After this past weekend’s devastating and career ending injury to New South Wales professional wrestler Benny ‘The Back Rower’, two highly experienced pro wrestlers from NSW have sparked conversation around pro wrestling training in the state. Both trainers themselves, Jack J. Bonza and Johnny Starr flagged this somewhat taboo topic this week.
Bonza, one of the head coaches at the Pro Wrestling Academy in Sydney and highly respected professional wrestler in NSW, Australia and abroad, tweeted an old article written by him on Monday along with the statement: “I wrote an article many years ago to benefit people looking to get into pro wrestling training. Still holds up today.” The article, titled “What to look for when you want to start training in the art of professional wrestling” contains a checklist of some of the basic, key things any prospective professional wrestling student should tick off when considering and training school and includes items such as what the focus of the beginners classes are and making an effort to observe your potential trainer/s perform in-ring as part of the assessment, to ensure the school is the right one for you and that you are in safe hands.
Johnny Starr, another highly regarded professional wrestler and trainer for Sydney based All-Star Wrestling Australia and their training school respectively, was both passionate and forthright about the standard of wrestling he is witnessing in NSW on episode 5 of ‘The Mitch and Alex Show’. He was worried about the volume of promotions and of new, seemingly unrecognisable wrestlers appearing in the state and questioned who was possibly training them all. “There are people wrestling that have had two to three months experience”. he said of the NSW pro wrestling landscape.
Starr believes the situation that led to the injury to Benny ‘The Back Rower’ was preventable and stressed the importance of schools and students focusing on the basics and getting those right before moving on to bigger and more challenging skills. He stated that wrestlers should not attempt to do difficult and dangerous manoeuvres that they may not know how to execute correctly, just because it might get a good reaction and look cool. Johnny Starr and hosts of the show Mitch and Alex agreed amongst themselves that there are only a couple of reputable promotions and schools in the state and re-emphasised NSW wrestling won’t grow and expand of overall quality doesn’t improve and isn’t “up to standard”.
Benny ‘The Back Rower’ provided an update from hospital earlier today. He has successfully undergone surgery on this injured neck and is now on the long, difficult road to recovery. He is incredibly thankful and taken aback by all of those who have either donated, shared the donation link or sent him messages of support.
We at PW Downunder hope a positive out of this terrible situation is that it can bring a better focus on standards of professional wrestling in NSW.
Jack J Bonza’s article can be found here
Johnny Starr’s appearance on the Mitch and Alex show can be found here.