BANFF – Rob The Giant brushed off Banff’s born and raised Olympians, and other big name athletes like Sidney Crosby and Tony Hawk, as the best athletes who’ve ever stepped foot in the busy mountain town.
That illustrious distinction, he says, is going to belong to him Monday (March 16) when he arrives with the professional wrestling promotion Midget Wrestling Warriors during its Rising Legends tour at Wild Bill’s.
“Banff is going to see true greatness in the ring,” said Rob The Giant.
The four-foot-11, 160-pound pro-wrestler is the company’s champion ahead of the five-night Rising Legends tour, which is sold out for its Banff debut, and he doesn’t expect that to change.
“Every night the title is on the line, and I’m going to defend the title five times,” said the in-ring veteran of 13 years. “Everyone is going to see me in my glory … I’m from New England, we have the Patriots and Red Sox; they always win, and I always win.”
Midget Wrestling Warriors, a New York-based promotion, features top wrestlers from the United States, Canada, and Mexico, who are five-foot-two and under, giving a professional setting for them to showcase their talents and passion for the industry.
The promotion’s director and veteran wrestler, Dan DiLucchio, also known as Short Sleeve Sampson, said when he created Midget Wrestling Warriors in 2014 it was a product that wasn’t already buried by overexposure.
“The nice thing about our company is we appeal to so many different groups, we appeal to wrestling fans, we appeal to midget wrestling fans, we appeal to kids and families, and we appeal to people who don’t watch wrestling,” DiLucchio said.
“This is gonna be a night that everyone will talk about for a long time.”
Over a 21-year career, DiLucchio, who stands four-foot-two, wrestled in promotions such as WWE and Total Nonstop Action, alongside industry icons such as the Undertaker and Kurt Angle in mainly comedy-based segments and matches.
Little people wrestlers, or “midget wrestlers,” have a long history in professional wrestling. DiLucchio says people are “fascinated” by the concept because it’s a dynamic part of the show, giving spotlight to their overall entertainment value in aerobatic talents, microphone skills, and, of course, professional wrestling storytelling.
When it came to coming up with the company's name, Midget Wrestling Warriors, DiLucchio said it wasn’t meant to be offensive. Instead, he thought about the brand of the product, and said he didn’t want to make it “anything different than what it is.”
“We’d lose our marketing. Really, it wasn’t a tough choice,” he said.
“If anything, we’re taking this word ‘midget’ and we put it in our product to say what we’re showcasing. Because ‘midget’ was used negatively in the past, at the end of the day, we use it to define our product, but we don’t allow it to define who we are.
“All of us are blessed to do what we love and we’re living our dream on a daily basis.”
The locker room vet has full support from his team when it comes to making things work with the promotion.
“I feel that we need to perform at a high standard,” said Golden Boy Brandon Bowman, “and show what were are capable of and show them something new and something they won’t forget.”
On the night of the wrestling card in Banff, there will be a women’s match and a contingent of Mexican luchadores competing, among others.
For the world title match, because the Rising Legends tour has a stop in the U.S. before Banff, DiLucchio isn’t confident that Rob The Giant will be walking out with the gold in Banff.
"Anything can happen on this tour."
However, if you ask the champ, who’s well versed in a “midget style” type of wrestling, Rob The Giant is more than sure he’ll unleashing his finishing move, “Ugly Stick,” a double under hook face-buster, for five nights in a row to challengers. He added the finisher got its name because all the fans are ugly and he wants to hit them with a stick.
“Fans can expect something they’ve never seen … and come to see yours truly,” he said.