10 Years of Wrestle Radio Australia by Todd Eastman 

When I look back at it the ten years have both flown by and felt like a thousand all at the same time. Josh Armour and I were both working at Riot City Wrestling at the time, Josh was the “Voice of Riot City” as the ring announcer and live commentary play by play guy. He was great because he had a passion for the business like few have. He was a dork and he owned it, he loved his scarves, his fedora, he loved Prince, the DGeneration and also radio.

In 2013 Josh was asked by Marek at what was then Wrestle Hustle Magazine if he wanted to take over the podcast known as Wrestle Hustle Radio, they’d had one episode previously and the guys doing it just decided it wasn’t what they wanted to do. After the first one Josh realised he didn’t want to do it on his own and asked me to join him. I did a little monologue on it and by the third I was his co-host. After a little while we felt the Wrestle Hustle wasn’t for us, nothing against them but we just wanted to be our own thing, to be our own name hence Wrestle Radio Australia was born (ironic as we’ve never been on terrestrial radio)

We started out by talking about WWE/TNA/ROH at the time, plus did an “around the grounds” type segment where we had someone in every state tell us the shows coming up and any hot angles going on (massive thanks to Rhi, Chris & Tez) and we’d end it with an interview from someone in the local scene to spread the word about Aus Wrestling. 2013 was a different time there was no streaming services, you wanted to see a MCW or PWA show and you didn’t live in Melb or Syd you had to order DVDs so really everything was word of mouth until some of the guys showed up at your local fed.

Podcasts were very new back then so having guests on was a challenge, some didn’t know what they were, if they had to be in character or even if we were just out to get some gossip instead of actually promoting the industry (for the record I’ve always felt if fans are interested enough in the local industry to search out a podcast on it they probably know the score) We never had the fancy equipment, in fact some of the early podcast interviews were done by me talking to someone on my iphone on speaker over a microphone but we got it done.

Over time the interviews started getting longer and the news segments smaller until the main part of the show was the interview and Josh and I would chat around it.

The big bonus of it was it made the country just that little bit smaller, as we got to know workers in other states they’d pass on that we were good to talk to and it made it easier for us to get guests on the show to talk. We were lucky enough to talk to a few celebrities that are pro wrestling fans like Rove McManus who was amazing and spent an hour and a half talking wrestling 30 minutes of that after recording and Josh got to talk to one of the comedians he loved for D-gen, Santo Chilaro. We’ve had international guests like Jeff Jarrett, Bryan Alvarez (Josh loved him, I wonder how that pod would go now…haha) and my favourite was the two we did with Adam Pearce, an amazing guest to talk to.

Josh always tried to grow the network reaching out to the boys at “Drawing Heat” Beej and The Dude in Perth who came on board & Ali Vaez who hosted “Heeling Out” too. They joined us for a while but as it goes in wrestling and podcasting people move on. A lot of different shows have come and gone over the years, very few stick around when they realise the grind it can be doing shows week after week. We were lucky in the way that we had each other, when I wasn’t up to it or snowed under Josh would do the show on his own and vice versa.

I moved from Adelaide to Brisbane in 2015 and we carried on with the show from both ends of the country but at the end of 2017 Josh told me he needed a break he was burnt out so I took over the show full time thinking this was only a temporary thing as Josh would and take back over the reigns in no time so i could be lazy again and just do the interviews and no production…haha. I had my own mental health issues and the show went on an unexpected break for a few months, when i came out the other side of it i dove back into the show doing weekly pods with as many people as i could get in front of a mic but after coming out of my issues i really wanted to do stuff about mental health and weave it into the show, luckily in September 2018 with some really good mates Brodie Marshall, Gino Gambino & Wolfdogg called “Wrestling With Our Demons” we sat down and shared all of our feelings and experiences with mental health, it was raw, open and honestly I think groundbreaking. What I didn’t realise was just around the corner the show would take the biggest hit I could ever imagine.

 I’d reached out a few times to Josh and never heard back, this wasn’t really unusual as he could be forgetful at the best of times but this felt different. Being that i was in Queensland I couldn’t really just drop by and visit so i reached out to Sean Fewster our mutual friend and another RCW Alum and asked if Josh was ok, he told me he wasn’t and was really struggling with things in his personal life and i asked him to tell Josh to please reach out to me if he needed to chat. He never did and in June 2019 I got a call from Chris Basso that I never wanted to hear. Unfortunately Josh had lost his battle with mental health and left us with a hole in our lives that would never be filled. There was no show that week, I recorded an opening monologue of the hardest, most emotionally raw twelve minutes of audio I will ever do and replayed the “Wrestling with Demons” episode “Thank You Josh Armour”.  This will always be Josh and my show as many years as it continues I will never not acknowledge how without him this never show would have never left the ground. Since that day the mission of the show is now a twofold one, to spread the word about Australian Wrestling, the industry and the workers in it & also promote the importance of prioritising mental health, donating every cent made from the show from shirts or merch to mental health charities specifically Gotcha4Life.

Covid hit and the show from Oct 2019 until April 2020 was basically forced into a 6 month break as was the whole world really, there were no shows to talk about or even on the horizon. It was a scary time for everyone in the wrestling industry. But coming out of covid and speaking out made the topics really interesting as we were all navigating the “new normal” and the scary prospect of wondering if the crowds would return and how to make the shows as safe in every way as we as an industry possibly could.

There was some really fun and interesting episodes there with Davis Storm, Jack Bonza, Chriss Fresh about the nuts and bolts of running a company and a whole run of great workers talking about psychology and theories on wrestling as 7 or 8 years i was really not interesting in asking the same old questions like “how’d you get into wrestling” and things like that, I wanted to go deeper. In one episode I had both Bonza and Storm on at the same time in a discussion on running a company and the industry in 2021 which is another i really enjoyed doing. August of 2021 I was reaching points of being burnt out finding guests and topics on my own and honestly I wanted to sit down for episodes and occasionally debate with people about wrestling and that’s when I asked Lachlan Albert to join me for a new version of the show called “Making Chicken Salad”.

The few interactions I’d had with Lachy I knew he’d give as well as he got which was important to me & he also reminded me a lot of Josh in the way he loved wrestling and was a good conversationalist. We started Making Chicken Salad and reviewing WWE/AEW shows but being an Australian Wrestling podcast and the way that Aussie wrestling is so accessible now we thought why not review those shows as well. Seven months later I interviewed Geoff Setty for the show promoting WrestleBrainia, his live wrestling/comedy “quiz show” that plays at fringe festivals etc and gets rave reviews. We talked off air and really got along so I eventually invited him on board as one of the team. Both Geoff and Lachy have brought a breath of fresh air and a weight off my shoulders by joining me and I’m having some of the most fun I’ve had in the ten years of doing the show. If one of us doesn’t feel mentally up to it (and it does happen on occasion) there’s two of us to carry the show. I feel comfortable leaving it in their hands if I want a week off which is a god send.

So now we are in our tenth year and the show has evolved from two guys trying to wedge Aussie Wrestling in between talking about WWE/TNA to the three of us using the bulk of shows reviewing the best in Aussie wrestling to the world. I think Josh would’ve loved what we have become. I do want to get back to doing interviews with some of the up and coming workers in the country and hopefully moving forward we will. We’ve stood up for the industry speaking up on things like NHPW, where it was suggested that they didn’t want their students working for, attending seminars etc the promotion declined the chance to air their side. Or the recent case of DMDU and the proposed venue donations among other things. These things I’m proud of as much as I am for the work we’ve done for mental health.

Ten years is a long time and I hope that we can continue to grow and be able to help the industry for another ten. I feel like we’ve done a lot of good but there’s a lot more still to do and we’ll do whatever we can to help the industry thrive, that’s been the mission from day one. For the sport we love, for the people working hard every day to make it better…..for Josh.

If you can please donate to our 10th anniversary charity drive at tinyurl.com/WRA10 all donations go to Gotcha4Life

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