The Western Australian So Cal Connection isn’t the newest tag team appearing for M1Wrestling next weekend. Its been a phenomenon in our wrestling scene that hasn’t been replicated anywhere else in the World. As a Southern California native, when I think of Australians I typically think of Crocodile Dundee, Kangaroos, Koalas, or Outback Steakhouse. When someone mentions wrestling in Australia the feint sound of Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport fills my ears and I reflect on my fond memories of Outback Jack and his appearances for the World Wrestling Federation. However nearly 25 years have passed since Outback Jack and The Australian Wrestling Scene has grown leaps and bounds since then. Western Australia alone has a handful of promotions, but today I’m talking about Explosive Pro Wrestling. In the world of professional wrestling any influx of talent from one wrestling promotion to another is often referred to as an invasion. And the invasion of Southern California wrestling by Australians dates back to late 2005 and since the invasion 15 Australians have used the SoCal Wrestling Scene as a learning excursion and for a short while, called Southern California home.
The Western Australian Connection to SoCal all comes down to a meeting of Explosive Pro Wrestlers, Hartley Jackson (who is actually from Southern Australia) and Mikey Nichols and the NWA. NWA Pro Wrestling had started to gain a foothold in the Southern California wrestling scene with its ties to the World Famous Inoki Dojo. There the Inoki Dojo recruited talent from across the country and across the world. The talent was originally groomed for chances to appear in New Japan Pro Wrestling, which was exemplified by Bryan Danielson, TJ Perkins, Ricky Reyes, Rocky Romero, Tommy Williams, later by Fergal Devitt and Karl “the Machinegun” Anderson. Two wayward travelers, Jackson and Nichols came to the United States for an opportunity to be apart of the famous gym. Unfamiliarity of the local area kept the duo from reaching the dojo right away. It wasn’t until after a miraculous call by Hartley that guided the two to the Dojo. David Marquez remembers “I get a phone call from [fellow NWA Member] Ed Chuman. He tells me, he got a call from two Australians. I don’t even know how they got Chuman’s phone number.” I talked to Jackson and told him how to get to the Dojo. About six hours later and a lot of walking “Jag” and Nichols reach the dojo.” It wasn’t long after joining the ranks of the Dojo Elite, Hartley and Nichols propositioned NWA member and former Vice President of Inoki Sports Management North American Operations David Marquez, about business. At that point there was a meeting with EPW’s Manager Rick Sanders that a deal would be made to not only have EPW join the NWA, but also an open boarder for the Western Australians to work for the NWA in SoCal. Which at the time were strictly the Inoki Dojo Shows and later the Alternative Wrestling Show. A lot of the action from 2006 was filmed for internet only release, soon other Australians would join the Inoki Dojo and the NWA Pro Wrestling Family.
The duo of Jackson and Nichols would return to Western Australia at the end of May 2006, however Nichols would return in June and would bring with him Bobby Jo Marshall and Ferguson “Psychofett” Block but would return home shortly after. Then in November in 2006, AZ Vegara, Chris Vice would all join the Dojo with the returning Marshall. The initial relationship would bring a total of 6 Western Australians who would compete regularly for the Inoki Dojo, Alternative Wrestling Show, and the Empire Wrestling Federation.
2007 would start off with another influx of Perth wrestlers. Vegara and Marshall made their debuts for the NWA Wrestling Showcase. Marshall would also venture to Arizona for his first shot outside of the SoCal scene. Cameron Wallis would soon make his SoCal debut along with South Australian and EPW Wrestler Damian Slater both wrestling in AWS. Both Marshall and Wallis would appear on the NWA Feista Lucha DVD from Las Vegas, NV. Damian Slater would appear during the NWA Wrestling Summit Tour. Nichols would return to the states spending time in Arizona and SoCal and would later become the first Western Australian to win a championship belt in the States when he pinned Karl Anderson to win the EWF American Championship. Over the next two years the talent trade would continue. SoCal Native Jarek Matthews joined the EPW crew. And former EPW Heavyweight Champion won the Mach One Wrestling title, becoming the second EPW Wrestler to hold championship gold while in the states. As of now, no SoCal Championships have traveled to Western Australia, however the NWA Australian Championship was defended in SoCal when Jayson Cooper of NWA Pro Australia defeated Damien Slater at a SoCal Pro Wrestling Show.
Three years have past since the faithful day that brought Nichols and Hartley to the States and Australians continue to come to Southern California. The list of Western Australians wrestlers to venture to the states has grown to include Shane Haste, Alex Kingston, Dan Moore, Maricus Pitsonopolous, Kiel Steria, and Barry Schmidt. EPW talent would work for the NWA all over Southern California (SoCal Pro Wrestling, Mach 1 Wrestling, Alternative Wrestling Show, and Empire Wrestling Federation. But they didn’t just stop with NWA affiliated promotions, the Australians would work for New Wave Pro Wrestling, MWF Lucha Libre, and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. The Western Australians have benefited from the ample opportunities states side and are able to learn different styles to bring back to their country. SoCal benefits by having a dynamic influx of talent bring something a little different to the scene. So the next time you think of wrestling over here in the States, think of all the Australians who’ve impacted the SoCal Wrestling Scene and made it better. Because SoCal Fans have certainly come to appreciate the import of Australian wrestlers and I no longer think of Outback Jack or Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport…