Aussies Abroad: Toni Storm’s Slamming Success and MITB Turmoil

This week saw major wins and heartfelt losses for Aussie wrestlers abroad

Since the Aussie wave hit the pro wrestling world with The Fabulous Kangaroos Roy Heffernan and AICostello, the Australian wrestlers of today are seeing more success overseas than ever before. With current top wrestling stars like Rhea Ripley beginning her career with local indies like Riot City Wrestling (RCW), and their former Grand Championship holder Delta Brady also set for the states, the future of pro wrestling for up-and-coming Aussies is looking more promising by the day.

My name’s Imogen (Immy) and you can find me at any local wrestling show in Adelaide at any time of the week. I’ve been working in journalism for a number of years, but have decided to take my out-of-hours wrestling addiction to PWDownUnder to chat all things PW abroad every week. With ‘Aussies Abroad’, I’ll be shining a spotlight on the Australians who are making it big overseas, following along with their storylines and journeys through respective brands. We’ll be following current stars like WWE’s Rhea Ripley, Bronson Reed, Grayson Waller, Indi Hartwell and NXT’s Duke Hudson, as well as traveling across the world through promotions like AEW, NJPW, and TNA.

Let’s get started with the massive AEW tag-team action with TMDK’s Shane Haste and Robbie Eagles defeated by Orange Cassidy and Ishii in a fast-paced match at AEW Collision. Despite the TMDK representatives landing some hard blows by the 100kg Ishii, it was a massive beach break by Cassidy that saw Eagles out for the fatal three count. The match started strong as the opener for Collision, with Eagles eventually able to take a dive on Cassidy with a top con hiro before TMDK proved their tag abilities by double-stomping him in the ring. It was a lariat delt by Ishii though which signaled the end for the Aussie pair and gave way to Cassidy to take the win.

Although it’s coming up on nine months since AEW fans last saw Aussie Open’s Mark Davis and Kyle Fletcher in action together after a broken wrist saw Davis out of action, Fletcher has been picking up wins. Fletcher was able to get a win over the ‘SNAKEMAN’ Serpentico on the AEW X NJPW Forbidden Door: Zero Hour show. Fletcher dominated throughout the match with the crowd chanting, “Aussie Aussie Aussie, oi oi oi” before he hit a deadly tombstone piledriver, followed by a brainbuster on the rope buckle, leading to an easy three-count win for the Aussie.

Forbidden Door saw some surprising moments, but none better than the New Zealand-Australia icon Toni Storm’s square-off against Mina Shirakawa with the Women’s World Title on the line. Storm hit a massive backstabber and bridging fisherman suplex after being caught by Shirakawa in a Brett Hart figure 4 around the ring post. After taking some hits against the ring steps, a grueling figure 4, and a mean DDT from Shirakawa, Storm hit a big-release German suplex. After surviving Shirakawa’s signature driver, Storm hits her finisher for the win. The match didn’t end there though, with the tension between Storm, Shirakawa, and Mariah May, who has found herself caught between the two, finally dissipating when the three came together in-ring after the match. The three shared a sneaky three-way kiss, which garnered one of the biggest pops of the night.

Ripley’s absence in WWE has been felt hard by both fans and the locker room alike, but the Aussie reputation is being kept strong by the local talent spread across all three brands. Although South Aus’ Bronson Reed just missed out on a shot at this year’s Money in the Bank, the ‘big meat’ giant held out strong for his triple threat match against Chad Gable and Braun Strowman. An attack against Strowman by The Judgment Day saw Gable hitting a moonsault and defeating Reed for his spot in Money in the Bank.

Indi Hartwell also saw no luck at gaining a spot for Money in the Bank, with the recently returned Jade Cargill costing her their qualifying match for Money in the Bank after Hartwell interfered in her Triple Threat Match last month.

This week’s Smackdown saw Grayson Waller also hit a wall of bad luck, losing his tag team title shared with Austin Theory to the team of DIY’s Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa. The A-Town Down Under duo made multiple attempts to save the match but were ultimately defeated on their second title defence. The lead-up to the conflict saw an online squabble with Waller responding to the notion he is ‘untrustworthy’ by putting Ciampa’s historic betrayal of Gargano on blast. Grayson hasn’t been taking the loss well, tweeting on Saturday his embarrassment of losing the belts in front of WWE Hall of Famer Trish Stratus.

In the world of NXT, Australia’s Duke Hudson is teaming up with Chase U’s Andre Chase for a shot at the NXT Tag Titles at NXT Heatwave airing tomorrow (Monday). Hudson previously won Tag Team Turmoil in June after defeating New Catch Republic’s Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne, which earned him a spot to challenge Axiom and Nathan Frazer for the gold.

Meanwhile, in TNA, Melbourne-born Steph De Lander seems to still be dealing with her somewhat unsettling secret admirer PCO. The duo’s in-ring date was recently rudely interrupted by the revenge-seeking First Class, who sent De Lander through the dinner table. How will this affect the pair’s Adam family romance? We can’t wait to find out.

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