The culture of pro wrestling fandom has exploded in the past couple of years. Despite being a pro wrestler myself, I was never one to follow consistently any independent promotions or New Japan or any other product than WWE. That all changed though on September 1st of last year with “All In” as ‘they’ were changing the wrestling world.
I witnessed a new cast of characters, some I’d heard of, some I’d been in the ring with and I seen these guys come together with a belief that no one entity “owned” pro wrestling. I felt the electricity & momentum behind a brand that has truly captivated an audience that’s taken over the world. 11,263 people filled up the Sears Centre in Illinois because of a YouTube show that inspired a revolution built on goodwill, hard work, & undeniable ability. And I was hooked!
I am Jay Walker. An independent wrestler based out of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. For over a decade I’ve gone by the moniker of the “Social Media Superstar“. I’d always believed in the power of social media, even when “Tout”, “Foursquare” & “Google Plus” were around. I believed in building a strong community, but over time my faith in my ability to capture the attention of the world waned.
Changing The Wrestling World
I’d tried everything. Livestream hangouts, montage videos, weekly promos, promos by request, music videos, rap videos, you name it! But it just wasn’t working. I made it my mission back then to record every match so I could upload them. But again, it wasn’t gaining any traction. So I stopped. I stopped for so long that I lost my password for my YouTube channel. I gave up on twitter for months at a time, didn’t post anything to my Facebook page. It was all exhausting & nobody was watching. Why bother trying anymore, right?
And don’t get me wrong, I learnt a lot along the way. If I didn’t do those early experiments, I wouldn’t have learned the skills I have today. I wouldn’t be as good at promos and I wouldn’t know how to make my promos stand out. I wouldn’t have learned the most important lesson of trying to chase numbers by doing “what’s popular”, that I had to be unique and I didn’t need to share the message of what was trending on YouTube…This is the message,..MY Message.
And after watching “All In”, I realized that MY message, was MY story. And on September 20th, within 3 short weeks of being inspired by The Young Bucks, Cody & Kenny Omega, I tweeted out this message:
This can’t get shared enough. #ChangeTheWrestlingWorld
The narrative in wrestling has changed guys. There’s so much content out there that nobody has time for 7-10 hours of weekly shows to keep up with. Cody said before “All In”, “this isn’t the Monday Night Wars”…why the f**k not?
Wrestling’s not about 15-minute promos and 4 weeks of TV to sell you a PPV anymore. It’s about which people are you invested in, which ones you want to support and which wants (supposed to be ones) you want to see more from. It makes you legitimately happy to see these people succeed at life. You’re willing to buy their shirts bc you feel they’ve earned it. You watch their Youtube show because it’s more entertaining than 3 hours of wrestling with 2/3 of the creative that doesn’t connect with you and stars you aren’t interested in.
Everyone needs to stop being so down and negative about the product or certain wrestlers they’re watching bc out there somewhere is someone or something that IS their product or their wrestler that caters to them.
And those wrestlers or products should be creating more content that’s easily accessible via all these platforms that are available today. It’s not about selling shirts or selling tickets or picking up more dates. That’s yesterday’s business model. Today’s business model is views and accessibility. Get the eyes on you, get people talking about you, get people emotionally connected to you, and then you become an asset to everyone you do business with. Promoters will want you because fans want to pay to see you in person to thank you, they’ll buy shirts to support you, and your opponent will get the rub from being in there with you. Connections first, sales after. Stop being such a carny.
I guarantee, the right talent with the right content, on the right platform with the right exposure, can change the viewing habits of any wrestling fan. Time is an undervalued asset in today’s world. They may not have time for 3 hours, but I guarantee they’ll have time for 3 minutes. So make those 3 minutes count and change the wrestling world. They’re ready for it.
That tweet is very easy to find, it’s my pinned tweet at the top of my profile. It’s up there because it’s my mission statement. Since that tweet, I’ve been on a mission to build the framework, a new model of how to succeed at pro wrestling in today’s age by building a brand. I’m not faking it until I make it, I’m not riding trends, I’m just speaking my truths. And since that tweet, my world has changed so much for the better!
I am putting content out like nobody’s business. I started my weekly vlog, “Unhack’d” on YouTube on October 25, 2018 & immediately jumped from 30 subscribers and am now sitting at 345, with the goal of hitting 500 within the next 2 weeks! On January 1st, I launched a DAILY podcast called “Source Code” which speaks out about my journey, mental health, my passions & hobbies, as well as give advice on how to build your social brand. I don’t know how many subscribers I have, but my weekly downloads are in the THOUSANDS and I tweet 100+ times a day which has helped me grow from 330 followers to 1800 as of this blog! I share my content to Facebook, I do q & a’s on Instagram. I’m a very busy guy! And now the blog, “Rewired” inspired by a single tweet…
Pro Wrestling Post
“And you’re encouraged to write articles about yourself too…for us :)”
And an independent wrestler tweeted out, “What does it pay?”
Absolutely nothing! And I’m not saying anything negative about that wrestler. I’m just saying, what is people’s attention worth? What’s an emotional connection with someone worth?
It’s worth everything!
Being in Manitoba, we are quite geographically challenged. I drive 5 hours in a day, once a month to wrestle for PCW (Premier Championship Wrestling). The next drive out for another promotion would take 12 hours of driving. I could go and chase the next $40-$60 payout. But I feel I have a lot more worth than that combined with my love for helping set up for shows to help the crew. It’s just not practical. We’re changing the wrestling world.
So that’s where all this content comes into play. Because of all the attention & relationships I’ve built since September, I became the first non-contracted Winnipeg wrestler to open up a Pro Wrestling Tees Store. I was getting so many downloads & produce so many podcasts I needed a “Premium” Account so I set up a Patreon to help support the back end of that. And in just 9 months of brand building and being me and not worrying about anyone judging my actions, I went from making no money in wrestling to making hundreds a month!
As I continue, I could turn this into a full-time job without being on the road 4-5 days a week. And I’ve stressed from the beginning that it’s not about the money, it’s about being happy. I love pro wrestling with every fiber of my being. I’m so passionate about it and it’s future. So to be able to focus all my energy on my passion in life would make me the happiest & luckiest guy in the world to be changing the wrestling world.
I was inspired by a record-breaking legendary night in Illinois. And as we’re on the horizon of “All Out”, (and I’ve got my ticket this time), I’m about to meet so many of the people who have given me a fraction of their attention & helped me build “Jay Walker” into a brand. I’ll have the amazing opportunity to thank them in person. And as we join together to celebrate & support the guys who have inspired me & changed my life for the better, I know that I hold the same power to inspire those around me with my actions, my words & by being me.
If you enjoyed reading & want to discuss it, I’m very easy to find & easily accessible!
You’ll also be able to hear this in audio form by me if you subscribe to my podcast, “Source Code” which is available on Apple Podcasts & Spotify.
Interested in a shirt? I’ve designed them all myself with very important messages behind each one. They’re available at prowrestlingtees.com/iamjaywalker
And of course, my Patreon is up! Get content no one else can, get a weekly twitter shoutout, a credit in my vlog & a whole lot more at: patreon.com/iamjaywalker
Thanks for reading this far. I wish I could give a cookie. I do sincerely appreciate your time though spent reading this, I’m looking forward to writing a whole lot more & sharing my stories via this platform. So have a great day & please share it if you can via your social streams. Thanks…for changing the wrestling world!