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.

Hotseat: What would an average day at an EPWT Seminar consist of?

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.

Hotseat: Who would you recommend come to such a seminar (like the one hosted by PWF Northeast)?

Les:    I think our seminars will help anyone in the business. We have had (besides wrestlers or wannabe wrestlers) trainers, promoters, referees and writers.

Hotseat: What sets the trainers of this seminar apart from the dozens of "dojos" and "wrestling camps" currently being run across the country these days? (I know this seems obvious, and to me really is... but I figure Joe Q Public may want to know)

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.

Hotseat: Who are some of the recognizable names on the independents or on television that you have been involved training or developing?

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.

Hotseat: What advice would you have for the wrestler just cutting their teeth or the prospective wrestler looking to get into the business?

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.

Hotseat: What originally drew you to the wrestling business?

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.

Hotseat: What keeps you in the business after long and storied careers?

Les: Love! After 43 plus years, this is who I am and what I do.

Hotseat: Word/Name Associations:
a) EPWT Seminars:

Les: Our passion shows and we hope it ignites the trainees’ fire as well.

b) Wrestlemania III's Rick Steamboat vs. Randy Savage match:

Les: The best match on a historic show, and it still holds up today.

c) Ric Flair:

Les: Quite simply: The Man.

d) Winning your first NWA World Heavyweight/Tag Team Title:

Les: Something you have to feel to understand. It says your peers believe in your ability.

e) "Sports Entertainment":

Les: Another way to say professional wrestling. We combine it with our old school mat work in our seminars.

f) The Wrestling Territories before WWF/WCW went national:

Les: A great learning ground, with some great workers that you’ve never heard of.

g) Wrestling's hottest star of 2008 (five years from now):

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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