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I have been a professional wrestler for over 5 years, and I love everything about it: the fans, the locker room, the stories, the moves, the bonding, and the history. It’s not just wrestling to me; its so much more. It’s who I am. With that being said, this blog is about a question myself and every other professional wrestler is asked hundreds of times: “Where can I train to be a wrestler?” It's not really an annoying question nor is it one that I hate to answer like the famous “Is wrestling fake?” question that I despise.
However, the answer that I give never seems to be the answer the person wants to hear. I will confess that sometimes I will be lazy and send them the name of a few wrestling schools or other contacts I know about just to blow them off. That’s why I am writing this blog. My hope is to explain why I tend to ignore the question and why I don’t always show excitement in helping people who want to become a “professional wrestler.”
|The brotherhood of wrestling|
People who want to wrestle need to understand professional wrestling is not WWE. Yes, we all love WWE and want to get there, but what we do on a weekly basis is not WWE. It is not fancy or glamorous, and it doesn’t have jumbotrons with entrance music and videos, story lines, tour busses, fancy locker rooms, 4 star hotels, huge crowds, big pay days, t-shirts, and it’s definitely not going to make you famous. Chances are you will never even set foot in a WWE ring or become a famous star.
|Catching a chair|
Ask yourself these questions, "What would I be training for, and why do it?" If you can’t answer, then you probably shouldn’t even start. Wrestling isn’t just “indy wrestling,” it's not just WWE, it's not just “strong style,” and it’s not just “hardcore style.” Those are just names. Wrestling is a bond between brothers, an art form, and it’s something that I love and hold close to my heart. Wrestling is only 30 fans in a hot gym on a Friday night, it is driving 3 hours to a show and possibly making only $30, it is sitting at a wrestling venue for 6 hours on a Saturday, it is setting up a ring and chairs, it is little tiny dressing room where there isn’t enough room to sit down, it’s not being able to walk on Monday, and it’s literally putting your life in the hands of someone else.
I would never discourage anybody who loves wrestling to not give it a shot. Being a professional wrestler is one of the best things I have ever done in my life. I loved it growing up, and I love it now. I’m sure you love it as well. I just want you to know exactly what it is you love. Do you love the story lines, the surprise cash-ins, the surprise appearances, the back stage segments or do you love the matches? Do you get excited for the 20-minute mid-card TV matches that are just golden? Do you get excited to see the mid-card tag match or pre-main squash match?
It’s simple, my neighbor is a great guy who loves wrestling. We talked about Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels the other day. That doesn’t mean he would make a great wrestler. He has never heard nor seen any of ROH, Evolve, OVW, SICW, USA Championship Wrestling or basically anything other than WWE. Have you heard of those? Have you sat and watched anything other than WWE? Have you searched Youtube for matches from an Indy show in Tennessee?
If not, that’s ok. What do you do? You go find a place that is running a show and ask them if you can come help set up the ring and work security. You will know in the first hour of a show if you want to be in this business. That’s my advice; that’s my long answer. Don’t get in this business and disrespect it by not loving it. Professional wrestling is one big family, and our family doesn’t take kindly to guys disrespecting what we do. So if you just want to hit a bunch of finishing moves you saw on TV this is not the thing for you. But if you want to learn an art and respect the history of that art then jump in with both feet to the best business in the world.
Editor's note: Heath Hatton has wrestled for several independent companies around the midwest. He also had a handicap match as "Jay Hatton" with "Aaron Relic" against Ryback at the WWE pay-per-view Extreme Rules in 2012.