There’s an interesting topic on that doyen of information that is the UK Fan Forum at the moment. The discussion centres on what the term “professional wrestler” actually means.
The questions that are being asked are simple. Are you a professional wrestler if you make a living as a wrestler? Can you call yourself a professional wrestler if it isn’t your sole form of income?, and so on and so forth.
This got me thinking of my own time in the professional wrestling business, working for the World Association of Wrestling from 2001-05.
I would hardly say that I worked as a professional for WAW, mainly because I was very rarely paid. In fact it was more like volunteer work. I would get the occasional note here and there, and also a few free DVDs, but there was no way I could have made a living working for “Rowdy” Ricky Knight and his band of merry men.
But there was one thing I was paid for, even though I only did it once, and if you use the criteria set down on the UKFF then I can make the following announcement.
I am a professional wrestling referee.
There, I said it. Ricky Knight once paid me to work as a referee, many years ago.
This didn’t involve working in front of thousands of rabid fans as WAW’s two biggest stars slugged it out for the World title. Oh no. This was working at the grass roots level, three matches at the Pontins holiday camp in Southport, Lancashire, in front of an audience of little kids who were convinced that if you weren’t on television then you weren’t a real wrestler.
There was no glamour here, people. Because I don’t have a car I had to stay overnight at Ricky’s, leave his place at five in the morning in a grubby white van after an almost sleepless night on his uncomfortable sofa, sitting on top of the ring with five other people for seven hours. I then had to help put the ring up, referee three matches in stifling temperatures, help take the ring down, sit in the van again for another seven hours, spend another night on Ricky’s sofa before finally arriving home the following afternoon.
I won’t tell you exactly how much Ricky paid me for my endeavours, but I will say that if you take into account travelling and other expenses I didn’t exactly make a profit, and I did feel a little down-hearted when Ricky paid me, because I could have made a whole lot more working as a spud picker.
So whenever you read one of my articles you can do so in the knowledge that it has been written by someone who has been wrestling fan for most of his 40 years on this planet, by someone who has actually worked in the professional wrestling business, and by someone who is a professional wrestling referee.
I wouldn’t do it again though. My mat slapping hand was sore for a week!
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