ALEX SHANE`S GUIDE TO PRO WRESTLNG

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ALEX SHANE`S GUIDE TO PRO WRESTLNG
ALEX SHANE’S
GUIDE TO PRO
WRESTLNG
© 2009 Alex Shane
The views and opinions expressed in this book are solely those of the author and
not those of WWE, TNA, Ring Of Honor or any other wrestling promotion, promoter
or company. No part of this book may be reproduced in whole or in part without
the express written consent of the author. Alex Shane accepts no responsibility for
inaccuracies or complaints arising from the editorial in this book.
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This book is dedicated to
Dino Scarlo
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W
ithout Dino Scarlo, there would be no Alex Shane.
There would have been no British Wrestling Revival
and there would have been no FWA. Mark Sloan my
have founded it, I may have spear headed it but Dino was
the Yoda of the entire thing. However many of you reading
this who are familiar with FWA, Revival or myself likely don’t
know of Dino. So why is this? The reason is because those
people who make the real changes in our world both good
and bad, without the trappings of ego, often do them from
the shadows. Even to this day, as evolved as I have lead myself into thinking I was, ego is still my largest driving force be
it consciously or otherwise. Dino, despite what he may think
privately, is the epitome of the premise of a man who does
what he does for the excitement of change not the gratification of his own self image.
As a young man, who had no real respect for authority and
to be honest men in general, Dino took me under his wing.
He had faith in me that I never had in myself and to be honest despite the pressure that such faith in me should have
instilled, he never made me feel it. He knew exactly what to
say to a skinny little teenager to aid in his transformation
into “The Showstealer”. Sadly for Dino, he had to endure the
monster that I became as a result. However, his understanding and ability to see beyond the limitations of only what is
tangible allowed him to accept me even at my worst and as
a result my own ability to “suffer fools” as Mr T would say, has
grown massively because of it.
He was Morpheus before The Matrix ever became my favourite movie and between he and his life partner Paula, I
owe them more than any bank can ever loan. Someone once
told me that they knew the secret of life. It was 5am in a dingy night club and many around me were on mind altering
substances but as I have grown to understand, those sub005
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stances that are illegal now used to be the diet of the ancient
wise men in countries around the globe. The person told me
that secret of life was simply echo’s. The theory is that life is
not about what you do for yourself while you are here but
the echo’s that you leave behind and how they affect, inspire and help other people that live long after you are gone.
It is a simple premise and one that Dino has encompassed
more than anyone I will ever know. Dino has shown me that
the greatest man I have ever met came from the shadiest
business I have ever known and because of that I have learnt
never to judge a book by its cover or to ever believe that the
richest of all diamonds cannot be found in the deepest of all
abysses.
Dino – thank you for everything and may my echo live on
to be as strong as yours.
“To see further than others have seen, you
must first stand on the shoulder of giants”
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CONTENTS
Introduction
008
Chapter One Introducing Alex Shane’s Training Methods
012
Chapter Two
Wrestling With Your Insecurities
025
Chapter Three
The Secret To Success In Pro Wrestling
038
Chapter Four
Selecting A Move Set
052
Chapter Five
The Use Of Sacred Symbols In Marketing
069
Chapter Six
Selecting A Finishing Move
088
Chapter Seven Bump Factor Versus Pop Factor
103
Chapter Eight Match Structure – The Seven Points Principle
119
Chapter Nine
Break Into The Industry As A Non-Wrestler
154
In Closing…
In Closing… Parting Thoughts And Ideas
170
The Wrestling Directory
178
Essential Contact Details For Promotions Worldwide
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INTRODUCTION
W
hen I first approached James Denton at Fighting
Spirit about doing my guide to Pro Wrestling in the
magazine, I was unsure of what response I would
get. I knew that I certainly had name value on the UK scene
and I was sure that he was aware of my success in the field
of wrestling training but as you will learn in the pages of
this book, wrestling just like any other form of entertainment, can be a very insecure business. I mean even if James
did know what I brought the table as a teacher, being
able to convey those talents through the medium of text
is a whole different ball game. In fact with only words to
explain what you mean and no way of possibly demonstrating the actions, many told me that I would be lucky if I
could get five issues under my belt before I ran out of ideas.
It is fortunate then, that my subject matter is the stuff that
you really wont find taught in that many wresting schools
yet is responsible for more people making big bucks from
the business than any other intangible. That being a mental
grasp of the industry, wrestling psychology and how to turn
yourself and your act into something unique and ultimately, marketable. Once you begin to understand the depth of
this subject, you will soon see that there is enough material
for a lot more issues and volumes to come. Luckily I already
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had inkling of this in the back of my mind when those close
to me told me that I’d struggle to keep it going because if I
didn’t… well, then this book would not have wound up in
your hands right now.
Well, that was over 18 months ago and the columns in
FSM are still going strong. In fact Volume two has received
more praise from people actually in the business then its
predecessor ever did. However, that is not to over look
what you currently have in front of you. The information
that you will find in these pages is by far the most useful toll
that any young wrestler could possibly have at his disposal
and brings together ideas and concepts that it took me a
good 15 years to fully grasp. The main reason for that was
because no one in this country properly understood them
and those that did were reluctant to pass the knowledge
forward to the next generation. Those times are now behind us and what a good thing it is too. If ignorance kills
than killing ignorance is the only way to deal with the matter in my eyes. In volume one of my guide to pro wrestling
you will find the most important of principles that will turn
your career or training around simply by knowing them.
This book is intended to show you that when done correctly, wrestling is meant to be made for you without you
having to be made for it and that gives all involved the ability to be a success story.
My views on many things have changed since I begun
writing this guide and my knowledge on some of the subjects has massively increased since part one. Yet above
all, and thanks to all the practice I have gotten in the process, I’d like to think that my writing has improved since
first starting out on this endeavour. Because of this I was
encouraged by several people to change the content in this
book in some places or leave out sections that, when they
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were released, caused a certain amount of controversy. I
almost agreed with those people but then, at the last minute I decided against it. I want this book to be the complete
first volume in its entirety as it was seen by those who
bought it at the time. This way you can join me with my
thought processes and where my head is at that particular
point in time, sometimes way up my own arse and other
times way in the clouds but always with a view to aid and
inform the reader. This means you can learn with me and
grow with me whilst taking in these words much like I did
by writing them. With this being the case, you will find
subject matter in this book that may be more than a little
“Off topic”. Some of you may love it and some of you might
email me to say how much you disagree. However, it is just
an opinion and the one thing that I have really learnt since
the first article I wrote, is that no matter how right you may
think you are and no matter how much proof you may
think you have, an opinion is merely that and it is dangerous territory to enforce yours on anyone as the gospel no
matter how much you believe it. Everything can be proven
to some extent just as everything can equally be disproven.
Until someone ventures far enough we do not know if
“space” is really a bit of fluff in a giant clown’s pocket? The
point being is that if we can’t even fully explain where we
are then we cannot fully prove or disprove anything, only
give our opinion of how each topic appears to us at the
time. Hopefully these words will stand you and I in good
stead later on as you get deeper into the book because so
be fair, some parts can get a little bumpy!
On top of these first ten columns you will find a few
extras. Firstly there is a brand new chapter that you will not
find in back issues of FSM. It is a written version of my hugely successful seminars for people who wish to get into
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the wrestling business but not as a wrestler. Then I have
added a comprehensive wrestling directory in order to allow those of you who want to go as far as you can, to have
all the contacts in order to do it. On top of this I have added
some of my own philosophy which has been used in the
pages of FSM over the past 18 months with extremely positive feedback for the most part. Hopefully some of it will
help you in pursuing whatever dream it is you are hoping
to follow while opening your eyes up to the world that exists outside of that dream, more than most people ever do.
The fact that you have this book in your possession
speaks volume about the type of person you are. You want
knowledge and you have a deep passion for understanding
the inner workings of the industry you love. If you wanted
to know how to get the most out of your PC you would
read the manual. However wrestling has, until now, had
no such book. Well now it does and you, my eager student
of the game, have it in your possession. I have put nearly
twenty years of hard knocks and knowledge into this guide
and a fair bit of passion to boot. I hope that you get as
much out of reading it as I got from writing it.
Alex Shane
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CHAPTER ONE
I
am Alex Shane and welcome to my Guide to Pro Wrestling. The purpose of this book is to enlighten those
within the wrestling industry whilst at the same time doing so to those without as well. With the ever approaching
reality of a WWE European branch, the potential side effects
are going to be massive for those people with direct links to
the wrestling business in on this side of the Atlantic. Be you
a wrestler, promoter, trainee or fan of the current UK scene,
our landscape is potentially set to change in a big way and
the ramifications will be far reaching indeed.
As someone who is widely accepted as one of the most
well known UK wrestlers, promoters, trainers and a spokesperson for the British industry since the turn of the decade,
I feel that I have a role to play in making sure that those
affected by this most (the people who give their bodies to
entertain) have the full resources of my knowledge in order
to aid them. Be that in getting the best chance of either being signed up to the project them or headlining the remaining British companies that will be left when the event finally
takes place.
Every chapter will bring you in-depth looks at the principles and techniques that have helped me set recordbreaking UK wrestling box offices, be able to charge more
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for UK tickets than any European promoter in history as well
as teach and mentor more people in the WWE than anyone
from the UK and become one of the country’s most famous
wrestlers whilst actually having less physical talent than
almost every other student in my class when I broke in.
The views I express may not always be the most popular
but the name of the game is Professional Wrestling, meaning that doing it as a profession is half of the battle and I
hazard to guess that there is no one else in the UK who has
his finger in so many profitable wrestling pies as yours truly.
Therefore I want to share my knowledge in order to help
those who are interested to be able to do the same. Knowledge really is power and I think it’s time that that knowledge begun to be spread around a little more.
As with most things I do will come a backlash. Change
very rarely takes place without this. I always think that if I do
not receive such backlash then my ventures are unoriginal
and tired and I must therefore devise something else to
speed up the evolution of the thing I love – pro wrestling.
With this being the case I want to spend this first chapter
explaining why I felt the need to write this book and how it
should affect you.
It’s not common for a dyslexic boy who grows up on officially England’s worst council estate (according to ITV) to
live their life following philosophy. In fact it’s so rare that
it is possible that you do so without even realising you are
doing it. Yet it’s also not common for that same boy to now
be a man with a monthly magazine article combining that
very philosophy with something as abstract as professional
wrestling, yet ever since I was a teenager one quote always
stuck with me, “Do not go where the path leads, go where
there is no path and leave a trail.”
The world is full of great philosophy that has been stud013
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ied by some of this planets, however I feel somewhat superior to those Brains of Britain for one very simple reason.
Philosophy was written to help us live our lives to the fullest
and understand the incredible complexity within all of us.
No one is more complex than anyone else; they simply have
not looked deep enough within themselves yet. To focus all
of our attention on a quote so much that we lose sight of
how to apply it to our own lives is redundant. It is like deciding to drive from London to Scotland, picking up a map
to guide you and ending up hours later just five miles from
your home, stationary, reading the map book and forgetting the actual journey that made you pick it up in the first
place.
I now write philosophy myself for my upcoming book,
The Unholy Babble. My intention is for it to be used to aid
people to actually reach their destinations rather than
spending their entire journey analyzing what it all means. I
stand here years after first hearing the previous quote and
only now can I realise exactly how much those words influenced me – not only as a person but also my entire wrestling career. This book will be an extension of that principle.
You see I have never spent my life sniffing other people’s
farts, as I like to call it, following in tired old footsteps left
by someone else. Life’s all about infecting people and your
environment with your own brand of unique creativity.
Those who really excel to a point of living well are the
originators in life. Living well does not mean driving a fast
car and having a flash house. If you have those things but
you are not the boss of you then you are simply a well-paid
slave. To not go where the path leads is to do something
different that not only changes your own views and life but
the views and life of those around you. We are creatures of
our environment, yes, but all animals are designed to not
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only work in harmony with their environment but also help
it to grow. Wrestling is no different. In fact, it is the archetype of this concept.
Before I took over the FWA, there was no other full time
wrestling company in the UK that offered the ‘New School’
style of wrestling. The UK landscape had become stagnant
and the industry had slowly grinded to a halt with regards
to new promotions and media coverage. Due to some acts
of fate (me landing the job as host on the TalkSport national wrestling radio show) and guidance from the best
wrestling mind I’ve ever known (My mentor Dino Scarlo) I
began my journey into being a creature that changed his
environment for the better. Now, almost seven years later
and thanks to the ground breaking steps that a handful of
us in the FWA took, there is now more wrestling per square
mile than any other country in the world. There are more
wrestlers here than ever before and there are more schools
around the UK churning out those wrestlers then anyone
could have imagined possible.
Obviously, with the good has come the bad as with all
things in life, with the increases in our country’s success
by being seen on the worldwide stage again, can clearly
be measured by how many of our fellow countrymen and
women are now under contract to the WWE compared to
just 10 years ago. Many of whom were trained or mentored
by Mark Sloan and myself or came from schools that used
the FWA’s help to set up. The FWA, just like my old radio
show, is simply an example of a revolution. When evolution is needed but powers at the top of the chain prevent it
from taking place, naturally those at the bottom must bring
about its manifestation in the form of a revolt against those
above them.
Revolt combined with evolution makes revolution and
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that is what brought about the massive rebirth of the UK industry in the last 5 years. Even many of those who claimed
that the ‘New School’ sucked, proved their hypocrisy by
taking large pay cheques to go aboard. When a revolution takes place, the old guard, who normally has no real
grounds to fight for, other than fear of change, quickly realise that they can either jump aboard or be swallowed up in
the process. It’s the same with any civil uprising.
Well let me now break some very shocking news to
everyone – news that may take some of you a little while to
fully digest. There is no such thing as ‘Old School’ and ‘New
School.’ It is a made up principle by those people who are
set in their ways and thus scared of their own extinction
and those people who seek change for the progression of
the industry that feeds us all. Every single person who ever
told me that they were old school used multiple things in
their wrestling arsenal that the generation before them
considered new and ultimately wrong.
Hell, running the ropes was considered a punishable
offence back many years ago and was seen as, “exposing
the business”. By these standards it means in someone’s
eyes Ric Flair is New School. The Undertaker openly shouts,
“Old School,” during one of his trademark spots. Well, what
would Lou Thez say about a 6-foot-8-inch man walking
along the top rope while he holds his opponents arm for
balance?
My point is that old school is all about a generation gap
but one that is desperately needed to revive the industry
when it begins to dip. Both Ric Flair and The Undertaker
helped generate far more money than their counterparts
in the previous generation that would have labelled them
“New School”. My god, both Hulk Hogan and Steven Austin are prime examples of what happens when someone
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comes along and breaks from convention. I’m sure that if
someone told Ric “The Nature Boy” Flair back in his prime
that WWE wanted to debut a new character who was a
babyface that works heel, drinks beer, flips people off,
swears on national TV and knocks the bible to get himself
over then “The Nature Boy” would very likely have taken
one of his Old School pratt falls and never got up again.
Yet thankfully it wasn’t “The Nature Boy’s’’ choice because
many of the current wrestlers we see breaking into the
business now would not be here if it wasn’t for the multi
million dollar babyface, strangely called “Stone Cold”. New
School? You bet your ass!
I feel that this is very important stuff to write before we
embark on our journey into the shark-infested waters of
teaching professional wrestling. Just because someone is
respected and has been in an industry a long time it doesn’t
mean they understand it on every level. I know a woman
called Barbera who has worked on the till in Tesco for 20
years and is highly decorated, loved and respected by all
there. Yet she has no clue about the way the business runs
outside of the level she sees on the shop floor. My point
here is that every industry has layers that need to be peeled
back in order to get to its core and wrestling is the biggest
onion of them all.
Wrestling, on many levels, is a business based on fear and
forced change. In the dead mans shuffle no one can move
up the pecking order until the one in front dies or picks you
to put over. That was how many workers used to view old
British wrestling which is why so many of the headline acts
where old men at their peak. We all know how that went
down, don’t we? Scared people cling to what they know
for dear life and fear having to embrace new values and
ideals. Evolution didn’t stop for humans the day we got our
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thumbs moving. Those who have faith in what they bring
to the table have no reason to fear showing their hand because they are confident that they will still belong.
I can best explain it to old, scared wrestlers like this: we
are destined to make up for our parents’ failures – this is the
very basis of evolution. If your parents understood everything you did then you clearly would not have evolved
much. Just like if your new mobile phone upgrade had
exactly the same features as your old one. What sort of
upgrade would that be? Yet you do not think less of your
parents, you do not cut them from your life, in fact you love
them more for giving you the opportunity to grow.
Those within the industry who fear change need to
understand this principle otherwise they will ultimately
be left out in the cold. I, myself, was once the king of the
‘New School’ in England but too many new wrestlers I meet
around the UK, both the FWA and I are now considered ‘Old
School.’ What does that say? It says that whatever school
you are in, one thing remains the same: school is for learning new things and if you have stopped doing that then
you are in no school at all.
I’m fully aware that those who want to prevent change
will see this as exposing the business but to them I say this:
if you’ve ever run the ropes in front of a paying audience
then you’ve ‘exposed’ the business and you’re so tunnel
visioned with your incestuous, in the box, wrestling views
that you don’t even realise it. You’re trying to rearrange
furniture on the Titanic and it just won’t work. The fact that
these articles were even being printed in a wrestling magazine shows the vast changes that this industry has gone
through in order to evolve. If you don’t pass the baton, it’ll
be taken from you; that’s just the way of the jungle. The
longer you try and hold on to that spot past your prime, the
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more dignity and respect you lose in the process.
Sadly the UK scene has been hindered by one tired, old
belief that must be erased from our minds if we mean to go
forward into the next decade and beyond. It has kept many
of our fellow countrymen back from achieving their rightful
places stateside for years. That belief is that the Americans
can’t wrestle like the Brits. Back in the ‘70s, ‘80s and even
‘90s this was very true. The Brits were revered around the
world for their superior technical wrestling ability. From
the bottom of the card all the way up to the top, the English
proudly flew the flag of traditional wrestling. Many of Japan’s top stars, including the original Tiger Mask and Jushin
Liger were sent here to learn from the best in the world in
order to return home and years later main event their domestic promotions. That’s right; Britain’s grapplers were the
envy of the entire globe.
I have a common principle that I teach in my wrestling
seminars and life coaching sessions: whatever your biggest
strength is will also be your biggest weakness. Yes, Britain’s
traditional approach had resulted in its well-known booming period the likes of which many sports will never see
(and if synchronized swimming can be referred to as a sport
then so to can wrestling) – but with every rise must come a
fall. Hulk Hogan had to drop out of favour before he could
return to the Toronto Skydome, the same building that he
was meant to be replaced by the Ultimate Warrior in, a decade later against the current top dog The Rock, to receive
a hero’s welcome.
Society has to undergo change for it to progress, yet
ultimately we return to the old ways. UFC was branded
barbaric when it first hit these shores while boxing was
a gentleman’s sport. Yet fast forward to 2007 and UFC is
trouncing boxing at the box office and is slowly earning
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its stripes as the new king of fighting sports. Is this a new
thing? Of course not. Just read about Roman Gladiators and
you’ll see how society is reverting back to its old ways once
again. The world is round which is why we keep going in
circles. It’s really not so hard to comprehend.
We may have had something over the Yanks back then
but just watch the current batch of US indy wrestlers and
you can clearly see where we have now fallen behind. The
Americans have learnt and studied what we used to do
and some of them (Colt Cabana is a great example) are doing it amazingly well. All the while, many of our old school
promotions are copying the American style and doing so
atrociously. Yes, many of the Americans are now able to do
what we could but most of us Brits have been left behind
with no clue of how to promo, build a feud, work a TV-style
match or create a decent character.
We have been left behind by a country mile yet I still hear
the same old nonsense from the same old people: “Those
Americans can’t work like us Brits.” It would be like MC
Hammer saying today that no one can touch his dancing.
Many of the old guard are stuck in an old mind set that no
longer serves a purpose as we are almost 10 years into the
new millennium. If your way was still working then the new
school would never have got a chance to even exist. You
did not do anything to secure the business and its future
when you still had it in a prime position back in the late 80’s
so don’t cry about it now when it was your lack of forward
thinking that made it so in the first place.
I have to break the hearts of many an Old Schooler in
a moment by exposing some information to be nothing
more than an ill thought-out self-deception – information
that they have clung to as fact for many years. When ITV’s
Director of Programming, Greg Dyke, took World of Sport
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off the television in 1988 he instantly became the most
hated man in British wrestling. People believed that out
of spite and disregard for the business, he had destroyed
the thing that hundreds of people made their living from.
He had killed a thriving industry and he did it for no other
reason than to make way for ‘new’ things.
There are still those who openly state that if they saw
him they would punch him in the face. Firstly, let me ask
those people; is your life so empty that in the near 20 years
since 1988 you have not been able to get over it? Secondly,
what have you done to try and get it back on TV? Finally,
let me open a can of worms and tell the truth. British Wrestling had only itself to blame for being taken off of ITV. It
had become stagnant and it did not fit in with what ITV had
planned for the next, rapidly approaching, decade.
Compare World of Sport to The Gladiators, which came
not too many years later on the same channel. Forget the
content, as you are looking at it from a wrestling standpoint, which is a moot point, but focus on the production
and look of the show. It was modern, fresh and exciting
while World of Sport was dated, soulless and boring. I am
not talking about the wrestling, which in most cases was
top class; I am speaking purely from a casual TV audience
member’s perspective, which to Greg Dyke, or a man in his
position, was what counted.
Here are some facts for you: if the British wrestling model
was growing off its own back then the industry wouldn’t
have taken the hit of being removed from TV so badly;
secondly, if it was just Greg Dyke who saw how dated it
was, then another channel would have taken it when LWT
dropped it. ITV was dragging the UK wrestling scene along,
not the other way round. Don’t agree? Just look at what
happened to both of them post-1988.
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The fact is that if those at the top of the British Wrestling
food chain at that time had not hoarded their money but
spent it on refreshing the look of their product then there
would have been no reason for Dyke to have made such
an unpopular decision. Really, what would it have taken to
spend a little money on branding and some cool lighting?
While the heads of the old guard were spending their earnings externally, an American promoter with a dream was
doing the exact opposite and making TV that looked and
felt expensive and fresh. He understood what those Old
School wrestling promoters did not – how to think out of
the wrestling box and break from convention. Lo and behold WWF became the new top dog and the British industry was sent away licking its wounds without once looking
at the real reason for its obvious plight. I have never met
a group of people who can see things through such rose
coloured glasses at times as those men and women in the
wrestling industry.
People tell me how many complaints ITV received when
the wrestling was taken off the TV like that means something. All it means is that humans are creatures of habit
and most of us only stand up and speak out when something has been changed that effects the status quo, yet
very rarely stand up in an attempt to create the change
they would like to see before it happens. Hell, the BBC got
masses of complaints when they canned Eldorado but it
was widely considered one of the worst shows in TV history.
We must stand up and learn from past mistakes and see
that our dated values do not hold up. There is a great saying in neuro-linguistic programming (changing how we use
our brains) which I use on the clients I life coach, that goes,
“If you always do what you always did, you always get what
you always got.” I hope you can see the relevance of these
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words.
In tarot readings everybody fears the death card. Yet the
card merely symbolises the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. Each major tarot card has a zodiac affinity and the Death card’s is Scorpio, which is my sign. Maybe
this is the real reason why I’m drawn to change but I like to
think it is because it signifies the start of something new
and exciting. The end of anything is something to reminisce
about, or maybe even be sad about for a while but certainly
not something to fear if you truly have hope for the future.
Hope and fear are the only two choices in life.
I said that fear is a major contributing factor in what
holds wrestling back when a simple change to hope could
make all the difference. My aim is to give some of that hope
by offering what knowledge I can to the new blood of the
industry whilst giving some food for thought to the old
blood that have already given so much and should want to
see our industry succeed for the good of all who are proud
of their individual contributions. As we move forward in
this guide I hope I can open your eyes up to some amazing
and rewarding principles that should be applied in and to
wrestling whilst making you realise that this same logic applies to our everyday lives as well.
Wrestling is far more complex than even those at the top
level of our industry give it credit for or even understand,
and in each chapter my objective is to highlight this in a
palatable and helpful way, for those who love the wrestling
business as much as me. To be able to truly love something
to it’s fullest you must be able to understand it on level far
past what you alone can get from it. In coming chapters we
will talk about wrestling psychology, character building,
match structure, promos, how to market yourself and what
to do to make yourself stand out above the pack. For those
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of you who are not wrestlers you will get to understand
how much work goes into your entertainment (when done
properly) and how to identify those who are not doing so
to the level that you as fans should come to expect.
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CHAPTER TWO
B
efore you can really begin to teach a student or mentor a current performer, there is some very important
information to be made aware of. This information
may sound completely unrelated to the purpose of this
article, which is to help people get better at what they do
within the business, but to forsake what follows in order to
get straight to the nuts and bolts of the squared circle will
ultimately come back to haunt them in years to come. With
the current death rate in wrestling being seen by the media
as an epidemic I want to shed a little light on what is really
causing it whilst using the sample principle to help make
people’s wrestling improve thus giving them a real chance
of making some money out of the industry they love. This is
very deep in places but it’s nothing that isn’t sorely needed.
A lot of people that run wrestling schools have the amazing privilege of being able to help mould and guide many
lost teenagers who go to there school looking for somewhere to belong. Sadly because many of the schools are
being run by people just as lost, if not more so, than the
students looking for guidance, many valuable life lessons
are not taught. Lessons that would make the students happier, better rounded people and not just better rounded
wrestlers.
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Everybody has an area that they naturally excel in above
other aspects of their life. At school you very rarely find
that the top of the class in maths is a smash with the ladies
and vice versa. Although everyone has key areas, which
they seem to have more natural development in than others, this does not mean that we were simply meant to stay
in our little bubble for fear of trying something that we
weren’t so quick to grasp. Life is all about balance. It is nature’s way of creating harmony. The Sun and the Moon are
a perfect example. Male and female is yet another. Without
this balance nothing could exist.
When a wrestler has to have surgery on their “bitch tits”
from steroid use few people ever question why someone
injecting male hormone would start to grow female breast.
The answer is simply balance. Our body is meant to work in
perfect harmony. When we increase our testosterone (male
hormone) our oestrogen (female hormone) rises to balance
it. This supplementation of artificial testosterone alerts the
tests to stop producing the hormone – hence they shrink
– and eventually the subject’s body now has to rely on the
artificial supply. Once this supply is discontinued the subject now has raised oestrogen levels and low testosterone.
The result? A male begins to grow female breasts until his
natural testosterone levels return to normal.
This is a perfect example that wrestling fans can understand of how we are meant to work in perfect balance. If
I asked you to name the most amazingly talented singer,
song writer, dancer and performer of the last 20 years you
would arguably have to answer Michael Jackson. If I then
asked you to name the most messed up, confusing and off
the wall celebrity of the last 20 years you would also have
to say Michael Jackson. If the average person’s natural good
qualities and talents went from one to ten they would have
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to be balanced out by having equally bad qualities going
from one to ten in the opposite direction. Someone like
Jackson who clearly had natural talents from one to twenty
sadly found that nature balanced them out just as far the
other way. This is another form of nature’s balance.
Of course, we in the one to ten group cannot understand
his actions because we are clearly not in the same league as
him on a negative level just like we never were on a positive end of it either, which is why we all thought he was out
of this world. Nature picks our talents for us. They are our
pride and joy or our burden and misery depending how we
choose to use or abuse them. If you are a maths genius your
whole life, then you were born with it. Feel thankful but do
not congratulate yourself too much, for it was nature that
picked that gift for you. If, however, you were always hopeless at maths but through sheer work and determination
you become competent and even good at maths then well
done. You see even though we are initially at the mercy of
nature just like a leaf in the wind, that all changes the moment we become aware of one vital piece of information.
We do not have to be the person we are if we do not wish
to be.
Working as a life coach has taught me one very important lesson about myself. My gift was that I never thought
that anything was unachievable. I have constantly set about
doing things in my near 30 year existence that were new
and previously undone not because I am the world’s hardest worker but simply because I never really saw anything
as unachievable. I have always had fears of the worst-case
scenario happening but that is a necessary tool when you
are trying to push yourself to succeed. The reason I mention
this is because many of my clients often seem amazed at
how simple it is to change something about themselves or
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their lives, yet it has always seemed very easy to me. This is
not to show off but simply to be thankful that I understand
what one of my natural strengths is. I guess it makes up for
me being rubbish at maths.
Change is simply a mental choice just like brushing your
teeth or blowing your nose. We are in total control of it
once we decide that we want it. Yet this is not the problem.
The problem is getting people to accept that there may be
areas in their life that are not healthy for them physically or
mentally. Getting stuck in a rut is a mental state not a physical one but what if the rut you are stuck in is actually that
your whole personality is wrong? Worse still, what if it isn’t
really you?
So what the hell does this have to do with helping someone become a better wrestler? The answer is everything.
In wrestling gyms around the country we have a collection
of students who could, if they were shown how, turn this
country into a thriving wrestling hotbed. On my recent
seminar tour around the UK I went to fourteen wrestling
schools and still had another twelve, at least, that I could
not attend. Each school had around 25 to 60 full time students and every single one of them had someway that they
could potentially contribute to the UK scene from the biggest muscle man to one guy I met in a wheel chair.
Pro wrestling is not like other Olympic sports. I cannot
change the rules of the 100 metre sprint to suit my own
abilities. I either have what is required or I don’t. All the
training in the world is not going to make a difference
against people who are genetically faster runners than
you. Wrestling is not the same. It is a business that can be
twisted around your own skills so that Mick Foley can make
more money than Brock Lesnar despite the massive differences in their athletic abilities. With this being the case I
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think it is fair to say that anyone on this earth can make a
living from professional wrestling, they just have to use the
one muscle that you very rarely see being put under any
real pressure at a wrestling school, the human brain.
So what prevents most aspiring wrestlers from achieving this most holy of grails and making a living from what
they love? The answer is very simple: insecurity. You see the
world is full of many, very insecure people. It is not our fault
as it is that way by design. If you want to keep your partner
in a dead end, abusive relationship then the way to achieve
it is simply to drum into them that they are ugly and useless
and they will begin to cling to the abuser for fear of not being wanted by anyone else. For us to cling to a system that
works us like mules we have to be made to feel useless and
insecure so that many of us are too scared to try and better
ourselves and thus stop being part of the system.
We are the children of the MTV generation. However it is
no coincidence that when you say it slowly the word empty
is clearly audible in MTV. This means that most of us are
made to feel insecure in all walks of life but why then does
wrestling seem to attract some of the most insecure people
of all? My belief is that it is because we are the artistic and
creative thinking types who can see things that exist beyond just plain black and white. If you can truly appreciate wrestling then you are clearly evolved in your level of
understanding. You can see the art form that it truly is and
that makes you different from so many others who just
don’t get it.
The average wrestling fan is more thoughtful and less
controlled in their way of thinking and thus I believe can be
overly susceptible to those insecurities more than others
because they just don’t fit in with the crowd. A crowd who
prefer easier-to-comprehend forms of entertainment like
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football and movies. So those who embark on the treacherous path of trying to squeeze a living from pro wrestling
are normally doing so with a veritable lorry load of personal
insecurities. This is a vital piece of the puzzle to understand
in order for us to ascertain why many of those people fall
short of their goals and why many of the ones that do, end
up in very bad situations in later life.
First of all, insecurity can be a massive strength. It is the
thing that drives most of us to leave a mark in this world
and thus is in many ways responsible for most of the things
we see around us today even being invented. However, as
we have now established balance is the key to everything,
just as useful as that trait can be, it is also potentially fatal.
If we do not understand our own insecurities then we are
slaves to them and let them carry us off in various directions without us ever really understanding why.
Enter the pro wrestling business. If you are not completely happy with who you are then the easiest way to do
something about it is not to deal with the original issue and
instead simply reinvent yourself and cover over the bits
that you are unhappy with. The grappling industry is the
ultimate way to do this. Unlike being an actor, pro wrestlers have the same alter ego for most of their careers. In
fact, even the person being the alter ego becomes an alter
ego and over a period of time the real human they used to
be has now been replaced by what appears, superficially
at least, to be a far superior model of their former selves.
This model gets attention, has confidence and can perform
amazing feats of agility and strength. There is a saying in
wrestling that goes; “the only thing that isn’t fake is the
wrestling”.
After 15 years in this line of work, to be honest I’d have
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ters both inside the ring and out. It is a place where many
people go to shed past feelings of helplessness and rebuild
themselves by creating a pumped up alter ego. This alteration in the journey of their true self leads to the building
of their ego self and this is where the problem begins. This
alter (action) creates their wrestling ego.
Finally, we have now arrived at the point of this whole
article. The ego is the main limiting factor on most wrestlers
making it to a level of great wealth or even financial stability. Ego prevents us from seeing things clearly and limits us
to stay within the confines of our self controlled bubbles.
As I covered earlier we all have areas that we are naturally
better at than others. Because of this, once we discover
this one thing or area that we are good at we cling to it for
fear of exposing ourselves as not being as good as we, or
other people, thought we were. We find one thing we are
better at than other areas and then blindly defend that one
area like it is the be all and end all of the business without
wanting to attempt to improve on the other vital parts our
overall package needs to reach our full potential.
If you have felt lost and insecure in the past, to stumble
upon a world such as wrestling and to now feel in control
and empowered is a great feeling. This new world and feeling becomes your new comfort zone or bubble if you will.
The thought of leaving this bubble brings back memories
of not being as good as we want to be and thus limits us
from taking the much needed steps to improve by exploring areas that we are not naturally so good at. This ego
stops us from learning past what comes easily, and is the
reason that many potentially great wrestling talents end up
not only going nowhere but being frustrated and bitter at
people who pose talents in the areas that they do not.
You often see great technical wrestlers knocking great
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brawlers and big guys taking pot shots at little guys without
realising that they are both equally important parts of the
puzzle. The brawlers make the high flyers different whilst
the little guys make the big guys look bigger. Ego traps
many of them in their own bubbles and prevents them
from understanding how to maximise their own potential.
Eddy Guerrero was already an amazing high flyer and
technician before he entered WWE but if he had just stayed
in his comfort zone he would never have gone down in history as one of the all time greats. He was one of the nicest
guys that I’d ever met from the top levels of the business
and this was certainly one of the reasons he got so good in
the ring. He may have had ‘demons’ as WWE so simplistically puts it but I really don’t think he had an ego, which is
why he was able to try new things. He didn’t just stick to
his comfort zone, he realised that there were areas that he
needed to improve on massively and he went out and did
it. He threw his ego overboard and dropped his fear of looking silly compared to others who naturally had the skills
that he had to work so hard for like promos and character.
This lead to him becoming a true legend that was varied
and versatile. Unlike Guerrero many other people who are
considered legends in this business stick to exactly what
they know and nothing else in order to keep within their
bubble.
This is not to say that those who do achieve great heights
have lost their ego, certainly not. In fact many of them have
the worst of all but because they are naturally talented they
rise to the top, regardless. However they are not free of the
ego and when it finally catches up with them (such as it
clearly has recently with Ric Flair) the results can be disastrous. What it means is that if you develop an ego to early,
at the times where you should be like a sponge you will
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clearly limit your own chances of success.
Ego is a side effect of an insecure person. The bigger the
insecurity, the bigger the ego; the bigger the ego, the harder that person finds it to accept that he might not instantly
be good at something so they avoid it at all costs. The more
they avoid it the more they limit their capability in that
area, and the more they limit their capability in that area
the more they will try and convince others and themselves
that it is not important that they know it, for fear of looking
less proficient then they would like the world to think they
are. The fact is that if you let your ego become your main
driving force then sure you will get somewhere but will that
somewhere be reached without you ever realising your full,
true potential?
Just like someone wearing sunglasses in doors, sure you
can see but not as clearly and easily as you would if you
took them off. This is likely why the easiest trick in the ‘How
to Be a Heel’ book is to wear sunglasses on the way to the
ring because it looks like pure ego and arrogance.
In wrestling circles we refer to a group of wrestlers as the
‘boys’. Well, guess what? That is exactly how many of them
act. Like little children being guided by their egos and not
their true selves, many of them end up in a complete physical, mental and financial mess at a young age because they
never once stopped to think why they are actually doing
what they are doing.
For many already deep within the business it may be too
late. They will argue against my case sadly because they are
afraid to admit the truth of the matter, which is that most
of them are using the industry to make up for a multitude
of untreated issues from their pasts. The new blood getting
into this business on the other hand has a chance. Where
Steven Austin attracted teenagers, John Cena is attracting
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the younger audience. There are many more young wrestlers
breaking into the scene than I have seen in a long time. These
are the people to change the industry and make it a place where
morals and understanding replace ego and disregard.
The wrestling business is not doomed, only the people who
are so embedded within the fibre of its current carnation cannot
see the errors being made by their egos. If done right, wrestling
is one of the best forms of therapy I can think of. It is character building, anger releasing, psychologically rewarding, trust
developing and economically fruitful. When done badly it is the
worst type of drug. It can be highly addictive, financially crippling, emotionally draining, physically destructive and potentially fatal. The difference between the user and the abuser is
simply a void. If you have a void in your life that needs filing or
escaping from, you turn to hard drugs. The bigger the void the
bigger the risk you will take to fill it. If you do not treat this void
then you will spend your life trying to fight it with whatever fix
comes next.
Wrestling and fame are one way to do this for those who
don’t turn to drugs. You cannot fight it forever and unless you
deal with it one day it will beat you. The ego is merely like putting a bandage over the void in order to mask it to the world.
When people ask me to give my views to the national media
about the death rate in wrestling they normally want me to talk
about steroids or the cocktails of drugs that some of our dead
brothers were taking without once giving a thought to what led
to them embarking on that life style from a mental stand point.
The media wants to hear drug horror stories to feed the “drugs
are bad” bandwagon. However, our trusted doctor’s everyday
prescribes the exact same drugs that are killing these guys and
girls.
The media fails to focus on that fact because if they did then
they would have to delve deeper than simply blaming a tiny
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little pill. To pay attention to the personal insecurities that
brought about these destructive patterns of behaviour in
the first place might just get the masses thinking that they
are not alone in their own self doubts and untreated issues.
God forbid they might even start getting better and wanting more from their lives then dead end jobs and 300 TV
channels of brain washing junk pumped into them every
night. The fact is that the people dying in these cases like
Chris Benoit had obvious voids that they were killing themselves to fill. The fact that they were hiding behind a public
mask of confidence and success was only distancing them
from their true selves and preventing their past issues (or
demons if you work for WWE) from being dealt with.
Top wrestling promoters know that their performers
are void ridden and use this to their own advantage. They
know that they can offer them terrible working conditions,
no pensions, no insurance and make them pay for their
own hotels and travel and their workers will take it. Wrestlers call the fans marks but those who get milked like cows
just so they can be part of the show are the real marks. Who
will be in the wheel chair at 50? For every Rock there are
hundreds who die crippled and penniless.
These voids are a promoter’s best friend. Without them
they would have to look after the wrestlers in the way that
other massive companies do for their staff. Why do you
think no one stands up and forms at union at the top level?
Because they don’t want to rock the boat and lose their
chance of being a star even if it means that their friends will
die poor and alone, a fate that may ultimately befall them
too. They would rather feel like a ‘somebody’ for a day on
Pay-Per-View then risk burning a bridge and be left feeling
like an empty nobody. The fact that the upper card guys
with some power haven’t tried to do something to save the
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lives of the younger generation shows how morally corrupt
many of the ‘superstars’ of this industry really are.
If you are getting started in the business then heed these
words and do not get lost. The business is going through a
very rough patch publicly and it is simply because nobody
has wanted to say what I am saying now for fear of ridicule
or making enemies. As you may have gathered by now
I don’t give a toss about that. I would rather stand alone
and know I spoke up than be adored by the masses whilst
living a lie. I know that because I have done this all myself.
I am speaking from personal experience. I have had to deal
with this myself and seen countless numbers of my professional wrestling friends and colleagues suffer the same fate,
several of them very big names. This is the truth that will
change the business and make it better for the generations
to come, not simply a new drug testing policy and pushing
someone who is straight edge.
The wrestling business in its purest form is simply amazing. It is untapped as a respected art form and has been
raped and dismembered as nothing but a mindless, overly
violent entertainment in the eyes of the general public.
Vince McMahon has made wrestling big, yes, but also a big
circus and not something that gets the true credit it deserves. Hitler made the swastika (of Hindu origin and formerly a Celtic good luck symbol) big and recognisable but I
don’t think you’d really want to wear it on your jacket these
days would you? Ultimately, the ego must crumble and the
light has to shine through no matter how powerful something may appear at the time.
From our German figure mentioned a second ago to the
Roman Empire, ego and lies cannot stay covered for eternity. We have all seen the fall of so many of our former heroes
from drug overdoses to heart attacks at forty all the way
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up to double murder-suicides. Surely the day has come for
someone to stand up and look at the mental causes for all
this instead of pointing the blame at a collection of medications that the world’s new gods, the corporations, consider
the financial holy grail whilst their own privately owned
news channels demonise them at the same time.
If we are to change the business we have to start with
the brain outwards and not the other way around. You
cannot have wrestling without ego. You cannot have ego
with insecurity and you cannot have insecurity without untreated issues. This is the maker and breaker of the majority
of pro wrestlers so put down that Indy DVD you just bought
so that you can learn 100 new ways to drop someone on
their head and take the time to think about what you need
to deal with in order to make your ego work for you and not
the other way around.
Do not fear looking silly and avoid learning things that
will make you better for fear that your ego will take a hammering. You’ll be laughing all the way to the bank when
you are making a living from the thing you love simply
because you dared to step outside of your comfort zone.
Don’t let issues that are not so hard to deal with prevent
you from future success and happiness, because it appears
easier to mask them from everyone but yourself. It will certainly make you a better wrestler and it might just save your
life.
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CHAPTER THREE
I
n this chapter, I want to start getting a little bit more to
the nuts and bolts of your wrestling training and how
to advance your career regardless of if you’re just starting out or are already a respected pro. Now we are at part
three in the series I feel we can start getting a little deeper
into the juicy stuff. The real secrets that are the difference
between making it and breaking it, in this wildly fickle and
cutthroat industry.
Some of this information is so simple yet so often overlooked that many schools are lucky if just five per cent of
their students make it. The fact is that even though it is
obvious that some students will come and go and some
will get bored or grow out of it, at least 25 per cent of trainees should get to a point where they are good enough to
appear on a small scale trainee show, even if it is just once.
In martial arts at least one in three students make it to their
second grading and many of those who do so are children
who have been pushed into taking part by their parents
as 70 per cent of the martial arts training business is with
under-16s. Therefore, if we take on board that most pro
wrestling schools do not take on students under the age of
sixteen then we have to assume that most of these young
hopefuls have decided on this occupation themselves and
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have not been pushed into it.
If we want to be really cynical we could say that at 25 per
cent of these students just want some way of being around
wrestling and don’t really have any intention of being a
wrestler but that still leaves 75 per cent of candidates remaining. I also want to add that I myself would have fallen
into the previously mentioned 25 per cent as I never seriously thought I would make it onto shows and had no real
physical aptitude for the business. My point in all this is that
more good wrestlers should be coming out of UK schools
but even though there are many great new talents appearing on the scene, for every one that makes it onto a show
there are around nine who do not.
I am currently about to introduce a UK grading system,
which is something I have been working on for years and
believe that this will help produce more well-rounded talent. For the moment we need to look at why so many students are quitting before they get the chance to see how
they work with an audience. Wrestling is all about how you
connect with the people who buy tickets. Therefore, to walk
away before you have had a chance to see how you fare in
front of the people who pay all our wages is a silly move.
I am not saying that everyone is meant to be a wrestler as
that would be silly. However, I hate the expression, “You’re
just not cut out to be a wrestler.”
In some extreme instances it may be direly needed but
for the most part that is a massive misunderstanding of
what the business is about. Wrestling is designed in such
a way that it can and should be moulded around the person that you are, not you trying to mould yourself into
something you are not. Did Mick Foley make it because he
decided to wrestle like Ric Flair or because he moulded his
act around what he was born to be? Yet at many schools
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around the country students are stuck in ruts or falling behind because they are slaves to the misconception that you
have to wrestle a certain way.
Many people who get into wrestling do so because they
are not great at other sports and never were natural athletes. Those who normally excel in this side of the business,
lack the passion or mental understanding of someone who
was a wrestling geek. Look at Brock Lesnar, Dan Severn,
Steve Blackman, Mark Henry and the plethora of people
who have come into the business with legit athletic or
shooting backgrounds but have fallen short of what was expected of them because they simply either could not grasp
the mental side or had no real love of the game.
This not to say that being a natural athlete is a hindrance
at all. In fact, if you are and you combine that with the
knowledge of the inner workings of the business then you
are one of the chosen few who will stand head and shoulders above the rest. Yet for those who are not, it is of the
utmost importance that you understand that athletic ability
is no a prerequisite of the business. In fact, athletic ability is
not only something that is not vital but is also something
that you can acquire.
I can’t remember how many times when I was a kid that I
got a new Transformer or computer game and never had to
read the instructions to learn how to become proficient at
operating them. Yet give me a science book and some test
tubes and I had no clue what I was doing. Why? Was it because I was stupid? No, it was because one thing had my interest and the other did not. When I was at school, I always
used sick notes to get out of games. I have always had no
interest in sport and therefore felt no need to go through
physical exertion over something that I was repelled to.
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tum physics (which I now write about and teach) many of
them find it boring or alien and have no desire to listen any
more than they have to and if they are not interested then
I would not expect them to endure it for three hours every week. However, by the time I left school I was the only
person from my year of over 200 boys who was being paid
to go to a gym 5 times a week, cardio for an hour everyday
and do something athletic in front of paying audiences.
What brought on this sudden change? Simply that I enjoyed wrestling and because of this had a natural incentive
to work on my physical ability. It is amazing how the human
mind can adjust to make someone an expert in a certain
field after a tragedy. How many times have you heard of
cases of parents losing a child to something that they later
become experts in and help bring forward new laws and
awareness campaigns because of it?
Your brain is a muscle and can also be strengthened in
areas just like bicep and this is an example of that principle.
Yet we need to learn that we do not always need a bad
experience or trauma that leads to the feeling of necessity
that invokes this change in us. The desire to change is simply that, a desire and you are in control of it on every level.
I want to show you in this part of the guide that with one
simple rule you can not only succeed in pro wrestling despite not naturally being that great physically but how you
can actually change your athletic ability with something as
simple as a mental readjustment.
If I told you that there is one secret in wrestling that has
been lost by all but a few of the current batch of wrestling
training schools worldwide would you believe me? It is a
secret that has been one of the main downfalls of so many
young wrestlers and the major restricting factor of so many
really good ones. Once I tell you it, you may think that it
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is so obvious that you can’t believe that I’m getting paid
money to share it with you or you might want to slap your
forehead in disbelief and shout, “That’s what I was doing
wrong!” Either way this is the single biggest tip I can give to
anyone who wants to get into the wrestling business and
make a living between the ropes. Are you prepared for this,
no matter how many illusions it may shatter into a billion
little pieces? Ok then, here we go…
When done correctly good wrestling that makes money
is not about the moves you do or how they are executed
but simply about the personality of the person doing them.
Read that back and continue to do so until you have fully
grasped it. With the exception of the one per cent of supremely gifted grapplers who use their movements or pure
technique to make it to the big time, most of the people
who make the real money from wrestling and for the longest time are not the best technicians. It is so important to
understand this when you are trying to educate a class of
young wrestlers into a group of good earners within the
wrestling business.
There seems to be an increasing push towards the ‘move,
move, and move’ style of wrestling in the UK, which I can be
massively blamed for due to the FWA. Yet as one of the figurehead wrestlers of the company it is very fair to say that
I did not fall into this category myself. The fact is that I will
always believe that there is a place on the show for amazing high flying and technical prowess but it is not and never
should be the be all and end all of the show. I was one of
the first to promote a style of wrestling that had not been
done in Europe before, yes, but it was not at the expense of
strong characters and long-term storylines.
This is important to understand, as many old schoolers
(read Chapter One for my opinion on them) often refer to
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spot wrestling as ‘The FWA style’ showing no clue at all
what they are talking about just like their American counterparts used to say that brawling was ‘ECW style’ and
failing to see everything else that came with it. There will
always be a place for athletic moves and fast paced, pretty
looking matches but not at the expense of everything else.
Yet you’ll see teachers of wrestling schools, who used to be
terrible athletes once themselves, trying to drum technical
proficiency into their students over personality and uniqueness. Why?
I also say that the best thing you can be in this business,
if you want to have longevity, is to be irreplaceable. If you
are getting your bookings on the strength of your physical ability alone then you need to make your money fast.
This is for two main reasons. Firstly if you are being booked
purely for your athletic ability and your match quality then
wrestling will take its toll on you a lot faster and you will
likely have to walk away from the ring earlier than those
who do a style based around their persona. Secondly if you
are all about the matches you produce and the moves you
do then god forbid you ever get injured (with is likely) and
have to tone down your style or someone else comes along
who can do things the next level up from you (we call that
sports evolution) then you will be replaced.
This is why previous up and comers who had the wrestling world raving about them like Amazing Red have almost disappeared, whilst Hulk Hogan has outlasted almost
everyone. His act is based around the fact that he is doing
it and not what he is doing meaning that no one can do it
better than Hogan. Even if they did his exact routine, technically better than he did (which, let’s face it, wouldn’t be
hard) it would still just be a parody of him.
In this small example lies one of the greatest lessons in
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wrestling. Even compared to Ric Flair, Hogan knew best.
Flair’s routine was built around being the sixty-minute man
and taking his trademark bumps. That was great when he
was 20, 30 and even 40-years-old but now was it such a
wise move. Of course he will continue to do them to prove
that he still can but to quote Chris Rock: “You can drive a
car with your feet if you want to; that don’t make it a good
fucking idea.” Ironically, when he is retired and almost
forgotten by the newer fans his lasting legacy that will echo
around arenas for years after he is gone will not be his multiple title reigns or legendary performances but that fact
that everyone shouts, “Whoo,” when they see a chop.
Hogan’s move set is based on no selling and offence and
thus can be continued and milked for years to come even
though I’m sure he often regrets his decision over picking
that leg drop every time he passes the piles cream. No matter what their move set was, it is these men’s personalities
that will forever be remembered by the fans and will continue to earn them a living from the business in some shape
or form forever.
So why then has this seemingly been forgotten by so
many aspiring young pros around the UK, and worldwide
for that matter, in return for fast chain sequences and
head-drops aplenty? Because we often forget who it was
that made us a fan in the first place and then focus on what
wrestling we think is cool once we get into the business
whilst missing one massively glaring error in that notion.
Wrestling can only thrive and in turn make its practitioners
rich beyond their wildest dreams when it is attracting the
Holy Grail. That’s right: casual fans.
Whenever there is a boom period, from Hogan to Austin
and even to a lesser extent with the kids Cena, it is by drawing in casual fans. In fact, I would hazard a guess that 99.9
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per cent of people reading this were lured into wrestling by
a ‘name’ wrestler and then got into the cooler, more technically sound wrestling later. It also doesn’t help that, as we
covered in the last chapter, most people who get into wrestling are not naturally cool in the first place so feel that it
reflects better on their negative self-image if they are seen
to be fans or proponents of a cooler style of wrestling.
This is all well and good for a handful that are well-versed
at it but for most students who are not they end up trying
to be something they are not and begin to feel like they
are lacking in something or not cut out for it. This, in turn,
leads to them either getting down with it all and quitting
or working harder and getting better at it but still moulding themselves around something that may not be their
natural strong suit. It is almost like me being an amazing
swordsman and also above average with a kendo stick. If I
enter a fight with a Kendo stick master, then I would be an
idiot to try and compete with him at his strong suit. Instead
I would work on my own and know that I had a better
chance of winning. You never saw Leonardo fighting with
Michelangelo’s nun chucks did you. All wrestlers should
have a strong suit just like all people.
I once remember Jake Roberts telling me that the reason
he didn’t like Chris Jericho was because whomever he was
wrestling he would try and match them at their own style.
If he fought a power wrestler he’d do power moves. If he
fought a high flyer he’d do high flyer and if he was against
a brawler he’d brawl. I nodded and agreed as most 21-yearolds would but I totally understand now how important
what he was saying really was.
To get over you need to see yourself like a top trump
card. What is your weakness? What is your strength? This
not only makes your matches easier to plan despite making
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them more complex and engrossing for the viewer but it
also gives you a definitive strength to work on and get over.
It doesn’t have to be something that relies on you being a
great athlete. It could be something as simple as that fact
that you have one move in your arsenal that is so deadly
that it can finish anyone if you get the chance to hit it. Just
like that aforementioned Mr Roberts’ DDT was. It could be
that your mind games are so clever that even though your
wrestling technique is not so great you can mentally throw
people off. It could be that your manager is so devious that
your opponents are constantly at an unfair disadvantage
and this helps you beat them. There are a million and one
ways of giving yourself an advantage or novelty that separates you from everyone else on the card and this defining
trait that is exclusive to you is the key to you getting over.
Getting over is the key to being a professional wrestler
and not the moves you do or even how you wrestle. Once
you have fully grasped this the wrestling world is your oyster and you can begin to find out what you can do to mould
wrestling around you and not the other way around, just
like it is meant to be. Every school has a great mat wrestler,
a great flyer, a great talker and guy with a great look. However none of these schools have another you – of that I can
assure you. Even a pair of identical twins I used to teach was
not identical. They had their own great and unique traits
and personalities meaning that it made those traits stand
out even more as there was someone else to compare them
directly to.
If you embrace what your own qualities are and not
those that you see everyone else trying to emulate, you
will begin to find that wrestling is unlike any other sport or
athletic activity in the world in that it is meant to work for
you and not against. It is, when done correctly, designed to
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bring out your own uniqueness and personality in everything that you do from the name you pick, to the moves
you do and how you do them, to the outfit you wear all the
way down to the stories you tell in your match. Wrestling is
the most comprehensive and extricate form of artistic expression and personal reflection the world has ever know.
Period.
This is what it is meant to be and there is no better or
more detailed window to the soul that you can possibly
bring to me that will convince me otherwise. This must
then, clearly illustrate that to do it correctly, the reflection
has to be one of you and facets of the many elements that
dwell inside your mind and not just a soulless, pseudo
athlete who mimics what they see on the Indies to get a
momentary reaction for a selection of thoughtless moves.
In other words if what you’re doing is all about the moves
and it’s not working for you and feeling difficult then you
are making life harder for yourself then it needs to be.
Now back to something I said earlier. You can make
yourself an above average athlete, even if you are not naturally gifted, by simply realising one important truth. Once
wrestling becomes something that you find fun to do and
you can see a real future in the way you do it, something
amazing will happen. Firstly, you will begin to feel more
comfortable in the ring over time because you have now
dropped the approach you were using before, of trying to
work against your own natural talents. We learn best under
our own steam and natural desire to do so and not under
duress.
Once we begin to find that moulding wrestling around
our true selves is the way forward and not losing our true
self to be moulded into a wrestler your body will begin
to adapt and adjust to this new feeling of mental comfort
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between the ropes. You will begin to see yourself grow into
a semi competent wrestler and may even find you being
asked to appear on a few student shows.
Once you get a feel of how you react to a crowd and vice
versa you can then and only then make an accurate assessment of whether you are cut out to be a pro wrestler or not.
Tell Abdullah the Butcher that I’m wrong. Once you begin
to see that you can work in front of an audience and that
you are actually able to work a style that not only suits who
you naturally are but actually makes you look good whilst
doing it then you will begin to feel in the right frame of
mind to begin working on the not so instantly fun elements
of wrestling if that is what’s needed.
Elements like diet, weight training and cardio all begin to
seem much less daunting when you realise that not only do
you now have a reason to feel good about doing it because
you are now a wrestler but also because you now enjoy
performing. The key to getting more work is to improve all
aspects of your act and image then you will feel completely
inspired to do so. Remember, as I said earlier, it does not
always have to be bad situations that lead us to making
massive changes in who we are. Good reasons and aiming
for goals can be just as powerful ways to manifest these
changes, if not more so, but first, just like in a bad situation
you have to see that the thing you are working for can actually happen to you and not just other people.
This obsession with work rate is turning away so many
aspiring young wrestlers who could be the very person
needed to be Britain’s first casual draw since Big Daddy. We
sorely need one and my guess is that when we get him, it
won’t be his top rope huracuranas that lead to every other
worker on the cards he works on getting a pay rise. I’ve
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cians laugh at the trainee who dances around while doing
a camp gimmick or grunts like a monster while working like
a big man. I look at the people laughing and think, “You
ignorant morons won’t be laughing when he’s getting paid
more for grunting then you ever will for landing on your
heads.”
There are so many people in this country and around
the world that call themselves professional wrestlers but
are not doing so professionally or never have. It is not their
fault. Many of us, myself included, came from schools or
learnt from people who had a blinkered and completely
ignorant view of what wrestling should be and how to
teach it. Many of these people learnt the same way from
their teacher and so on and so forth, yet there comes a time
when someone has to break the chain and think for themselves.
Wrestling is not MMA. This obsession with being a
shooter that I constantly see makes me laugh. In fact the
biggest offender for telling everyone what a shooter he is
was a little midget from the US who would constantly talk
tough and speak like he was 8 feet tall simply because he
was insecure and felt that this was the way to get respect.
His wrestling was superb and he would have got real respect if he had actually just been a decent person. Instead,
everyone just thinks he is a dick and he will likely suppress
his own success when he could have been a massive star
despite his diminutive stature. His insecurity took over and
the person he introduces himself as now is not the same
person he was when I first met him as a young rookie over
five years ago.
When people get caught in this wrestling tough guy act
it makes them lose sight of the reason they are doing this.
Wrestling is theatre so evolve your ideas and get over it.
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You have to be tough to do this, yes, but there is a massive
difference between being tough and being a fighter. All our
mums must be tough for going through childbirth but they
are not cut out to be female cage fighters. In other words,
they can take large amounts of pain but don’t have the selfbelief and confidence in their physical abilities to fight for a
living.
I am going to upset a whole bunch of people here but
with the exception of a small number that make up around
10 to 15 per cent maximum, most pro wrestlers are pussies.
Many of them lose their bottle in a real fight and most of
them wouldn’t even know what to do even if they did have
one. Now, before anyone thinks that this matter I want to
state for the record even more clearly that ‘being hard’ is so
massively irrelevant that it makes me sick when I hear ‘men’
on a night out trying desperately to prove their manliness
by talking tough as if that is the key to being a secure person.
I will tell you a simple piece of my own philosophy right
now. When the day comes when you have to defend something worth fighting for – and trust me, it will – then and
only then will it matter how hard you can punch or how
much bottle you have. Yet unless you are a paid fighter and
do this to earn a living let us, as men, stop showing what
un-evolved arseholes we are by focusing so much attention
on how hard we all are. People who hide in a fake business
and talk about being hard without ever doing anything to
really back it up are saying more to flush out their own insecurities then twelve months in counselling can ever do.
This focus on exposing the business, working overly stiff
and looking tough that some wrestlers and schools have is
the reason that both you and your school will never reach
your true full potential, no matter how far you think you
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have got. If it is a gimmick then that is great. Just remember
that once the camera is off, it really makes no difference
how tough you are because it is – drum roll please – cooperation and acting so there is no need to risk pushing away
some geeky kid who could just be the saviour that the UK
industry needs because you have unresolved issues from
your childhood that make you act like a delusional idiot.
In closing, remember that wrestling is all about you and
whether the audience ‘get you’ or not. The moves that you
do and how they are executed are simply ways of furthering the narrative that you require in your character’s matches. Wrestling is closer to cinema than it is to sport. Just
remember that Arnie’s inability to perform Shakespeare
never hindered him reaching his full career potential. Don’t
let someone else’s limited grasp of the wrestling business
prevent you from reaching yours.
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CHAPTER FOUR
B
efore I get started on Chapter Four I feel the need
to emphasise that this guide is intended for people
who want to get involved in the industry itself, particularly as a pro wrestler. I am giving away my knowledge
from nearly 15 years of being one of the most high profile
and successful wrestlers, promoters and trainers in Europe
during that time. This has given me the ability to see things
from all sides of the fence and has allowed me to see what
has worked for me as a wrestler with limited ability as well
as knowing what a top promoter looks for in his talent. I
have also trained the best and worst students up and down
the UK and have found that their natural talent has very
little to do with the eventual level they reach within the
business. I’ve seen awesome athletes quit within a year and
I’ve seen the class joke become a big star.
The thing that separates those who make it from those
who don’t is simply a combination of motivation, desire
and the knowledge of the finer principles of the business.
Some people stumble on these by accident while others
get them passed down from mentors. The fact remains
that however good you are or wherever you have got to
without them, adding them to your wrestling education is a
huge step in your professional evolution.
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This book intends to get the very best out of your career. Of course, you can still wrestle and get places without
learning them but my point is that everything I speak about
in here is with the absolute intention of getting you as far
as you possibly can get in this business. Some people may
find parts of it overly in depth and that is fine. This book is
meant to appeal to everyone but I am well aware that only
a select few will truly take 100 per cent of what I am passing
on into their own wrestling careers. However, this is exactly
how I teach at my schools around the UK and have done
since 2001 and those who have taken it all in are now visible as being some of the most successful wrestlers to come
out of the UK in the last 20 years.
My belief is that those who take the time to listen to as
many people in the business as possible, even if they disagree, are the ones with the most chance of making it, for
homework was not meant to be discontinued the day we
left school. I’d like to carry on from where we left off in the
last chapter, that being your character and how to maximize your ability to get that character over with the paying
public.
I have had some amazing correspondence from people
who have taken something from my advice despite the fact
that they are not intending to wrestle themselves. I like to
try and make these as interesting as possible for everyone
without losing sight of the reason for doing them, which is
for the purpose of wrestling training. However this chapter is far more wrestling-based than its predecessors have
been. I just want to make that clear before I start for the
benefit of those people who are not training to wrestle and
may not find it as helpful as past chapters. What I will say is
that the next part of the guide will be far more interesting
for that group with some really novel concepts being intro053
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duced as those who attended my seminar tours will attest
to.
I spoke in the last chapter about how the key to wrestling
was not the moves you do but the persona of the wrestler.
Hopefully that gave some of you food for thought with
regards to what persona you would like to take on. In later
parts of the guide I will discuss in detail other ways to enhance your character work and the connection it has with
your audience but in order to keep the chapters nice and
varied I would now like to focus in this issue a little more on
the moves that your character performs.
My mentor, Dino Scarlo, would always tell me that repetition was the mother of skill. He would insist on making us
do something over and over again until he was sure we had
it. His theory was that if you do it once, you’re lucky. If you
do it again the second time straight away, you’re double as
lucky. If you hit it a third time in a row, you might have it.
If you hit it again a fourth time you’ve basically got it. Hit it
a fifth time in succession and it’s a lock. I now do the same
with my students so much so that many of them laugh
when I say, “One more time,” because they know I am likely
to keep saying that until they get it right at least five times
in a row.
We have to start accepting that as wrestlers we are acts.
Just like Green Day is an act, wrestlers are an act with a style
of wrestling, established moves, entrance, look and music.
If you went to see your favourite band and they turned up
on stage looking totally different, singing in a completely
new way and not performing the songs you knew them
for, you would likely feel let down. As an established act
they must rely on repetition to keep their audience happy
no matter how boring it may be for them at times. One of
the greatest comedy minds of all time, Bill Hicks (who died
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suddenly in his prime like most men with a message usually do) sounded so spontaneous in his live shows that he
always truly inspired me. As I got more interested in him
and sourced his old work I begun to realise how much of it
was repeated over and over again in front of new crowds.
The key to being a great performer is not simply originality
and spontaneity but constant repetition without giving off
the impression that you have performed the same material
over and over again to the point it may bore you.
Wrestlers, like all performers, have a responsibility to
their audience to deliver what they came to see. If you are
not over yet and are trying to find out what works for you
then no one will be to let down to see you try something
new, however the key to getting over and staying there is
to perfect a routine and repeat it over and over again until it sticks. If you look back at anyone who got something
over that wasn’t instantly a hit, you can find footage of
them doing it again and again to zero response until it was
drummed into your brain so much that you can’t help but
repeat it yourself. The New Age Outlaws intro was met for
months with total audience indifference back in the old
WWE Attitude ear but they stuck with it and by hook or by
crook it eventually became one of the most popular parts
of the show.
I remember thinking when I first heard the phrase ‘War
on Terror’, how ridiculous it was. Firstly, the very nature of
war is terror so it is a complete, almost Orwellian, contradiction in terms. Any war creates more terror even if only
natives of far away countries that don’t affect us here in the
West feel it. Secondly, I thought terrorism is a tactic so how
can you have a war against a tactic? It made no sense to
me. I thought that this was just a way of justifying war on
anyone the West sees fit at any time and that it could not
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possibly be accepted by the masses. Yet, lo and behold, by
repeating it over and over and over again it was drummed
into everyone’s head so much via the mainstream media
that people now actually don’t question it now and even
think it’s a good thing because they now think it is actually
a real war.
My point here is that no matter how stupid something
may seem at first, continual repetition will get it over, you
just have to believe in it and be patient. Humans are very
easy to brainwash with the right knowledge and a bit of
patience no matter how bad or good your intentions are.
So how is this concept going to make you a better wrestler?
Simply by applying this concept of repetition and patience
to every single aspect of your act in order to get what you
are doing over. I will break it down to the nuts and bolts
of each individual part of your wrestling persona over the
coming months using this concept combined with the very
best advice I can offer to accompany each chapter along
the way. Step one for us today is your actual wrestling
move set.
All wrestlers need a move set no matter how slow and
plodding their character might be inside the ropes. If we
think of your wrestling match as a journey from A to E then
your move set will be, B, C and D. In other words they are
the things that you are likely to do before you reach a point
where you can hit your finishing move. All the greats have
well established move sets and why wouldn’t they? It is a
vital part of getting over with your audience and a crucial
step towards becoming a good wrestler. There is nothing
more unnerving for me than to ask some one I’m wrestling
what their moves are and for them to reply, “Well, I can
do this,” or, “I could do that.” I’m sure that I could perform
open heart surgery if I really tried. I’m not so certain that the
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patient would survive how ever but that it only part of the
procedure. Do you see my point? If I’m putting my life in
your hands then I want to know that you are confident and
well rehearsed in the moves you are doing.
To not have a move set shows that you are not completely finished as a package yet and that means that the moves
you will be doing are likely ones that you are proposing are
not moves that you are that confident with. You’ll find that
a lot of wrestlers will turn around and say, “I’m not taking
that,” or, “This is what you can do to me.” If this begins to
happen you are now losing a vital opportunity to get your
own uniqueness across to your audience. A well thought
out and established move set separates the wrestlers from
the trainees and in this part of the book we will focus on
how to select your move and how to assess if they are the
right ones for you.
Now the first thing to understand is that a wrestling
move is simply a way of helping you tell the story of your
match. Sometimes the story will dictate that you are in
need of a desperation move to turn the tide. Other times
you need a hold to wear your opponent down and further
emphasize your control of the situation. Some times you
just need to hit that one last big move to wipe your opponent out before your finishing manoeuvre. Whatever you
do and however you do it, when done correctly, a wrestling
move is just another way of putting forth the story you and
your opponent are trying to tell. Ever wondered by Kurt
Angles Ankle lock can evoke so much more reaction than
some Indy guy hitting a 450 to the outside? It’s not just
because Angle is over but because he combines this with
knowing when to hit the move to maximize the story he is
trying to tell. If we can begin to understand this principle
then it becomes far easier for us to start looking at what
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types of moves we might need in our own arsenals.
The first thing to think about is whether your character is
a heel or a face. This is important because this will affect the
type of move set you have. For example if I am a great high
flyer and my move set is made up of jaw dropping moves
then I have to consider the fact that it may be hard for me
to get over as a heel. This is not to say that it can’t be done,
but as a wrester I need to think about what I will do differently in the execution of the move to make sure that the
audience don’t cheer when they should boo.
I will give an example of one of my moves throughout
this piece in order to show you the thought that went into
it and the various elements that made it work. The example
I will use is my pump handle diamond cutter. I will discuss
later the twist that I added to make the move my own but
for now and for simplicity sake I will talk about my first
version of the move. I executed this move in two different
ways depending on if I was working heel or face. When I
executed the move as a heel, I would land flat backed on
the floor and then sit straight up onto my backside, quickly
make an X in front of me with my hands outstretched and
then uncross them rapidly as if to motion, “He’s finished.”
This gave the move a far more dominant and cocky feel
to it. However when I executed the move as a baby face, I
would twist my body towards the left as soon as I landed
so that I could roll straight up on to one knee and perform
a fired up, “Come on!” to my audience or spin right round
into a fast cover. This gave off the feeling of a fired up baby
face who wanted to win.
The tiny, almost unnoticeable, difference may seem
like nothing on a conscious level but subconsciously it
completely changes the audience’s perception of you.
There were also times when I would want to execute it in
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the heel-ish way if I was a baby face. For example if it was
against a smaller, cocky, fast heel then I would let him fly
around and beat me with quickness only to catch him
with he cutter as a nice snappy cut off. It would then work
well to sit up rigidly and hard like a heel as a way to put
the final exclamation point on the move and almost say to
the audience “Got the little bastard”. However, in a match
with a bigger, more equally-sized opponent I would want
to execute the move and roll to my knee to get the crowd
behind me by firing up as soon as I hit it. The point here is
that I was aware that with a tiny difference in movement
the story told by the way I landed completely changed. In
the first part of the guide I spoke about attention to detail
being the difference between a masterpiece and an also
ran. This is a perfect example of that principle.
Some will accuse me of thinking to deeply into this but
by doing so they will just expose how little they understand
about the business when done right. The real masters of
this business, like Shawn Michaels, know when to and why
to do everything, with absolutely no wasted motion. It is
the same with a Hollywood movie, where so much ends up
on the cutting room floor because it was not really needed.
Wrestling becomes exactly the same the more you begin
to understand it. That is why if you follow the career of
any pro, the more the mature as a wrestler the less they
do because they learn that to do moves for no real reason
other than because they look good is a complete waste of
motion.
So deciding if your move set is for a heel or a face makes
a big difference to what you perform and how. For many
new wrestlers they will not have the luxury of always being able to decide if they are heel or face when they are
first getting started. Many promoters decide what role the
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newer wrestlers will take on depending on how many heels
and faces they have on the rest of the card. With this being the case it makes sense to have a move set that can be
altered ever so slightly to work both ways. If one of your
moves is an amazing bit of high flying then find a way to
make the landing as cocky as possible for example. The exclamation point that you put on a move is just as important
as the move itself and the way you land or react after you
hit the move can make all the difference so don’t just think
that the work is done as soon as the other wrestler takes his
bump. Thinking like this is just lessening the potential of
your own move and certainly decreasing the reaction the
move gets from your audience.
If we are sticking with the theme of having a move to tell
different parts of the story in your match then think about
the following. Have one small cut off/come back move. One
slightly bigger cut off/come back move. One near fall or
go home move but that is not your finish and a trade mark
hold or submission. I am not saying that this is right for everyone but it is a damn fine start. If we work on a numbers
bases with ten being your finish and one being a wrist lock
then you want a move set that contains a four, a couple of
sixes and an eight. This gives you a decent foundation to
build your move set around. Go and have a look at some
top wrestlers and see what they use and if the numbers
system applies to them. See how they use the move in different situations to tell multiple stories.
The next tip that I would give when compiling a move
set is to try and have a move that comes from every possible standing position. Edge is a perfect example. In an
ideal world you would have a move where you were positioned behind your opponent, at the side of your opponent, directly in front of your opponent and in front of your
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opponent at a distance. The reason for this is simple. These
are the basic positions that you will find yourself in if you
reverse one of your opponent’s moves. Therefore you can
flow seamlessly into one of your own moves after reversing one of theirs. This will not only make it easier to put
your match together but will make your exchanges appear
smoother by not having to keep turning your opponent
around in order to get the into position for what you are
about to do next. Look at Edge next time he is on television
and see what I mean.
The next step is to make your moves your own. I want
to once again go back to the pump handle diamond cutter. When I turned heel in FWA after my long baby face run
I knew I needed some changes that would make my work
more bereft of a heel. The first thing I did was cut out my
springboard flip plancha and my over the top rope spinning heel kick. These were my two most impressive moves
for someone over 6 feet 6 inches, but made no sense to
execute as a heel. Remember I quoted Chris Rock in the last
chapter – just because you can do something doesn’t mean
you should.
The next step was to alter some of my basic moves.
This is very important because even though it is very hard
to invent anything new these days, I do believe that you
should always add something to at least half of your moves
to make them completely unique to you in the way you
execute them. I want to give you an example of what I did
and how easy it was to come up with something new and
original to one of my moves. I decided to add something
that was so simple yet hugely effective to the cutter sequence. All I did was remember one of the most dangerous
mistakes in a beginner’s wrestling training.
What do you think is potentially the most dangerous
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move in the first stages of someone’s training when performed incorrectly? Shockingly, the answer is a snap mare.
Yes that’s right, that simple little move is potentially fatal.
The reason for this is because when done correctly you
bring your opponents head towards the ground with your
right arm whilst simultaneously lowering your right knee
to the floor in order to create a space for their head to roll
through. However if you get confused and lower your left
knee instead (keeping your right one up) your opponents
face will go hurtling, nose first, into your now rigidly positioned kneecap. If the force is strong enough it could be
lethal.
I had seen the mistake countless times after teaching
literally thousands of people but had never thought of
making it into a move – neither had any other pro I had
watched. I decided to add in between the pump handle
and the cutter which not only made it look more vicious
and at the same time cooler but now made the move completely my own. From that point on the move was totally
unique to me and no endless hours or head scratching
were needed to make it so. The key to making a move set
your own is to put the tiniest of twists on everything you
do. Look at ‘The Peoples’ Elbow’ for heavens sake. Anything
can get over huge as long as you are prepared to make it
your own in some small way and then repeat it over and
over again until your force people to ‘get it’ no matter how
long it takes.
The other thing that made it suit me was that the diamond cutter is a tall person’s move. I am 6 feet 6 inches
therefore when I, just like Dallas Page or Randy Orton, hit
the move and allowed my body to fully extend it made the
whole thing look big. The key to making a cutter look good
is height and distance. This is why my next point is to pick a
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move that suits your body type. I used a big boot again because I am tall and thus was normally above my opponent’s
head height. If I was 5 feet 8 inches then this move might
not have suited me so well. Think about what moves and
movements would flatter your body type.
One of the other reasons that I cut out my dive and
Shane-station kick were because to execute them I had to
run and tall people just don’t look that good when they
run. Just ask Kevin Nash. If your own move set does not
show you in the best light athletically then no matter how
much you want to do them seriously think twice about it. I
remember Doug Williams telling me how he was always a
fan of the heavyweight brawls and I was always a fan of the
more technical-based stuff. Could you imagine what would
have happened if we had performed the wrestling we preferred to watch and not what suited our body types?
The next step is to name your moves. I called the pump
handle cutter ‘The Check-up From the Neck Up’. People
used to laugh at me for naming my moves when I first started doing it but it got them over. Not naming your moves
is like a musician not naming his songs. These are your
money-makers so give them a title and one that has taken
more then 2 minutes to think of. Take a famous saying,
movie or song title, even an already over wrestling move
and alter the name to fit what you are doing. Think about
the way the move looks when you are naming it to. For
example ‘The Check-up From the Neck Up’ has two peaks
when announced. Those being “check up” and “neck up”.
The move itself has exactly the same feel to it with the face
into the knee followed rapidly by the diamond cutter. This
allowed the FWA commentators to say, “Here it comes,” or,
“He’s setting up for it,” as I got my opponent into the pump
handle and then execute the name of the move in time
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with my performance of it.
Notice how the commentary team in WWE execute the
names of the moves when a big one is hit. This is an advanced way of getting something over which we will talk
about in later chapters but for now just remember that to
get something over to the fullest, combining sound and
picture at once is very important. This is why it makes sense
to think about how the name of the move sounds when being said over the top of it being executed.
Also think logically about the moves you are doing. If
your finishing move is a leg submission but your entire
move set is based around strikes to the lower back then
there is a lack of logic in it. Take the time to think about
what makes sense when combined with your style and/or
finisher. This is not always practical, as some people have
a finish that hits more than one body part, but it is still no
excuse for not at least thinking along these lines on other
levels. For example, if you cannot execute the move on at
least 50 per cent of your opponents (and I’d personally say
80 per cent is more like it) then it is once again not logical. If
you cannot execute it unless you are completely fresh and
only five minutes into your match then guess what? It is
also not logical. If it only looks good on certain people and
only when the planets align and if they take it the right way
then, last but not least, it just isn’t logical. It will not take
long to tick these additional boxes but it will certainly make
all the difference later on, believe me.
Another simple trick I used to get my moves over was to
refer to the name of the move to the wrestlers I was working against even if they did not know what I was talking
about. By saying it anyway, they would ask me what the
move actually was and then I would explain it to them. You
are more likely to remember the answer to something if
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it is a question you have actually asked. By giving them a
reason to ask me, there was more chance of them remembering the name of it and I always believed that if the very
people you are working with don’t know the names of your
moves then it’s not a very good sign of how over it is. Workers have told me that this I nonsense and that it doesn’t
matter if the boys know the names of your moves or not.
They have told me that there are likely loads of wrestlers in
WWE right now who have names for their moves that other
workers in the company do not know. To this I simply rebut,
do you seriously think that there is a single wrestler in WWE
right now that doesn’t know the name of the Pedigree or
the FU? If you want to be over then you have to be over
with everyone and that does include your peers. End of
story.
The next bit of advice I would give you about your move
set is to come up with as many different ways to get into
them and out of them as possible. Nothing is better than
a series of moves that you know inside out. You can really
keep the audience guessing and that is the name of the
game. When I say get out of them I actually mean that you
should try and learn all the possible escapes from your own
moves. This enables you to offer them to your opponents
when required which will not only make your match more
entertaining but put them over in the process and this is
the goal of any good worker. It will also make people more
likely to enjoy working with you if you come up with cool
ways for them to reverse your own moves.
Also, if you know how to get into and out of your moves
in a multitude of different ways then you can do those
great sequences where the two wrestlers are continually
reversing and escaping from each other’s moves. By taking the time to find out as many different reversals of your
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move as possible in training it won’t leave you backstage
with minutes to go before your music hits trying to find a
flash way to reverse one of your own trademarks.
As a wrestler I feel it is your job to be the master of the
moves you do and that means knowing and loving them
inside out. If you only have one reversal to one of your
moves then for god sake, save it for a match that really
matters even if that doesn’t come for three years. My point
is that these are your crown jewels so to not know everything about them before you decide to show them off to
the public and “get them over” is only going to be to your
own detriment later on down the line. You’ll be surprised
how much more you’ll appreciate the moves you do if you
simply take the time to really get to know them. It will also
make you feel ten times more confident about using them
too.
As I mentioned in the last chapter, confidence in what
you are doing is vital to you achieving success in anything
and wrestling is no different. If you don’t feel like your
move set is your best and most reliable friend in the wrestling business then it is not the right one for you. I remember another little Jake Roberts pearl of wisdom which sums
this up perfectly even though it only begun making sense
to me years after he first said it because the context it was
in was not clear. He told me that if you had been faithful to
your wife for 30 years but then you decided to cheat on her
just the once but she caught you then you may as well have
cheated every year before that because she would never
believe that you had not done it before.
At the time I considered it curious marriage advice from
the man particularly as I had seen Beyond the Mat and
thought it would be like getting advice from Jeremy Kyle
on how to not be a condescending dickhead. However, I
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realise now what Jake was trying to say was that if you fuck
up your own move, even once, the audience loses that bit
of respect for you that they had before. Even if they still like
you, it is in the back of their mind now that you might slip
or fall over. It has happened to us all and there is nothing
more embarrassing however if it happens whilst executing
a move that you should, as a pro, know inside out then not
only will you slightly kill your own credibility but also your
own heat.
I remember after Chris Jericho slipped on his springboard
a few times against Rhino some years back that I panicked
for him every time he performed it after that. If your audience is thinks, “Phew,” instead of, “Yeah hit him,” when you
execute your moves then this is not a good thing. It certainly does nothing to help you build the story you’re trying to
get over. This is why it’s critical that you are totally comfortable with your own moves. I remember James Tighe once
telling me that every time he hit his shooting star press he
was worried that he would just moonsault behind himself
by accident. I, as the promoter of FWA who was building
him up as the number one contender to Doug Williams
British Heavyweight Title that year, instantly ordered him to
stop doing it. He laughed at first but I meant it.
Whatever we focus on, we bring into our reality in one
way or another. If this was constantly in the back of his
mind then sooner or later he would have done it. Could you
imagine anything worse for his credibility than moonsaulting onto nothing behind him instead of hitting his trademark SSP on the person in front of him? At the time Burchil,
who was a lot bigger, was doing the same move and I knew
that it was no great lose for FWA to not have James perform
the move but would have been disastrous for him had he
messed it up. I can look back now and fully understand
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what Roberts was trying to tell me. This final point should
be enough to cement in your mind just how much thought
and effort should go into selecting your move set and the
benefits you will receive when you do.
Hopefully that has given you some good for thought this
time around. In two chapters’ time, as a continuation of this
piece, we will work on how to select a finishing move and
my formula to decide if it’s the best one for you. However,
in order to keep things fresh and the content interesting for
those who either do not wish to be wrestlers or already but
are after some extra goodies to get you that bit further then
Chapter Five will be something really outside-of-the-box,
covering everything from tarot cards, astrology and cooperate black magic in order to get yourself ‘over’. There will
also be some shocking examples of one of the most famous
wrestlers in the world and how he uses those very principles on an unsuspecting public without even the smartest
of fans catching on.
Do not go where the path leads, but go where there is no
path and leave a trail.
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CHAPTER FIVE
W
ell, as promised at the end of the last chapter, this
instalment of the guide is going to feature some
very out of the box thinking. In fact, by the time you
have finished reading, some of you may never be in the
box ever again. However, the information contained in this
article is stuff that is so advanced that for many of you it will
never have crossed your mind yet. As you will soon find, out
there are others who are using these techniques on an unsuspecting wrestling public and being extremely successful
by doing so.
As this is a complete guide to making it in pro wrestling
the one area that lets so many people down is simply that
of marketing. As a very successful promoter I feel that I have
an advantage in this area over most as selling wrestling
to the masses can be not far off selling ice to the Eskimos
at times. It has given me an interest and advanced understanding of how the best marketers in the world overcome
the fact that there is so much competition for your money.
The resulting tactics that they have found work the best are
more complex then you would ever imagine.
These people need to pull out all the stops to sell you
their wares over other peoples and making it as a pro wrestler is exactly the same. With somewhere in the region of
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over 300 wrestlers in the UK alone and only around twenty
spots a show maximum, real thought has to be put into the
process of getting those spots.
When you get to the WWE you will have a huge marketing giant behind you doing most of the complex thinking
for you yet for many people reading this, that goal is either
not within your grasp just yet or might just be something
that never happens. Therefore you must become your own
marketing machine and that will involve all the short cuts
and tricks that you can muster if you really want the best
chance of success. There are marketing tricks that are being
used on you daily and forcing your hand without you even
being aware of it. Techniques that are tapping into a part
of your brain (the subconscious) that you yourself don’t
even know how to tap into and making you think and act
in a way that you have been duped into believing purely
is your own choice. That is why this article, no matter how
irrelevant it might appear to some, is likely the most important to every reader of this magazine even if they have no
desire to ever break into the wrestling business. It’s time to
become aware of the war for your mind.
I believe that the single biggest threat to the human race
is simply one word: acceptance. I am going to share with
you some of my own philosophy from my upcoming book,
The Unholy Babble. A foolish man simply accepts what it is
that he thinks while a wise man thinks about what it is that
he accepts. The fact is that if we take just two minutes to
look around us we will begin to see that our lives are full of
unexplainable paradoxes that simply make no sense. You
would not turn round now and drink milk from your mother
once you stopped being a baby (like all other animals), yet
you’ll drink it from a cow? We lock up people who smoke
a naturally occurring substance like marijuana but give tax
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breaks to the biggest drug peddlers on the planet – the
pharmaceutical, tobacco and alcohol companies.
In fact, we justify this by saying that smoking weed can
lead to deep depression and paranoia in later life but yet
we don’t seem to give a toss about doing that to our youth
when we are selling them MTV, beauty magazines and
making them face the thought of severe debt for years to
come just to get a decent education.
Acceptance of what we believe rather than thinking
about what we accept has been the downfall of the human
race since the dawn of time with the masses (who should
have the power) being slaves to the ruling elite whose
number so few. Therefore, for many people, what I have to
say may fall on deaf ears. Just like the people who refused
to accept that the world was round, many will remain in the
bubble of ignorance not because they are stupid but because they have been brainwashed into accepting without
truly thinking. If you do not think that your mind is being
controlled when you turn on the television or read the
newspaper then nothing is more of a display that you are.
If, however, you are aware that there may be an agenda at
work somewhere that is trying to get something out of you,
be it as little as purchases for the advertisers that keep them
in business or inducing fear in the masses for the purpose
of keeping them in the bubble we call western life.
What if you disagree with me? Then at least you have
taken the time to even think about it with an open mind
and decide what you think the truth really is. However, we
should never live in a world where you are persecuted for
simply questioning what we are told to accept. In fact, anyone who does this is foolish because I would hazard a guess
that everything we rely on in today’s world was once something that the inventor had to argue could and should be
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done against the most closed minded of ‘thinkers’. Do you
get my point? As long as you have thought about what you
accept and thought about it critically and not just adopted
the view from someone else because that is easier then
your opinion is your own and I respect that. If on the other
hand you accept that life is purely black and white and that
shades of grey are just for “hippy, spiritual morons” then its
time for you to turn the page.
What I am going to speak to you about in this part of
the guide goes far beyond wrestling yet in order to tie it all
together in a way that nobody has ever done before, I will
use the example of how the most powerful wrestler on the
planet today uses the exact principles I am about to teach
you in order to gain greater control over his unassuming
public. In a fitting line from The Matrix, a film that you will
want to watch again after this article, “Buckle your seatbelt,
Dorothy because Kansas is going bye bye.”
At the end of this chapter will be some amazingly relevant wrestling information. In fact, what you are going to
read will benefit you immensely even if you decide to set
up a window cleaning business and have not interest in pro
wrestling at all. However, for those that do, I just want to
make sure that you are aware early that it will, eventually,
lead back to the grip game and more directly to the man
sitting at the top of the mound, Triple H.
Before we get to this though, you’ll need some patience
and an incredibly open and questioning mind. What you
are going to learn about today are extremely advanced
marketing techniques and how to target the subconscious
mind in order to improve your chances of getting the
product that you are selling to stick into the head of your
intended targets – the paying public. I can only really touch
on this briefly as although these articles are pretty long, this
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topic really should take up much more space. My intention
is simply to introduce you to the subject in this article and
get your interest enough to encourage you to look up some
further information on it and maybe also some of the other
branches that hang from this most interesting if not a little
unnerving of trees.
I have named this type of marketing, Cooperate Black
Magic. The reason for this is both simple and scary. If I
convinced you that the colour red was blue then you would
argue with me all day that the sky above us was not the
colour that it really is, would you not? So when I tell people
that Hitler was a black magician they laugh and look at
me like I’m a crazy. This is simply because their concept of
what black magic actually is does not correspond with their
image of one of the world’s most evil men. Most people’s
association with black magic is one of witches, black cats,
cauldrons and broomsticks. Sadly, that is a huge misconception.
Black magic in its modern day form is simply using mantras, sigils, colours, sounds and symbols to bombard your
subconscious mind in a way that makes you act against
your own will. If you know how to do this, it is simple. Let
us look at Hitler – a man who used exactly the same techniques outlined above to bombard the subconscious minds
of the German people to get them to act as a collective in a
way that allowed such hideous atrocities that we still cannot understand them over seventy years later. He used sacred symbols like the swastika, the use of colour and sound
at his Nazi rallies, the use of mantras, archetypes. You do
not have to look far to discover that this is black magic.
Let’s look at what Hitler was really using back then in the
context of today’s world. He was using advanced marketing
and propaganda techniques. In fact if we look objectively
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then Hitler was the world’s first marketing guru. He used
this approach to infiltrate the subconscious minds of the
masses in Germany so much that the people worshipped
him as a hero when it is clear now he was one of the biggest villains on the planet. He learnt how to plant his message directly into the subconscious mind of the German
people and was able to do the things that he did with their
complete backing almost like they had been brainwashed.
The reason for that, no matter how illogical it may sound, is
because they had been, and far deeper than we have ever
been told.
The German financial crisis clearly weakened the will of
the people first, but that just opened the door for what was
to come. When we look at this at face value it is so obvious,
so why is it that I never learnt about this attack of the subconscious mind of the German people in school? Of course
I saw German propaganda but I was never shown how
this concentrated attack on the subconscious could be so
powerful in almost completely changing the will of German
people. I believe it is because the very same attacks are being used on us today without our knowledge. Why does the
mainstream media not tell us what black magic really is?
Because they are using it during every commercial break to
sell you stuff that you don’t really need.
Basic marketing is the gentle persuasion of the mind
on a conscious level. What I am going to talk about in this
chapter is the intrusion of the mind on a subconscious level
which is the most effective form of all marketing because
it leads you to believe that the purchase was ultimately
your choice in the first place when it actually was not at all.
That’s right; it was the use of mantras (jingles and slogans),
symbols (logos), colours and sounds etc that have been
planted into your subconscious to make you think that you
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were in control of the decision. If you were already aware
of this then the people responsible would not be the best
marketing minds in the world, for their job is to leave you
thinking that you still have the power of free choice and
they are just giving you a gentle nudge. The further we get
into this you will begin to see that this ‘gentle nudge’ is
more of a bowling ball between the eyes.
Firstly, let me explain a little about the subconscious
mind. As part of my life coaching, I now study and can perform hypnosis, which is amazingly simple to learn despite
how complex a subject it is. We all have something called
the ‘critical wall’. This acts like a firewall on a PC but for our
minds. It sits between the conscious brain and the subconscious. If I was to tell you that the moon was made of
cheese then your critical wall would come into play and not
allow that information into your subconscious therefore
meaning that you would not believe it to be true. However,
when someone hypnotises you all they are doing is lowering the critical wall and allowing their suggestions to go
directly in into your subconscious therefore making you
accept the suggestion that the moon is made of cheese as
fact.
Have you ever wondered why the hypnotist can make
their target see the audience all naked etc? It’s because the
critical wall has come down and the hypnotist’s suggestions are going directly into the subconscious. This is interesting for two reasons. Firstly, it lets you see just how easily
your mind can be manipulated with the right understanding of how it works particularly by people who know how
to control it. The second interesting and extremely worrying thing that I discovered whilst researching for my book
is that television is designed to put you into a hypnotic
trance! This is 100 per cent factual. In fact someone who
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has never watched television before would take 45 minutes before they entered a trance like state from watching
it. If they sat down in front of it again the next day it would
take them just five minutes and on the third day only two
minutes before they were back in a trance. This is just like
direct hypnosis where it is far easier to place someone into
a trance after you have done it to them once or twice and
becomes almost instantaneous after a few occasions.
This means that for most of us, after less than 120 seconds in front of the box we are entering a semi-hypnotic
state and lowering our critical wall. You are still conscious
but your mind is wide open to suggestion because you are
in a trance even if you can break it yourself. Ever wondered
why you can waste a whole night just flicking channels and
can’t figure out where four hours just went? Now this does
not mean that you’ll think Eastenders is a documentary
but that is because it is not presented as fact, however, at
the very least most people do not, for one second, question that the news might in fact be an agenda-filled piece
of propaganda and at the very most I bet you can hear the
Macdonald’s jingle/mantra in your head as clear as day now
that I’ve mentioned it. That is because something you did
not want to take in by choice has forcibly bypassed your
critical wall and is now firmly planted in your subconscious.
However, not all of us are lucky enough to have a TV show
to hypnotise our audience with so we have to be a bit more
ingenious with how we do this when in print. This is where
you can start taking some notes for your own marketing
techniques. This is also where it begins to get really clever
and even crazier.
If I told you that astrology, tarot and numerology all used
to be taught as one subject it would likely not be of much
interest to you because in today’s apparently logically
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minded world such topics are merely the stuff of fantasy
and superstition. We baulk at the importance of such matters because we read our horoscopes in the tabloids such as
The Sun or The Daily Star and fail to see how everyone born
at the same time can have the same day ahead of them.
However, the fact is that we overlook the very astrological
nature of those two newspaper titles (Sun and Star) whilst
being turned against the legitimacy of such a science in a
way that is completely by design.
The best way to look at astrology in my eyes is like this: if
we believe what science teaches us then the moon affects
oceans and rivers. Therefore, if we agree that humans are
90 per cent water (the same substance that makes up those
river and oceans) then there is a very strong chance that
the position of other planets might affect the water within
us. In fact the word ‘lunatic’ comes directly and obviously
from ‘lunar’ and it was reported recently that there are
more police out on patrol in the West End of London on a
full moon than any other night. Coincidence? Wake up Neo,
the Matrix has you.
Of course, I cannot tell you that because you are an
Aquarius, on Wednesday you will meet women whose
name begins with T who will buy you a rose. However, I can
do a lot more to find out about how your mind and internal decision-making process works by knowing when you
were born. Of course, the person you grow into depends on
your upbringing but if I bought two identical cars and used
one for stock car racing and one for a bank robbery even
though they are being used for completely different things,
the manual will still give me a better understanding of the
inner workings of it once we get past the superficial factors
of what they are on the outside.
Many major corporations time the launch of their new
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products to tie in with astrological changes and all royal
families to this day have chief astrologers. Anything you are
fed to make you think the whole thing is nonsense is simply
a way of limiting your interest in this subject. We all have
a deep understanding of many things on a subconscious
level that we are clueless about on a conscious one. For
example, how many of you have set your alarm and woken up just before it went off even if you change the time
it is set for frequently? However, if I asked you what the
time is now, you’d have to look at a clock. This is because
you know exactly what the time is on a subconscious level
which is why you can wake up the second before alarm yet
consciously you don’t have a clue. The same is true of astrology, tarot (archetypes) and numerology. The reasons for
this are a book in itself but the fact is the major marketing
companies know this and are aware that this stuff has an
affect on us and use it to tap directly into our subconscious.
Do you know what the Nike tick logo actually is? It is the
ring around the planet Saturn with the planet taken out of
the centre. What relevance does this astrological symbolism
have to sporting goods? None, but on a subconscious level
it affects you in just the right way to stick the logo in your
brain. I’ll give you another really complex one right now,
which may short-circuit your brain for a few seconds. What
is the most famous corporate logo in the world? I’d guess
that it is the Macdonald’s logo. We have already discussed
the way they use the TV to help get over their mantra but
let us take this one step further and now introduce numerology to the dance.
Why is the number 13 such a sacred number? Other than
666, 13 are the most feared and misunderstood number
in existence. It is actually because it represents the most
important journey in the world – the journey of one into
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three or in other words, the conscious into the union of the
conscious, the subconscious and the spirit. Confused? Let
me explain. When we hear of the holy trinity in religion it is
meant to be the father, the son and the Holy Ghost. However, if the father is God and the son is Jesus, what then is
the Holy Ghost? It is one of life’s most well guarded secrets
(not any more, whoops) that what it’s actually referring to
is the son being the conscious brain, the father being the
subconscious and the Holy Ghost being the union between
the three. Don’t believe me? Let’s see where else this has
popped up in code that you might have been unaware of.
In the Matrix films Neo (who starts out in room 101) is the
conscious brain who is limited. Neo is an anagram of the
word one, and he is called “The One”, as in one into three.
He then meets his teacher/father figure Morpheus, who
represents his subconscious. The name Morpheus means
the Greek god of dreams and where do dreams come from?
That’s right, the subconscious. Who introduces the two to
make Neo realise his full potential? You’ve guessed it (the
Holy) Trinity. Guess what room Neo ends up in when he
finally becomes “The One”? Room 303. The journey of one
into three is now complete. Also look what train platform
Neo is on when he starts becoming the one (the number is fought around for the whole scene) and also check
out what number this scene is on the DVD. This is not by
chance. The oracle represents spirit and as green is the
colour of spirit all her scenes are bathed in that colour.
Now go back and watch the Star Wars films and see the
same set of the people in Luke Skywalker (Neo), Obi-Wan
(Morpheus) and the green spirit guide this time is Yoda.
Just like The Matrix, these films were trilogies and what is
a trilogy? A journey of one into three. Lord of the Rings is
another that follows a similar theme which I go into more
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detail in, in my book.
So what then has this got to do with the McDonald’s
logo I hear you cry? Because it is a giant 13 turned on its
side. The M makes a perfect three and underneath it is
always a line or the slogan, “I’m loving it,” in a straight line.
M is also the thirteenth letter in the alphabet and because
of our understanding of numerology we know that subconsciously even if we don’t consciously. When you look at
that logo your subconscious picks up a giant 13, our sacred
number and it affects us. But it doesn’t stop there, hell no.
As the rising of the Sun in the spring equinox that takes
place in May every year is so important to us, this is used in
the logo to. The star sign for this time of year is Aries, the
Ram, which comes from a – rise with regards to the sun.
The McDonald’s logo has the two ram’s horns in the form
of the overly pointed peaks if the letter M appearing in sun
drenched yellow setting on a red sky background.
This stuff is everywhere. Why one of our biggest chocolate companies is called Mars for heaven sake? Marketing
on this level is as complex a science as any on the planet,
the only difference is that you cannot learn it in university, for if it was common knowledge humans might be a
little more like free thinking people and not just the brainwashed consumers that we are becoming. However, once
you begin to understand the reason for these symbols and
logos you can massively decrease their effectiveness on
you and if you wish, use them to market the things that are
important to you, which in this case is your own character.
Now, for tarot and how this all ties in to it. If by this point
if you are thinking what the hell does this have to do with
wrestling, and then trust me the pay-off will be worth the
wait and is just around the corner. However, if this isn’t of
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duced then don’t be surprised if you keep spending your
life buying junk you don’t really need and thinking it’s your
choice. The roots of tarot have been argued about for centuries. What is recently coming to light however is that the
Tarot, which many claim is the original basis of the Bible,
came from the tarot. This is open to argument but I do
believe it to be true and if it is, tarot cards and their various
representations are well over 2000 years old. Whatever the
case, the fact remains that the Tarot is a science and one
only has to study the work of subconscious mind expert
and Sigmund Freud student, Carl Jung to see the stock he
held in them.
The first 22 cards in the Tarot deck are called the Major
Arcane and they are a catalogue of the main archetypes.
The top minds of the time sat down and formulated the
full list of each required archetype and the exact picture or
symbol that would evoke this emotion from you the second
you saw it. The first card, The Fool depicts a young man
start off on a journey hopeful and with his head held high,
unaware that he is just about to blindly walk off of a cliff.
This, like all the other archetypes, is one that we can relate
to instantly by seeing the well-thought-out picture representation used to convey it.
Because our subconscious actually works in symbols,
the cards speak to us as if by magic when we see them or
have a read done. This is just another form of subconscious
communication. Each archetype has a meaning and strong
emotions attached to it. Now if I told you that one card in
the deck represents a break-down in our defences, that we
are not as safe as we thought we were; a dramatic upheaval; the end of the old to herald the new (world order); and
chaos all around us then what event in our life time would
really sum those feelings up the most? Without question it
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would be September 11th.
So if I went on to explain that the card that conveys this
archetype is called The Tower and shows a long thin tower
being hit by a bolt of lighting (no aeroplanes 2000 years
ago) towards the top of it, the tower is on fire and falling
down and people are plummeting from the windows, then
you might find that a little freaky. Now I’m not here to bombard you with what to think about who was responsible for
9/11 and why, because there are far bigger, more financially
equipped people out there already doing that for their own
means. All I am saying is that whoever masterminded this
attack was clearly intending to carry out something that
would have the very most devastating psychological effect
on the Western World without resorting to nuclear weapons. With this being the case either they consulted The
Tower archetype for inspiration on how to do so, the creators of the tarot card were the most amazing psychics the
world has ever seen or this is just one very big coincidence.
If you believe the latter then I’m guessing that the rest
of this article isn’t going to be to your liking. For the rest of
you though, this should be giving you yet another example
of the deep roots that the Tarot has to our subconscious
and how when tapped into correctly they can give you real
map of the human psyche. It also shows how those who
want to manipulate our subconscious for their own benefit
can also use these archetypes. So who in wrestling do you
think would use this tactic against you. Ready to find out?
That should be enough for now for most of you to see
that this stuff is real and is happening all around us so this
is where we are going to come full circle back to pro wrestling. There is another tarot archetype that I want us to take
a closer look at now. This one means power, leadership,
authority and father figure. In fact, it holds all the qualities
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that you might want to bombard an audience with that
you were hoping were going to accept you as the air to the
throne of a very powerful, professional wrestling dynasty
like the McMahons’. The card is called The Emperor and everything from the skulls on the armrests to the small head
crown and the colouring is a direct reflection of the King of
Kings entrance used by Triple H. Is this a coincidence? Of
course it isn’t. To prove it, let’s just look as some more of
the techniques that has lead to the man who was squashed
by The Ultimate Warrior in 60 seconds, once upon a time,
becoming the most powerful grappler in wrestling history.
Firstly, his logo, stems from another sacred symbol. Just
like the swastika, the Maltese Cross, is more commonly
known as the Iron Cross. If it looks familiar that’s because it
was a favourite sacred symbol of our other top black magician, Adolf Hitler and can be found all over the Nazis. The
cross is an opened-out pyramid (with the top missing) and
pyramids subconsciously mean hierarchy to us because it
is one point at the top directing down to the many levels
below, increasing in size the further down you go. This is
why you will find the pyramid on things like the one-dollar
bill and on many banks even if it is not direct. For example
the ‘X’ from Halifax is four pyramids facing inwards, just like
the HSBC logo is a group of pyramids heaped together.
So why is “The Game” using this sacred symbol made
famous to most of our parents by the Nazi party? Also, if
you look at Hitler, he was the first person to use the combination of sound and light shows in unison at his huge
rallies to drill the image of The Fuhrer – meaning father
which again is the archetype of the Emperor card – and
his marketing into the subconscious of the masses. If I ask
you now to picture Triple H on the side of the ring spitting
the water out, I bet you can see it clear as day. In fact I’d
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hazard a guess that the image is far clearer than any other
WWE entrance or even action clip that you can picture on
demand. There is a reason for this and he knows exactly
what that reason is. Ever wonder why he is called “The Cerebral Assassin”, when his character really does win all of his
battles in the ring though his toughness and not through
mind games? Now you know.
I’d also like to mention that recently, whilst on my UK
seminar tour, I saw the new Triple H shirt, which had the
Iron Cross, and behind it was a set of eagles’ wings. This is
once again another astrological reference. Scorpio is the
sign for money and power. However, it has only been in
recent times that the scorpion has been used to represent
it. Guess what was used before this? You’ve got it, the
eagle. Have you ever wondered why the eagle has been
used by the Romans, on the one-dollar bill, as the logo for
Barclay’s bank, to space exploration (the Eagle has landed)
all the way back to the Nazis? In fact Scorpio is so strong in
this meaning that on top of the eagle on the one-dollar bill
there are even two double-pronged scorpions tails disguised as a scroll on the same piece of currency.
This is also the reason why my logo has the scorpion’s
claws on it (also because I am a Scorpio) that go in the
shape of a pyramid. The top of my logo is also illuminated
like the all-seeing eye on the dollar bill but where there
should be the eye is a yin-yang sign, another sacred symbol
meaning balance based on the star sign, Cancer. Where the
eye should be is a gold dot in a black section. Gold is the
colour for divinity and connection with god. Black is the
colour for darkness and mystery so therefore my logo is
meant to be the god like information is coming through in
a bad world creating balance and is the polar opposite to
the all-seeing eye pyramid.
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A basic understanding of colour is also really important
when marketing you. We all have pre-programmed responses to colours. Red for example, as most people will
know, means emergency while blue means teacher. This is
why channels like Sky News use red and blue because they
are teaching you the emergencies. Sit and watch how they
change the colour in the background to evoke a different
response from the various topics. Take the time to learn
this stuff, as all you have to do is go to Google and type in,
“colours and their meanings”. This will give you a full list
of them all and thus enable you to have a far better understanding of everything from your ring gear to your logo
and even, one day, your own merchandise. If this is the stuff
that is being used by not only the top marketing people in
the world but also the top pro wrestler then it is worth the
small amount of time it will take to have a better grasp of it.
Finally, something I’d like to cover is what we call magic
sigils. These are when you write down a word or command,
take out the vowels and repeating consonants and rearrange it into a pattern or shape. The person looking at it
has no idea what it says but their subconscious mind takes
away the original message. Just like it has been proven that
if the keep the first few letters of a word the same, your
brain reads it correctly even if the rest of the letters are not
correct elsewhere. It is important to understand how our
brain works when seeing the relevance in all of this.
For example, the reason backwards lyrics placed onto a
song work with regards to planting subliminal messages is
because your conscious brain, which is only ten per cent of
what you’re using, hears the forwards message and thinks
nothing of it. However your subconscious mind hears and
begins to decode the backwards message almost as if it’s a
puzzle that your brain needs to work out. This means that
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despite common misconception, you do not have to play
your music backwards to hear the subliminal messages and
suggestions. Both Coke and Disney have been accused of
putting subliminal messages in their material and examples
of this can be found on line for those who don’t believe it.
Back to magic sigils and these can be found everywhere.
In fact when we leave the house and enter the high street
you are walking out into one big Sigel. Your brain is being bombarded with logos that will mean nothing to you
consciously but are telling you things on a far deeper and
almost undercover level. Many names of corporations and
products are even words for other things in languages such
as Hebrew and Latin etc. Next time you see a word that
means nothing in English, and trust me there are tons, think
about why it was picked. Surely if these are the top retail
companies in the world then why would they pick names
for their products that don’t mean anything to the people
they are selling them to? Do you really think they are just
made up randomly? Of course not, these are normally sigils
or powerful words in different languages.
This is yet another example of some very advanced marketing techniques that you can incorporate to your wrestling in order to maximise the affect that your own self promotion. In fact I encourage my students to go out and buy
a Tarot Bible so that they can begin to learn more about archetypes in order to help them get a better understanding
of how to come up with a character that has traits which
resonate with your audience on a subconscious level like
Triple H clearly has. Hopefully this has given you enough
proof to show you that these are powerful will thought
archetypes which can bring you a distinct advantage when
connecting with peoples from an emotional standpoint.
The fact remains that advertising and marketing is simply
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a war on your mind and one that you are losing if you simply have no idea you are actually in it. Only once you have
begun to understand how it is that it’s your subconscious
which is actually under attack and not your conscious brain,
can we begin to free ourselves from acting against our own
will. I mean really how many brands do you eat, wear or use
because they are provably better or because something
just tells you that they are the best? Start to look into this
and then see how it can help you make the leap from just
another wrestler with no understanding of marketing, to
one of the few within the business who use the most effective forms of this to plant you firmly in the heads of your
audience above all others.
If the subject of this type of mind control interests you
then the best people I can recommend for further research
are Michael Tsarion and Jordan Maxwell. You may also find
some of their other related work equally as interesting even
if it doesn’t really aid your wrestling career. Remember,
this stuff is very advanced but my aim is to offer you all the
tricks of the trade no matter how far down the line they
might be for some of you now, there truly is a method to
what may appear at first like madness.
In the next chapter, we will go back once again to the
nut and bolts with my complete guide on how to select the
right finishing move for you as well as my special formula to
make sure that it works on every level as well as the correct
ways to use them and getting them over. For now, I hope
that this piece, no matter how abstract it may have been,
has been useful to everyone and for those who want to
make it as far as they possibly can within the business then
treat the information with the respect it deserves and you’ll
be surprised at just how far it might advance your journey
on all levels.
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CHAPTER SIX
T
his chapter will discuss one of the most commonly
lacking areas in young wrestler’s arsenals. That’s right,
this part of the guide is, as promised, going to be a
continuation from the move set article in Chapter Four as I
am going to be discussing my guide to selecting the right
finishing move for you. Now you might be thinking that
finishing moves are in no way lacking amongst young wrestlers who nowadays are coming up with more and more
ways to drop one another in dangerous ways every month.
Indeed, for many the current problem with wrestling is that
there are too many finishing moves taking place. I disagree
completely and I will tell you why.
Selecting a finishing move is so much more than just
picking something that looks cool. Yeah, there are loads of
dangerous moves out there now that could be great finishers but the correct thought has not gone into the packaging that should come with it. If the severity of the move is
what made it a great finisher then the world’s most famous
finishers would not be the ones that they are. To select the
right finishing move incorporates so many other factors
that it is, for me at least, a science. I have broken this science down into a simple formula, which is easy to follow,
and I will back it up with some other little side notes. My be-
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lief is that by the time this piece is over, your understanding
of how to select the correct finishing move will be second
to none.
Firstly, I want to take you back to a conversation I had
about four years ago. A friend of mine, who was a huge
TNA fan, asked me if I had seen Petey Williams new finishing move, The Canadian Destroyer. When I told him I hadn’t
he went crazy and began to explain that this somersault
piledriver was the most awesome finishing move in wrestling history. I had to go and see this finishing move that
my friend and, at the time, everybody else I knew, including
some top wrestlers, were going nuts over. I watched it and
thought to myself, “Wow, that’s pretty inventive.” However,
within a few seconds I began to pick holes in it, not because
it looked bad but because when held against the formula
I used for deciding if a move is a good finisher or not it fell
over at every point.
I began to explain the reasoning that follows to many of
these friends including the pros amongst the group and
all of them pondered on it and said, “You’re right. I’d never
thought about that.” I suddenly realised that the system I
used on my students for selecting if a finishing move was
good or not was actually not the sort of logical common
knowledge I thought it was. I begun to think that maybe I
was onto something. For those that are curious as to what
this system is and in turn how it relates to The Canadian
Destroyer, let me explain. I believe that a finishing move
should be rated on three things. You then rate each of
these three factors out of ten and then, once added together, the closer the final number is to thirty, the better
the finishing move is. This approach has been so simple yet
so effective in helping me find moves for people in the past
that I believe it should be taught in all wrestling schools.
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So let us start by looking at the first of the three categories
right now.
Number one: Can I do the move on anyone? This is a
very important question because if, just like your move set
in Chapter Four of the guide, you can only hit your finish
on 50 per cent of the roster then there is a serious problem
with it. How can you get a move over as the killer finish
that will help you become champion if half of your opponents can’t be hit with it? This is clearly a problem that
The Canadian destroyer has. You have to be able to do a
moonsault to take it. This means that unless you are in the
cruiserweight division, a lot of your opponents simply will
not be able to have the move executed on them. This has
already pigeon holed you into what type of worker you are
and how far up the card you can go. However if your move
can be hit on 80 to 90 per cent of the roster then you have
a far better chance of making it work and for those that
it can’t be hit on, you now have the story of your match
already worked out for you. Either it will be, “Can he or can’t
he execute this move?” (À la Brock Lesnar and if he could F5
The Big Show) or, “What will this wrestler do when his finish
is taken away from him?”
As we will discuss later, your finishing move is huge asset with regards to making your match tell a story so don’t
forget that sometimes it can be a massive storyline bonus
if your move looks unworkable with an upcoming opponent. I mean, let’s face it, the fact that people were unsure if
Lesnar could hit his finish on Big Show was one of the only
things that made that match interesting and when that
couldn’t be used they have to resort to breaking the ring to
make the series interesting again.
Number two: Can I do the move from anywhere? This is
an interesting point and one that sometimes gets misread.
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I don’t mean can it be done from any point of the ring such
as the top rope or on the floor, although later these modifications could help you to keep the move fresh and interesting when you need something big in your match later
on. What I mean, does it take a lot of time to set up? For
example, if my move is a top-rope, 450 splash, as amazing
as it may look (and in this day and age even that is becoming old hat), I have to take time setting it up. This takes
away from the drama of many of your sequences because
you lose the chance of teasing hitting the move multiple
times. You see to get a move over you have to make audiences believe that it really is over once you hit it. Once you
have the audience believing this then you can play with the
principle.
Teasing your finish early is a great way to make the
audience reaction spike for a few seconds and keep them
gripped later on for additional attempts whilst educating
them to get excited about seeing it later. This awesome
heat-getting potential is ripped apart if you have to keep
setting the guy up on the ground and going to the top rope
to get the same reaction. It can of course still be done and
you can be cut off or land on your feet but with nowhere
near the easiness to execute or ability to replicate the scenario as a move that is ground executed.
Think about Steve Austin and The Stone Cold Stunner
and the many attempts that he used to hit. The great thing
with the Stunner which also backs up this point is that it
could come out of nowhere and thus when he attempted
it, as there was no set up really needed other than a kick the
majority of the audience didn’t have time to logically think
about whether or not he would hit it as it was so quick. If
however 5 minutes into a match a guy slams his opponent,
calls for his 450 and climbs to the top rope, even the least
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‘smart’ fan has a hunch that this will not be the actual finish.
If we can agree that the art of a good match is to give the
audience a rollercoaster ride of emotions with lots of twists
and turns then by employing a finishing move that takes
overly long to set up you is making this job harder than it
needs to be. Also, as an additional point, think about all the
various ways you can get into the move. Are there other
moves that once escaped from can be perfect set ups for
your finish? Are there multiple ways to get into your hold?
For example, I thought that it was pure genius when
Diamond Dallas Page said he knew 1,001 ways to get into
the Diamond Cutter. Each week on Nitro he would hit the
move from a different position and this meant that many
weeks it would come out of absolutely nowhere, which
would always elicit a great reaction from the startled fans
in attendance. People have often knocked Page for getting a push in WCW because of whom he was friends with,
however, I was a wrestler myself at the time he was doing
this and found him to be one of the most exciting guys
on the shows at the time. Would he have been as exciting
without this ingenious use of his finishing move to get him
over? Certainly not. However when he combined his hard
work ethic with this deep understanding of how to get a
finish over – which I was told by DDP himself on a night out
we had back in 2002 was thanks to Jake Roberts who I will
speak about later – Page became a must watch performer
and one who had a refreshing and believable way of beating the top guys in the company.
By the time he took on Goldberg, who was at the height
of his fame and winning streak, it was utterly convincing
that a near 50-year-old man might be able to end the streak
of this mighty giant with his super over finishing move.
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est all a diamond cutter is, is a high back bump whilst holding your opponents head. A pensioner could do it with the
right hand grip and the aid of a banana skin. If I was rating
DDP’s finish out of ten on it being possible to perform from
anywhere and on anyone then it would certainly get a high
mark if not straight tens.
Number three: How many reversals are there to your finishing move? This really is, for me, so important if you want
to make your matches as exciting as possible and works
hand-in-hand with point number two. Even if you can
get into your move ten different ways, if there is only one
reversal to it then, unless you want to bore the audience to
tears with the same reversal every time, it is a moot point.
A really good finish should have multiple counters to it so
that you can keep the sequences that go with the finish attempts fresh and exciting. As with your move set, sit down
and really map out all the ways to get out of your potential
finishing move. Just like point one, you may find that there
is only one escape for your finish. This does not mean that
it cannot work, it simply means that your gimmick will have
to be that there is no escape from it and simply save the
one reversal (and if we look hard enough there are bound
to be more) for a match when it really counts.
Remember, every cloud has a silver lining but you just
have to use your brain and see how that lining can be used
to the maximum effect. If there are only three reversals and
it takes a little longer to set up then go for it less but just
make sure that it is at a convincing place in the match when
you do. You may be thinking to yourself that a move like
The Stone Cold Stunner never had many reversals but it
was still one of the greatest finishers of all time. The reason
for this is because of a little factor that I feel is really important to mention. The stunner was a two-part finish. This
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means that the kick that Steve Austin used to set it up with
was just as important to the overall package as the Stunner
itself.
One of the best finishes I ever came up with was for Hade
Vanson. Hade was just about to become the FWA champion
and the thing that he was really missing was a killer finish or
at least one that a main event – which he was about to become – could work a match around. I devised a move that
was, in my mind at least, superb. The basis was very simple.
You kick your opponent, à la The Stunner’s set up, and as
they double over you hit the ropes to the side of them as if
you are going for a swinging neck breaker. However, unlike
the swinging neck breaker you do not twist with the opponent so that what happens is that they take the same bump
(which would normally be onto their back) as a neck breaker but you are still standing upright and side on to them.
As they fall down you simply drop onto your left knee so
that you’re; now extended, right knee is positioned exactly
where their Scapula will land. As they hit your knee, you
quickly pull it away allowing you to land perfectly on top of
them into a cover.
This gives the impression that you have spun them and
made them take a sick bump across your knee with the
back of their neck with you landed instantly into a rapid
cover. The move is fast, looks good but is safe and also
completely original. On top of this it rates very highly out of
ten on all three departments and is a two-part move. This
means that you can tease it simply by doing the kick and
as you hit the ropes your opponent can cut you off as you
come back.
I sat down and worked out entire sequences that can last
forever wrestling in and out of this move and have done it
ad-libbed at my seminars to demonstrate to people how
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easily it could be done with no pre-planning. It was the
perfect finish. Yet for some unknown reason, Hade did not
want it. He was not a fan of it and simply would not take it.
As I had trained Hade since 2001 I knew that if he did not
like it then even if I made him do it in FWA he would not do
it with any conviction and as I will discuss later this is a surefire way to kill a move no matter how good it is.
Just as I was about to give up, Nikita (now WWE’s Katie
Lea) said, “If he doesn’t want it, I’ll take it.” Knowing that
she was one of the few people in the UK who could make
it in the United States – I was predicting her and Burchill
would back in 2003 – I happily gave the move over. Less
than a year later she was signed to WWE and after her first
day training in OVW she called me to tell me how it went.
The first thing she said to me was, “Al Snow really loved my
finishing move.” For me that was all the proof I needed. If
the man that the world’s biggest wrestling company pay to
run their developmental training system thinks that it was
that good then I can rest soundly.
Remember that as wrestling is not real, anyone’s view is
completely subjective. There is no way to asses how good it
is other than what people “think” because they are not real
holds and ultimately even the most believable of them can
be ripped apart from a logic perspective. This means that
no matter what your track record or list of achievements
you are only as good as other people think you are, which
is likely why wrestlers are so insecure. When you get the
seal of approval from someone of Al Snow then you know
you’re on the right track. On a total side note, if you want
to advance your understanding of this business then Al’s
secrets of the ring DVD from ROH is incredible and the best
thing I’ve seen like it.
The reason I bring up Nikita’s move is simply to show you
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that a good finish is not so hard to come by when you use
these guidelines. Sadly for me I had already got my own finish (A fireman’s carry into a Mickinou Driver called The One
Night Stand) over before I begun to understand this stuff so
I was stuck with a move that really didn’t help me as much
as the ones I was coming up with for other people. This
really became an issue by the time I was becoming a top
British main eventer as I didn’t have a finish that was anything above average. It was at this point that I begun thinking about having a second finish. You see, by not having a
finish that was overly good with regards to getting into and
out of it, my ability to produce good finishing sequences
that had the audience on the edge of their seats was fairly
hard and eventually I had to resort to people kicking out of
my established finish.
It was just after I beat Doug Williams for the FWA Heavyweight title at the company’s biggest ever show, British
Uprising 3, that I realised I needed to do something about
this. It was about six months after this that I began thinking about incorporating a second finish into my routine. It
was something that I had seen done in Japan and I really
liked the idea of it even though many told me that it would
weaken my first finish which I found a silly notion, if done
correctly. My big boot was always a very impressive, stifflooking and loud-sounding move that never failed to receive a great pop from the audience. I believe that the best
finishes look cool enough that when you hit it, the audience pop for the move itself as well as the fact that they are
reacting because they know it is the end of the contest.
A really great match should, nine times out of ten, have
the biggest pop built up to so that the final move or finishing sequence receives the loudest reaction. In fact in my
near ten years of promoting many of the best, most ground
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breaking bouts in Europe featuring some of the worlds top
performers, I can normally predict the end of the better
contests just by being backstage and hearing the pops. I
don’t have to see the action a lot of the times because if I
can hear the crowd and the timing of their responses, it is
often possible to work out when the finish is being built to.
For me, the big boot, when done properly with the right
amount of slap (on my leg to generate the noise) and the
correct appearance of force, although not highflying or
pretty is just as good at getting the response of a top rope
dive if not more so. When someone hits a dive the audience pops for the gymnastics. When you boot somebody
full force in the face, the audience reacts because they think
you took your opponents head off. What reaction is a more
vital part of a convincing finishing sequence? I begun to
use the boot to finish off some opponents and the reaction
was really good. I was then able to switch finishes and mix
stuff up for more creative end sequences.
For example, I might build the finish as I normally would
but this time instead of hitting the One Night Stand I would
let the guy slide out of it, give one last spirited bunch of
forearms and then hit the ropes to charge me. As he’s running back at me, I would connect with a huge big boot, out
of nowhere, for the actual finish. Other times I might do it in
reverse by setting up for the boot, letting the guy baseball
slide under my legs and as I turn around he fires off on me.
He then hits the ropes to charge at me and as he comes in
I duck down and catch him on my shoulders for the ONS.
Eventually I had both moves over equally and I could really
begin playing with them. It gave me the great opportunity to get all the heat of someone kicking out of my finish
whilst knowing full well that I still had a second, equally as
over finishing move left to win the match with.
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It was actually thanks to my big boot that my wrestling
hero Mick Foley decided to put me over when he came out
of retirement in the hard core elimination match we had
back in November 2005, two days before my 26th birthday.
Mick said he’d feel no shame in losing to the boot after seeing me do it the night before and actually suggested putting me over with it, which to this day is one of my craziest
wrestling memories. This got the move over massively and
eventually it made planning my finishes much more fun
and easy to do. For me, at that point in my career selecting
a second finisher was vital. I am not saying that everyone
should do this but it is simply food for thought.
If I were to return to wrestling tomorrow (which I certainly will not before anyone one asks) I would have two
finishers and one submission. I don’t think that all performers need one but if you aim is to be a main eventer then a
good submission that is over is a huge asset to your move
set. The combination of the ankle lock and the Angle Slam
make Kurt Angle’s matches so awesomely executed with regards to those dramatic closing sequences, which as a top
of the card performer, they need to be. You can’t really beat
the drama of a good submission finish I feel. Watch Angle
vs. Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania to see the best one
I’ve ever seen and a perfect example of the power a good
submission has when done right.
What I must really stress here, however, is that the rule
of thumb for all moves be they submission or otherwise, is
that the person executing them believes in them wholeheartedly. You have to use repetition and total conviction
to get anything over but your finishing move is, in my eyes,
more vital than any other aspect that requires the same
attention be that ring entrance, catch phrase or even move
set. You could be great at all of those things but if you did
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not possess a finishing move that was both over and believable then how can you make it to the top of the card and
stay there? A good finishing move, which is performed with
flawless repetition and complete conviction, is more effective than any of the other stuff alone. However, to have the
other stuff but not own a great finish is simply like a pyramid missing its capstone. Even if your move is ridiculous,
just like The Peoples’ Elbow was, the right amount of conviction and repetition will get it over.
Remember, wrestling is not real so no move is better
than any other as a finisher. It is all about the presentation
of it, the way you build to it and how strong you keep it by
not letting people no sell it or kick out etc. If you watched
ten shoot interviews and all ten people on them said that
Chris Masters full nelson was the stiffest move in wrestling,
after a while you would likely believe that it was because
there would be no way of you knowing otherwise. My point
here is that anything can be gotten over as deadly if it is
presented in such a way. This leads me into what I think
was, for it’s time, the perfect finishing move.
Jake Roberts’ DDT scores high in all the categories and
is likely the reason why it was my finishing move when I
was only 17-years-old. I had no clue about psychology back
then but for some reason I was compelled to use this move.
Think about how easy it is to do, how many ways you can
get into it and just how many reversals can come from it.
Add to this the fact that you are dumping the guy on his
head at great speed and the DDT is one hell of a finishing
move. The crazy thing about it is that Jake invented this
move by accident. He had someone in a front face lock and
slipped and fell backwards. Wanting to avoid looking foolish he got up and did it again, this time on purpose. The
DDT was born.
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AJ Styles’ “Styles Clash” is another great finish and also
one that came about by accident. AJ and a friend were
clowning about on a trampoline wrestling and AJ went
for a powerbomb. His friends tried to block the move by
hanging low near AJ’s legs. AJ hooked his friend’s arms
and planted him face first. The world now had a brand new
killer finish. I tell you this to inspire you with how easy it is
to come up with something truly unique as your finish can
also meet the criteria above. It will take a little time but isn’t
it worth the wait to be able to unleash something brand
new into the business like your killer new finish.
I may have spoken earlier about Petey Williams’ Canadian
Destroyer and why I thought it was a great finish and hopefully now you can see my reasoning. Yet I want to explain
something else too. If you come up with a move that is as
awesome as the destroyer, do not for one second think, “I
should not use this as it doesn’t rate highly out of 30.” If you
are an average wrestler but you can do a 920 splash (which
I’m sure one day we will) then you would be foolish not to
use it. It will get you noticed and it will be your meal ticket
for a while. However, if you use it and think that it will make
you the biggest name in wrestling and ignore the points
that I have made then you will be in trouble.
Just like a new haircut, catchphrase or entrance theme
wrestling fans love fresh ideas but nothing stays fresh forever so always keep that in mind. The latest daredevil move
is exactly the same. If it is impractical though, once the
initial fuss for it is over you are left with a huge part of your
performing arsenal that limits you from moving further up
the card. Back to Petey Williams, I actually told my friends
(many of whom will back me up on this) that as a promoter
I would use him in the opener and put him over with his
finish to start the show off with a bang but after a while
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there is not much else you could do unless he adds more to
his overall package. Four months later, when Sonjay Dutt
pulled out of the huge show I was promoting with TWC International Showdown, I booked Petey Williams to take his
place in the opening cruiserweight four-way. Guess what?
He went over with The Canadian Destroyer, the crowd went
crazy and that was it.
Petey fell off the radar a bit after that and is now back
looking awesome, with a new gimmick which is exactly
what he needed to back up that awesome move. If the
move is more over than the person doing it, all that will
happen is a huge number of Indy wrestlers hitting the
same move knowing full well that it will still get an equal
pop because it is not the performer that they are popping
for. None of this is a knock at Petey Williams, who is great,
but just a way to help you understand the way a promoter
views things and the potential pitfalls that come with not
knowing some of the stuff contained in this article.
There are a few other pointers with regards to your
finishing move that I must quickly throw in here. Firstly go
back and read Chapter Four about move sets as many of
the rules, such as what you name it (which is hugely important), your body type and your wrestling style are vital
when selecting the right finish for you. Next, learn and
perfect everything surrounding your move including exactly how you set t up and what you do after you hit it. This
is crucial stuff because the set up has to be something that
elects excitement and is recognisable to your audience.
Look at how Triple H sets up “The Pedigree”. He could hook
both arms at once if he wanted but by doing one at a time
it allows more definable set up time which gives the audience greater time to react and also allows his opponents
more chance to escape, if required.
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Learn exactly how the person needs to take it in order for
the move to look the best. It is your job to make sure that
all of your opponents know the right way to make it look
as good as possible so if they screw it up because you left
it to chance then you have no one to blame but yourself. If
the show has commentators then sits down with them and
tell them what your finish is called and what it looks like. If
you want it to be over then you need to make sure that the
people who are your link to the fans treat it with the importance that you do and unless mystic Meg is on play-by-play
then you need to let the team know what to look out for.
A pro should really do this with their entire move set to be
fair. To get to the top of any promotion you really need to
do the things that other people just simply can’t be bothered to do or are unaware even need doing.
A good finish is a hugely important part of any successful
wrestling act. Can you imagine Steve Austin’s record-breaking run without The Stone Cold Stunner? No, me neither.
Hopefully, there is enough information here so that you
have everything you need in order to select the right finisher for you. The next chapter is a must read for all aspiring
wrestlers and many current pro’s as we are going to be discussing something that I believe is the single most important factor in making it big in pro wrestling. When I do my
seminars around the UK I often introduce the next section
when somebody asks, “Alex, is there just one bit of advice
above all others that you could give me that would enable
me the best chance of making money out of wrestling?”
The information that follows will be the answer. It will be
another one of those pieces that will also be useful to those
people who are not training to be a pro wrestler but aspire
to leave their mark for something else too.
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CHAPTER SEVEN
T
his chapter is very special as it will focus on an aspect of
my teaching that I believe is the single most important
one for those who want to really stand and out and
be noticed. Let’s face it, standing out and being noticed is
likely the only way to really succeed to a good level be it in
pro wrestling or any other field.
Being unique is something that many of us long to be
without realising that you are arguably the most unique
person on the planet. This is because nobody is quite like
you. The same can obviously be said for everybody else on
the planet too but all this means is that everyone is in fact
tied at first place with regards to how unique they are. It’s
great to think this way about yourself in general but sadly
some, if not most of you, are not going to be unique in the
way that generates big bucks in the wrestling world unless
you’re 8 feet tall or built like Mr or Mrs Olympia. But being
unique is not solely about being physically unique. It can
be equally about having a unique approach to the other
aspects of your act which is great news for us all because it
means that everyone reading this can be, with a little guidance, on a level playing field with even the most genetically
freakish of folk.
The purpose of this chapter is to explain one of the prin-
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ciples that I have developed in order to help people with
this type of approach. I cannot guarantee that all of you will
be able to work out how to use this principle to its fullest
capacity because that is all dependant on how you apply it
to what you do. However I can assure you that the people
who do work out how to attach it to a sufficient degree to
their act will, for sure, be able to really stand out from the
pack by doing so and this hugely increase their chances of
success in the business that they love.
I will have to talk about experiences from my own career to enable me to illustrate what I am referring to and
the path of thought I travelled along to get to this point.
This is not that I can be self-indulgent, but I can explain the
concept from my own first-hand experience and not simply speculate on what people may or may not have been
thinking during their own careers. I want to start with the
first ever TV match in FWA history. The contested pitted me
against a young wrestler called Jack Xavier. The match was
designed to be a complete squash, which put me over in
the promotion’s first-ever televised match as the big heel
of the company. However, on my travels around the UK I
had seen Xavier wrestle before and knew that despite being green and not really looking anything like a wrestler, he
had a lot of potential. I had always remembered what my
mentor Dino Scarlo had taught me. If you beat a Nobody,
then what does that make you?
As Jack wasn’t physically impressive to look at with an
average physique and wearing baggy shorts and t-shirt,
I beating him up without giving him any opportunity to
shine was not going to have the impact that the bookers
thought it would. I decided to go against what I was told
and allow Jack to do some moves on me which were just
enough whilst still serving the purpose of making me look
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like a star, it enabled Jack to show that he was indeed a
Somebody and one to watch out for in the future. This led
to Jack becoming a full time member of the roster, when
the original plan was just to bring him in and job him out to
me.
A little lesson there for all those who think that wrestling is just about making you look good at other people’s
expense and there are way too many of those. After the
contest, Jack was laying in the centre of the ring between
me and the hard camera. I planned to look into the hard
cam as I walked towards him, toss him out of the ring whilst
still looking firmly into the camera and then continue walking towards it as he landed on the floor without me even
batting an eyelid. The idea was to put me over as an ego
maniac who was cool and cocky with no regard for anyone,
something that I sadly was in real life at the time. As I threw
Jack through the middle rope and continued to stare in the
camera, I suddenly heard a loud crash followed by a cry of,
“Ooh,” from the ringsiders. I tried not to loss focus but was
frankly concerned at what had just happened. I got backstage and Jack was fine. I asked him what he had done and
he replied, “I just took my normal bump through the ropes.”
I was confused but one week later, as I sat and watched
my match get edited – something I always did so that I had
no one to blame if the stuff didn’t look the best it could
do – I realised what the fuss was all about. Ordinarily, if you
take a bump through the ropes, you land on your feet and
then tumble to the floor thus breaking your fall and not
your back. However, what Jack had done was bypass the
footed landing and just hit the floor with amazing force
back first. The crash I had heard was his feet, which should
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tire body was hitting the floor. This explained the reaction
on two levels. Firstly, the obvious one was because of the
sickening bump he had decided to take. The second, more
interesting one was why the reaction was only from the
ringsiders and not the rest of the audience.
You see, those people directly in the area he landed and
also close enough to see the bump were the only ones to
pop because they could appreciate the force of his landing.
However, the rest of the audience could not see anything
other than a wrestler going through the second rope and
were therefore, indifferent to Jack’s imminent, vertebrae
compressing collision with the concrete floor. I told Jack
that he shouldn’t be taking that bump because it will mess
him up over time but my point seemed a little hypocritical
as I was, at the time, going through a stage of being the first
wrestler in Europe to take bumps off balconies.
My point needed some justification so I used the approach that I had done with myself when arguing in my
own head if balcony bumps were worth taking. Firstly, for
anyone out there who is toying with any type of new idea
but are unsure if it is going to work and if the rewards are
worth the risks I want to share with you a simple technique
I use myself called The Hardest Argument. You simply sit
down and put yourself in the position of your biggest critic
who hates your idea. You then argue with yourself saying
all the things that your critic would say and then answer
back as yourself with the reasons why what you are planning is correct. The harder you argue and the tougher the
questions you ask of yourself, the surer you can be once
you are done that the thing you are planning is worth the
effort.
I have had very few ideas that have not created controversy or conflict from certain fans or former employees
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however very rarely they hit me with anything that I have
not already got an answer for because I raised their very
points in an argument with myself sometime earlier. It
does not take a crazy man to do this; it takes a crazy man
to embark on a new venture using all his time and energy
without first working out all the major pitfalls. You need to
prove to yourself that you believe in what you are doing so
much that you can win an argument with anyone, including all of our biggest critics, our inner self.
Back to the story. I had already thought about this balcony issue long and hard and had decided the following
points. Firstly, I needed to stand out if I wanted to make
a name for myself. I was 6 feet 8 inches in my boots and
weighed about 280 pounds – which was massive on the
UK scene – but I needed something else. I could talk and
had very good charisma but if I did nothing in my matches
that made people interested then it was all for nothing.
My wrestling alone was not going to do that for the simple
reason that it wasn’t very good. In fact, when I first started
making a name for myself as “The Showstealer” my wrestling was actually pretty awful. I was going to have to use
all the tricks that I could think of to help me get the people
talking and the balcony spot was one of them.
Now here is where it got interesting for me. Firstly, I do
not have a high pain threshold like Mick Foley, nor is my
body shaped almost like a sandbag as his is. This meant
that my frame was not made for taking drops from 25 feet
up, not to mention the fact that I sufferer with an aboveaverage fear of heights. This was something of a problem
considering what I wanted to do but with all challenges
the only real way to face them is head on. I decided that to
make this spot work I needed to incorporate my security
team. That’s right; when I first started as “The Showstealer”
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I had a four-man, suited and booted security team. They,
along with my four valets, were designed to add something
to my act and make my entrance seem huge by UK standards.
It worked, and from the moment I walked through the
curtain people took notice. Fair enough I had to use a fair
amount of ‘smoke and mirrors’ to do so but if it was good
enough for the Wizard of Oz, then it was good enough for
me. I decided that I would use my security team as a landing pad for my balcony bumps. The team were all aspiring
wrestlers with many of them going on to bigger and better
things, such as Stixx and Martin Stone to name but a few. I
realised that as long as they caught me correctly, the bump
itself would likely be the least painful one of my entire
match yet the one that evoked the biggest response. This is
when I begun to realise the importance of a little principle I
call Pop Factor vs. Bump Factor.
This is not such a hard concept to grasp. Imagine two
charts that both go from one to ten. One will say ‘bump’
and one will say ‘pop’. So, for example, it you take a high
backdrop it will go to around four on each scale. A power
bomb through a flaming table scores far higher on both. If
the bump is equal to the pop then there really is not much
point in taking it, in my eyes. However if there is a good
two- to four-point margin in the favour of pop to bump
then there is something to consider. Now, I am not here to
tell you to take a bump off of a balcony but simply asking
you to take the following point into consideration. If you
want something bad enough, you will do anything to get it.
When I look at my students and their desire to do whatever they have to in order to make it, I remember having a
similar commitment to the cause at their level. If someone
had told me then, not to take this bump or do this spot
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(and plenty of people did) then I likely would not have
listened. This has lead me to believe that you simply cannot get on your old school high horse and tell these people,
who want so badly to make a name for themselves in this
business, not to do this or do that. What you need to do is
understand that they will likely do whatever it is that they
have planned regardless, so the best thing to do is get on
their level by accepting that but at least explaining how to
maximise the potential for success in the process.
For example, if someone likes taking sick headstand
head-bumps, then I will advise him not to take it from every
move in every match but to save it for when it really means
something in a move or spot that is important. I am safe
guarding both his health and his party piece whilst not
preaching that there is no place for it. You see, this is where
some real wrestling hypocrisy sneaks in simply because
many people in wrestling believe in a system of indoctrinated ignorance. For example I have once had a man in his 50s
who is pumping himself full of steroids to be able to wrestle
and stay big, tell me that I’m an idiot for taking the risk of a
balcony bump to entertain a crowd. Reality calling, pick up
please.
What difference is there between a high-flyer risking
breaking his neck doing a dive to entertain the crowd and
a muscle monster full of steroids to maintain a freakish look
to safeguard his place on the show despite the havoc they
are wreaking on his insides? However, since many wrestlers
have their heads up their arses they fail to see this logic. I
recently had a wrestling school owner tell me that his students were pissing him off because all they wanted to learn
were dangerous “FWA high spots” (as he called them) but
then moaned that none of them were committed enough
to take steroids. What the hell is wrong with these people?
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Wrestling is a business of risks and risk takers but for those
people who are too blind to understand that big bumps
can lead to big bucks, I have two words for you, Mick and
Foley.
My point here is that to tell you students that big bumps
are dumb and will get you nowhere, whilst encouraging
them to take steroids and risk their health in a far bigger
way in the long run despite the fact the business is full of
more than enough bodybuilder types already is just plain ill
informed. I am not here to say, “Take sick bumps.” I am here
to say that if you are going to do them make sure that the
risk is worth the reward and that the pop is bigger than the
bump. Use this advice even if you are not a big bump taker.
The Undertaker knows that by holding off on doing his dive
other than a few times a year, the pop remains far higher
than the risk he takes in doing it. However if he did it every
match the same rules would not apply. So I applied this
principle to my balcony spot and went for it. The result? A
huge pop – on many occasions, the biggest on the show –
with a lot less risk than the audience and even many of the
other workers realised.
I remember when I did it at my biggest ever event, International Showdown. The best Indy wrestlers in the world
came together for what has been critically acclaimed as the
best ever super show in Europe. However, the loudest pop
of the night was for my balcony spot. Imagine that. Likely
the worst physical wrestler on the show electing the biggest reaction by using his brain and a near by balcony. I got
the biggest compliment of my life when Mick Foley, who
was watching, said it was one of the craziest bumps he had
ever seen, as from his vantage point he couldn’t see that
I landed on my security team and a bunch of my trainees
from my FSW School in Manchester. That from the man
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who did what he did at Hell in a Cell. In the words of philosophical guru Stiffler, “Beat that fuckers.”
I always teach one important lesson to my students
about making it. When you go to a rock concert or even a
movie it is very rare that you remember the whole thing.
You normally remember the three or four songs or scenes
that really stand out. On a wrestling show it is the same
thing. So if you want to leave your mark then you have to
devise a way to be or be involved with the most memorable
three or four moments in the show be it a whole match of
just one spot. This philosophy is what “The Showstealer”
was all about. It was not about having the best match, as
that was not my strong suit, but knowing that I would devise a way for people to remember me, or something that I
was involved in, when they left the show. I am happy to say
that on many occasions I succeeded.
This is where I can now explain my principle or theory
that is the single most important for any pro wanting to
make it in this industry, or indeed any other. To make it
means to be ahead of the pack and to be ahead of the pack
means to stand out. This principle will teach you to think
in a way that will hopefully enable you to achieve exactly
that. To do this, I will have to return to the beginning of the
chapter and bring us back to the Jack Xavier middle rope
bump.
You see, the reason that Jacks bump was bigger than
his pop was, to me at least, fairly obvious. When you watch
wrestling you see people go through the middle rope all
the time. It is not out of the ordinary and is in fact painfully
ordinary if we are honest. This means that no matter how
sick a bump you take from it, it is still just a bump through
the top and middle rope. Nothing more, nothing less. To
risk life and limb for it is almost the wrestling equivalent of
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being put in a wheel chair from a collision with a milk float
– not something to brag about, no matter how serious your
injuries are. However, I realised that if Jack could take the
same bump off of a stage at one of the venues we worked
around the country then despite that fact that the bump
would be no more dangerous as the height of the fall was
about the same, the pop would be twice as big. Why is this?
Simply because a bump from a stage is out of context to
what you see in a normal wrestling match.
It was at this point that I discovered what I call my out of
context principle. I’ll explain a little more. Back in the old
days most workers were trunks and boots wrestlers. Gimmicks were few and far between and many wrestlers looked
the same. In fact when UK great Jackie Pallo decide to put
a strip in his trunks and wear his hair in a ponytail it was extremely controversial. Hard to believe now that something
so simple could evoke such a response but it did, because it
was once again out of context. When Hulk Hogan appeared
on the scene looking like a super hero with his theme song,
action figure body and colour scheme, catch phrases and
comic book style it was a huge smash that changed wrestling forever. He was a walking gimmick because, once
again, it was out of context from the era of trunks-andboots wrestlers that was coming to an end.
By the mid-‘90s everyone had a gimmick and Hogan-like
physiques were everywhere. So who was it that turned the
business around 360 degrees and was responsible for the
industry’s biggest ever boom period? You’ve guessed it (I
hope), a trunks and boots wrestler called “Stone Cold” Steve
Austin who, surrounded by race care drivers, pig farmers
and bluebloods was now completely out of context. I am
not saying that anyone in trunks and boots could have
done what Austin did because that is just stupid. The man
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was an amazing worker, great promo and had an awesome
mind for the business but I would put money on the fact
that if Austin had taken any of the stupid gimmick names
that were originally suggested to him before he decided on
“Stone Cold”, the business would likely never had made it
to the next level of existence.
Einstein once said that the key to creativity is to hide
your sources, which is very funny I think. He understood
that very much in our world is new. It is, however, normally
an old idea with a new and out-of-context twist. Just like
when Raven took the drop toehold and Russian leg sweep
and to spice them up performed them on a chair and guard
rail respectively. They were now, all of a sudden out of context so therefore they received a great reaction. They were
not new ideas but by simply adding a fresh spin to them
the moves became incredibly fresh and cool.
Now back to Jack Xavier and the original story. I spoke
to Jack and told him that if he was willing to take the bump
like that from just a middle rope fall he should get the respect he deserves for his bump-taking and simply maximise
the crowd response by doing it off of a stage or something.
Even running along the apron and being hip-tossed off
would have worked because it is still out of context. I even
used this example in seminars around the UK for two years
and then one day something weird happened. I was backstage at the first ever FWA-TWC television taping and who
was my opponent? Jack Xavier. It seemed so poetic that
the same person who I had helped get a job by allowing
him look like more than a jobber several years back on the
first taping for FWA’s regional television show was now my
equal opponent for the first television taping of the company’s new national show.
The purpose of this match was to get Jack over as a guy
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who could take a serious amount of abuse to set up for our
Last Man Standing match on the next big show. Jack was
getting panned by the internet fans because even though
he could take a beating, he did not know how to do it in
such a way that demanded their respect. He would take
a sick pounding but because the moves he was getting
pounded with were not out of the ordinary, fans just saw
him getting his arse kicked and though he was being overpushed. Whereas Mick Foley took many risks and bumps
throughout his career, by the time he got to the WWE he
knew exactly what he had to do in order to get across to
the fans that his pain threshold was way above average.
Yet if he had done so by just taking head drops off of snap
mares, taking big boots full force in the face and smacking
the concrete floor from a clothesline over the top rope, nobody would have appreciated it in the way that they were
meant to. He picked his spots (pun intended) and knew
exactly how to make the most of the big bumps that he did
take.
Jack Xavier, much like so many other keen bump takers,
did not have this mental understanding of how to do what
Foley did so that’s where I stepped in. I suggested that this
be the match where I get him over as a guy with a high pain
threshold but also one that can kick arse when he is pissed
off. Remember that if all you can do is take bumps then to
the audience you are just a good squash boy and nothing
more. You need to make them understand, if this is your
gimmick, that by being able to take loads of punishment
you are dangerous and not just a whipping boy. I decided
to use my idea of hip-tossing Jack off of the venue stage,
which got an awesome response. The bout was a set up
for our next contest and by the time we were finished the
stage was set by making Jack look like someone who could
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not only take the heavy hits but who could show real fire
when pushed.
The Last Man Standing match itself an awesome bout
that really put Jack over as a guy who would take big risks,
had a high pain threshold and could kick some arse when
he needed too. We even replicated the hip-toss spot of
off of the 15-foot-high bleachers this time. However, we
had Jack land on my security, which moved rapidly before
anyone could really see them. Because Jack had landed so
hard on the stage bump the match before people actually
though that he had taken the 15 foot hip-toss on the concrete. This is just an example of the tricks that you can pull
once you have the audience believing in someone.
This LMS was meant to be used as the build for Jack’s
run at the FWA’s secondary belt held by my apprentice and
current WWE employee Hade Vanson. The idea was that
this heated bout would be cut off by Hade’s interference
just as the heat was building and piss fans off legitimately
whilst showing the new fire in Jack and also keeping my,
“I want to see him get his arse kicked,” heat. The contest is
one of my favourites, simply because of the mission it accomplishes. Find some footage on the internet and check
out how we even start the match off out of context in order
to get people anxious and into the match right from the off
– something I will explain in more detail in later parts of the
book.
Sadly, by the time I was taken out of the equation, I think
Jack failed to cash in on this new persona and lost a lot
of the momentum that our match had helped him build.
Remember, a carpenter’s tools are often useless unless
they are in the hands of a carpenter and so to is a high pain
threshold, amazing agility or any other useful wrestling
attribute that needs deep fought in order to be used for
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maximum affect. I wanted to give this example of the stage
bump we did to get across that by simply taking what is in
height and risk, the same bump but moving it into an out of
context environment you can change the audiences entire
perception of your act.
I remember telling Hade Vanson a similar thing after a
match he had with the Zebra Kid at British Uprising 1. The
contest had about four dives to the outside in it and was
much unstructured. One of the dives was a picture-perfect
springboard, cross-body to the outside, which saw Hade
travel a good 12 feet and land like a cat. Sadly, other than
a muted, “Ooh,” from the audience, it failed to receive the
credit it deserved because it was just a springboard crossbody and nothing that the crowd had not seen before.
I explained to Hade that earlier in the match they had
used a chair on the outside of the ring, which was still
standing upright. I suggested that the Zebra Kid should
have used the chair to slowly get to his feet and then Hade
should have performed the springboard and that huge leap
only to face slam Zebra into the chair as he was coming up.
The place would have gone bananas because it is an outof-context twist to an old move. It looks spontaneous and is
simply not something that the audience has seen before. I
give this example simply to illustrate that you can find ways
to make anything you do out of context no matter how
complex or simple they are.
In a few chapters, I am going to get deeper into how to
make the little things you do, become exclusive to you,
yet for now just have a look at the bigger moves and spots
in your arsenal and ask yourself if your efforts are not getting the appreciation they deserve because everything you
are doing is very much in context with what the audience
is used to seeing. This doesn’t even have to do with your
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wrestling with the principle being just as applicable to your
outfit, gimmick, and promo style or ring entrance. If you are
just another generic wrestler, then unless you are blessed
with being one of best generic wrestlers around you are
likely going to be overlooked by the audience. Yet, if you
take the time to spice up what you are doing by making
it out of context to what they are used to seeing then you
will be on the right track to become something of a Showstealer yourself.
Remember, there are no limitations put on you in this
business because it is not a sport. If you have an act that
sells tickets then you will always find employment. If that
act involves bumping off of Hell in the Cell, eating worms,
having one leg or any number of other attributes that
people have happily used to make their mark then good
for you. Create your own niche and claim the rewards that
come with being original in whatever endeavours you
decide to take part in. You will constantly get people knocking you for trying something new but how boring would
life be without new ideas and fresh inventions. Just remember that very little is new but there is still so much that can
be freshened up. There is a great quote that says, “To see
further than others you must first stand on the shoulders
of giants.” Well heed those wise words and have a look
around what giants you can borrow from and freshen up.
Just remember what Einstein said and you’ll be ok.
When I’m asked in interviews what is missing in wrestling today, particularly on the British scene, I feel bad that
I have to answer so negatively but I feel that what we really need is a little bit of originality. There are some great
acts out there doing something completely different and
they are the wrestlers or companies getting the headlines.
Yet for every one of those there are mountains of people
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who are still seeing the key to fortune and fame as being
just another generic wrestler. I was fortunate that with my
size and promo style, which were both very Americanised,
I stood out from the pack in the UK. However, if I had gone
to America those attributes would have been eclipsed completely. I still had to use the one muscle that you cannot
work with a membership to your local gym – your brain. It
is the one muscle that will make you money in wrestling
when all the others begin to atrophy, so start using it now.
We will come back to some of the points raised here
in a later part of the guide as I add some more depth and
concepts to what is here, however, for now this should be
enough to get you thinking. In the next part of the guide
we are going to talk about the all-important subject of
match structure and what we in the business call the seven
points of a wrestling match. If you have never heard of this,
then you must read the next chapter.
A round peg that tries to fit into a square hole is giving
up the gift of uniqueness in exchange for conformity. The
true round pegs in any society will force the hole to change
or simply leave it unfilled without fear or regret.
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CHAPTER EIGHT
I
n this chapter, as promised, I will explain basic match
structure. This is one area where most people in their
first two to five years of wrestling normally fall short because many schools do not teach it correctly, if at all. In fact,
I was the first person in the UK to teach the Seven Points
principle explained here and thanks to this, people I have
taught have passed it on to their students and many more
people in the UK understand it now as a result.
I would go so far as to say that an understanding of
match structure, taught from the very beginning of someone’s wrestling training would make everything else they
did much easier. Why do I think this? It is simply because
by understanding how a match is structured you learn very
quickly what types of moves you need and why so you do
not spend the next twelve months trying to learn every
high spot and cool reversal under the sun despite the fact
that you will never use 80 per cent of them in your matches
by the time you become a polished performer. In fact, I
would say that becoming a polished performer is when you
get to the point in your career when you realise that you
need to do less but make sure that what you are doing is
done right and in the correct place in the match thus helping you tell a story.
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This story gives your match structure and thus turns your
contests from an Indy spot with neither rhyme nor reason
for what is taking place into a bout better suited to be on a
WWE pay-per-view. With this being the case I often argue
with schools who tell me, when I go to teach my seminars,
“These students aren’t ready to learn this stuff yet.” If they
knew it from the start it would give them a blueprint for
what they really needed to learn as opposed to spending
their weekends at the gym marking out for the hundred
new flashy moves that they copied from Ring of Honor that
week.
This is not to say that all pros know what you are about
to learn either. Believe it or not, particularly in the UK, there
are dozens of top pros that still don’t know the Seven
Points. These seven points are so vital for you to know that
when you read them, none of this will be new information,
as it will just make sense. I am a big believer in the theory
that we all know everything. As Buddha said, “Nothing
can be invented, only discovered.” However, it is all in our
subconscious, therefore we can only tap into it through
meditation.
We use about ten per cent of our brains and yet with that
ten per cent we have put a man on the moon. I believe this
is the reason that many times when you hear something
for the first time rather than it seeming brand new to you,
it registers in your head like an old memory that you were
again recalling and you respond to it in a way that is almost
like saying, “Oh yeah, I remember”. I think that these seven
points will do exactly that and, despite the fact that you do
not know them consciously, you will become fully aware
that they have always been there on a subconscious level.
Now, before we begin I want to make clear that you can
alter some of the steps in this by cutting out some of the
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first points, which I will cover in more depth in the next
chapter, however, for the most part these steps are normally exact and it is almost impossible to change their order
unless you decide to make this the a feature of your match.
As there is a lot to cover here this part of the guide will be
split over two issues with this first part covering the first
four points.
• POINT ONE – Establish the heel, establish the face
This is the part of the match where you let the audience
know who to boo and who to cheer. It is pretty straightforward but is crucial to any match. Even if the match is between the two baby faces (good guys) this is the part where
you must illustrate it clearly to your audience. No story can
truly be compelling without a good introduction to the
characters. The most basic way to do this is to send the
heel out first. It is a sad fact that it is easier to get someone
to hate you then it is to get someone to like you in today’s
world. Therefore, if the heel comes out first, acting like a
villain and getting the crowd to dislike him, then whoever
comes out through the curtain next will get a cheer or at
least have an easier time provoking one.
This can sometimes require a little common sense
though. For example, I remember watching the UK Pitbulls
do a match once. Their opponents were two very skinny
Brits who looked like nothing compared to the near 1000pound total combined weight champions. Because the
promoter was following the set rules of sending the heels
out first (the Pitbulls on this occasion) the shock factor was
achieved first with the audience’s collective jaw understandably hitting the floor. A reaction always achieved with
these guys due to their huge size. Whoever was next to
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sive from a sheer freak value perspective even if it had been
two pro bodybuilders.
The fact that the music hit and two skinny kids walked
out just had the audience laugh and the shock horror factor
was lost completely making the match more of a sick joke
than what the promoter was hoping for. If, however, the
young baby faces had come out first doing their best to get
over, which would have been easy as they looked like nice
kids and the crowd was easy, and then once the audience
had warmed to them, the Pitbulls had walked out, the reaction would have been perfect. The audience would never
have laughed at the faces and they would now be concerned for the two kids that they had taken a liking too.
All I am saying is that although this is a pretty spot-on
formula; use your brain before following it blindly. My
god, if only we all thought about what we followed blindly
before doing, it the world would make a lot more sense.
Although I can’t hope to achieve that, well not just yet any
way, I can hope that you take this on board and remember
that this formula, just like everything written in this guide,
must be mixed with your own intelligence and personal
talents and that means, just with the story above, that
sometimes things that I teach might not work exactly on
every occasion without the odd alteration here and there.
Although maps are accurate 99 per cent of the time, they
cannot be prepared for road works and accidents, and
this is where you need to divert from the map and change
course. Just remember this as we continue.
Another time when the face may go first is when he
is the challenger and the heel is the champion, as, I believe, the champion should always go last. This is because
it makes the title seem important and even though this
golden principle seems so lost in today’s wrestling world I
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will always advocate keeping your titles strong. So then to
recap, point one is simply establishing the heel and establishing the face. Nice and easy.
• POINT TWO – The baby face shine
This is the point in a wrestling match where the audience
should see exactly what the face is capable of in a fair fight
scenario. Again, this can vary for reasons I will explain later
but in your bog standard match you should allow the audience to see what the baby face can do and also in most
cases make it clear that in fair fight scenario the baby face is
the superior wrestler which is why the heel has to cheat.
For example, if I am wrestling a high flyer I will want to
show the audience a little piece of what he can do early on.
This is almost like a trailer for the main movie. I want to get
people excited about it but without showing all of the best
stuff in the advert so that people either feel like they’ve
already had enough or put myself in the situation where
they leave the film thinking, “I might as well just have kept
it at the advert.” If my opponents best move is a 450 splash
then to do it in the first five minutes would be dumb as he
doesn’t have anywhere to go from there but down in the
audience’s estimation, unless there is a storyline reason for
it. Therefore, a decent shine is one that gives the audience a
taste but not enough that they already feel full up. This will
keep them interested in your match because they are hoping for more of the stuff you gave them a piece of earlier.
If I was doing a low-key family show I would often start
with the very generic sequence where I went up to the
ropes and got the audience to boo me. The face would
then go to the opposite ropes that I had gone to and get
the crowd to cheer him. I would then pull a face as if to say
that his cheer is clearly because he went to another side of
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the ring which has better fans. I then go to the side that the
face just went to and get up on the ropes again. This time
when the audience boo me I look really annoyed. To rub
it in further, the face then goes up on the first set of ropes
that I went to and got booed and when he does so they
crowd goes crazy. This pisses me off something major so
with his back to me I jump him and give him a few shots.
I quickly whip him off the ropes, he ducks my clothesline
and on the way back he hits me with a few big moves that
end up knocking me over the top rope. He sets up for a big
dive with the crowd on their feet but before he can jump I
run off and save myself. He turns to the audience who he
has now won over and gets them making some noise while
I, being a heel, skulk off and stall in order to regroup and
break his momentum.
In this very simple and frankly over-used sequence I have
performed points one and two in text book fashion. I have
established the heel and the face and then shown that in a
fair fight (and in this case even when it is slightly unfair as I
jumped him from behind) the face still gets the upper hand.
It also gets the audience going by building momentum
but then stopping it dead with me moving from the dive,
which keeps the audience wanting more. If the audience
had never seen the high flyer in question before and I want
to get him over before we continue I may actually let him
perform his dive only to have me bail out again when he
rolls me back into the ring thus cutting the momentum this
way. This gives the crowd a real taste of what the guy can
do without showing too much as we discussed earlier. I will
go into how to do dives correctly and what techniques you
can use to greatly increase their effectiveness in a later part
of the guide as dives are actually a science in themselves
and one that has been lost thanks largely to their over use
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on the Indy scene but that is later.
Before we move on, I also want to make a secondary
point about the sequence I just told you. I want to explain
why I did a few things in that sequence the way that I did.
Firstly, many faces go to the same corner that the heel just
went to first rather then doing a different one. I believe that
by doing it the way I said it, not only are you bringing in
more of the audience but you are also adding to the story.
The heel can believably think that maybe he had picked
the wrong corner the first time. When he gets booed on
the second corner the heel gets very angry because he has
been made to look stupid. The face then goes to the original corner that booed the heel and this time, because the
audience are following the story of the heel being made
to look stupid, they give the biggest pop so far. This is too
much for the heel, which reacts by jumping the baby face
but as the baby face quickly comes back and retains the
upper hand, it still leaves him looking strong and not like a
moron who fell for the oldest trick in the book.
I want you to understand that these little details give the
most simple of stories some third dimensional background.
Remember that most of your audience above the age of 14
knows that wrestling is not real but they want to believe in
it just as you do when you go to the cinema and watch a
film. Unless you have special effects so incredible that people are going to focus on that and nothing else, you cannot
short change them on the story and expect them to be on
the edge of their seats. I believe that by doing it this way it
makes the spot look more spontaneous and almost real, as
opposed to doing it without the minor additions, which just
makes the face look stupid for how did he not know he was
going to get jumped when the audience could see it coming a mile off.
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The last thing any worker should want to do is make the
baby face look stupid unless it is a crucial part of the story.
This is why I have watched a match before mine on the
card do this spot and then gone out a few matches later
and performed it in the most generic way possible only for
the face to jump off the ropes and smack me as I run at him
with his back turned. This makes the baby face look even
stronger as the audience think they know what’s coming
but the face is smart to the tactic and knocks the heel down
before he can jump the face.
If a spot is old and over-used to you then the chances are
that it is to your audience as well so think about this when
structuring your match. You may think that I am overdoing it on such a basic sequence but I can tell you now that
only those people who really get it will tell you that giving
this much attention to your sequences will tighten up your
whole match so that when you do the bigger stuff it means
more. There is a saying that goes, “If you take care of the
pennies, the pounds will look after themselves.” The same
can be said for the attention to detail that you put into your
spots. Attention to detail is one of the most important factors in making a name for your self in any field and is something that I will do a whole chapter on very shortly. For now
though I hope you get the point I am trying to drum into
you here.
• POINT THREE – The heel cut-off
This is the point in the match where the heel must take
over and change the momentum of the bout in his favour.
Again, wrestling is down to your own artistic interpretation so there are no set rules on how to do this. However, I
would like to give some points and examples of my mindset towards this section of the contest. I really liked to get
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creative with the heel cut-off and I had different cut-offs
depending on how I was approaching the opponent.
For example, if it was a small, high flyer I was facing I
would let his shine be full of bouncy springy moves that
would get me out of breath and have me running in circles.
That was until he did one too many and I caught him with
a big move off of the rope, normally my choke bomb, and
completely kill his momentum. There is nothing more effective for changing the audience’s gut feeling than when
a big guy takes out a little guy with a huge move that looks
like it kills him. I believe that a good cut-off should always
evoke a similar feeling from the audience. You want to turn
the tide of the match in the crowd’s eyes and there is nothing better for doing that then getting some really good
momentum going only to stop it dead in its tracks with a
car crash-like move or sequence.
Sometimes if the guy I’m wrestling is slightly bigger and
not a high flyer then I will have him out-wrestle me and
bump me about a bit and then I will turn the tide with a low
blow or eye poke, something dirty. This is because the sort
of pop I am looking for is different. With a smaller guy, the
crowd doesn’t expect him to have a chance against me so
in their subconscious they make more noise a lot quicker
but are aware that if I get my way, it’s going to be messy
and the guy is screwed. This is why there is more genuine
dread when I do a big cut-off on a little guy because the
crowd collectively feel that the little guy is in trouble. When
I’m working a bigger guy, who I can’t have my way with, the
crowd know, again on a subconscious level, that I am going
to have to get dirty to get the upper hand. Yet because they
are watching with their conscious brain they can still get
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ticularly cheap it gets a real, “I knew it, that dirty bastard,”
reaction from them. This is perfect if you want to present
an even match because the crowd will now be longing
for the face to get back on top and kick your arse even
more than when the match started. A perfect example of
the detail I believe should go into how you structure your
match was a bout I had against WWE contracted star Seamus O’Shaughnessy. I had been brought over by Irish Whip
Wrestling while I was the FWA champion to face their top
guy. At that time I held around eight British titles and was
often going in and working the main event against the local
guy. I loved doing this and it gave me a great understanding of changing the story to fit the guy’s strengths. I had
heard that Seamus had great potential but was very green
by Sean Herbert who owned the wrestling channel. In fact
I was out there staying with Sean as we were planning the
TWC Coventry super show, International Showdown.
He decided to bring some cameras along to film my
match and the show for a bit of fun. Seamus and I had been
on Ireland AM – their huge breakfast show – and we had
set up the match by having a pull-apart fight on air. I spoke
to Seamus and could tell straight away that he had ‘it’. Not
only did he look great at 6 feet 2 inches with a huge physique, but he had a good personality, he was intelligent and
most of all he wanted to learn. I asked him if he had a good
memory and he said he did. That was all I needed.
If someone is green then you cannot expect him or her
to know how to ad lib in the right way. You can do it but it
is never going to get them over perfectly because to know
how to do that takes experience. However, if someone has
a bad memory then if you plan too much they will be so
nervous that they will forget everything and they’ll look out
of place. I explained to Seamus that if I came over to Ire128
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land, beat him and made him look inferior to me and then
just flew home not only would it not be good for him but
also it was also equally bad for the entire promotion as he
was by far their biggest potential star.
I have never believed in being a selfish worker and often
got told that I sold way too much for people and this was
one of those situations where not being selfish paid off for
everyone. Firstly, the match went so well which made the
show come together perfectly that it lead to IWW getting a
permanent spot on The Wrestling Channel. On top of that
Seamus told me that working with me was the first time
he ever really felt like he ‘got it’ and as a result he knew he
could go further with it. Thanks to this he called me just a
few days before he flew to America to start his WWE contract and thanked me for my help and reminded me how
much what I taught him in that match had helped him.
So what was it that really taught him so much? The way
I structured the match and why. I’ll start by telling you
what we did and it will give you a perfect example of how
to make the very most of points one to three. I wanted to
make Seamus look great. Not just good but like a man who
was going places. To do this, I decided that I would totally
change how I did my shine. I would normally let the baby
face shine by showing one area that they were better than
me but then I would eventually counter act it with my
strong suit. In this match I wanted to show that Seamus was
better than me and could get the upper hand in multiple
areas.
To begin with I used a technique that I was really fond
of: to establish the heel and the face as clearly as possible
whilst beginning his shine on a psychological level. I got
on the microphone and after knocking the crowd began
to praise the young Irish man. I told him that these people
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could genuinely see that he had a great future and that is
why they chant his name – “SOS” was a far easier abbreviation for them. I explained that he had worked so hard to get
this far and on that night in front of his family and home
crowd he was getting a shot at arguably the most important European title at the time, the FWA British Heavyweight title which had been defended all over the world. I
continued to enlighten Seamus that despite being good, he
was nowhere near ready for such a match and as great as it
felt right then to be the big Irish hope it will feel equally as
heart-breaking to be beaten in front of those very fans and
shown to be not as good as you thought you were.
I explained that the same fans that chant his name tonight like he is a hero will pass him in the street tomorrow
and call him a loser behind his back because even though
he did his best they are a jealous bunch of nobodies who
will never achieve anything and will love to shoot him
down. Seamus played this awesomely because I explained
that even though he was a big guy he must slowly let the
reality dawn on him that I could be right and show a feeling of potential failure that we can all relate to. I then offer
him the chance to go backstage and let me win by count
out and if he did I would sign him up on the spot to an FWA
contract. As I was managing director of the company in real
life at the time he could fly to the superior wrestling scene
in England tomorrow with me and become a star in a proper country, at least that’s how I worded it. The crowd hated
this because as all good promos should be, it was based in
truth on every level.
By the time I was done, Seamus who had come in as the
fired up local baby face had become visibly reduced to a
bag of nerves. It did not make him look weak because he
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inch, 280-pound heavyweight champion. I began to count
as Seamus, who the crowd were really behind turned and
began to walk out of the ring.
I asked him when we were backstage to remember the
night that Shawn Michaels was stripped of the Intercontinental title which was awarded to Dean Douglas because
Michaels had be been beaten up by “nine thugs” in a night
club and was in no condition to wrestle. As Shawn left the
ring with his battered face he turned back to look at the
ring for one last time with a clearly visible tear in his eye
and kissed the belt he had worked so hard for goodbye. It
was a show-stealing performance by a man who was not
even competing on the event and something that always
stuck with me. I asked Seamus to replicate the exact same
face as he kissed his dream goodbye, but as he did so to
catch the eyes of the audience. As he did, I told him to react
to their pleas to stay like he was having second thoughts,
because they believed in him. He began to look from left to
right at the crowd, who responded by getting louder and
louder until he finally snapped and just before the count of
ten, he came back into the ring even more fired up than he
was to start with. The place went crazy.
In that simple spot we had set the scene but also Seamus
had beaten me on a psychological level, almost like a minishine. The next step was for me to walk into the centre of
the ring and with the crowd still on their feet I gave him a
huge shove, which elected a total schoolyard fight. Seamus slowly looked to the crowd and fired back with a huge
shove of his own to pop the crowd again. I nodded my
head as if to say, “That is it,” and then gave him a thunderous slap, which the crowd really did not like. Seamus put his
hand to his mouth and looked at his fingers calmly to see
if there was blood (the best way to sell a slap) and then out
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of nowhere gave me a slap back, twice as hard, which blew
the roof of the place. Part two was now complete, as Seamus had now beaten me on an intimidation level.
The match was ready to really get under way with the
crowd exactly where we wanted them and the story to
continue. I explained to Seamus that I wanted to give him
an extended shine. This was so that the crowd, who subconsciously know that it isn’t long until the bad guy takes
over, start to really think that Seamus is going to kick my
arse with ease, so when the cut-off comes it is even more of
a shock. For the next five minutes I let Seamus outdo me on
every level. I let him out-wrestle me; beat me on a shoulder
block challenge; best me on test of strength; get the upper
hand when we traded power moves. What I did was every
normal cut-off I perform in other matches but with the twist
that he outdoes me at the end. I even did the tired old spot
where I bail out of the ring, he comes after me allowing me
to slide back in and as he follows me I beat him down with
stomps.
At this point everybody thought that the tide would
change but as I hit the ropes and came back Seamus
popped up and gave me a huge spinebuster for an early
near fall and just like that he was back on top. By this point
the crowd thought that there was just no stopping him so
I had to do something that made sense and was credible
to take out such big guy. Seamus had shown that he could
match me on all levels but the only one that he clearly
could not was experience. So after slamming me to the mat
he slowly went up to the top rope. I got him to look out to
the crowd and motion to them with his fist, which made
them cheer louder for him. This meant that he took just
that little bit too long going to the third floor and with the
audience thinking, “Don’t take too long,” I jumped up and
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pushed him off the top, to the outside and face-first into
the ringside table.
With Seamus being so big, not only did the bump look
great but also it sounded deadly. Seamus had let his inexperience get the better of him and what made it even
smoother was that by getting him to look at the crowd and
acknowledge their cheers while he was climbing to the top,
they felt responsible for his fall. It was a perfect way to do
it and explain why he was now really in trouble for the rest
of the match. The finish we did worked really well and was
completely designed to keep Seamus strong but that is not
really relevant here. What is relevant is that you understand
why I did this with Seamus and why it worked.
If you tell a good story in the first three steps then you
are making the job of keeping the crowd with you for the
last four much easier. Just like a tower block that has been
built on weak foundations, you can struggle to really go as
far as you can if the correct time has not been put into setting the stage and that is what point one to three is really
for.
• POINT FOUR – Heat
Heat is a funny word in wrestling, in that it has multiple
meanings. If someone is pissed off with you then that
means he has heat with you. If the audience is reacting to
you then that means you are getting heat. However, the
kind of heat that I want to talk about in point four is very
different.
To make this easy I want to explain the very simple
metaphor that I use to explain the seven points of a match.
Imagine that you have a spring and your jobs is the get
the people watching to be excited about how high you
can make that spring bounce off of the table. Point one
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(establish the heel, establish the face) would be like looking at it and showing the audience it is a spring. Point two
(The baby face shine) would be like squeezing the spring
lightly in between your fingers to demonstrate a little
of how springy it is to the on lookers without giving too
much away. Point three (the heel cut-off) would be the part
where you then put the spring on the table and get ready
to start pushing it. Then point four would be the simple act
of pushing the spring downwards so that it can compress
as much as possible in order for it to shoot as high as it can
later.
Therefore I want you to think of point four, heat, as nothing more than compressing the spring. This is the point
where you beat down your opponent and begin to tell the
audience the story of the underdog making his comeback.
The funny thing I find with heat is that it is the easiest thing
to do yet the hardest of the seven points to teach. I believe
that this is because it is the part that requires the least
movement and action. Even point one requires getting the
audience excited, walking or running to the ring and maybe even some mike work. Heat however just requires kicks,
stomps, choking on the ropes, a few wear-down holds and
the odd move here and there thrown in for good measure.
You see, you can’t do too much action during the heat segment otherwise it gives the impression that the baby face
is not really in trouble that much. If he is bouncing off the
ropes and flying around too freely, even if it ends with the
heel on top of the sequence, it is not hugely believable of a
wrestler in dire straits and that is what he needs to appear
to be in if you really want the audience to care.
This is where I must take the time to explain the very important difference between heat and pops as there will no
doubt be some people reading this thinking, “Well, I keep
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it equal during most of my matches and I still get a good
reaction.” You are most likely getting pops, not heat. What
is the difference? A pop is a vocal reaction to an impressive
move, sequence or wrestler. Heat is an emotional response
bought on by a connection to a character, sequence or
match. If I go and watch a great action film I may love it. It
could even make me cheer out loud for the special effects
and car chases but it is not likely to connect with me that
much on an emotional level. However, if I watch two of
my favourite films such as The Shawshank Redemption or
The Green Mile then I will, even now after viewing both of
them more than ten times each, feel emotionally touched
by them. This is because they relied on a form of heat that
is simply emotional connection to the story and characters.
Not pops brought on by a series of explosions and CGI.
They also both go three hours which means that they
were able to lay solid foundations where as most action
films go half that time. Why? Because we can only handle
pops for so long before we need to be told a good story.
Look at the difference between the lengths of time a spot
match gets to a story built main event in promotions all
around the globe. A good story takes time to build and in
most good stories the main character has to endure a period of heat on him enable to come back in the end. This is
why heat should be a simple yet constant period of compressing the spring. You really do not have to do all that
much but what you do perform has to keep the audience
interested.
I will do more on this in a later part of the guide because
it is a very fine line to walk as a pro wrestler to purposely
allow the audience time to breathe whilst not letting them
lose interest in the story you are telling. I find this even
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cated in telling a story and don’t understanding that it is OK
for the crowd to settle down at the halfway point but also
because they are really insecure and think that constant
noise is a sign that they are doing a good job. Trust me, it is
not and we will deal with this more another time.
For now, however, understand how to get heat on someone and practice it. Go to your wrestling gym and say to
someone there. “Can I just practice getting heat on your
for five or ten minutes?” It doesn’t have to be complex. In
fact the simpler it is the better. Learn to feel confident with
just doing the very basics of kicking and stomping to get
heat but doing them well and in a way that keeps the action flowing. This is the sign of a real pro and one that is in
control of his audience and not one whose audience is in
control of him.
The difference here is the most vital thing that any wrestler can hope to understand and one that all the top pros
have learnt to differentiate in order to get where they are.
Of course, if you just got heat on your opponent all the way
up until the end then your match it would likely be very
boring which is why we have point five.
• POINT FIVE – Hope
That’s right – the one thing that we all need in this world
to stop us giving up completely. A wrestler uses this simple
word to keep the interest of the fans during the oftenstagnant process of compressing the spring or heat as it’s
more widely referred to. You see, in exactly the same way as
the spring resisting its downward push makes an onlooker
interested in more of the match than the push alone, the
use of ‘hope spots’ allows a performer to keep brining his
audience back into the contest at the point where they are
most likely to lose interest.
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You see, as previously explained, hope is the easiest
thing to do but the hardest thing to teach as doing it properly involves very little real action. Too much action and the
baby face no longer looks in trouble and how can he be if
he is still having a back and forth contest? To do point four
properly takes patience and very little in the way of action.
This is why hope spots are used to pad out and spice up the
period between points four and six.
What is a hope spot? Simply a move or sequence designed to give the audience the distinct impression that the
baby face is about to come back and most importantly still
has some fight left in him before getting cut-off once again
by his opponent. Not only is this important to keep the audience interested on a two-dimensional level in the middle
of the match but if we think deeper into it, there is more to
this. If the audience start to feel like the baby face is dead
and really has no hope of coming back then the audience,
who can be as fickle as they come at times, will begin to
lose hope of a comeback taking place at all and will rapidly
turn off. This is just like any other sporting contest, and that
is how wrestling tries to be portrayed. The more one-sided
something is, the less exciting it starts to become. With this
being the case, hope applies just as much to the crowd as it
does to the wrestler.
There are differing types and lengths of hope spot. I used
to use one as simple as telling my opponent that if he feels
me tapping him on the back of the head to begin fighting
me back with some slow shots to the gut. I would overemphasise that they were slow to begin with and gradually
build up speed as he got his bearings back. If he was dead
one minute and then suddenly come alive with an offensive flurry that would make Mohammed Ali blink then not
only does it lack believability but it also lessons the reaction
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from the crowd. You might pop them instantly but the heat
will die fast because after a while the audience begins to
feel like the face no longer needs their support to help him
win. I prefer to let the baby face fight back just slow enough
that the audience begin to gradually rise up with him. As he
hits faster, they get louder and the heat, not pop, is sustained for longer whilst being more heart felt.
The length of this depends on how I read the crowd. If
I just want to bring them up a little, I will wait until they
start chanting his name or something abusive at me. I will
stand over him and give him a few disrespectful kicks and
look at the audience as I bend down to pick him up by his
head and say, “He’s not so great now is he?” As I am doing
this I give him a discrete tap and as I look from side to side
at the crowd smirking at how battered he is, he starts to
fight back. I always say backstage, if I don’t cut you off then
keep striking me until you get me back into the ropes and
shot me off. I have a great cut-off from being sent of the
ropes (my pump handle diamond cutter) or if I want it to go
longer I will reverse him and tell him to duck my clothesline
and hit me with a flying one. Once he does this I call for him
to go to the top and as he jumps of I normally catch him
with my choke bomb. Obviously this varies but the formula
is normally the same.
My normal approach is that the longer the match goes
the shorter the hope spots get and the reason for this is obvious. If my opponent is fresher, the further into the contest
we are then logic begins to fly out of the window. Also, by
giving the crowd less and less back-and-forth action the
longer the bout goes on, the more heat we will get when
the baby face finally does come back for real and the rest of
the match is back and forth. By starving them of back-andforth action for so long you are certain to get a far better
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reaction for it when you are finally ready to deliver.
Also, on a practical level I want to reserve both of our energy supplies for the big finish, which takes the most out of
any wrestler and no one wants to that mess up. If you blow
your finish then everything was for nothing so you need to
be sensible with how much you cram into your hope spots
the closer to the finish you are. I need to reiterate a point
that I make in almost every chapter and that is: no matter
what formula I mention there is still a time and place for it
to be changed if the match requires it.
I once did a match for FWA TV where I wrestled Damon
Leigh. I had some cracking bouts with Damon on other
shows but this one was to set up my huge grudge match
with Steve Corino. I decided to go out there and after a
really minimal shine match that was not a squash but had
no hope at all, I got solid heat on him for about ten minutes and it was vicious heat. The idea was to put over that I
meant business with Corino and this was a new me. I made
my shots hard and the work tight, which the audience
could see. After a short time people started to feel uncomfortable with it because subconsciously they were waiting
for some hope spots that just were not materialising. The
people started to see me as a bully who was really beating
this kid up and it got them mad.
After a straight battering I got Damon in my finisher, the
“One Night Stand” and called the cameraman up to the
apron. I looked into the lens and sent a message to Corino
with Leigh draped across my shoulders half dead. I was just
about to complete my catch phrase when Damon suddenly hit an elbow in my face out of nowhere. The facial
was priceless as the camera was right up to me where I had
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ders and he me with one of his moves, which knocked me
senseless. He caught me unawares with a few big moves for
some super hot near falls but ultimately I caught him after
one of them, slid him back into my trademark move and
finished him off.
I did this alteration in my match structure because I
wanted to make the most out of something that could have
been very bog standard by adding a touch of seriousness
to my match by simply tweaking the seven points. I messed
with the conventions of wrestling and it got the fans to react to me and the match in exactly the way I wanted. They
did not know why it was different on a conscious level but
I was in the centre of the ring that night and I know that
they were reacting very differently to how they normally
would. I felt the need to add this here as an example of the
fact that hope can be cut out if you have a reason to but
99.9 per cent of the time, doing so will lose your audience.
I see hope in the real world as the glue that holds our lives
together and as far as wrestling it is the thing that hold any
good, long and heated match together so don’t underestimate it.
• POINT SIX – The baby face comeback
This is the part of the match that your audience has been
waiting for. The big pay off to all that shining, spring compression and hope. The part where our hero (or heroine)
finally gets their revenge on the dastardly heel that has
beaten them into the ground for the last god-knows-howlong. This should be easy right? I mean how hard is it to kick
the stuffing out of someone who has battered you around
the ring whilst likely using a plethora of dubious tactics in
the process.
There is an art to this part of the match that is just as
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precise as any other aspect of this business. In fact in a lot
of ways, fluffing the comeback is just about the worst thing
you can mess up other than the finish and to be fair if the
comeback is wrong then the finish is likely to be dead in the
water anyway. I like to employ an additional little number
in this section of the seven point’s principle, almost a point
6a, if you will.
This secondary point is the perfect set up to a good
comeback and also adds the right amount of heat and believability required to pull the audience in enough to really
give you the heat that you require here. It is called a double
down. You will all know what a double down is even if
you are not familiar with the terminology. It is the part in
a match where both wrestlers butt heads, hit a double
clothesline or nowadays something far fancier and the
referee stands between the two collapsed foes and starts
to administer a standing ten count. This old chestnut my
friends, is called a double down.
Now I am going to explain to you a basic formula that
I used often when I was working and one that helped me
to be certain that the finish of my match would get the
required reaction nine time out of ten, with almost any opponent. Now nine times out of ten might not sound like the
best figure but when you are champion of multiple promotions ranging from the top one in the country to the worst
– I used to announce the OPWO title which I won in front
of about 30 people so that I could get intentionally pissed
at the audience when they laughed at it – you get to work
with some great workers and some not so great.
My type of match was different to most. I was no Jonny
Saint, that was for sure, but what I brought was just as
important. Let us be honest here. Could you imagine Saint
against Raven or Foley? No, me neither but that type of
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match became my strong suit. Doing the main event brawling style is just as much an art as the technicians and high
flyers and the day everyone realises that is the day a lot of
those guys will make better money. I am not saying they
should do that style but I am saying that it is the main event
brawlers that genuinely fill the arenas so that the other
types of workers have a full house.
My type of match was the American-style main event
match with the local guy most of the time and I was pretty
good at it. This meant that I had to go on last, after almost
every move that you could imagine had been done. You
have to love FWA’s influence on the UK scene in the early
part of the decade. This was the audience’s main event. To
do this you had to present the right story, with the right
amount of main event intensity and sometimes if this
meant using the exact same match that I had the night
before with someone else then that’s what I did. Like an
actor on Broadway that has a change in leading lady, many
times I would simply just slot the new person in and have
the same match over again. I would do this if I felt that the
person I was wrestling has not experienced enough to be
given too much to remember or was too green to adlib
well enough. By me knowing the route we were going on I
could steer the match back exactly where it needed to be if
it went off course just like a driving instructor with his back
up peddles.
During this period I found that a lot of my opponents
seemed to lack a decent move set. I would ask them what
they did and they would often reply, “I can do this,” or,
“I have done that before.” As I discussed in the move set
section, this is not want you want to hear when you are
about to give your spinal cord to somebody you’ve only
just met. The other worry was that if they had no real move
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set then it meant that they had no moves that were really
over which means that it was going to make my job harder
in the match. I always felt that the best thing to hit before
a double down was a big move. I will explain why in the
simplest way I know. Imagine that your match is like computer game. You cannot be on full energy one second and
then suddenly die just as you could not have zero energy
and suddenly become full again. You have to build yourself
back up.
Wrestling should be viewed in exactly the same way. If I
have beaten the babyface down for 15 minutes then there
is absolutely no way on earth that it is believable for him
to even the odds with one move. In fact even if he hit his
finisher on me, we should still get to our feet around the
same time from a logical view point because of the simple
fact that comparatively our ‘energy bars’ would now be
about equal. If his finisher knocks my energy bars flat but
his was already flat when he hit it then we would be about
even, would we not? Now I am not saying use your finisher
here for as we all know most games wont let you hit your
finisher unless you’re on full energy (unless that’s changed
in the near ten years since I played a fighting game) and
this makes sense on a wrestling level in many ways. What I
am saying however is that I liked my opponent to hit something suitably big on me. I would go for my finisher and
they would slide out the back or spin to their feet in front
of me and that was their chance to hit one of their bigger,
more over moves. If they did not have one I got them to use
one that I selected.
After trying different moves in this section the best one
for the job, I found, was a Stone Cold Stunner. Now I know
it might be cheesy to some but for what I was after it was
perfect. I needed a move that would fit very specific criteria.
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It needed to be over and thus achieve a big pop. I needed
to be considered a powerful move so that it was conceivable that this could even the score for the baby face. I also
needed a move that gave us ample space from each other
so that the referee could stand in between us on the floor
and begin his standing ten count. Let me go through each
of these three points and explain them.
Firstly, the reason I need a big pop is pretty complex in
itself. Aside from the obvious reason that I don’t want the
baby face’s first big move onto me after a period of heat
to feel flat, I also desire something else. To make a double
down spot really work the audience have to be on the edge
of their seats. This means that by the time the ref’s count
gets to three or four they are already clapping and screaming. Sometimes they will count with the referee but to me
this was always the cheaper of the two reactions. You don’t
want a sing along, you want heat. However, counting along
is miles better than them sitting on their hands doing nothing which at this point is excruciatingly painful for all involved. To avoid this, hitting a big over move like a stunner
that always gets a pop from any crowd brings the audience
straight back into the match. Yet by laying there and doing
nothing directly afterwards the audience have now been
almost reactivated but without anything else to make noise
for as the two wrestlers are just laying there motionless. It
is normally at this point, a few seconds into the ref’s count,
that they need something to do with there hands that remained fairly still until now and therefore begin to clap.
As I said earlier, it does not have to be a stunner. Any
over or impressive move will work and ideally that move
will be part of your opponent’s regular move set. You don’t
want your match looking like a WWE tribute act but at the
same time if a wrestler hasn’t taken the time to come up
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with some decent moves and get them over then I don’t
want the main event go home (finishing) sequence to be
ruined because of it.
Do not think that I did this on all my matches. I made
sure that as far as television matches go, I always kept it
fresh. Yet for random house shows where it was, for all but
a few people, a new crowd every night I stuck to this formula and it almost always worked. The great thing is that
by giving me something like a stunner it is believable in the
audience’s mind that this might just give the baby face the
time he needs to recover. Other over moves, like DDT, are
great for this but the stunner still gives one last advantage.
When I take the bump I do it by bending down as far as I
can and then spring backwards into a back bump. By taking the move this way and making sure that the face rolls
the opposite way after performing it, we now split the ring
in two leaving a large central space for the referee to stand.
This gives grandeur to the entire double down spot by taking up the whole ring and not just huddling into one small
space.
This is where I believe it is hard to teach the next part
of the principle as it all comes from experience and that
is when to get up. You see you don’t want to get up until
the crowds clapping has peaked however because they
will likely do the clap that starts slow and builds faster and
faster until they clap themselves out, you need to get your
timing spot on. I like to time it perfectly that the clap has
just stopped the second before the baby face hits his first
strike on me in the comeback. The reason for this is that
you want a pop and if they are still clapping it is hard for
them to do both. It helps that I can control this as the heel
because despite the fact that I was hit with the big move, it
makes more logical sense that I get to my feet first. You see
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I have beaten him for an extended period so it defies logic
for him to hit one move, no matter how big (of course there
are exceptions but very rare ones) and then beat me to the
count. At worst it should be even, at best I prefer the heel
getting up first. On top of looking more logical it also tricks
the audience into thinking it was just another hope spot.
Then as I make my way over to the face looking like I’m going to rip his head off despite being groggy, he suddenly
beats me to the punch or blocks mine and then starts his
comeback from there.
Yes, finally back to point six, the comeback. I am a big
believer in set comebacks and I often encourage my students to have a set comeback. All the great wrestlers like
Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels or the entertainers like Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan have had set come backs and
as clichéd as they may seem at times, they are over, they
pop the crowd at the right point and they tell the correct
story. I remember working a guy from Hammerlock Wrestling once, who was a pretty big name there. Now I went to
that school for five years and know that the guy who owns
it never knew any of this stuff and had no clue about match
structure so his students ended up not knowing it either. It
is one of my pet hates when people run schools and don’t
know any of this stuff. They say, “We don’t do that American crap,” but know full well that their students are coming
to learn wrestling because of that American crap.
It is simply because they do not know it themselves and
try and mask it by teaching shoot wrestling or British Tech
and nothing else. It’s like me having someone that wants
to learn to be an electrician but I can only teach them
plumbing. I teach them something that they didn’t actually
want to learn in the first place but then spend all my time
brainwashing them that being an electrician is rubbish and
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plumbing is much better. The sad fact is that these impressionable kids fall for it and start to believe the teacher without ever thinking, this guy is not really an electrician.
I bring in other wrestlers to my schools to teach the
things that I am not so good at and don’t slag it off just
because it is not my strong suit. This type of wrestling ignorance is really not fair to your students who pay your wages
so take my advice and stop saying, “This is rubbish,” or, “We
don’t teach that” and either be honest and change it to “We
can’t teach this because we don’t know it,” or simply bring
in someone who does. End of rant.
Anyway, this ex-Hammerlock guy, when asked what he
was going to do as the first move in his come back, replied
with, “A small package.” A small flipping package? I said,
“So let me get this straight. You have been beaten black
and blue for 20 minutes and the crowd have stayed with
you in the hope that you’ll come back and get your revenge
and when you finally do the first thing you want to hit is a
small package. Forget payback; forget rewarding the fans
for their support. You want to just attempt a sneaky win
and get out of there.” It wasn’t his fault; it was just years of
teaching from people who don’t understand psychology on
the whole. They just know moves and a few sequences that
display psychology. The amount of times I’ve seen people
think they know psychology because they did a few spots
that made sense out of a sea of nonsensical crap is crazy
and that example of the small package shows it for what it
is, a lack of common sense.
I am not talking about anything that I haven’t done myself. My god, I can’t watch my first eight years of matches,
seriously. They were beyond atrocious. In fact, I have students of mine that have matches in their first six months
better than I had in my fifth year. However, as much blame
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as I took for that myself, I have come to understand that
50 per cent of this blame at least, belonged to the teachers
I was paying to instruct me and tell me what I was doing
wrong. Instead, they booked me on shows because I, along
with everyone else there was working for free for years and
paying our own expenses to get there without ever being
given any advice to help us improve. It was profits over
principles and as a result I, along with every single person there including Doug Williams, Jonny Storm and Jody
Fleisch did not get good until we left.
Wrestling psychology is complex yes, but the truth is
that anyone can learn it by just thinking about what makes
sense in the real world. Now this is hard because in the real
world we are not going to bounce people of springy ropes.
We do not do ten punches in the corner, which by the way
is my least favourite spot in wrestling for reasons that will
be explained in a later part of the guide. For those of you
who can’t work it out themselves, here is a clue: Just go
a few sentences back. However, even with these illogical
occurrences in the ring, I believe this makes it even more
important to ensure that the rest of what takes place is as
logical as possible.
There is a very famous phrase in the entertainment industry from the television show, Happy Days called ‘Jumping the shark’. This was when the Fonz, who was televisions
Mr Cool was on water skis and went up a ramp and jumped
over a shark in the sea. A lot of people felt that this meant
the show was running out of ideas and signalled its end
yet it stayed on top for a further six years. No, the real reason that this is remembered as the end for Happy Days is
because it pushed the lines of logic and believability too
far in the wrong direction. Even though Happy Days was
a cheesy comedy, it turned people off massively that they
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crossed the line of credibility so badly. Just make sure that
you don’t ruin your own heat and audience belief on what
you’re doing by jumping the shark.
I will not take to long discussing comebacks now as that
is another article in itself. What I will say though is that I
have devised a little formula to help people design a good
comeback. If you rate moves from one to ten with a punch
or forearm being two points, a clothes line being three, a
flying clothesline being four, a body slam or superlex being five, your move set moves being six up to eight and
your finisher being ten then this helps us map out what you
want to do. Once you start your comeback you want to hit
a few twos such as strikes. Then a couple of three or fours
such as a clothesline (standing or flying), drop kick and slam
followed by something slightly bigger to really top off your
flurry of offence. Then, to complete the comeback you need
to hit a six (ideally one of your trademarks moves) for your
first post-comeback pin attempt.
This means that you have given the crowd enough in the
way of a heel pasting that they will not feel short-changed
by you finally trying to pin him. It also means that you have
a good reason to stop the relentless beating of the heel as
the pin and subsequent kick out breaks the faces momentum and allows you to take the finish in a more back and
forth direction. A real important part of making a successful
comeback for me is when the face looks at the crowd and
facially (and ideally verbally) fires up in between his moves.
Look at how Nigel McGuiness’s comebacks eclipse everyone else on the ROH roster. The fire and intensity when
he fought Bryan Danielson on the first UK Ring of Honour
show I ran in Liverpool was incredible and made your textbook smart fans give heat like a bunch of hillbillies in Memphis during the ‘70s.
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The simple way to explain this is that if you look at the
audience and express with your face that you need their vocal support to help you batter this rule breaking shit head
(or to the smart fans that you are stepping the match up a
notch) then as long as you have given the correct attention
to points one to five then they are going to give it to you.
Why shouldn’t they? They have stuck with you through
everything else just to get to this point. This really is the
audience’s crescendo until the final bell has rung because if
the match is good enough no one really wants to see it finish and seeing as that is the last remaining point everything
else from here is going to be comprised of pops for big
moves and relief or disappointment from near falls. As far as
genuine heat from the crowd goes, point six is where all the
action is so do not half arse it.
• POINT SEVEN – The finish
If point six is letting the spring go and seeing how far it
shoots up then point seven is simply the act of letting gravity take over and allowing the spring to land where it lands
with you having no real control over the outcome. As irony
would have it, the spring analogy has even more relevance
because for most wrestlers the finish of the match is the
part that they have the least control in.
Nine times out of ten on the smaller shows this is down
to the booker and always in the bigger leagues your fate
is in someone else hands. Unless, like me and a handful of
other control freaks, you booked and worked and believe
me, no matter what anyone else says, if you are a wrestler
of any sense than having control over your own fate is
where you want to be. Unfortunately that takes time, patience and a trusted understanding of knowing what you
are doing from the people in charge and for now that will
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be out of reach for most people reading this.
Just like jumping out of a plane without a parachute,
you want to go down like a star, not screaming like a baby
so even if you are losing this is your final chance to shine.
In fact, I used to take great pride in losing the right way,
more so than actually winning. I would constantly get
told that I put people over that I shouldn’t but to be far I
was more interested in the show as a whole than my own
credibility a lot of the time. Ironically, I teach my students
to keep themselves strong if need be but that you can be
just as over as the loser than any winner. What made Steve
Austin the most over baby face in wrestling history? Losing
to Bret Hart. Watch that match back and see how a high
profile lose strengthened “Stone Cold” more than winning
that match ever could. In turn, winning that match made
Bret Hart one of the most hated heels in the company over
night.
I will do a whole chapter later one about my finishes
formula as there are different ones I use depending where
I am on the card. I even have what I call my main event
finish, my epic finish and my super-epic finish. Yet to even
start them here would be to short-change them and you,
so I would rather save it until I have enough space to do far
longer on it. That will come soon.
For now though, I would like to give you a quick example
of something I mentioned at the start of this chapter which
a few people seemed confused by. I said that you don’t
have to do the whole seven points all the time and that
there are occasions where it is suitable to alter it. One of my
more clued up wrestling friends cornered me and told me
that I was wrong and that you cannot mess with the seven
points and always have to do them this way. I told him to
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read this article which pissed him off no end so here is, as
promised, an example of when you do not have to do the
all the seven points.
If I am a WWE regular who is doing a four-minute television match then unless I give each point around 40 seconds, which would be extremely hard and in many cases
pointless then I am screwed. So here is the best way around
it:
Point one would be null and void because if you are a
regular on TV it will have already been done for you. Point
two is exactly the same because hopefully you or your opponent will have had multiple chances to shine in the past
so the viewing public know exactly what you or they are capable of. Point three can be done the second the baby face
gets into the ring by jumping him and starting from there.
You can cut out any real slow heat thus skipping point four
and go straight into the hope spots as the match is really
short this will seem much more logical. Points six and seven
are exactly the as they would be normally.
Right here, is an adjusted seven points that makes sense
and saves time. This is not the only way to do it but a good
example of how to do so. If I was having a match to set up
for a baby face challenger getting a non title shot against
the current champion then I would most likely change
the seven points a lot and have the “heat” really be on the
champion almost getting pinned and the baby face keeping the upper hand for most of the contest. This would give
the impression that the heel is going to be in trouble when
they finally wrestle for the belt and thus will help sell tickets to it. This is a great example of when the seven points
would change but as I said at the beginning, they really
only should if there is a practical or storyline reason for
this to be the case. In today’s wrestling world less and less
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matches seem to contain a story but I feel that as much of
a fan as I am for a good ‘spotfest’, deep down we all need a
good, well told and gripping story eventually otherwise all
the flips and dives become old. I hope that this-in depth explanation of the seven points helps those of you who want
to add the drama to your matches the ability to do so more
effectively.
I would like to think that by now you all have a greater
understanding of the seven points and in turn a very good
understanding of basic match structure and also just how
important attention to detail really is in order to make your
matches and work make sense and in turn stand out from
everything else on the show. The examples given, although
a little long winded on paper, should illustrate that this is by
far the best key to making your matches connect with the
people who ultimately pay your wages whilst giving you a
formula to base these small details around.
The information is now out in the public domain so any
young wrestler out there who does not know it now has no
real excuse. If you know one, then lend them both this book
as it will be one of the most useful things that they will ever
read when hoping to make it as a pro at any level.
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CHAPTER NINE
I
n this last chapter of the book I want to dedicate some
time to those people who want to get a job in the business but in a non wrestling role. I am pretty well versed
in this field as not only have I myself done almost every
single job you can imagine since I broke into the business
in 1993 but I have also helped at lest a 1000 hopefuls do the
same in some way, shape or form through out my career. In
fact I recently held the first ever seminars directly for people
who wished to break into the business in a non wrestling
role and both of them sold out. It made me see the tremendous interest there was in offering such an opportunity to
life long fans. As the seminars lasted six hours each it would
be far more than a chapters worth of material if I were to
squeeze it all in here. However I will try and at least cover
some of the key points that were covered.
Is it easier or harder to make it in the business as a non
wrestler? That is an interesting question. One that I feel, in
answering will aid you greatly in eventually pursuing and
hopefully achieving such a position if careful attention is
paid to it. The answer is that it is both harder and easier all
at once. I will give an explanation of both views in order to
enlighten you to how you, yourself should best proceed
in this potential mine field of an endeavour. Firstly let me
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elaborate on why it is harder to break into the business as a
non wrestler. Wrestling is a business plain and simple. Even
those who run wrestling events as a hobby realise, sooner
rather than later, that if there is not some kind of financial return on their investment, no matter how small, this
“hobby” can become more destructive on both your financial status and mental health than a serious drug problem.
As we have also discussed earlier, it can certainly be just as
addictive.
Therefore those within the business have to make money
in some way to stay afloat. As promoting wrestling shows
have a pretty high outlay in relation to what the average
indy promoter can expect to see back in respect of ticket
sales, other forms of income are often sourced. It is often
not long before the person in question stumbles upon
the obvious realisation that setting up a wrestling school
has the benefit of not only having the smallest out lay
(if a premises is hired per session and not rented weekly
and mats are used) whilst providing the most reliable and
steady income.
For example, if a promoter sets up promotion X in his local town, there is no assurance of how many fans there will
be of his product let alone how many wrestling fans there
are that want to see any live wrestling show that is not
WWE. However, he can be certain that somewhere in that
town there is a decent number of WWE fans. Therefore, if
he runs a school he is now of interest to fans of all wrestling
products as he is offering a doorway for young hopefuls to
pursue their dream. This is a very good reason why the first
thing I did when I decided to go full time into wrestling was
to set up a school. Eventually this school gives the person
in question a new roster of talent to use and also a selection of back room staff made up of the paying trainees not
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yet ready to be on shows. If the school owner is clever, he
can run both the show and the promotion with a heavily
manned crew that actually pay to be part of the privilege.
This is how myself, Doug Williams, Jonny Storm, Jody
Fleisch and so many others got into the business but eventually left after realising that some of us had done this for
almost 5 years and were actually being badly exploited. At
that point there was nowhere else for us to go. Now students in the UK particularly have more choice of schools
than ever which, in at least most cases, put some much
needed pressure on gym owners not to short change and
abuse their students. How does all this then, relate to why it
is harder to break into the business in a non wrestling role
than it is as a grappler? Because it clearly illustrates that
there is a long line of paying people who will end up doing the very roles that you may be wishing to apply for by
default. Why would you be able to jump the queue? This
is even more likely to apply if you are a paying fan of the
promotion that you are hoping to work for. Why would the
promoter risk losing your ticket money each show when his
profit margin is so tight? Even if you were to work for free,
which you would undoubtedly be expected to at first anyway, it would still end in him being money down as a result
of you being on the other side of the curtain. This is why,
unless you have a clear and definable talent that the average aspiring wrestler at your local wrestling school does
not have, then your chances of success in bagging a decent
non wrestling role are a lot slimmer.
Now let me give the reasoning why, as contradictory
as it will sound, it is easier to get a non wrestling job in
the business. As a very high number of people who aspire
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sons as discussed right at the start of this guide, it is very
hard to find people who want to stay in the same, low key
backstage roles forever. For example, I might need a stage
manager so I train up someone to do it for a time, however
as this is not a role that many people aspire to in wrestling,
I ordinarily have to bribe someone with the lure of a better
position later once they have helped me with this. In turn
they fill the role for me, slowly get good at it and just as
they have it perfected and there is nothing else for them to
learn, they decide it is time for me to return the favour and
deliver on what I promised.
This is completely fair but unfortunately it leaves me
back at square one. Therefore to find people who seriously
want to just be involved and will be dedicated to what is
actually needed, and not just doing it as a stop gap until
you give them the spot they really wanted, is actually very
hard. Now you might be sat there thinking “I’d do any job,
I don’t care” but trust me I have seriously heard that most
likely over ten thousand times. Yet you would be amazed
at how many people never hack it for more than a few
months. I think that it is likely because when training to
wrestle, it takes considerable pain endurance, hard work
and sacrifice beyond a level that when done properly, even
many fans of the industry don’t fully appreciate. This, I feel,
makes it harder for someone who has invested so much to
be involved, to simply just quit.
I believe that because wrestling is so shiny, colourful and
intriguing to fans of it, many feel that they just have to “be
involved”. Many of them how get the chance do it until
they have got it out of their systems and sadly grow out of
it when the buzz is gone I guess. It was the same when I did
magic. I used to sell tricks at school to the kids when I was
younger. They all wanted to be a magician and would buy
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the trick off me. Once they had learnt the secret, they were
let down and never wanted to even perform it more than
once of twice to a few mates. If you are sat there and REALLY want to be a part of this industry in a role that is not
as a wrestler, then what follows are the best bits of advise
from a person who has likely been begged to be involved
with my FWA, TNA, ROH and Supershow events for almost
a decade by some of the most passionate people you can
imagine. Some have gone on to work for me full time, others have not. Yet despite the huge differences in their personalities there are still some very basic guide lines that the
successful ones, knowingly or otherwise, stuck to in order
to aid their chances. I like to call what follows “The wrestling
birds and bees”.
Before I start let me tell you that I am nowhere near as
bad for “respect” as some of the other guys in wrestling.
However I have still had my moments. I remember coming
into a dressing room once, late for a show in Portsmouth.
The guys on before me were having to do longer because
of my delayed arrival and there was an air of tension as
to whether I’d get there on time of not. I was the biggest
name on the show and my time keeping was far from the
best in the UK so the promoter knew I’d be there, it might
just be a little tight. When I got there everyone was relived
to see me and the boys were all shaking me hand etc. However one of the newer wrestlers, who I was not familiar with
shouted “Oh, here he is, come on lanky, hurry up!”.
I was shocked. Who the fuck did this kid think he was?
I had never met him before and he had just spoken to me
with the utmost disrespect in front of his peers and several
members of my own staff. I was late, hot, bothered and
now livid. I took him outside into a corridor and said “Who
the fuck do you think you are?”. Before he could answer I
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said “I have not worked my arse off for 13 years (as it was
at the time) for you to disrespect me you little c***””. He
just looked at me and said “It was just a joke!”. I snapped
and gave him a big right hand slap across the face. “Is that
a fucking joke?” I said. “You haven’t even introduced yourself to me (and at the time I was one of the top three most
influential people in UK wrestling and the owner of FWA,
the company that this show was part of the academy for)
but yet you speak to me like that, fuck off!” I said and sent
him back to the dressing room. I’ll be honest I sat down on
my own and had to regain my composure. I felt instantly
bad that I had done it but at the same time, I was right in
what I said. I was more pissed that he had put me in the
position that I had to do something about it and not really
what he had said or the intent behind it. To be fair, a lot of
other people would have done it in front of everyone or
worse still, said nothing and buried him to everyone and
made sure he never got booked again. I have always been a
lot more direct.
I went back into the dressing room and called him into
the corridor again. By this point his face was bright red
and everyone, who had pretty much figured out what had
happened, was deadly silent. As he came into the corridor I
said “First of all I want you to know that I am sorry that this
happened but what you did was very silly. However, I want
to drop it and start again.” I held my hand out and said “I’m
Alex Shane, what’s your name?”. We shook hands and that
was the end of it. I have always looked back and felt bad
about that but it happened and I can’t change it. Several
people in the room later told me “Well done, that kid was
out of order” but it never stopped me feeling horrible about
what had gone down because it was all the things I hate
about wrestling.
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So what is the point of this story? Well the point is that I
am often told that I am too soft on people and let them get
away with too much both inside and outside of wrestling.
This is normally true although sometimes, like on this occasion (and I’m ashamed to say that there were a few others during this period of time), I handled it badly. Now if I
am one of the guys who cares far less about respect than
the rest and this still happened then that should give you
a clear example of how dangerous it can be to be too over
familiar in this business. In fact being over familiar is most
likely the single biggest mistake that a new guy in wrestling
can make. It is a load of old rubbish for the most part and is
down to a lot of old man insecurity however it is a prominent issue and therefore one that you MUST take note of.
There are some guys I meet who are new and have the
charm to pull off being over familiar and for a while they
are untouched but let me tell you, there is always one old
veteran who takes a dislike to them and when that happens they are screwed. I remember one of my old students
Simon Valour. Nice guy, good head for the business, always
a little too much of a know it all, way before he should have
had any right to be. I let it slide as did others as he was a
good guy with some good potential until one day, enter
Raven.
Raven spotted this attitude from the second he met him
when I had got Simon to agree to be the driver for my week
long tour with Raven around the UK after our bout at International Showdown. Simon used to have a large car so I
gave him the job as Raven always brought a crazy amount
of gimmicks and due to his understanding of character
always used to sell all of them. However Simon had just got
a flash new car which was big by UK standards I guess but
nowhere near his old one in terms of leg room and boot
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space. When Simon turned up with this car instead of what
he was told to bring Raven just went crazy. In Raven’s mind,
Simon had put himself looking cool in his new car and
his own comfort above that of the wrestlers he had been
selected to drive. Only Simon and I will ever know how hard
he had it for the first few days of that trip but I will tell you
now, he is a MUCH bigger man than me. The worst thing
was that even though he was my student and I liked him
very much, the veteran was right and was schooling him
in the way he saw fit to do. By the end of the trip Simon
gained Raven’s respect for holding out and not biting back
thus showing Raven how much he wanted it and in the process Simon learnt a valuable lesson.
The rule of thumb in wrestling is simple and even though
it is very flawed in some areas of it’s logic I have come to
understand it in a way that enables me to at least explain it
to others regardless of them being views I share or not. Pro
wrestlers have risked breaking their necks more times than
you can imagine to be part of this industry. They have done
it many times for no money and in front of small crowds
to get to a point where their opinion is heard, let alone
valid. They are shown no respect by the masses and likely
many in their own family. This means that they have to feel
respected by those in the business below them. As a back
stage worker, no matter how many miles he has driven or
rings he has put up, he still has not taken the punishment
or risks of someone who has made it as a pro. Therefore
the pro feels that a certain level of respect should be commanded by him over that of the newbie until such time as
he has earned his stripes to all and not just a few. What if
Simon had earned his stripes over here for ten years yet
Raven just came over and belittled him? In my experience
most veterans can tell almost as if they can smell it on
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someone if they are green and cocky. Maybe it’s because a
mutual respect is far more comfortable to be around than a
false one that some new guys try and present. Whatever it
is, the simple truth is that wrestlers want to feel respected
and regardless of you being ring crew, a referee, back stage
runner or even their opponent that very night, if you’re new
you need to keep your ears and eyes open and your mouth
closed unless asked something. If you have a great idea
that you feel you need to share with them then present it in
a way that displays that you respect and value their opinion and wondered if you could have it for an idea you had.
This may be a very old fashioned and frustrating way to do
things but sadly it will make you no friends if you ignore
it. The funny thing is that I did ignore it myself and was
hated by the majority of the “Old School” when I first broke
in. However, despite my success with what I did, I know I
would have got further and enjoyed the experience more if
I had listened to the advice I am now passing to you.
Now that I have popped that proverbial cherry let me
move onto what your first steps should or could be to
pursue a career in the business as a non wrestler. What I am
about to explain might sound a little expensive to some
people but as a promoter myself it is by far the most effective root for those who wish to jump right into a career
behind the scenes. Now let us agree that in any walk of life
we must first speculate to accumulate. Whether it’s a University degree in marine biology, doing an apprenticeship
as a plumber or spending a pound on a winning lottery
ticket, almost anything that leads to a financial return requires some sort of outlay be it money or time. In fact time
is money anyway as any time that you invest in a project is
time that you could have been earning money for, somewhere else. Most pro wrestlers spend far more in their first
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few years of breaking into the business than they ever earn
in their first five years of wrestling as a pro. I would go so far
as to say that almost 90% of wrestlers who get to “show level” never pass the break even point. By the time they have
bought bodybuilding supplements, food, gym memberships, wrestling boots, costumes, sun beds. The latest wrestling DVD’s, not to mention their travel and training fees
if they are learning, their return is normally nothing close
to pocket money let alone a living. However they do this
because A) They love it and B) They know that the potential
for a return may be just around the corner. Many people
tell me how deluded people are when they think they’ll
make money from the business but that attitude normally
comes from someone that has made no money from the
business themselves. The true desire to do something and
a fair amount of self belief is all you need to really succeed
in any walk of life. Natural talent helps but can be gained if
the desire and passion outweigh the self doubt and negative environment. Many people in the business never actually sit down and map out how they will make a living to
begin with. They throw their name out there and take what
comes. Some even send pictures and DVD’s to promoters
and think that this is enough to make a living from it. The
truth is that unless you get a very lucky break, 99% percent
of those people in wrestling have to think of another ways
to achieve a satisfactory return on their investment. With
that in mind let me outline me view of where these people
go wrong and in retrospect where myself and others who
have not done to badly out of wrestling have gone right.
What everyone else around you in wrestling does is “In
the box” thinking. If those around you who are “in the box”
are not achieving the results that they desire then to blindly
follow the same formula surely can do nothing other than
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produce the same disappointing results. This is why I tell
people that they must look to do something different from
what everyone else does in attempting to turn passion into
pounds. This is something I will cover in far more detail in
the next Volume of my Guide to Pro Wrestling. For now
however let’s get back to back to the original point which
is starting you off at a grass routes level. If the people who
risk breaking their necks to get into the business and go
through heavy duty pain for years just to be placed on a
show, still have to invest far more than they can ever expect to see come back in the first few years if at all, then
why should it be any different for those who want a non
wrestling role. In fact this should surely be obvious. You are
a fan and you want to cross the line to back stage worker
and make a living. By not being a fan, as I outlined earlier,
you are costing a promoter money. Therefore you need
to show that you are committed to the cause and not just
wanting all the fun of being involved whilst at the same
time expecting to be paid for it from the offset. And by the
offset I don’t mean the first few shows, I mean the first few
years. I worked for 5 years without being paid more than
about 5 times at my first wrestling school/promotion and
although I and my buddies where taken for a ride there, I
still believe that a certain “dues” paying period is required
whatever role it is that you want to fill. As a wrestler there is
nothing more annoying than someone who was just a fan a
few months ago, that’s been given a chance to be involved,
moaning about money or conditions when the guys who
are the stars of the show, risking life in a wheel chair every
night, are just dealing with it. If you are really committed
to doing this and it isn’t just a way to hang around with the
wrestlers, then you have to prove yourself. Now I am not
saying you should be financially raped here but you should
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be prepared to pay for things out of your own pocket for
a prolonged period. You are getting valuable experience,
making contacts and having fun for the most part. With
this being the case you should be prepared to make a loss,
just like anyone in wrestling, for your first few years breaking into it. I know a few people who are fortunate and at
least managed to break even with their wrestling ventures
in the first year but they are the lucky ones. However if you
accept the reality that you will not be reaching this stage
for at least 18 months after breaking in, anything else is a
bonus and at the same time you are not setting yourself up
for future disappointment. In fact if you are not prepared
to do that (and I’m not saying you have to but at least be
prepared for it) then I don’t think you appreciate the opportunity that you are being given to be involved in something
you love. Educations are an investment and a wrestling
education is no different. In fact it is so hard to get a proper
one that when you do it is worth more than most others.
Also unlike an education as an accountant, wrestling will be
some serious fun and can offer you the type of life experience that few people ever get close to or just read about
celebrities doing in magazines. Once you have accepted
this you are well on the way to being a great asset to a promoter.
The next step to increasing your usefulness is to be
completely open to anything. You may secretly want to
be booker or the lead play by play commentator but if the
promoter really needs a stage manager then that’s the job
you need to do. You can of course shy away from it but being up for any role will help you out no end in the long run.
However if there is some genuine reason why you feel the
role is not a good fit for you then certainly let the promoter
know. For example if you are asked to be the airport pick up
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guy and don’t drive a car then this is a big enough problem
that you need to make it known. However if the problem is
not as serious as this one then here is what to do.
First, seriously assess if your concern is genuine or because you would simply rather just do something else. If it
is not genuine then I would advise you use the proposed
position to get in the guys good books. If you do have
doubts that you might not be great at the suggested role
then simply say “I can’t assure you that I’ll be great at this
but I will give it 110% and get as good at it for you as I can”.
This approach will do you great favours as you are letting
him know that this is not really something you want to do
without moaning in anyway. However you are also saying that at the same time you will put in the effort to help
him out as best you can. If this is not appreciated then you
are not the one at fault here. Be keen to help, happy to be
involved and agree with the promoter even if you don’t
agree in your head. You are there to learn and help, not to
take charge. If you feel that your opinion will be listened
to because it has been asked for then diplomatically and
respectfully make your observation. However be aware
that sometimes you will be getting asked your opinion not
because the person really wants it but because they want
to hear that they are right. With this being the case, you
could fall out of favour VERY quickly with the wrong answer
so be weary of this political mine field from the offset. I
have seen guys speak up and even be commended for it by
the person they are disagreeing with only to be completely
buried once they have left the room. Wrestling is 90% ego
so be certain of where you stand, even with the nicest of
people, before you go punching holes in anyone’s (ego) by
accident.
So for those of you out there who have taken the warn166
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ings on board but still feel that they want this and are
prepared to put in the time and energy to get a break, here
are a few cunning yet simple little tips that I suggest and a
basic plan of action. You do not have to do all of these but
certainly capitalising on a few of them could help you massively:
• Select the promotion you wish to work with to get a
foot in the wrestling door. A small local one is a good start.
However try and select on that uses established talent
from time to time. If it is just local no names on the shows,
then no matter how good you get at what you do, you may
never be spotted or make contacts with anyone bigger.
• Go to the promotions shows and get very familiar with
the product. Do not make yourself too known yet. Just use
the next 3-6 months being a constant at the events. However, do not act like a super mark! You want to come across
as a sensible, intelligent wrestling fan that likes going to
Promotion X. Avoid wrestling t shirts at this stage as they
will make you look like more of a fan than you want to appear.
• It may be a good idea to write internet reviews of the
shows and put them on fan forums. Be “fair” but clever. If
the promoter is the worst wrestler on the show then find
something about his performance you like and praise that
or avoid saying anything at all. Take your time finding out
who is “in” with the owner and make sure not to knock
them. If you are shrewed, and you’ll need to be, you don’t
have to really knock anything. The aim, if you are to take
this route, is to make sure that any one from the promotion
will enjoy reading what you have to say without blowing
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your words off as overly marky and arse kissing. It is a tough
line to walk but it can be done.
• Look for what is needed in the promotion. If you choose
to do the internet show reviews then you can mention
these requirements politely on their. If they do not have a
website then maybe offer to make or buy them one. There
are always other wrestling fans willing to do this and those
who splash out the cash and time in making a website or
being it’s web master (no matter how boring that may be).
By doing something like this you will have a direct and permanent link it with the promotion right away.
• Another option might be to see if the company has a
merchandise range and pay to produce the first batch of T
shirts perhaps? A news letter or cheap event programme is
another cheaper route that could be well received. The key
is to think of something that will add to the promotion and
cost them nothing in the process, so be creative.
• If you cannot find something that you think might be
missing then ask the promoter what is needed. The chances
are if nothing is and you cant see something yourself, then
this might not be a good first promotion for you as their
ship may already be well and truly in order. Before you get
to the point of asking though, make sure you have taken
notice of my advice and become a regular at the live shows
and have a decent grasp of the product, talent and management structure. I will explain why below.
I find it so annoying when someone comes to me saying
how much they love British Wrestling and how much they
would give to be involved but know nothing about me or
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my achievements. Seriously, with the internet nothing is
that hard to find out. Why should I give someone my time
and assistance when they don’t even have the time themselves to find out why I am someone they should be asking
help from in the first place. It is not just me that feels this
way but it is actually universal. If you are going to tell someone how much you want it then at least show that you’ve
done your research. A lack of effort like this normally tells
me all I want to know about someone. It normally screams
to me “I want everything you can give me in order to be
a big shot but I don’t really give a fu** enough about it to
bother my arse doing the ground work”. With this in mind I
would also advise that you subscribe to the Wresting Observer. You will find details in the directory section of the
book. This will give you a fully comprehensive look at the
very latest world wide happenings from pro wrestling and
MMA companies all over the world. You will get news, live
event attendance, TV ratings and pay per view buy rates.
If you want to be an industry insider, then the Observer is
a very good start. Also use the internet to research what
you can before you tell the world how much you “want it”.
Imagine telling Mcdonald’s how much you want a job there
because you love the company only to be unable to answers correctly what a Big Mac is?
Hopefully this chapter has given you so food for thought
and a way to slowly but successfully begin to navigate
around the choppy waters of pro wrestling.
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IN CLOSING…
R
emember anything is possible in wrestling and even
the least likely of people can make millions from it,
you just have to do the ground work and have passion
and faith. Self belief and knowledge will come afterwards as
a welcome side affect.
If someone were to ask me what advice I would give to
anybody who really had the potential to make it in wrestling, it would be this. If you desire to “make it” in anything
then you will but you must first understand what “making
it” really is to you. I once read a person say that I had not
“made it” because I was not in the WWE. However, anyone
that has known me since the age of 17 will tell you that I
never had aspirations to go to America. In my later teens
my desire became more focused towards making a change
to British Wrestling and never having to be told what to do
by anyone else amongst a list of other things. 12 years later
and I can tell that other than being a bad guy in a James
Bond Film, all my dreams have so far come to pass. Have
I told you this to brag? For the first time in this book most
likely, the answer is no. I have told you this to understand
that “making it” is different for us all. I know some people
in VERY high places that are still not happy because they
lost the World Title too soon or they are on less money than
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someone they do not “rate” as a worker.
The fact is that life is a journey not a destination and all
wrestling does, is provide you with a much cooler vehicle
to experience that journey in. If you are kind to it then it
will be kind to you back. Think of wrestling like a beautiful cow. It will give you milk forever as long as you treat it
with respect, love it and stroke it every now and then. It will
feed itself and despite the smelly shit that comes from it at
times, it is a small price to pay for the beauty and usefulness of the animal itself. Do not abuse it and do not chop it
up simply for the meat and you will get all you need from
it forever. As for yourself and where you are at this stage of
your career, please take some time to look at the mammoth
task you have in front of you in order to “make it”. Now, instead of being scared, disheartened or unconfident, think of
all the other people before you that have been in the same
position and went on to achieve greatness. If you asked Ric
Flair what he would want more than anything, do you think
it would be to relive his retirement ceremony, the proverbial summit of his own personal mountain or do you think he
would want one more day doing the climb? Enjoy each step
of the way, both good times and bad, knowing that you are
doing the thing that you love to do and that it’s very nature
is one that wants you to succeed in your own special way
which is why it allows both young and old, tall and short, fat
and thin, male and female to enjoy the same level of success if they are dedicated enough to find it.
Remember that wrestling is window to the soul and a way
to touch and inspire others. Think about the echo’s that
you wish to leave behind yourself and how, one day, somebody could be aspiring to be like you just as you aspire to
be like your hero’s now. Stay positive and appreciative and
the world of wrestling, as well as the universe that it sits in,
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will twist and turn to bring about making your dreams into
a reality. How do I know this? Because it did so for me as it
has done with so many of my friends and many of us only
begun to evolve into nice people much, much later. Just
think of the good you can do it you start off on the right
track now. Just image what you can build wrestling into if
the time is finally taken to lay the correct, moral and stable
foundations it has always so badly needed to blossom into
all it can be.
I want to leave you with some of my own philosophy, which
has not only been moulded from my time around wrestling
and the understanding of the world it has given me but has
allowed me to continue to be successful in the industry I
love whilst not losing sight of what is REALLY important to
us all. Many of these appeared in the articles themselves
but when putting this book into print it made more sense
to edit the end of each article where they appeared to make
the whole book flow better. However as many readers
emailed me telling me how much they liked them I decided
to add them again here so that you are able to take them or
leave them as you wish.
I hope you find them interesting and that whatever comes
from reading this book, you have the faith in yourself to
develop not only the life you desire but form into the type
of person who appreciates it and wants to pass that love
and value for life on to others. The world is your oyster and
is just waiting for you to unleash whatever unique brand of
talent it is that the universe has endowed you with. Don’t
let other sad, frightened and disappointed with themselves,
“voices of reason” discourage you from following your
heart and ultimately your dream. This is your life and you
have as much right as anyone to live it to the fullest. Those
who say otherwise are not the type of influence you should
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allow your brain to be affected by. Always enjoy the journey
whatever the destination may be and remember that the
echo’s which you leave behind in others will be your real
crowning achievement long after you are dead and gone
and not simply the material wealth you acquire while you
are here. If any of my echo’s have helped you do this then
at least I can hold on to this most pure of achievements no
matter what direction life takes me in from this point forward.
Thank you for reading and until Volume Two hits the printing press some time in the Autumn, good luck…
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PARTING THOUGHTS
“In a world that has made going to the moon easy, the
hardest thing left to explore is ourselves”
“A round peg that tries to fit into a square hole is giving up
the gift of uniqueness for conformity. The true round pegs
will force the hole to change or simply leave it unfilled without fear or regret.”
“If I believe that I need money to help me find out who I am
then the answer is sadly already in front of me.”
“If life has taught us one thing it is that nothing is impossible yet only the foolish, ignorant of those with agenda try
to impose limits on this fact.”
“Nothing poses more of a threat to those people in your inner circle than only showing love and compassion to those
people in your inner circle”
“To dwell on the past for to long or to focus on the future to
much is to waste the only thing that is ever actually real…..
the present.”
“Only the weak of mind and heart would prefer to surround
themselves with a comfortable lie instead of an uncomfortable truth.”
“A foolish man simply accepts what it is that he thinks while
a wise man thinks about what it is that he accepts.”
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“If we are really born free then why do we fight our whole
lives trying to achieve freedom?”
“As a child it is our natural instinct to ask why of everything.
Society then manipulates us to question nothing which
brings us full circle to the question, WHY?”
“To become in total control of your own life you must first
be prepared to loose all control.”
“You should not be afraid to question anything; including
this statement.”
“If all you knew were nightmares how would you know if
you were stuck in a bad dream?”
“Only the biggest of all fools allows himself to fear looking
foolish in front of an audience of fools.”
“To be an accepted part of an unacceptable society is not
acceptable.”
“The lesser of two evils is still evil.”
“What do you give the man who has it all?
A reality check”
“One mans loss should never be seen as another mans
gain.”
“If we truly are what we eat then many of us would run
around like headless chickens, be milked like cows, be lead
like lambs to the slaughter and be happy to roll around in
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our own fesses like pigs.”
“That which does not kill us wasn’t meant to.”
“Everything that came from the gift of creation is by its very
nature priceless; it is the opposite force which drives us to
put a price on it, thus making it priceless no more.”
“If money had a conscience how different would our world
be?”
“Is it not time to question why the very people we have the
least faith in throughout society are the ones we apathetically elect to lead us into financial turmoil, civil rights violations and war?”
“Why is it the world’s media corporations have a vested interest in turning our children into soulless, compassionless,
materialistic consumers? Could it be that these types of
people are least likely to question immoral behaviour in the
future and most likely to cling to the very toxic society that
spawned their scared and insecure selves in the first place?”
“Whatever story of creation you choose to believe the same
truth remains that we are all related no matter who distantly it may be. Shame on us for how badly we have let so
many of our families be treated around the world.”
EVOLUTION OF MANKIND
Anything in life that speeds up the process of natural
growth or evolution of any species often poses a threat
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equally as destructive to the very organism it is designed to
enhance. Nature is diligent, thorough, precise and above all
patient. The most beautiful flower starts as a seed, the most
amazing of people begin life as an embryo and the biggest
achievements of human kind begin as mere thought. If we
really did arrive here as the consequence of an instant big
bang then it stands to reason that the end result would
be a world that desperately needs to back engineer itself
in order to find out why we are really here. This is why no
matter how wrong you have been, what number of people
you have let down and whatever the final tally of personal
disappointments you have endured, nature is allowing you
to slowly blossom into something more beautiful than you
are capable of imagining. No true evolution of pure soul
and spirit can be forced by man just as no amount of technology can achieve the same results in the growth of a rose.
Healthy growth is the work of nature’s natural balance and
those things that have to be forced can only remain stable
if they were meant to be so in accordance with the universe
to begin with. A caterpillar is bound to the earth by the
trappings of its form. The subsequent cocoon it encloses
itself in is as close to a tomb as anything that nature can
derive. Yet the beauty and freedom of what is manifest as
a result of it’s transformation into a butterfly far surpasses
words or belief even if we have come to now accept it as
normal. If nature has this most breathtaking of plans for
something as simple as a caterpillar then we must have the
faith and conviction that something equally as astounding,
if not more so, has been devised for it’s most complex yet
basic of species, mankind.
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CONTACT DIRECTORY
PRO WRESTLING PROMOTIONS
(UNITED KINGDOM)
All Star Wrestling
www.bigtimewrestlinguk.com or www.wrestleschool.com
Contact: Letitia Allmark
Address: 81 Fountain Street, Birkenhead, Merseyside
CH42 7JD
Email: [email protected]
Basix Wrestling
www.basixwrestling.co.uk
Contact: Mike
Email: [email protected]
Best of British Wrestling (BOB)
www.bestofbritishwrestling.com
Email: [email protected]
British Championship Wrestling (BCW)
www.bcwwrestling.co.uk
British Hybrid Wrestling (BHW)
www.britishhybridwrestling.co.uk
Address: 55 Tyne Road, Oakham, Rutland, LE15 6SJ.
Email:[email protected] or [email protected]
britishhybridwrestling.co.uk
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Future Championship Wrestling (FCW)
www.futurewrestling.co.uk
Email: [email protected]
Future Shock Wrestling (FSW)
Call: 07845 581 487
Address: Mac’s Gym, Morton Hill, Morton Street, Failsworth
M35 0BN
International Pro Wrestling: United Kingdom (IPW:UK)
www.ipwuk.com
Contact : Daniel Edler or Andy Quildon
Email: [email protected]
K-Star Wrestling
www.kstarinsider.com
Email: [email protected]
LDN Wrestling
www.ldncapitaltv.com
Contact: Sanjay Bagga
Email: [email protected]
Leicester Pro Wrestling (LPW)
www.lpwentertainment.com
NWA Hammerlock Wrestling
www.hammerlockwrestling.com
Address: PO Box 282, Ashford, Kent, TN23 7ZZ.
Email: [email protected] or [email protected]
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Premier British Wrestling (PBW)
www.pbwwrestling.com
Premier Promotions
www.premier-promotions.co.uk
Email: [email protected]
Real Deal Wrestling (RDW)/Real Deal Promotions
www.realdealwrestling.co.uk
Real Quality Wrestling (RQW)
www.realqualitywrestling.com
Contact: Len Davies
Address: RQW House, 12 Pollyte Works, Wantz Road,
Dagenham, Essex RM10 8PS.
Email: [email protected]
SAS Wrestling
www.sasbritishwrestlingproductions.com
Email: [email protected]
Scott County Wrestling (SCW)
www.scottcountywrestling.com
Email: [email protected]
Scottish Wrestling Alliance (SWA)
www.scottishwrestling.co.uk
Address: Unit 1, Mossedge Industrial Estate, Linwood, Renfrewshire.
Email: [email protected] or [email protected]
scottishwrestling.co.uk
Slam Wrestling
www.slamwrestlinguk.com
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Varsity Pro Wrestling (VPW)
www.varsityprowrestling.com
Email: [email protected]
World Association of Wrestling(WAW)
www.wawuk.net
Contact: 31 Stannard Road, Norwich, NR4 7JD
Email: Ricky Knight ([email protected])
One Pro Wrestling (1PW)
www.1pwonline.com
3 Count Wrestling (3CW)
www.3cw.co.uk
4 Front Wrestling (4FW)
www.4fw-online.com
Address: 4FW Unit 77 BSS House, Cheney Manor Ind. Est,
Cheney Manor, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN2 2PJ.
Email: [email protected]
PRO WRESTLING PROMOTIONS
(EUROPE)
NU-Wrestling Evolution
www.nwewrestling.homedns.org (Italy)
Tel: 07789732607
Westside Xtreme Wrestling(WXW)
www.wxw-wrestling.com (Germany)
Address: wXw Deutschland GbR, Otto-Dibelius-Str. 50,
46045 Oberhausen
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Irish Whip Wrestling (IWW)
www.irishwhipwrestling.com
Tel: 00353 (0)86 835 9891
Email: [email protected]
PRO WRESTLING PROMOTIONS
(CANADA)
Border City Wrestling (BCW)
www.bordercitywrestling.com
Tel: 519-971-8019
Email: [email protected]
International Wrestling Syndicate (IWS)
www.syndicatewrestling.com
Contact: Llakor Michael Ryan
Address: 3347 Boul. Des Sources, CP 38047, Dollard des
Ormeaux, Quebec, H9B 1Z0 Canada Fax:(514)-671-0163.
Email: [email protected]
NWA Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling
(ECCW)
www.eccw.com
Address: #218-1999 Suffolk Avenue, Port Coquitlam, BC,
V3B 7X7
Tel: (604) 418-9177 Fax:(586) 283-5309.
Email: [email protected]
Stampede Wrestling
www.stampedewrestling.com
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PRO WRESTLING PROMOTIONS
(MEXICO)
Asistencía Asesori y Administración (AAA)
www.luchalibreaaa.com
Consejo Mundial De Lucha Libre(CMLL)
www.cmll.com
PRO WRESTLING PROMOTIONS
(JAPAN)
All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW)
www.ajpwpuresufan.com
Dragon Gate
www.myspace.com/dragongateusa
New Japan Pro Wrestling(NJPW)
www.njpwpuresufan.com
Pro Wrestling Noah
www.noah-usa.cc
Pro Wrestling Zero 1-Max
www.zerooneusa.com
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PRO WRESTLING PROMOTIONS
(UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)
All Pro Wrestling(APW)
www.allprowrestling.com
Tel: (510) 785-8396
Email: [email protected]
!Bang!
www.dory-funk.com
Address: The Funk Conservatory, !Bang! TV, 3598 SW 74th
Avenue, Suite A Ocala, Florida.
Tel: 352-895-4658
Email: [email protected]
Chikara
www.chikarapro.com
Address: PO Box 29331, Philadelphia, PA, 19125, USA.
Email: [email protected]
Combat Zone Wrestling(CZW)
www.czwrestling.com
Address: Alhambra Arena, 7 W Ritner Street South Philadelphia, PA
Email: [email protected]
Deep South Wrestling(DSW)
www.dswrestling.com
Address: DSW PO Box 686, Sunnyside Georgia 30284-0686
Derby City Wrestling(DCW)
www.derbycitywrestling.com
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Address: DCW Mailing Center, Attn: Danny Davis, 4400
Shepherdsville Road, Louisville, Kentucky KY40218
Tel: (502) 473-0660 Fax: (502) 473-0301
East Coast Wrestling Association (ECWA)
www.ecwaprowrestling.com
Email: [email protected]
Empire Wrestling Federation (EWF)
www.empirewrestlingfederation.com
Address: EWF 3265 N. “E” Street” San Bernardino, CA, 92405
Tel: (909) 886 5201
Email: Jesse Hernandez (Promoter) [email protected]
Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW)
www.fcwwrestling.com
Address: 4535 South Dale Marby, Tampa, FL 33611 813-805
Email: [email protected]
Full Impact Pro (FIP)
www.fullimpactpro.com
Address: PO Box 1715 Largo, Florida 33779
Hawai’i Championship Wrestling (HCW)
www.808hcw.com
Address: HCW Executive Offices PO Box26236 Honolulu,
Hawai’I 96825
NWA Hawaii
www.nwahawaii.com
Address: PO Box10783 Honolulu HI 96816
Tel: (808) 783-7809
Email: [email protected]
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Hertland Wrestling Association (HWA)
www.hwaonline.com
Independent Wrestling Association Mid-South
www.iwamidsouthwrestling.com
Address: PO Box 21476,Louisville Kentucky 40221-0476
Email: [email protected]
Jersey All Pro Wrestling (JAPW)
www.japw.net
Address: PO Box 902 Bayonne NJ 07002
Email: [email protected]
Juggalo Championship Wrestling(JCW)
www.juggalowrestling.com
Email: [email protected]
Memphis Wrestling
www.memphiswrestlingtv.com
NWA Ananrchy
www.nwaanarchy.net
Address: Po Box 917487, Atlanta, GA, 31141
Email: Jerry Palmer : [email protected] (Owner)
Bill Behrens [email protected] (representative)
Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW)
www.ovwrestling.com
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Professional Championship Wrestling (PCW)
www.pcwwrestling.com
Address: The Gym/PCW Arena, Six Flags Mall, 2922 Galleria
Drive, Arlington, Texas, 76011.
Tel: 817 652 1555
Email: [email protected]
Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG)
www.prowrestlingguerrila.com
Ring Of Honor (ROH)
www.rohwrestling.com
Address: ROH Wrestling Po Box 1127, Bristol, PA19007
Tel: (215) 781-2500 Fax:(215) 781-2507
Email: [email protected]
Total Non-Stop Action(TNA)
www.tnawrestling.com
Address: TNA Wrestling c/o Human Resources, 209 10th
Avenue South-Suite 302, Nashville Tennessee 37203
Email: [email protected]
Ultimate Pro Wrestling (UPW)
www.upw.com
Address: Ultimate c/o Rick Bassman (Founder and President), 63 Via Pico Plaza #139, San Clemente. CA92672.
Tel: 949 475-7663 Fax: 949 429-5262
Email: [email protected]
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World Wide Wrestling Alliance (WWWA)
www.worldwidewrestlingalliane.com
Contact: Dino Sanna(President and Owner)
Email: [email protected]
OR: Dan Haney (Vice President/Senior Referee
/Head Booker)
Email: [email protected]
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)
www.wwe.com
Address: World Wrestling Entertainment inc, Attention Human Resources(Director of Staffing), 1241 East Main Street,
Stamford, CT 06902.
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ALEX SHANE’S GUIDE TO PRO WRESTLING: VOL. ONE
Alex Shane is available for seminar, private mentoring and
public speaking engagements both wrestling based and
otherwise. Alex also runs several wrestling training camps
around the UK.
To contact Alex directly or to find out more about any of
these projects you can do so via his official website at www.
theunholybabble.com or via his Myspace page at www.
myspace.com/alexshane1
A two hour, double disk spoken word CD of Alex’s seminars
is also available via his website priced just £12.99
For those people who want a job within the wrestling industry world wide make sure you visit the brand new
website: www.jobsinwrestling.com
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