Backyarder And Professional, The Subtle Difference

by Jerry Wiseman on 9th May 2011

There seems to be a real disconnect between what constitutes a so-called “backyarder” and a real professional wrestler these days. Many think a backyarder buys his gear from Wal-Mart or off of eBay, watches and replicates what he sees on TV, and then seeks out any outlaw promotion to book him.

In this business anyone can claim to be anything, so as a promoter what I look for when I get the countless daily emails and phone calls from workers looking to get booked is their resume and if they have a DVD available, and I am never surprised at the number who do not have either available.

Using social media is never an excuse for why you do not have a DVD available of your work. “You can see what I can do on YouTube” well, no I cannot, I am not looking at YouTube for workers, I am looking for workers who know how to connect not only with the promoter but also the people and by telling me to look on YouTube for your matches tells me off the bat you are lazy and could not care less about your presentation as a professional to me, the promoter.

There are many promoters looking for the kind of workers who have no ability, no resume and no video, except what is posted on Facebook, YouTube and MySpace. All places I am not going to seek out workers, even if they seek me.

This is professional wrestling, the emphasis being on professional and I am a professional promoter and I would rather sacrifice a show than fill it with a bunch of people I am only familiar with through YouTube who will work for $35 a show and a hot dog.

A true professional, whether a perennial indie worker or a former big two star, will have the credentials and not be afraid to offer them when asked and that includes a resume and a DVD. Lest we forget this is a job that you are “applying” for when you ask a promoter to book you on their show and would you tell a potential shoot employer to look you up on YouTube to see how well you can run a cash register?

Social media is a great way for wrestlers and their fans to stay in contact with one another and it is a great way for workers and the promoters to communicate as well but it is a piss poor way to showcase your skills. I grow weary of hearing the often used “I am working on one but am waiting on this match or that match or so and so to get me something” or “I have x-amount of years in the business, I do not need a resume and DVD.” Well if a pharmacist leaves CVS to go work for Wal-Mart he still needs his resume and diploma before he is considered for a job.

The same ideology applies when looking for a booking on the independent scene, you need that resume and DVD, period. The only way you will get a booking with a decent group is if the promoter knows who you are already and is familiar with your work, or if a worker goes to bat with the promoter for you, which is less likely these days because if you come in with high expectations and you fail, not only do you lose but so too does the worker who stuck his neck out for you.

Keep thinking, as a worker, that you do not need to showcase your skills, promo skills, in-ring skills and polish your resume and your chances of ever working for anything more than an outlaw promotion drawing 35 people is as good as my chances of being a manager in the WWE. Just not going to happen…

So if you take pride in your craft, if you want to get work with the best in the indies, build that resume, take your own videos off YouTube and put them on DVD and buy some decent gear. Otherwise you are just a mark for yourself and no one, especially decent promoters, will take you seriously.

About the Author: Jerry Wiseman

Ohio Wrestling Alliance—Owner/Promoter
North Carolina Wrestling Federation—Owner/Promoter
Columbus Pro Wrestling Examiner—Journalist
Charlotte Pro Wrestling Examiner—Journalist
Lima MMA Examiner—Journalist
National Pro Wrestling Memorabilia Examiner—Journalist
Cauliflower Alley Club—Proud Member

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