Welcome to the Wavell Starr column!

This edition, I am going to talk about one of the questions that I am asked the most. I get asked almost weekly “how do I get into pro wrestling?” My answer may not be the one that most would expect.

For nine people out of 10 that ask, my answer is – don’t get into the wrestling business. Most people would not be willing make the sacrifices necessary to get anything more out of the business than a sore back. For the majority, I would recommend getting a degree, finding gainful employment, and making the best life that they can for their family. The hours are long, the time away from loved ones is non-stop, and the long-term physical effects on your body are immense. Of the numerous injuries I have had, chronic back and neck pain are the most considerable and impact my life on a daily basis. If you are in this to feel like a rock star, you will not make it.

Having said that, there are of course some select individuals that really are “meant to be in the business”. I am one of these individuals. I believed that when I first started living my dream and I still believe that to this very day. So, for the one person out of the dozens that ask that “may” have what it takes to give it a go in the wrestling industry, I offer the following three points to consider right off the bat, before prematurely ordering your boots, coming up with a gimmick name and starting a Facebook fan page:

  1. If you’re not in shape, you have to get in shape. Wrestling takes not only a very high level of physical ability and tolerance to pain, but you have to look good. The business is about drawing profit, utilizing imagery and no one wants to pay money to see skinny or out of shape guys fight. They can see that any given weekend at their local night club for free. That is not to say that all wrestlers have to look like action figures, but you definitely have to have a marketable look that makes you stand out in a crowd. If you can’t do this, you are of no value to a promoter and will therefore not be successful in finding work.
  2. Like any other occupation, you need formal training. Anyone can teach you how to run the ropes or throw a hip toss, but you need a qualified trainer with established contacts in the business to get you work. I received my formal training from the Hart Brothers Pro Wrestling Academy in Calgary, and had no problems finding work due to the combination of where I received my formal training and the fact that I was in shape. I later received what I describe as similar to a “post-graduate degree” from Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) which was a WWE Developmental territory at the time. Having the Hart Brothers and OVW on my resume has gotten me a lot of work. Do the research and find a reputable trainer and then go train, even if that means leaving home. You will eventually have to leave home if you start working dates anyways.
  3. You need a driver’s license and a reliable vehicle. Early in my career I was booked a lot due to the fact that I had a vehicle. If you need to be picked up, you are costing yourself work. It baffles my mind when I try to help out younger wrestlers by referring them for work and they ultimately fall short due to not being able to get to the venue unless someone picks them up. Really? How do you get to your job now? Does your employer make arrangements to ensure that you can make it to work? Sure, some employers have these arrangements and support systems in place, but you will not be accommodated in the pro wrestling business. Get your license. Get a vehicle.

These are the things that you need to address before even thinking of getting into the business. There are a lot of other factors that come into place as you advance in your career, but without these three elements, you won’t even get out of the starting blocks and would be better off looking for a different career. Wrestling is not a very “touchy feely” business. It is a cold business that only select individuals can survive and thrive in, but to the minority that are a good fit, the business can offer a unique lifestyle that has a different adventure every day.

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