With a regal, yet condescending wave and a look of disdain etched across his face, Prince Akeem greets his public. Not surprisingly, often showered with a chorus of boos, he has cemented his status as one of the top villains for Midget Wrestling Warriors and on most every card where he appears in North America. In fact, if your only opportunity to know him is through his performances in the ring, you might not realize what a personable guy he is and what an interesting journey he has had in professional wrestling.
Born in Winnipeg, Mike Reid was introduced to the mat scene after attending local cards promoted under the banner of Premier Championship Wrestling. After his very first outing he became a regular at the matches, attending the shows with his College classmates until he worked up the nerve to ask about how he could get involved. Training under Winnipeg mainstay and Japan’s Smash Wrestling alumnus Mentallo, when the first opportunity arose to do some touring, Reid abandoned his Civil Engineering studies to hit the road. His introduction to road life? A seven week tour of the harshest Canadian winter climate in the arctic in February 2003.
It’s hard to track down a lot on the early career of the ring headliner who now sports a crown to the ring, but that’s not because of a lack of appearances. Reid discovered that while he was in demand as an attraction among one of the few active little people in Canadian wrestling, because he hadn’t established his name before he hit the road, every promoter seemed to have a different idea for him. In Winnipeg he was dubbed ‘Mike Hammer’, in Calgary he was adorned in a sweater vest and tagged with the name ‘Mikey Banks’, a play on the popular Alfonso Ribiero character from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air.
His career was reignited when he received a call from Dan DiLucchio about joining the roster for Midget Wrestling Warriors, a touring troupe that allowed him to hone his craft against some of the best active wrestlers in the division, and establish his own identity. In the two years since, wrestling by the name Prince Akeem, he has battled the likes of Short Sleeve Sampson, Robbie Araujo and Shovelhead Chuck in matches across Canada and into the U.S., including an appearance at Las Vegas’ Gold Coast Casino on a star-studded card this spring.
Prince Akeem, who has been from coast to coast in Canada, surprisingly has yet to wrestle in Brandon, a situation he will correct on July 14 when the Midget Wrestling Warriors take over the Manitoba Room at the Keystone Centre. The only Manitoba stop on this tour, it’s the nearest that his hometown fans in the River City will be treated to. It is expected that a convoy of fans may be traverse the perimeter to visit the Wheat City next week.
Tickets are on sale at the Keystone Centre box office and are available online at tickets.keystonecentre.ca