Editors Note: At original time of publishing (5:19PM AEDT on November 17 2021) this article stated that the promotion had yet to add the Code of Conduct to their website. At around 6PM Rhi Bell said she would be posting that this week. Now, as of 9:40PM the same day, the Code of Conduct has been added to the website and this article and as such any references to the Code not being published have been removed.
Mikey Jay and Criss Fresh, the duo most notable for their roles in Melbourne City Wrestling as Director and Head of Creative respectively, are starting a brand new national professional wrestling promotion in Australia, with the assistance of Australian touring and event promoter Destroy All Lines. This promotion will be named “Renegades of Wrestling” and is touted to feature talent from across Australia and the world starting in 2022.
On October 18 2021, the company released a Press Release on their website announcing the new promotion, which stated the following:
[MELBOURNE, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA] – Showcasing Australia’s finest wrestlers with a mix of international talent, introducing new national wrestling promotion, RENEGADES OF WRESTLING.
In association with Destroy All Lines, Renegades of Wrestling aims to inspire and excite all pro wrestling fans all over the country. Shows will commence in early 2022.
Leading Renegades of Wrestling are Criss Fresh and Mikey Jay.
Criss Fresh has worked in wrestling for over 20 years both as a performer and behind the scenes. He has worked in creative teams in Australia’s biggest wrestling promotions such as NWE, Crown Casino’s All Star Wrestling and Wrestlerock. He was the Head of Creative at Melbourne City Wrestling from late 2013 until the end of 2019.
“I’m feeling electric about forming Renegades of Wrestling. Australia has always been an amazing breeding ground for professional wrestlers, and I cannot wait to work with the amazing established talent our country has to offer and help develop some of the future stars. You mix that with some of the brightest stars internationally and I feel this is going the be the beginning of something very special.” says Criss.
Mikey Jay has almost 20 years of experience in wrestling, working as a producer and promoter for over a dozen promotions nationwide. His most notable role was the Director of Melbourne City Wrestling for a decade from its beginning until 2020. Mikey also operates Australian Wrestling Network.
“I am excited to be a part of a promotion that has such a passionate team, all working to create a platform that Australian wrestling has been building towards for many years now. The goal and vision are to combine Australia’s best with the rest of the world. We feel that Renegades of Wrestling will be the missing piece of the puzzle to really show the world just how good professional wrestling is in this country.” says Mikey.
Renegades of Wrestling is also associated with Australia’s largest independent touring & event promoter – Destroy All Lines. Established in 2003, Destroy All Lines have promoted hundreds of events including Good Things Festival, Full Tilt Festival, as well as promoted the 2018 New Japan Pro Wrestling Australian tour. They have also promoted successful tours of wrestling legends including Bruce Prichard and Eric Bischoff.
Talent announcements will begin from Thursday 21 October.
After posting this press release, Renegades of Wrestling started posting information about talent they will be working with. So far, Loverboy Lochy Hendricks, Avary, Mat Diamond, Royce Chambers, Tarlee and Caveman Ugg have been announced. With a talent roster who have been everywhere from local titans MCW & PWA, to at one point big US independent staples like CHIKARA and popular Japanese promotions like STARDOM and DDT, it will be interesting to see what kind of a roster continues to develop.
In addition to this talent roster, Renegades of Wrestling have also brought Rhi Bell on as there Head of Socials, Community & Engagement.
In the wake of 2020’s Speaking Out movement, I personally feel that it is important to look into how promotions plan to address conduct, especially in an often behind the times Australian scene. This lead me to check their website for details. They have a Code of Conduct page on their website, as well as a section devoted to their mission and values, which state:
Code of Conduct
Individuals of all cultures, genders, and sexualities attend our events to enjoy the wrestling matches and the stories being told. Our responsibility is to foster a community and build a culture of acceptance, accountability, and transparency. We embrace “Everyone is welcome” as our way of life.
As members of the Renegades of Wrestling Organisation (RoW), we all have a role to play in ensuring the sustained positive environment of fans, performers, staff, and guests. We lead by example and embrace our values.
This document is designed to outline the expectations of everyone attending or involved with Renegades of Wrestling shows and methods for addressing any future concerns.
Renegades of Wrestling Staff and Management acknowledge the code of conduct and the acceptable workplace behaviours by signing an acknowledgement form.
Renegades of Wrestling Community acknowledge the expected behaviours when they purchase a ticket to Renegades of Wrestling events.
RENEGADES OF WRESTLING Staff – Any person working with Renegades of Wrestling. This includes roster members, front of house staff, back of house staff, trainees and visiting talent.
RENEGADES OF WRESTLING Management – Promoter, Company Directors and Head of Social, Community & Engagement.
RENEGADES OF WRESTLING Community – Renegades of Wrestling Staff, Renegades of Wrestling Management and Renegades of Wrestling Fans.
To make a complaint or report about any of the behaviours listed under this policy, or to lodge a grievance, please reach out to Head of Social, Engagement & Community, Rhi Bell (firstname.lastname@example.org) or email our information inbox, email@example.com.
If any member of the RoW Staff or Community is hurt or injured at a show, it is to be reported to RoW Management immediately for the incident to be documented.
Each complaint/grievance is investigated in conjunction with RoW Management and is managed confidentially. In the event of a serious matter, the incident may be referred to the authorities.
All members of Renegades of Wrestling Management, Staff and Community have a responsibility in creating a safe work environment, which is critical to the success of our company.
We ask that everyone treat each other the way that they would like to be treated.
RoW Community members are encouraged to approach RoW Management if they have a grievance with the company, RoW staff, or fellow fans. We want to lead with our values in hand, and RoW management values honest and open conversation in the hopes of resolving any issue before it escalates.
Health and Safety
For the health and safety of everyone, members of the RoW Community are not to enter the ring or breach the ring barricades without permission or throw trash or anything else at staff at the ringside area. Doing so may result in subsequent banning from future shows.
As we want an environment for everyone, we ask that you be mindful of anyone’s accessibility needs – so please sit in your assigned seating, do not block ramps, or exits as they may be required for those in need. Please be respectful.
RoW Community are not permitted entry to our shows under the influence of illicit, non-prescription drugs or medication. We encourage the responsible consumption of alcohol and will refuse service to any patron that appears intoxicated.
If a piece of equipment is found to be broken or have a fault, it is to be reported to RoW Management immediately to be investigated.
RoW has a strict anti-bullying policy. This means all members of the RoW Staff or Community are not to repeatedly and/or intentionally use words or actions to cause distress and harm to another person’s wellbeing or health and safety.
This is not limited to face-to-face; but also includes cyberbullying which is using technology (internet or a mobile phone) to hurt, harass, or embarrass someone repeatedly.
If you are a bystander to this behaviour, you are encouraged to speak up and seek advice from Head of Social, Engagement & Community, Rhi Bell (firstname.lastname@example.org) or in person at shows.
Our priority is to maintain a safe, transparent, and fun environment for all to enjoy.
No member of the RoW Community, Staff or Management is to harass, degrade, or vilify any other person. This may take the form of unwanted messages, physical engagements, etc.
If a member of the Renegades of Wrestling Community is being harassed by any member of the Staff or fellow fan, Renegades of Wrestling Management reserves the right to remove the harasser; whether that be their ticket declared null & void without a refund, ejection from the show, or staff removal from shows.
For any questions, please reach out to the Head of Social, Engagement & Community Manager, Rhi Bell (email@example.com).
Sexual Misconduct / Sexual Harassment
Renegades of Wrestling has a zero-tolerance policy towards allegations of sexual misconduct or harassment against any member of the Renegades of Wrestling Management, Staff or Community.
Sexual misconduct is defined as any sexual act or behaviour that a person does not consent to.
Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature which a reasonable person would expect would make a person feel offended, humiliated, or intimidated. This can be verbal, non-verbal, written, graphic or physical.
If a Renegades of Wrestling Community member has a complaint of this nature, they are to report it via the incident report guidelines from which it will be investigated confidentially and, where necessary, be referred to the correct authorities.
There is no place in our industry for this behaviour, and we will ensure that Renegades of Wrestling remains a safe, open space.
COVID Safe Policy
In accordance with Victoria’s Roadmap issued by the Chief Health Officer, all people in the venue (Staff, Management & Community) must be fully vaccinated for the event to go ahead.
Proof of vaccination will be required and collected at the door by RoW Staff. Failure to produce valid documentation will result in refusal of entry to the venue, with no refunds on any tickets already purchased
The current mask guidelines at any given time are to be followed by everyone as per the Victorian Government, Chief Health Officer, and mandatory QR code check-in to the venue.
There may be additional guidelines added depending on the venue or state COVID Safe Policy and Risk Assessment procedures at any given time.
Definitions sought from the Work Safe Victoria, Australian Human Rights Commissionhttps://renegadesofwrestling.com/code-of-conduct/
To put on incredible shows that inspire and excite pro wrestling fans from all over the country.
We do this by elevating talent across Australia and providing them with a platform that showcases what they do best in the squared circle.
We Work Safely – Safety for everyone is paramount. This goes for talent within the ring, members of our community that sit behind the barricade and staff that work front-of-house and at the merchandise desk. We work at a standard to put the safety of others at the forefront of what we do.
We Are Honest & Open – We work honestly and with transparency. We may not get it right every time, but we are honest about what we are doing and open about how we are getting there.
We Take Ownership – We lead by example. Accountability on behalf of every member of Renegades of Wrestling management and staff is important. We’re accountable for our own actions. Mistakes happen, but it’s important that we take ownership of these, so we grow as individuals and as a team.
We Work Together – Renegades of Wrestling prides itself on diversity and inclusion of all cultures in our company. We work together to encourage and champion each other, to respect what each other does. We are working toward accomplishing a common goal, and to embrace the joy that provides our communityhttps://renegadesofwrestling.com/our-mission-values/
As you can see, both their Code of Conduct and values are very comprehensive and apply to a variety of situations that could take place at a wrestling show. I am hopeful that these will be as effective in practice as they seem to be in writing.
Mikey and Criss appeared on the November 11 episode of the On the Turnbuckle podcast to discuss their new promotion, although at this time I have not listened to it. I will do a write-up of the key information from that podcast after I have had the chance to listen to it.