When the story of the renaissance of Australian wrestling is told, people will rightly look at those whom were able to make careers overseas, particularly in WWE.
Of course, the tragic thing about wrestling is that it’s not always about ability. An Australian with an incredible local wrestling pedigree, but without a Green card is sadly nowhere near as likely to “make it” as a failed professional footballer with a passing interest in wrestling. The wrestler with the deep understanding of marketing and design probably isn’t as useful to WWE as a John Cena-lookalike who lives down the road from the Performance Centre.
I suspect it would be very easy to give the game away and concentrate on other hobbies. But I hope there’s a role in the annals of Australian wrestling history for those who gave their all to ‘make it’, who didn’t quite get there for whatever reason, but who still chose to pass on that knowledge. For the guys who genuinely place local wrestling havens alongside former wrestling kingdoms.
JXT tells me “I always say ‘from the ECW Arena to the Colac RSL’. I love them both in their own way. ECW Arena for Impact was cool. I wrestled with Game Changer Wrestling in Philly, that was pretty cool.”
“I’ve had New Japan tryouts and WWE tryouts, I’ve been to the Performance Centre, being invited there to have a match was pretty cool. Even all the times doing extras work for WWE, as silly as it might sound, that’s such an experience in itself if you’ve never done it, and I’ve been lucky to do it a handful of times.”
Reminiscing about his own development JXT says “I went in 2016 and did training at OVW and Chikara. I went again in 2019 and trained with WrestlePro, that’s when I worked with Game Changer and Impact and WrestlePro. Then I went back and did WrestlePro Alaska for a tour. Then in 2020 before the pandemic, so it was early, I went for another tour and was stopped at Customs.”
And just like that, in his mid-20s, JXT’s US wrestling dream had come to a devastating end. “Unless I get a work visa – aka signed to a major deal – I’m not going to the United States again.”
Tough to imagine the impact of a dream coming to such an immediate end, and the blow was worsened when COVID immediately closed down local wrestling, and JXT returned to a couple of injuries.
“I tore my hamstring, which was just a pure accident, there was liquid on the floor where I’d slipped when I was wrestling… just an accident. And then because my hamstring was torn I think my other leg was compensating and I snapped my ACL, which is why I still can’t wrestle til at least August/September (2023).”
JXT is particularly hard on himself discussing the Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury – “‘Josh, you’re an idiot, why would you go play footy?’ Cos I was pissed off that I wasn’t getting booked at the promotions that were using me at the time, and I was like ‘this is pissing me off, screw wrestling, I’m going to go play footy….’ I think I push too hard sometimes, and when you push too hard the universe pushes back. In my third game, the first contest, just a basic lead up mark and then snap, my knee just gave way.”
In reviewing the interview it’s wild to imagine the pile on of different emotions for a guy in his mid-to-late 20s (now 29 years old) – the cruel end of a wrestling dream, to the disappointment of not being able to wrestle during the pandemic, some apparent bitterness towards wrestling, to an injury that he harshly blames on himself. It would’ve been really easy to walk away.
“My goal is to be what I call myself – the biggest name in Australian wrestling. When anyone thinks of Australian wrestling I want them to think of me. I want to be there at the forefront and I want to help Australian wrestling grow.”
On top of that, JXT contributes what he can to the local business. “Our whole goal with the Relentless School of Pro Wrestling is to make it (Australian wrestling) a better place than we found it. So if I can help grow wrestling here, bigger crowds, bigger opportunities for wrestlers, and for us to just grow as a whole industry here in Australia – cos I can’t leave, so I have to make wrestling here as good as I can.”
Relentless is the school run by JXT, the ‘Big Rig’ Fox and Jake Navarro out of the latter’s gym. “I hope it (Relentless) can be a bit more well-rounded.” It’s clear that this is the case, offering much broader opportunities than back bumps and running the ropes. “If you want to be a pro wrestler, you want to be a referee or a manager, or just get involved in pro wrestling – iamrelentless.com.au – I’ll train you myself!”
JXT also describes opportunities to learn about the commentary and production side of wrestling, with JXT, Fox and Navarro also providing opportunities for Relentless students through their Mayhem Pro Wrestling promotion in Bacchus Marsh, in Melbourne’s outer western suburbs.
“I hate being a promoter! With a passion! But we run our promotion because we have a wrestling school and we couldn’t keep asking favours from other promotions… We started running out of necessity, so we run Mayhem Pro in Bacchus Marsh 3-4 times a year, and we’ve just started running these shows called Showcase, Mayhem Pro Showcase.”
“We also run them as an example to show the students this is how it should be, this is how shows should run. If students want to know, we teach them – this is why we book the card like this, this is why we put this match here and that match there, this is why we need lighting on the show… all these little things that go into a show, it’s purely a learning experience I guess, which is why we run the shows and we just have to make sure they don’t lose money, cos once they start losing money that’s the last one we run. It’s stressful, it’s hard, but it’s a necessity really, cos it goes hand in hand with the wrestling school.”
I ask JXT about his role as “the doyen of wrestling gimmicks and merch in Australian wrestling” and how he imparts that knowledge to students. JXT bristles a little at the word “doyen”:
“I think I was branded as ‘the merch guy’ but in my head every independent wrestler should be the merch person. Why are you not? If you’re not tanning, if you’re not glistening, if you don’t have merch? Like, you’re not a wrestler. You’re not taking this shit seriously. Not everyone’s goal is to main event Wrestlemania or to make a living out of this and that’s fine – everyone does this for different reasons. But if you can’t even tan or you’re not even trying to make a bit more money so you can buy some new gear, what are you doing, you know?”
JXT goes on to explain how he and Jake Navarro started selling gimmicks from nothing at New Age Wrestling, in an interview that we will post in full.
When it comes to what he tells his students, JXT says “I’m always telling my students ‘why do you not just have 8x10s to sell?’ It’s not about making money, it’s about looking professional and just having it there, and if you do make some money, cool, and if someone buys it they might follow your Instagram from that so your brand grows. It’s all brand-building and getting your name out there.” It’s impossible to listen to him without thinking how smart he is.
JXT continues, and maybe younger wrestlers just breaking in can hopefully learn something if they listen to the interview in full. “There are fans that are dedicated and will continually buy your stuff just to support you, so you want them to get some value for their money and you want to try and engage new fans.”
When I go on to ask him about his most recently look, dominated by pink and black, JXT tells me “‘what would fit the character the most, (he’s) so delusional,believes his own self hype, so he’s going to think this is the best and coolest thing ever. So a little bit of Bret (Hart), a little bit of what looks best, and a bit of what do I think works well for the character, because we’re a brand, this whole thing is a brand – the character, the feel, the vibe, the music, the look, the gear. Everything has to fit and it has to be on the same page and I just felt (the pink) that fit.”
And on branding as it relates to his students and Mayhem Pro shows? “I’m like ‘you need to have twitter, you need to have 8x10s, you need to have promo pics.’ And I’ll use the example – when I design the poster for the next show I’ll say ‘guys if your photo looks like shit I’m not going to use it.’ We had one student and he hates social media, didn’t have a photo for ages, but now he has a Twitter, he has an Instagram, he has promo pics, he even has tshirts. That’s pivotal, and seeing that growth’s great.”
After hearing about the well-rounded experience that the Relentless School of Pro Wrestling is offering, I give JXT the chance to give us his pitch, and it’s so perfect I didn’t want to edit it!
“If you want to be a professional wrestler you can sign up at iamrelentless.com.au/prowrestling and there’s no tryout. A lot of other wrestling schools are like ‘there’s a tryout day, you’ve got to come down and do 1000 squats and 1000 pushups, and you couldn’t do them, too bad’ whereas we’re the opposite. We don’t think you need to have any base – obviously if you do have a fitness base or an athletic base that’s great, it gives you an awesome leg up – but Relentles school is run out of Relentless gym, Jake Navarro’s personal training strength and conditioning gym. He’s a strength and conditioning coach, we also have other personal trainers that work out of there, we have a nutritionist that works out of there.“
“If you need to lose weight, if you need to get in shape, if you need to get fitter, if you need to put on muscle we have all that there available, so if you just sign up tomorrow and come down, you’ll start learning the basics, even if you’re only fit enough to last 2 minutes of the training session, that’s 2 minutes more than you did last week. I really tell people, the sooner you sign up the better, for any and all types of people, we’re here, we’ll do whatever we can to help you and get you to where you want to be.”
“Which is not just the wrestling side, it’s the fitness side, the conditioning you need to get in the ring. Or if you want to be a manager, or if you want to come along and learn to do sound and audio, we do that stuff too. Anything people need, Relentless School of Pro Wrestling has you covered.”
Told you it was too good to cut! And on Mayhem Pro?
“Please follow our pages. It’s hard with the algorithms now, anything that’s promotional material they kind of nix making it hard to see, but please follow our socials because that helps immensely. “
“It’s not about Mayhem Pro making money, it’s about (students) being able to showcase their skills and get themselves and their names out there. So if you wrestle for Mayhem Pro, the show is going to be uploaded for free on our youtube so you can show people.”
Recovering from a knee injury, coaching at Relentless, and promoting and editing Mayhem Pro shows would be enough of a contribution to the wrestling scene for most people, but JXT continues to keep building his brand and keeping his name out there.
On 2 April WrestleBrainia presents Team JXT vs Team Rove as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. JXT’s team includes Melbourne wrestling personality Mark Williamson and Welchy from the On The Turnbuckle podcast, while WrestleRock promoter Criss Fresh will team with comedian Brose Avard and three-time Gold Logie Winner, former variety television host, and former World Wrestling Allstars manager Rove McManus.
“I’m very nervous because I’m not funny. So I’ve done WrestleBrainia before, it’s a comedy wrestling trivia show, it’s 3 on 3 – if you’ve seen Spicks and Specks it’s like Spicks and Specks, but wrestling themed. It’s going to be Team JXT vs Team Rove for ultimate wrestling trivia supremacy. I like to pride myself on my wrestling knowledge and how much I know, I know Rove does too.”
Asked about Rove’s wrestling credentials, JXT knows his stuff. “I loved World Wrestling Allstars and everything that it was, as much as a disaster as it turned out. To be an Australian, I was only a kid, and we had this massive company and here in Australia. And as a kid Rove was huge at the time… he had his tv show, Rove Live, and I’m like ‘he’s managing ‘The Front Row’ Nathan Jones?! This is massive!’ So for me, Gold Logie? Nah, he managed ‘The Front Row’ Nathan Jones in the main event, that’s a bigger deal to me.”
“I remember him interviewing Ric Flair and putting Ric Flair in the Figure-4 on Rove, he did this whole brawl with Jeff Jarrett, Jarrett gave him the TNA World Title, and on that World Wrestling Allstars show Jarrett whacked him with a guitar. So I know Rove has a long history with Jeff Jarrett, which I’ll be playing on hopefully.”
April 2 is the first of three WrestleBrainia shows making up its run as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tag Team day on April 16 sees WrestleRock’s “Handsome Hunks” in Camby Crawford and Anth Cava take Renegades of Wrestling’s “The Ambush”, Murdoch and Jarvis. April 23 sees Team Locky Hendricks vs Team Drunk Uncle Beej. “That’s going to be chaos” JXT informs me.
What can you expect from WrestleBrainia? “You’re going to have a great time. If you even just feign interest in wrestling you can’t not have a fun time. I’ve done it once before and been to one other show and they’re fun, they’re light-hearted, you have a drink, you have a good time. It’s wrestlecrap, it’s the fun parts of wrestling.”
“Team Rove vs myself, come down and have a laugh with me!”
April 2 at the Catfish Bar in Fitzroy, why would you be anywhere else?
WrestleBrainia forms part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, with 3 shows at the Catfish Bar in Fitzroy on April 2, 16 and 23.
Tickets can be purchased at https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2023/shows/wrestlebrainia
Want to be a pro-wrestler?
Learn more about becoming a pro-wrestler – or becoming a referee, or learn more about production, or just meet some fitness goals, at the Relentless School of Pro Wrestlling.
Learn more at https://www.iamrelentless.com.au/prowrestling
Follow Relentless on Twitter & Instagram at @Relentless_SPW
Support Mayhem Pro Wrestling
Watch Mayhem Pro Wrestling for FREE at https://www.youtube.com/@MayhemPro
To learn about upcoming shows and find out where to buy tickets, follow Mayhem Pro Wrestling on Twitter & Instagram @mayhempro_
Follow JXT and the comeback!
Follow JXT on Twitter @JXT_Official_ and on Instagram @jxt_official
Learn more about JXT and watch JXTv at https://www.youtube.com/@JXT
“I’m even on TikTok posting funny videos of myself singing” – @jxt_official
Age – 29
Height – 6’1 / 185cm
Weight – Over 5,100 instagram followers
Debut – 2011
From – Melton, Victoria
Championships – GPW Champion, HVW Champion, NAW Heavyweight Champion, BCW Tag Team Champion, MCW Tag Team Champion, MCW InterCommonwealth Champion
Current Promotions – Mayhem Pro Wrestling, Renegades of Wrestling, Deathmatch Downunder, World Series Wrestling, Gippsland Pro Wrestling, Future Wrestling Australia
An intro to JXT:
JXT vs Shazza McKenzie – DMDU The Great Emu War Games
JXT vs Tyson Baxter – Mayhem Pro Wrestling
JXT vs Will Ospreay – GPW Defiant
To listen to our JXT interview in full:
Thanks to JXT for his time and incredible patience!