Inside Brisbane’s Underground Pro Wrestling Circuit

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RYAN COOK

For the niche market of professional wrestling fans out there, the only time of year that we get to experience any kind of in-ring action is between July and August, when World Wrestling Entertainment graces Australian shores for their annual world tour.

The tickets are normally expensive (along with the merchandise), and if you’re willing to put up with two hours of traffic heading to the Brisbane Entertainment Center, best of luck.

But luckily, fans of the sport may be surprised to know that Brisbane has its own professional wrestling league, and even though it is still fairly underground, monthly shows are being put on that wreak of good quality entertainment for a fraction of the cost.

The Australian Wrestling Federation was formed in 1999, and has been responsible for wrestling shows all over the country. With a technical based school located in Sydney, the AWF is the biggest provider of local wrestling talent, and offers shows in each different capital city year round.

For those that think all of this is just fake though, you’d be right. The matches are of course scripted, but in terms of physicality and injuries, wrestling still remains one of the toughest combat sports in the world.

“Those guys put their bodies on the line a lot” says Zac Ruddok, a casual fan that attends most live shows. “Even though it’s scripted, they still have to make those moves work. There’s heaps of danger involved when you’re flying through the air like that”.

Just ask Jade Diamond, who missed his last title defence a month ago against Jonah Rock due to a recurring thumb injury. Or on a much larger and serious scale, Adam Copeland, who was forced to retire from the top professional ranks of WWE due to a neck injury that caused his cervical vertebrae to fuse.

The storylines may be fake, but the hazards are real.

Fortunately for Brisbane based show ‘Grindhouse’, injuries have happened, but each wrestler knows the risks involved when they step in between the ropes. Run by the Australian Wrestling Alliance, ‘Grindhouse’ is a monthly event put on in the city at The Tribal Theatre, and draws hundreds each time.

For the fans, it’s a chance to see some real wrestling action, with a touch of superhero style fights between masked warriors over some beers.

One of the hardest parts about making a wrestling match work is to convince the audience that the pain experienced by an opponent is real. For decades, wrestlers have used the term “selling” to describe how much a certain move is supposed to hurt, and if something as simple as a suplex is mistimed, the match can lose all credibility.

“Obviously there’s a lot of young wrestlers that are still learning how to land, and how to perform certain maneuvers” says Zac. “It’s never going to be the quality of wrestling you see on TV, but the matches are always believable and so are the storylines”.

‘Grindhouse IX’ will hit The Tribal Theatre on October 5 when they present their “The End Is Nigh” show. You can also catch some wrestling action at The Surf ‘N Ink Tattoo Convention in Townsville between September 27-29, and catch up on all of the Brisbane wrestling scene on their Facebook page.

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