Unfortunately at one period of time, wrestling had suffered a huge decline in popularity within the country of New Zealand.
The 1980s saw the sport fall behind many others with the nation’s people, although there were a number of wrestlers who managed to achieve some success when they were abroad, wrestling for some rather big professional companies and attracting new audiences.
Nonetheless, the sport of wrestling in New Zealand would go full circle as it has started to boom once again, with a handful of wrestling promotions having been in existence since the 2000s; however, there have been some promotions that have since failed to remain within the industry.
To help try and boost the overall appeal of the sport within the small country, there have been a number of televised bouts from some of the biggest wrestling promotions from the United States; with each having reintroduced wrestling back into the limelight for many Kiwis, with many having looked to bet on the action taking place in the ring when they have a Leo Vegas welcome offer available to use.
For example, one of the earliest matches that was hosted in the country from another promotion was the “champion vs. champion” match that was between NWA World Heavyweight Champion, Jeff Jarrett, and Sting as they unified Australia’s WWA World Heavyweight Championship in Auckland.
Following on from that event, many became interested in what wrestling could provide the country, whilst the WWE also saw an opportunity for themselves to get a slice of the pie that this previously untapped share of the market would be able to provide them.
In 2006, the WWE decided to hold their first ever live event tour in New Zealand on 4 March at the Westpac Stadium. The match was part of the WWE Smackdown Road to WrestleMania 22 Tour, as they looked to promote their upcoming main event.
The main event on the night of this tour was a triple threat match that featured Kurt Angle, the Undertaker and Mark Henry, with each men competing for the World Heavyweight Championship that was on the line. The match would end up with the Undertaker winning via a disqualification after Mark Henry hit him with a steel chair as he was about to put Kurt Angle through his Tombstone Piledriver finisher.
As a result, Angle would keep hold of his World Heavyweight Championship, whilst both men would then go on to beat up the World’s Strongest Man after the bell had been rung.
Following that tour, there have since been subsequent tours over a sporadic period of time, although it could be argued that Europe has the bigger fan base, which is why there have been so few to have taken place.