The main thing to realize is that if you are starting your own wrestling promotion thinking you will get rich, chances are you are in for a rude awakening. There are very few promotions that actually make money. As far as independent promotions the only ones that may make money are they ones that own their own building, most likely run weekly shows, and don’t pay the wrestlers.
I started my own promotion because it was something I wanted to do. I’ve watched wrestling since I was 4 and knew someday I would be a part of the wrestling business. I used to be so excited about the sport that I bought a couple practice wrestling mats to use at home.
Do not just hop in headfirst without knowing the basics. I essentially dove head first into the business. I thought I knew what went on, but I still needed to learn what really happens in wrestling. I searched on the internet for someone to train me to run shows, or to just take my money and smarten me up a little. I found Dusty Rhode’s school and a guy in Raleigh, NC. I opted for the guy in Raleigh. In hindsight I should have went to Dusty’s school, best case scenario I might have a job with the WWE now, worst case scenario I learn something. Most promoter’s are wrestler’s or have some background in the business. Just like any other business you should learn about it, before you get involved in it.
My “training” consisted of watching what goes on in the back, taking notes, and asking questions. After about five shows I thought I had a good, basic grasp of the business. I knew the terms to use, and had a good base to work from
When you decide that you want to run a wrestling show you need to get information from your state athletic commission. Some states do not regulate wrestling, but in my state of South Carolina we have a Commission. And boy do they suck.
The commission will have you apply for a promoter’s license and an event permit in most cases.
The main thing you need is talent for your show. This is what I will discuss mainly in this article. You will need wrestler’s, referee’s, and ring announcer. If there are any indy shows in your area you should go to them to meet the talent, and get their contact info. When doing this you should contact the promoter of the show ahead of time and let them know that you want to come to the show to get in contact with some talent. Always befriend promoter’s in your area, you never know when you will need them. Also never run in an area where another promotion runs. It is disrespectful and just causes unneeded problems.
Getting talent isn’t hard, you will met some wrestlers, they will know others. Getting good talent is a little harder. Everyone these days is a wrestler, and most of them suck. You should look for a wrestler with a good look, that looks like an actual wrestler, not just some bum on the street. You should pay very close attention to how the crowd reacts to the wrestlers. A wrestler’s main goal is to get the crowd to either boo or cheer him. If he can’t do that, then he is not worth hiring. You will not get good talent if you do not pay them. If you offer someone a certain amount of money you must keep your word, even if you lose your ass on the show. You get what you pay for.
You must be the person in charge. There will be wrestlers that will try to run your promotion for you. Listen to their idea’s, ingest them. Then decide for yourself if you want to use that idea. Some of the guy’s will really want to help your promotion, some just want the small payday, and then there are some who want to run your show for you.
You want to book people who people will pay to see, that may be hard to find on the Indy’s but judging a wrestler’s worth on his crowd reaction is a good tool to use.
When booking a referee choose one with a good amount of experience. A good referee can make a bad match good. A bad ref can turn a good match sour.
An announcer is easy to find. You could do it yourself or just get someone with a good speaking voice and a clean suit to do it. The announcer should have all of the match info ready before the card. Weights, names, where the wrestlers are from, type of match, all that should be ready on cards for the announcer to read from.
By now you should be developing a lengthy list of talent from your connections. Before you book a show however you need a venue. I will address this in part two.