Although a short-lived championship that boasts only one champion, the NWA Atlantic Canada Pure Wrestling Championship – sometimes referred to by online sources as the NWA Atlantic Canadian Championship Wrestling Pure Wrestling Championship – is certainly a unique one.
A secondary title under the NWA/ACCW Canadian Heavyweight Championship, the Pure Wrestling Championship first appeared in the Nova Scotia area promotion in 2013. Promoters Matt Bullen and Jim Joyce elected to have specialty rules around their title that were similar to the Ring of Honor Pure Championship, where wrestlers contested the title over traditional rules that emphasized displays of skill over gimmicked matches commonly seen today.
With that concept in place, Joyce created a unique five-plate design that actually employs eight plates to complete: the three main plates each have base plate with a smaller, raised one on top of it, and two single plates site at the ends. Taking his layout to a metal fabrication factory his wife worked at, the design was brought to life: the main plate shows a raised emblem of two eagles struggling over a gold star, and there are rivets and jewels attached that give the gun metal grey appearance a further industrial-edge look. What really makes the title look unique are the shape of the plates, though, with convex and concave corners and sides that seem to fit well together. The black leather belt is also cut and stitched to fit that design.
From the fabricators, Joyce took the plates to an engraving house. The word “PURE” is engraved boldly in the center in a large font (it is interesting to note that the size of this font sometimes has the title’s name written in all-caps on some source sites), with the words “wrestling” and “champion” also engraved above and below respectively. The first set of side plates feature two traditional wrestling figures engaged in a contest. Joyce completed the leatherwork and assembly of the title himself, and the belt was officially born.
Unfortunately, it would be around only a short period of time. An NWA affiliate during the Bruce Tharpe era, Atlantic Canadian Championship Wrestling only ran one show under the National Wrestling Alliance banner. Bullen, who also wrestled as J.B. Havoc, had been excited for a program that would see Renee Dupree with the NWA Canadian Heavyweight Championship in Ontario and head east to face Bullen as the NWA Atlantic Canadian Heavyweight Champion, but that did not pan out and the arrangement with the NWA was short-lived. For the Pure Wrestling Championship, that meant that only “Red Dragon” Shane Stephens would ever hold the championship, having first won it in January of 2013. The promotion left the NWA later the same year and the belt itself was sold off in the years that followed.
Although in play for only a short period of time, the NWA Atlantic Canada Pure Wrestling Championship holds a unique place in NWA history, both for design and for match stipulations.
- Tim “BC” Wood
[NOTES AND SOURCES]
I would like to thank both Matt Bullen and Jim Joyce, former promoters of NWA Atlantic Canada / Atlantic Canadian Championship Wrestling, for their efforts in providing information for this biography. Without the assistance of the former NWA promoters, the stories behind the titles just remain title records and statistics. I would also like to thank Shane Stephens, the sole wrestler to hold this title, for his assistance in getting me in touch with the promoters.
“Red Dragon” Shane Stephens Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/rdsstephens
Cagematch title history: https://www.cagematch.net/?id=5&nr=1981
NWA Atlantic Canada Facebook Page [inactive]: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Sports-Event/NWA-Atlantic-Canada-403654686374689/
NWA Pure Wrestling Championship w/ NWA Canadian Championship and NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship: Scott Simpson, Flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/bigasssuperstar/8505044095/in/photostream/
NWA Pure Wrestling Championship, main plate: Scott Simpson, Flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/bigasssuperstar/8506152062/in/photostream/
Shane Stephens w/ NWA Pure Wrestling Championship [2 photos]: Pinterest.
Shane Stephens w/ NWA Pure Championship : from Youtube promo video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74M6FN_fCZU&list=UUuACo7OlWQ-WbRhB_9dMQBg&index=65&app=desktop