With under two weeks remaining until the IMPACT tour of Wagga Wagga, PWDownunder continues its coverage with an overview of new talent announcements, as well as matches announced so far and performers announced for the Oceanian Showcase.
IMPACT Talent Announcements
Accolades: former 6-time X-Division Champion, former AEW Tag Team Champion, former 3-time ROH Tag Team Champion, former ROH Trios Champion, former 2-time PWG Champion
One of US indy wrestling’s most decorated performers of the 2000s makes his return to Australia for the first time in four years, when he toured with WSW as part of SoCal Uncensored and took on such Australian luminaries as The Nations, TMDK and The Loose & the Wreckless.
Since quietly exiting AEW to re-join IMPACT late last year, Kaz is a perennial upper midcarder providing regular great matches. I’d love to see him in the showcase against one of the Australians.
Accolades: former 2-time IMPACT Champion, former TNA Champion, former GHC Champion (NOAH), former 2-time X-Division Champion, former 5-time TNA Tag Team Champion, former ROH Champion, former ROH TV Champion
Edwards has been a mainstay of IMPACT/TNA for around a decade now, starting out as the American Wolves (which included some wild matches), before branching out into the X-Division, winning the heavyweight title off Bobby Lashley in 2016, and ultimately re-inventing himself through his brutal COVID-era feud with Sami Callihan and his recent leadership of Honor No More.
This appears to be Edwards’ first tour of Australia, which makes him one of the major draws of the tour.
Accolades: former IMPACT World Champion, former 2-time IMPACT Grand Champion
The former NFL lineman is one of the most agile big men in wrestling, although he’s had a quiet few months with IMPACT after losing World Title and Digital Title opportunities around 6 months ago.
This will be Moose’s first visit to Australia, and here’s hoping he puts on one of his crazy fun, agile hoss performances.
Accolades: former WXW Women’s Champion
The Portugese star is one of my favourite women on the indies. If you haven’t seen IMPACT’s recent Against All Odds show, go watch the Killer Kelly vs Masha Slamovich Dog Collar Match – it was wild, it was awesome. Weirdly though, as great as Killer Kelly is, she’s never felt too close to the Knockout Title – she’s had a couple of opportunities, though in storyline at the time she never felt likely to win.
Killer Kelly is another one undergoing her first visit to Australia, and I hope she shows us that different, brutal style of women’s wrestling that we don’t see in Australia.
Accolades: former PROGRESS Women’s Champion, former 2-time RevPro Women’s Champion
The Quintessential Diva originally hails from the Phillipines, and while she’s worked in Japan it’ll be her first time performing in the south-eastern Asian region, so I imagine that’ll be quite special for her, and the match that she’s had announced for Wagga (to be discussed) will be a big deal.
It’s also PRIDE month, and it’s been almost a year to the day since she came out as trans to the wrestling community – there’s a lot of reasons to be excited for Shaw’s appearance!
Oceania Showcase Performers
Oceania Pro Wrestling ran an application for local wrestlers to be involved in an Oceanian showcase event, to occur on the Sunday of the Impact Wagga weekend.
Today they have announced six of Australia’s best wrestlers to be involved in the weekend.
Accolades: former MCW Champion, former 4-time MCW Intercommonwealth Champion, former 2-time MCW Tag Team Champion, former RCW Emerald Crown Champion, former PWA Champion, former DOA Verified Champion
One of the stars of Australian wrestling, Brooks followed his 6-month US tour with a national tour of Australia with the NWA/Smashing Pumpkins tour. Brooksy has an incredible resume of opponents including el Hijo del Vikingo, Austin Aries, Josh Alexander, TJP, Trey Miguel and SoCal Unscensored to name a few. As most will know, he was signed to ROH just as the pandemic started, which cost him that opportunity.
In a fun little sidenote, despite not having performed for IMPACT/TNA before, Brooksy has competed for the X-Division title when Brian Cage brought it out on the 2018 WSW tour.
Regardless of who his opponent is, Brooksy is very likely to deliver a banger here, and is likely to be the highlight of the showcase.
Accolades: current MCW Tag Team Champion, former 2-time MCW Champion, former 2-time MCW Intercommonwealth Champion, former BCW Champion, former WrestleRock Champion, former EPW Tag Team Champion
Speaking of wild resumes in wrestling – how’s PJ Black, Kongo (including KENOH), Bandido, Zack Sabre Jr, Pete Dunne, Jay White and Okada? And that’s all just in the last 5 years. Slex also signed with ROH before the pandemic, but unlike Brooksy he was able to squeeze in a few matches, including teaming with The Briscoes as part of his burgeoning feud with Villain Enterprises.
Slex has also recently been on the NWA Australian tour, and has been performing for New Japan TAMASHII – he’s another guy who doesn’t really need a “showcase”, he’ll just turn up and deliver like he always does, reinforcing the outrageous amount of underrated talent we have here in Australia.
Accolades: 2022 PWA Colosseum Winner, former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag-Team Champion, former 3-time PWA Champion, former WSW Champion, former PWA Tag Team Champion, former MCW Intercommonwealth Champion
Another wildly talented Australia who doesn’t need any introduction – nor does he really need a “showcase” – is New Japan regular Robbie Eagles. Fresh off joining TMDK, and a really hot Super Juniors tournament where he only narrowly missed the semi-finals, Eagles has arguably been delivering better matches than anyone in the world this year.
In TAMASHII he’s had amazing matches with Kyle Fletcher and SHINGO; he had a fun little match for the ROH World Title against Claudio Castognoli, and he had some crackers in the Super Juniors against YOH, Francesco Akira, Dan Maloney, eventual winner Master Wato, and el Desperado, which was one of the matches of the tournament.
A bloke who should already be a star – a bloke who is already better than most of the IMPACT roster, it’ll be interesting to see whether Robbie gets any opportunities with IMPACT outside the Sunday Showcase event.
Steph de Lander
Accolades: current WSW Women’s Champion, former MCW Women’s Champion, former Newy Pro Women’s champion (current Women’s Internet Champion, which was “awarded” by Matt Cardona.)
Since aligning with the Indy God Matt Cardona at March’s WSW tour, SdL has continued working with Cardona and has become one of the hottest female talents in the US indies. Steph is regularly working GCW, and has recently worked with ROH, AEW and IMPACT.
Yet another talent who doesn’t need a showcase – everyone knows how good SdL is, including IMPACT because they’ve booked her before – but it’ll be great to see her back in home territory since absolutely blowing up the indy scene over the last 3 months.
Accolades: current Renegades of Wrestling Women’s Champion, former DMDU Tag Team Champion
It brings a tear to my eye to see PWDownunder favourite Aysha continuing to improve and receive opportunities. As we discussed in our interview, Aysha spent time earlier this year with the Flatbacks training academy in the US, run by Shawn Speers and Tyler Brees.
Since returning to Australia, Aysha has won her first singles title, beating Shazza McKenzie for the Renegades Women’s title, and her character improvement has been so much fun to watch.
Accolades: former WWA Women’s Champion
Erika Reid is one of Australia’s most underrated talents, and I’m stoked that she’s getting this opportunity. A hard hitting Indigenous woman with a really unique style, and someone that PWDU favourite JXT speaks very highly about, this is the biggest opportunity of her career, and I hope she can turn it into regular work either with IMPACT, or with Australia’s top tier promotions.
IMPACT announced the main event for each show earlier this week.
IMPACT World Championship Match: Alex Shelley (c) vs Steve Maclin
After Shelley beat Maclin to win his first ever IMPACT World Championship at Against All Odds, it was announced on IMPACT last week that the re-match would take place in Wagga Wagga on Friday 30 July.
This is a big match in the IMPACT universe and will likely be the biggest driver of streams.
IMPACT Knockouts World Championship Match: Deonna Purrazzo (c) vs Gisele Shaw
Main eventing night 2 is Deonna Purrazzo, who has been champ for around 2 months, and has been a champ all over North America, taking on Gisele Shaw who, as noted earlier, is competing for the first time in south-east Asia after being born in the Philippines. The result of this match isn’t in doubt, but I think having Shaw main eventing a title match in Australia is a selling point.
IMPACT in Wagga Wagga – what’s on and where?
Friday 30 June, 7pm – IMPACT Wrestling @ the Equex Centre, Wagga Wagga
Saturday 1 July, 7pm – IMPACT Wrestling @ the Equex Centre, Wagga Wagga
Sunday 2 July, 11am – IMPACT Wrestling Meet & Greet @ the Equex Centre, Wagga Wagga
Sunday 2 July, 12.30pm – IMPACT Wrestling Australian Showcase @ the Equex Centre, Wagga Wagga
Sunday 2 July, 2pm – Conrad Thompson presents “The Business of Wrestling” with Scott D’Amore @ the Equex Centre, Wagga Wagga
Friday 7 July, 7pm – Conrad Thompson Live @ The Thornbury Theatre, Melbourne
Tickets to all Wagga shows* are available at https://www.intix.com.au/event/impact-downunder
* The showcase show is free to IMPACT ticket holders
Tickets to Conrad Thompson’s Thornbury Theatre show are available for purchase at https://tickets.oztix.com.au/outlet/event/914dcc34-370d-4728-9684-14dd6f67d4ac
The Friday and Saturday shows can be purchased on Fite TV at https://www.fite.tv/watch/impact-under-tour-pack/2pd6i/