Shawn Demers lives a double life. By day, he is a gentle, soft-spoken and kind-hearted family man. But by night, he becomes a shmoozy, villainous character known as Mr. Know It All, who manages a group of wrestlers.
He gets into character monthly to put on shows for the public as a member of independent sports entertainment company, Big Time Pro Wrestling.
In his everyday life Demers can be found working behind the scenes as a retail food data analyst at Algonquin. On other days, he puts on a sequened jacket and improvises scenes in the wrestling ring at the Greely Legion.
“That’s the character I grew into,” said Demers. “Once you get in front of the audience, it’s sink or swim.”
Although the character he plays is known as the bad guy, the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.
“I’m actually a really shy person. It’s really outside of my comfort zone. But when I’m out there you need to make people believe that the character is real,” said Demers.
Growing up in the rural community of Limoges, Demers admits there was little to do but let your imagination run wild. This is where his love for wrestling began. By creating his own wrestling federation complete with a homemade ring, ropes and signs, the sports entertainment world he saw on television came to life.
Demers and a group of friends developed characters, taking inspiration from the pros. They began creating storylines and enjoyed putting on their own shows in Demers’ backyard. This continued into high school where the group gained some recognition and developed a following among their peers and in the community.
“We started showing our tapes in the cafeteria, people started becoming big fans of us,” said Demers.
At 18 years-old he began training and taking wrestling more seriously which according to Demers, is often the part of the show that gets overlooked.
“It’s kind of a misunderstood form of entertainment. People think it’s fake. Yes it’s pre-determined but definitely not fake in the athletic ability that these guys have,” he said.
Ultimately the commitment required to make it big took away from the time Demers wanted to dedicate to having a family. Not wanting to fully give up what he loves to do, Demers has now found a way to be involved in the sport in his adult life through Mr. Know It All.
“I thought, I don’t know, I love it but I’m not in any shape to get back in the ring with these young guys who are doing it all the time,” said Demers. “So I said, ‘I’d love to come back and be a character, be a performer.'”
Playing that character and having the control of the crowd is something Demers enjoys most. He believes the performance is just as important as the physical aspect of being in the ring.
“Not only is it the athletic side, but also the psychology in the ring. Which in today’s product is, in my opinion, missing a little bit,” said Demers. “You as a viewer need to believe what I’m doing.”
It’s that interaction that has always intrigued Demers and that keeps him coming back.
“The Rock could lift his eyebrow and make 30,000 people scream,” said Demers.
It’s also that type of character development that has given him his own recognition in the local wrestling community.
A few times as Demers recalls, there have been students who have asked him where they knew him from, or said, “Hey! You’re Mr. Know It All!” But typically, Demers tries to keep himself and his character separate.
One thing Demers and Mr. Know It All have in common however, according to Demers, is that they’re delusional.
“I’m a Leafs fan,” said Demers. “Mr. Know It All is basically like a Leafs fan. They think they know everything and they think they’re the best. Some might say they’re delusional.”
There are a few other independent sports entertainment companies in the area that offer shows on a monthly or bi-monthly basis.
Mr. Know It All can be seen in his next show on November 12 at the Greely Legion.