling and the World Wrestling Federation.
Michelle Starr: Retired wrestler and CAC men’s wrestling award winner has been All Star Wrestling’s promoter/owner since 2007. Prior to owning the promotion he competed in Al Tomko’s version of it debuting under a mask as “The Inferno”. His British Columbia wrestling experiences also saw him compete for a plethora of companies including Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling (ECCW).
Raven Lake: Born and raised in British Columbia, Canada Raven was trained by Michelle Starr, Disco Fury, and Velvet McIntyre. She has competed and then refereed in many BC wrestling promotions for over two decades. BC promotions that she has worked for included All Star Wrestling, Thrash Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Alliance, Canadian National Wrestling Alliance, and more.
Adam Ryder: Trained by Lance Storm. Over the course of his almost eleven years in the business Ryder has traveled across Canada and has wrestled for several promotions in British Columbia including Invasion Championship Wrestling, Rickshaw Wrestling, and All Star Wrestling.
Greg Lake: In 1979 Greg Lake competed for Al Tomko’s All Star Wrestling for a period of four months. While there he battled talent such as Siegfried Steinke, Chris Colt, Roddy Piper, Moondog Moretti, and Don Leo Johnathon.
Stuart Kemp: Nicknamed Bulldog Brown, Jr. by BC wrestling legend Oly Olson because of his uncanny resemblance to Bulldog Bob Brown, Stuart Kemp first entered the BC wrestling scene as a ring announcer for Calgary’s Stampede Wrestling when the Calgary based promotion ventured into BC in the spring of 1986. In addition to ring announcing Stuart has held many jobs on the BC wrestling scene, including manager, ring crew, referee and wrestler.
The Vancouver Wrestling Then and Now Learning Series event will take place on Wednesday, April 29 at 11 AM in Salon D.
Catch-as-Catch-Can Wrestling: Bridging the Past and Present of Professional Wrestling
First done for side bets in the fields and coal pits of Lancashire, England after a grueling day of labor, and later brought across the Atlantic after the Civil War, professional wrestling in North America traces its origins most directly to the art of catch-as-catch-can wrestling and its competitive champions like Evan “Strangler” Lewis, Tom Jenkins, and Frank Gotch.
While showmanship always played a part in the professional wrestling business, the art of professional wrestling was built upon a bedrock of real technical wrestling know-how (characterized by riding, pinning, escapes, and submissions). Professional wrestlers took their craft seriously, and despite the rise in prominence of showmanship, the most skilled competitive wrestlers were still held in high esteem within the wrestling fraternity.
In past generations, wrestlers had at least some passing knowledge of professional wrestling’s more dangerous methods. Occasionally, they were displayed, with the added showman’s flare, in the ring in public exhibitions. The recent evolution of “sports entertainment” to focus on never-ending high spots and false finishes resulted in the near-disappearance of the old foundations of professional wrestling.
With the rise in popularity of MMA (mixed martial arts), there has been pressure on performers and promoters alike to provide a more realistic product. This Scientific Wrestling catch-as-catch-can learning seminar will revivify the heart and soul of what it once meant to be a professional wrestler by introducing attendees to the history, techniques, and sport of professional catch-as-catch-can wrestling. For older CAC members, it may be a trip down memory lane, but it is also our hope to light a passion within younger members for the sport’s past by bringing real catch-as-catch-can wrestling into the future.
Jake Shannon, Head Coach at Scientific Wrestling (est. 2003) launched the first catch-as-catch-can competitions in nearly 100 years with his King of Catch Wrestling open tournaments in 2006 with a rule set co-created by Karl Gotch. He apprenticed in coaching catch wrestling under Billy Robinson for the last seven years of Billy’s life, helping ghost-write Billy’s autobiography, Physical Chess. Prior, he trained in American carnival style catch-as-catch-can with Pacific Northwest hooker Dick Cardinal. Jake is a proud lifetime CAC member. He lives in Denver with his wife, three children, two dogs, cat, and bearded dragon.
Dr. C. Nathan Hatton is a professional historian who holds a PhD in History from the University of Waterloo. A longstanding practitioner of various grappling arts, his research focuses on the early history of wrestling in Canada, including the methods used by wrestlers in matches held during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He is the author of two books and numerous academic and popular articles on the history of wrestling.