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Queenstown’s next pro wrestling show will be filmed for TV as the ‘sport’ increasingly gains a hold on New Zealand.

TVNZ Duke will film the sixth edition of ‘Queenstown WrestleFest’ on March 14, for screening around July.

It’s a coup for promoter Southern Pro Wrestling NZ, co-owned by Queenstown wrestler Marc ‘Hooligan Marcus Kool’ Perry.

TVNZ whet its appetite when it filmed SPW NZ’s ‘Southern Rumble’ in Invercargill last year, which attracted an NZ-record crowd of 1200-plus – it was viewed by more than 40,000 people and still gains views via the TVNZ OnDemand platform.

“I think the numbers were a lot better than what they expected,” Perry says.

He adds Duke was impressed when it saw footage from last year’s WrestleFest.

“Invercargill’s great but it’s not quite the vibe the Queenstown show brings, and because they’re after that edgier product, they thought this was the place to come and film next.”

The Southern Rumble show, plus a build-up mini-series, was the first pro wrestling to feature on NZ screens since the glory days of On the Mat, which finished 35 years earlier.

Capitalising on the demand, SPW NZ will put on a second Queenstown WrestleFest this year for the first time, in September, which Duke’s also keen to film.

And reflecting that interest, Perry’s in more demand than ever, with shows in Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland and Wellington before the next hometown one.

“It’s great, but it’s not great for the wife or kids.”

Though 32, Perry – a QLDC Sport & Recreation-sponsored athlete – says he’s never felt in better shape.

“I was really scared about getting a ‘dad bod’, so I went harder than normal to make sure it didn’t happen.”

As an extra goal, on the same day as the next WrestleFest he’ll also play football in the morning.

There’ll be about seven bouts, still to be confirmed, on March 14 – Hooligan’s likely to fight a high-profile Aussie wrestler.

Tickets for the Memorial Centre show – $25 a head – went on sale last week via eventfinda.

Meanwhile, Perry says he’s also hoping to start a local training academy this year.

scoop@scene.co.nz