Over the Top Rope

Rock Riddle's
Wrestling Revue

by Rock Riddle, the Original "Mr. Wonderful" of Professional Wrestling

Scheduled Publication Date:   September 28, 2006

Click on any of the smaller photos to enlarge

Rock Riddle’s Wrestling Revue #30 addressed the often-asked question, “What do I need to do to become a top professional wrestler?”  That column – the entire page -- was devoted to answering the question.  I explained the prerequisites needed to experience success in the wrestling profession.  They are:  (1) Have a thorough and total understanding and appreciation of the wrestling business.  (2) Know how to wrestle.  (3) Define your image.  (4) Understand that you are a product.  Define and package that product.  (5)  Develop your winning personality.  If your personality is already extraordinary, make it better.  (6) Learn how to talk on the microphone.  If you’re a fair wrestler and an excellent “stick man,” you can make great money.  If you’re an excellent wrestler who can’t do promos, focus on a different profession.  (7) Develop an extreme sense of humor.  Learn to laugh at yourself.  (8) Have an unshakable belief and absolutely know that you will attain the success you desire.  There can be no doubt that you will succeed – because if there is, you won’t!  (9) Thoroughly enjoy the journey.

I could easily write an entire column on each of those nine “prerequisites to success.”  For this column, however, I would like to simply move on to the next rung of the success ladder.  And, yes, I do this with the complete understanding that 99.9-plus percent of the readers of this column have absolutely no desire to ever step into a professional wrestling ring.  So, for the majority of my readers, I make this suggestion:  Change the word “wrestling” to the name of your desired ultimate position in life.  What works in the wrestling business absolutely works in the film and television industry (now we have a few more readers interested, don’t we?), and, surprisingly enough, works in just about any occupation you can name.  If you truly have the passion and the desire to succeed, you can.  Take the correct steps and you will.  See if you don’t discover a few “Aha!” moments in the balance of today’s column.

One of the young men who originally asked the “How do I become a top professional wrestler?” question had read column #30.  I thought his follow-up question was exceptionally good.  Basically, he said, “Okay, Rock.  Suppose it’s a couple of years down the road.  I am in top shape, I’m a very accomplished amateur wrestler, I can do amazing improvised wrestling promos and interviews on the microphone, I have studied the wrestling business and know it well, and I have a well-defined ‘image.’  Now, how do I get hired?  How do I bring myself to the attention of the wrestling promoters?”  Ah, now we move on to one of the most important steps in achieving success – marketing!  Let’s face it.  You can have achieved excellence in all nine of the prerequisite categories but could still never be paid to set foot in a professional wrestling ring.  No matter how good you are, no one is going to hire you if they don’t know you exist.  You must bring yourself to the attention of those who hire, and demonstrate your value to those people.  The process is called “marketing.”

Interestingly enough, none of us buys the best products -- we buy the products that are marketed the best.  Think about it.  There are dozens of actors starring on television series whose talent is … well … mediocre.  And, dozens of brilliantly-talented actors give up every day.  What’s the difference?  Those who market themselves well work.  Those who don’t, settle for a “normal” (otherwise known as "boring") non-theatrical life.  The same holds true with wrestling.

The first step in marketing is knowing your product.  The next step is knowing how to market the product and to whom you are marketing the product.  In the wrestling business, you are marketing ultimately to the person who has the checkbook – the man who hires and fires everybody -- the promoter.  So ask yourself:  What is the promoter’s passion?  Is it you?  I don’t think so.  Is it me?  No, again.  The promoter’s passion is the promoter and the success of his wrestling promotion.  Your objective is to let the wrestling promoter know that you exist, that you meet all of his criteria, and that you will draw him nothing but money.  It’s all about the promoter and what you can do for his pocketbook – it’s not about you.  Save your pride and arrogance for the ring and the cameras.  The promoter thinks business, so approach him in a businesslike manner.  Your marketing attitude for the promoter might include, “Mr. Promoter, how can I be of assistance to you?  How can I help you to sell out every arena every night, drive your ratings through the roof, and make you considerably wealthier than you already are?”  Do you think that might get his attention?  “Okay, Rock,” you may be thinking, “I don’t know a wrestling promoter personally.  How do I say this to him?”  Good question.  Your answer is a breath away. 

Network!  Get to know the major promoters and those who have the ear of the major promoters.  Get to know the legends in the wrestling business.  Some of the greatest living legends in the business have pro wrestling schools.  With the internet, all you have to do is search.  You don’t even have to leave home.  Not only do the legends teach, but they also have guest teachers.  How would you like to have Rowdy Roddy Piper as a guest instructor?  Do you think Roddy might have some input in the wrestling business?  Name all of the living ex-world champions.  Probably half of them at least guest-teach at pro wrestling schools.  There are wrestling “Fan Fests.”  Go.  Meet the stars.  Meet the living legends of our business.  Meet the promoters.  Talk to the guys who set up the ring.  Talk to the referee.  Make friends.  Ask intelligent questions.  Get contact information from these valuable people and stay in touch with them.  Approach them in a friendly, respectful, professional manner.  And, dress well.  Dress successfully.  If they think you might already be a wrestler, you’re halfway home.  If you followed my suggestions for the prerequisites of success in this wonderful business, you already know who everybody is.  You should know ahead of time who the promoters, wrestlers, referees, legends, bookers, matchmakers, and related personnel are.  Don’t be shy.  Approach them.  Say, "Hello."  If you’ve followed my suggestions, you will hear these words:  “Gee, you look like you should be in the ring yourself.”  Do you see?  Success is determined by the preparation. Simply knowing who the people are who can hire (or influence hiring) and bringing yourself to their attention is the key.   Just by showing up, you’re 90% of the way to your goal.  When a conversation lends itself to appropriately ask how you might be of assistance, ask!  Don’t be surprised if you get something other than a “no.”  Suppose they need someone to help set up the ring in the next town.  Offer your services.  In today’s wrestling environment, wrestlers get hurt fairly frequently … or they get fired.  The promotion may look to the guys setting up the ring to fill a preliminary match position.  Now you’re on your way.  Want another little inside hint?  If you can get tickets, come to the annual Cauliflower Alley Wrestling Reunion Dinner Event.  You’ll meet literally hundreds of professional wrestlers in person … along with promoters, bookers, matchmakers, and many world champions.  If you make the 2007 event, you can even witness Rock “Mr. Wonderful” Riddle receiving one of only twelve CAC awards to be given for the entire year.  Ask me to introduce you.  Until next week, keep those e-mails coming.

This column welcomes your wrestling-related questions.  You may contact the author via email: RockRiddle@hotmail.com or Rock@HollywoodSuccess.com.  Be sure to put "Wrestling Question" in the subject line.

About the author:  Rock Riddle wrestled professionally for over 8½ years and helped sell out major arenas all over the country.  He held numerous titles including the Americas Tag Team Championship (with John Tolos) and the East Coast Tag Team Championship (with Rocky Montana.)  At the height of his career, he was given top billing over the heavyweight championship of the world.  He is extremely well-connected in the world of professional wrestling and knows the business exceptionally well.  His fascinating biography, complete with over 100 photos and lots of additional information, is available at www.HollywoodSuccess.com – just click on "Rock Riddle Bio."    If you have missed any of Rock’s columns, they are all available on the website by clicking "Wrestling Revue."

© 2006 Rock Riddle & Hollywood Success.

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