And Now For Your Main Event: Pretty Ricky Willdy!
Presenting the energetic, and perhaps controversial, pro-wrestler.
Maichina Veri, October 31, 2022 // Brantford, Ontario
Ricky telling BTOWN his terrific story. Photo credit Sarah Evans, Shoebox Pics.
Fighting in Brantford’s corner is hometown hero and Magnificent Championship Wrestling heavyweight champion Pretty Ricky Willdy!
Ricky, an independent professional wrestler sponsored by Confetti Cannons, shares his contagious, vibrant energy with BTOWN in an interview at Johnny Be Good Diner. His chaotic-good vibes are exceptional and match his colourful and playful outfit. There is an intensity, and a kindness, as Ricky tells us his story.
The 29-year-old athlete began wrestling (or “wrasslin’”) in elementary school. Though he’s the only wrestler of his type in his family – he has cousin Billy, a gold-medal winning Olympian wrestler – he says wrestling is a family obsession that dates back to his grandmother in Kentucky (and her mother too). His grandfather used to work at the Civic Centre in Brantford and Ricky’s mother would sneak into wrestling events. Ricky says a draw of wrestling is that it’s like Greek mythology with its “heroes and villains, gods and men” and calls it unbelievable. “Especially as child, [wrestling] sucked me in in such an intense way.”
A well-trained athlete, Ricky was on the University of Toronto’s wrestling team and won a scholarship to Battle Arts Academy where he studied for about five years. Despite his qualifications, Ricky becomes humble and apologetic when we bring up fellow pro-wrestler Roughhouse Jeff Black’s fighting words, “Pretty Ricky is what’s wrong with professional wrestling.”
Getting wild with Willdy. Photo credit Sarah Evans, Shoebox Pics.
Jeff is a traditional wrestler – a serious guy in black trunks grappling his opponents – whereas Ricky is self-admittedly goofy and theatrical. While this works for Ricky, and people turn out and pay to see him, he says, “I don’t know if he’s wrong.” Ricky then brings up Jim Cornette – a podcaster with traditional views who worked in the professional wrestling industry in a variety of positions. “I’ve always said that if I ran into Jim Cornette, I think I would apologize because I’m not what he wants to do with wrestling. But this is what I like doing, you know what I mean? And this is what works for me. So, I do apologize because I’m not trying to hurt wrestling. It’s given me so, so much. But at the same time, I can’t do it like anybody else.”
Here’s where the line between the man behind Pretty Ricky and the character begins to blur. Ricky, who is a melting pot of characters and credits The Undertaker, Hulk Hogan and George Carlin as inspirations, also notes Andy Kaufman in this list. An intriguing person to reference, Andy was a unique performance artist, to say the least, who blurred lines as well. Ricky does offer some insight and clarification though, saying, “I get complimented a lot on having a really good ‘character’ and there’s a lot less of that than people assume.” Ricky references energy and nerves that sometimes have got him into trouble in the past and goes on to explain, “With wrestling, there’s just this world without consequences, you know what I mean? As long as I do it within the confines of the bell has rang, then it’s just all that energy and excitement and physicality – I can kind of just get it out. It’s me without consequences.”
Pretty Ricky coming at his opponents. Photo credit Sarah Evans, Shoebox Pics.
As Ricky continues the interview, there is one thing that is certainly clear: Brantford is important to this wrestler. He admits taking the city for granted as a youth, but appreciates it now. “I hated [Brantford] as a kid, I was so resentful of this place, but now I look back and it’s like… this place has given me so much.” For a time, Ricky lived in Toronto, but he felt a “weird yearning” to come home. He calls Brantford “a very healing place” for him, referencing a past where some mistakes were made, but having since been able to make amends and solve his problems “more or less.” Ricky has a fondness for the city, and it seems the feeling is mutual, as he says, “Brantford has always been there to make sure that I’m OK.”
Pretty Ricky is set for a cage match this November in Brantford (date and location still to be determined) and he is “fantastically” excited about it. “I can’t almost believe that it’s happening, that it’s real, that I get to do it. The idea of setting up and getting into a cage to fight someone – it’s so cartoonish!”
Ricky keeping it 100. Photo credit Sarah Evans, Shoebox Pics.
Be sure to show your support for this high energy, exciting pro-wrestler by cheering Ricky on at his next match and by following him on his socials listed below.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Maichina Veri is a writer based in Brantford, Ontario. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from Montreal’s Concordia University and has a background in Journalism – Print from Niagara College.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER
Born on a frigid winter's night, Sarah Evans knew early on that the only way to warm her soul was through art. During her time studying Film and Video Production at York U, Sarah discovered her love for photography and has been shooting ever since. Other things Sarah has done is worked on film and television sets, painted a terrible mural in high school, opened a floral business and bitten into a paintball (it wasn't a chocolate covered blueberry!).