TNA Head Talent Agent and former WWE Superstar D’Lo Brown gives his top five points for becoming a professional wrestler.
“You have to have a love for this business, you have to have a want and a desire to be the best you can be. It’s a career that can potentially take you away from home for 300 days a year, that’s a hard a life. Without a passion for wrestling you can’t do it.
Coping with being away is easier these days with Skype and cell phones. When I first broke in it was just payphones. I’d need a whole bunch of quarters just to call home everyday – keeping in contact with those I love is what got me through. This is not an easy life, but it’s a rewarding one – I love it and I wouldn’t change it, but it’s not easy.”
“You’re going to get 1000 nos before you get the first yes. If hearing no affects you by making you mad or making you feel sorry for yourself then you’re in the wrong business. You need to be persistent in trying to get better at your craft. You also can’t be scared to talk to people because it’s an open book business.
I was wrestling for two years before I got my big break. I was on the independent circuit, I went down to Smoky Mountain Wrestling, tried to go to WWF but was rejected, went independent in the mid-western area of the country, tried again at WWF but was rejected, went to Puerto Rico to wrestle and then finally got accepted into WWF. Every no leads to a yes and I believe that in every aspect of my life.”
“You’re going to be in front of people, you’re going to potentially be on TV, and people pay to see something different to what they are. They don’t want to see themselves in the ring, they want to look at something they aspire to be. You need to look like an athlete and have athletic ability. Even cruiserweights have muscle packed onto their little frame.
If you’d never worked out before, you would have to commit to a lifestyle change of being in the gym five days a week for the next year to get a good look. People who want to be a part of this business are already training but you need your body physically built up because of wear and tear. People say wrestling is ‘fake’ but you can’t fake gravity and falling onto the mat. Lay in your bed tonight then roll out of bed and hit the floor, get back into bed and roll onto the floor again. Do that 30 times and that’s what an average guy does in a wrestling match. You need to be physically built up to look good but also to protect your body. You need to literally have no fear. If you’re afraid of getting hurt, that’s when you get hurt. Go to the second floor of whatever building you’re in, open the window and look down at the ground, that’s what Jeff Hardy sees when he’s standing on top of a cage. Imagine jumping off that and landing on your back. Guys like that have no fear.”
“Bigger can help, but in recent years bigger hasn’t always meant better. We can go back to the Big Daddy days of wrestling in the UK, he wasn’t muscular but he was huge. You look at guys like the British Bulldog – these are big guys. People want to look at something they’re not and that has never changed in the history of wrestling. You want to look at somebody and you might not know what he does, but you know he does something special.”
The Ability To Take Direction And Learn
“You don’t know this business when you come into it and you only get better by listening, learning, and applying what you learn. When I started I looked up to Ron Simmons. I was a fan, I was in Baltimore when he won his World Title in WCW, then five years later I’m teaming with him as part of the Nation. I still can’t believe that happened. I also looked up to people like Arn Anderson, the working man’s guy you know? Guys like William Regal because he was a tactical wrestler and he knew what he was doing in the ring. Fortunately for me I was working with these guys and learning from them.
If you’re looking for inspiration, look to AJ Styles. It doesn’t matter who he’s in the ring with, he’s going to have a great match and elevate their level up to his. AJ has the ability to make any wrestler look good, he’s never had a bad match. If I was just starting out I’d look to him, not for the high-flying moves and all that, but just his work ethic and the way he can adapt his style to anyone else. Even when he’s not on the top storyline he’s still at his best.
If you can’t make your opponent look good then you’re useless. It’s about the match and how good the match looks. I can go out there and outshine anybody and make my opponent look bad but that doesn’t do anything for him of for our company. The goal is for there to be more interest in both wrestlers after the match than before.”