Canadian wrestlers have traditionally had issues in crossing the border into the United States to work for promotions. Considering that it is classified as work, travelling south means that they require a valid work visa, but the costs of getting them (which go into the thousands of dollars) are seen as an extra expense that the promotions and/or talent feel they can do without and try their luck in getting through. Much of the time, they sail through without a problem, but there are occasions when it doesn’t work out and leads to legal issues. This story is about one of those occasions.
This week’s Wrestling Observer tells the tale of former Ring of Honor World Champion Michael Elgin who was denied re-entry to the US after his visa expired, though another ROH name suffered problems of her own, as fellow Canadian Seleziya Sparx experienced problems trying to get to Absolute Intense Wrestling‘s WrestleRager weekend of shows in Cleveland, OH on Friday and was turned away. She tried again the next day and the same thing happened, which has reportedly caused the authorities to come down hard on her.
From what we have been able to ascertain from conversations on Twitter, the 22-year old has been banned from entering the US for five years – though we are unclear as to whether that pertains to work or even for recreation. If that is the case, that edict was made because of her attempt to get through border security twice within a 24-hour period.
Bans of the length which has been reported seem to be relatively rare. This report discussing the decision to ban Canadian actor Chad Rook from the US for a similar amount of time says that “people banned under an expedited removal order can send a letter to the director of field operations with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, seeking a second look”, or can ask for temporary permission to enter the States, paying an unrefundable $585 for each application, though there is no guarantee that it will be successful. Unfortunately, this report says that cases which are overturned are even more rare – with around 1% actually being successful.
The ramifications of the decision standing could be huge for her wrestling aspirations. She has been one of Truth Martini‘s Hoopla Hotties in ROH, worked as one of Adam Rose‘s Rosebuds for WWE earlier this year and has been involved with Ethan Page in AIW, as well as making her mark as a wrestler in the promotion – which has come after a stint wrestling for World Woman Pro Wrestling Diana in Japan for three months at the end of 2013. She has also worked to improve her physique to the point that she is quite the physical specimen these days. A ban from the US would ostensibly kill her momentum there and restrict her to Canada – though she is also making strides in her home country, recently becoming Conflict Wrestling‘s first Women’s Champion back in June.
The situation has led to a #FreeSelez campaign on Twitter with fans rallying in support. We approached Sparx for comment but she declined, saying the matter in in the hands of her lawyer.
– Photo by Tabercil (2)