Picture credit to Leo Francis
Writing has always been something I’ve enjoyed doing. I just enjoy being able to tell a story; either in the ring, on a stage or as a column such as this. So when the Indy corner approached me about writing a weekly column I was totally up for it. Anyone who knows me knows I’ve been heavily involved in professional wrestling all my adult life. Had my first match when I was 15 (rotten) and developed from there to where I was able to turn pro at 19 when I joined the All-Star roster and this became my full time occupation.
This time and experience I’ve gathered in my seven years is no where near what some FULL TIME professional wrestlers have gathered; however I have had plenty of years experience and knowledge taught to me by people who have been in this job for anywhere between 10-35 years. The reason I mention this is because this is what I want to talk about in my first column: experience.
On the UK wrestling scene they is a MASSIVE misconception on the experience some guys have. You often hear guys waffle on about how they’ve been in wrestling some 10-15 years, but just what have they done, and how many matches have they actually wrestled in those years? My first six months I wrestled 5 shows. In the past 4 years I’ve wrestled an average of 220 shows per year. This past Friday I wrestled my 723rd match. It was in front of a packed house at Middlesborough town hall against Frankie Sloan (full-time wrestler for over 20 years). Some guys who have apparently been a part of the business longer than me haven’t scratched a quarter of the matches that I have. Now this isn’t me boasting; although I am proud of how busy I am, my point I’m making is don’t get fooled by guys who claim they’ve been around for years. Just look at where or how often they wrestle.
Brian Dixon taught me one of the best lessons I have ever been taught in this job; “Doing them other shows is fine to cut your teeth and making money. But when you come to all-star you’ll start learning from people who have more experience.” And he was right. My first summer for all-star (2010) I was learning every day. I was wrestling Shadow Phoenix from Japan, come back and they’d be Rampage Brown (who had just been signed to wwe at the time) Robbie Dynamite, Brookside, PN Newz, Frankie Sloan all there to pick me up on things I need to work on. Learning on how to just get in the ring and WORK. Working for different audiences. Holiday camps aren’t always wrestling fans, so matches can’t be the fast paced ‘Indy’ matches that smart fans enjoy. But when it comes to those matches, I can step into a PROGRESS ring or SOUTHSIDE ring and get the job done in that environment. Some of my matches with Matt Myers for NGW are some of my all time best and they was a nice mix of both those styles. That’s when you understand and appreciate being a true worker. Going in and getting your job done in front if any crowd, as either a villain or a face and regardless of your opponent.
Now I’m not saying just disregard these other wrestlers. “You never stop learning Shirley, even you could teach me something new” – Frankie Sloan, taught me that in 2010 and it’s been something that has helped my career in spades. So these guys may have only wrestled 50 matches in ten years. But they still may have picked up something you haven’t.
But that’s my first column. Experience. Take it for what you want and I hope it have you a bit more of an interesting insight to the industry we all love. Next week I’ll be discussing how guys manage to bury themselves by still being fan boys and the negative affect it has not only on them; but our country as a whole.