What Is Pro Wrestling School Like?

How's your New Year's Resolution going? Good work on that, Broski. Mine was to become a pro wrestling referee.

Background: I am 43 with a history of easy injuries. Since moving to California I fell out of my exorcise routine and have felt kinda lethargic. So, you know, let's join a wrestling school. Sounds reasonable?

Hey! Supreme Pro Wrestling, here in Sacramento, has a training academy about an hour from my house! You in? I'm in!

What Is Pro Wrestling School like? 

Pro wrestling schools are all different. Your trainer will have a specific philosophy, emphasize certain ideas, techniques, and approaches to the business (brother, brother). The industry doesn't have a move requirement checklist (Powerslam? Check. Boston Crab? Check.), but a good trainer won't "graduate" you if you aren't ready because, as their student, if you suck word will get out that your trainer sucks. And that ain't happening. As a wrestler starting out all you have is the recommendation and reputation of your trainer.

Now, real talk: I'm here to be a referee. It might be unrealistic for me at my age and with my injuries to join a wrestling school at all. It would for sure be unrealistic for me to start a full on wrestling career at this point. But become a pro wrestling referee? Working regularly on the regional indie circuit? Totally reasonable. Actually, yeah. I can see that happening.

What did I expect? 

I've listened to a lot of interviews with old school wrestling legends. When they talk about being trained, it sounds like hell. Super hell. Run till you puke. Squats till you puke. Chops till you puke and bleed. And I'm not an athlete (injury prone, remember?). I thought that either I'd get hurt pretty quickly or one of my nagging injuries would prevent me from continuing or maybe the referee training track would be significantly different (re:easier) than the wrestler track. Mostly, I expected that it would be really fucking hard and that I would get beat up all the time.

The reality three months in? 
Don't get me wrong. It's not easy. In the last three months a handful of students who started at the same time as me have dropped out. I pulled a rib muscle 7 weeks ago and I'm still not 100%. I have new scars on my shins from rope burn, one student dislocated her shoulder (she still shows up to each session), and people do puke sometimes.

But it's fucking awesome.

I didn't anticipate the moments of pure joy. Holy Shit! I just ran the ropes! I just got thrown out of the ring! I just gave a suplex! I just took a suplex!OMGOMGOMG!

I feel that way a lot. We did this jogging/bump drill the other day. About 18-20 minutes of jogging broken up by running through all the bumps followed by burpees and sprinting and it sucked. And then for a couple minutes I wandered around the parking lot, drinking water and grinning like a fool cuz I just did this shit. Definitely in the lower third of the group, but God damn, son. Look what I get to do.

Here at Supreme Pro Wrestling, refs train with the wrestlers as wrestlers (with some minor differences) for months. I'm doing the cardio, the bumps, taking chops, and getting into a bit of chain wrestling. The idea is that a good pro wrestling referee should have a full box of tricks. If it's a fast paced 20 minute match, I can't be blown up out of breath 2 minutes in. If the excitement and drama will explode to the next level if the ref gets hit with a clothesline or super kick, well shit, I'm getting hit. Maybe as a ref I don't need to beat people up, but I sure need to look good as I get beat up. Or, more specifically, I need to make you look good as I get beat up.

I'm super green and I know it. I haven't made my official debut yet. I can't give you any real career advice and if I did, you maybe shouldn't take it. But I will say, if you have pro wrestling in your heart, maybe check out a local school. Maybe it's not for you. Maybe you'll be surprised.


Here I am beating up Chad in a Heat Drill. Pretty messy, but so much fun.