From Rags To Riches The Rise of Wide Bay Pro Wrestling

Action from Wide Bay Pro Wrestling’s last event (Photo credit: Kate Puleo)

Wide Bay Pro Wrestling was created by Anthony Romano, ran by himself and his wife Kate and a few others that have been brought in over the years. Prior to their change in fortune Wide Bay started off on the wrong foot, they were trashed all over social media. Romano was left to defend the promotion that he had put hard work and money into from a set of internet trolls that weren’t fond of some people that were involved.

Fast forward to 2023 and Wide Bay Pro Wrestling has a different look, a different energy and a lot of different faces helping out Anthony and his wife Kate as they produce great quality shows on the Sunshine Coast.

Wide Bay got its start in 2016 with their debut show in November of that year entitled “When World’s Collide”. It was held at the Gympie Cats Football Club in Gympie, settled on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

Nothing seemed to go right for Wide Bay Pro Wrestling for their very first show, after a week of fine weather in Queensland, show day came and the rain hit while the Wide Bay crew were setting up the ring ahead of that nights show. It wasn’t certain if the debut show was going to go ahead after all of that rain.

With only a few seasoned veterans and a roster full of young inexperienced workers some working their debut matches not just for Wide Bay but for the wrestling business. Wide Bay Pro Wrestling went ahead as the rain stopped, a crowd of around 50 people came along to brave the conditions to see the debut of Wide Bay Pro Wrestling.

Anthony “The Bull” Romano owner of Wide Bay Pro Wrestling (Photo Credit: Kate Puleo)

Dave Harding: What was the general feeling you had after the completion of Wide Bay’s first event When World’s Collide?

Anthony Romano: That wrestling may not succeed in Gympie and I might have been in over my head. However what I also realised was that in order to go forward a lot needed to change, including the mentality from a booking point of view, a lot of mistakes were made including which wrestlers were booked having not known that some were still green. That they have never wrestled in front of a crowd before or on an event.

Dave Harding: World’s Collide wasn’t exactly the way you would’ve wanted your debut show to go, what do you think contributed to things going wrong with the show?

Anthony Romano: The rain, listening to the wrong people, unfortunately we weren’t ready and should have held off booking that first event. Because it set the tone for the next few years as what kind of promotion people thought it was.

Dave Harding: Since then, you took a two year break from running shows, what did you learn in the time away from putting on shows?

Anthony Romano: After that event we went away and sorted our own ring and began setting it up as it hadn’t been used at when worlds collide as it wasn’t ready.

I also got Kate my wife involved who would help change things for the better. Since management and booking changes we have grown a lot including different venues and different tours.

The outdoor event with its own difficulties went on, the show was met with a barrage of negativity, Romano was left with a lot to think about and ponder as to what to do next after the show. Anthony Romano would hold off on running anymore shows for two years, in that time Wide Bay Pro Wrestling had a complete overhaul. A lot of new people were brought in behind the scenes to assist with things to help bring his dream promotion to the reality that he wanted.

Wide Bay Pro Wrestling would return in 2018, they made their debut at Fraserpop, which was held at the Maryborough State School. It was quite a successful event for Wide Bay Pro Wrestling this would lead to Wide Bay doing even more shows in Maryborough.

The ‘When World’s Collide’ event was a distant memory for Anthony Romano and his team, Wide Bay even saw former WWE star and Hollywood actor Nathan Jones make an appearance. Wide Bay Pro Wrestling started to bring in a lot of talented workers from around the country.

Dave Harding: Wide Bay also has appeared at some conventions, one being Fraserpop. How did that come about and what involvement did Wide Bay have at the event?

Anthony Romano: The Fraserpop event came about because of Kate as it was brought to her attention so after her chatting with the principal of Maryborough State School and negotiating an agreement we were able to have wrestling at Fraserpop.

Fraserpop lead to Gladstonepop which was even bigger and began to set the tone for what Wide Bay would become.

Wide Bay Pro Wrestling would now be seen as one of the premier promotions in Queensland, and would be featured at Knotfest Australia with their ring and setup being used by Renegades of Wrestling. With their critics Wide Bay Pro Wrestling has definitely turned the corner with a great bunch of people including Todd Mitchell helping out from Wrestle Radio Australia.

Wide Bay Pro Wrestling has held training seminars, training sessions and been very active in the Wide Bay community with helping out local charities and other organisations as well. WBPW has become quite a valuable and vital part of the Wide Bay community and area.

Wide Bay Pro Wrestling set up being used by Renegades of Wrestling at Knotfest Australia (Photo Credit: Anthony Puleo)

Dave Harding: What did it feel like to have your ring featured at the recent Knotfest Australia event?

Anthony Romano: Unreal. To have finally gotten to the top of the mountain and have been part of the biggest festival in Queensland in 7 years was a great achievement and accomplishment.

Hard work has started to pay off however we don’t want to stop there, we want to continue and raise the bar even higher.

Dave Harding: How does it feel to go from being seen as a negative influence on wrestling in Queensland, to being seen by some as one of the top promotions in the state now?

Anthony Romano: It’s hard to put in words when you hear people say it. However it shows that the crew we now have and the people working behind the scenes including my wife Kate, Bobby Bishop and Todd Mitchell without these people we wouldn’t be where we currently are.

However without the wrestlers who entertain the fans at every event we wouldn’t have any of this.

Despite their false start in the business Wide Bay Pro Wrestling is showing their critics wrong, and showing that determination, a great crew and hard work goes along way to bring together a great and entertaining product that has gone from being seen as a joke to a company that has brought not just great wrestling to the Sunshine Coast, but to the state of Queensland.

Wide Bay Pro Wrestling returns with Hostile Takeover on April 22nd which promises to be another big and eventful night for Wide Bay Pro Wrestling.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *