For the first time since 2019, Sammy Peppers is ready to compete in a Portage la Prairie wrestling ring.
Peppers, formerly known as Sam Davidson, has been working with Canadian Wrestling's Elite, winning the tag titles on multiple occasions with his partner, Bryce Bentley. The team, Red Hot Summer, has been dominant throughout the year.
This Friday, in Portage, Peppers will be going solo as he wrestles a former multi-time tag team champion, Davey Boy Smith, Jr. He has competed all over the world winning championships in Europe, the United States, and Japan, just to name a few. He is also the son of the WWE Hall-of-Famer, the British Bulldog. Peppers says this is his first match against someone with this much top-tier experience.
"When you talk about Canadian professional wrestling and who are the greats among the independent and the national scene, Davey Boy Smith Jr. is definitely one of those people in that conversation," says Peppers. "All being said, 2022 has been one of the hottest years since I started wrestling, and I'll have that hometown advantage. So, I'm really looking to take that energy from Portage and make something special."
Peppers first made his pro wrestling debut in Pine Falls on October 18th, 2018. A few days later, he would compete for the first time in Portage. Peppers says he started out slow as a rookie, doing his best just to put on a great show. He says his focus has changed.
"It's about the progression. It's about getting better and getting the repetitions in. It's taking every lesson from every match. All 132 of those matches have been a lesson, building off of one after another," says Peppers. "Now we're at the point where my win percentage is higher than my losing percentage in both one-on-one and tag team competition, where if you looked at that in 2018, it was probably quite the reverse, where I was going in there putting in my best effort, but just not getting the win."
Peppers and Smith will go head-to-head in one of the key match-ups on the card this Friday at the Portage Collegiate Institute West Gymnasium. Bell time is 7 p.m. Danny Warren is the owner of CWE, and he's excited to bring some of the best wrestlers in Western Canada to Portage.
"This event is a trial run, and if the response is positive from the community, this will be the first of more stops to come in 2023," says Warren.
The big main event on the night will be an over-the-top battle royale. This will help prepare Peppers for the 50-man Rumble to Remember battle royale which takes place this Sunday in Winnipeg. The winner of that match will get a future CWE title shot. It'll be, without question, the toughest weekend of Sammy's career thus far.
He is set to wrestle Davey Boy Smith Jr. on Friday in Portage, compete in the Rumble and defend his tag team titles as part of Red Hot Summer on Sunday. They'll face one of the most popular teams in Sweet and Tasty.
"Yeah, 'Tasty' Travis Cole and 'Sweet' Bobby Schink were the tag team to beat in 2019, pre-pandemic. When I first started, they were the team to watch. They were charismatic; they were on top," says Peppers. "After a break, they're back together, and now, it's the best team of 2019 going up against the team of 2022 in Red Hot Summer. It'll be a can't-miss tag team encounter."
His partner, Bryce Bentley, is having his first match back in about a month. Alongside Peppers, Red Hot Summer first won the CWE tag titles on February 4th against "The Canadian Crusher" AJ Sanchez and Kevin O'Doyle, who had held the titles for over 750 days, spanning three reigns. Peppers and Bentley would drop the titles on June 24th before winning them the next night in front of Bentley's hometown of Dauphin, Manitoba. They have held the titles ever since. Bentley says he does not want to drop the titles again.
"I am back! I am so excited to defend the CWE Tag Team Championship belts after having to undergo surgery," says Bentley. "Winter may be here, but the boys will still be red hot!"
"Sweet" Bobby Schink says he expects this to be a good contest.
"I respect and personally like both Peppers and Bentley. I’m looking forward to a nice clean and competitive tag match on Sunday. But there’s snow on the ground and Summer is over fellas, just like their CWE Tag Team Title reign will be on Sunday night. It’s Sweet & Tasty season," says Schink. "We have more experience as a team and that will show when we win the CWE Tag Titles for the first time."