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Wrestling with the Pros: My Experience at a Professional Wrestling Tryout

Updated: Mar 21

A training facility with three wrestling rings setup in a triangle
DFW All-Pro Training Facility

When I was approached with an “idea” that would give me a deeper understanding and respect for the professional wrestling industry, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I can absolutely tell you that I wasn’t expecting an invitation to participate in a wrestling tryout. While giving myself a minuscule taste of what professional wrestlers go through wasn’t on my bingo card for 2024 it was an interesting approach and a great chance to learn through experience. So, I accepted the invitation with just one week to mentally prepare myself for whatever would come next.

Myself and two others arrived at the DFW All-Pro training facility with hopes of learning what it takes to become a professional wrestler. Sitting in the office, we signed our safety waivers to the sounds of loud thumps in the adjacent room. There was an air of silent excitement as we all waited expectantly. I was surprised to learn how different my new comrades were. One was a young and enthusiastic fan of current mainstream wrestling, eager to jump in and set waves. The other, a retired older gentleman reminiscing over wrestling greats gone, was looking for a new adventure to fill his time. Neither had ever attended a local independent wrestling show and stumbled upon the tryouts in obscure ways. Then of course myself, the historian and overzealous fan wanting to learn through experience. We all came from different backgrounds and held different motivations but our appreciation for the craft was clear.

The session started with a history lesson and you have no idea how excited that made me. Lou, the owner and founder of DFW All-Pro, regaled us with how he got started in the industry and the origins of VIP Wrestling/DFW All-Pro. Looking at the walls of the office, filled with flyers from shows past, he laid out the journeys of those who passed through his ring and on to larger stages. The honest recollection of his experiences, trials and growth had a substantial impact on our understanding of both the work that Lou put forth and the value that DFW All-Pro offered potential trainees. You could see the faces of my tryout comrades light up as they began to recognize wrestlers from some of their favorite mainstream promotions and fully conceptualize the journey they must have gone through.

But, to make sure that expectations were as clear as possible, the next portion of our session was about the reality of being a wrestler. The time commitment outside of the ring, the amount of training it takes before your first match, efforts needed to succeed as a wrestler once you’ve finished your training and other incredibly important points. By the time we as fans see some of our favorite wrestlers in the ring for the first time, they have been training and learning as many elements of the business as possible for at least a year. From camera work to in-ring action, DFW All-Pro trainees get a taste of it all providing them with a well-rounded understanding and foundational respect for the industry. My biggest takeaway:

Being a professional wrestler isn’t a hobby or a pastime, it’s a legitimate career.

With that, we were released and followed the group of trainees and trainers to the adjacent room. Directed to a mat in the center of the room, we were surrounded by three wrestling rings of varying sizes. LC Mox stood before us in the larger of the three rings, a towering but reassuring presence to lead us through warmups. The first couple of warmups and stretches didn’t seem out of the ordinary for a full body workout. Things got more interesting with the inclusion of several neck warmups that I was not familiar with along with a thorough explanation for why strong neck muscles are vital. With each stretch/warm-up, the group found a steady cadence for our counts interspersed with gentle encouragement to continue. It’s not uncommon to feel uncomfortable as the only woman in a male setting like this but none of that was present. Just the welcoming timbre of voices counting off 1 to 20 and the gentle tug of muscles not often used.

After our warm-ups, we were introduced to the concepts of chain wrestling as we witnessed a demonstration. I was caught by surprise at the level of character that Carlos Diaz presented against Lou during the practice session. His mannerisms and vocality were not unlike how he presents himself in a live match. If it weren’t for my own semi-labored breaths and the knowledge that I would have to do something on a lesser level soon, I would have found myself lost in their actions as if I were at a show. I once commented that chain wrestling was a beautiful display of the artistry and athleticism in professional wrestling. That beauty was on full display. My comrades and I stood in gracious awe as the trainees surrounding us threw insults and encouragements at the opponents.

Do you know how many different types of rolls there are in wrestling? We were given a lesson on five different types of rolls and how they are used in the ring before being tasked with learning two of them. Carefully wiping my shoes before leaning against the middle rope to enter the ring I could hear the pulse of my heart as it began to race. From excitement or concern for my personal well-being, I’m not sure.

Squat, arms down, kick off, silent roll.

“Bring your fingers in a bit here.”

“Try using your fist here, instead.”

Squat, arms in front, fall back, kick up, silent roll.

“A bit more momentum in your kick.”

Words of encouragement from the others can be heard all around as we traveled the various rings practicing. My head spins, stomach turns.

“Dizziness is normal. The more you do the more your body gets used to it.”

Another roll. Which direction am I going now? Squat, roll.

“I know you’re getting tired, but you’ve got this! Only one roll left.”

Final roll. Overwhelming nausea. I rolled out of the ring and sat looking at everyone practicing around me convinced that any seasoned wrestler would put that one carnival ride out of business. The certified puke ride, you know which one. If you know me you know that physical pain is not a big deal but nausea will have me acting like a baby. The mild pain that was emanating from my calf from an earlier injury was nothing compared to the unending desire to hurl.

Our next lesson was quite possibly the most important one that we were going to get that day, how to safely take a bump. As I listened to them give out directions while they demonstrated the proper actions my mind began racing.

“Don’t overthink.”

Easier said than done. We got the basic mechanics of tucking the chin and falling back while throwing our arms from a sitting position down before proceeding to the next phase. I have never been able to do a trust fall so I was skeptical about my ability to accomplish this from the start. My brain couldn’t stop racing with the numerous steps that needed to be taken making it difficult to bring it all together. So, a “bully push” was suggested to help me get out of my head about it. With the help of Carlos and Lou, I effectively fell over to better grasp the mechanics. On my final fall, I learned a very valuable lesson that I will never forget. Don’t forget to tuck your chin.

The moment I hit the mat, a wave of pain shot through my head and neck. I know that I only laid there for a few seconds before I rolled out, but a lot of things went through my mind in that moment. The speed at which it all occurred, how easy it was to make a mistake, the pain itself radiating through my brain. But the most overwhelming feeling and thought in that moment was immense respect for people who take a bad hit in the ring and get back up to entertain their fans.

I’ll be honest, that last one knocked me pretty good. It’s not a successful tryout if someone doesn’t empty the contents of their stomach and I wear that badge proudly. I receded to a safe distance to watch the rest of the exercises and was thoroughly impressed with the efforts of my comrades. I greatly appreciated the concern that trainees/trainers expressed towards me but even more so the continued encouragement even after. Some shared stories of their own first tryout and others expressed how it wasn’t uncommon to have to finish the second time around. I don’t think I have a desire to become a professional wrestler, but their encouragement has made me want to at least complete the tryout.

Participating in a professional wrestling tryout has been an eye-opening experience. There is so much there under the surface that the average fan never gets to see, and I think in many ways it’s a shame. The craft deserves more recognition than what it receives.   

If you're interested in training, I couldn't recommend DFW All-Pro more.

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What an inspiration!! I am so proud of you Milaun! I can't wait to see you get through the whole try out next time. >:)


Michael Ho
Michael Ho
Mar 20

This was such a cool experience and a complete assessment of your try out. Well done with the article. Hope you get to try it again soon.

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