For Nick Szalanski, Saturday night in Penticton on Jan. 14 might as well have been Wrestlemania at Madison Square Garden.
After 20 years in the business, the Vernon-based independent promoter finally brought Thrash Wrestling’s biggest event to the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre on Saturday, Jan. 14, to a full house of 470 people — the largest attendance in the promotion’s history.
Including its many trips to places like Kelowna, Vernon and Kamloops over the last two decades, Thrash Wrestling had never appeared at a venue of such a size until Saturday. Better yet, it also never sold out a show as fast as it did last weekend.
“I went in thinking that we were going to sell 300 tickets and then we surpassed that,” Szalanski said. “What we saw was way more than what we anticipated…Penticton is definitely a sell-out kind of crowd.”
Demand for Saturday’s show was so high that the city’s trade and convention centre changed seating arrangements in order to reach a full-capacity crowd, according to Szalanski.
Thrash Wrestling’s event in Penticton featured two steel-cage matches and an after-party at the Barley Mill Brew Pub.
“So far, I’m proud to say that we reached Everest….or at least the mountain below it,” he said. “We’ve slowly been building our way up and now we just had our biggest event yet.”
A steel cage main event between the champion Jordie Taylor and hometown favourite Braydon Goss headlined the “Cold Blooded” event on Jan. 14. Summerland’s Goss won the cage match.
If you didn’t get a ticket to Saturday’s showcase, you are in luck. Thrash Wrestling is returning to Penticton on March 24. This time, though, it will come to Winnipeg Street’s Luso House.
“Fans want to see us back soon and there’s a story to be told, so we’ll be back at the Luso before we build back something bigger for like another Wrestlemania-esque show at the trade and convention centre.”
What started as a backyard wrestling promotion at a North Okanagan home in the early 2000s has since emerged as a bi-monthly form of entertainment for those in Penticton.
“I remember talking to my friend in Enderby in the backyard, and he said ‘one day we’ll going to sell out Enderby, Armstrong and Vernon’ and I said, yes, but let’s also sell out Penticton and Kelowna…now here we are.”