by Dave Farlie
For those in the know, the modern day history of professional wrestling in Perth is a story of perseverance & grit, over glitz & glamour.
When Explosive Coastal Wrestling held its first show in late 2001, locally produced wrestling had been absent from our state for almost two full decades. This was about as far away as you could get from the heyday of World Championship Wrestling in the 1960s when sell-outs at Perry Lakes Stadium weren’t an uncommon occurrence. When WCW lost national TV exposure, wrestling’s grip on the Australian public was gone. Without the RSLs of the Eastern States to support it, pro wrestling went back to being a small-time club show & before too long disappeared completely.
ECW Perth had a rough & torrid beginning (which could fill a small book all on its own) before finally being steered towards the right path by Adelaide’s Col Dervaney & Hartley Jackson. From there, it was a tough & slow fight for respect within the Australian wrestling community. This was summed up internally by Col’s mantra of ‘stay in the gym & offline’. Within five years, Explosive Pro Wrestling had become gone from pariah to trendsetter in this country, and the EPW fans were a huge reason for that success. This was THE place to be for wrestlers across this great brown land. The number of Australia’s best who say that they were inspired or influenced by what was happening in Perth at that time is countless.
EPW set a standard, both in production & in ring, that forced the presentation of wrestling in Australia to jump into the modern day. The phrase ‘don’t be shit’ might seem like a low bar to leap over, but it held everyone involved accountable. The folks involved with EPW have always believed that being local did not mean being average. Whether the world was watching was irrelevant.
Well, now, more than ever, the world is indeed watching. There are Australian-born wrestlers showing the world what we’ve always known. When opportunity knocked, we would be ready.
From TM61 & the Iconic Duo in NXT. Buddy Murphy on 205 Live to Mr Juicy at the Tokyo Dome. From Australian Suicide in AAA to Jonah Rock & Adam Brooks in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. And not to forget the Australian girls setting the standard in SHIMMER & all the Aussies making waves in the United Kingdom.
We just witnessed a New Japan Pro Wrestling tour of this country that featured countless Australian talents who more than held their own. People all over the globe are sitting up & taking notice of the Marcius Pitts, Robbie Eagles, Damian Slaters & Slexs of the world. There could not be a better time for PROGRESS Wrestling to be touring Australia.
In six short years, PROGRESS has established a worldwide fan base by embodying many of the same qualities that EPW does. A strong focus on local talent. A want to move locally produced wrestling onto the world scene. An ethic that doesn’t rest on its laurels but, rather, asks what’s next.
Well what’s next is a tour of Australia & it all starts in Perth on April 18th.
PROGRESS are bringing a small army of some of the finest talent in the world today. The current WWE UK Champion ‘The Bruiserweight’ Pete Dunne. The PROGRESS World Champion ‘The Kiwi Buzzsaw’ Travis Banks. The PROGRESS Women’s Champion, and standout of the WWE Mae Young Classic in 2017, Toni Storm. One of the most popular tag teams across the globe, Moustache Mountain (Tyler Bate & Trent Seven). And the irrepressible ‘King of the Death Match’ Jimmy ‘F$#@!G’ Havoc.
This is a moment for all involved with Explosive Pro Wrestling to stand up & be counted. You best believe that it all starts with YOU. The fans of EPW have been its lifeblood for the past 16 years, but now you have the chance to be heard by the world. Let Dunne, Bate & Seven go back to NXT talking about the time they visited Perth. Make sure that Havoc remembers the crazy scenes that greeted him at the Vasto Club in Balcatta. And give our ANZAC pals Travis Banks & Toni Storm a welcome back to Oceania they won’t soon forget.
Come out in droves, sell out the Vasto Club. Let’s create history together one more time.
Ringside VIP (including a Meet & Greet) and GA tickets available @ https://epwperth.com/event/progress-x-epw/