Welcome to the NZPWI 10 for 2012!
Once again we’ve studied the tapes and have come up with what we believe are the top 10 professional wrestlers in New Zealand! The NZPWI 10 seeks to provide a definitive ranking of those who:
- are a New Zealand citizen or of New Zealand descent
- have had a minimum of five matches in New Zealand over the calendar year
We also present the NZPWI Female Five – a ranking of the very best female workers in the country!
The below ratings are not officially sanctioned or recognised by any New Zealand promotion; they are the opinions of NZPWI.co.nz.
NZPWI 10 (2012)
#1. Travis Banks (IPW)
Travis Banks has gone from strength to strength over the course of the year and tops the NZPWI 10 for 2012.
Banks claimed the Armageddon Cup on his return to Wellington in the first half of the year, and would later defeat long-time rival Rufguts at NZWPW’s Power Play. Back in Auckland, Banks wrestled match of the year contenders with Brian Saint James and Liam Fury, as well as representing IPW against Sydney’s Brian Seeker.
Whether outwrestling his opponents on the mat or risking his own safety to wow the crowd with highflying dives, it isn’t hard to see why Banks is a perennial fan-favourite – a claim he can now back up with back-to-back “Best Wrestler” wins in the NZPWI People’s Choice Awards.
Banks’ skill and technique also earned him some international attention, and the Peak of Perfection was selected to begin a three-month stay at the Pro Wrestling Zero1 dojo in Tokyo, Japan to close out the year.
#2. Kingi (IPW)
After capturing the IPW New Zealand Heavyweight Championship for a fourth time, Kingi dominated the Auckland wrestling scene in 2012, defending his title successfully against everybody put in his path.
His feud with “The Samoan Silverback” Alexander culminated in a brutal ladder match at IPW Collision Course, before the reigning champ’s appetite for international success led Kingi to return to the United States as one half of The Iwi, representing New Zealand across North America.
Upon his return to New Zealand, Kingi survived another Fans Bring the Weapons match at Nightmare B4 Xmas to end the year still holding the IPW Championship.
After a decade at the top, Kingi continues to be the measuring stick for New Zealand wrestlers and a true staple of the New Zealand wrestling scene.
#3. “The Deal” Dal Knox (IPW)
“The Deal” Dal Knox has proved time and time again he is one of the absolute best in New Zealand wrestling, with 2012 being no exception.
Knox began the year as IPW Tag Team Champions with Dave O’Connor on Maori TV’s Mana Mamau before losing the belts and feuding with his former partner over Commissioner Dion McCracken’s attention, proving to be as entertaining outside of the ring as between the ropes.
With a skillset unsurpassed no matter his position on the card it’s no wonder Knox continues to enthral crowds around the country – thanks in part to his spectacular Knox Out signature move – and is one of the highlights of any show he’s featured on.
#4. Liam Fury (IPW)
One of New Zealand’s most popular wrestlers, Liam Fury continued to perfect his craft in 2012, giving IPW fans his all each and every time he stepped in the ring.
Fury’s escalating feud with Brian Saint James and Travis Banks culminated in a match of the year contender at Collision Course in May. The former ninja pushed for the IPW Championship at Fallout with a show-stealing performance in the Gold Rush match. Toward the end of 2012, Fury also branched out into Australia, competing on Zero1’s Interstate Warfare event.
Whether wrestling in the opening match or the main event, Fury’s unique blend of highflying and fighting spirit captivate crowds all over New Zealand, making him one of the country’s must-see wrestlers.
#5. Dave O’Connor (IPW)
A veteran of the modern New Zealand wrestling scene, Dave O’Connor began the year holding tag team gold with often dysfunctional partner Dal Knox.
After losing the titles, O’Connor’s relationship with Knox took a downturn as both men fought for the attention of IPW Commissioner Dion McCracken. The two argued over who was the rightful captain of McCracken’s Rival Turf team, which ultimately led to a breakup and singles bout at Nightmare B4 Xmas to close out the year.
O’Connor also notably wrestled alongside Zero1 Australia’s Damian Slater and Hartley Jackson at Fallout, taking Taylor Adams, TJ Rocket and Travis Banks to a match of the year contender.
Whether putting younger competitors through their paces or going toe-to-toe with the likes of Dal Knox, O’Connor uses his wealth of experience to bring out the best in his opponents and will surely continue to do so in 2013.
#6. James Shaw (IPW & NZWPW)
One to Watch from 2011, James Shaw makes good on his status and comes in at #6 on 2012’s NZPWI 10.
Shaw holds the record for the most matches wrestled in New Zealand over the course of the year and can be seen at almost every IPW and NZWPW show.
Splitting his time between the two promotions caused Shaw to develop a split personality of sorts in the tail-end of 2012, delighting fans in the Auckland area while terrorising Wellington scene crowds in his pursuit of the NZWPW Championship, becoming one of the country’s most diverse characters in the process.
Heralded by Bushwhacker Luke as one of the future stars of New Zealand wrestling, Shaw’s experience and dedication to his craft make him one of the standout performers of 2012, and will continue to do so in 2013.
#7. Johnny Idol (NZWPW)
Johnny Idol began 2012 with a tag team title around his waist and ended the year as the NZWPW Champion.
Part of the always-entertaining Project Mayhem, Idol has gone from strength to strength in the ring (whether it be an IPW, KPW, NZWPW or SCW ring) and has the gold to prove it.
A young veteran of the constantly changing NZWPW locker-room, Idol can be relied on to deliver quality matches with a multitude of opponents from around the country time and time again, whether competing in singles or tag team action.
If he continues at the pace he set in 2012, 2013 looks set to be the champ’s biggest year yet.
#8. “Te Tahi” Vinny Dunn (IPW)
One of New Zealand’s best-known wrestlers of the last decade, former three-time IPW Champion “Te Tahi” Vinny Dunn hung up his boots in November of 2012.
Wrestling amongst an extremely competitive roster, Dunn stood out with a heel turn at the start of 2012, forming Team Charisma with giants Dominic Le Fauce and NZWPW’s Tykade. The trio ran rampant and reignited a feud with Te Tahi’s nemesis, Reuben de Jong, in the middle of the year.
Due to a string of mishaps the “super yacht” finally struck an iceberg and the short-lived stable sank, leading to Dunn’s retirement after a bout with Jordan Invincible.
Love him or hate him, “Te Tahi” Vinny Dunn was one of the country’s most experienced wrestlers and arguably the most charismatic showman in New Zealand.
#9. Jordan Invincible (IPW)
No matter his position on the card, Jordan Invincible can always be counted on to deliver when the bell sounds.
Invincible kept a somewhat low profile at the beginning of the year, mixing things up with a handful of stipulation matches, whether they be handicap bouts against Fro Fitness or his famous “No Rules, No Worries” anything goes brawls.
Jordan then joined IPW Champion Kingi on a tour to the United States, wrestling as Kaha in The Iwi for OVW and competing against Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez in a TNA dark match. Back home, Invincible stepped up and concluded his year when he defeated “Te Tahi” Vinny Dunn in Dunn’s retirement bout with IPW in November.
#10. Jakob Cross (NZWPW)
Jakob Cross rounds out the NZPWI 10 for 2012 after one of the most significant years of anyone in the New Zealand wrestling scene.
The Beast of the British Isles began the year in pursuit of the He Toa Cup – a title he would win and hold until December – before finding himself in the NZWPW Power Play IX main event, as well as wrestling match of the year contenders with the likes of Liam Fury, Johnny Idol and Travis Banks.
Cross abandoned his NZWPW Championship aspirations as the year progressed to wrestle Bushwhacker Luke in what would be Luke’s only singles match in New Zealand.
His appearances in NZWPW, as well as IPW, KPW and SCW, mean Cross may not be well-liked but he is definitely well-known, and is sure to make an impact wherever he turns up in 2013.
One to Watch: Brother T (IPW)
Whether he’s stealing your car or stealing the show, Brother T has gone from just another member of the IPW roster to one of its MVPs.
Brother T and his older brother, Lil T, spent most of 2012 seeking the IPW Tag Team Championships. During their quest, the pair wrestled a match of the year contender 828 Street Fight with NEO Justice Double and ultimately took the titles at December’s Nightmare B4 Xmas.
Not bound by gravity, Brother T’s arsenal of corkscrews and unique offense – not to mention all that swag – makes him one of the most captivating members of the IPW roster.
One to Watch: Charlie Roberts (KPW)
2012 was a breakout year for Charlie Roberts. The KPW A-lister began the year with a battle royal win in Tauranga which would earn him a shot at a KPW Championship of his choice, and closed out 2012 standing across the ring from New Zealand wrestling legend Bushwhacker Luke.
Between those accomplishments, Roberts branched out from KPW and appeared in Auckland for Maniacs United’s debut show, as well as appearing in a battle royal for a He Toa Cup shot with NZWPW in November.
His willingness to wrestle anywhere and everywhere bodes well for Roberts’ future in 2013. With more matches under his belt watch for Roberts – and his tag team partner Steve Jordan – to put the New Zealand wrestling scene on notice.
One to Watch: Taylor Adams (NZWPW)
Taylor Adams broke out of his shell in 2012, transforming from the man formerly known as Kid Mystique into one of the hottest prospects in Wellington wrestling.
With Mikey Rave (2011’s One to Watch) by his side, Adams chased after Project Mayhem and the NZWPW Tag Team Championships, finally claiming the titles in an emotional victory at Newtown Knockout.
Unfortunate circumstances led to Rave’s departure from NZWPW later in the year and forced The Lost Boys to vacate their belts, but Adams proved he was more than capable of thriving on his own when he ventured to Auckland to take part in a Zero1 showcase bout.
This tag team competitor looks set to finally go it alone and break out as a singles star when he returns to NZWPW in 2013.
Female Five (2012)
#1. Evie (IPW)
After the year the IPW Women’s Champion has had, it’s no wonder Evie tops the Female Five for the second time in a row.
The ultra-popular Evie took on all comers – male or female – over the course of 2012, mainly clashing with Britenay and Megan-Kate in the build-up to an IPW Women’s Championship match at Destiny. Evie made history when she overcame both women to become the first titleholder, and continued to defend her title through to the end of the year.
With the PWWA Championship also around her waist and appearances scheduled with SHIMMER in the United States, Evie shows no signs of slowing down as she looks to make 2013 her year yet again.
#2. Megan-Kate (IPW)
2012 saw former BFF member Megan-Kate undergo an evolution of sorts. Stepping out of Evie’s shadow, Megan-Kate terminated their friendship at Fallout, nailing the IPW Women’s Champion with her trademark baseball bat.
Megan-Kate continued to flourish inside the squared circle as her mean-streak became evident. Armed with a destructive moveset and a calculating, manipulative personality, Megan-Kate exploited every opportunity available to her in the second half of 2012, culminating in a bat on a pole match with Evie at Nightmare B4 Xmas.
Megan-Kate’s evolution from innocent eye candy to the most dangerous woman in New Zealand wrestling paints an interesting picture for 2013. If she keeps swinging for the fences it’s only a matter of time before she hits a home run, possibly at Evie’s expense.
#3. Britenay (IPW)
A master of deception and cheating, Britenay played all her cards in attempt to become the first ever IPW Women’s Champion throughout 2012.
Obsessed with becoming the first titleholder, Britenay embarked on a campaign to screw Megan-Kate out of the title tournament, controversially defeating her at IPW Collision Course. Prior to Megan-Kate’s change of attitude, Britenay pushed the former BFF to her limits in a series of one-on-one matches, proving she is still one of the toughest women in the country. Britenay’s feud with Megan-Kate came to a conclusion at Destiny after the triple threat women’s title bout also featuring Evie.
Despite failing to collect the IPW Women’s Championship and the departure of “Handsome” Danny Jacobs at Nightmare B4 Xmas, Britenay continues to be the brick wall you have to break through before ascending to the top of the ladder in the IPW women’s division.
#4. Misty (NZWPW)
Whether she’s running the Wellington scene’s rookies through their paces or she’s in the ring with an equally experienced opponent, Misty can be relied upon to have a good match with almost anyone.
One of NZWPW’s longest serving competitors – male or female – Misty began the year showing rookie wrestlers Lolli Lane and Scarlett the ropes.
At Ngaio Evolution she had a chance to prove herself against Evie in a highly-competitive, show-stealing bout. Misty was also invited to take part in New Zealand’s first women’s championship match at KPW Mayhem.
A broken neck, sustained outside the ring, left Misty watching the action from the side-lines in the second half of 2012 but her return to the ring for 2013 should put all Wellington’s female wrestlers on notice.
#5. Olivia Shaw (IPW)
As she progressed from cheering on her brother at ringside to ultimately getting in the ring herself, Olivia Shaw’s popularity skyrocketed over the course of 2012.
Olivia utilises all the skills she has inherited from James Shaw when she steps in the ring, and managed to hold her own against Evie despite a massive difference in experience when the two met as part of the IPW Women’s Championship tournament.
While still a relative newcomer to New Zealand wrestling, if she is anything like her brother Olivia looks set for a very bright future.
One to Watch: Scarlett (KPW & NZWPW)
Scarlett gets around Wellington’s promotions. Chances are, if you’ve seen a women’s match in the lower North Island, she was involved.
In her rookie year, Scarlett started off clashing with Lolli Lane again and again in NZWPW but soon progressed to be part of a battle royal for the KPW Women’s Championship and even challenged champ Nurse Payne (2011’s One to Watch) one-on-one for the title when she became a regular part of the KPW roster.
While she continues to hone her in-ring skill and rack up matches, Scarlett can only get better as 2013 rolls on.