It’s being touted as the biggest event in New Zealand professional wrestling in 20 years. This Saturday, wrestling history will be made as the first annual NZPWI Invitational Tournament takes place at the Lynfield YMCA in Auckland.
The cream of New Zealand’s wrestling crop will feature in both the Invitational Tournament and the First Invite Eliminator, and hail from all three New Zealand promotions (IPW, KPW & NZWPW) as well as Australian promotion MIW.
In what promises to be an historical event, eight of New Zealand’s top wrestlers will compete for the title and trophy of NZPWI Invitational Grand Champion. The eight competitors will face off in quarterfinal matches to kick off the event.
Former IPW Champion Davey Deluxeo will lock up with MIW’s Sweet Ass, and though Deluxeo gives away a certain amount in weight, his cocky demeanour is undiminished. “I gotta say, I’ve had some pretty sweet ass before but this is crazy,” Deluxeo remarks. “I don’t care if you are one half of the MIW Tag Team Champions – your Mickey Mouse Championships don’t compare to the one and only IPW Championship and I held that sucker twice.” Sweet Ass is unconcerned, especially as he will have in his corner IPW’s Gary O Davis, manager of IPW star Vinny Dunn. “I’ve called in a favour with a good friend of mine, ‘The One’ Vinny Dunn,” he says. “You see, although my opponents at the Invitational are inferior, I never go into anything ill-prepared. Vinny and I have come to an arrangement which will see Gary O Davis in my corner.”
Also from MIW is Sweet Ass’s tag team partner, Cruz. Cruz will lock up with IPW Champion Jon E King in the quarterfinals, and is going into the battle with a score to settle. “Jon E King and I have faced each other on two occasions,” he recalls. “We are tied at one a piece. I’ve searched for and found my demons with Jon E King. I dealt with those demons. On August 12 at the NZPWI Invitational Tournament you and I, Jon E King, will open the gates of history and revisit a great battle. Time will decide who ends up as the real king.” The IPW Champion remembers his clashes with Cruz as well. “The last time I was in Australia I destroyed Cruz,” King declares. “So as far as I’m concerned, my reign of dominance has only just begun. Call the trophy place and have them inscribe my name into the thing now, and just in case you don’t know… that name is Jon… E… King!”
While King and Deluxeo contend with MIW, their fellow IPW star “Heartless” Alfred Valentine will lock up with Juice, hailing from Wellington promotion KPW. Though Valentine admits to knowing little about his opponent, he is unconcerned. “Juice, you have to start with me,” he warns. “Know that I will not let you breeze by, I will be ready and I will be bringing hell with me.” Juice clearly feels differently. “Alfred, you can’t touch me,” he says. “Not even you have enough passion to rejuice me to your level – get ready for the fight of your life, boy!”
Also hailing from the windy city, KPW star H-Flame goes into the quarterfinals against IPW’s Joey Kinkade – a young man who has been the centre of controversy in the last few months. Kinkade, formerly a crowd favourite, has recently been displaying outbursts of temper and declarations that the fans have turned against him. Going into the Invitational, Kinkade is looking to prove himself by going through H-Flame. “I can’t wait to shove it back in the fans’ faces,” Kinkade growls, “and H-Flame, I’ve only got one thing to say to you. No-one is above me! See you on Saturday!” The KPW star is dismissive, and guarantees victory on Saturday. “Good luck Kinkade,” he says. “Come August 12, we’ll see who burns.”
The eight entrants were invited by NZPWI Editor and Invitational promoter Dion McCracken to participate in a special edition of NZPWI’s popular column, Gimme Five. The “Invitational Gimme Five” will be published on NZPWI tonight, and includes some interesting responses from the Invitational competitors, so be sure to check it out.
Also lined up for the Invitational is an historical first—20 of the finest wrestlers from all three New Zealand promotions will, for the first time, face each other at the same time in the squared circle—in the First Invite Eliminator Battle Royal. 17 of them have been announced, and have given voice to their thoughts and intentions for the titanic clash. They prepare to face each other, but they also prepare to battle two mystery opponents, as well as a competitor drawn at random from those who did not advance from the Invitational quarterfinals. All 20 of them fight for the right to claim the First Invite to the 2007 NZPWI Invitational Tournament.
The NZPWI Invitational is the brainchild of NZPWI Editor Dion McCracken. “The idea is that the tournament has nothing to do with existing feuds within each of the competing promotions,” he says. “I wanted to promote an event that, very simply, is about the very best wrestlers competing to find out who is the top dog.” McCracken has himself worked like a dog and poured a great deal of his financial resources into the event to ensure its success. “We’re doing some pretty special things to make sure this is the greatest local production that kiwi fans have ever seen. When people walk in that door and see the setup, they’ll know this is something very unique and groundbreaking.”
After months of planning and hard work, the stage is now set to showcase what promises to be an historical event in New Zealand’s wrestling history. Ticket sales indicate that this will be the largest crowd for a New Zealand event since the days of On The Mat, but there are still some available from Vagabond Games in Queen Street, Auckland. Tournament organisers have also stated that there will be door sales at the venue from 5pm on Saturday.
Quite simply, this is an event not to be missed.
The NZPWI Invitational will be held on Saturday, August 12, at the Lynfield YMCA. Doors open at 6.15pm.