The five easiest roles to get hired for in pro wrestling - part 1

The 5 easiest roles to get hired for to work in Pro Wrestling – Part 1

By Dave Bradshaw 


In an age of social media and endless digital content, the modern entertainment industry has more job roles than anyone could hope to understand. Don’t believe me? Stick around for the credits at the end of a movie and you will witness the near-military scale of a workforce involved in a cinematic blockbuster. Video games are the same nowadays too - in fact, sometimes their credits can be three times longer. And guess what? Pro wrestling in the 21st Century - particularly somewhere like WWE - is also a massive team effort. The on-camera talent are just a tiny piece of the puzzle: they are often agented by retired stars of yesteryear, and an army of production crew at the arenas themselves. Then there are the people working back at company HQ - everyone from accountants to lawyers to graphic designers. The list of pro wrestling jobs is far longer than this article could ever hope to mention - and for anyone looking to break into the industry, that can only be good news.


But there’s a downside. Unfortunately, these types of roles rarely go to ‘wrestling people’. Sure, some employees may have been huge wrestling fans growing up and now work doing IT for the world’s biggest promotion. But by and large, the majority of these roles are filled by people who had no real clue about pro wrestling prior, and maybe still don’t. This is totally normal, by the way. For example, the staff who work in the accounts department at Disney’s corporate offices won’t need a deep-rooted love of animation or a forensic understanding of the Mickey Mouse cinematic universe (which should totally be a thing) in order to get hired either. All they need is to be a great accountant. And this is true in wrestling too: if you happen to be one of your country’s best and brightest bookkeepers, reach out to WWE and see if they’re hiring! If not, keep checking back every few months, as you might well be in with a shot. If, however, you’re like most of us and don’t have ‘admin wizard’ on your list of superpowers, you might need to find another way of fulfilling that burning desire to work in pro wrestling. In that case, read on…


You see, everything I’ve written above illustrates one of the most important lessons about people who ‘work’ in wrestling. There really are two types of ‘jobs’. There are those rare few on the corporate side, found almost exclusively in no more than about five wrestling companies globally, plus some wrestling media companies like WrestleTalk or WhatCulture. Perhaps 80% of those corporate jobs are found within WWE alone. And yet, I would guess that this entire segment of ‘real jobs’ likely makes up just 10 – 15% of all of the available positions in wrestling outside of in-ring talent. This rest - the jobs that are non-WWE and non-corporate - are what today’s blog intends to address. Oh, and nearly all of these roles will be found on the indie level – the most easily accessible launch pad for the regular person who wants to work in professional wrestling.


Before we get there, here is an important caveat: most indie promotions have relatively infrequent live event schedules – at least when compared to WWE, AEW, AAA or New Japan. This means that some ‘jobs’ won’t come with all the benefits that you would initially expect. Yes, there are certainly hundreds, if not thousands, of people worldwide who are making a full-time or decent part-time living from the independent wrestling scene in 2024. But these are often roles without the perks that people reading this would associate with a ‘job’, such as health insurance or paid leave. In fact (and somewhat ironically), many of these jobs legitimately fall under the definition of being an ‘independent contractor’ - a term that has been controversial in wrestling for years, because WWE and others have been criticised through the years for categorising their in-ring talent in that way. Being an actual independent contractor can have many advantages, especially when claiming back taxable expenses, as we cover in Wrestling Masterclass. But a stable, reliable income with employee benefits certainly isn’t among those advantages.


If the previous paragraph has already put you off, pro wrestling may not be the correct career path for you. That’s because, much like Hollywood and video games once again, there are literally millions of other people all over the world who would kill for just an opportunity, let alone a guaranteed career in pro wrestling. Because of this, ‘paying your dues’ in the early years is as much about earning good credit with promotions and industry insiders as it is about earning steady, regular income. That’s not to say that some form of basic salary stability is absolutely out of the question. A lucky few have managed to be in the right place with the right skillset at the right time, but these people are the exceptions that prove the rule. To put it politely, it would be fiscally unwise to bank on yourself being one of those rare success stories.


Fear not though, dear reader! There is some good news too. Due to an explosion in both the number of promotions and the overall quality of production on the indie scene, there are a lot more roles open to you today than there would have been a decade ago. Thanks to social media, even the smallest companies now have a very real chance of capturing a viral moment that goes global. As such, things like live event production (sound and lighting), animated 3D video graphics, and professional filming and editing are more necessary than ever before. This fact has opened the door to a host of new roles in many smaller local wrestling promotions. Understandably then, some of these new roles will make it on to our top five list – and also onto our ‘sneaky number 6 spot’ – more on that in part 2 of this post. However, let’s kick things off with one role that has been around since the beginning of pro wrestling history, and that will remain around forever (or at least until AI robots replace us all…)


Ring Crew

Yes, even though some have tried to make it work without one, (almost) all wrestling shows need a ring. Putting up a wrestling ring isn’t a glamorous job by any stretch of the imagination. It’s heavy, sweaty and occasionally dirty work. Yet without a ring crew, wrestling ceases to exist. Being on the ring crew really doesn’t pay well either. But if your aim is to get an inside look at how the business of a live show day works from beginning to end, there can often be no greater education. Better still, it’s an education that might be accessible to you right now!


That’s because wrestling attracts a lot of dreamers but not many traditional hard workers. There is no glitz and glamour in working ring crew, so it’s probably the role with the smallest line of people waiting to be given a shot at it. In fact, you’d be amazed at how many promoters receive emails from fans begging for a shot at their ‘life’s dream’ of working inside pro wrestling – only to run a mile as soon as they get offered the opportunity to be ring crew. Out of the handful who accept the challenge, many leave never to return after just their first ring crew experience. Maybe it’s harder than they thought? Perhaps it’s because they secretly imagined that they’d be immediately ‘talent spotted’ and the whole industry would open to them as soon as they tightened their first ring bolt? Either way, many of these people never stick around long enough to benefit from the hidden benefit that accompanies this thankless task.


What’s the hidden benefit, you might be wondering? Answer: direct access to the promoter from the moment they arrive until the moment they leave. Spend enough time in their presence, offering to do every little job that might come your way once the ring is up, and you never know where it might lead. On the first few shows it could be nothing, or if you’re ‘lucky’ it might be that you’re sent running to the local shop to get a food order for talent. But if you get that order right, bring the food back while it’s still warm (or cold), and prove that you can dependably follow instructions, next time you might be asked to do something more substantial. I’m certain that at least one referee or camera operator at your local indie show started by doing a ‘sandwich run’ and eventually got ‘promoted’ when someone else let the promoter down at the last minute. Surely that’s worth a little sweat and dirt, right?  



Advertising and marketing

OK, this sounds far more corporate and glamorous than it actually is in reality – at least in most cases. For many indie companies, ‘advertising and marketing’ often just means putting up posters in local shops and handing out flyers to passers-by. In my last blog (read link here) I went into detail about the invaluable insight that doing such a role can give you. For now, however, I want to focus on another point entirely. You see, very few promoters innovate in their approach to marketing. Yes, they may do some basic Facebook advertising nowadays. A handful may put a big banner up near the venue if they’re feeling really extravagant. A few will even dabble with an inconsistent YouTube schedule (something we cover in great detail in Wrestling Masterclass Module 9 – Breaking Into Wrestling Media) but in general their approach is the same as their peers several decades ago. Want to know why? Time for yet another big secret of working in pro wrestling, then: most promoters don’t enjoy… promoting.


This doesn’t mean that they don’t enjoy putting on a wrestling show – far from it. The buzz of running a live event is often the one and only reason that promoters do what they do in the first place. However, most fail to understand that being a promoter should involve a lot of advertising, marketing and, well, actual promotion! Instead, they begrudgingly follow a paint-by-numbers marketing plan that was passed on to them from someone else – and much of that plan is probably now only half as effective as it was when it was originally devised. Meanwhile, the very best and most successful promoters? They innovate!


At this point, you’re likely wondering if you’ve accidentally clicked onto a different article – one all about how to be a wrestling promoter. You haven’t. We have an entire module on that - Wrestling Masterclass Module 5 – Becoming A Promoter. However, always remember this: promoters are the people who give jobs to people just like you. Therefore, if we’ve established that the person holding the keys to your wrestling dreams may have no time for the thing that will make them most successful, then why not seize the opportunity at hand and offer to become their biggest asset?


Do you know what almost no promoters regularly find in their email inbox? Requests from people offering to assist with their event marketing and sell them more tickets! The person who did would almost certainly grab their attention. Why couldn’t this be you? Just make sure that you actually know how to do the things that you’re offering before you contact them - which you absolutely will do if you’ve completed Wrestling Masterclass – or your journey will end almost as quickly as it began, complete with a reputation for being a time-waster.


Yes, it’s true that your new role might still begin with posters and flyers. But if you’re committed to continually educating yourself (either with Wrestling Masterclass, some online marketing seminars or - better still - both) it won’t be long before you’re not just ‘assisting’ with your local promotion’s marketing and advertising, but revolutionising it! Do a good enough job and rapidly you’ll become so invaluable that any promoter would be an idiot not to employ you - especially when you’re now essentially covering your own costs.


Camera crew

It’s a sad fact of pro wrestling that even some of the world’s better known indie promotions will seemingly put a video camera in the hands of an untrained ring crew member or trainee wrestler, point them in the direction of the ring and then wonder why they still don’t have a TV deal. Talented camera operators can make all the difference - not just for a promoter, but for the wrestlers too. Without it being filmed, the damage that a wrestler does to their body each night leaves very little lasting imprint – other than on an X-ray, if things go wrong. That’s why a good camera person isn’t just one of a promotion’s greatest assets, but also a pro wrestler’s best buddy too. Sadly, good camera people on the indies are few and far between. After all, it’s not fun to be blamed by talent and promoters alike for ‘missing the finish’ or being out of focus for the main event. This feels even more unfair when only two minutes before holding the ringside camera, your only form of media training was posting selfies on Instagram.


Yet there is another way. Why not take the time to learn how to be a good camera person and blow everyone away by actually caring about the quality of what you do? No matter the role you feel most drawn to long-term, being ringside for match after match and being present in the pre-show production meeting (if there is one) is priceless. So is getting direct feedback and guidance from those in-ring talents who understand the importance of making sure you know the relevant cues for what’s happening in a contest. These are all invaluable in learning the art of pro wrestling – be it as a wrestler, referee, booker, commentator, promoter or any other role. If your chosen role is to be a wrestling YouTuber in the future, getting a free education in filming wrestling and video production is likely worth its weight in gold, 1 million YouTube subscriber plaques. Those things are made of plastic anyway, but that’s beside the point.


Yet, despite the importance of this role and the growing number of wrestling promotions that are finding the need for good camera people, there is a problem. The tiny number of people approaching this as a path worth pursuing  is very small - and that, dear readers, smells like an opportunity! Why not consider seizing it?


There is clearly one thing that unites all of these options: the commitment to become not just proficient at a role but to excel in it. As the old expression goes, ‘cream rises to the top’. Phrased another way, hard-working people stand out and will eventually attract even more opportunities, no matter what their current role is. If you expect some mythical panel of wrestling elders to simply spot your talent on day one and give you the main event career of your dreams, all without you proving your value in smaller roles first, you’re bound to leave the industry disappointed.


Instead, there are just a lot of people who, like you, love pro wrestling enough that they want to make a living from it. The ones who can most adequately help you achieve your own version of wrestling success are just further along in their journey than you are right now. Most care more about their journey than they do yours. So, why not use this to your advantage? If you can prove to them that you’re willing to do your utmost to help them achieve their ends faster and more effectively, why wouldn’t they want you by their side? When the time comes around, the good ones among them will open doors for you and eventually return the favour. Hell, even the less-than-charitable ones will view you as such an asset that they simply can’t afford to lose you. Once that happens, you have leverage and how you decide to utilise that - be it a salary or a launch pad for your next career step - is down to you. Just remember, you’ll never get to make that decision until you earn it by being a dependable person of value. So why not consider picking an area where your chances of gaining such recognition can be achieved far more quickly and visibly, just like the options listed here?


If these three roles don’t pique your interest, don’t worry. In part two of this blog, I’ll be covering another two roles that fit the same criteria. Actually, I’ll be covering three: two traditional roles and one big opportunity to both be employed and yet still become your own boss in the industry. Does that sound appealing? Until then, for more content like this and so much more that you’ll struggle to believe it, Wrestling Masterclass is the biggest and most established online educational tool of its kind ever devised for professional wrestling. With 11 modules, split into over 70 HD video lessons and well over 10 hours of additional podcast material, you’ll learn from the likes of Raven, Will Ospreay, Mike Chioda, Doug Williams, Dutch Mantell, Oli Davis, So Cal Val and many more, if you sign up today. Combining what you learned from this blog with what you’ll learn from Wrestling Masterclass, your chance of success in this industry will be increased exponentially. Until part 2, I’ve been Dave Bradshaw - thank you for reading. 



One Time Payment

  • Here's what you'll receive: 

    • All 11 modules including over 70 individual video lessons
    • All supplementary podcasts with industry experts with over 10 hours of additional audio content 
    • Downloadable worksheets 
    • Access to post module exams to track your progress
    • Printable certificates for your module progress and completion of the overall course
    • Will Ospreay in-ring training seminar