There’s not just one way to learn or train for professional wrestling
Years ago, there wasn’t a wrestling school on every corner. There might have been a couple different promotions in one town with one being the dominant office and the others considered “outlaws.” The outlaws are now called “Independents.”
The outlaws would watch the dominant promotions TV and try to copy what they saw. Kind of like some of the independents do today…
There are some talented individuals on the indys. There’s the “This is awesome” and “Holy sh**” chants due to the death-defying spots and moves that seem to validate some performer’s existence. The usual comments most green indy wrestlers will hear is “slow down, tell a story and less is more.”
Stars like CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and others on the WWE roster cut their teeth on the independent scene. It’s a tremendous training ground for many up and coming pros. But unless you’re a proven commodity, you’re not going to make a lot of money. Daniel Bryan may love wrestling so much so that he would wrestle in armories the rest of his life if he gets fired. And that’s fine with him.
A majority of us got into professional wrestling for the love of the game. There does come a time when you have to decide if you can live solely off wrestling or do you need something else to supplement your income…
There seems to be a wrestling school or promotion on every corner in every town these days. A lot of guys who set up schools and “train” kids need to be trained themselves! Too many times a kid will want to wrestle and the local indy promoter will put him on their event and charge him to “train” maybe 30 minutes in the ring before a show.
I believe the best way to learn is getting in the ring with more experienced people and get experience. The catch-22 is there are not a lot of experienced guys out there working independents who know what they’re doing, hence they are teaching their bad habits to the next generation and when they stick around their area and never travel beyond, nobody gets better!
I don’t believe professional wrestling is like any other sport or form of entertainment. It’s a hybrid of many things and it has so many intangibles that you can’t always predict what will happen next.
One of the things I felt stood out about developmental was the liberty to try something new and after a certain amount of time if it didn’t work, you moved on to something else. Also, working in a warehouse environment motivated many to want to “get the hell outta here and get on the main roster!”
Pro wrestling was not meant to be a sanitized sport. I understand the need for change but ask yourself how mavericks like Terry Funk, Roddy Piper, Bruiser Brody and yes, Ric Flair would’ve grown and thrived in such a clean, sanitized version of professional wrestling…Sports Entertainment is a different animal, but you can’t escape the fact that the foundation and fundamentals are derived from pro wrestling.
The fundamentals and basics are the same but you can’t teach ‘style’
Trying to teach everyone how to take a bump like Harley Race is ridiculous and it stifles creativity. Harley was a machine and he took those bumps in a unique way to separate himself from the pack. Then you have someone demanding you can “only bump THIS way or it’s wrong!??”
No. This is a business about individuals. A simple headlock takeover can be done a couple different ways. The way I teach is a basic step through with the left foot, put your hip into your opponent and take him over. Your opponent’s left arm can slide in front OR go behind…
As long as it’s safe for both people and it doesn’t look like crap, I prefer talent to find their own style. Some need more guidance than others. But there’s very few absolutes in my opinion.
To say “THIS IS THE ONLY WAY AND THAT’S IT” is ludacris and just plain WRONG. Yeah, to claim there’s only ONE way to do something in this business is WRONG! Sure you can try and emulate moves but there has to be a twist or spin on it that makes it uniquely you and not a carbon copy.
I can’t stress how important the referee is to a match. There has to be authority and the contestants have to respect that authority.
But the referee has to understand what he’s doing as well! He must have a steady count. It’s up to the guys in the ring to get their shoulders up and not get counted out. I don’t care if it’s in front of 100 or 100,000 people; the referee has to be consistent in his actions. A slow or bad count can kill anything you built during the match.
I understand that a lot of guys on the indy scene have never been trained or trained half ass by someone who never made a living in professional wrestling. The “trainer” merely watched TV, bought a ring and said he “rassled under a mask as The Intern, Medic, Mr. X, etc…”
One guy here in east Tennessee is telling guys he “trained” that he was The Patriot in WWE! Yeah…he was The Patriot who worked with Brett Hart for a couple months!!
Uh, no, he wasn’t… Del Wilkes was that Patriot. The other guy telling kids around here he’s The Patriot is a liar. Too many people get conned because they want to live the dream. By the time they figure out they’ve been deceived the dream is shattered.
I have no problem with people who want to wrestle as a hobby. But wouldn’t you at least take some pride in the shows you run or appear on and make them better? Why would anyone want to ‘rassle’ in front of 10-30 people (and I’m being generous here) for little or no money?
While there’s not just one way to teach or train, there’s plenty of wrong ways. Every era has their stars and favorites. It’s not fair to compare.
There’s no YouTube video of Jim Londos to match against Stone Cold Steve Austin. But in their respective eras they were the top guys unmatched by their peers. They had a distinct style. They still had to walk and lock up in the ring. Collar and elbow. That has pretty much remained unchanged through the years…
Jack Brisco threw a helluva arm drag that made him unique. Not everyone could do or take it. Others could execute an arm drag but Jack had his own unique style.
Then along came Ricky Steamboat who emulated Jack’s arm drag and made it his. He put just enough spin on it to make it his own.
The business isn’t what it used to be and there’s still some out there who want to play rassler for whatever reason. Others are looking to make their way to WWE and think the local flea market is the only road to take.
It’s one road. But not the only path.
Professional wrestling is all opinion. You have yours. I have mine. This blog is just one man’s opinion. You don’t have to agree with it and god knows a lot of people won’t…
Thanks for reading.