Interview Highlights- Robbie Eagles On The Growth Of PWA, NJPW, Wrestling At The Roundhouse & More
By Mick Robson
This week, Piers Austin (@PiersAustin, @STSUNCENSORED) sat down with Robbie Eagles on Shooting The Shit Uncensored to discuss all things PWA (Pro Wrestling Australia), the growth of the Australian wrestling scene, and how Eagles' career has soared (sorry) in recent years. Here are some of the highlights:
Wrestling At The UNSW Roundhouse
"It was fairly nerve-wracking for everyone, myself included. Such a special venue for me: the last time I was there- New Japan Pro Wrestling- I changed from Bullet Club to Chaos. In the main event with Will Ospreay, Jay White, Fale, Tanahashi, Okada... It doesn't get bigger than that, but arguably, Friday night felt like a bigger deal, because it was all on us. The proudest night of my life."
"I think we killed it, everyone from top to bottom, Production, staff, rookies, wrestlers, a special shout-out to Sam at the merch desk."
Training To Become A Pro Wrestler
"I thought I knew the correct movements, but I was self-taught [in backyard wrestling]. That's very hard to change that, from a body control perspective. Unless you're like a crazy gymnast or been doing all kinds of sports."
"I went in with that attitude of knowing nothing. I went through and made sure anything of me on YouTube was deleted. I kept [my backyard past] under wraps. Luckily, everyone was cool with it because I had the right attitude."
"It was either the first or second session I did where Madison Eagles said, 'Are you sure you haven't done this anywhere else?'"
"Plateaus come to anyone in training, you gotta find a way to overcome it- I've seen it in pretty much anyone on the PWA roster, Matty Wahlberg (Grayson Waller), Ricky South. I can relate to people on that level. That was definitely a hindrance."
"I had my first match after 2 months. Because of where Australian wrestling was, I could get away with it, but I felt like I didn't have the right knack, the right headspace for this."
"Through a lot of the networking I've done, a lot of people are involved in PWA. Andrew Rose and Kris Gale, from meeting them in the Triple M studios, it's just blossomed. If there was a dream team for a PWA show, Rose, Gale and Kevin Kelly."
Will Ospreay at PWA Black Label- "It was offered to PWA for him to have a match- I'm unselfish, but I need to have that match. This match and the match with Adam Brooks was the catalyst for Australian wrestling to really grow to what it is right now. Will was such a spokesperson, he would go out of his way to get on the mic, he really put eyes on us. He was screaming, "hey, look at what Australia's doing, because you're gonna miss out."
New Japan Pro Wrestling- "I kinda just wedged my foot in the door as soon as it opened. Ospreay said he would do whatever he could to help me out. I made sure I was at all the seminars- even flew to the Fale Dojo in New Zealand for less than 24 hours. Started talking to NJPW in mid 2018. Bullet Club with the Sniper of the Skies felt like the perfect fit. 2019, they wanted to sign me to a full time deal- the day after I quit my full-time job."
"Most events were happening in community centres and RSLs. It was kinda bleak, I guess... your high numbers were 100, 200."
"Liverpool Masonic Centre was a very special place for PWA. I remember watching Luke Watts and Ryan Eagles and it blew my mind. By 2011, we were packing 350-400 in this little hall, but some of the best shows I've ever been part of happened there. By the end of it, I remember the last ever show, I got to main event that."
"Now, PWA's at the Factory Theatre, Liberty Hall (Max Watts), The Roundhouse. I remember seeing Parkway Drive play and being at the same venue for PWA, being backstage where Parkway Drive would have been... 15 year old Robbie was smiling ear to ear... I made it."
"I always said we needed to be at the entertainment hubs... the places people would flock to. We were giving stadium-sized performances in community halls. As soon as you're there on the big stages, people say 'you're f**king legit'."
"I got a list of dream venues I want to be at- the Big Top at Luna Park- I wanna get wrestling back to the Hordern Pavillion... I know that's a shared goal with the family at PWA."
"It's not fair that to be a full-time professional wrestler, you have to move overseas... any other profession, you don't have to do that. I want to bring eyes back here to Australia so people can make it their full-time living."
Robbie Eagles is a great ambassador for Australian wrestling. He proudly waves that flag, whether it be here or overseas in New Japan Pro Wrestling. What really struck me during this interview is his determination- his goals may seem lofty or even unrealistic to those on the outside looking in, but to see how PWA has grown as a company in the last 5 years, it's come leaps and bounds, so anything is possible. Piers Austin did a great job as the interview host, adding his own experiences at the right times, but largely letting Robbie do his thing, as it was clearly a subject that he's extremely passionate about. The interview absolutely flew by- about an hour in total, but felt like about 15 minutes!