First things first, I’d like to thank The Indy Corner for offering me a platform to share some of my viewpoints on the world of wrestling.
Secondly, for those of you who are unfamiliar with me, a brief introduction;
I am Jürgen Heimlich, a man of German heritage, currently residing and performing mostly in the UK. I’ve been involved in professional wrestling since 2010, and I’ve been wrestling on events since mid 2011. My main affiliation, and where I first started training, is with the House of Pain Wrestling Academy based in Nottingham, under the guidance of Stixx. Since my first show, I’ve wrestled all over the country, and in 2013 I trained and wrestled in Thailand and then Japan, mainly with Gatoh Move Pro Wrestling, run by Japanese female wrestler Emi Sakura.
With the introductions out of the way, I’d like to jump straight into my first column. This week, I’m going to talk about my opinions on the use of social networking.
Now the most difficult part about writing this column has been where to start with this subject. Social networking is something that 99% of pro wrestlers and promotions use the world over, both in a personal and a professional sense. Used correctly, it can be a wonderful tool of self promotion, both for them, and the companies they work for. Used poorly, it could be derogatory to them, and portray them and their abilities/product in a very negative manner.
Now as we all know, there are some magnificent wrestlers in this country, and they do a lot of great work in the ring, but when I’ve followed some of them on Twitter for example, all the illusions of rivalry etc went straight out of the window. Banter and in jokes between the boys. Now there really is nothing wrong with banter between friends, but if you’ve made yourself accessible to wrestling fans, it is my belief that you should be doing all you can to protect your image. Failing that, you may as well have a match and then get changed and sit out in the audience with your opponent watching the remainder of the show together laughing and joking.
To me, the friendly stuff should be kept private and out of the public eye.
Its much the same as adding wrestling fans to a personal Facebook account. If you’re a wrestler of note, or someone on their way up, make up a Facebook fanpage if you feel like you need a presence there. You can promote your appearances just as effectively, if not better, as its purely for your wrestling. All too often I see someone promote a show on their Facebook in a jokey way, almost as if they’re ashamed of what they do.
As mentioned in the opening paragraph, I’ve been fortunate to travel overseas, and as well as the wrestling training and events, I learned how to conduct myself in a professional way. I’m always careful not to blur the lines, wrestler and me when not wrestling are 2 separate entities.
Before I travelled, I made sure I was approachable to fans and contactable. I had the following tools in place to make sure that if a fan were interested in me, they could access all of the WRESTLING information that they needed
Gimmick Twitter account
Facebook fan page
Japanese language blog.
Through these channels, I was able to promote, and sell/reserve tickets to the events I appeared on, as well as create enough demand for fans to be interested in what I was doing once I returned home. So much so that it was plausable for me to have merch available, and I’ve sold 70% of that to overseas fans. I also know that a number of overseas fans have sought out DVDs of shows that I’ve appeared on over in the UK.
I’m not saying that everyone should go to such lengths, but an independent wrestler is a business. They’re promoting themselves at all times, and when the lines are blurred, that aura that the guy/girl has spent so long creating becomes less impressive.
Wrestling is supposed to be larger than life, impressive entertainment. Lets do our best to try and maintain that.
For now, I’ll leave my thoughts at that, but I’d be interested to hear other people’s thoughts on the subject. Please feel free to get in contact with opinions etc. You can find me on the links below: