When people generally come across the term ‘wrestling’, they would probably think of the glamorous and popular WWE but wrestling is also a sport having a rich Olympic heritage. It is only natural for youngsters to be fascinated by this sport considering that many Hollywood actors were wrestlers first! However, their journey to super-stardom was never hunky-dory and they had to struggle a lot in their lives before making it big. In this career counseling blog, we are going to understand what wrestling is and how to become a Wrestler. Of course, becoming a pro-wrestler would also be touched upon.
So, if you feel that you cannot get over the ‘phase’ of wanting to become a wrestler, this one’s for you!
First and foremost, what is wrestling?
Wrestling, quite simply, is a combat sport wherein the participants may genuinely be competitive or exhibit trained or choreographed moves. As you may have guessed, the former is the wrestling we see in the Olympics and the latter is what we call sports-entertainment.
It is imperative to note that Olympic wrestling is not staged or choreographed whereas wrestling in WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) is theatrical and choreographed. However, neither is injury-free.
Wrestling is generally a physical competition between two opponents who try to pin the other down and maintain a superior position for the longer duration of the bout.
All right, so what is wrestling’s history?
Wrestling originated several centuries ago and certain cave drawings in France fifteen thousand years ago depict the earliest forms of wrestling, some of which are used even today!
Throughout the years, there have been several epics describing incidents related to wrestling. For example, in Mahabharata, a wrestling match happened between Bhima and Jarasandha. Similarly, many countries have epics wherein references to wrestling are common.
Greek wrestling was known for its brutality and Romans toned it down in their version.
How to become a wrestler like Sushil Kumar?
Firstly, you need to know the various types of wrestling and find out the style you are good at. Sushil Kumar trained in Freestyle wrestling and went on to make history. So that brings us to the next important question,
What are the different types of wrestling?
Many different forms of wrestling are prevalent in the world today and the most famous international disciplines among them are
a) Greco-Roman wrestling
Greco-Roman is an international discipline and an Olympic sport. In Greco-Roman style, one cannot hold the opponent below the belt, make trips, nor actively use the legs in the execution of any action.
Pinning one’s opponent to the mat is one way of winning. Alexander Karelin from Russia is one of the most popular.
b) Freestyle wrestling
Here, the use of legs is allowed and a person wins by throwing and pinning his opponent in the mat.
c) Amateur Pankration
It is a form of mixed martial arts (MMA) that incorporates techniques from various systems.
Other popular disciplines are Beach wrestling, collegiate wrestling (NCAA division), Sambo, Lucha Libre (Mexican) and MMA. To be successful at any level, one must be comfortable and excel at techniques such as grappling, clinch fighting, takedowns and so on.
How to become a professional wrestler, like the Rock?
To begin with, you need to know that WWE requires applicants to have three to five years of experience in professional wrestling. However, “backyard” wrestling doesn’t count as experience in the professional world.
You need to work towards two things, getting in top shape, and maintaining your composure while facing failures.
Part 1 – Working your body
- Start training while you’re young. The younger, the better. This is important because generally, aspiring wrestlers need to break in by the time they are twenty-five or so. Hence, they start training ten years prior.
- Get in good physical shape. Being involved in other sports regularly is a great way to keep you fit.
- Maintain your weight. You need enough weight to hold your own.
- Many amateurs go into a wrestling school thinking that they won’t get injured or that the ring will protect them from any harm. This is not true.
- Sometimes, your bout may turn into a real one and at that time, your only option would be to fight back if you do not want to spend your time injured and broke. Your ability to remain calm in a high-pressure situation will greatly improve the level of respect you command in the ring.
Part 2 – Acting, promotions and a mentor
- Joining independent promotions that have several wrestlers willing to train new wrestlers is advantageous, but this training will not be inexpensive.
- Try to find and talk to a promoter of a company and let him/her know that you want to become a wrestler.
- If you are rejected, do not lose hope. Continue coming to shows or perhaps ask to help with the technical aspects of running the show or working on the security team. CM Punk understood every aspect of the business from Paul Heyman and was always the first to come and the last to leave.
- Get acting training or experience. Acting is an essential part of being in the WWE. Dwayne Johnson credits his acting lessons for his success today. Roman Reigns followed suit.
- Your trainer is your mentor. They and all other wrestlers have worked through everything you might struggle with some time. Listen to them and learn from their experiences.
- Contact Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) in Florida when you feel you are ready for the big deal. FCW is the official training center of the WWE.
- Send your resume, along with photos and videos of yourself in action to the WWE as soon as you feel you’re ready to enter the big time. If you make it, you can be the Face, that runs the Place!
- However, WWE is not the final destination and there are many different promotions you can be a part of. Some of the more famous ones include Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), Lucha Underground (LU) and Ring of Honor (ROH), Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) and Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA) in Mexico, and the Japanese New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW), and Pro Wrestling Noah (NOAH) league.
Is it possible in India to become a Wrestler?
Indeed, India does not have many centers exclusively for this purpose. But there are quite a few and this would get you started.
If you are in Punjab, then you might want to check out Great Khali’s training centers.
If you want to become an Olympian Wrestler or a Pro-Wrestler, you’ve got to train enough and be in good shape. It’s a long, arduous path. But it will be worth it when you stand on the international stage or before the millions and millions of WWE fans.
To become an Olympian, you’ll need to do plenty of long-term, professional-level training in a specific Olympic sport.
To make it big in WWE, take a leaf out of the book of any wrestler. Don’t neglect other aspects of your life. Prepare yourself to put in long hours of practice and competition and long hours of travel. You need to remain healthy and have to work hard at financing your dream.
If you’re ready to commit most of the next few years to this lifestyle and have uncontrollable passion, you’re already starting with the right mindset, and that’s the bottom line!
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