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Think of Boom Pro Wrestling as a Saturday morning cartoon come to life.
Imagine a show built around a battle of the beefcakes (and we mean that in the most gender-neutral way possible). Now add in a piledriver of passion, a slam of high-octane drama and some serious crowd interaction and you’ve got East Van’s own Boom Pro Wrestling.
Max Mitchell, the mastermind behind the city’s newest wrestling venture (and, full disclosure, husband to our editor-at-large, Stacey McLachlan), knows that while the high-flying stunts are impressive, it’s really the commitment to the bit that makes the promotion truly soar. “All sports competitions, in the end, are completely meaningless,” says Mitchell. “Same as baseball, same as hockey, if you commit to caring, you’re gonna have a ton of fun. So you might as well, right?”
And boy do Boom fans care. In just one year, the league has sold out 10 shows straight at the Commercial Drive Legion, with people queuing around the block for a taste of the drama. Through strategic competitions, emotional engagement and a vibrant social media presence (monthly videos explain the outlandish, telenovela-esque storylines—many involving time travel or evil landlords), Mitchell has drawn fans into his magical wrestling dream. But the greatest moves here happen outside of the ring, thanks to Boom’s colourful tapestry of interactive fan groups—a key part of what Mitchell calls the “Boomiverse.” Enthusiasts faithfully gather at the Legion on the last Saturday of every month to watch their favourite wrestlers (like bad-boy lifeguard Brady Malibu or former U.S. president Abraham Lincoln) hurl their bodies around the room—and to laugh, sip cheap beer, cheer on the underdogs and heckle the villains, all while sporting the merch of their chosen beefy hero. Many even drag along their grandparents and kids to soak up the excitement. It’s a real melee of energy and comradery… and a place to belong, whether you’re wearing spandex or not. Combine that with body slams and hilarious storylines (the rich Boom lore includes Susan, Mitchell’s actual mother), and we bet you too will find it impossible not to care. —K.D.
For information, showtimes and tickets, visit boomprowrestling.com
What’s your favourite conversation starter?
Usually it’s pulling out a picture of a unique bird on my phone. Most people haven’t seen high-level birds, so it sparks their curiosity.
What’s your favourite place to hang out with friends?
Probably at home, to be honest. For a secondary location, I’d say Good Co. Tuesday nights (with cheap beers) are especially fun.
Your social superpower?
Getting people excited about things they wouldn’t normally care about.
New friend turn-offs?
Rude to service staff.
Who is your favourite wrestler?
Jushin Thunder Liger from Japan.
What would be your go-to wrestling entrance song?
“I Would Die 4 U” by Prince.
Coolest thing you’ve seen at a Boom show so far?
In our very first show, [wrestler] Jacky Lee gave a bracelet to a kid in the audience—it’s a tradition for him. I found out later that the kid went home and printed pictures of Jacky from the internet, and taped the pictures to his action figures so he could have his own Jacky Lee action figure at home. Thinking about that now, it’s really emotional for me. It was such a special moment, considering it was our first show and we had such an impact on that young fan. It was a validation of what we do.