By Kim Artlip, Columnist
The term “overnight success” is so misleading. It literally makes me grind my teeth because I know how much work and sacrifice goes into wrestling. There is absolutely nothing overnight about it. You are looking at years of trainings, schooling and life experiences that lead up to this.
Many of these guys “bursting on the scene” in WWE and NXT have been out there for years working, evolving and building up a name and reputation as a performer on the independent wrestling circuit. Seriously, would fans have popped for AJ Styles if they didn’t know him from every major indy promotion in the world and Japan building his portfolio and establishing himself.
Lately, I’ve received messages from different workers saying “man I’ve been wrestling for over a year now and I haven’t really gotten anywhere with it. I’m kind of stuck I don’t know what to do. Can you give me some advice”. I just kind of chuckle to myself and let them know that it’s not going to happen overnight, it’s not a light switch you just flip on. There are so many factors that go into it such as training, bookings, quality of matches, adaptability and growth.
It took years of grinding it out for workers such as Dave Crist to make it to IMPACT and the level of bookings that he is at today. He worked, he suffered injuries, he toured the world and made an incredible name for himself first. He learned his craft, he established himself and he created a hunger for what he could bring to the promotion.
You’ve got to pay your dues, you will continue to for a long time. Please don’t feel like you above certain work because I run into people all the time that feel that way. Lose the “vet” mentality when you are two years in the sport and lucky to work once a month, if that. Years in the sport don’t mean squat if you aren’t honing your craft.
It will take time for everything. Now before you correct me on that, I will say that for every Lio Rush or Amir Jordan, who are making to WWE UK or WWE NXT when they are barely three years in the sport, I can name fifty who will never move past local shows. Those two set themselves apart and didn’t slow down on their way to their goals.
Let me break it down in way you might understand easier. You have to build a reputation and a following just like you would build a business. Word of mouth, advertising, marketing, merchandising and promotion.
You become the product.
You are your own brand and you will need to market yourself accordingly. As a promoter, I am looking at certain requirements for a show. Whether it is a heel, face, comedy or lucha – you get the point. Wrestlers are essentially a product that we need to bring on board to shape our vision of a show. So it’s like going to a grocery store and I’m looking down the aisle for mic skills, works a cold crowd, puts over the younger guy and sells like crazy in the ring.
I want to fill my needs with the perfect solution. Just like a Maytag washer, I want dependability. I want to know that during that day, hour, moment that you are focused on being the best performer you can be and making moments that fans will be awestruck over. That’s the product every promoter wants. We want the young and hungry guys who want to be successful and have longevity in the sport. You know the ones that are out there promoting their next show, revving up social media and working on return bookings.
I guarantee that if you put yourself out there and do the drives, go to the seminars, ask for advice and work on your skill set that you won’t look back with regrets. You may not become the next “overnight” sensation or then again, you may be just like Martin Stone aka Danny Burch who regains a WWE contract by focusing on yourself, transforming your body and showing what you offer. Just realize your overnight might be years in the making but it can happen.
Owner + Promoter
skype – @kimartlip