Mark Bartolucci and Maximum Pro Wrestling returns to city July 3
This year's Italian Festival is serving up a side of knuckle sandwiches when Maximum Pro Wrestling returns to the Caruso Club for the fifth time with its “Vendetta V” show.
AS part of the Italian Festival, the wrestling event kicks off at 7 p.m. July 3.
Sudbury boy Mark Bartolucci (a.k.a. Tornado), who at 6-0 and 225 pounds admits he's not the biggest pro wrestler out there, will be taking on Youngblood, who is 6-8 and 320 pounds.
“Just seeing that guy that's that big, and he's a great athlete, it will be a good test for me, anyway,” Bartolucci said.
Also on the bill are female wrestlers KC Spinelli and Courtney Rush, as well as Cody Deaner and Scotty the Body.
Sudburians are in for a treat, he said, as everyone on the bill has either overseas, Impact Wrestling or WWE pro wrestling experience.
Bartolucci — a dad himself — said the show is family friendly.
“We put the show on so it's basically similar to when WWE was in its heyday, when there was Hulk Hogan and other characters,” he said. “It's more based on the athletics of the sport as opposed to the soap opera.”
There's “not a bad seat in the house,” Bartolucci said, as the wrestling ring is set up in the middle of the room.
So how did a Sudbury boy end up in the rough and tumble world of pro wrestling? In high school, Bartolucci was extremely athletic, competing in football, hockey, track and field — and yes, wrestling.
“All that ended once I graduated,” he said. “I figured 'Now what do I do with myself?'”
Bartolucci — who grew up watching pro wrestling on TV — said he ended up attending a school in Cambridge, Ont. where he learned the sport's basics.
Within a few months, he was on the road with a pro wrestling tour. That was two decades ago.
“I've wrestled all over North America,” he said.
For the second year in a row, the Maximum Pro Wrestling show will benefit the Sudbury Playground Hockey League.
Bartolucci, whose 12-year-old son played in the league, said it's a “great introduction to hockey” for kids.
“You get two ice times a week and you get your tournament at the end of the year,” he said. “It's the least amount of pressure you're going to have playing hockey in your entire life.”
Last year, the show brought in about $3,000 for the organization, and Bartolucci said he'd like to match that total this year.
Tickets to the event, which cost $15, are available in advance at the Caruso Club or by phoning 705-675-1357 or at the door.