Red Division: Rize vs. Kevin Stonebarger
Topic: Best Australian Wrestler Ever
When discussing the common commodity known as professional wrestling, most of the IWC immediately mention WWE, Impact Wrestling, or Ring of Honor. Despite international stars like Sin Cara or Alberto Del Rio debuting in the WWE, many fans remain in their comfort zone by viewing one of the big three.
Simply put, fans are accustom to American wrestling and are often hesitant to broadening their horizons.
Because of this, fans tend to miss out on some of the greatest pro wrestlers in the world. From KENTA to Akira Hokuto, the International wrestling scene is riddled with stars worthy of our attention. One particular country that is often overshadowed by the WWE and its competition is Australia.
Besides CM Punk’s homophobic slur, Nathan Jones, and Josh Taylor, Australia receives little, if any, attention from American wrestling fans.
Because of this, one of only two Australian wrestlers to ever make it big in America is easily forgotten.
Laurence Roy Heffernan is the greatest Australian wrestler of all time. Famous for being an original member of The Fabulous Kangaroos, Heffernan can be easily rivaled by his partner, Al Costello, as the greatest Australian wrestler of all time.
I could’ve easily gone with either man but Heffernan stood out to me. I’ll admit, it was difficult choosing between the two, but I had to choose the one who personified Australia and its wrestling heritage. I was forced to choose the man whose passion for wrestling and Australia shined brighter than the others.
In the end, Heffernan was still my choice.
Roy Heffernan was born and raised in Australia. Originally, Roy started out as a bodybuilder but dreamed of achieving his ultimate dream. He wanted to be a professional wrestler. In the 1940s, wrestling wasn’t as big a commodity as it is today.
It was difficult for American Wrestlers in the 40s.
Because of this, you can easily imagine the difficulty of pursuing a career in pro wrestling in Australia. Australian wrestling promoters stuck to the belief that to rise up the ranks, they would have to receive fame and proper training in North America.
However, Heffernan wouldn’t quit, as he wrestled in the lower cards for years. To be exact, Heffernan spent eight years chasing a near-impossible dream in Australia. Roy’s hard work and persistence finally paid off in 1953 when he left Australia for North America.
Personification of Australian Domination
When Heffernan started The Fabulous Kangaroos with Al Costello, they decided to utilize an Ultra Australian gimmick. Simply put, they used a number of things characteristic of Heffernan’s homeland.
From boomerangs to using a famous Australian ballad as their theme, the Kangaroos wanted every fan to know they were Australian and proud of it.
If this is unfamiliar, just observe their name.
The Fabulous Kangaroos
A kangaroo is one of the country’s national symbols. They’re important to Australian culture and its image.
In the end, their efforts worked as the Kangaroos spontaneously erupted crowds with their heel tactics. Once, the Kangaroos almost caused a riot in Madison Square Garden. They were pelted with fruit and forced promoters to play America's National Anthem.
Revolutionizing Tag Team wrestling
In the 1950s, tag team wrestling wasn’t as popular as it is today. The Fabulous Kangaroos (and a slew of others) popularized tag team wrestling. Like I stated above, the team's gimmick caused them to be a main attraction wherever they performed.
A notion to this would be the Kangaroos' swift rise up the ladder as they were working with top tag teams weeks after their debut.
In less than a decade, Heffernan won 18 tag team championships with Costello.
Roy won a total of 19 tag team Championships in his career.
Simply put, Heffernan lived for Tag Team wrestling. More than a decade after his death, Heffernan was inducted into the pro wrestling hall of fame with Costello. The Kangaroos also hold the distinction of being the first tag team to be inducted in the hall of fame.
A true Australian Hero
After almost a decade with Costello, Roy decided to return to Australia to wrestle. Heffernan left for Australia while Costello continued the Kangaroos in America. In case you don’t realize where I’m getting at, Roy left spontaneous success, a higher salary, and longstanding friendship behind just to wrestle in his homeland.
Heffernan finished his pro wrestling career the same place it began.
A forgotten legend
It was a privilege to explore Roy Heffernan and his strives to achieve his dream. Heffernan’s story is one filled with struggle, hard work, and reward of living a dream.
He and Al Costello set the example when it comes to tag team success. As he was pelted with fruit and stones, Heffernan likely felt the exhilarating feeling of success.
Despite all of the championships, crowd hatred, and success Heffernan achieved through his career, Heffernan wanted to finish out home.
In the end, Heffernan deserves the utmost respect for that.