All my life I’ve wanted to be a wrestler. Ever since the Ultimate Warrior burst into my life on an episode of WWF Superstars back in 1987, I wanted to be a wrestler. The glitz, the glamour, the adulation from the fans, even the women like Miss Elizabeth (and as I got older it would change to Sunny, Trish and Lita), I wanted it all.
I had known about wrestling for a good few years before that episode of Superstars. Here in the UK, in the mid 1980’s, wrestling was covered by a show called World Of Sport. It aired on a Saturday afternoon and showed all sports from horse racing, to athletics, and obviously wrestling, but I only ever watched it to get my wrestling fix.
British wrestling was decidedly different from it’s American counterpart. There were always two falls to a finish, there were no loud rock music entrances, and the women were mainly pensioners, egging on the talent and wanting more violence!
The British wrestlers themselves were nothing like the Americans. Portly, sometimes hugely overweight older guys, or stringy bean youngsters. The action was always very slow and technical (not the way to grab a 10 year old’s attention), and the only time “business picked up” was when Giant Haystacks (number one bad guy) or Big Daddy (number one good guy) entered the ring.
Comparing the Brit style at that time to the American style was like comparing chalk and cheese.
Now, when I saw that episode of Superstars one Sunday morning on Sky One, seeing a whole new style, the adrenaline pumping action, I knew it was THAT kind of wrestling that I wanted to get into. So I went out of my way to immerse myself in that culture, but again this was 1987 and the internet wasn’t available, I lived in the UK, so I had to do with imported editions of WWF Magazine from my local Geerings (kinda like a regional corner shop). My pocket money/allowance was spent each and every month on buying these magazines and reading up as much as I could.
Slowly and surely I learnt more and more by watching as many shows and PPV’s as I could. I would go to school and show my friends how to do snap suplexs, DDT’s, I even did Davey Boy’s Running Powerslam once in my PE lesson that resulted in being suspended for a week (it was on a crash mat and my friend did tell me to do it). But I didn’t care, I lived and breathed wrestling.
When SummerSlam 1992 arrived at these shores, the demand for wrestling was at fever pitch. It was around this time that I was desperately looking for a way to get trained. I was looking in the Yellow Pages, I even sent a letter (old school huh?) to Stamford, CT asking WWF if they knew of anyone in or around my area that could help! I didn’t receive a reply, and I never did find out if there was anyone that could train me.
I began to let go of my dream as it felt like that I just couldn’t find the elusive training school. I stopped watching wrestling in general for a few years too because I was just too upset that I couldn’t be able to get a foothold in the industry I loved.
Fast forward twenty years, and wrestling is booming here in Blighty. There are countless promotions up and down the country (if you have read my news reports, you know I’m a huge advocate for them all and always promoted them when I could), and with those promotions come in house training seminars and even schools.
I am lucky enough to be within 15 miles of one said school. A very new and up and coming promotion started not long ago, SEW or South East Wrestling. They have a few shows under their belt (they run a show every few months or so) and have a very loyal fan base. Six weeks ago, through their Facebook page, they announced that they would be holding a training school, every Sunday morning 8am-12pm. When I read their post, inside I was jumping up and down for joy. All my birthdays and Xmas’s were rolled up into one joyous wrestling bundle! I told all my friends about the school, I told my kids that one day soon they’ll be seeing their Dad in a ring laying some candy ass fool out, I told my wife that in a few short weeks she would have a buff husband to show off to all her friends……..And then reality hit me like a Boot Of Doom to the face.
I’m an out of shape 38 year old dude that has definitely seen better days, a body that has a few Pirelli tires around the middle, and the lung capacity of an gnat thanks to my asthma. How the hell would I cope with the warm up, let alone in-ring training?
To their credit, all my family and friends rallied around me and told me, in no uncertain terms, that I should do it. That if I didn’t at least try then I would be regretting it for the rest of my life. And they were right, I had to do it. I had to do it for the 12 year old me that went above and beyond in trying to find out if the possibility of training could have been a reality.
So I did it, I went and signed up to the school. Along with one of my best buddies Dan (who has had prior wrestling experience, and trained with Zack Sabre Jr. among others), we joined the SEW Wrestling Academy.
And this? This is my written journal on my road to training to be a professional wrestler and maybe, just maybe wrestle one match in front of a live crowd.
Over the coming weeks I’ll be writing and posting about my training, how I’m feeling both mentally and physically, what my family and friends think, all in my own dry, witty and sarcastic style you’ve all grown to love……hopefully!
There could possibly be some pictures of myself (I apologise now for the state of me in some of the pictures, early Sunday mornings are not good for me) and the guys at the Academy to help illustrate how hard every single person trains. It’s one thing me writing this down and another seeing proof of it too.
I’m under no illusions, for a young 18 yr old this is going to be tough. For a grown man (some may say otherwise) this is going to be an arduous challenge. But I’ll tell all you loyal TJR readers the same thing I told my family and friends……I got this!