Wrestling is a tough sport. But there are ways to get better at it. Here are a few.

Come to Practice with a Purpose

Too often wrestlers go to practice with no thoughts on what they can improve on. This is a terrible waste of time unless your completely new to the sport. You should go to each and every practice with a goal in mind, such as learn a new move on top, perfect your neutral stance, or increase your stamina. These should be your short term goal.

I would keep a notebook to write these goals down everyday. On the first page you should write a long term goal related to wrestling. It may seem useless as you do it, but when your old, fat, and gray, and you look at all the work you did, you’ll be proud to say, “I did all this!” You can also keep track of your weight in this book. I also suggest after every match, you write the outcome of it, what you did well and what you need to work on.

Eat Smart and Stay Healthy

Stay away from sweets and saturated fats! You should have a written schedule for foods. If you need to watch your weight, I recommend you eat 3 egg whites for breakfast, a turkey sandwich without cheese for lunch, and depending on how much over you are, a piece of chicken, and vegetables. Do whatever you can to avoid cutting weight on the day of a wrestling event, you do not want to be exhausted before you step on the mat. Try to be within a pound of the weight your wrestling at the night before.

If you’re not watching your weight, then I recommend you eat egg whites on whole wheat toast, oatmeal, or pancakes. For lunch you should have some pasta, a turkey/chicken sandwich, a protein bar, like a cliff bar. I recommend you stay away from power bars because there loaded with sugar, and if you feel a need to have a power bar, have it 30 minutes prior to a match. If you have a big tournament coming up, load up on carbs the day before, eat things such as pasta for dinner. During a tournament, I recommend you stay away from carbs, because they can have a sleepy effect on you, which is why you may find yourself yawning and relaxed during a tournament. Proteins are your friend during tournaments. If you feel a sickness coming up, take an airborne, and relax. Water is your best friend as a wrestler. Most people walk around dehydrated, and its the worse thing to be as a wrestler. Water can flush sickness out of your body, and it keeps you healthy. If you follow these steps, you improve your chances fighting off sickness, and staying as fit as possible.

Working Out

The weight room is such an underused resource by wrestlers, especially during the season. As the season goes on, wrestlers lose about 15% of there strength out of fatigue. But if you lift during the season, you can gain 5% more strength. That means a 20% swing in your favor, so if you lost to someone at the beginning of a season because they were stronger, you can increase your chances of winning now because your stronger!

Physical and Mental Preparation

You should always give yourself at least half an hour to warm up. Get up and running, make sure you break a sweat before your match, and do your stretches! The last thing you want is an injury because you didn’t stretch, and you don’t want to get loose during the match, you came to wrestle during the match, not warm-up! You should also give yourself 5 minutes to go into your own world. You should fill your mind with positive thoughts. Repeat to yourself the following. I am unbeatable. I am a winner. I am a champion. Envision a wrestler you want to be like performing at top notch intensity, and imagine yourself doing the same. Your mind tells you that your tired, so if you break a few mental barriers, you can perform at a higher intensity. remember, the mind tires before the body.

Before, During, and After the Match

Before your match, I recommend you use a skin protectant, such as Kenshield, to protect yourself to anything your opponent might be carrying. These days, you can never be too careful, with staph and merca going around. I know plenty of wrestling programs that got shut down because the team didn’t take care of there skin. During your match you should have at least two water bottles close-by. You should also look at your coach whenever you aren’t wrestling. After your match, you should wipe your skin off with an anti-bacterial wipes. If possible, you should also take a shower, and use a soap like Selsun Blue.

Wrestling is one of the few sports that don’t end when you get off the mat, it takes dedication, hard work, and persistence to become a champion in this great sport. And remember, if you don’t win at first, it doesn’t matter. In wrestling, it’s not how you start, but it’s how you finish.


The truth is, not everybody has the body build, personality, or stamina (physical and mental) to be a professional wrestler.

Luckily, there are many ways someone who loves pro wrestling can get involved in the business without being a full-time wrestler. Most of these jobs require the same level of hard work and devotion that the wrestlers have.

Let’s take a look.

1. Referee

This job is not as easy as it looks. First, you have to learn to get bounced around the ring like a full-time wrestler. You need to be demonstrative, so even the people in the back row can understand your instructions to the wrestlers. You also need to be discreet enough to give cues to the wrestlers without the audience hearing you. Finally, you have to be ready for anything. I have refereed a grand total of three matches in my life. During that time, I was punched in the face and thrown out of the ring twice. None of that was “supposed to happen.”

2. Manager

Like a referee, you have to be willing to take a small amount of punishment in the ring. You have to be a good talker, singing the praises of your wrestler without calling too much attention to yourself. You have to interact with the audience, doing whatever you can to get them emotionally invested in the match. One word of caution: it’s very difficult for a guy to make it big as a manager these days, as the major leagues are more apt to use curvaceous women in that role.

3. Promoter

If you’re the promoter, you get to be the boss – but you also have the hardest job. The promoter has a million things to do to pull off a successful wrestling show. The promoter needs to book a building, a ring, a DJ, a light person, announcers, referees and wrestlers.

He also needs to get the word out to the public that the show is taking place and provide a lineup that will entice fans to plunk down their money. On the day of the show, the promoter has to field questions from everyone during the countdown to the opening bell. It’s not easy to get all of this done while turning a profit. The good news is, you will be the most satisfied customer, since the entire show will be just the way you like it.

4. Booker

This is the guy who decides who will wrestle whom, the time of the match and who will win. Often, the promoter will do this job as well. Other times, he will have a trusted lieutenant handle the booking tasks. In addition to booking a good show for that night, the booker need to develop long-term feuds and plan who will win the championships and when. The booker often has to deal with last-minute cancellations, as well as disgruntled wrestlers who don’t feel like losing. It’s hard for the booker to be everybody’s friend.

5. Event staff

If you really want to be around a wrestling show, you should be able to find a way to help. Some of the tasks that need to be done include posting flyers for the show, writing the program, and selling tickets, concessions, merchandise and programs.

6. Camera crew

I am good friends with a family of wrestling maniacs who got involved by filming and editing the shows for different wrestling promotions. I know this isn’t something everyone can do, but it illustrates how you can be creative in getting yourself a shot on a wrestling show.

7. Announcer

Anyone can sit behind a mic and talk about a wrestling match. However, it takes hard work to be a really good announcer. I used to sit in the arenas with my little tape recorder and announce the matches. It took a few years before I was good enough to do it on a real show. When I got the chance, I was able to stick with several promotions because I worked out a lot of mistakes on those tapes. Some things to remember are …

  1. Learn all of the wrestlers and all of the moves.
  2. Explain to the fans why these two guys are fighting.
  3. Cultivate your own style. Don’t be a cheap knockoff of a famous announcer.
  4. Show your love of wrestling and have fun!
Andre the Giant

Andre Rene Rousimoff was born in France in 1946. Andre suffered from a growth hormone disorder known as acromegaly. By his teens, Andre was well over six feet tall. He left school to enter the world of professional wrestling.

Andre was trained by the legendary Edouard Carpentier and Frank Valois. It was Vince McMahon, Sr. who first called Andre by his ring name of Andre the Giant. Andre worked the European corridor before coming to the United States in the late 1960’s.

History of Andre: The Journeyman Giant

Before wrestling became the worldwide entity it is today, wrestling was regionalized. The U.S. was divided into numerous “territories” who would have their own base talent and would from time to time employ “free agents” who plied their trade in multiple territories. Andre was the most requested “free agent” of his time.

Andre was one of the highest paid wrestlers of that era. He was a unique entity that was guaranteed to draw crowds. Kids loved the big man and Andre almost always portrayed the gentle giant that adored small children and elderly people. Andre would only fight when necessary. His arsenal of moves was quite limited, but he didn’t need a slew of moves. His size was his biggest weapon. Andre’s height has always been questioned. The WWE claimed that he was 7’4″ tall. Other promotions claimed that Andre’s height ranged from 6’10” up to 7’8″ tall. His weight also varied. Andre was billed as being between 310 and 550 pounds. While his physical size may have been exaggerated for marketing purposes, Andre’s ability in the ring were never questioned. Andre possessed great strength and, early on, amazing agility. Andre rarely lost a match during his journeyman days. On the rare occasions when he lost, it was almost always due to a cheating opponent. Andre would soon return to avenge the injustice. The crowd loved Andre.

Andre the Giant in the 80s

The WWE

By the mid 1980’s, wrestling had begun to change. The emergence of cable TV made wrestling available to the entire country at once. Vince McMahon came to Andre and offered him a lucrative offer to have him work for the then-WWF. Andre had worked for the McMahon in the past. In 1973, Andre first entered the WWE as a competitor. His first opponent was Buddy Wolfe. Over the next 19 years, Andre would face every heel (bad guy) in the federation and quite a few of the faces (good guys) after his heel turn in 1987.

By 1987, Hulk Hogan had held the world title for over 3 years. Hogan needed to face someone who could dominate him and end his first title run. Andre squared off against Hulk Hogan in the main event of Wrestlemania III. Andre actually pinned Hogan in the match, but the referee made a bad call. The crowd erupted with anger. Many in the crowd wanted to see Hogan knocked off his position as champ. Sadly, Andre would end up on the losing end of that match. Revenge would be sweet for Andre on February 5, 1988. Andre finally beat Hogan for the belt after months of trying. Sadly, Andre (by story design) made a foolish choice and sold the championship belt to Ted DiBiase. WWF president Jack Tunney said that the selling of a championship belt was not allowed and that Andre had forfeited the belt by relinquishing it. Since Andre accepted DiBiase’s offer within seconds of winning the title, Andre still holds the dubious honor of “shortest title reign in WWE history”. Even the rapidly changing Hardcore title never changed hands as fast as Andre’s loss of the WWE title.

Over the next 3 years, Andre would have one more championship run, as 1/2 of the tag team champions. The Colossal Connection teamed Andre with Haku. The two men unseated Demolition on December 13, 1989. The match wasn’t shown on WWF TV until December 30th. This pairing was done to try and extend Andre’s wrestling career. Andre’s health had started to fail and Vince McMahon wanted to use Andre for as long as possible.

Andre would be given a final run as a face, thanks to Haku and manager, Bobby Heenan’s, attacking Andre following the loss of the tag belts at Wrestlemania VI. Andre was scheduled to feud with Haku and the other members of the Heenan family, but he was unable to continue in the ring. He retired in 1991 and made only one other appearance, at a WCW Clash of the Champions show in 1992.

Acting

Andre’s first foray into acting came in 1968 in a French film called Casse Tete Chinois Pour Un Judoka. It was a small role in the film, but Andre knew that he wanted to do more acting.

His next run at acting would come with a two-episode arc on the Six Million Dollar Man. Andre played a sasquatch. These two episodes would lead to several TV guest spots over the next few years. He usually portrayed non-speaking monsters, due to the difficulty that most people had understanding him. He showed up on BJ and the Bear and the Greatest American Hero.

Andre’s second big screen acting role came as an uncredited Dagoth character in the 1984 sequel to Conan the Barbarian, Conan the Destroyer. Later that year, Andre would portray Dudley Moore’s acquaintance in Micki and Maude. In 1985, Andre would appear in the film, I Like to Hurt People. He would take a 2 year break from acting to focus on wrestling before taking his most famous role.

In 1987, Andre was cast as the giant, Fezzik, in The Princess Bride. Reports from the set claim that Andre was a wonderful person to work with. He would receive praise from the reviewers for his performance.

Following The Princess Bride, Andre focused totally on his wrestling career.

After retiring from wrestling, due to his declining health, Andre accepted a part in the film, Trading Mom. In his last film, Andre came full circle. He had begun his career as a wrestling giant in the carnivals of Europe. In Trading Mom, he played a circus giant. The film was released after his death.

Passing on and passing the torch

Andre’s father died in January of 1993. Andre returned to France for his father’s funeral. On the following morning, January 27,1993, Andre was found dead by his driver. Andre’s official cause of death was congestive heart failure. The heart problems that Andre suffered were a by-product of his acromegaly. Andre’s body was returned to the United States for cremation. Because of his large size, no funeral parlor in France was able to perform the cremation. Once cremated, Andre’s ashes was scattered, per his request, on his farm in North Carolina.

Later that year, Vince McMahon created the WWF/E Hall of Fame so that he could honor the man who had done so much for the business.

In 1995, Paul Wight began wrestling in WCW. His original character, The Giant, was a tribute to Andre. In fact, Paul’s first storyline had him portraying the son of Andre, which he wasn’t. Paul attacked Hulk Hogan, claiming the Hogan had “killed his father”. The angle was quickly dropped after requests from the family of Andre. Wight wore a black singlet wrestling outfit for many years, to pay tribute to his idol.

The Great Khali character is also somewhat of a tribute character to Andre. The chops that Khali uses are very similar to those used by Andre. Andre would often uses translators during interviews, as does Khali.

Interesting facts about Andre

  • Andre is the shortest reigning champion: approximately 5 seconds.
  • Andre was the first WWE Hall of Fame inductee.
  • Andre was the first wrestler to utilize the Tombstone Pile-driver.
  • Andre has a daughter, born in 1979, who lives near Seattle, Washington.
  • Andre would not attend plays or films because he had difficulty fitting into the seats and felt his size would prevent others from seeing.

Andre the Giant is still, to this day, the most popular wrestler of all time. He eclipses even Hulk Hogan. The Gentle Giant was generous to a fault and was always willing to help a charity, if needed. While his arsenal of moves was limited, Andre created exciting everywhere he went.

Close to 15 years after his death, there are still several web site dedicated entirely to Andre. While there are many legends in wrestling, none will ever achieve the level of fame that Andre the Giant did. He is a legend’s legend.