CiTR and Boom! Pro Wrestling bring the Thunderdome to the Thunderbirds

Has the end of winter got you down? Does midterm season have you feeling disembodied, uninspired? Perhaps your heart longs to drop that pen, close those books and spend the evening watching people absolutely slam each other down onto a padded floor.

If any of that rings true to you, Boom! Pro Wrestling, in collaboration with CiTR, might have just the thing to treat your late-winter woes.

On March 22, the AMS Nest will host a roster of professional wrestlers for a match from Boom! Pro Wrestling, a local organization that has held 16 events in Vancouver since its start in 2022.

Boom! operator and founder Max Mitchell says that organizing wrestling at UBC has been a dream of his since long before he even started the organization.

“I was UBC staff for about 10 years, and during that time, I went from not caring at all about wrestling to becoming an obsessed super fan. I would often fantasize about putting on a show on campus.”

Mitchell decided to host a private tournament for friends and family in hopes of sharing his love for wrestling with the people in his life. The event was centred around announcing a name for Mitchell’s new baby daughter.

“[The tournament] was a huge success,” said Mitchell. “It felt really close to being a professional level. And six months later, after doing some research and kind of coming up with the plan, I bought a wrestling ring and started Boom! Pro Wrestling.”

UBC alum and wrestler Izzy McQueen joined up with Boom! for that first event, and has wrestled with them ever since.

“I was a wrestling fan when I was a kid,” she said. “I [started] wrestling kind of later in life, in my early 20s. Since then, I've just been attached to the wrestling scene in Vancouver.”

As anyone currently slogging through midterm season can imagine, balancing her wrestling career with a food, nutrition and health course load was sometimes difficult for McQueen.

“There was a point, I think in my third or fourth year, where I was going to the States every other weekend for wrestling,” said McQueen. “I just remember, Monday morning … I would take the six o'clock Greyhound, and then I'd be in class at 11am. I don't know how I did it. I just did.”

Now that McQueen works with the public health section of Vancouver Coastal Health, she says it's only gotten harder to balance the two halves of her life, but that she has no plans to abandon either one. Regardless of the direction McQueen’s life takes after Boom!, she’s excited to return to UBC in March for her first ever match on campus.

Both Mitchell and McQueen said they found the pro wrestling community at UBC to be sparse at best. With that in mind, Mitchell said that Boom!’s commitment to keeping a low barrier of entry at its events would only be strengthened for the match in the Nest.

For Mitchell, professional wrestling’s appeal is unlike any other form of performance art. It has the capacity to tell stories, shock the audience and even involve them in the narrative.

“It's all about the stakes, and it's all about the consequence of what happens after the matches. So we're going to tell a story from A to Z that night, using the characters that are there.”

“When you go see a wrestling show, not only are you going to sit back and watch it pass you, but you're a participant,” said Mitchell. “Your role is simply to act like it's real. To believe that what you're seeing is real life.”

”If you play that part, suddenly you're gonna get swept up in the action, you’re gonna be cheering the good guys [and] booing the bad guys. You’re going to get sucked into the ridiculousness of it. And that’s really what makes it so exciting.”

So if that’s a part that you’re willing to play, head over to the Nest at 6:30 on March 22 to join in. Tickets are available here.