Appearance is Everything…The Art of Wrestling” the other day and it was a past episode with Daniel Bryan. Danielson said something about a piece of advice he received from Ricky Marvin in Mexico. Ricky Marvin told him that wrestling is 90% about your entrance, your wrestling gear, and your physique. The actual wrestling part of things has become secondary over the years apparently.
I fully agree with this statement from Ricky Marvin, but I personally feel that wrestling is still a key piece of the puzzle. Having the gear, the entrance, and the physique is vitally important, but adding that wrestling ability to it makes you unstoppable in my opinion. If you make sure that you are an all-around threat, there is no way that they will not at least give you a chance.
Let’s talk about each of these pieces to the puzzle:
A professional wrestler’s entrance, entrance attire, and entrance music is something that I have always felt is vitally important. The reason that I say this is because those 30 seconds to a minute that you have to come out of the curtain and walk to the ring gives you all of the time that you need to establish who you are as a person. The way you dress, the way you walk, the way you interact with the crowd, the music that you chose to come out to; it all explains “who” you are. In my opinion, your theme music really should “fit” your character somehow. When I see a guy wearing overalls and wrestling barefoot coming out to rap or metal, it does not make much sense to me. Use “Dueling Banjos” or something like that instead. All you are doing is confusing the fans and hurting yourself overall.
Your Wrestling Gear
Wrestling gear is something I am extremely passionate about, mainly because I have had so much over the years and am now making my own. My first ever match in 2002, I wore a Green Lantern t-shirt, a pair of baggy pants from Hot Topic, and tennis shoes. I looked like a fucking idiot. I remember around 2005 or so, I had been in the business about 3 years and for whatever reason had begun wearing bullshit singlets that I could find at my local sporting goods store. I would imagine that I thought this was a step above my previous gear and made me look “more professional.” Then I went on a road trip to Indiana with Jimmy Jacobs, Jack Thriller, and Josh Raymond (Abercrombie). During that trip, Jimmy Jacobs told me that I needed to get some actual wrestling gear because I looked like a dumbass kid in some ratty-ass singlet. I took that advice to heart and think about it every time I design my gear now. A few years later I had Matt Striker make me a pair of purple bellbottoms with ROCK down one leg and SHOW down the other (pic). I showed up at a show with them for the first time and everyone told me how good I looked. That is when it clicked in my head that I needed to look as good as possible every time I stepped into that ring, as far as my gear goes at least. Even when Bender and I tagged as Team Clash, we always made sure that our gear matched as far as colors went (pic), but still fit our individual personalities overall.
Physique is something that I have had issues with my entire career. I started in 2002 at the end of my senior year of high school and was 225 lbs. At this time, I desperately needed to build more muscle, as I looked more like a cruiserweight wrestler at the time. I took all of the advice that was thrown at me and eventually ended up sitting around 235-240 for quite a while and felt amazing. Once I broke my ankle in 2009 and did not wrestle for an entire year, I blew up to around 270 and felt like complete shit. It has taken me a lot of starting and stopping to get to the point that I am at right now. Currently, I am at around 245-250 and have more muscle on my body than I have ever had. I am in the process of trying to cut back down to about 225-230, but put on more muscle at the same time.
My point to this description of myself is that I had a lot of ups and downs as far as it came to staying in shape. My advice is not to be like me. Set a goal of where you want to be and figure out how to get there. Stick with it until you get there. The more in shape you are, the better off you will be. You will look better in the ring as far as your appearance goes, and you will wrestle better because your body is in shape. Professional wrestlers are supposed to be seen as something extraordinary, so they only way to get there is to dedicate yourself to it and actually DO IT!!!
Your Wrestling Abilities
Having everything that I have talked about already will make you “look” like a wrestler, but believe it or not, actually being able to wrestler works also. Ha ha. There are so many guys out there that call themselves professional wrestlers, but have no fucking clue how to actually wrestle. It’s ridiculous. The better the wrestler you are, the better in my opinion. You can always “dumb down” your wrestling style if needed, but you cannot be better than you are when needed. It’s just not possible. This is kind of the icing on the cake for a lot of guys. Usually, you will get a guy that is great on the microphone, or someone who is in amazing shape or something like that. But it is very rare to find someone that has all of the pieces needed. So the closer you can get to having all of the pieces, the better off you will be. No one can be perfect (except for Curt Henning), but there is no reason why you should not try to be.
So these are the pieces that it takes to be a great wrestler. I feel that there are only a select few people in the business today that do have everything in place to be great. The goal is just to try as hard as you can to be as great as possible, and bust your ass in all endeavors that have to do with professional wrestling. Hell, it has taken me 10 years to realize all of this, so I can definitely say that it comes with time.