In my limited exposure to Joshi Twitter; one of the main themes I saw in response to the 2019 Stardom 5 Star Grand Prix line-up were variations of the question: “Who is Avary?”
This article is an attempt to answer that question for a worldwide audience. To followers of Australian Wrestling, Avary should be a known quantity. She was my personal choice for Breakout Star of 2018 in the Australian region and throughout 2019 her star power has continued to rise. Over the past year, Avary has gone from being seen as primarily a valet to being one of Melbourne City Wrestling’s headline acts.
Unlike much of the rest of Australia’s female talent, Avary hasn’t had exposure on the US Women’s Indy circuit to build her name internationally. She was actually currently planned to be on an excursion to the UK, but unfortunately suffered an injury in her last Australian match before her departure. This upcoming tour with Stardom will be the first real opportunity for a worldwide audience to see Avary in action.
I first saw Avary in person at last year’s Global Conflict tournament put on by Western Australia’s New Horizons Pro Wrestling. One of the main things that struck me was that despite her relative inexperience (she was only about two years in at the time); Avary had a firm grasp on how to project her character and charisma to a live audience. Throughout the past year, there has also been a noticeable increase in the quality of her in-ring skills. She hasn’t just skated by on charisma.
Avary debuted in 2016, however, it was when she was paired up with the team of Mitch Waterman and Nick Bury in The Brat Pack that she first started to get attention. Avary served as the brains behind the pair of goonish Australian Football jocks; playing an integral role in their feuds with Krackerjack and Lochy Hendricks and Syd Parker and Erika Reid. I would describe her gimmick with The Brat Pack as being a combination of evil cheerleader/succubus. She was often portrayed as the difference maker for the team. There’s an argument to be made that the psychic damage Avary inflicted on Lochy Hendricks was the catalyst for his transformation into the obnoxious Loverboy character.
One of the interesting things about Avary as a performer is the way that she incorporates sexuality into her work. I’m going to get a bit pretentious and dip into feminist film theory here; it comes off like Avary is aware of the male-gaze of the camera but rarely ends up being objectified. She weaponizes the male-gaze rather than being subjected by it. With Avary, it always feels like she’s in control of her portrayal and is able to use her attractiveness for heat or sympathy depending on what role she is playing. In a 2018 profile for Bronco Busters, Avary addressed the issue of the power relationship between herself and the audience: ‘When I’m in the ring, I’ve got the power. You might think, “Oh, you’re not wearing much so you’re not worth much”. Honey, you’re watching ME wrestle. I’m in control of everything I do.’ To me, it feels like Avary is a performer with a level of self-awareness of how to utilize her looks in a way to control audience reactions. It’s the sort of skill that I think will prove to be useful in an Idol-focused promotion like Stardom.
Over the end of 2018 and the start of 2019, Avary organically turned babyface in MCW (she had already played this role in promotions like Underworld Wrestling). Ring announcer Lord Andy Coyne now proclaims her as ‘The self-declared Biggest Mess You’ve Ever Seen’. I’d describe babyface Avary as being similar to a more serious take on Session Moth Martina’s gimmick (whom she faced in the main event of MCW’s Brewery Brawl show). She’s an unpredictable hot mess who is sympathetic because of her flaws. Her willingness to go all-out and put her own body on the line further endears her to the audience.
The part 2 that no one asked for ?
— Avary (@avary_tbp) April 22, 2019
Avary’s break-out match in 2018 was her contest against an Australian international star in Toni Storm. Their match at Melbourne City Wrestling’s Ballroom Brawl demonstrated a new level of intensity in her in-ring work. In my opinion, it was the strongest of the matches that Storm had on her short homecoming tour in 2018. It was also the first time I saw Avary break out her top-rope dropkick. (The accompanying gif is from her October 2018 match against Lena Kross, another very good match where unfortunately the footage isn’t publicly available).
— Women’s Wrestling GIFs (@WomensWresGIFs) June 13, 2019
Throughout the second half of 2018, Avary was focused on a feud with MCW’s most established female wrestler, Kellyanne. The two women were able to sell genuine hatred in their confrontations at a level above what most of the rest of Australian wrestlers can accomplish. Their match at New Horizons 2018 is well worth checking out, as it really established Avary as one of MCW’s top female stars.
This feud transitioned to including fellow Melbourne stand-out talent Indi Hartwell, with all three women competing to be the top female star of the promotion. The build culminated in a wild brawl to end MCW’s first GIRL show of the year; with Avary jumping off the balcony of the hipster bar they run these shows in to take down both her rivals. The feud culminated with a Triple Threat at this year’s MCW Clash of the Titans.
Avary’s other major MCW matches of 2019 have seen her face the aforementioned Session Moth Martina in a wild, gimmicky brawl that involved both women falling off shipping containers and drinking a lot of beer as well as my favorite of Millie McKenzie’s matches on her Australian tour.
The other promotion where Avary has been a star over the past two years is Underworld Wrestling. People who followed my reviews of the promotion’s first season would know that I highlighted Avary as being the most consistently impressive performer on the roster. On the first Underworld show; Avary had the stand-out match of the night against then-champion Erika Reid. The highlight of the match being a spot where Avary sticks a screwdriver into Erika Reid’s earlobe (which was blatantly stolen by Randy Orton and Jeff Hardy for their Hell in a Cell).
Her title match with Vixsin (who broke Avary into the business) on Underworld Episode 6 was, in my opinion, the best championship match of the promotion’s first season. One of the highlights of Avary’s work in Underworld is that it showcased her ability as a Hardcore brawler.
The last match I have to recommend is the wild Kiss My Arse match between Avary and Loverboy Lochy Hendricks from the latest WrestleRock show. It was a rollicking example of sports-entertainment with an ending that I’m not going to spoil here. Avary is the white-hot babyface against a truly loathsome villain in the form of Loverboy Lochy Hendricks.
— Aussie Wrestling GIFs (@AusWresGIFs) May 11, 2019
To me, Avary is one of the absolute top prospects in Australian wrestling. I think Stardom has proven to be ahead of the curve in booking her. Avary could fit well into either Oedo Tai or Tokyo Cyber Squad and I could see her becoming a regular Stardom gaijin if she impresses in this tournament. The catchphrase on Avary’s merchandise is ‘Never Settle for Vanilla’ and I look forward to seeing the flavor she brings to the 5 Star Grand Prix.