Saturday June 15th 2019

On Thursday June 13th, a truly unique event took place in the heart of downtown Montreal on Crescent Street in front of the famous Sir Winston Churchill Pub.  The vision of former Montreal Wrestling Club, Concordia University and Junior National team member, Jean-François Daviau of XP Montreal along with the help of Sylvain Luno, Dominique Choquette, Tony Ronci, David Zilberman and Martine Dugrenier, enabled the downtown crowd to be treated to a unique event never seen in the province of Quebec as part of the Montreal Urban Games, designed to showcase sporting and cultural events from Montreal.  The crowd was in for a treat as some of the best wrestlers in the province of Quebec would wrestle in this amazing public venue.

Dominic Choquette prepares the venue

The calm before the storm

The Inspiration

In recent years, the Beat the Streets organization has been hosting live outdoor events in the United States with some of the best wrestlers from around the world coming to compete in challenge matches versus some talented American opponents.  Beat the Streets has helped to elevate our sport and add true showmanship. The crowds that they’ve attracted have been truly a wonder to behold as wrestling fans who have hungered for events like these have seen some epic matches throughout the years.  XP Montreal would replicate this event with some very Quebec style twists.  Instead of showcasing other wresters versus our Quebec athletes, the event would feature some of Quebec’s best from the current competitive year wrestling against each other, thereby making it a truly local affair.  Crescent Street, which has played host to many great events in the past, became the primary focus as an elevated mat surface was set up to showcase some of the best athletes in the province in a series of challenge matches.

The warmup

Coach Noel Tremblay and announcer James Mancini

The Match Summaries

Hosted by former National Team Member James Mancini and UFC legend George St-Pierre, the event kicked off with Amanda Savard of Concordia University and U-Sport National Champion defeating her opponent Erica Levesque from the Tsunami Wrestling Club by Technical Superiority (10-0). The next match would have Jason Luneau from the Crazy Dogs (Junior and U19 Silver medalist) also beating his opponent Junior Iordache and Canadian National Silver Medalist (Montreal YMHA) also by Technical Superiority (10-0).

Amanda Savard (Red) sets up for her takedown

Two of the most dynamic athletes in Quebec (Luneau in Red and Iordache in Blue)

The following match would feature Virginie Gascon (Junior National Champion from Concordia University) versus Erin Rainville (Junior National Silver medalist from Vanier College).  Though Erin would wrestle hard, Virginie would win in the end by Technical Superiority (10-0).  Cadet National Team Member Stone Lewis of Heritage Regional High School would face off against Concordia’s Sam Garland.  The match would be action packed, with many scrambles as Stone would eventually emerge as the victor.

Erin Rainville (Blue) vs. Virginie Gascon (Red)

Stone Lewis gets interviewed by James Mancini

2019 Senior National Champion Scott Schiller (Montreal YMHA) would face off against Canadian Maccabiah Bronze medalist Gabriel Choueke (Montreal YMHA) where after two action-packed periods, Scott would also win the match by Technical Superiority (10-0).  Celebrating his birthday in style, former Canadian National Champion Guseyn Ruslanzada (Montreal YMHA) would win his match versus Antonio Iordache (Montreal YMHA) by Technical Superiority (14-4) punctuated by an even better Azerbaijani dance at the end of his match.

Scott Schiller with the win

Guseyn Ruslanzanda’s hard fought victory

The most action packed match would pit Concordia teammates Sam Barmish versus Aron Orzack.  The match would see both wrestlers score on each other before Aron would emerge with the win.  The last match of the night would have the two 2019 Canadian National Champions at 92 kg in the Junior (Julien Choquette of Vanier College) and Senior (Jeremy Poirier from the Montreal YMHA) divisions respectively to wrestle against one another.  The match would finish off 1-0 for Poirier by the end of the first round.  In the end, the rain determined the outcome as the match was called off as a downpour started to come down.  Nevertheless, the event was truly a success that I feel deserves it’s own article about what I saw to do it justice.

You have to see it to believe it!