By Mason Childs
Grindhouse Wrestling Season One, The Greatest Shows No-One Saw!
On December 14, 2012, was not just my 28 + a couple of years birthday, it was the launch of a company that fairly well flew under the radar.
This date was the launch of my version of Osaka Pro, Okinawa Pro and Chikara, Grindhouse Wrestling.
Like Osaka Pro and Okinawa Pro, we tried to relate the characters to local Queensland icons, mascots and as many puns as we could make.
In this article, I will highlight some of the characters, some of the stories and talk about how many alumni went on to overseas success.
The main idea was for the masked wrestlers to be the baby faces, and the unmasked guys to be heels. We were also going to replace tag team titles with a team title, named the Q League Title, which could be defended in trios matches, tag matches and multi man matches. So, there was a big emphasis on stables.
The first of these led to one of the most popular characters to come out of Grindhouse, Combat Wombat. The stable was called The Marsupial Militia. Led by the ever loveable Combat Wombat, his partners were Drop Bear and Battle Toad. Drop Bear is an Australian mythological character that many locals tell to tourists to scare them about the outback. Battle Toad was based off the video games characters with the same name, and always played by a heavier set wrestler.
The next stable was the main heel stable called The Rejected. Led by evil cult leader Joe Haze, who would abuse his henchmen Pestilence, Arcade Black and others. This team became the first ever Q League Champions.
Queensland Sekigun was the main, more serious face faction, that went up against The Rejected. Led by myself, Australian Wolf, we had Turbo Wolf and Queen Wolf, the only woman we featured in the first season. We ended up taking Kelso Kahoniz into our faction, where he became #YOLOverine which led to him turning heel on us, and leading to us disbanding.
The most Japanese inspired faction was The Icons, who were sports teams inspired mascots. The leader of the stable was Titan Mask, a Tiger Mask inspired character who represented my favourite NRL team Gold Coast Titans. His team mates included Flyin Lion Pillman, a homage to the Brisbane Lions, whose finisher was the Pele kick. Their other member was Buck Lewis, the short lived tribute to the Brisbane Broncos.
One of the solo masked heroes was a character named Super Cyclone. For those unaware, Queensland is fairly affected by cyclones, especially in the northern areas. Cyclone feuded with Joe Haze which culminated in one of the most blood soaked street fights that Queensland Wrestling has ever seen!
Another stable, which gave us some hilarious moments, was Under Water Alliance. Led by Koi Bombora, he teamed with Mascara Angler (an Angler fish) as well as the first incarnation of Hugh Manity, Dugong Hasselhoff. Like Hugh Manity, Dugong Hasselhoff was the master of “Sleepy Style” and was prone to falling asleep mid match, and moving very very slowly. Hugh would also go on to become a majorly successful character.
The season started with Jesse Daniels as AWA Heavyweight Champion. After a feud with Johnny Lukas, Jesse dropped “The Maori Terminator” Jade Diamond. Jade held the belt for 4 or so months before dropping it to Aussie Open’s Mark Davis, who would lose it in the season finale to ‘Jag’ Hartley Jackson.
Theatre season was also held at what many people consider the most amazing venue in all of South East Queensland, The Tribal Theatre. Tribal Theatre had amazing grand stand styled seating, and because it was a cinema, we had full use of a cinema sized movie screen for entrance videos. The entrance way came across a stage infront of the screen, making for an amazing experience. For the first three shows, we were able to use the BYO licence that the venue had, which led to some wild crowds.
As mentioned earlier, Grindhouse Wrestling Season One featured Mark Davis, Hartley Jackson, but we also had AEW superstar Toni Storm as Queen Wolf, Tim Kade as Turbo Wolf, AJ Istria made quite a few appearances throughout, Robby Heart also featured, but maybe our biggest fly in was Okinawa Pro star Mensore Oyaji, who has gone on to great success in All Japan under his real name Youhei Nakajima and then back to Black Mensore.
We would also feature intermission side shows, like live bands and burlesque.
The fact we were unable to film these shows truly saddens me.
We had a top tier roster, world class champions and tried something totally different.
So for those claiming Queensland wrestling was in “dark days” during the early 2010s, maybe you just weren’t at the right shows? Who knows?
In the second season, we went down a few more Japanese style characters like Dark Wolverine and Black Cyclone, who were the heel versions of myself and Super Cyclone. We also added “The Old School Spider” Red Backlund as well as two masked referees XXXX Langer (the XXXX Beer Logo) and Banana Beetson (in honour of the first ever Queensland State of Origin captain Arthur Beetson and because Queenslanders are also referred to as “Banana Benders”).
In the end, when Tribal Theatre closed down, we ended Season One at Queensland’s oldest cinema, which has now become a church.
Grindhouse Wrestling would move to New Globe Theatre in Fortitude Valley, where it went on to have 4 more seasons before it moved to various other venues around Brisbane.
For myself, and I hope for many involved, they can look back on these times and smile.
Thank you for reading!