Travis Canning is a lifelong professional wrestling fan. He became involved with the wrestling scene in Newfoundland in the late 1990s. After realising that a career inside a wrestling ring was not for him, Canning found a love for the promotional side of the business.

After working with several other promotions, Canning founded New Evolution Wrestling in late 2015. In the short time since its formation, NEW has taken the Newfoundland wrestling community by storm, and helped redefine how the wrestling industry in Newfoundland operates.

Success Right Out of the Gate 

New Evolution Wrestling had its first show during the final week of December 2015 and sold out the first night. Canning spoke of his confidence in being able to retain the fans he had cultivated with other promotions to NEW shows.

His promotional skills are backed by the star power of former WWE wrestler Rene Dupree, who helped fill the house initially. However, Canning says he felt his first big success came “when we sold out the following show when we never had a WWE guy on it. That … was a major success.”

The success hasn’t stopped for the NEW promotion. After one year in business, Canning and his team landed a huge television deal with Rogers TV. Currently in post-production, the first season of NEW: Evolved, is set to come out later this year.

Canning says that it came as a shock for a TV deal to be reached so soon, but is adamant that it is nothing his team cannot handle. “I knew the product was good enough [to be on TV], I knew the production was good enough, [and] I knew that I was surrounded by good people who could help me do it.”

Upcoming Event to Feature WWE Hall of Famer: Tito Santana 

Former WWE Intercontinental Champion Tito Santana will be making two appearances at NEW’s SummerCade weekend, June 23rd at the CLB Armoury in St. John’s, and June 24th at the Trinity-Placentia Stadium in Whitbourne.
other upcoming events include the NEW Republic Rumble on May 12th at the CLB Armoury, and a live show May 13th at the Clarenville Lion’s Club. For tickets, call 687-1338.

My Contribution is I Got Everyone Working Together” 

The team mentality at New Evolution Wrestling is a driving force behind its success. However, the Newfoundland wrestling industry was not always driven by such solidarity.

“It was almost threatening … to take in [a competitor’s] show” recounts Canning of his initial experiences in the late 1990s. The promotions in the province were working against each other, rather than supporting one another. Such a territorial mentality was due to a lack of maturity amongst promoters, Canning suggests. However, as the promoters matured so did their business practices.

“We realised that if we can be mature together, this [system] will work better” Canning acknowledged. “My contribution is I got everyone working together as a real team. We’ve had so much talent here…that has never worked together. For some reason, I was able to create this perfect melting pot of all the local talent.” Canning feels pride in knowing that he became a catalyst for change in Newfoundland’s evolving wrestling industry.

Currently, a year and a half after NEW’s inception, Canning still has the same mindset he had after the first sell out show, “I have to keep this up.”

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