Disco Fury returns to Westview secondary

Westview secondary grad Nathan Burke

Westview secondary grad Nathan Burke

Some dads play beer league hockey or softball. Some dads play in a band on Saturday nights.

Nathan Burke, aka Disco Fury, wrestles. And after 12 years in the ring, Burke has no plans to step away anytime soon.

Disco Fury will be returning to his alma mater, Westview secondary, for an All Star Wrestling fundraiser for the school’s sports program on Friday, April 8. He’ll take on fellow Westview grad Dylan Miller, aka Artemis Spencer.

Burke is hard to miss in the ring, with his pink and blue bell-bottom stretch pants, and matching pink headband and wristcuffs. His golden locks have started to thin, and the corners of his once-chiseled physique have been somewhat rounded down at the edges over the years.

But what he hasn’t lost is his energy, which he can barely contain.

Wrestling has been the perfect outlet for him, he says.

“It’s like detox, I need it,” he says. “Every time I get into the ring, whether it’s for five minutes or an hour, I get to be someone else.”

But despite the fact he is now married, and with an eight-year-old son, Jayden, he sees no reason to walk away from the ring.

“For me, it’s everything,” he says. “Some people drink or smoke, but wrestling is my vice.”

Some of Burke’s earliest memories are of sneaking downstairs past his bedtime to watch wrestling on TV, and getting up early on the weekend to catch Maple Leaf Wrestling.

“Hulk Hogan was the first wrestler I was really into,” he says.

Since he started wrestling in 1998, Burke estimates he was wrestled in more than 1,000 matches. In that time, he’s travelled throughout B.C., Alberta, and Washington State, and as far away as Japan and the UK.

He’s taken on the likes of Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, The Honky Tonk Man, and Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart, as well as many of the new rising stars of the wrestling world.

Burke says he does around 30 shows a year now, from his peak of more than 200 a few years ago.

Burke first started wrestling in 1998. He was at a wrestling event at GM Place dressed up as wrestler Mick Foley’s character, Mankind, when he noticed an elderly woman handing out flyers to an independent wrestling show in Vancouver. He asked her how he could get involved, and she told him to call the number on the flyer and ask for Michelle.

Michelle turned out to be “Gorgeous” Michelle Starr, the male gender-bending headliner for All Star Wrestling, with whom Burke is still affiliated.

Burke told Starr he was 170 pounds and was ready to be a wrestler. In reality, he was 150 pounds soaking wet, and needed a lot of work.

“He called me out on it, but he was nice about it,” he says.

The two started training together. After a few months, Burke was nearly ready step in the ring,  when his dreams of being a pro wrestler nearly came to screeching halt, literally.

Burke was getting a ride to work from his wife’s friend when she rear-ended the car in front of her. Even though he had his seat belt on, the impact sent Burke flying through the windshield, resulting in three compressed vertebrae, and an assortment of cuts and bruises.

“I couldn’t do anything for a month,” he says. “My doctor said to give up wrestling, but when someone tells me I can’t do something, that just makes me try harder.”

So Burke stepped up his training regimen, and within three months, he made his debut against Gruesome Annie in a battle of the sexes at an event in Lillooet. The loser of the match had to eat dog food.

Burke lost.

“It was real Alpo,” he says.

The life of a pro wrestler isn’t always glamorous, but that just adds to the camaraderie among the wrestlers, especially when they are on the road together.

“There’s all sorts of people who do this. We have one guy who’s a school teacher, one guy is a pretty successful lawyer,” says Burke. “The stuff on TV is choreographed for months, but there’s no time to do that for us,” he says. “We show up to the show at 5 p.m. and go on at 7 p.m.”

While the outcome might be predetermined, the violence is very real.

“I’ve got broken fingers, concussions, tore my Achilles tendon, you name it,” says Burke. “We’re really hitting each other out there, and it hurts quite a bit.”

Burke began in the ring as the Fabulous Fury, and soon became the Dancing Fury due to his slick moves in the ring. One night, one of the promoters suggested he use “Staying Alive” by The Bee-Gees as his ring music, and Disco Fury was born. As part of his routine, Burke baits the crowd with chants of “Disco Rules.” which predictably turn to chants of “Disco sucks.”

It’s been 15 years since he graduated from Westview secondary, and Burke says he wanted to help give back to the school, especially now that his younger brother, Joshua Prosser, is a student there.

When Burke last wrestled at an event held at the school in 1999, there was a young boy named Dylan Miller sitting in the front row that night. Miller graduated in 2004 and went on to become Artemis Spencer, with the Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling. Next Friday the pair will face each other in the ring.

“He was my No. 1 fan that night, and now I’m going to be wrestling him,” says Burke. “It’s neat to see the young kids coming up. Who knows,

maybe the next generation [of wrestlers] will be there this time.”

 

Friday, April 8

All Star Wrestling fundraiser for the Westview athletic department. Tickets $15 ringside, $12 general admission, $10 for Westview students. Tickets available at Wok Box 400-20395 Lougheed Hwy, Maple Ridge, Cutting Edge Nutrition 104-20306 Dewdney Trunk Road Maple Ridge, All Seasons Tanning-210-22529 Lougheed Highway Maple Ridge. For more information, call 778-868-6690. Tickets also available at the door.