Hotseat had the unique opportunity to talk with the legendary broadcaster and trainer of future pro wrestling stars, Les Thatcher. As a warm up for February's "Learning With The Legends" Seminar in Webster, MA, Thatcher talks about a variety of subjects; including Ric Flair, why Elite Pro Wrestling Training seminars are the best in the business, and more.
Hotseat: What brought the all of you together to start Elite Pro Wrestling Training Seminars?
Les: The company was my idea. Harley and I did a seminar in Vegas in April and had kids from schools with good reputations, but they didn’t have the little details that make the big things work. In wondering why, we realized that many of the current trainers are kids themselves, with less than ten years background. You can’t teach what you don’t know. Harley and I worked together, I had done the Mark Curtis Memorial Camp with Ricky [Steamboat] in 2001 and knew he was a great teacher. The three of us did our first camp together in July and it flowed so well we decided to keep it going.
Les: Really there is no average day at one of our camps. We start with cardio drills that also work your timing and agility, from that point we “call it all in the ring,” depending on the average experience level of the wrestlers. With the beginners, we try to have them running a little 4 or 5-minute match by the end of the three days. We cover all bases in the business from your first bump to building a match, nutrition, and conditioning.
Les: I think our seminars will help anyone in the business. We have had (besides wrestlers or wannabe wrestlers) trainers, promoters, referees and writers.
Les: Our crew collectively has over 150 years of pro wrestling experience. Collectively, we have done everything in the industry. Harley is without a doubt one of the best workers ever, period. “Steamer” may be the best “babyface” role model ever. I believe my technical background will hold up with anyone, I’m a tag team specialist and my record as a trainer speaks for itself.
Les: Some of the people I’ve worked with are: Matt Stryker, BJ Whitmer, Chad Collyer, Chet Jablonski, Nigel McGuinness, Charlie Haas, Shannon Moore, Jamie Noble, Spanky, Johnny Stamboli, Maven, Chris Nowinski, Shark Boy, Kaz Hayashi, Jimmy Yang, D-Lo Brown, Rosey,] and Jamal to name a few.
Les: Study your craft in detail; get in the best shape possible, not just physical shape, but cardio shape as well. Dedicate yourself and give all the passion and hard work ethic you can give.
Les: I fell in love with the biz at age 8 and started wrestling in the YMCA’s at 12. I began my pro training at 19. Buddy Rogers was, and still is my idol.
Les: Love! After 43 plus years, this is who I am and what I do.
Les: Our passion shows and we hope it ignites the trainees’ fire as well.
Les: The best match on a historic show, and it still holds up today.
Les: Quite simply: The Man.
Les: Something you have to feel to understand. It says your peers believe in your ability.
Les: Another way to say professional wrestling. We combine it with our old school mat work in our seminars.
Les: A great learning ground, with some great workers that you’ve never heard of.
Les: Depending on health, and writers whims, I’d say Brock Lesnar, Chris Benoit, Kurt Angle, John Cena, Eddie Guererro to name a few just off the top of my head.
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