Wrestling with the underworld
Lakbhir Gill drives a cab and is studying to be a paramedic because you can’t count on a career in pro wrestling.
Still, he’s giving it his best shot.
Known in the ring as Middle Eastern Warrior Lak Siddartha, the 29-year-old is 6-foot-2, 230 lbs., and is the latest in a rich legacy of Saanich wrestlers dating back to the 1930s.
Siddartha will compete in Greater Victoria for the first time since organizing his own promotion in 2009. Siddartha vs. The Cremator is one of five bouts lined up for the Canadian National Wrestling Alliance event at Langford’s Luxton Hall on April 12.
“Fans can expect a destructive match between me and The Cremator. It’s our first fight against each other, and it’s going to be part an explosive night of wrestling,” Siddartha said.
“(Siddartha) is one of the most physically dominant wrestlers in Canadian wrestling right now. There’s been a heightened emphasis on cruiserweights and high fliers, as a lot of the big guys have gone from pro wrestling to MMA.” - Vance Nevada
Despite the sport’s grandeur on television, the local scene has been pretty quiet of late. Siddartha actually organized the last promotion on the South Island, a single event called the Pure Wrestling Association in 2009.
His most recent bout, however, was only a few weeks ago on the Mainland. Siddartha fought in a cage match against Surrey’s Mr. India. It ended a year-long feud, a back and forth affair during which Siddartha’s manager kept interfering on his behalf, helping him win.
“With the cage match, your honour is on the line, and I accepted the request. Mr. India outsmarted me and won. It’s the end of the feud.”
It wasn’t the first time Siddartha played the bad guy. His dark persona is a Middle Eastern spin on WWE’s The Undertaker.
“I try to tour as much as I can, I’m usually on the road a couple times a month,” Siddartha said.
“I knew since I saw (Hulk Hogan) fight the Ultimate Warrior when I was six years old that I wanted to be a pro wrestler. When I was 21, I headed to Ontario to train. I needed a gimmick, and became Lak Siddartha, the Prince of Power.”
Eventually, his name shifted to what it is now.
Last year, Siddartha made his biggest strides yet. He tried out for the WWE and has taken their feedback to heart, with the goal of signing a contract.
“(WWE) told me they want to see an overall improvement in my skills and my fitness. Since then I studied at former WWE wrestler Lance Storm’s wrestling school for three months in Calgary in hopes of getting a contract.”
Wrestling took root in Saanich before it moved to Victoria, said Vance Nevada, a current CNWA wrestler and wrestling historian.
Cigar shop owner Fred Richardson promoted an ongoing series with the Tillicum Athletic Club.
“Richardson did it for a few years, 1932 to ’34, and there was a rivalry, believe it or not, between Richardson and another promoter named A.E. Chilton,” Nevada said. “One of the coups that Chilton scored was Victoria boy Rocky Brooks, who jumped from Richardson to Chilton.”
Long before Siddartha, Saanich claimed Chief Thunderbird (Jean Baptiste Paul), a legendary wrestler from 1933 to 1955, who was said to have passed up his right to be chief of the Tsartlip first nation. An all-world athlete and university graduate, Thunderbird used a potent leg-hold called the Saanich Snap.
Siddartha doesn’t know the hold, but has a finishing move of his own called the F5 Decapitator (based on the tornado rating).
“I lift the (opponent) over my shoulders, twist over my head (simulating a tornado), and slam their face into the canvas.”
Tickets for the April 12 event are $15, $10 for youth and military, and are available in advance at Vintage Funk in Victoria and the Glen Lake Liquor Store in Langford.
For more information visit CNWA Wrestling.
April 12 at Luxton Hall. Doors 6:30, wrestling at 7 p.m.
Gangrel vs. The Mauler
Vance Nevada vs. Marty Sugar
Jordi Taylor and K.C. Andrews vs. The Serial Thrillers
Lak Siddartha vs. The Cremator (Port Alberni)