The Heavy List: Top 10 Australasian Wrestlers.
Today Hev comes along with a another opinion piece that also has a bit of list theme as he counts down his Top 10 Australasian Wrestlers!
Today Hev is coming at you with another new article that is a cross between a list and an opinion piece. Today the Thunda King from Down Unda is going to rank HIS Top 10 Australasian Wrestlers. Now some of you may be asking, Australasian? Well to the uninformed Australasian is the area of the world that engulfs Australia and surrounding countries such as New Zealand and Melanasia which includes Papua New Guinea as well as smaller island locations such as New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands. So taking this into consideration I not only wanted to list my favourite Australian Wrestlers but also include some names from the bordering regions of my part of the world.
The list will consist of 10 names and will include both male and female wrestlers and will also include two Honorable Mentions, which are picks that I felt deserved a mention but did not make it into a place on my Top 10 List. So without further delay lets jump into this shall we?!
I have not watched a lot of NXT since the re-branding, I found it very jarring at first, but over time I started to tune in and in doing so discovered a few favourites and one of them is Grayson Waller. At first he irritated me to no end, but over time his work started to grow on me and I am now seeing his worth as a member of the NXT 2.0 Roster. Grayson has had some great matches and moments with Roderick Strong, Solo Sikoa and LA Knight. Waller was also a member of Team 2.0 (alongside Bron Breakker, Carmelo Hayes and Tony D’Angelo) as they took on Team Black & Gold (Johnny Gargano, LA Knight, Pete Dunne and Tommaso Ciampa) in a Wargames Match, which saw Team 2.0 win. Waller has also appeared in the show “Young Rock” starring as a young Ric Flair.
Ever since she showed up as the plucky Emma in WWE I have always been a fan of Dashwood’s. The Emma character while a little silly got over and when I attended a live WWE Event over here in Australia she got a huge reception from the fans that night, one of the biggest in fact. Over time Emma would show the world she was not just some plucky young face and over time developed her heel persona. After being released by WWE she has appeared in Ring of Honor with some notable matches against Brandi Rhodes, Thunder Rosa and Sumie Sakai. Dashwood would also appear over at IMPACT Wrestling where she continues to work at this time. During her time with IMPACT she has had some notable matches against Taya Valkyrie, Jordynne Grace, Deonna Purrazzo and Keira Hogan. Dashwood then went on to form The Influence with Madison Rayne and they are currently to IMPACT Knockouts Tag Team Champions! During her time at IMPACT Wrestling Dashwood has also competed for AEW during the Buy In for All Out 2019 where she participated in the Casino Battle Royal.
I must admit I feel really stupid in saying this, but it has taken me a really long time as a wrestling fan to get into New Japan Pro Wrestling and to be honest it is not something that I watch super regularly either. It is a bit harder for us Aussies to keep up with NJPW’s gruelling schedule but I do tune in when I can and I have gone back and watched pieces about certain aspects of NJPW history, one of the more prominent was the formation of Bullet Club. Fale was a cornerstone in the formation of Bullet Club, which with his Fale Dojo has helped to bridge the gap for non-Japanese talent to wrestle with NJPW, including one of his students Jay White. He is also a 3 Time NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Champion and a One-Time IWGP Intercontinental Champion.
Dakota Kai, a lot like Emma/Tenille Dashwood came to prominence in WWE NXT as a very bubbly, plucky and perky personality. She has always had talent in the ring but she has not had the greatest success either. She turned heel and displayed a great new side to her character and King Kota was born. She has held the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship twice in very short reigns and despite her talent never won the NXT Women’s Championship. She has won the Inaugural Women’s Dusty Rhodes Classic alongside Raquel Gonzalez though. Now that she is gone from WWE it will be very interesting to see where she ends up and what her career brings moving forward.
From the time she entered WWE and competed in the Mae Young Classic, Toni Storm has shown some immense talent. Yes if you ask my fellow Real Rasslin crew mates I am slightly biased. Storm failed to win the 2017 Mae Young Classic but was able to win the tournament in 2018 at the all women Pay Per View, Evolution. Storm went on the capture the NXT UK Women’s Championship where she went on to hold it for 230 days. Storm appeared on Smackdown but did not last before she left WWE siting Burnout. Storm would then go on to perform with Stardom in Japan where she was the first non-Japanese wrestler to hold the World of Stardom Championship. She has also held Stardom's SWA World Championship for a record-setting 612 days. Over in the UK while with PROGRESS Wrestling she held the Progress Women's Championship. Now Toni Storm called AEW home and I, just like all her other fans are tuning in each week to see if she will go the distance or not... I have a good fceeling there is plenty more success to see from toni Storm in the near future.
Here we are at the half way mark, heading into the top end of the list and I know this isn’t just one wrestler, but you cannot place one without the other when it comes to these two ladies, who went from your run of the mill women’s wrestlers to be one of the most entertaining things on WWE Television when they formed The IIconics. Their character work while working as a duo was brilliant and even though they were essential a heel team they garnered a great following due to their ability to make the fans laugh. They then managed to capture the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship at Wrestlemania 35 in what was a major feel good moment. After losing the straps WWE made the mistake of splitting the IIconic team and they dwindled to the bottom of the women’s division on Raw and Smackdown. Eventually they would be released in 2021. After their 90 Day Non-Compete Clause ran out they announced they would be making the move to IMPACT Wrestling and debuting at the biggest event of the year Bound for Glory where they would challenge for the IMPACT Knockouts Tag Team Championship under the new name of The IInspiration. At Bound For Glory they defeated then champions Decay (Havok and Rosemary) and would go on to hold the titles twice and being the first and only female tag team to hold tag team championships in WWE and IMPACT Wrestling. On April 27th, 2022 The IInspiration announced that they would be stepping away from wrestlijng indefinitely and ending their run with IMPACT Wrestling.
Up next we have Rhea Ripley, or as my wife likes to call her, Whips & Chains due to her wrestling attire (Haha). Rhea Ripley is one of those talents that has been able to transform their character work over the years to refresh their character. Ripley is a former NXT UK Women’s Champion and the innaugural champion too, NXT Women’s Champion, WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion and a WWE RAW Women’s Champion. She has had memorable matches with the likes of Shayna Baszler, Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Io Shirai, Raquel Gonzalez and is currently feuding with Liv Morgan after turning on her and joining Edge and Damien Priest in the Judgement Day faction on RAW. Ripley already has amazing talent and the ability to transform her character in very subtle ways, it is still a mystery as to how her time alongside WWE Hall of Famer, Edge will affect her career but if Ripley has taught us anything is that she is able to take the ball and run with it.
While he had a very decent run in NXT I feel that we never really got to see Buddy’s potential until he started challenging for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship before winning it. I remember the reaction he got as the champion at Super Showdown in Australia, it was deafening! This guy showed how much talent he had, it was just a shame we didn’t get to fully see it in WWE on the main roster. He had a run alongside Seth Rollins during the Monday Night Messiah days as his Disciple but he fell into a love angle with Aaliyah Mysterio. Soon after he was released by WWE and eventually would show up in mysterious vignettes online. Soon enough Murphy would become All Elite and join Malakai Black and Brody King in the House of Black stable. In his time with the House of Black, Murphy has been regularly used on TV in matches and segments and has been locked into a feud with the Death Triangle, which he is set to face at AEW’s Biggest Event of the Year, Double or Nothing alongside his House of Black stable mates. It is evident to say that Buddy is truly continuing to hit his stride even outside of WWE.
Let’s just take a look at this guy’s accomplishments, which he has been able to accomplish in a 5 year span. IWGP United States Champion, NEVER Openweight Champion, IWGP Intercontinental Champion and IWGP Heavyweight Champion. That’s an already impressive list of accomplishments but when you add that he is the Fifth NJPW Triple Crown Champion and the First Ever NJPW Grand Slam Champion, you can see why he is so high on this list. Jay White has been a prominent member of the NJPW Roster for years now, he is the current leader of the Bullet Club and he has started appearing in IMPACT Wrestling and AEW since last year. With AEW and NJPW’s partnership announcement it will be interesting to see just how big a role he will play at Forbidden Door in June.
Indi Hartwell: I really enjoyed her work with Dexter Lumis, it was really sad to see him released and their pairing come to an end as they were really entertaining together. Opposites do attract. I really hope she can survive in a post-Dexter world on the NXT 2.0 Roster, only time will tell though. Here's hoping a former NXT Women's Tag Team Champion has a bright future ahead of her.
TMDK/TM-61: I really liked this team, they had an interesting look and style and the fact they were Aussies just made it all that much better for this Thunda King. They are former GHC Tag Team Champions with Pro Wrestling NOAH in Japan and they have a steady list of title reigns over here in the Great Southern Land.
And now, without further delay we finally get to my Number One Pick for my Favourite Australasian Wrestler!
Anyone that knows me knows that I am a big guy, the name Hev kinda gives it away, but those closest to me will also know that I like many different kinds of wrestlers but my all-time favourite ones are the wrestlers who do not fit that typical mould of what a wrestler should be. Growing up you had two types of wrestlers, big wrestlers and small wrestlers and they both moved in appropriate ways to their size more often than not. But then you got guys like Samoa Joe who flipped the script and were larger men who moved with flare and grace inside the ring and were able to do more than just your typical big man. JONAH/Bronson Reed is another one like that. He is a big bloke, but he doesn’t wrestle like your typical big bloke by any means. His run in NXT while short was eventful with his NXT North American Championship win. Outside of WWE he has held a slew of Australian Championships and he is only just getting started. Now he has had a run in IMPACT Wrestling, he is featuring in NJPW and he has even wrestled in this year’s PWG Battle for Los Angeles Tournament. The next place he truly calls home could very well be the place that sends him through the roof to super stardom. This is why he is my pick for Number One!... besides, Australians and Kiwi’s (New Zealanders) are kinda like natural enemies, so it would be very unjust to have had, say Jay White in the number one spot. If I did, I’d have to revoke my Thunda King status!
Well there you have it peeps, my Top Ten Australasian Wrestlers! I hope you have had as much fun reading this piece as I did writing it. It took me a bit of time to really nut it out and get it written, but I’m glad I took my time with it. This has been my first opinion piece in some time and to do it on wrestlers from a part of the world I am familiar with, well it was a real treat.
This is Hev signing off, say G’Day to your folks for me!