Welcome to the NZPWI 10 for 2009!
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 5 matches in New Zealand over the calendar year
This year we also introduce the Ones to Watch – young New Zealand wrestlers who we believe may dominate the NZPWI 10 in the years to come.
The below ratings are not officially sanctioned or recognised by any New Zealand promotion; they are the opinions of NZPWI.co.nz.
NZPWI 10 (2009)
#1: “The One” Vinny Dunn (IPW)
He began the year on the fringe of the IPW championship scene, honing his craft and biding his time until opportunity knocked. He ended it as the IPW NZ Heavyweight Champion – 2009 is the year Vinny Dunn really became “The One”.
Arguably the most popular wrestler in the country, Dunn’s ascendancy to the top spot in IPW is mirrored by his rise to the top spot in the NZPWI 10. With defining moment after defining moment in 2009 including a stunning “Fans Bring the Weapons” victory to take the championship, Dunn, who is now seconded by NZ great Peter Lane, seems destined for a massive 2010 and beyond.
#2: Davey Deluxeo (IPW)
As the modern era of the NZ scene moves into its tenth year, Davey Deluxeo has become a fully-fledged ring general respected by local and international stars alike. Perhaps the most consistent performer of the decade – he made his debut in 2000 – his veteran status and knowledge of wrestling as a performance delivered him a solid 2009 where he remained in the spotlight throughout.
Deluxeo is a multi-time IPW Champion, but has not tasted gold for some time. At present he is involved heavily with the expanded Xtreme Superstars faction, but perhaps in 2010 he will chase honours yet again.
#3: “The Deal” Dal Knox (IPW)
A year of highs and lows keeps “The Deal” Dal Knox from occupying the top spot in the NZPWI 10. Injuries have kept him out of the ring but not out of the public mindset, because in 2009 Knox earned a notable individual honour.
“The Deal” was listed in the PWI 500, an annual run-down of the best wrestlers in the world. His 326th placing put him near King V, who had just ended his stint in WWE, and Shark Boy of TNA.
Featuring in the 20/20 documentary special in late 2009, Knox became the poster boy for New Zealand professional wrestling, and will hopefully be returning to the ring sooner rather than later.
#4: Joseph Kinkade (IPW)
There is no better practitioner of the grappling arts than “The Professional” Joseph Kinkade, who was for most of 2009 a dominant and uncompromising IPW Champion.
Fittingly, his title reign was ended at Fans Bring The Weapons. The Kinkade of old would have thrived in the environment but his dedication to the old style put him out of his element.
Kinkade is a canny team player – perhaps better than anyone else in IPW at using his manager and his partner to his advantage.
#5: Jon E King (IPW)
It was a relatively quiet year for the fifth placegetter in our list, but when that man is Jon E King, we must underscore the word “relatively”. King is still arguably the most gifted wrestler in the New Zealand scene and one of the most decorated in the modern era.
He pursued opponents and opportunities not directly related to IPW honours, but for his own means. This made him a threat to anyone in the company, not just the man with the gold. It remains to be seen if King will look to shower himself in glory in the coming year.
#6: Alfred Valentine (IPW)
Another wrestler who had a “relatively” quiet year is former IPW Champion Alfred Valentine. He spent much of 2009 involved with his faction, the Ex-Patriots, and generally being a thorn in the side of whomever he chose to torment.
Most notably, Valentine cost “The Deal” Dal Knox the IPW NZ Heavyweight Championship – albeit by involving Knox’s five-year-old daughter and not with the former “Heartless” one’s own wrestling ability!
Nonetheless Valentine remains, for all his ill behaviour, one of the most respected wrestlers in New Zealand. Perhaps proving that when you’re as good as he is, you can afford to throw your weight around.
#7: H-Flame (KPW)
KPW’s franchise player, H-Flame, makes it to the NZPWI 10 for the fourth year running as the first of our Wellington-based wrestlers, holding onto the #7 spot from 2008.
H-Flame is instantly recognisable as the face of KPW, having represented the promotion as its champion for most of 2009, including on their television show, Off the Ropes. H-Flame remained undefeated for much of 2009, taking on all challengers before losing the KPW Championship in tainted fashion at the end of the year.
His combination of good looks and impressive moves such as the H-Bomb and the Nuke make H-Flame stand-out performer at KPW shows, whatever match he’s involved in. Look for H-Flame to go after the KPW Championship in 2010 in an attempt to become a two-time champion.
#8: Jordan Invincible (IPW)
Jordan Invincible is one of the most consistent all-rounders in New Zealand wrestling. Moving somewhat to the periphery of the Xtreme Superstars since the faction welcomed Dils Deluxeo, Invincible has been free to establish his own identity within the group.
A monster in the ring and on the stick, Jordan Invincible had a solid 2009 and perhaps even gained some respect for his newfound individualism. While he and Davey Deluxeo will always be inextricably linked, the chance to see Jordan stand on his own two feet was refreshing.
#9 Jonnie Juice (KPW)
He mightn’t have managed to win the KPW Championship in 2009, but Jonnie Juice certainly won the respect of the fans. Juice set a high standard for himself over the course of 2009 which sees him return to the NZPWI 10 for the first time since 2006.
Fans mightn’t like the man, but they can’t help but be impressed by what Juice can do in the ring. His fluid style sets Juice apart from his peers, capable of having a good match with just about anyone – as he demonstrated over 2009 when wrestling in various singles, tag and even title matches.
Whether he’s brawling, flying, grappling or just antagonising the crowd with his manager, Queen Hollie, KPW fans won’t soon forget seeing Jonnie Juice in action.
#10: Rufguts (NZWPW)
Rounding out the NZPWI 10 for 2009 is the reigning NZWPW Champion, Rufguts. The former rubbish man really stood out from the crowd and quickly became NZWPW’s MVP for 2009, being called upon to wrestle Chris Masters at Power Play 6, chasing the tag team titles and eventually claiming the big one at Movember.
Showing remarkable speed and agility for a man of his size, Rufguts is an unpredictable and exciting wrestler. Mixing up his moveset, Rufguts can alternate between finishing opponents with a high-impact Michinoku Driver or making them tap out to the Clap Trap.
If he continues to wrestle at the standard he set in 2009, expect Rufguts to hold onto the NZWPW Championship long into 2010.
One to Watch: Brian St James (IPW)
It’s hard to believe that Brian St James was a chubby kid sitting in the front row of Impact Pro Wrestling events just a few short years ago. St James hit the gym, trained hard, and is now one of the most promising young prospects in New Zealand professional wrestling.
Currently honing his craft while tagging with partner Curt Chaos, you’d think it’ll be just a matter of time before St James looks at branching out into a successful singles career.
With a genuine yearning to improve at every outing, and a bonafide mean streak, St James seems destined for glory in the New Zealand Scene.
One to Watch: Jade Diamond (KPW)
A real up-and-comer on the KPW roster, “Powerhouse” Jade Diamond has been involved in several match of the year contenders throughout 2009.
Jade’s impressive physique instantly sets him apart from most New Zealand wrestlers, but he’s shown he’s more than capable of backing it up in the ring too, with surprisingly agility for a man of his size.
Diamond’s potential is virtually limitless – be prepared for him to take his career to new heights in 2010.
One to Watch: Travis Banks (NZWPW)
Travis Banks has seemingly done it all in NZWPW, wrestling for the Right 2 Challenge, main eventing one of its marquee shows and winning the NZWPW Tag Team Championships with partner JC Star all in his rookie year.
Blending strong-style moves with a sound technical base, it’s not hard to see why Travis’ fans refer to him as “The Peak of Perfection”.
If he continues to wrestle at the same pace he set in 2009, look for Banks to crack the NZPWI 10 for 2010.