A look at NZ Dojo’s most senior member
After some months away, New Japan’s Australasian brand NJPW TAMASHII made its return earlier in August with Lion’s Den, the first in a series of intimate events designed to give New Zealand Dojo products reps in front of live crowds. With the second of those events coming up Saturday September 2 acting as a prelude to a one night return for TAMASHII proper in the Crowbar in Sydney September 15, Ite Lemalu delivers the latest of his focus pieces on Jordan Allan-Wright.
As one of the early students of the Fale Dojo intake, Jordan Allan Wright is among the first prospects of this system. Beginning his formal training in 2017, Wright trained directly under Bad Luck Fale.“Starting my journey at Fale Dojo was a huge eye-opening experience for me,” Wright recalled of his initial training. “Fale-San spent two weeks teaching me all the proper techniques. He was brutally honest with me, and rightfully so. Fale-San broke down every move, every facial expression, and how everything had to happen for a reason,” fundamental lessons such as this have continued to serve Wright well.
Wright’s aspirations were cemented after a trip to Japan. There, he was immersed in the culture while visiting his coach, Fale, in his element, competing inside the NJPW ring in the company’s biggest event on the wrestling calendar. “The Japanese culture has always fascinated me and being submerged in it for two weeks allowed me to appreciate it more,” he recalled of the life transformation that forever altered the course of his trajectory.
“I caught up with Fale-San in Tokyo during the week of Wrestle Kingdom 11, the atmosphere was incredible,” he explained as a student of this rare and up close account. “Seeing how the wrestlers were admired outside of the ring and how they responded with humility and gratitude really stuck with me. I was considering joining the army when I returned to NZ after my trip, but this changed everything. I found my calling, and all I wanted to do from then on was to keep coming to the Dojo to learn to be a better wrestler.”
Over the next several years, Wright served the Dojo wearing many hats: The role that he undertook with immense pride was that of a “Senior Senpai”. Wright’s unwavering generosity extended to the international prospects. Yuto Nakashima was one international student who benefitted from this support as Wright helped break the language barrier by applying some of the Japanese language that he knew to make his fellow Nakashima feel welcome.
Being one of the smallest in each intake that Wright was a part of did not deter him. Rather, he embraced his five foot eight stature with his love for Japanese strong style and striking. In addition, he developed his stocky physique to be fit for battle. Ready for the road ahead, Wright set his sights on wrestling the style of a Junior Heavyweight and winning the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.
In December 2019, at the Liger Down Under event in Sydney, Australia, Wright wrestled his first major match as part of the farewell tour for the retiring Jyushin Thunder Liger. A fitting opportunity for Wright, an aspiring Junior Heavyweight, to compete at the event that honoured a leader of this genre. “Wrestling on the Liger Down Under show was the most nervous I have ever been, it was a great experience,” Wright was clearly thrilled at being able to meet his hero. “Meeting Liger-San and witnessing one of his last matches was a highlight and further fueled my goal.”
In 2022, Wright was part of the inaugural New Japan TAMASHII tour. Competing in the opening match on both nights, he teamed with Shep Alexander, in Christchurch, NZ, facing defeat at the hands of Mark Tui, and Chris Miles. On the second night in Sydney, Wright competed in singles action, mauling his prey Matt Diamond into submission with sheer enjoyment, to the deafening disdain of the local crowd. “I was proud to wrestle at the first TAMASHII show,” Wright shared about his milestone. “The work and sacrifice that’s needed to pursue a career in professional wrestling was all worth it for this moment. You’re away from friends, family, and loved ones for long periods of time and it can play with you mentally if you let it. By coming to the NZ Dojo, you’ve taken the first step. Even though I was gutted that we lost in Christchurch, I didn’t lose focus. I reset and refocused for Sydney and came away with the win after battling a much faster and more agile opponent.”
Eight months on, Wright was featured in the main event of the first Lion’s Den Dojo showcase in Auckland. Teaming with Nikolai Anton Bell, the Senpai duo fought the team of Richard Mulu, the popular powerhouse, and veteran Tony Kozina, which culminated with Wright and Bell losing after a 15 minute hard-fought battle.“Fighting alongside Niko, against Tony-San and Rich-San was a tremendous feeling,” the “Senior Senpai” stated, he also could not forget the prospects from the 2023 June intake that he has helped lead. “I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our young lions that wrestled under us, all of whom made their TAMASHII debut.”
Wright has been present in witnessing Fale’s objective come to fruition. From its humble beginnings in a garage to its transformation into the NZ Dojo, that today trains many aspiring wrestlers from across the world that enables them to pursue a career in professional wrestling. “New Japan TAMASHII is the platform that showcases wrestlers from NZ and Australia to a global audience: This has been the basis of Fale-San’s vision all those years,” Wright, too is a product of that vision.
As the most senior of the Senpai, leading this new generation of Fale’s pride remains a key priority for Wright. His participation at the upcoming back to back Tamashii shows as well as his quest for Junior Heavyweight gold is likely the best example that he sets for the prospects. “My long-term goal has always to become the first New Zealand-born wrestler to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship,” Wright asserted in closing. “As I work towards this accomplishment, I will continue to give my all to help develop our young lions. I also look forward to competing at Lion’s Den 2 and making my way across the Tasman to wreak havoc once again in Sydney.”