Very few people graduate from wrestling school before high school, but Abbotsord’s Todd Quality (aka: Todd Monkman) is a rare exception.
The 2008 Robert Bateman Secondary grad put on his tights before his cap and gown, and after a significant break away from the squared circle, he performs in his hometown for All Star Wrestling on Thursday at the Abbotsford Arts Centre.
Quality said he was fascinated with the industry growing up, citing the WWE’s Ric Flair and Macho Man Randy Savage as his inspirations. His desire to enter the ring came from those early moments.
“I grew up wanting to practice all the moves I saw on my brother or friends on the trampoline and it just kind of stuck with me all these years later,” he said. “It’s a dream that never left me.”
He graduated from the Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling school in 2007, and still remembers just how tough that first day was.
“I was pretty unprepared going into it,” he said. “I played some sports in high school and I thought I was in pretty good shape but the first day of practice I remember eating a chicken sandwich from McDonalds beforehand and after rolling around in the ring and doing an insane amount of squats, by the end I’m pretty sure I was hurling behind a dumpster.”
Like most newcomers, Quality had to pay his dues in the industry early on.
“My first match I got beat up for a minute straight and pinned,” he said. “I thought to myself – is this always what it’s going to be like?”
He also began his career as a “good guy”, but he said it wasn’t exactly the right fit.
“I enjoyed it at the time because who doesn’t like being cheered,” he said. “But I’d come out there smiling and kissing babies and a lot of people would jeer me – I think my own family jeered me – it just didn’t suit me.”
He eventually transformed into a completely different character named Chuck Awesomesauce, portraying a butler/manager for other competitors. The change gained some traction, but he wasn’t developing enough in the ring.
“It was a lot of fun antics but I didn’t really get to wrestle and felt like I was losing my craft,” he said. “After all that ECCW didn’t have a much for me to do and I lost the drive and fire to wrestle.”
Quality spent several years away from the ring, reentering the ring this March for Interior promotions Big West Wrestling and Thrash Wrestling.
“They were the only ones to give me a chance after being away for so long,” he said. “Some of the local companies weren’t too keen to bring me back, but now everyone seems to be noticing me.”
He earned his first taste of gold earlier this year, winning the Thrash tag team title with Michael More.
He also appeared at the Glam Slam 4 event in Vancouver back in June.
Quality, who works as a shipper for Abbotsford-based company Corix, said he wants to continue living the wrestling dream.
“I want to move from province to province and see what the rest of the wrestling world has to offer,” he said.
Quality takes on newcomer Nathan Kabe on Thursday, and added he hopes to become a regular for the ASW promotion.
“It’s exciting to wrestle again in my hometown,” he said. “Everywhere I go I’m the bad guy, but in Abbotsford they always cheer for me. Kabe is talented, but he’s nothing compared to ‘Velvet Justice’.
The event, called Midgets, Monsters and Mayhem, features Short Sleeve Sampson taking on Prince Akeem in a casket match. Other action includes: Azeem the Dream defending the ASW Trans Canada title against Moondog Manson, Matt Xstatic taking on Abbotsford’s Danni Deeds for the cruiserweight title and Bambi Hall defending her Girls Gone Wrestling title against Calamity Kate.
For more information on the event, visit facebook.com/aswcanada.