Written By: Trent O’Day
Truth be told, I never liked school much. Despite the 12 years spent in the Queensland education system, a further four years in university and even my current profession, I never truly saw the value in having an unquenchable thirst for knowledge until I began developing my passion for professional wrestling. I usually write my articles for PWDownunder.com with the goal of shedding light on the wonderful professionals up here in North Queensland, and that won’t stop (I have an article on our fantastic referee on the way), but for some reason I just felt that there was a need to truly outline the importance of a willingness to learn and improve.
I promise you this is not going to turn into some form of takedown article where I question the passion and desire of everyone who doesn’t turn up to training 5 days a week and study the tapes until 2am in the morning – I’m simply aiming to (hopefully) help fuel a passion and desire for learning and put over the fact that the answers are out there. You just need to look. Now, as previously stated, I could never really understand how some people could spend hours upon hours studying textbooks, videos, research articles and any other form of media in the hopes of lifting their grades. Though I didn’t particularly enjoy school, I wasn’t bad at it. I received passable grades, I was given positions of leadership, I was the definition of a ‘B’ student. I never saw the value of busting my backside to lift my ‘B’ to a ‘B+’ when that third of a mark didn’t ultimately change the outcome, a pass is a pass, right? Perhaps if I hadn’t started professional wrestling, I may still feel this way, however when the professional wrestling equivalent of a ‘third of a mark’ can be the difference between a fantastic worker and run-of-the-mill performer, a stellar match and good match, or a botched move going from embarrassing to life-threatening – that ‘third of a mark’ makes all the difference. Therefore, I’ll be making the following three recommendations to those looking to develop or fuel their passion to improve (to be clear, every recommendation I’ll be making is based on personal experience).
The first recommendation I can make to those looking to improve and learn is attend a school or a camp (outside of your home promotion) for an extended period. Home promotions are great, and you will learn a lot by simply regularly attending training and showing dedication to your craft. However, even with the best trainers and most exquisite facilities, the same routines can get old and hamper that passion that you’ve worked so hard to cultivate. When this happened to me, I decided to take the opportunity to travel to EPW in Perth and participate in their fantastic Summer Camp and I rediscovered a love for professional wrestling that I thought had long dissipated. A week of focusing on nothing other than footwork, psychology, drills, and the minutiae of professional wrestling forces you to tune your mind into a frequency devoted to the business, and with no other distractions for those 6 days you become a hardwired, knowledge-seeking machine. Now although my camp was the infamous ‘Covid-Camp’, the lessons that I learned from their array of experienced coaches have stayed with me ever since, and I’ve even flown to Perth of my own accord in 2023 for no other reason than to experience that feeling again. Now there are plenty of other places that are closer and filled with equally as much experience, so please attend a camp, attend another school, set some time aside to expand those horizons.
Secondly, just do the seminar. In my experience, there a very few times where a seminar has been anything but beneficial. Experienced wrestlers giving up their time to put on a few hours of training and hopefully utilising what they’ve gained along their journey can usually only be a good thing. I’ve been lucky enough to participate in seminars run by Robbie Eagles, Marty Jones, Davis Storm, Damian Slater, Gavin McGavin, and even Dick Togo. Each one has shown me something new (some more so than others, of course) and I’m of the firm belief that even if you can only take just one thing from every seminar you do, than you’ll be well on your way to becoming the best professional wrestling version of yourself. I understand that it isn’t always feasible; travel times can be difficult to manoeuvre around, and costing isn’t always in your favour, but if you can seize those opportunities, you’ll only be better for it.
Finally, watch those tapes. Whether it’s your own matches, your friends match, AEW, WWE, New Japan or even a PWA or MCW – watch those tapes with an inquisitive and critical eye. Don’t just think about what looked cool, or what moves you used or how well your things looked on camera – ask yourself questions like “why did they/I put this here? “or “how was the footwork and selling”. We are professionals and reflecting upon ourselves and other professionals is how we know we’re on the right track, or how we identify pieces in our game that need improvement. Now, if you’re like me and don’t necessarily rely on yourself to give genuine and honest feedback – go out of your way to seek feedback from a variety of different people. Utilise the connections you’ve gained to ask people if they’d mind watching your matches back and giving you some pointers. Not everyone will have time, and not every piece of advice may be helpful, useful, or even correct but it helps you form a picture of what other people are seeing whenever you step between those ropes. I’ve challenged myself to watch at least four professional wrestling matches throughout a seven-day week, and whilst watching those matches take notes and analyse the ‘what, how and why’ of every sequence, movement, and piece of selling. It usually takes a couple of hours to analyse it all, but I started with just doing one match a week, and then moulded my time to fit.
These are just some of the things that you can do to ensure you keep that passion for knowledge alive and that you’re not resting on your laurels when it comes to your love for professional wrestling. The pursuit of complete mastery is something that everyone starts off attempting to achieve, but an infinitesimally small number of people will attain. Yet since my time in the education system has ended, I’ve only just now come to realise it is the pursuit of this knowledge that we’ll ultimately never complete that pushes us to get closer to that goal. Whether it’s trying to learn one thing from every single person you have a conversation with, attending every seminar that you possibly can, or travelling to new feds and watching new matches every week, you should always be looking inward and asking yourself “how much do I really want to know?” The answer should be all of it.
I hope you all have a fantastic rest of your day and if you’d like to follow my journey, you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram and X here: