WWE's run some notable events down in Australia in the past (Global Warning, the big tour in 1986), and beyond just visiting Down Under, they've also featured a number of Australian-born performers on their cards over the years. Today, Australia is well-represented through the WWE ranks, while it was admittedly a bit scarcer in years previous to see those Oceanic imports on company programming.
This list will be a bit of a timeline, exploring the representation that Australia has had on the WWE roster through the years. There are some iconic (literally) wrestlers on this list, as well as a few that have been lost to history. We're getting into the Super Show-Down spirit here at Cultaholic, and we continue the festiveness with this look at WWE's history of Australian wrestlers.
10. Nathan Jones
You can see why WWE would want to hire Jones, considering that from a physical standpoint, he made Brock Lesnar look like one of the neglected Cruiserweight division stars of the time. Standing 6'10" and weighing in at well over 300 pounds, Jones fine-tuned his physique by taking up powerlifting while incarcerated following the conviction for several armed robberies.
Jones' superhuman physique and lupine glare got him looks from the wrestling world, and in 2002, he was lured away from the short-lived World Wrestling All-Stars promotion and into the WWE fold. Vignettes that portrayed Jones as a well-read psychopath that had now been released into society were exceptionally well-done, but unfortunately, he couldn't back up the intriguing build. Jones' ring work was considered subpar, and he was even pulled from WrestleMania XIX due to his greenness. In December 2003, Jones quit the promotion, largely due to exhaustion from the heavy travel schedule.
9. Outback Jack
If nothing else, Outback Jack is at least memorable, immortalized in the form of a rubber LJN action figure. The chipper and cheerful brawler from the charmingly-named town of Humpty Doo was brought to WWE in 1986 in response to the spiking popularity of different forms of Australian culture (namely the Crocodile Dundee movies), and Jack's presence was meant to cash-in on the sudden Aussie craze in America.
Sadly, Jack wasn't much of a wrestler, and that's being charitable. His matches on old episodes of Prime Time Wrestling (available on WWE Network) demonstrate a very limited arsenal of basics, and perhaps the worst finishing move ever - The Boomerang. It would begin with him Clotheslining his opponent, waiting for them to stand back up, and then Clotheslining the back of their head, as though it were a boomerang whizzing back. By mid-1988, Jack left the company, as well as the business for the most part.
8. JC Ice
Ice has also been known as Jamie Dundee, the real-life son of "Superstar" Bill Dundee, and his runs with WWE were both quite brief. Primarily, the younger Dundee had been a fixture in the Memphis wrestling scene of the 1990s, where he would gain notoriety alongside partner Wolfie D as PG-13, a pair of obnoxious Caucasian rappers, with Ice's gravelly voice and boisterousness particularly standing out.
As far as time in WWE goes, the Sydney-born Dundee would initially pop up with Wolfie D in 1995, quickly built up for feeding to Tag Team Champions The Smoking Gunns. More than a year later, both PG-13 members played the role of genuflecting emcees for Faarooq and The Nation of Domination, singing the group down to the ring in its infancy.
7. The Fabulous Kangaroos
Technically, only Roy Heffernan was an Australian by birth, having come into this world in Lithgow, New South Wales. Partner Al Costello was born in Italy, though his family emigrated to Australia when he was six years old. Nonetheless, no list of Australian wrestlers for any and all promotions is complete without The Kangaroos. Together, backed by manager "Wild" Red Berry, Costello and Heffernan are considered among the greatest tag teams in wrestling history and are credited with popularizing tag team wrestling.
Through their near decade-long run of dominance, Costello and Heffernan held the NWA United States tag team gold (later the WWWF US Tag Team belts, so they count, OK?!) on three occasions, including a mammoth 409-day reign from November 1960 to January 1962. With their bush hats and boomerangs, along with their "Waltzing Matilda" entrance music, The Fabulous Kangaroos left a mark on audiences wherever they worked. Posthumously, Costello and Heffernan were the first tag team inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2003.
Seems like just yesterday that Emma was entertaining the Full Sail crowds with her dancing and her admirable technical wrestling acumen. Sadly, the notable Lance Storm trainee was unable to build much of a head of steam on the main roster, despite earning praise for her icier heel persona that should later cultivate during a return to NXT in 2015.
Her would-be makeover into the glamorous bombshell known as Emmalina spanned a series of endless re-ran vignettes in 2016-17, only for the end result to be a great big nothing-burger, before resuming life in her prior heel persona. The Melbourne-billed Emma could always return to WWE down the line, as she continues to make waves in places such as Ring of Honor under her given name of Tenille Dashwood.
5. Buddy Murphy
Another Melbourne native, Murphy will receive a shot at the WWE Cruiserweight Championship in his own backyard at Super Show-Down, challenging Cedric Alexander. His matches with Kalisto and Mustafa Ali on 205 Live over the spring turned many heads, revealing the former Dubstep Cowboy to be a gifted athlete that was just made for a show centred on aerodynamic wrestling.
Murphy's first taste of gold under the WWE banner came out of nowhere, when he and Wesley Blake upset The Lucha Dragons for the NXT Tag Team gold in early-2015. Together, the pair would enjoy a seven-month reign with the belts before being felled by The Vaudevillains. Now getting the opportunity to wrestle for WWE gold in front of tens of thousands of his countrymen, life is grand for Murphy (being engaged to Alexa Bliss doesn't hurt, either).
4. Nia Jax
Although Jax was raised in Honolulu, she was in fact born in Sydney, Australia, which would give her the distinction of being the first Australian-born wrestler to win a championship at any WrestleMania. Jax wouldn't take up professional wrestling until she began nearing her 30th birthday, at which time she signed with WWE and was assigned to the company's Performance Center.
Since then, Jax has been portrayed as a brutish force of nature along the lines of Rhonda Singh and Aja Kong, as well as a sympathetic figure during her feud with Alexa Bliss this past spring. Jax will also be the answer to a trivia question years down the line, as she will go down as the first ever singles opponent in a WWE ring of Ronda Rousey.
3. The IIconics
In the fall of 2016, Peyton Royce and Billie Kay were brought together to fulfil their shared destiny - to make the collective skin of the world crawl through their annoying banter and shrieking tones. They're really good at that, aren't they? Both had extensive wrestling experience prior to taking to the WWE ring, with both women enjoying extensive runs through Pro Wrestling Alliance Australia and Shimmer, among other companies.
Both were part of the same incoming NXT class in April 2015, and would officially form what was then known as The Iconic Duo more than a year an a half later. The two Sydney natives debuted on the SmackDown Live brand just after WrestleMania 34, attacking then Women's Champion Charlotte to facilitate her loss to briefcase-holder Carmella.
2. The Mighty
They've been called The Mighty Don't Kneel, as well as TM-61, but today the former Mikey Nicholls and Shane Haste (Nick Miller and Shane Thorne) get by as simply, The Mighty. For nearly a decade, Miller and Thorne have travelled the globe, winning Pro Wrestling NOAH's Global Honored Crown Tag Team titles on two occasions, and have made stops in ROH, TNA, and New Japan.
The Perth-based duo popped up in NXT in the spring of 2016 at TM-61, losing to DIY in their first televised bout. Since then, Miller and Thorne have found traction a bit hard to come by, especially after Thorne missed eight months of action in 2017 following knee surgery. They officially adopted the name The Mighty this past June, and continue to work in NXT.
1. Rhea Ripley
The inaugural NXT UK Women's Champion defeated fellow Oceania-born grappler Toni Storm to win the belt in August, and figures to be a key component to the launch of the new brand. Though Ripley only has five years of in-ring experience under her belt, she's amassed a good chunk of experience from her travels around the globe, wrestling on multiple continents, including extensively touring Japan in the spring of 2015.
Born in Adelaide, Ripley competed in both Mae Young Classics to date, and made her debut on the actual NXT brand in October 2017. Though only in her early-twenties, Ripley has combined cultured athleticism with her acquired experience to make an enormous splash at just 21 years of age.