KNOW YOUR ROLE by Damian Slater
Most story-driven Pro Wrestling promotions book their roster much like any sporting team would. To take a leaf out of the FIFA playbook, you may see the following players in a calendar year, and this is completely ignoring occasional guest travellers who will likely have a major role on any given show:
CRUCIAL: Must be on every show in some capacity and major storylines revolve around them. Their presence alone boosts the feel of the show, may sell extra tickets and they are generally in high demand. These are your ‘main-event worthy’ talents.
IMPORTANT: Generally booked for almost all shows, occasionally finding themselves in a central storyline. A solid performer with potential to step up, or perhaps an experienced player taking a step down from the main-event scene who will help out the younger talent. Something MAY be missing, whether it be a lack of audience engagement, refined skill, main event appearance or personality, or it could just be time to freshen things up.
ROTATION: Occasionally find themselves on a run of shows in a lesser capacity, often to put another wrestler over, or to see if they can rise to the occasion. If the card is stacked, they’ll likely take a backseat. They may have a skill that makes them desirable ‘if the shoe fits’ such as great selling, reliability or a distinguishable character, or may even just be rewarded for hard-work outside of the ring. More boxes need to be ticked before they are undeniable enough to be considered ‘Important’ or ‘Crucial.’
SPORADIC: You will see them every now and then but they usually don’t offer anything remarkable that is not already featured on the show in a more refined and/or established form. Fans may enjoy watching them, but there’s no real demand to see them. A real back-up player who is generally only used if the stars align and someone is desperately needed for a spot.
The reason why I’m making these correlations is because almost everyone wants to be a ‘CRUCIAL’ player, but it just isn’t always possible. There are only a certain number of segments and matches on a Pro Wrestling card. Only a few can make the cut. What makes you so deserving of the role over so many others around you? If you’ve never truly analysed the roster that you’re on or desire to be on, then this is the first place to start. Yep, that means before you have a whinge to your apathetic significant other.
Much like the acting world, Professional Wrestling is about filling a missing piece of the puzzle on a roster. Sure it’s usually much less defined than that, and booking staff won’t necessarily have a specific role in mind, but your ability to be memorable and undeniable, can spark their creative minds into finding a place for you. If you’re being overlooked, just scoring that foot in the door could create momentum and lead to greater things.
Assess where you’re at, where your strengths and weaknesses lie and compare it to your direct competition. If you’re the 8th best underdog babyface in the promotion, then good luck ever finding a consistent look-in. Perhaps there is space in the tag team division? Maybe there are no cowardly heels? Is there a lack of light-hearted humour on the events?
Be realistic about your expectations. Find the gaps and write your resume accordingly! By the way, I’ve just launched my new online learning platform for Pro Wrestlers, current and aspiring, at WorldBeaterWrestling.com. So if you enjoy these tips and want that regular source of education in your pocket, then I’d love if you could check it out and join our community!