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Superfan shares love of wrestling throughout community  

Community ProfileSuperfan shares love of wrestling throughout community  

Al Ruddick has always been captivated by the spectacle and larger-than-life dynamics of wrestling.  

Ruddick, who grew up in Springhill, Nova Scotia, and moved to Brantford three decades ago, translated his passion for wrestling, especially by dressing up as his favourite wrestling superstars.

“I used to go to Comic Cons [and other shows] to meet the wrestlers [and] I noticed everybody was either stormtroopers or Superman or Batman. And not once I had seen anybody dress as a wrestler. So, I decided to dress up as ‘The Heartbreak Kid’ Shawn Michaels at a Comic Con [and I] ended up meeting Kevin Nash on the first day,” Ruddick recalled. “On the next day, I dressed up as the Ultimate Warrior and Nash didn’t recognize me and he was blown away by my costume. He also told me that made such a big impression with my Michaels cosplay, I ended up getting more time on the news than the wrestlers combined there.”

Ruddick has attended many wrestling events and expos meeting many wrestling legends and hall-of-famers, one of them being Hulk Hogan, considered to be one of the most popular wrestlers of all time. Photo courtesy Al Ruddick.

However, Ruddick has continued garnering positive reactions.

“All the wrestlers I’ve met just love it, including Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart. There’s a picture where Bret is taking a picture of me when I was dressed up as him. I think that right there is the ultimate selfie,” Ruddick said. “At another time, I was doing such a good job that I even got Bray Wyatt to break character [which] he never did before.”

Al Ruddick has met many wrestling superstars throughout the years including one of the most popular wrestlers to hail from Canada, Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart. Photo courtesy Al Ruddick.

However, one of Ruddick’s favourites and most popular cosplays has been the Macho Man Randy Savage. The impersonation (with a twist being that Ruddick was dressed up as Macho Man on one side and the other being Hulk Hogan) has recently gone viral.

“I went to the CK Expo this year and a friend of mine took a video of me and shared it on Instagram. A popular account, ‘themachoverse’ reposted it, [and] within a couple of hours it had gotten 250,000 views. After four weeks, it was at over 3.4 million views,” Ruddick explained.

One of Ruddick’s favourite wrestlers to dress up as has been the Macho Man Randy Savage. Ruddick has been lauded for his authentic Macho Man outfits as well as for the late wrestler’s mannerisms and dialogue. Photo courtesy Al Ruddick.

However, Ruddick himself posts a lot on his own social media accounts of his cosplay which has given him an opportunity to inspire others.

“Many fans love what I do, but a lot of them think they can’t do it themselves. I tell them that they can do anything they want. It’s just whether they can make the time for it [and] having the energy and the passion to do it. That’s basically what it is,” said Ruddick.

In a recent video posted on Instagram, Ruddick’s hybrid cosplay of the Macho Man Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan was a big hit. To date, it has hit over 3.4 million views and has garnered 1000s of shares and comments. Photo courtesy Al Ruddick.

Along with his love of cosplay, Ruddick has been a serious collector of everything wrestling. At one point, he boasted one of the largest collections of its kind in the world.

“At one point I had 11 rooms full…I collected everything from championship belts to old rubber wrestlers, half of them were still in their packages. I have shirts and posters including a gigantic one that was hand-painted, and it was signed by the Rock when he was WWE Champion.”

At one point, Ruddick boasted 11 rooms filled with wrestling memorabilia and collectables making it one of the largest collections of its kind. Photo courtesy Al Ruddick.

Ruddick has also made efforts to share his passion for wrestling with the community with fun local events including making his backyard ring.

“My landlords didn’t like it, but people loved it. The first year I had probably 200 to 300 people through here. A friend and I went through a five-minute match and everyone enjoyed it,” Ruddick recalled.

Ruddick has traveled throughout Canada and the United States to meet his favourite wrestlers and has taken the time to create authentic costumes including the legend Mankind. Photo courtesy Al Ruddick.

Ruddick also makes his way through various local events and has tried to get the younger generation interested in wrestling when selling his collectibles.

“If I see a kid pick something up off of my table and the parents say, ‘I can’t afford or it’s too much,’ I’ll drop the price down to basically nothing. But generally, I’ll just give it to them for free,” said Ruddick. “One time, I went down a parade route and gave close to 300 wrestling figures away…I always try my best to make people happy [and] to make them smile.”

Along with being known for being a collector and for his cosplay, Ruddick has also created several community events showcasing his homemade wrestling ring. His annual Halloween Wrestling event has brought hundreds of children and their families out. Photo courtesy Al Ruddick.

However, Ruddick continues to promote and preach the word about wrestling in Brantford and beyond.

“Wrestling is fantastic. It doesn’t matter who we are or what age you are…if you’re two, or if you’re 100. There’s something for everybody…if you’re a kid, there’s all of the flickering, the flashing lights, and the excitement. If you’re an adult, there’s some kind of interesting storyline or some characters that pull you or the great fights; there’s literally something for everyone,” noted Ruddick.

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