.2023 was rather large indeed.
After a failed move to Canada in 2020, I finally made the jump last year. It was a big decision as obviously I have a life outside of wrestling to consider, but I don’t believe in getting lucky and it seemed the only way to progress was to go on spend some time abroad.
Personally there were plenty of hurdles. Certainly wasn’t all fun as it may seem from the outside. But I can rest assured that Kaz and I (ATO) left no stone unturned in 2023. There’s not a promotion we didn’t speak with and we managed to build both a decently full booking schedule, as well as a reputation. All of that took 6+ months so it wasn’t always smooth sailing, but toward the end of the year we were exactly where we had hoped to be.
We capped of the year with an appearance on Ring Of Honor TV, which was a nice reward for the work, but improving as a tag team and producing consistent work was far more important than any particular company.
There was plenty of highlights, spending a significant chunk of time on the road or travelling for shows. A whole new lifestyle in itself, as well as wrestling unique opponents every week. Reuniting with old friends from my Calgary stint and working for 14 different promotions in multiple cities kept things fresh. If I had to pick I’d say Winnipeg Pro Wrestling’s “Rumble in the Burt” show was the biggest (besides ROH) we did, excited to be back in Winnipeg for WPW next week.
All in all I tend not to look to the past too much, as there’s still plenty to do. I just debuted for SMASH wrestling last weekend and will be debuting for C4 on Friday night, two of Ontarios biggest and best promotions. But upon reflection, I’m pretty satisfied with 2023, made new friends, learned new tricks, and learned to, at least try, and get over in a new scene with new fans. Every match feels like the most important match of my life, because you never know if you’ll get another crack at it.
One last thing. Progressing in wrestling takes a lot of help, people vouching for you, trainers giving up their time, and promoters entrusting you with a spot on a card. Don’t take anything or anyone for granted. There’s too many to name but if you helped us last year, you know who you are and we will forever be grateful. If you’re back home watching along, please share our work and help us get some buzz. We proudly represent Australia and its wrestling scene.
Until next time, J Ward.