A man respected by many for the way he conducted himself both in and out of the squared circle will be remembered this Friday, Nov. 23 in Maple Ridge.
The highlight of the third annual Adam Firestorm Memorial Rumble at the Ridge Meadows Seniors Society's seniors centre will be a battle royal involving two dozen pro wrestlers.
All Star Wrestling (ASW) cruiserweight champion Nathan Burke, a.k.a. Disco Fury, said the show is a tribute to Adam Dykes, a former pro wrestler who died in 2009 at age 32.
When Burke started in the pro wrestling business he said that he had a solid group, including Dykes, to learn from.
"There was the high fliers, the technical wrestlers, and the character wrestlers," Burke said. "Adam was all three of those. He was a student of the game. He would see something and try it, and make it work."
Burke looked up to Dykes, who wrestled locally under the aliases Torch and Adam Firestorm.
"There were better wrestlers, sure, but he understood what the people wanted and gave his all," Burke said. "The ring was always busy when the Torch was in there. And the people knew they were in for something special when he stepped through the ropes, or flew over them."
Outside the ring, Burke said Dykes was "a gentleman who was very religious but never pushed it onto others."
Burke said Dykes didn't drink, didn't do drugs, or even cuss.
"An honest to God friend to us all," Burke said.
Dykes didn't have an enemy in wrestling, according to Burke.
"He was honestly loved by every one of the brothers and sisters," he said. "[A] class act: that is almost impossible in the wrest-ling business."
Burke feels blessed to have been involved in Dykes' last match ever, on Vancouver Island, on Sept. 25, 2009.
"It wasn't the best match we have had but not the worst either," Burke recalled.
Burke, a Maple Ridge resident who graduated from Westview Secondary, started wrestling in 1998 and since then, has been crowned Canadian champion six times, and has defended that title in Japan, England, the U.S., and of course, in Canada.
He won his first cruiserweight title in a three-way match involving Dykes and Tornado Tony Kozina.
"I cried like a baby with pride," Burke recalled. "But to be clear I have never been more proud of winning a belt than I was last year at the second annual memorial show in Cloverdale. I cried for a week. Tears of pride."
The seniors centre is the venue, an unusual one to be sure for a pro wrestling show.
"We have never had a event there before so it will be new territory," Burke said, adding that there will be a few seniors that he personally knows who will be attending.
"They love the old school wrestling," Burke quipped.
As the current and defending Firestorm champion, Burke said it will be a "tough night of action-packed wrestling."
At press time, 20 participants were scheduled to take part in the rumble. Two wrestlers start, then every 30 seconds a new competitor will enter the ring until there is only one champion remaining.
There will be other matches including the rumble, which is being billed as the main event.
"It will be a bittersweet show for everyone involved," Burke said.
The show is the result of a year of planning and contacting different wrestlers, and of talking with Dykes' family.
"It's hard to keep it together but we are here and we are ready to kick some butt," Burke said.
Tickets, $15 for ringside and $12 for general admission, are available at Wok Box, #400-20395 Lougheed Hwy, Louis Leather Shop at Haney Place Mall, and at Haney Hawgs, 20617 Maple Cres.
Seniors' tickets are $10.
You can meet all the wrestlers after the show at Revs Bowling Centre, 22730 119th Ave.
The seniors centre is located at 12150 224th St.