In a macro world, four-foot-six-inch wrestler Eric Bearspaw is making a colossal impact.
The Îyârhe (Stoney) Nakoda man made his television debut this week on Discovery channel’s Big Little Brawlers, which follows the lives of Bearspaw and other mat mavericks under five-feet tall in the U.S.-based professional wrestling company Micro Wrestling Federation.
“I’m representing my Indigenous brothers and sisters and all we are as sovereign people and sovereign nations,” said the pro wrestler from Eden Valley, who is known to fans as Chief Littlefoot.
“I was born like this,” he said. “I don’t pretend to be anyone else other than who I am.”
When the war paint and head dress go on and the drum starts beating, Bearspaw walks the walk to square off with his opponent, not unlike on the powwow trail.
It was dancing in powwows that catapulted him into the wrestling ring about three years ago.
“I was travelling all around the U.S. dancing and I would sell my crafts, like earrings at shows so I could do that. I would post videos on my YouTube page,” he said.
“This guy saw my videos and reached out to me and started asking me about myself, and whether I had heard of the Micro Wrestling Federation.”
The scouting agent asked if he had wrestling experience. He didn’t.
Bearspaw grew up watching WWE and in its earlier days, the WWF, and had dreams of becoming a wrestler. When he looked at the cost of training at the famous Hart Foundation in Calgary, Bearspaw – now in his late 30s – decided then it was out of reach.
“When this guy reached out to me years later it kind of felt like getting another shot at that,” he said. “It sounded neat and I liked what they were doing. So, that’s kind of how I got here.”
The Micro Wrestling Federation is based out of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and is described as a family-friendly, “full-scale, WWE-type event” and was founded in 2000. The organization boasts features in Sports Illustrated and the WWE, among others.
On Tuesday (Jan. 9), its cast of characters – Lil’ Show, Ivar, Pinky, Syko and others debuted on the new Discovery reality show.
Bearspaw said its surreal to think about playing any part in it.
“It’s pretty cool and I’m excited to see me and my friends on it,” he said. “I’m also excited to represent my culture in this way and on a stage like this. I like to speak my language and just be myself.”
Bearspaw said pro wrestling can be difficult on the body, like any sport, and he has been out for a few weeks with an ankle injury after his latest match but hopes to make a return soon.
In a trailer for the show, Ivar – one of the pro wrestlers, who is described as the voice of Micro Wrestling Federation – talks about wrestling with brittle bone disease.
“I have broken over 100 bones in my body and my childhood goal was to be a wrestler,” he said.
Bearspaw said the show is a big deal for the people involved. Everyone has their own struggles, including himself. The show is a testament to never giving up and looks into the lives of the wrestlers as they approach MicroFest – the biggest micro wrestling event of the year.
Looking back on 2023, the Micro Wrestling Federation boasted Chief Littlefoot as its breakout star of the year. He had 167 singles matches and “over 134 million views from wrestling and shredding guitar.”
That’s right – when he’s not grappling opponents and hitting them with his finisher, the Blackstone Slam, Bearspaw is gracing the strings and unleashing killer guitar riffs.
“I’ve played in a couple bands and have always wanted to be in a metal band,” he said. “It’s another big passion of mine.”
By Jessica Lee, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Jan 16, 2024 at 17:52