BY KEILA MACPHERSON
He saw the pro wrestlers on the television screen, in the rings winning matches and hearing the crowd roar for the champion. He wanted it for himself.
He’s on his way.
Allen Ignatovic, a first-year police foundations student at Conestoga College, known as Joey Allen in the ring, was crowned champion of the Pure Wrestling Association (PWA) of Canada in May 2012.
He said he was always a fan of wrestling and at the age of 16, he started training with Mike Becherer, the owner of PWA. He had his first match when he was 17 and he said since then he has had about 200.
“I was really nervous because I was the youngest one there,” said Ignatovic. “There were a bunch of older guys basically beating me up every single night.”
Most people wouldn’t stand for that, but it’s the nature of the profession. He understood that and said even though he now wakes up with back pain at the age of 23, he won’t let that stop him from pursuing his dream.
“It’s what I wanted to do, so I came back every day. Some days I look back on it and think ‘why did I go through all this?’ but deep down I love it.”
He was on the wrestling team in middle school, but his high school, Grand River Collegiate in Kitchener, didn’t have a wrestling team. That’s when Ignatovic joined the PWA. Back then it was known as the Pro Wrestling Academy and had a training school in Cambridge, where he was trained and guided by Becherer.
“He believed in me more than I did myself sometimes, and he’s the one who has pushed me the most through my whole career,” Ignatovic said.
Becherer said Ignatovic started off as a fan and bought tickets to watch matches. Then he decided to join the school and, despite the caution Becherer threw his way, he wanted to be trained.
“I told him it would be very hard and that it wasn’t for everyone. Allen took the chance and proceeded to have me grind him and work him harder than he had ever worked in his life,” Becherer said.
“I wasn’t sure if Allen was going to make it, but he kept trying and trying and trying … the kid wouldn’t quit.”
His perseverance isn’t the only trait that makes Ignatovic a good wrestler. Despite being a beast in the ring, Ignatovic is friendly and hard working, which makes him somewhat unique.
“Everyone you ask will say he is respectful, well-mannered and would give you the shirt off his back without question if you needed it; qualities that are not found in every pro wrestler,” said Becherer.
Both Becherer and Ignatovic are unsure of how far Joey Allen will go, not for lack of ability, but the uncertainty and possibility of a career-threatening injury.
However, Ignatovic hopes to take his wrestling career as far as it will go and as big, possibly even making the jump from the sport of wrestling to becoming a personality with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
For more information on the world of wrestling, visit www.pwacanada.com, or call Mike Becherer at 519-998-8799.