| Career |
The "Wrestling MPire" is a global network of 9 talent pools - 7 of which are
major promotions. Your career begins in the least glamorous of these, the
"Wrestling School", where you must toil against your fellow students with no
reward but the opportunity to improve and get scouted. Every win you deliver
brings you closer to getting a contract offer from one of the major
organizations. As tempting as it is, you are advised to bide your time when
choosing your first job. Almost all of the organizations like to tie you down
with long term contracts and rock bottom pay. With a little improvement you can
rise above "slave labour" and command a salary that will actually produce an
income! Another important reason to be patient is that all of the promotions are
completely unique, and some may suit your ambitions better than others:
Federation Online is a small but
controversial organization that thrives on pushing back the boundaries of
wrestling. Extremely violent matches and outrageous characters are commonplace
here. However, what the show lacks in respectability it makes up for with a
relaxed working environment - where most employees are given the freedom to
develop their own gimmicks...
All American Wrestling is the most
successful wrestling show in the world, and takes great pride in its hard earned
reputation. It boasts the largest roster and is filled with the biggest names -
all of whom have come to find their fortune.
United Kingdom Wrestling is one of the less
popular brands, where wrestlers enjoy a slightly more relaxed working
environment on their way to bigger things. What the roster lacks in sparkle, it
tends to make up for in passion...
Rising Sun Puroresu is a highly respected
Japanese promotion that boasts the most talented workers in the wrestling world.
Competition is fierce, but much can be learned from the skills on display.
Maple Leaf Grappling is an old-fashioned
Canadian organization, which prides itself on delivering the highest standard of
wrestling in North America.
Super Lucha Libre is a high-flying Mexican
outfit, which favours the more energetic wrestlers. The competition isn't
exactly terrifying, but the fast-paced style can take its toll on sluggish
Strong Style Wrestling
is a shoot-fighting league, where the toughest wrestlers in the business pride
themselves on proving that they can fight for real. Most of these matches are a
fight to the knock-out inside an octagon cage.
is where young kids and old veterans hone their skills in an attempt to get
signed to a major promotion. Any wrestler who is fired will end up here.
where some of the more famous wrestlers have moved onto to more lucrative
opportunities elsewhere in the world of entertainment. They earn a lot to work a
relaxed schedule for the cameras.
You must keep a close eye on the developments of each promotion, because they
evolve as surely as you do. Their popularity, reputation, and rosters fluctuate
from one week to the next. Their business philosophy may also change,
influencing what kind of deals they will offer.
When the time comes for contract negotiations, the booker will present you with
their proposal and you may then make any changes you'd like before submitting it
back. Naturally, if they don't appreciate your demands they may ask you to
reconsider - but their patience is limited and will eventually result in the
termination of the meeting. This battle of wills can be a game in itself! The 2
main factors to consider are the payment and the contract length. Most bookers
want you hooked in for as long as possible, so that they get their money's worth
from you. If you don't want to make such a commitment, you must expect to
receive a lower salary. Inversely, if you propose a longer contract you are
within your rights to expect a pay increase. For most wrestlers, all the money
in the world isn't worth a long contract - because the freedom to jump ship can
The salary is much less flexible than the contract length. Far from a matter of
taste, the amount you earn reflects how valuable or experienced you are. In the
cynical world of show business, it's important to note that talent plays second
fiddle to popularity. Until you make a name for yourself - which can take a very
long time - bookers will be reluctant to treat you well. This is especially true
of students, who can only expect to make the minimum wage for their first job.
On the other end of the scale, it's possible to negotiate an exceptionally high
salary if you become an indispensable part of the company - such as a title
holder. Even rival promotions will be willing to pay more for a decorated
You always have the option to negotiate your payment as an "Advance" rather than
(or in addition to) a salary. By taking a pay cut on a weekly basis, you are
entitled to make up the loss in one lump sum. As a rule, it's hard to negotiate
(or even calculate) your full worth in such terms - but it does make many
wrestlers feel better off in the short term. However, those that can't be
trusted to manage their finances are strongly advised to accept being drip-fed a
The most life-altering parts of the contract may be the 3 clauses that the
booker would love you to miss. The first, and most pertinent, is the level of
creative control that you're entitled to. You may do as you like on the
independent circuit, but once you're employed you become the property of the
promotion! Unless you negotiate creative control, you'll have to go along with
every hare-brained scheme that the booker comes up with - from what you should
be doing to how you should look when you're doing it. This is the ultimate case
of "paying your dues", but once you've become a major player in the company you
should be trusted to guide your own career.
The second clause refers to your performance in the ring. Bookers like to
implement a system whereby you only get paid when you win. This keeps their
young wrestlers hungry for victory and keen to improve. It also means that they
can usually cut their wages bill in half! If you feel what you do is of
sufficient value to get paid no matter what then you should fight for a better
deal. Even if you're not talented enough to warrant unconditional pay, you can
always "buy" that privilege by offering to work for less money in general.
The final clause deals with your health cover. Wrestlers can expect to be
injured with alarming regularity, but this time out of the ring could go unpaid
if you fail to negotiate a decent health policy. Naturally, bookers are
reluctant to be so generous - not least because they want to encourage a safe
wrestling environment! Once you've proven yourself to be such a wrestler,
however, they should feel obliged to take care of you. Reckless wrestlers, on
the other hand, will seldom earn that privilege.
Once a contract is confirmed, you are tied to that company for the agreed number
of weeks. It's not set in stone though. Bookers may have second thoughts along
the way and ask you to reconsider the contract (or terminate it altogether).
They cannot do so without your consent, but if the unhappiness is mutual then
you may appreciate the excuse to leave! Your contract can also be bought out by
rival promotions (although these offers are much rarer than those you would get
as a free agent). The most natural way for a job to end is when the contract has
expired and you're talking to the booker about a renewal. If a new contract
cannot be agreed upon then you will be released back to the independent circuit,
where you can bide your time for something better.
Whether you like it or not, money is of the utmost importance to the career of a
professional wrestler. For a start, life isn't free! If you're 18 years of age
or older, you're responsible for "lifestyle costs" - which is a simplified
summary of the money you need to get by each week. Regardless of your situation,
your living costs have a minimum of $100 - which means you may find yourself
struggling to get by in the early days of your career. Don't think life gets any
easier when you make it big though, because your standard of living increases
with your income! When you're making thousands of dollars each week, you
suddenly crave better food, better hotels, and better transport, etc. As a
general rule, 5% of all the money you own (or are capable of earning) is
frittered away on your lifestyle.
Other costs include the amount of money you spend on your wrestling exploits. If
you have access to your image, for instance, you'll be charged for any
adjustments you make - ranging from music and lighting to various costume
choices. These aesthetic changes normally constitute a one-off fee - except for
weapons, which must be paid for every time they're used (that'll teach you to
throw it into the crowd!). Behind the scenes of a wrestling show, there are
countless other ways to subsidize your income - and spend it. Over the course of
a year, you will occasionally find yourself talking business with the booker or
your fellow wrestlers. Any money exchanged at these junctures will be considered
"under the table" and may not show up in your financial report.
Getting into debt is a worrying experience and must be avoided at all costs -
especially if you're facing unemployment. While you're employed by one of the 6
major promotions, you can scrape by in minus figures on the assumption that
you'll return to your feet. In school, however, there's no such safety net.
Tuition eats into your income - it doesn't support it! Once all the money's gone
and you've got no source of income, that's the end of your wrestling career and
time to get a real job.
When all is said and done, it's your body that brings in the money - and it's a
complex cocktail of statistics. In terms of success, the most important factor
is your "Popularity". This goes up with each win and down with each loss
(depending on the circumstances of the contest). However, quite how far it goes
up depends on the promotion you're working for. Each promotion has a "glass
ceiling", whereby your popularity cannot far exceed that of the company. You
simply cannot achieve - or even maintain - worldwide fame unless you're working
for the premier organization. Don't ask what you can do for your promotion, ask
what your promotion can do for YOU!
The remaining statistics are more physical than emotional:
STRENGTH indicates a wrestler's ability to inflict damage and perform
SKILL determines how likely you are to execute or counter moves
AGILITY governs how fast your movements are and how far you can jump.
STAMINA indicates how quickly a wrestler recovers health during a match
(and after each week).
TOUGHNESS is how fazed a wrestler is by blows and how likely they are to
submit or be injured.
All of the above fluctuate throughout your career, and can of course be honed in
the gym. You can choose to sacrifice 25% of your health to a specific course of
training. You then have a limited amount of time to make it as productive as
possible by reaching up to 3 levels of progress - which directly affects how
many points the statistic improves by (if at all). You can either choose to
participate in the process or let the CPU do it for you automatically.
In addition to specific training, you can also spend your time and energy going
through the motions in a "sparring" session. Not only is this an ideal
environment in which to practice and get used to your character's moves, but
it's also an effective way of improving your overall skills. After each short
session, several of your attributes may have improved.
Whichever method you choose, training is only applicable for younger wrestlers
that have yet to reach their "physical peak". Around the age of 40, a wrestler's
body stops responding to exercise and must make the most of what it's got. Even
at the beginning of your career, you do not have the power to perfect your own
attributes. You must assign a limited number of points to create your ideal
starting point, and then gradually sculpt them into the character you want them
Behind those physical attributes, there are a couple of mental statistics that
indicate your personality. Your "Attitude" and "Happiness" are a subconscious
record of your experiences and how you've responded to them. Although they tend
to fluctuate alongside your successes and failures, they are more acutely tested
by your choices in meetings. Regularly choosing the most dishonourable or
controversial course of action will deteriorate your attitude at a rapid rate -
whereas consistently choosing the honourable path will restore it. That may be
of no consequence in the ring, but it can very easily affect your opportunities
backstage - and even those with future employers. Likewise, your happiness
deteriorates every time you agree to a humiliating course of action and improves
every time you look out for yourself.
As your skills evolve so too does your relationship with the people around you.
There are countless ways to make enemies inside the ring, but there are also
friends to be made backstage. Every now and then somebody will extend the hand
of friendship (however questionable their motives) and it's up to you to shake
it. Doing so will give you a useful ally both in and out of the ring. More
importantly it opens the door for a career on the Tag Team circuit. If news of
your relationship reaches the booker then he might very well propose that you
give team play a try! Assuming you have the power to do so, you can even form a
team yourself by approaching the other wrestlers in your locker room. Committing
to a team isn't taken lightly though, so don't be surprised to hear a lot of
objections from even the greatest of friends.
Similarly, it's also possible to hire a manager of your choosing. For an agreed
percentage of your weekly earnings (with a minimum of $100), you can arrange to
have a helping hand at ringside for your matches. They also assist you backstage
by attending training sessions (where you should notice a definite improvement
in your performances) or setting up business meetings for you. However, as with
recruiting tag team partners, there are very few occasions when someone would
agree to play second fiddle to another wrestler. Until you're significantly more
successful than the character in question, you may find it hard to convince them
to join your entourage.
Faces vs Heels
The most significant factor in relationships is your "allegiance". Wrestlers
fall into one of 2 categories: Faces (good guys) and Heels (bad guys). You will
often have the chance to change your stance by either accepting the booker's
advice or by forming friendships with other wrestlers. Your allegiance is no
empty gesture either. Heels are jeered mercilessly by the crowd, whereas Faces
enjoy the cheers. It's important to note that such reactions are not always
indicative of "Popularity". A wrestler's job is to elicit the biggest response
from the crowd - be it positive or negative. Even the most evil of characters
can still be the star of the show! The most important aspect to allegiance is
that bookers see the Face-Heel divide as an ongoing war. Faces are primarily
booked to fight Heels and vice versa, so your stance decides which side of the
roster you compete against and which one you socialize with.
A wrestler's schedule consists of a TV taping each week - building to a
spectacular "pay-per-view" event at the end of the month. On these rare nights,
wrestlers are expected to pull out all the stops to entertain the biggest
audiences of the year. PPVs draw in the crowds like no other show, and the
boosted revenue brings with it a cash bonus for the wrestlers. There are even
rarer shows though, which bring in even bigger audiences. Charity events,
memorial shows, and inter-promotional showdowns may all occur throughout the
year and unite the industry for one special night. What makes these events even
more interesting is that they often pit wrestlers from different companies
against each other.
I regret that there is more to this game than I could ever explain here, so I
hope you enjoy figuring some things out for yourself! Or you may want to join
the debate on social media where any curious questions will be answered by
myself or other players:
Copyright © MDickie
2000 - 2015