New Zealand Women's Wrestling History
Women's wrestling in New Zealand had to wait until 1973 for Women's wrestling to become legal. The first scheduled match was between Monica Schumaker and Donna Collecutt but the police cancelled the permit for the girls to wrestle at the last minute.
The first official match then was sanctioned with police changing their policy and liberating women's wrestling n New Zealand. The two women who were to participate in the first officially sanctioned match were daughters of famous wrestlers. Linda Tyson (Tyson was a wrestling name only ) was the daughter of New Zealand wrestler and promoter Al Hobman. Her opponent for the match was Monica Schumaker daughter of Dutch professional wrestler Willen Schumaker. Monica was awarded the match.
In 1973 Sherrie Sinatra (from Melbourne) and Mona West (of Tasmania) were the first Australian Women to wrestle in New Zealand.
Steve Rickards from New Zealand was wrestling and helping co promote and he stated that he discovered Beverley Reynolds wrestling in Auckland and took her under his wing and trained her to create "Sabrina". Big Sabrina was a hit in both her home country of New Zealand and in Australia. In New Zealand the WCW show was called "Big Time Wrestling". When Barnett sold his business to Tony Kolonie in 1973, Rickards form New Zealand and his wrestlers parted ways with the change in direction for WCW. Steve Rickards went on to create a popular show on TV in New Zealand called "On the Mat". Although having helped both Sabrina and Tania Konnene (otherwise known as princess Tania) establish their careers Rickards was not a fan of women's wrestling. In his 1979 biography he wrote "I'll only put women on a wrestling card if the public demands it. Wrestling is for men."
Sabrina wrestled Sherri Sinatra in Australia in the mid 1970's in both singles and tag mixed matches. Her partner was often John Tolios or Chief Billy White Wolf.
In 1978 Sabrina discussed in a magazine article how the high entertainment taxes promoters now faced in New Zealand prevented importing international female wrestlers. Several local girls she mentioned that were in training were Miss Mystery, Little Jo, Princess Tahu, and Princess Bonita.
In the late 90's a New Zealand promoter decided to run a wrestling tour
in New Zealand using mainly Joshi Puroresu J'D Yoshimoto Pro wrestlers:
Japanese legend Bison, Mexican legend Ester Moreno and Mexican newcomer
Princess Branca as well as American Terri Powers. (later to become WWE's
Tori) Terri pulled out at the last minute and was replaced with American
wrestler Candi Devine. Bison was the stand out wrestler on the tour putting
on a great wrestling display but the promotion failed to draw crowds.