Whitlock replicated his form which won Australia the World Cup of Darts as he completed a 6-2 victory over Wade in his first appearance on home soil since 2019.
The Aussie's mother, Sue, was in the crowd to see him play for the first time in his career. The Wizard was clearly inspired as he powered to a 4-0 lead.
Wade eventually opened his account with a 124 finish and soon halved the deficit. Nevertheless, Whitlock powered to victory and closed out the win with a 13-darter.
"Honestly, this means more to me than a lot of things because my mum was here to watch me play for the first time ever," reflected an emotional Whitlock.
"To see the look on her face when I won, I was like 'yeah that's it'."
Earlier in the day, New Zealand qualifier Haupai Puha secured his first victory on the World Series stage with an impressive 6-2 win over world number seven Jonny Clayton.
Queenslander Gordon Mathers made it three wins for the Oceanic qualifiers with a 6-3 defeat of Fallon Sherrock.
The home stars were close to enjoying further success in Townsville, as Whitlock's World Cup partner Heta lost out in a thriller to world number one Gerwyn Price.
The Iceman lived up to his name as he showed great composure and produced an 11-darter to gain some semblance of revenge for Wales' World Cup of Darts defeat to Australia in Frankfurt.
Van Gerwen also survived a scare in his opener, scraping home against Western Australia's Bailey Marsh, who impressed on his televised debut.
Masters champion Joe Cullen produced the performance of the night on his debut Down Under, whitewashing Sydney's Dave Marland 6-0.
US Darts Masters champion Michael Smith was also in fine form, closing out a 6-0 success against big stage debutant Joe Comito.
Earlier in the night, Dimitri Van den Bergh began his bid for a third consecutive World Series crown with a resounding 6-2 victory over Koha Kokiri.
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-2 Koha Kokiri
Joe Cullen 6-0 Dave Marland
Haupai Puha 6-2 Jonny Clayton
Gordon Mathers 6-3 Fallon Sherrock
Simon Whitlock 6-2 James Wade
Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Bailey Marsh
Gerwyn Price 6-5 Damon Heta
Michael Smith 6-0 Joe Comito
Dimitri Van Den Bergh vs Joe Cullen
Michael van Gerwen vs Haupai Puha
Michael Smith vs Gordon Mathers
Simon Whitlock vs Gerwyn Price