Pro wrestling returns to P.E.I. with tribute show for Island superfan

·2 min read
Pictures of Joey Arsenault with international wrestling legends like Rey Mysterio played as a tribute at the Island Pro Wrestling event on Saturday. (Goodtime Joey McDaniels/Facebook - image credit)
Pictures of Joey Arsenault with international wrestling legends like Rey Mysterio played as a tribute at the Island Pro Wrestling event on Saturday. (Goodtime Joey McDaniels/Facebook - image credit)

Jerry Arsenault stepped into a wrestling ring surrounded by hundreds of fans in Abrams Village on Saturday night.

It is the area where Jerry's son, pro wrestling superfan Joey Arsenault, grew up. Joey died of a chromosome disorder in 2020 at the age of 38.

Joey was always a wrestling fan. Even as a child he tried to launch his own company. Joey's father read to the crowd from a letter Joey wrote as a kid.

"Do you want to wrestle in the WWF For Kids? It's real not fake but I'm going to hire a doctor and I'm going to get insurance too…"

Joey's foray into wrestling company ownership didn't pan out, but he shared his dream of starting one with Doug Parker.

Parker was one of the people who cared for Joey and they shared a love for the sport.

Tony Davis/CBC
Tony Davis/CBC

"I used to help him get his dinners and stuff like that," Parker said.

Parker launched Island Pro Wrestling in P.E.I. this past weekend with a tribute show for Joey at the Evangeline Rec Centre.

"Joey Arsenault was a huge, huge wrestling fan," he said.

Before the event began, all the wrestlers and staff with the company surrounded the ring for a 10-bell salute. A video package of Joey alongside Canadian wrestling legends such as Bret Hart and Chris Jericho played on a big screen.

Tony Davis/CBC
Tony Davis/CBC

It was the first time a pro wrestling event was held on P.E.I. since the beginning of the pandemic. The event drew wrestlers from across Atlantic Canada and some even made the trip from Ontario.

"It's nice to be able to give back through events like these where we honour someone like that who contributed a lot to us as well," said wrestler Tommy Lee Sampson from Miramchi, N.B.

"It's definitely special to be a part of that."

Arsenault wasn't only a fan. He was trained to be a wrestling manager as well.

"He'd be smiling down on us tonight," Parker said.

Joey's family was awarded with a plaque. Joey was also named IPW's first honorary world champion.

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