The Oceanic continent has produced some extraordinary wrestlers over the years. There are the Samoan dynasties such as the Anoa’i family, which has given us the likes of Rikishi, The Usos, Umaga and even Yokozuna, who was not the Japanese character he portrayed.
Oh, and then there are some guys called The Rock and Roman Reigns, who also have Samoan heritage.
Rhea Ripley is another Oceanic talent in the WWE, hailing from Adelaide in Australia, but one country that isn’t talked about in terms of producing in-ring stars is New Zealand.
Land of the Long White Cloud
Although there are fewer Kiwis that have made the grade in professional wrestling than Samoans, some famous faces in the WWE and the independent circuit have come from New Zealand.
The sport is popular with fans there, with the inaugural Smackdown Road to Wrestlemania event in Wellington back in 2006 drawing 23,000 spectators. Weekly WWE shows continue to air in New Zealand, while the legal sports betting industry even allows people to wager on the major PPVs like the Royal Rumble and Summerslam. You can get your bonus code for bet365 in NZ, a bookmaker that offers odds for many different TV shows and ‘special’ markets, if you want to bet on Reigns and co.
So who are the most famous wrestlers from New Zealand?
Starting out life as The Kiwis, Bob Miller and Luke Williams would later become known famously for their ‘Bushwhackers’ gimmick in the WWE back in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
They became a comedic double act under the WWE umbrella, despite being renowned for their aggression and heavy-hitting matches in New Zealand and a number of independent organizations in the United States.
The Bushwhackers would enjoy a couple of tag team championship title shots without winning the gold, although they would later be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2015.
Bad Luck Fale
Simi Taitoko Fale, better known by his ‘bad luck’ moniker, has enjoyed more than ten years on the roster at New Japan Pro-Wrestling.
He’s a former IWGP Intercontinental champion, but perhaps his most famous days in professional wrestling have come as Rogue General of the Bullet Club – just months before they were joined by The Young Bucks and Doc Gallows.
Fale set up his own wrestling school in Auckland, with a handful of his alumni later being signed by NJPW.
One of Fale’s proteges is Jay White, the Kiwi who spent his formative years in NJPW before being signed by AEW.
White is another former Bullet Club member who would go on to win the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. In April, it was confirmed that he would be joining AEW, where he may rekindle an old rivalry with Kenny Omega.
— Switchblade Jay White (@JayWhiteNZ) April 6, 2023
Back in the 1970s, the WWE was known as World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF), and it was there that Tony Garea would establish himself as an outstanding tag team wrestler.
He would partner with the legendary likes of Larry Zbyzsko and Rick Martel, enjoying five different reigns as a tag team champion.
Younger viewers may remember Garea’s cameo at Vengeance: Night of Champions in 2007, where he and Martel came to the aid of Sgt. Slaughter and Jimmy Snuka.
So even though they can’t compete with Samoa as a producer of top Oceanic wrestling talent, there’s still been plenty of New Zealanders that have graced the biggest stages in the sport.