by Stephen Von Slagle
International Wrestling Alliance/World Championship Wrestling (a.k.a. “Australia”)
Jim Barnett (1964-1974)
Johnny Doyle (1964-1969)
Tony Kolonie (1974-1978)
STATES & PRIMARY CITIES:
New South Wales (Sydney, New Castle, Illawarra)
South Australia (Adelaide)
West Australia (Perth, Rockingham)
Queensland (Brisbane, Townsville)
Victoria (Melbourne, Ballarat, Shepparton)
IWA World Heavyweight title (1964-1971)
IWA World Tag Team title (1966-1971)
NWA World Heavyweight title (1971-1978)
NWA Austra-Asian Heavyweight title (1971–1978)
NWA Austra-Asian Tag Team title (1971–1978)
For one solid decade, during the years spanning 1964 through 1974, Jim Barnett and Johnny Doyle’s Australian-based World Championship Wrestling promotion was arguably the most profitable territory in the world. At the same time, for the wrestlers who worked there it was undoubtedly the highest-paying promotion in the profession during this era and a spot on the WCW roster was a much-coveted position. As a result, the group attracted premier talent from around the globe and Australian wrestling fans were witness to the biggest roster of stars and the highest quality of in-ring action to be found during the time period. When Barnett and his business partner Johnny Doyle began promoting there in 1964, their WCW did so under the banner of its own sanctioning body, the International Wrestling Alliance. Even after Barnett’s application for membership into the National Wrestling Alliance was approved in 1969, the promotion continued to recognize the IWA World Heavyweight and IWA World Tag Team championships. However, that changed in 1971 when Barnett’s group began to officially promote NWA sanctioned titles exclusively.
In addition to offering exciting matches that featured top-level talent from around the world, Barnett and Doyle’s promotion benefited greatly from the exposure it received via the Nine Network, which broadcasted WCW’s highly-rated television program nationwide every Saturday and Sunday afternoon on TCN-9 (Sydney) and GTV-9 (Melbourne). So popular was the promotion that Barnett and Doyle eventually booked their wrestlers for tours of neighboring countries in Southeast Asia, such as Hong Kong and Singapore.
Still, all good things must come to an end. On October 9, 1969, Johnny Doyle lost a battle with cancer and passed away at the age of 60. Despite the loss of his longtime business partner, Jim Barnett carried on and his promotion continued to flourish. However, changes in Australian tax laws eventually created a situation wherein his business ventures there would soon become far less profitable. Meanwhile, his position as the NWA’s Executive Secretary and the duties that came from being the Chief Executive Officer of Mid-South Sports (the parent company of the Atlanta booking office, which was involved in a fierce promotional war with Ann Gunkel’s All-South Wrestling Alliance at the time) required his full-time presence back in the U.S. After a decade of running the most successful professional wrestling company in the history of the country, Barnett left Australia in 1974, sold his World Championship Wrestling promotion to Tony Kolonie and returned home to the States. Unfortunately, following Barnett’s departure (as well as the subsequent loss of the top American talent that he and Doyle had featured there) professional wrestling in Australia experienced a decline in popularity. Finally, in 1978, WCW lost its national television coverage and, without it, had no choice but to cease operations.