In a report from PWInsider on Saturday, it appears that WWE has signed two of the top stars of the Australian independent scene in Matty Wahlberg and Steph De Lander. Steph De Lander was part of the WWE Tryout in London, England in June of 2019 at the United Kingdom Performance Center and according to some reports, was intended to join WWE in early 2020 before the Covid pandemic halted international travel.
Steph De Lander has been wrestling since 2017, after training with Australian legend Madison Eagles. She started out with Pro Wrestling Alliance (PWA, now PWA Black Label), originally wearing a mask and known as FaceBrooke. She would go on to work multiple Australian indies, including Newcastle Pro (Newy Pro), Melbourne City Wrestling (MCW), New Horizon Pro Wrestling (NHPW), Venom Pro Wrestling (VPW), and others. In only a year into her career, she began to make excursions to the US indie scene, debuting with RISE Wrestling in April of 2018, followed by working with SHIMMER, IWA Mid-South, Black Label Pro, and others. In early 2019, she removed her mask and rebranded as Steph De Lander, going on to capture the VPW Women’s Championship, MCW Women’s Championship, and the Newy Pro Women’s Championship.
Matty Wahlberg is another trainee of Madison Eagles (as well as New Japan’s Robbie Eagles) who also began his career in 2017. Over his career he has wrestled for PWA Black Label, Wrestling GO!, Newy Pro, Explosive Pro Wrestling (EPW), International Wrestling Australia (IWA), Future Wrestling Australia (FWA), and others, capturing the Newy Pro Middleweight Championship, Wrestling GO! Silver Medal Championship, and FWA Heavyweight title. Wahlberg recently appeared on the second episode of Young Rock, the new sitcom based on the life of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, portraying Ric Flair.
The two additions, apparently signed for the NXT brand, is a continuing movement that has seen many talents from the Ocean indie scene boom of the past several years that has seen their indie stars head off to major companies. Over the past few years, WWE has added Australian & New Zealand stars like Toni Storm, Rhea Ripley, Bronson Reed (Jonah Rock), Brendan Vink, Indie Hartwell, and others, while Robbie Eagles and Gino Gambino work for NJPW. Ring of Honor signed the trio of Adam Brooks, Kellyanne, and Slex, and Shazza McKenzie was beginning to find work with All Elite Wrestling just before Covid hit.
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