Welcome to the NZPWI 10 for 2011!
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
This year also marks the second time we 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 (2011)
#1. “The Deal” Dal Knox (IPW)
For the second time, “The Deal” Dal Knox tops the NZPWI 10. Since taking out the #1 spot in 2008, Knox has consistently ranked high on the list, and 2011 sees him claim the top spot once again.
Formerly a crowd favourite, Knox has proven he can work just as effectively as a heel, spending the majority of 2011 snubbing the fans whilst retaining the IPW NZ Heavyweight Championship. Aligning himself with IPW Commissioner Dion McCracken and Dave O’Connor, Knox locked horns with “Te Tahi” Vinny Dunn, Liam Fury and Travis Banks during the course of the year. He and O’Connor captured the IPW Tag Team Championship in a victory over Smack Industries, making Knox the first wrestler ever to hold the tag team and singles titles simultaneously.
Love him or hate him, Knox continues to prove why he is the benchmark in New Zealand, selling out shows all over the country and consistently performing to his highest ability.
#2. “Te Tahi” Vinny Dunn (IPW)
There is no denying that the intensity and charisma that “Te Tahi” Vinny Dunn brings to the ring is what makes the former three time champion one of the biggest stars in New Zealand.
Dunn kicked off 2011 as the IPW Heavyweight Champion, continuing his epic feud with “The Deal” Dal Knox and IPW Commissioner Dion McCracken. Following the loss of the championship to Knox at Genesis, Dunn teamed up with Kingi and “Mr 100%” Gary O. Davis and headed overseas. Known as “The Iwi”, Dunn and Kingi toured the USA and Canada, showcasing their talent before North American audiences, including Ohio Valley Wrestling in Louisville.
Back home Dunn’s star power helped make IPW’s television show, Mana Mamau, become a hit for Maori TV as he feuded against “The Deal” Dal Knox and other stars of IPW.
Vinny Dunn’s popularity, intensity and charisma ensure he is a central figure in IPW and one of the most recognisable in New Zealand wrestling.
#3. Travis Banks (IPW & NZWPW)
It is doubtful that anyone in the modern era of New Zealand wrestling has made as much of an impact in one year than “The Peak of Perfection” Travis Banks.
Banks kicked 2011 off still a member of Wellington’s New Zealand Wide Pro Wrestling, winning the coveted “Eliminator” match at IPW Genesis in March, to earn himself a shot at the IPW Heavyweight Championship. Banks’ war against the then-NZWPW Heavyweight Champion, Rufguts, finally culminated in his hometown of Bulls in April before becoming the hottest free agent in the country.
Banks challenged “The Deal” Dal Knox for his IPW Heavyweight Championship at Rival Turf in a triple threat. The outcome saw Banks sign a contract with IPW as the show came to a close. After a successful debut on Mana Mamau and topping 2011 off in the annual Fans Bring the Weapons match at Nightmare B4 Xmas, Travis Banks continues to be one of IPW’s most popular stars due to his intense mixture of technical and strong styles.
#4. Dave O’Connor (IPW)
The former three-time IPW Heavyweight Champion returned to singles competition in 2011 with a new look, new attitude and a new name. After attending Team 3D’s wrestling academy in Florida, Dave O’Connor broke back into the New Zealand scene on an episode of Mana Mamau. O’Connor aligned himself with IPW Commissioner, Dion McCracken, and “The Deal” Dal Knox to create one of the most hated and experienced tag teams in New Zealand, eventually claiming victory over Smack Industries to become new IPW Tag Team Champions.
O’Connor’s unwavering ability to work on both sides of the fans’ affections, as well as walking a tightrope in between, is testament to his versatility and skill. He is without a doubt one of the most experienced performers in New Zealand, and under tutelage from some of the industry’s biggest names, Dave O’Connor continues to excel inside the squared circle, displaying the many crafts of wrestling he has learned from around the globe.
#5. Liam Fury (IPW)
2011 sees Liam Fury debut on the NZPWI 10, after being “One To Watch” in 2010.
Arguably one of IPW’s most exciting stars, Liam Fury has rubbed shoulders with some of NZ’s biggest names in 2011, wrestling in high profile matches against “The Deal” Dal Knox, Dave O’Connor and Travis Banks.
Fury’s successful year began after winning the coveted Armageddon Cup in April. He went on to wrestle in some of the biggest matches of year, such as the IPW Heavyweight Championship match at Rival Turf and the Fans Bring the Weapons match at Nightmare B4 Xmas.
In one of the year’s hottest feuds, Liam Fury met Travis Banks in the Armageddon Cup finals in October, defeating his adversary to become a two-time Armageddon Cup Champion.
Fury brings a mixture of many styles to IPW, making him one of the company’s most diverse stars. Blending a combination of high-risk, high-flying, submission and strong styles, Liam Fury continues to cement himself as a crowd favourite.
#6. Kingi (IPW)
The former Jon E. King evolved into Kingi over 2011, and as he has done every year since its inception, claims a spot on the NZPWI 10.
Kingi’s popularity began to soar after Saint Chaos turned against their former mentor in early 2011, after which Kingi reignited his friendship with “The Samoan Silverback” Alexander and reformed Smack Industries. Sporting his trademark dreadlocks once again, Kingi embarked on a tour as one half of “The Iwi” with “Te Tahi” Vinny Dunn and “Mr 100%” Gary O. Davis, wrestling across the USA and Canada.
Upon returning to New Zealand, Kingi continued to compete in the tag team division with “The Samoan Silverback” Alexander, feuding with Saint Chaos, and Dave O’Connor and Dal Knox on Mana Mamau before capturing the IPW Tag Team Championships for the first time in his career.
Adding a mixture of American styles to his already diverse inventory of skills inside the ring as well as gaining popularity where ever he roams, Kingi remains one of NZ’s most skilled and versatile performers.
#7. Alexander (IPW)
The King of the concrete jungle, Alexander, had his first taste of championship gold in 2011, capturing the IPW Tag Team Championship with his long time partner Kingi.
With a new, more ruthless attitude, “The Samoan Silverback” Alexander demolished his opponents in 2011 in a quest to become the IPW Heavyweight Champion. In December Alexander came close to realising his goal, forcing “The Deal” Dal Knox to pull out every stop to defeat him in the Fans Bring The Weapons match at Nightmare B4 Xmas.
Alexander’s campaign to become champion reached new levels of intensity in 2011, one that would see him achieve his goal in January 2012. As he kicks off the new year, this veteran of IPW looks set to solidify his spot as one of the most powerful and brutal performers in New Zealand.
#8. “Rufguts” Roddy Gunn (NZWPW)
When it comes to picking the franchise player of NZWPW, you can’t look past “Rufguts” Roddy Gunn.
A mainstay on the NZWPW roster, Rufguts took his career to new heights in 2011. A name-change saw Gunn through a lengthy reign with the NZWPW Championship, followed by a tag team title run as well. To cap it all off, perhaps Rufguts’ best year in the business turned out to be his last, when he lost a retirement match to D-Hoya at The Final Countdown in December.
In a massive showcase of their respect for him, wrestlers and NZWPW fans alike gave Rufguts a standing ovation as the beaten and bloodied man left the ring for the last time. He mightn’t be back for 2012, but Rufguts has certainly left his mark on 2011.
#9. Jordan Invincible (IPW)
Jordan Invincible is the master of the No Rules, No Worries match and one of the toughest men in New Zealand wrestling.
Invincible continued to capture fans both on nationwide television and live shows as one of the innovators of New Zealand wrestling and one of its veterans.
He lived up to the name “Invincible”, destroying stars such as Justin Decent, James Shaw and Pat Schisk in his trademark match, and continued to make his mark throughout 2011 on Mana Mamau, supported by his army of Invincibros.
Perhaps the greatest “smack talker” in New Zealand wrestling, Invincible looks set for a big 2012.
#10. Alfred Valentine (IPW)
Alfred Valentine is without a doubt one of the most experienced and respected veterans of New Zealand wrestling.
Although handicapped by a broken hand for some of 2011, Valentine nevertheless continued to show his true skills as one of the country’s best, feuding with “Te Tahi” Vinny Dunn on and off the screen. He also continued to make his presence felt while mentoring Dominic Le Fauce, passing his years of experience on to the rising star.
As his hot feud with “Te Tahi” continues to burn, Valentine looks to have a big 2012 ahead of him.
One to Watch: James Shaw (IPW)
Who would have thought that James Shaw was once the Russian sidekick of Joseph Kinkade?
2011 marked the year that James Shaw finally made his mark on the New Zealand scene. Evolving, into a crazed, psychotic and eccentric character, Shaw hasn’t restricted his allegiance to IPW but has extended his talent to NZWPW’s Project Mayhem as well. Best known for his use of the Green Mist, Shaw also captured the NZWPW Tag Team Championship with Johnny Idol in the closing months of 2011. Shaw proved in 2011 that he is equipped with all the tools inside the ring and out to be one of the country’s hottest prospects for the future.
One to Watch: Mikey Rave (NZWPW)
Whether tagging with Taylor Adams or out on his own, Mikey Rave is one of the most loved members of the NZWPW roster.
Ever since a trip to Australia in 2010, Rave has been fine-tuning his game every time he steps in the ring, with 2011 being no exception. Mikey wrestled a match of the year contender against “Rufguts” Roddy Gunn, and almost stole the show when he teamed up with D-Hoya and JC Star to take on Project Mayhem in six-man action.
If 2012 turns out anything like 2011, look for Mikey Rave to be a driving force behind NZWPW.
One to Watch: Wild Willz (KPW)
Wild Willz burst onto the KPW scene in 2011 and immediately began turning heads. Not just due to his distinctive appearance, but mainly his combination of speed and skill well beyond his level of experience.
A series of matches with Charlie Roberts proved Willz had the skills to hang with much more experienced opponents, and all with the fans firmly on his side.
Wild Willz could easily become the next big thing in KPW, with a few more matches under his belt in 2012.
Female Five (2011)
#1. Evie (IPW)
If anyone has had a breakout year, it’s Evie. Coming in at #3 on the 2010 NZPWI Female Five, Evie claims the top spot for 2011.
In a year that has seen her take on her male counterparts, one of her greatest moments was competing in the Capture The Flag match at Rival Turf. Not only did she tough it out after a great deal of physical punishment, she led the IPW team to victory when she captured the flag.
Evie’s talents have also been showcased overseas, competing for PWWA and picking up a win over international sensation Kellie Skater. Her skills and ability were recognised by the acclaimed website Diva-Dirt.com, who listed her as one of their “five to watch” on the international scene.
Evie’s versatile style and charisma, together with her outstanding physical abilities, were also recognised when she dominated in the 2011 NZPWI People’s Choice awards, cementing her popularity with fans nationwide.
#2. Britenay (IPW)
Arguably one of the toughest women in the country, Britenay takes out the #2 spot on the Female Five for 2011.
2011 saw the mean-streaked vixen undergo a major transformation, appearing more glamorous than ever before, whilst still retaining her reputation as one of the most brutal competitors in the women’s division.
Britenay’s skills and abilities were pitted against her old rivals, Evie and Megan-Kate (the BFF), culminating in arguably the greatest female match to ever take place on New Zealand soil: a Falls Count Anywhere triple threat pitting the BFF against herself at Nightmare B4 Xmas. Britenay unleashed a vicious attack on the fan favourites, pushing the BFF to their ultimate limits as she displayed her savage style of offence.
Britenay’s talents were also showcased overseas, competing at PWWA alongside her IPW colleagues. Without a doubt one of NZ’s toughest competitors – male or female – Britenay is sure to continue her dominance into 2012.
#3. Megan-Kate (IPW)
Megan-Kate has certainly come a long way since she first debuted as Dave O’Connor’s little sister. Coming in at #5 in 2010, Megan-Kate ascends to the #3 spot in the 2011 Female Five.
Since breaking away from O’Connor, Megan-Kate has aligned herself with Evie, forming a tag team so successful and popular they beat out all the men for the top spot in the Best Tag Team category for the 2011 NZPWI People’s Choice Awards. Megan-Kate has proven herself worthy of this honour by bringing an exciting mixture of technical and submission skills to the table. And while loyal to her BFF tag team partner, Megan-Kate has displayed the potential for a dark side, pushing Evie to her limit in the Nightmare B4 Xmas triple threat match.
Alongside Evie, Britenay and JPE Megan-Kate also showcased her talents on the international scene at PWWA, defeating Australian star Savannah Summers.
#4. JPE (IPW)
Without a doubt the most experienced female professional wrestler in New Zealand, JPE is also well known for her ability to get the fans riled at live events.
Combining a strong in-ring style with an innate ability to tap into fans’ outrage, JPE is a dominant force in New Zealand wrestling, mixing it up with her male counterparts as well as her female rivals. JPE featured strongly in the PWWA event in Australia in 2011, a career highlight.
Since breaking away from IPW, JPE has begun her own women’s wrestling venture, Maniacs United.
JPE’s superior and diverse skills are sure to see her continue to shine in 2012.
#5. Misty (NZWPW)
Girls might come and go, but when it comes to the Wellington scene, Misty remains as a constant force in women’s wrestling.
Misty didn’t let a lack of competition hold her back in 2011, taking the fight to all comers, whether they be NZWPW rookies, IPW veterans, or even male wrestlers when she represented Team NZWPW in the Capture the Flag match at IPW Rival Turf.
While the NZWPW roster expands with more women looking to get in the ring, Misty has set the bar very high for anyone hoping to follow in her footsteps.
One to Watch: Nurse Payne (KPW)
When she’s not taking care of The Brute, KPW’s Nurse Payne can often be found between the ropes herself.
Although she only wrestled four times in 2011, Nurse Payne tested herself with singles matches, mixed tag team bouts, and a one-on-one match with former WWC Women’s Champion Miss Sara Jay, improving in the ring each and every time.
With a few more shows and matches under her belt, and the good-natured Nurse could very well turn out to be a force in New Zealand women’s wrestling.