Professional wrestling isn’t something that’s necessarily on everyone’s radar, but thanks to a few locally minded groups, the fringe sports entertainment product is on it’s way to mass popularity in WA.
New Horizons Professional Wrestling (NHPW) is a company which has been growing strong in the admittedly niche Perth wrestling scene for years now, with a recent spike in the popularity of both their big and spectacular shows, and their Armadale-based training sessions.
Bryan Bader – who wrestles under the name Heritor – said it’s been a gradual climb to give professional wrestling relevance in Perth, but there is now a strong and varied supporter base behind it.
“It’s been an interesting process, because wrestling is definitely not in the mainstream,” he said.
“It’s a very niche thing, mostly because it falls in between being a sport and being entertainment. It’s both of those things, but neither of those things at the same time; it’s really something you have to witness to understand.”
The south-east suburbs-based company has made a name for itself with a spate of recent big shows throughout Armadale, Success, Cockburn and surrounds, with a growing cadre of budding wrestlers now taking part.
“It’s really exciting to run something like the training sessions in Armadale, because you get a lot of kids along who are really passionate about wrestling and are really willing to take part,” Mr Bader said.
“But you also get a real mix of people coming along. The biggest priority for us is providing family entertainment, so that’s what we aim for.”
The sessions, held at the Armadale-based wrestling gym fondly know as the Slaughterhouse, have also seen a healthy amount of discussion and competition between young Armadale residents.
“We run them through everything, from grappling to taking bumps to runs, it gets pretty hectic,” Mr Bader said.
“Our head trainer was actually trained by the Wild Samoans, one of the most famous families in wrestling, so we’ve got a really strong context to what we’re doing as well.”
That idea is something Mr Bader and the rest of the Perth wrestling community – extending outside of NHPW to a number of other companies – take to heart as they try to break into a more mainstream audience at home.
That goal has taken them out of Armadale and across regional centres across the state.
“We’ve really found that more isolated and regional towns – towns where the youth might not have access to a lot of activities – have a lot more appeal for the show,” Mr Bader said.
“We’ve actually had calls from a couple of those towns to come by again.
“That tends to be the way it works – we stop by once, do a show at a gym or a school, and then we are regularly back to that same spot, because there’s such a strong demand.
“Wrestling might seem a bit out there to a lot of people, but form my experience once you try it, you’re hooked.”
New Horizons Pro Wrestling’s next event – a 20-Man Royal Rumble – will be held on June 30. Keep an eye on the New Horizons Pro Wrestling Facebook page for more information.