Welcome to the NZPWI 20: The Definitive Ranking.
At NZPWI, we often get asked “who is the best professional wrestler in the country?”
So we got together an expert panel of NZPWI contributors along with current and former wrestlers from all over the country and came up with a ranking of New Zealand pro-wrestlers active in the New Zealand Scene for the 2006 calendar year, based on their ring skills.
This is indeed the definitive ranking for New Zealand professional wrestlers.
We present below, the NZPWI Twenty for 2006.
NZPWI Twenty (2006)
#1: “Heartless” Alfred Valentine (IPW)
Coming in at number one in the first ever NZPWI Twenty is Impact Pro Wrestling’s “Heartless” Alfred Valentine. Widely regarded as the best technical wrestler in the country (and as the franchise player of IPW), Valentine’s 450 Splash finisher and resiliency continue to wow live audiences.
Capturing the IPW Championship and the NZPWI Invitational Grand Championship in 2006, Valentine is without a doubt the most respected professional wrestler in the country amongst his peers.
With a genuine passion and incredible knowledge of the business, Valentine can achieve whatever he desires in this business if he puts his mind to it.
#2: “The Deal” Dal Knox (IPW)
Speaking of finishers, none comes close for sheer awe than the Knox Out of “The Deal” Dal Knox. Knox continues to go from strength to strength as a professional wrestler, with an exciting ring presence and move set that has really won New Zealand wrestling fans over – even after the Knox Out was “banned” in IPW.
Knox seems destined for great things in this industry and this hard worker (in fact, probably the hardest worker in the country) will do whatever he can to achieve them.
#3: “Double D” Davey Deluxeo (IPW)
The cocky three-time IPW Champion is very much a “student of the game”, continually studying his craft and growing as a ring technician. “Double D” Davey Deluxeo is a man who can work a crowd as well as anyone in the New Zealand scene and is quickly forging himself a place in the pro-wrestling history books.
And the great thing is, he’ll only continue to get better.
#4: Jon E King (IPW)
Very few men can boast such an incredible mixture of sheer power and graceful athleticism like Jon E King.
Recently capturing his third IPW Championship, King’s springboard moonsault is truly a move of beauty, but he’s far from a one trick Pony.
King’s mat work, vast array of holds and locks and thundering “fists and feet” offensive make him perhaps one of the most well rounded professional wrestlers in the country.
#5: Joey Kinkade (IPW)
A stunning series of matches with Davey Deluxeo earlier this year really showed the wrestling world just what Joey Kinkade can do.
One of the best workers this country has ever produced, Kinkade made the transition from fan-favourite to hated-heel in the blink of an eye this year. A man who truly understands the real art of professional wrestling as well as anyone, Kinkade’s solid ring work and ability to tell a story is a pleasure to watch.
#6: Cruz (MIW)
The first Australian-based Kiwi in the NZPWI Twenty, Cruz has been impressing crowds on the Gold Coast for almost a decade, but has only had the opportunity to wrestle in this country a couple of times.
His bout with Jon E King at the NZPWI Invitational, and his subsequent involvement in the First Invite Eliminator later that night really opened fans eyes to this hot property.
One of the quickest men in the ring, Cruz’s explosive offence and knowledge of the industry makes him one of our best ever exports.
#7: Jordan Invincible (IPW)
Teaming with someone like Davey Deluxeo would leave most wrestlers “in his shadow”, but not Jordan Invincible. The XS member’s athleticism and strong in-ring personality see him standing alongside his partner, not behind him.
Having the ability to pump up a crowd with a single look, Invincible’s vast array of offence includes the impressive dropsault, rolling double underhook suplex and a massive top rope moonsault.
Watch for Jordan Invincible to go from strength to strength in 2007.
#8: H-Flame (KPW)
The first Wellingtonian on the NZPWI Twenty, H-Flame made history in 2006 by becoming the first ever Kiwi Pro Wrestling Heavyweight Champion.
A three year pro who spent six months training in England, H-Flame’s “The Nuke” finisher (a sunset flip powerbomb) is one of the most impressive in the country.
But it is his all around game that really impresses his peers. At just 22 years of age, H-Flame has a very bright future in the industry.
#9: “Lyte Playa” Roger Ventura (IPW)
It’s hard to believe that at just 19 years of age, “Lyte Playa” Roger Ventura already has four years experience in professional wrestling.
Ventura is truly a student of the art, studying tapes of his work and constantly striving for improvement both in the ring, and with his physique.
Proving over and over again that he can hang with the big boys (capturing the IPW Championship at the tender age of 17), Ventura is one of New Zealand wrestling’s most loved athletes.
#10: The Machine (IPW)
Very few people can claim to live and breathe professional wrestling like The Machine.
Known for his hardcore style, the native of Levin has literally wrestled all over the world, and has brought that knowledge and experience back to New Zealand.
The single most intimidating wrestler in the country, opponents know that when they step into the ring with this man, they’re in for a fight. And fans know they’re in for one hell of a ride.
#11: “The One” Vinny Dunn
With arguably the best microphone skills in the country, “The One” Vinny Dunn has quickly grown from obscurity into one of the country’s most popular (and arrogant) bad guys.
Those mic skills mixed with a very impressive physique and power game sees fans often suggesting Dunn could be the most likely to achieve success in North America.
One thing is for sure – when Vinny Dunn is in the ring, fans respond.
#12: Sweet Ass (MIW)
One of the most experienced wrestlers in the New Zealand scene, Sweet Ass showed fans just what he could do at the NZPWI Invitational, going all the way to the Grand Championship Final before being defeated by HAV.
A classic heel, perhaps nobody else has the ability to get a crowd riled up as quickly as Sweet Ass – a fact that he is incredibly proud of.
#13: D-Hoya (NZWPW)
Great charisma and an impressive power game sees D-Hoya as the highest ranked NZWPW professional wrestler in the NZPWI 20.
This young stud has only been wrestling for three years, but has a ring presence far beyond his age and experience.
D-Hoya has a bright future in the industry, so long as the injuries that have plagued him in 2006 don’t restrict his progress or shorten his career.
#14: Jonnie Juice
The self proclaimed “King of Cool”, Jonnie Juice has quickly grown to become the top heel in the Wellington professional wrestling scene.
The fact that Rip Morgan and Kiwi Pro Wrestling management hand picked Juice as H-Flame’s opponent in the opening days of the company’s existence speaks volumes.
Juice continues to improve at every outing, and will quickly climb the ranks in the New Zealand industry.
#15: Alexander (IPW)
The sleeper of New Zealand professional wrestling, Alexander is the type of athlete who could take control of the industry if he so desired.
With massive intensity and charisma, Alexander’s power is incredibly impressive – possessing the best pure-power striking in the country.
His recent run-ins with Smack Industry partner Jon E King may prove to be the catalyst that sees Alexander rise to the very top.
#16: The Economist (IPW)
Carving out his own style of wrestling, The Economist is one of the most physical professional wrestlers this country has ever produced.
A student of the Japanese hard style of wrestling, the self proclaimed “King of Fighters” has brought a welcome element of “old school” back to the New Zealand scene.
The Economist is also one of the most entertaining performers on the circuit, with his comedic wit often leaving fans in tears.
#17: Link van Haggard (IPW)
Without a doubt, Link van Haggard is the very best high flier in the country. His “Bullet the Blue Sky” finisher (a corkscrew senton) is tremendous to witness and much of his offence seems to defy gravity.
But van Haggard is much more than just a spotfest-junkie. A well rounded athlete who can mat wrestle with the best of him, one can’t help but feel that with a stronger presence, van Haggard could easily go all the way to the top of the New Zealand industry – and beyond.
#18: “Silencer” Jean Miracle (NZWPW)
One of the country’s most experienced wrestlers, “Silencer” Jean Miracle really made a name for himself nationally when, in the closing moments of the NZPWI Invitational’s First Invite Eliminator, he outsmarted “The Deal” Dal Knox, showing he can keep pace alongside the best in the nation.
Miracle’s combination of in-ring skill and raw radiating charisma on the microphone set him apart from anyone else in NZWPW.
#19: The Ram (KPW)
New Zealand’s only Indian wrestling star currently active in New Zealand, The Ram has made a name for himself as one of the most technically sound wrestlers on the scene. While the “King of Bling” may have the flash and pizazz of a Bollywood star he has proven time and time again he can back it up in the ring.
The Punjabi Pain Mongerer has earned his reputation with a variety of brutal trademark moves at his disposal. He could very well be one of the most dangerous competitors in New Zealand.
#20: Creed (KPW)
One of the most underrated stars in New Zealand today, Creed has been constantly flying just under the radar of the Wellington scene for many years.
With a strong Karate background to back up his breathtaking technical skills, Creed is a competitor not to be taken lightly. His scissors kick finisher is one of the most solid in New Zealand, but he has proven in the past he can take to the sky with moves such as the impressive double corkscrew elbow drop.