People tend to be creatures of habit when it comes to routines and schedules. This can be either a bad or a good thing. Throughout my life, I have been no different. Before I began to train for wrestling, I played soccer for eighteen years. With every game or practice, I would go about my routine the same way. I would eat the same snack, then put my gear on, from the bottom to the top.
In wrestling, we tend to get a lot of the same questions that come from curious minds, such as “Who is your favourite wrestler?” and “Why do you wrestle?” However, the two questions asked that are very hard to elaborate on our “What is a typical show day like?” and “What is it like backstage?” In this week’s article, I will take you behind the scenes to one of my typical show days.
Now I say typical, in a business that really isn’t typical. Midnight road trips, home at 5, back up in a few hours for another show is a reality of the business. But for the sake of clarity, let’s assume this is a one-off show.
A typical show day is a lot of things: chaos, nerves, panic, confusion, jokes, laughter, and loudness. This starts right from the moment I wake up, right until I make it home from the show. I will “sleep in” till about 9:30 a.m. and make myself breakfast I eat every single day. A glamorous cup of egg whites, and hot sauce on top, a breakfast of Champions. My wrestling partner-in-crime, Pride, always questions my choices with that.
Next, I will try to get a workout in. Normally I love to work out and try to get one in every day. However, if my night before involved my typical battle with Angelica, my body simply tells me that a workout definitely isn’t happening. Regardless of a workout or not, I will stretch, which I honestly cannot stress the importance of enough. It is the one thing I wish I did more of in my first year of wrestling.
If anyone knows me, they know that I need to eat food all the time, and have good coffee. Therefore, my next ritual is to pick myself up a good latte, with an extra shot. However, the card is subject to change, and I will have to settle for an energy drink (don’t tell my Dad). The term “card subject to change” is often repeated throughout the day because I am ritualistic, but sometimes you don’t get to do everything, and I must be flexible, even if I am not happy with that.
Arriving at the venue is always the same, set up the ring, and meet your opponent. This is where the “what is it like backstage” part comes in. It’s absolutely hectic past this point. I try to sit in the ring, or walk around in it, even if it’s a brief visit. Afterward, you need to find out what place you are on the card, so you can plan accordingly. I prefer to get changed earlier, rather than later. Every wrestler has had a nightmare about not being changed, and their music hits (If you haven’t, you’re a liar). I put my ring gear on in the same order I previously put my soccer gear on, then I warm up. I remember listening to Stone Cold’s podcast, and he said he wished someone told him about the importance of stretching every single day.
After stretching, this is when the nerves start to appear. I’ve noted in previous articles, that my nerves don’t affect me as much as they initially did since I know how to manage them better. One of those ways is warming up, and my relentless pacing. If I am in a smaller locker room, I will do this while listening to music (classical, or top 40) since it is harder to escape the noise and other wrestlers nerves. Additionally, I try to remind myself that you do indeed know what you are doing, and no you haven’t forgotten how to lock-up. The nerves don’t disappear until the bell rings.
After the show, it’s time to take down the ring and try to wind down for the evening. Time to reflect on the night, and everything that happened in it. And to get food. If I don’t get my food, that’s just another problem on its own.
This is just a basic show day, and my thoughts surrounding it. Having rituals can help calm the nerves, however, they can be detrimental. It’s all about being a creature of habit.