*Note: I hit submit instead of preview, so this is going to be modified several times. Oh well.
I figured with there being threads on the British, Mexican and Japanese circuits that there could/should be one on Australian wrestling. I don't plan on just leaving it at that, for those who aren't aware of professional wrestling in Australia or it's history, I'm going to try and provide some quality information and history (based on what I know/can find) to educate fans who may be interested, whether you're living in the country or observing from somewhere else in the world.
A BRIEF HISTORY
Professional wrestling in Australia saw it's boom period in the 1960's and 70's. Much like the United States, Japan, Mexico and the UK, Australia was considered to be another big "territory" that wrestlers could tour, make money and perform in front of different fans than what they were used to. The major promotion in the country was called World Championship Wrestling, owned by legendary promoter Jim Barnett (a name he would later revive in Georgia Championship Wrestling as it's TV program, which would go on to become the Ted Turner-owned promotion of the same name) and later Tony Kolonie. They had a national TV deal with the Nine network which aired at noon on the weekends.
Over the years WCW boasted international talents such as Jack Brisco, Harley Race, Killer Kowalski, Dominic DeNucci, Gorilla Monsoon, Brute Bernard, Haystacks Calhoun, Ray Stevens, Abdullah The Butcher, Big Bad John, King Curtis, Bruiser Brody, Mark Lewin, Karl Gotch, Mario Milano, Spiros Arion and even Bruno Sammartino and Andre The Giant. Along with local stars Larry O'Dea, Ron Miller and the Fabulous Kangaroos, WCW was must-see television and to date is the largest wrestling promotion to have existed in Australia.
In 1978 the Nine network cancelled World Championship Wrestling and the promotion went under soon after. Ever since the 1980's, Australian professional wrestling has been in recovery mode. One could say that the entire wrestling industry in this country flat out died and restarted after WCW's demise. Brief house show tours by the WWF in 1985 and 1986 with a heavily depleted roster did little to rejuvenate the fledgling scene in Australia (they wouldn't return to the country until 2002 with Melbourne's "Global Warning" event).
After the fall of WCW, more independent wrestling promotions begun popping up all over the country and would cease operations almost as quickly as they begun. It wasn't until the new millennium that the independents started gaining some traction and putting on quality events. With the majority of the stars from the golden age gone (most retired or moved back overseas when the company closed), there was nobody for aspiring wrestlers to really learn from. Rolling around on gym mats in tiny storage units and makeshift dojos were about the only training one could get in the mid-late 1990's. Mainstream media coverage was just about non-existent and the idea of a wrestler competing interstate was nearly unheard of, much less going overseas to the United States, Mexico or Japan.
Like the rest of the world, pro wrestling became the hot topic once more in Australia in the late 1990’s with the Monday Night War between WWF and WCW. Despite limited coverage on free-to-air television, it was still one of the biggest crazes. A tour by WCW in 2000 which included TV tapings for Nitro and Thunder brought some much-needed, however brief attention back on professional wrestling in the country.
Eventually promotions such as Professional Championship in Victoria, the Australasian Wrestling Federation and International Wrestling Australia in New South Wales and Explosive Coastal Wrestling (later renamed Explosive Pro Wrestling) in Western Australia among others began generating some buzz in the early 2000's with their events. One such event was a PCW show dubbed "Carnage" in September of 2002. It featured wrestlers from Sydney's new UWA promotion "invading" the PCW event. The main event however was what the show became known for. A no-rope, barbed wire, taipei deathmatch between Victorians Mad Dog McRea and Lobo (not to be confused with the CZW wrestler of the same name) which also included thumbtacks and fire. The event gained mainstream media attention, albeit for the wrong reasons, both on the national news and in newspaper publications due to the fact it was reportedly billed as a "family night out" and there were children present for the main event.
Later that year, Australian wrestling returned to television for one night only for the “Australian Wrestling Supershow”. Airing on Fox Sports (a channel part of subscription network Foxtel), it featured wrestlers from all over the country performing under one roof, a concept that was quite groundbreaking at the time and would later become the norm (interstate wrestlers, not TV) for promotions around the country.
Since then, Australian wrestling has seen it's ups and downs, with it currently enjoying the most amount of success it has since the glory days of World Championship Wrestling, as far as overall show quality, attendance and Australians competing overseas. For the first time in many years, Australian wrestling is starting to be considered relevant again, so I feel there's no better time than now to discuss it on this forum!
LIST OF (NOTABLE) PROMOTIONS
NEW SOUTH WALES/AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
Professional Wrestling Alliance (PWA)
Australasian Wrestling Federation (AWF)
Newcastle Pro Wrestling (Newcastle Pro)
Ultimate Wrestling Alliance (UWA)
International Wrestling Australia (IWA)
Melbourne City Wrestling (MCW)
Professional Championship Wrestling (PCW)
Outback Championship Wrestling (OCW)
New Age Wrestling (NAW)
Wrestle Rampage (WR)
Riot City Wrestlung (RCW)
Snakepit Pro Wrestling
Explosive Pro Wrestling (EPW)
New Horizon Pro Wrestling (NHPW)
Southern Hemisphere Wrestling Alliance (SHWA)
All Action Wrestling (AAW)
Pacific Pro Wrestling (PPW)
United Pro Wrestling (UPW)
Australian Wrestling Alliance (NWA:AWA)
Tasmanian Championship Wrestling (TCW)
World Championship Wrestling (WCW)
World Wrestling All-Stars (WWA)
World Series Wrestling (WSW)
Professional Wrestling Alliance (PWA)(VIC)
TENILLE TAYLA a.k.a. EMMA (VIC)
Started off wrestling and managing in 2003 under such names as Miss Tenille, Tilly May and Valentine for PCW and PWA in Melbourne, it wasn’t until receiving further training in 2007 from Lance Storm that her career truly took off. After competing for both the Australian and Canadian independent circuits, she became known to fans in the United States for her work in Shimmer. In 2011 she was signed to a WWE developmental contract and has since become one of the most popular wrestlers in NXT.
MATT SILVA a.k.a. BUDDY MURPHY (VIC)
A staple of the Australian scene since 2007, he is most notable for his time in Melbourne City Wrestling as well as Adelaide’s Riot City Wrestling. He became one of the marquee wrestlers for MCW after winning the MCW Championship from Slex in 2012. In early 2013 it was announced that he had signed a developmental contract with WWE. Holds the unique distinction as being the first (and so far only) wrestler signed to WWE to compete exclusively in Australia prior to his signing.
RYAN ROLLINS a.k.a. AUSTRALIAN SUICIDE (VIC)
Begun wrestling in 2005 at the tender age of 13, Ryan Rollins quickly became one of the premiere high flyers in Australia. It wasn’t until he began his run for MCW in 2011 however that his persona really started to shine. After further training from Carlo Cannon and Lance Storm, he received a tryout with Mexico’s AAA promotion and would later sign a contract in 2013, debuting as the masked Australian Suicide.
THE MIGHTY DON’T KNEEL (TMDK)
Perhaps the most successful faction to come out of Australia, originally started as a tag team between Mikey Nicholls & Shane Haste out of Perth, Western Australia, expanded later to include members from South Australia and Victoria.
MIKEY NICHOLLS (WA)
A mainstay of EPW in the early 2000’s, received further training at the New Japan dojo in California and would even compete in NJPW briefly. After splitting time between Western Australia and Southern California, Nicholls began teaming with Shane Haste in 2009, winning the EPW Tag Team Titles. Haste & Nicholls then started touring with Pro Wrestling NOAH in Japan in 2011 and after a brief stint in ROH in 2012, signed a contract with NOAH in 2013. Together they are the current GHC Tag Team Champions and were named the Tokyo Sports 2013 Tag Team of the year.
SHANE HASTE (WA)
Much like his tag team partner, Haste also came out of EPW in 2003 and spent time in California also, including matches for PWG in 2009. Haste began teaming with Mikey Nicholls in 2009, winning the EPW Tag Team Titles. Haste & Nicholls then started touring with Pro Wrestling NOAH in Japan in 2011 and after a brief stint in ROH in 2012, signed a contract with NOAH in 2013. Together they are the current GHC Tag Team Champions and were named the Tokyo Sports 2013 Tag Team of the year.
MARCIUS PITT (WA)
The first member of TMDK to be added after Haste & Nicholls. Also coming out of EPW in 2005, had a couple of brief tours of the SoCal scene much like his stablemates. Would then receive further training from Booker T in 2013 and has since returned to Australia where he reigns as one half of the EPW Tag Team Champions with fellow member Jonah Rock.
JONAH ROCK (SA)
Joined the faction along with longtime tag team partner Elliot Sexton, who together are known as SexRock. After competing all over the country since 2007 he participated in a tour of Pro Wrestling NOAH alongside group founders Shane Haste and Mikey Nicholls in 2013, which included two fierce battles with GHC Heavyweight Champion KENTA. Back in Australia, he is one half of the EPW Tag Team Champions with Marcius Pitt.
ELLIOT SEXTON (SA)
Joined the faction along with longtime tag team partner Jonah Rock, who together are known as SexRock. After competing primarily in South Australia, Sexton now appears regularly for Melbourne promotions MCW and Wrestleclash. Spent time overseas training with Booker T in Houston, Texas, where he competed for the Reality of Wrestling promotion as well as receiving a WWE tryout in early 2013.
A veteran of Australian wrestling since 2002, originally wrestling for PCW and later PWA in Melbourne. A former champion of PWA, Wrestlerock and one of the longest reigning MCW Champions, he competed in a tour of Japan for the ZERO1 promotion in 2011. After joining TMDK in 2013 he quickly returned to Japan for NOAH, where he would team with Shane Haste and Mikey Nicholls, as well as enter the NTV G+ Cup Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team League, teaming with former ROH World Champion Roderick Strong.
MADISON EAGLES (NSW)
Arguably one of the most well known Australian wrestlers to grace the American independent scene, Madison Eagles has been wrestling since age 17 (2001). Most know her from her work in Shimmer Women Athletes, where she became the third Shimmer Champion in 2010 (and is currently the second longest reigning champion in history). Made history in 2011 when she was named the #1 Female Wrestler by PWI, the first non-WWE/TNA wrestler to do so. She also runs the only all-women promotion in Australia, PWWA, the sister promotion of PWA in Sydney.
OTHER NOTABLE WRESTLERS
'JAG' HARTLEY JACKSON (SA) -
A grizzled veteran of over 15 years, Hartley Jackson was one of the pioneers of independent wrestling in both Western Australia and South Australia. Ventured to the U.S. in 2006 where he trained at the New Japan dojo, competed on various SoCal shows and even briefly wrestled in NJPW. Since then he has made several more tours of Japan with ZERO1 and helped establish a working relationship between them and NWA Australia in Adelaide, which is now known as Pro Wrestling ZERO1 Australia. Was ranked #377 in the PWI 500 in 2013 and #232 in 2012.
KELLIE SKATER (VIC) -
Known as the 'Rate Tank', Skater has become well known for her overseas adventures. Currently reigning as one half of the Shimmer Tag Team Champions with Tomoka Nakagawa, she splits her time between Australia, Japan and North America which has helped make her one of the most successful female wrestlers to come out of the country.
TAMA WILLIAMS (NSW) -
While originally from New Zealand, Tama cut his teeth on the New South Wales independent scene, while also competing interstate for RCW in Adelaide and NHPW in Perth. In 2011 he represented Team Australia in the Chikara King of Trios tournament, then in 2013 moved to Japan where he competes regularly for the ZERO1 promotion as part of the faction New Age Wrestling Future.
MIKE PETERSEN (VIC) -
A former amateur wrestler, arm wrestling champion and natural bodybuilder, 'The Superior Athlete' Mike Petersen is currently the longest reigning MCW Champion in history and is also a former Warzone Champion (titles he held simultaneously). Attended a WWE tryout in 2012 and then in 2013 received further training from Lance Storm, which lead him to competition on the Canadian wrestling scene. Was ranked #191 in the PWI 500 in 2013.