The golden days of Australian wrestling came to a halt in 1978 when Nine Network owner Kerry Packer pulled the pin on World Championship Wrestling, removing it from programming in favour of his latest pet project, World Series Cricket.
Cricket’s greatest gain became Australian wrestling’s greatest loss.
Where once Australian wrestling shows packed venues such as Melbourne’s Festival Hall and Perth’s Perry Lakes Stadium, it was then held in RSLs, high school gyms and recreation centres.
Of course, some shows have drawn decent crowds for the scene. NWA Australia’s debut show, Turning over Tradition, at South Australia’s Thebarton Theatre in April 2004, being a case in point, drawing over 1000 fans from around the country.
Unfortunately, the promotion couldn’t keep up the momentum, drawing as low as 50 by the fourth show.
Although very unlikely the Australian independent scene will ever again get near the success of the golden era, especially with even the WWE drawing smaller crowds to their house shows, a return to a nationally run promotion with free-to-air TV on a major network backing is something that the true believers of the scene would love to see occur.
Who wouldn’t love to see the cream of the Australian scene, the likes of Mikey Nicholls, Shane Haste, KrackerJak, Carlo Cannon, “Jag” Hartley Jackson, Damian Slater, T.N.T., Ryan Eagles, Mikey Broderick and Sean O’Shea, just to name a few, battle it out on our screens on a weekly basis and being part of successful tours.
International guys could do tours like the days gone by taking on the Australian contingent. It’s only just a dream.
At least we get to see our favourites up close every month or so and enjoy seeing them do well overseas when they get the opportunity.
Go to as many shows as you can and you will see Australian talent that can perform just as good as any talent you may see on WWE or TNA programming.