It’s been a massive few years for Australian professional wrestler Buddy Murphy. The last time the man formerly known as Matt Silva wrestled in Australia; it was a losing effort against Adam Brooks at Tullamarine Public Hall in Victoria. In August 2015, Buddy Murphy defended his NXT Tag Team Championship against The Vaudevillians in front of over 15,000 people at a sold out Barclays Centre in New York.
“Early 2013 was my last match in Australia, so it’s been almost four years. This will be my first time wrestling in Australia since then, which is so exciting” Murphy explains. “To wrestle on the big stage in front of my friends and family, I’m very excited for that”
NXT is a division of World Wrestling Entertainment; the Professional Wrestling juggernaut that brought you Hulk Hogan, John Cena, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnston. Based in Florida, NXT originally started as a feeder system for young wrestlers to learn the ropes; but exploded in popularity due to the influx of wrestlers from around the world and its show on the WWE Network (WWE’s Netflix-esque streaming service).
“When I first came into NXT in 2013, it was a developmental system. When we did shows around Florida we weren’t getting huge crowds like we are now, and we weren’t on the Network. We were wrestling in front friends and family, or 15-20 people” Murphy explained.
“Now every show we do, even in Florida, is a minimum of 400 people, and up to 3-5,000 people around the US. We are a third brand for the company now.”
NXT will be embarking on its biggest tour to date this December, as they come to Australia for the first time. NXT will be descending upon the Newcastle Entertainment Centre on Saturday December 10, which marks the first time a WWE event will be stopping in Newcastle since 2005. Murphy explains that the opportunity to wrestle on the other side of the planet has the NXT locker room fired up.
“Last December we went to England and toured around the UK, which was a huge success and a lot of fun; and it’s the same kind of feeling now, it feels like an early Christmas present for NXT” Murphy explained. “NXT is going to come to Australia and then New Zealand, and we are going to tear it down, and people are going to see why it’s the greatest entertainment in the world.”
There may be no better time for NXT to come to Australia, as the roster is currently filled with a lot of Australian wrestling talent. There is Buddy Murphy of course, but also the women’s tag team of Peyton Royce and Billie Kay, as well as Nick Thorn and Shane Miller – known as TM61 (a reference to Australia’s International call prefix)
“When I first came to NXT it was me and [Raw’s] Emma, and we were the only Australians. So we have picked up some more along the way, and they are fitting in great with the NXT family, and it shows that the future is bright for Australians in the WWE.”
Just passing his 3rd year in NXT, Buddy Murphy’s career in the company already looks bright. In the middle of 2014, he formed a tag team with American wrestler Wesley Blake. The team of Blake & Murphy were managed by Alexa Bliss, and in January 2015 they captured the NXT Tag Team Championships, making Buddy Murphy the first Australian to ever hold a championship within the WWE. It’s an accomplishment that means a lot to Murphy.
“It’s a huge honour. Whenever I do interviews or whatever, everyone asks that question, and it might sound cliché – but it really is an honour. It’s something that can’t be taken away from me, it’s set in the record books; Murphy was NXT Tag Team Champion. An honour is probably the best word to describe it. I literally held gold in the biggest Professional Wrestling company in the world, and there is a lot of people that don’t get the opportunity, or haven’t achieved such a milestone.”
“As for my former tag partner Wesley Blake…Y’know, we’ve had our issues as of late, so I don’t think in the near future I will be tagging with him to regain those titles…he’s gone and done his thing, and I have gone and done mine.”
Murphy has since moved on to working as a singles wrestler; getting one-on-0ne matches under his belt, and slowly climbing to an opportunity at the NXT Championship. In recent episodes of NXT, Murphy has been wrestling the likes of Kota Ibushi and Shinsuke Nakamura; two wrestlers who built a rabid cult following through years of wrestling in Japan – known for a style of wrestling that is equal parts brutal and intense.
“I knew of Nakamura from his work in Japan, and he is amazing. He just has this presence about him” said Murphy. “Being in the ring when he comes down for his entrance, with the violins and when he hits his pose as the lights drop, you can’t see it on television but I was looking down at the goosebumps on my arm, it was a very cool moment.”
But at the moment, all sights are set on NXT’s tour of Australia. Buddy Murphy will be wrestling in Australia for the first time in years, and he says that he experience of NXT is unlike anything else.
“You’re not just getting WWE, you’re getting NXT. Which is the hottest brand in Professional Wrestling at the moment, it’s going to be a show that is well worth the price of admission. You’re getting the greatest entertainment on the planet.”
What: WWE NXT LIVE
When: Saturday December 10
Where: Newcastle Entertainment Centre
If it's on in Newcastle, it's on Newcastle Live