The Queensland Wrestling Alliance:
The Trials and Triumphs of a Small Company in Townsville
By Trent O’Day
Townsville in tropical North Queensland is known for a variety of different attractions, including the North Queensland Cowboys, Magnetic Island, Castle Hill, or the Mad Cow nightclub. Unfortunately, prior to 2011, professional wrestling had never been high on Townsville’s list of developmental priorities, and the art of grappling inside the squared circle wouldn’t make real strides in the unofficial capital of North Queensland until 2018. This article will very briefly recap the history of the QWA, outline the challenges and successes regarding running a company (which is so isolated from the rest of the wrestling world), and hopefully capture the hearts of a few new fans along the way.
As previously stated, professional wrestling in Townsville only existed on lounge room TV screens prior to 2011; however, that all changed when Queensland Championship Wrestling (QCW) opened their doors on April 28th. Owned, trained, and operated by “Island Boy Si” Simon Tokoroa, and acting as a ‘sister company’ to QCW: Sunshine Coast, both rosters would fly between towns to perform in front of both sets of wrestling fans. This operation would last until 2014, the year QCW closed their doors and made way for the company we have today – The Queensland Wrestling Alliance (QWA).
From 2014 to 2018, the QWA was largely just a company fighting to survive. Growing a professional wrestling scene in the heart of Rugby League country and in a town where (if we’re being honest) people pay little attention to any form of performing art, proved challenging to say the least. There were, however, pockets of fans starting to turn up regularly to shows. QWA really began to hit their stride in 2018 with the introduction of what is now the hallmark event of the Townsville wrestling calendar, ‘Dominance’. With an action-packed card that included international stars from Michinoku Pro, the Dominance event of 2018 proved a pivotal moment in what would become the golden era in Townsville wrestling. Home grown stars like Sam Cannon, Seth Tylors, Tommy Asguard, Zakk Gardner, Gabriel Zaya, and EC Brownie had all cemented themselves as consistent and reliable talent. Fast forward to 2023 and most, if not all, of those performers have gone on to travel throughout the state and country as living proof that professional wrestling in Townsville not only exists but is producing enthusiastic and more-than-capable talent.
Unfortunately, despite the overwhelmingly positive response that Townsville was providing the QWA, running an operation like this in Townsville was not without its challenges. COVID-19 shutdowns swept the nation and Townsville was not exempt. North Queensland remained relatively unaffected compared to the rest of Australia, but nevertheless it was the first backward step the company had taken in over 12 months. Furthermore, though crowd numbers remained constant and at times incredibly impressive for a local professional wrestling show (ranging from 250 to 400 people), there were still several challenges being faced behind the scenes. The in-ring product was more than serviceable but finding a venue in a city that is relatively venue-less proved challenging. In addition to this, some roster members began moving away from Townsville, whilst others began moving away from wrestling entirely. For the next few years what followed were some of the highest highs and the lowest lows for those behind the curtain in the QWA. Everybody that had a hand in creating, training, or owning the company up until that point only wanted to see QWA succeed, but despite everyone’s best efforts, QWA ceased production indefinitely in late 2022.
Thankfully, QWA was quickly purchased, and the wheels were set in motion for a return to live performance. Fast forward to June 2023 and the entire outlook for the QWA has changed. Our loyal fans are always showing their smiling faces in the crowd, a new crop of emerging talent have just made their live debuts, and the locker room vibe is at a dizzying peak. Of course, things aren’t perfect. Crowd numbers are still needing to be redeveloped, the talent find it incredibly expensive to travel and hone their craft, and the hunt is still on for a permanent venue that we could safely call our home. Yet, with all of that said, the QWA has grown into a family. From the newest fans to the most experienced performer – everyone in QWA belongs. Are we the biggest company in the country? Obviously not. Do we have a globally travelled roster or the million-dollar production value? Nope. Do we pride ourselves on being an inclusive, family-friendly, locally owned and grown company with a growth mindset? Absolutely. As this article ends, I can only hope that you, the reader, can appreciate the journey the QWA has been on, the direction we’re going, and consider whether you’d like to come on that journey with us. This little independent wrestling company could always use another friendly face!
You can follow us @QWAwrestling on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and Twitter!