He always gets questions on how to become a pro wrestler and how to be a great one. So on one January day in 2013 William Regal sat down to write this gem for all the people out there willing to listen to him and take his wisdom and advice to heart. I like this text very much because it shows such a humble person. And of course all these pieces of advice can’t be shared too often.
- UPDATE: 08 June 2015 / Twitlonger
- RE-POSTED: 21 January 2016 / Twitlonger
- UPDATE: 25 April 2016 / Twitlonger
Here’s my updated (very important training advise added)
A few requests for tips on becoming a Pro Wrestler / Sports Entertainer
All just my opinion. Not set in stone. It takes a lot more work to being a WWE superstar than [knowing / doing] a few Pro Wrestling holds and throws. You must develop all your skills and that usually comes from help from more experienced pros. I never had to be told to ask for help and guidance and never to this day stop working on my skills. Sitting round texting, playing games and whining will get you nowhere. No one owes you a living.
Firstly, know what you’re getting into. Pro Wrestling is a very physically demanding business. If you can’t stand pain, hard work or lots of traveling, DON’T WASTE YOURS OR EVERYBODY ELSE’S TIME!
Get an education before anything else. I try not to be a hypocrite as much as possible as I didn’t get one but I’ve been very fortunate to have a career. You are only one injury away from the end and Pro Wrestling careers are not going to be as long as in the past so educate yourself for your future.
So that I don’t come across like a miserable old git (insert joke), I will happily give some free advice to up and coming Pro Wrestlers:
- Find a school with a good rep[utation] and a trainer who has a great pedigree;
- Learn the basics properly. If the school you train at doesn’t emphasize rolls (forward, backward, right arm leading, left arm leading) as a huge part of your initial training then you are being short changed and put at risk. Accidents happen when falling for a living but if its second nature to roll, you will have more chance of saving your neck. VERY IMPORTANT. I see many people coming from many supposed good schools who aren’t taught rolls as a priority. It’s beyond me that people are taught to fall before roll. Until it is second nature to roll you shouldn’t be taught to fall;
- Get and stay in good condition, there’s a big difference from looking in condition to actually being in condition. I’m a believer in Hindu squats, Hindu push ups and most importantly proper bridging (nose on mat, feet flat on mat). I’ve become a big fan of kettlebell swings for conditioning as well. You can look like a superhero but if you have no stamina you are USELESS to today’s industry;
- Work hard and have respect for the job;
- Good manners go a long way;
- Treat people the way you would like to be treated;
- Enjoy it.
Now once you are training:
- Make everything you do mean something or don’t bother doing it.
- Study the greats and the people who the great ones admire. Very important. Some very wise words from Jim Ross (J.R):
“If I were a young in ring talent in today’s world then DVD study of my predecessors would be a regular part of my weekly routine just as is going to the gym and eating smartly. Some talents will spend more time ‘tanning,’playing video games, etc. than watching the work of stars of previous generations which is somewhat pathetic when one thinks about it.”
- Get a good base of basics and perfect them. Don’t take this for granted.
- Work at perfecting your skills but be honest with yourself. If there are things you don’t do well then avoid doing them.
- Try to find someone who will give you an honest answer about your skills. Most people’s ego won’t allow them to think they do things badly.
- Practice your talking skills. Use a mirror and film yourself and work on every detail, facials, eyes and mannerisms. Learn a one minute promo and perfect it. Now do the same promo with the same words but in as many different emotions you can, happy, mad, sad, glad, grateful, on the verge of a breakdown, indifferent etc. Now when you get good at this you will be able to interchange several emotions in one promo.
- Look to the world to find things that you can use to develop your character. Films, TV shows and anything else that grabs your attention.
- Learn how to read people’s emotions. This tip is invaluable. People don’t just boo or cheer. You have to learn how to make them.
Only one in a million has the Elvis factor (old reference but I can’t think of a better one). If you truly have that quality then you can get away with anything but the majority of us don’t, so don’t take your skills for granted. I believe that the more time you put into learning the details the better and longer your career will be.
Watch this match and really study everything they do. You should aim for this standard if you are interested in technical wrestling:
I know I’m the last person you want to listen to about physique training but it’s very important these days. From seeing how the smart people train now it seems as though compound movements like squats, deadlifts etc. build better, more functional, resilient bodies for our business. Bodybuilding movements don’t. Like I said, this is just what I see and hear.
Learn from the mistakes of the people who have come before you (including me) and try not to make them.
To make it in the WWE you have to be very adaptable and willing to make any character or opportunity work. Here’s some very good advise. Make a list of the worst possible situations and character traits you could be asked to do. Now make up a character and promos involving those traits and work on perfecting that character and promo (on your own otherwise you’ll get locked up). Make those things second nature. Now you’ve taken away some of your fears so whatever you are asked to do should be easier. Don’t skip this task. Very few people who come to the WWE end up being the character they envisioned.
The most important things you have to make you connect with an audience are your eyes. If you believe in yourself and your persona it will be evident in your eyes. You cannot show any real emotion without your eyes. So, if you’re interested in being taken seriously then never wear anything to cover them. This will offend a lot of people but you don’t look cool wearing sunglasses indoors. You look a divvy. There are many big stars who have worn them but you’ll find most will take them off when they’re making a serious point or they just have that special magic that only one in a million have. If you need an example of this, do you trust anyone who you meet who can’t look you in the eyes?
A tip from Roddy Piper: Always wrestle from your heart. It sounds simple but it’s not. Don’t play at pro wrestling.
A tip: I think will keep you constantly working on your skill set: Go out every night thinking that no one knows you. By doing this you will never take your audience or yourself for granted and show them exactly what you are and what your character is all about. This will keep you working on the details and the true essence of how to tell stories to the people watching.
As far as storytelling goes. Just imagine there’s an announcer explaining everything you do to the people watching. Does it make sense? Does it look good? Think about this. When you go to a movie, do you want to see the stuntman jumping out of the helicopter or do you want to imagine it’s the star? This all ties into trying to perfect the detail of your stuff. If someone is watching Wrestling for the first time, is what you’re doing making sense to them. Figure all that out and you should be a lot better at story telling.
An added note on storytelling and detail. Most of my thoughts on this came from people I know who don’t like Wrestling and the things they say about what they see. If you could see a car running at you at thirty miles an hour, would you let it hit you? Hopefully the answer is no. That’s why there’s natural selection in the animal world. Then why would you let a person run into you and let them knock you down? I see that all the time in Pro Wrestling bouts. Take the time to consider that and figure it out. It will take no more than a second to react differently to. Then you’re covering as much detail as possible. I watch a lot of things shown in replays, GIFs etc. that really get exposed because of lack of detail. I know that I’d be doing as much as I can to keep as many people watching paying attention to what I was doing. Don’t worry about what other people do, make your stuff as good as possible.
Just my opinion but if you want to have a long career then study as many different wrestling styles, as many of today’s top starts have an international feel to their styles. There are lots of Wrestlers from around the world and you want to be able to wrestle all of them if you want to stay relevant. Study what’s going on in the industry as you don’t want to be left behind. A lot of the fellas I see that can only do one style seem a bit outdated against some of the talent who have learned different styles.
Everyone takes ideas from others but make them your own. Try to be original. Be a one off. Just an opinion but if you do something that someone else is famous for then it doesn’t matter how good you are, I’m thinking of them and not you.
If you want to be a successful character then you should know what that character was doing on its third birthday. That means know every detail of what that character is about. Always back to the detail, I know but the more you know the more you’ll believe and the better you’ll portray.
If you’re a life long fan, never forget what you loved or booed at in the Wrestlers you liked as a child and try to add some of that to your skill set. Make a child a fan or even hate you enough to want to see you get your comeuppance and they may stay fans for life (and probably want their parents to spend money on your merchandise).
That’s enough for today. Sounds simple enough but very few put those ideas into practice. Use common sense. Everything is in those tweets. Figure them out. In other words don’t be a div. I can’t hold your hand.
On head bumps, neck injuries / surgeries and the need to avoid them
“Look at the state of my luscious locks! Just so you hear it from me, I had a c-3 through c-6 Laminectomy last Wednesday [21 October 2015]. I wanted to put it out there so no one can weave a more interesting tale. I’m slowly on the mend. I mean this in all sincerity that I’m not one for sympathy, so please no need to tell me Best wishes and the like. It’s just part of the life I’ve chosen and wouldn’t change a thing. No need to tell me you’re praying for me as it would be a wasted prayer. Save that for people who need real help if that’s your thing. The only thank you is from me to you for allowing me to entertain you for the last 32 years.”
“I’ve seen the latest GIF of some horrible looking head bump being done. I was ahead of the game 25+ years ago doing them and taking them. This is my neck today. You don’t want to go through this. It’s a miserable experience. Be careful and cut them out. I was fortunate to make it. Talented people haven’t. No amount of crowd pops are worth it when less dangerous moves can be done and get the same effect. The last tweets weren’t for sympathy. It’s a warning to younger wrestlers to save them the problems and prolong their careers.”