Florida or Calgary, that is the question? I hope everyone enjoyed the debut blog of Shark Tales. This week I will be delving into the tough choice of where I wanted to train.
There is a lot you have to think about when you begin your journey into the world of Pro-Wrestling. The most important thing (at least in my mind) is which school to attend to become the best that you can be. I feel it’s important to look at the school or trainer and to look at all aspects such as what have they achieved in the business, what connections they have, how the school operates.
Originally I wanted to learn in OVW (Ohio Valley Wrestling) as that was, at one point in time, the development territory of the WWE. However, closer to the year, I was going to venture overseas to train. Their relationship with the WWE ended and the staff that I looked forward to working with were no longer working there.
This brought my choices down to two: Dory Funk Jr.’s Funking Conservatory in Florida or Lance Storm’s Storm Wrestling Academy in Calgary.
Both schools have amazing reputations within the wrestling industry. Dork Funk Jr. has trained many “old school” greats like Kurt Angle, Edge, Christian, The Hardy Boyz, and many more. I was excited about the fact that Dory ran shows under the “Bang” banner and his students would get the opportunity for bookings on those shows. Dory also had a fantastic relationship with Japan, so opportunities extended out there too.
The Storm Wrestling Academy, based in Calgary, was run by former WWE/WCW/ECW Superstar Lance Storm. Lance has a track record of being a world-class trainer. What stood out the most to me was the fact that he is very, very hands-on with his students. He isn’t coaching from the sidelines; he is actually in the ring with you, showing you how to do things and bumping for you.
So as a coach, Lance is world-class. For those that know anything about in-ring work, there is no one crisper and technically sound in the ring than him. Only a few years shy of retiring from the WWE, Lance still had very strong connections within and friends outside of it. These could help further my career too.
So with both schools providing similar yet different experiences, why did I decide to go to Calgary?
Well, firstly, because of the rich wrestling history of the town. I was excited about the prospect of being in the ring with Lance 5 out of the 7 days of the week. To be perfectly honest, though, the deciding factors were actually non-wrestling related.
To try and get into the US and get a working visa is almost close to impossible unless you have special skills on your resume like a teacher, doctor, etc. In Canada, I was able to easily obtain a working holiday visa. If I needed extra money, I could work around the hours of school. Lance also provided accommodation for international students so we would be living with fellow students as well. The Canadian dollar at the time was weaker than the US too, so living costs were a little cheaper.
Inevitably, that was the deciding factor between Florida or Calgary. I sent my deposit to Lance to secure my spot. In a little over a year’s time, I would be on my way to Calgary, Alberta, Canada.