Our resident philosopher looks at the new Big Time Wrestling Tag Team Champs. They won the belts at Wrestlefest 2010 and expect to challenge for the Pro Wrestling Destination tag belts on July 17th. They are journeymen brothers that have faced hundreds of teams, including the Road Warriors.
I met Shane and Shannon Ballard at WrestleFest 2010. They were there to face HopSingLee and L'Empereur for the BTW Tag Titles. They were both great guys that had such great energy for this business. With a little help from their manager, the Ballards managed to capture the titles. The Canadian twins have worked all over the wrestling world for more than a decade. They've even had a brief run in the WWE. Shane and Shannon Ballard are this week's Wrestlers of the Week.
The twins were born on September 9, 1970 in Vancouver, British Columbia. They grew up watching wrestling and hockey. Their running gimmick has been as rabid hockey fans. In fact, their finisher is known as the Penalty Box. Both Shane and Shannon played hockey, professionally. Shannon has also worked with the band Synthetic Mary. The brothers began their wrestling careers in January, 1998, working for UPW. The Ballards went through UPW's training facility to get into the business. They took their first tag team gold on December 2, 1999 thanks to a tag team Battle Royal for the UPW tag straps. They would hold those belts, 7 times, between 2002 and 2004. As their stock began to rise, the Ballards expanded to other local federations on the West Coast circuit.
A few adjustments in character
By 2004, the Ballards were becoming one of the hottest teams on the indy circuit. They worked for about a dozen smaller promotions, including Big Time Wrestling, Impact Pro Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Iron and All-Pro Wrestling. The biggest match during their formative years was a losing effort against the Iconic tag team of The Road Warriors on September 7, 2003 at a BTW show. On July 7/8, 2004, the Ballards returned home to British Columbia to participate in the Pacific Cup Tag Team Tournament, which they won.
By early 2005, the Ballard began to spend time in the Inoki Dojo, where they received additional training. The Ballards also began to use an alternate set of characters (Los Rojos Locos -- The Red Crazies or Crazy Reds) In February, 2005, the Ballards made their first full tour of Japan. They were very successful in their minor feud with the Native American tag team, Navajo Warrior and Shooting Wolf. Upon their return to California, the Ballards expanded, yet again, their scope to work more than 15 different wrestling organizations. They mostly stayed in and around the San Francisco area, but did venture into Southern California, the Pacific Northwest, Nevada and a few dates further east. They held just about every regional tag title possible. Both brothers experimented with various identities during this point in their careers. Each brother has, at least, a half-dozen different ring names on his resume. Many of them were movie-related: Dracula (Shane), Michael Myers (Shannon), The Spartans, etc...
Dark Matches and Dream Matches
The Ballard expanded their little group in 2006, as they added Cheerleader Melissa (TNA's Alissa Flash) as their valet. They had actually feuded with her, initially, but she later joined them. They toured the entire West Coast theater, winning titles and just making life miserable for anyone in sight. One of the Ballards' most cherished memories in wrestling was being asked to work a dark match for WWE, as a try-out. Even though the WWE passed on the twins, the Ballards were not discouraged by not being accepted into the developmental system. They just continued to travel up and down PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) to ply their trade.
On June 24, 2006, The Ballards, along withAaron Aguillera, did something that no other team, before or since has done. They faced off against three generations of the same family, in the same match. The Ballards and Aguillera lost to Wrestling Hall of Famer, Woody Farmer, Woody's son Rex (aka Shane Kody) and Woody's grandson, Riot. The Ballards would feud with the Farmer clan for the better part of the next 4 years. Woody was 71 years old, at the time of their match.
In early 2007, the Ballards began an on-again, off-again feud with the Young Bucks (TNA's Generation Me). They also feuded with Native Blood and Los Luchas. The Ballards even faced Los Luchas (Phoenix Star and Zokre) in a non-title match during Los Luchas' run as NWA World Tag Team Champions.
In 2008, the Ballards split as a team, temporarily. Shane, the smaller of the two brothers, focused on the popular Cruiserweight division in the various federations, while Shannon went after the Heavyweights. The two brothers even feuded briefly in 2008 and into 2009.
After reuniting as a team, the Ballards began to collect tag team gold, once again. They won and lost numerous tag belts over the next 18 months. Their latest acquisition came at Big Time Wrestling's Wrestlefest 2010. They defeated L'Empereur and HopSing Lee in an excellent opening match. The crowd despised their current manager, not-so-lovingly called "The Penguin". The Ballards are set to defend the titles on July 16th at BTW's next big card. The following night, they are set to try and become the first Pro Wrestling Destination Tag Team champions at PWD's big show at the Neil Road Rec Center.
The Ballards have been in the business for more than a dozen years now. They've held just about every tag team title possibly in the Pacific Coast region. They've made several trips to Japan and even worked, briefly, for the WWE. Their future still looks bright. At 39 years old, most wrestlers would begin to slow down. Not the Ballards. They aren't even considering retiring the Maple Leaf (Canadian Flag) or the hockey jerseys. Be sure to check out all the video clips of the Ballards at ClickWrestle.com. Their bios and photos are also available at OnlineWorldofWrestlign.com. Plus, they are key players at BigTimeWrestling.com and ProWrestlingDestination.com.