Indie Watch is our regular series that looks at all of the amazing talents working the independent circuits around the world. Some are veterans revitalizing their careers, some are indie prospects hitting their peaks, while others are names to be on the watch for! This edition looks at an Australian star who is currently touring throughout Europe, AJ Istria.
Whilst many people often look to Sydney and Melbourne when they first discover Australian wrestling, one other state is quietly churning out top quality talent. For a number of years now, South Australia has been an incubator for some of Australia’s top stars, most notably recent NXT acquisition Jonah Rock.
The next breakout prospect from South Australia which the world should be keeping their eyes on is the current Wrestle Rampage Australian National Champion, ‘Punch-Drunk’ AJ Istria. As a former gymnast, it is somewhat surprising that Istria doesn’t rely on aerial abilities within the squared circle. Despite processing the ability to match it with the world’s best high-flyers Istria is better known for his technical submission style.
Like many of the wrestlers coming out of South Australia Istria was initially trained by current WWE Performance centre coach Hartley Jackson. Following his training with Jackson though Istria has since gone on to train and wrestle in Japan for ZERO-1 and Pro Wrestling NOAH. Istria has trained briefly at the famed Inoki Dojo in Los Angeles.
Thought his career Istria has faced a plethora of notable opponents such as; Mark Davis, Jonah Rock, Shane Haste, Cody Hall, Kenou, Adam Brooks, Matt Riddle, Elliot Sexton and Tajiri. Istria has also fought alongside WWE Cruiserweight Classic participant Damien Slater.
In 2017 Istria’s match against Jonah Rock was named the Wrestle Rampage Match Of The Year. Since then Istria has become an even bigger star within Australia and is now branching out internationally, having competed for wXw at AMBITION 10 during the 16 Carat Gold Tournament weekend.