#YoureGonnaNoticeUs: Pro Wrestling's Epic Rise Down Under
Professional wrestling is once again booming in Australia and New Zealand.
The polarising form of entertainment has seen a massive spike in attendance over the past 12 months, and it doesn't look like it's slowing down anytime soon. But it hasn't always been smooth sailing -- pro wrestling Down Under has had a very rocky past.
In the 1960's and 1970's both countries saw huge crowds and very strong television ratings, with the help of a lot of international talent. That was until professional wrestling lost its television slot to the the newly introduced World Series Cricket, which pushed the industry back into smaller venues.
Over the next few decades, professional wrestlers would continue honing their craft, but audience numbers fell and the sport drew little attention.
But in 2017, Sydney-based professional wrestler Mick Moretti took to social media with one goal: to shine the spotlight back onto the Australian and New Zealand wrestling scene.
Although wrestlers from both countries did start to get noticed when travelling and performing overseas, the scene itself still was left in the dark.
Moretti launched an online movement called #YoureGonnaNoticeUs, posting a video to Twitter that was picked up by performers and fans and reignited support and interest.
English-born professional wrestler Will Ospreay, one of the top pro wrestlers in the world to not be signed with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), saw the movement and was more than impressed. Ospreay travelled to the two countries and wrestled for a handful of local promotions including Pro Wrestling Australia, Melbourne City Wrestling, and New Zealand’s Southern Pro Wrestling.
His backing brought more attention to Australia and New Zealand’s wrestling scenes.
Crowds flocked in bigger numbers, more international names began to make their way down under, and local stars got opportunities to perform overseas, with a handful even signing with WWE, including Australia’s Rhea Ripley and Toni Storm. In New Zealand, local stars Travis Banks and Dakota Kai have signed with WWE’s developmental brand, NXT.
Moving forward, it’s hard to predict where the scene will go from here, but its likely the boom is just beginning.
Speaking to ten daily, Will Ospreay said he could see Australian and New Zealand pro wrestling going down the same path as the UK scene, which has also seen a boom in the last five years, with local promotions now running larger venues.
Just earlier this week, London based promotion Progress Wrestling, which got its start in smaller London music venues, performed out of London’s Wembley Arena in front of almost 5000 fans. The WWE has also expanded into the region, starting its own brand called NXT UK, and signing many local talent -- something Ospreay can see happening in Australia in the future.
In the very near future, three Aussie wrestlers -- the "IIconics" duo Peyton Royce and Billie Kay, and Buddy Murphy -- will be performing at WWE's live event Super Show-Down at the MCG, which will see the largest pro wrestling crowd in Australian history.
But with the WWE or not, professional wrestlers in both Australia and New Zealand are continuing to push ahead, and are continuing to get noticed. But what’s next for them?
Well, as Mick Moretti says, “now we conquer”.