D'Amore, the heart and soul of BCW
By BOB KAPUR -- For SLAM! Wrestling
Border City Wrestling, an independent promotion based out of Windsor, Ontario, has earned a reputation as one of the best indy leagues going today. And not just with its loyal fan base who fill the Ciociaro Club (BCW's home arena) for every bi-monthly show, but also with the many internationally-known wrestlers who have performed on BCW cards.
Border City Wrestling's Scotty D'Amore.
Probably the main reason why the company has enjoyed its favourable reputation can be summed up in two words: Scotty D'Amore. D'Amore, often referred to as the cornerstone of BCW, wears many hats, plays many roles -- owner, booker, trainer, wrestler -- though he is quick to dismiss any thoughts that it's a solo effort.
"We have a lot of very creative people around here right now. Terry Taylor, Don (Cyrus) Callis, Johnny Swinger who's a good young mind. We have a lot of input, and I think that's one of the main reasons we have the ability to go out there and put on a solid product. One of the best things about it right now is that I don't have to make a lot of decisions anymore. I'm deeply involved, but it's not just my vision... it's our vision."
The vision is clear: to put on an entertaining show for the fans every time out. He tries to instil that same vision in his students, whose names make up the majority of BCW's regular roster. Speaking about his students, D'Amore loses some of his trademark gruffness, suggesting that it's that aspect of BCW that he is most proud of.
"Don't judge me by the fact that I trained Rhyno. The talent and athleticism he had, and the fact that he's such a good person, you'd have to be an idiot for him to not do well. Anybody can take a guy with star potential and do something with him. Judge us by how we deal with the guys who, at first-glance, don't have that potential."
"Tyson Dux, we put some time and effort into him. And why wouldn't you? He's a good kid, with a great effort, and he's in it for all the right reasons. He loves wrestling, he loves to perform. And look at him now, the kid is over. Another guy is Gutter. He's been wrestling for a few years, and twice a week, he still shows up at my school and trains with the students, helping them along. He loves the business, he loves working at it, he loves being part of the show. Spend some time with a guy like that, and that's what makes it worth it. He goes around, and people know who he is, and that he's a part of BCW."
Because he wants his pupils to shine, D'Amore often will step back from an active in-ring role.
"There are times when I don't feel like I'm sharp enough to wrestle that night. What's the point of going in there when there are five guys waiting who could do a better job? We have a lot of talented guys in this area who are hungry for ring-time. How do you look at a kid who drove in four hours in the hopes that he may get a chance to wrestle, and tell him we can't use him? He's that committed to get that chance to wrestle in front of a live crowd... if I can be better used someplace else, that's great."
As D'Amore puts it, he has nothing to prove and nothing to gain from denying others the chance. After all, he has wrestled across Japan, Europe and throughout North America, and spent time in all three major promotions, namely the WWF, WCW and ECW over the years.
Or, as he puts it: "For a short, fat, dumpy kid from Windsor, too short, too slow and too unathletic to get a college scholarship to play football or baseball, I think I did pretty well.. I've got to see a lot."
He's seen enough of the business at least to realize that there are other ways to measure success than by in-ring records.
"Titles don't mean anything in this business. They only mean anything if you make more money. If titles came with a big pay raise, then by all means, let's fight over them. Other than that, who gives a damn? Our job is to come out here and entertain."
To that end, D'Amore has constantly tried to learn from others, picking up valuable insights into how this job can be accomplished.
"I've gained knowledge (about the business) through everyone I've dealt with. I was lucky enough to train under Mickey Doyle and the late Doug Chevalier. I got to train with Al Snow, I got to train under Joey Hamilton at the Power Plant. I've had long conversations with Terry Taylor and Arn Anderson. King Kong Bundy, D-Lo Brown, Tommy Dreamer, Mikey Whipwreck, Don Callis. All these guys passed stuff on to me, which I take and draw upon."
Still, there are some times that even the wealth of knowledge D'Amore has accumulated cannot provide all the answers. Such was the case in October, when former WCW star Stevie Ray was not allowed to cross the border into Canada, because the company hadn't met the deadline for filing certain paperwork. Unfortunately, because of heightened security concerns (post September 11), the wrestler was denied entrance, and the company had to run the show without one of its featured advertised headliners.
D'Amore accepts the blame for the mix-up, but hopes that they made up for it by putting on a good show nonetheless.
"Unfortunately, it happened. There were probably some people who showed up to see Stevie Ray, and were disappointed that he wasn't there. But I think we gave them a hell of a show despite that. That's what we always strive to do, put on the best product we can."
Which is, ultimately, what D'Amore wants to accomplish more than anything else.
"I think that we do a pretty good job in that when people pay to see a Border City Wrestling show, they know that they're going to see a good show. We're not perfect. We're not the biggest show in the world, we're not the next big thing. We're just a little group that's lucky enough to have a building with a great house that's a hell of a crowd to perform for."
BCW's next show takes place on January 22, 2002, at the Ciociaro Club in Oldcastle, Ontario.