I loved this quote from my chat with Solomun Blackwell. Here is a guy so humble he legit didn’t know the word! (It’s humility.)
It’s one of two quotes that I think give insight into a man who agreed to do two PWDU interviews after I screwed up the audio on the first attempt; a man who is receiving repeat invites from seemingly everywhere he works because he seems so hard working, yet so easy to work with.
The second quote was “it’s something my parents taught me, you respect the people who got you to where you are.” You hear this in the reverence with which Solomun speaks about his mentors. And he’s been lucky to have plenty.
“I began training in March of 2021, I went to an open day run by Damian Slater. I think that might’ve been Saturday, I started on the Monday. I knew that I was moving to Brisbane within 6 months, so knowing that and working backwards – at the time EPW were running two schools, north & south style – so I would go Monday nights south with Davis Storm, north with Julian Ward and Taylor King on Tuesday, Wednesday was Hayden Zenith, Thursday was Del Cano who focused a lot on lucha libre, which was cool, something different, and when I could I would try to do weekend classes or do one-on-ones with Julian Ward, Hayden Zenith and Davis Storm.”
Across the two interviews we did, Solomun also spoke highly of his training in Queensland from people like Rufio, Bobby Bishop and Lucille Brawl, but his wrestling heart clearly belongs in Perth.
“I remember it was almost a year ago, to the day. So we’re coming up to our biggest show, EPW Re- Awakening. A year ago (at Re-Awakening) I saw a photo of them, it might’ve been 100 people huddled up in a group, and I remember thinking to myself it was the first time I’d experienced FOMO. And that, along with some personal circumstances, I made the decision that this time next year I will do anything I can to wrestle/debut at Re-Awakening.”
(He beat his goal by 6 weeks when he debuted at Vendetta in October.)
Out of that love and obvious sense of belonging within Perth wrestling, a mentorship was born between Solomun and Australian wrestling legend, “The Godfather” Davis Storm.
“So I went to (my first) show in January 2021. I sat front row, I was a few Corona’s deep, I remember it like it was yesterday, Davis Storm came down the ramp and there was just something about him… Davis Storm is the reason I wanted to become a professional wrestler. I’m not the biggest guy, I saw a guy like Davis, (the way) he moved around the ring, super athletic guy, I made my mind up then and there (that) I just wanted to try it”.
He later comes back to Storm: “I was in the crowd (last week at Vendetta) when the lights went out and Goliath by Karnivool played, which is Storm’s theme, and it’s cliche to say when ‘the place erupted’, but the building literally shook.”
“It’s a cool feeling, Storm is a mentor of mine, someone that I’ve looked up to, and someone that I’ve been fortunate to call a really good friend. Given his circumstances where he injured himself quite badly in April of this year, to see him back already, 6-7 months, back at Re-Awakening, it’s really cool. I’m happy for him, and fingers crossed one day if that neck is holding up we can do one or maybe a series of matches together.”
While the Godfather is clearly the match for Blackwell, he’s not the only mentor that Solomun has his eye on.
“Davis Storm and Damian Slater are 2 people I consider my biggest mentors, so it meant a lot for me to be invited to Wrestle Rampage, knowing their careers started there, following in their footsteps is something I’m really big on.”
Those opponents appear to be goals for 2024 and beyond, however, as Blackwell’s Vendetta debut was as part of EPW’s long-running Invitational Tournament, with Blackwell qualifying for the tournament final at EPW’s huge “Re-Awakening XXII” show on 16 December, and EPW’s subsequent show being the Australian Wrestling Supershow the night before WWE Elimination Chamber on Friday 23 February. (If you’re going to WWE, I’d catch the EPW show too, I think it’ll be a highlight! Solomun: “I think it’s a great experience and great opportunity for Australian wrestling as a whole. Come, buy a ticket, support Australian wrestling.”)
Solomun is confident but humble heading into Re-Awakening.
“To be in a match against a guy like James Hartness, who I feel is on a trajectory alot like myself, a lot of people probably just haven’t heard the name, but James Hartness and I, I think will have this side-by-side climb to the EPW championship, which may be a story that EPW tells over the next couple of years.”
“A guy like Robby Heart, who has deep roots in Perth and EPW, he’s a mainstay in Wrestle Rampage, and just a legend and someone that I’ve been fortunate enough to wrestle, and then a guy like Kingston, one half of the Street Gang Hooligans, recently come back and seems to be firing on all cylinders. So I didn’t come back to play second fiddle, I’m here to make a name for myself at Re-Awakening, and I can’t think of any better way to solidify myself as the future of EPW than to walk out of WIlleton December 16 with the EPW Invitational Trophy.”
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Prior to working with Perth’s biggest company in EPW and Adelaide’s biggest company in Wrestle Rampage, Solomun had already embarked upon a run atop Brisbane’s biggest company, Pro Wrestling League (PWL) as part of the Top Tier faction.
“As far as best wrestlers (in Queensland), I can’t go past Mitch Ryder and Tim Hayden, who when I moved back to Queensland were 2 people I got along with on a personal level, and a lot of stemmed from them spending time in the Fale Dojo, so they understood where I grew up in South Auckland, which is where the dojo is located. So there were a lot of jokes back and forth, you know, those things that sound like gunshots aren’t the mufflers of old shitty cars, those are gunshots. So we bonded over that banter, and a few things led to another, and that led to the formation of Top Tier.”
An incredible learning opportunity to team up with two of Australia’s best wrestlers in Ryder and Hayden, and one of its most experienced and charismatic managers in Todd Eastman?
“At the time I was caught in this bubble where I knew who I wanted to be, or I knew who I was, but I was still trying to find myself in the ring. So to give me a clear direction, ‘I’m going to play this type of character’ was a lot easier than me trying to figure it out as you do the first couple of months.”
“A guy like Todd Eastman who’s been around, he began his story down in Adelaide in Riot City Wrestling, so he comes with a lot of knowledge, Mitch and Tim and have been doing it for years, really great guys – so it’s easy to have fun, it’s easy to learn when you’re surrounded by people who get along on a personal level.”
“I’m really grateful for that time, we ended up doing a story in PWL where I split off from them. Which was time I felt, even if I did stay in Qld, I think we needed something new, and the crowd at PWL – after my match with Istria which main evented the 10th anniversary show for PWL, I think that was my coming out party, and people realised “hey, this kid is cocky, but he’s way too good not to cheer.”
To speak with Solomun I think he also might be too nice to not cheer.
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Blackwell’s work across PWL, Wrestle Rampage and EPW (among others) was destined to lead to further opportunities, and that is now presenting itself as he makes his Melbourne debut on 11 November at Renegades of Wrestling Breakthrough.
It’s not Solomun’s Renegades debut though, after appearing on the GCW vs ROW Brisbane show, challenging Caveman Ugg for the Renegades title.
“Caveman Ugg’s chops suck! Look, I’m less than 2 years in, I got to wrestle former PWA Heavyweight Champion, current Renegades of Wrestling Champion, Caveman Ugg, what more could I ask for, to be trusted in a position like that?”
“I guess it’s a testament to the reputation I have, which is something I’m very particular with, and I take a lot of pride in it. I often think of my match with Ugg as a job interview. I have forever wanted to come to Melbourne, and to be honest it was one of the things I wanted to tick off in 2024, was wrestle in Melbourne, and wrestle in Sydney or Newcastle. They were the 2 things I had penciled in for 2024, and I’m fortunate enough that I’m able to slide one of those goals into this year, and I’m excited, Melbourne is an amazing place.”
It’s no easy introduction to Melbourne as Solomun takes on the increasingly strange “Aspirationalist” Lochy Hendricks, one of the big names in Renegades, who will be desperate for a win after an unsuccessful GCW tour.
What should the crowd and Lochy expect?
“I know what I do in the ring, and I’m comfortable and confident with it. I do a lot of striking, a lot of my offence is technical based. I consider myself a defence wrestler, I’m willing to take 2 so I can throw 1, I guess if you’re fortunate enough to be coming to the Renegades show on November 11 that’s what you can expect to see, and I hope Locky is ready for it.”
I ask Solomun about his resume – with Adam Brooks, Bobby Bishop, The VeloCities, Caveman Ugg, AJ Istria, Tommy Knight, who are the immediate targets?
As well as being super friendly and humble, he’s so smart. Blackwell doesn’t pick out random names from across the country – he picks out targets from Renegades, he picks his hopeful bookings beyond Breakthrough and into 2024, some of Renegades big targets.
“Me and Emman. That’d be good. Man, Aysha’s killing it. Jake (Andrewartha), Jake’s a big dude, I’m a bit too quick for Jake, let’s do that, that’s interesting. They’re the 3 that spring to mind.”
So just ever-so-cooly calling out the leader of The Ambush, Emman Azman, Ambush member and Women’s Champ Aysha, and WrestleRock Champ, Dominion of Violence leader and giant Jake Andrewartha.
Oh, and some certifiably mad bastard with a terrifying brother. “And let’s go Krackerjack too, he’s an OG. I don’t know about that bed of nails business, but I’m open for anything.” (Nobody tell Krackers that Solomun said this!)
I don’t doubt that Solomun will get these opportunities. Being as smart, as humble and as friendly as he is, I believe he’s a guy wrestlers and bookers will want to work with, and being as hard-working as he is, I believe he’s going to continue delivering outstanding matches that fans will pay to see against the top echelon of Australian wrestling.
Keep an eye out for the full audio interview, to be uploaded to YouTube shortly.
About Solomun Blackwell:
From: Auckland, New Zealand
Current Promotions: EPW, Renegades of Wrestling, Wrestle Rampage
An intro to Solomun Blackwell:
- Caveman Ugg vs Solomun Blackwell – GCW vs ROW: Brisbane
Available on Fite+ https://www.fite.tv/watch/gcw-vs-row-australian-tour-aug-27/2pdid/
- Tommy Knight vs Solomun Blackwell – Wrestle Rampage: Conquest II
- Nick Armstrong vs Solomun Blackwell – Wrestle Rampage: Every Dog Has It’s Day
Explosive Pro Wrestling:
Watch recent EPW shows on Vimeo https://vimeo.com/channels/epwperth/videos
EPW Re-Awakening XXII takes place at Willeton Stadium on Saturday 16 December. Purchase tickets from https://www.epwperth.com/
EPW Australian Wrestling Supershow takes place at Willeton Stadium on Friday 23 February, 2024 – the night before WWE Elimination Chamber. Tickets are available at https://www.epwperth.com/
Learn more about EPW by following them on X https://twitter.com/EPWPerth
Renegades of Wrestling:
Watch Solomun Blackwell’s Renegades of Wrestling debut on the recent GCW vs ROW show on Fite TV. https://www.fite.tv/watch/gcw-vs-row-australian-tour-aug-27/2pdid/
Renegades of Wrestling Breakthrough takes place at Renegades Arena in Essendon on Saturday 11 November. Purchase tickets from https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/renegades-of-wrestling-breakthrough-tickets-702748679217 (Note: Standing Room Only tickets remaining)
Learn more about Renegades of Wrestling by following them on X https://twitter.com/ROWrestlingAU