One of the best things in professional wrestling is being rewarded for following characters and paying attention to their progression, and for this article I wanted to talk about one of the most compelling long-term stories I’ve seen in wrestling these past few years: the story of Jack Edwards and his journey through Perth-based independent promotion Explosive Pro Wrestling (EPW). He went from an inexperienced comedy bad guy (heel) to one of the most beloved good guys (face) in the company in the first four years of his career.
Jack Edwards was introduced to EPW at Hot Summer’s Night 2017 as part of the entourage for “The Child Star” Taylor King. Specifically, he held up signs to announce the Taylor King Show. As I was watching this segment back I was struck by just how much he understands his own character, thanks to one simple thing: he frequently held the sign upside down. This shows his character’s inexperience and gives Taylor King some fuel to berate him for his incompetence. It’s little details like these that really shows how committed Edwards is to his performance. Generally it’s the big moments you remember in wrestling, but little ones like these are what gets the audience to buy into you. By showing that you care enough to do these things, the audience will start to care about you.
Five months later at Evolution 2017 he would become a regular part of Taylor King’s entrances, frequently tagging together with King, and interfering in his singles matches. This era of his character also included him holding up Applause and Quiet signs and failing to do kip-ups. He was joined by fellow new wrestler Tipene [Tea-puh-nay] and together they formed the TK Taskforce: a mutually beneficial relationship between King and his cronies that gave King some backup to help him cheat and win his matches, and gave Edwards & Tipene some on-camera and occasional in-ring experience as they slowly became more familiar to the EPW audience.
A big turning point came at Goldrush 2019, where Taylor King had an in-ring freakout and disappeared from EPW shows for a while. He returned as part of the cult of Tyler Jacobs, who claimed he could get King back on the path to stability with his teachings of following “the light”. This was a pivotal moment for Edwards, as he & Tipene were not only without their leader but also seeing their friend go down a dangerous and alienating path. This all came to a head at EPW’s biggest show of the year, Reawakening 18, where Edwards & Tipene reinvented themselves as a legitimate tag team to take on Taylor King & Tyler Jacobs in a tag team match. Their Avengers-inspired entrance is everything it needed to be: cathartic, funny, and dramatic in that special only-in-wrestling kind of way.
This match and the victory at the following show brought the group, now just “The Taskforce”, back together in the culmination of a months-long storyline that was among EPW’s best since I started watching their product. The catharsis and relief of seeing them reunite was a genuinely special moment that really rewarded people for getting invested. It was the emotional payoff this story needed. And best of all, Edwards finally managed a proper kip-up.
While this storyline was mostly about Taylor King, Jack Edwards was an integral part of it. Tipene’s character is enigmatic and a man of few words, so Edwards did a lot of the talking and emotional heavy lifting here. He made it clear that Taylor King was not just the leader of their stable but also a mentor and a friend, and losing him to a cult was devastating. This storyline started with Edwards as a goofy and cowardly newbie, and ended this storyline as a confident (but no less goofy) legitimate wrestler and one of the most beloved performers on the EPW roster.
The crowning moment for Edwards came at Out Of The Ashes 2021, EPW’s big return show following their absence during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a great night of wrestling, but the emotional high point of the show was The Taskforce, represented by Edwards and King, taking on The Plague, represented by Twitch and Aaron Hawk, for the EPW Tag Team Championships. It was a fantastically fun match that saw The Taskforce winning the belts and Edwards getting his second winning pin in a big match.
One thing I really appreciate about Jack Edwards is how he has kept his comedy consistent throughout his character development. When someone transitions into main-event level talent, you often see that they become very serious and no-nonsense. That’s not necessarily a bad thing on principle, but it happens so often that it’s getting a bit old. Edwards, meanwhile, hasn’t stopped being funny, even after winning the EPW Tag Team Championships. He takes his matches seriously but as a character he’s still the same goofball we all fell in love with so many years ago. Keeping that aspect of his personality consistent makes him more believable as a character.
As far as I’m concerned, the sky’s the limit for Jack Edwards: he’s only been wrestling since 2017 and he’s already this good. His in-ring work is still developing but he’s already very solid. Moreover his character work is among the best in EPW, and I feel like that’s because he really understands how important the details are. His ongoing attempts to do a proper kip-up and finally absolutely nailing it during a major match is the exact attention to detail that shows a powerful dedication to storytelling and an excellent understanding of how to convey a character in wrestling. I have no doubts that he can be a major name not just in EPW, but maybe even all of Australia. If everyone in EPW’s next generation of talent is as promising as Jack Edwards, the company is in good hands.
If this is something you’d be interested in watching, EPW has a Vimeo page with all of their events.
You can find Jack Edwards on Twitter here.