I didn't want to put this in the Benoit thread because I thought 1) it was getting too long and 2) I really wanted people to answer this question:
How much wrestling experience do you have?
This isn't meant to be an insulting question or saying that "oh you've never been in there, you don't know! ", I really want to know how many people have experience in professional wrestling. And more specifically and importantly, actual bumping in the ring...on a regular basis.
The Benoit thread evolved into the issue being about being on the road and roids being a requirement to keep doing the schedule. And when I read that, I think of a guy like Michaels and moreso, Bret Hart. These guys suffered the brutal schedules of the 80s and 90s, wrestled a hard hitting style, and yet I've never heard anything about them being on roids. Painkillers for HBK yea, but Bret always talks about that when it's done right, you should feel sore, but not to the point where you need some drug/medication to put you up, down, sideways, bigger, whatever. And while they might have tried roids, it never seemed like they were on them during their careers.
So, again, the question is, how much experience do you have and have you ever bumped a lot or trained to the point you thought you needed some medication to fix you?
I wrestled in High school and in the Army and got to go to Killer Kowalski's (a friend "won" a month of training and gave it to me) - I managed to stay three weeks - it was incredibly hard and painful. I am big and, at that time, I was in great shape - but not for that. Not for the squats, the running, and the falling.
so, 29 years ago, I did three weeks. Basically, I was in a 20 or so "matches" the last week.
But, I did get to meet Ox Baker, and Mr Kowalski, of course. Nobody I was training with made it to WWF anyway. The school was a feeder for the Boston Territory, but I never got to that part. I know that Big John Studd had also gone through the school, but he wasn't there - at least during my period of torture.
I trained for a couple years before setting foot in the squared circle one time, in Henderson, NC. I never trained with anybody famous, though I did rub elbows with the Barbarian, Jimmy Valiant, and Ricky Morton.
Long story short, after the one match, it all kind of fizzled for me, as I rarely watch wrestling anymore at all (I follow it completely via the W, gratz Zed on having a media outlet). I won the match, though I was supposed to lose, since it turned into a complete clusterfuck with two very green workers and a very green referee, the only saving grace being I was wearing a very short man's tights for the evening, and my ass was in full view for all to see. It was a hair vs. hair stip, and the clippers didn't even work.
I'm 6'5", 300 lbs., and everybody said I bumped and moved like Bam Bam Bigelow. If I ever get the inclination, I know to drive to Louisville and try out for OVW.
Hold nothing sacred and you'll never be dissapointed. Especially not this statement.
Much like AWArulz, my wrestling experience came with hand to hand combat when i was in the Reserves. I wasn't much of a grappler, but being tall and thin had its advantages.
For the record, I didn't see any action during my two years in the Canadian Armed Forces; instead it was during training exercises and the like.
Prior to that, I had a chance to tour a wrestling school in Toronto. I think it was the same one Edge and Christian trained in, I can't really recall. I never persued it, but it did strike me as interesting.
I've seen TEN movies so far this year: Because I Said So - (2*); Borat - (5*); Children Of Men - (4*); Fantastic Four 2 - (4.5*); Harry Potter 5 - (4*); Knocked Up - (4*); The Last Mimsy - (4*); Shrek The Third - (3*); Spiderman 3 - (3.5*); Transformers - (2*)
A couple of my friends run a local promotion around here and have shows every month. I'm close enough that they taught me a few bumps and how to run the ropes. I can honestly say that bumps hurt, especially if you forget to tuck your chin or land crooked. I think I took 5 bumps the first time I got in the ring and I hurt like hell the next day. So, yeah.
I trained for a little while with one of the local promotions here for a few weeks. It hurt like hell, and I was eating Advil like candy. I never did a match as A) I couldn't make the school work with my real life schedule and B) I sucked.
At an indy promotion in Toronto, I tried to give a rose to Missy Hyatt, but Ms.B.Haven got in the way and kicked me in the stomach, then his manager, Mr.D.Meaner, gave me a stunner and kicked me out of the ring.
I signed autographs for fans after the show as "Robert Rose Guy".
No experience to speak of - closest would be gym classes. The first time, 8th grade.. the teacher laid out the thin mats on the basketball court, showed the class the referee's position, and let us have at it. I got a kid to submit to my bear hug. Learned to skate from watching Roller Derby, too.
There had to be some in high school gym as well, but I never remotely considered it as a career choice. Ended up riding submarines during the Cold War. When I got out in the late 80's, I went to a card at the UIC Pavilion for grins. Was excited to see that Crusher and Baron Von Raschke were there, and tagging against some team I never heard of. Boy was I surprised when I heard the ovation. It was my first glimpse of the Road Warriors.
Back to the pain issue, wasn't the time when Bret and Shawn got their career-making big pushes somewhere around that Zahorian trial? I think it's partly the demand to appear "larger than life" today (even the shorter and smaller performers that have found WWE success appear to be heavily muscled, pound-for-pound). And of course there's nowhere near the nationwide network of feeder territories that existed back then to (a) comprehensively school new talent how to bump and work matches and/or (b) weed out the 'stiffs' that would never have the "x factor" needed to make it on the national stage.
Speaking as one who would advocate changes, it's true that I've never sniffed an indy lockerroom, much less know what goes on at the professional level. Certainly McMahon has the means to further improve working conditions, if he finds the will.
But again, I'm just a mark that's tired of watching "tribute" shows, and "In Memory of..." graphics.
(I'm also kind of curious to see if the 'industry needs change vs. keep the status quo' posters match up with the 'just a fan vs. been in the business' people.)
(edit: extended comments about "the lifestyle" moved over to the main Benoit thread)
I trained at the PWF Wrestling academy in Tacoma, WA under trainer Randy Taylor, who was a WWF jobber in the late 80's early 90's. He retired after Bezerker broke his ankle at a Superstars of Wrestling taping.
I just remember there being alot of assholes who weren't even really into watching wrestling. The hardest part was learning to take a bump and tucking my head in. I got pretty beat up, but in the end I quit because I couldnt afford the classes anymore.
Welcome home, men of the 2nd Bn, 127th Inf, 32d "Red Arrow" Brigade, WI Army Nat'l Guard! Good luck to those down south.
Done some in-ring mic work, but mostly play-by-play these days for NWA Wisconsin and its affiliates.
However...back in my ringside camera days, I did inadvertently take a bump. It was during a hardcore match between two former "Italian" tag-team partners. Heel Italian (Vinnie Tortellini, I think? Horrible ring name.) picked up a cue stick to smack Face Italian (Romeo Valentino), reared back, and...smacked me right above me right eye.
The camera's shotgun mic picked up the WHACK! really nicely. My head...not so much. The director cut to me camera wobbling and static-ing out (no, not an nWo video trick) as I collapsed to the venue floor. Luckily, a former ringside photog was in attendance, and picked up the cam for the rest of that match.
I was literally knocked goofy for about 3 seconds. Once on the floor, though, my brain unscrambled. First thought: "Better sell this, or the crowd will sh*t on the hardcore match." I ended up re-taking the camera after that match for the rest of the show...selling a half-concussion.
I got a lot of compliments from the workers, including guys w/ WWE ring time, for thinking of that. Looking back, I was lucky as hell: if that stick would've hit an inch lower, I'd have lost my right eye, and my living as a photojournalist.
Years later, I saw the post-match outtake, where a bloody Tortellini was being stitched up at ringside after doing the J-O-B. He sounded really concussed when he mumbled to the EMT:
"I hit a cameraman, didn't I? I'm sorry."
And one show, "The Love Machine" Matt Longtime did steal my fedora and drop elbows on it in the middle of the ring. I don't know why.
My Kiwanis club had a local promotion do a show as a fundraiser back in 1999. I talked the booker into letting me be a guest second referee for the main event battle royal. The match came down to the face and the heel. The face eliminated the heel when the real ref was distracted. While he celebrated the heel came back in and tossed the face just as the real ref turned back around and declared the heel the winner.
I ran into the ring to tell the real ref what happened and he reversed his decision. The heel then hit me and gave me a piledriver in the middle of the ring before the face came to chase the heel off. I sold it like death. Before they carried me off the face (also the booker) told me to quit smiling. I got the biggest pop of the night.
Not sure about the *exact* date, but it was a Raw in April 2000. I believe it wasn't the night after Wrestlemania, but the following week. Hope that helps some. edit: Looks like I was beaten to the punch, and then some!