Independent (indie) wrestlers throw their bodies around and risk life and limb on a nightly basis -- sometimes for a small pittance and possibly even at a loss. Thus, many wrestlers in independent leagues do not perform because of huge paydays. Most independent wrestlers hope to land a contract with a mainstream federation or just engage in the sport for fun.
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Pay for independent wrestlers depends largely on the name recognition and popularity of the performer as it does with any wrestler. Indie wrestlers can earn as little as £16 for a match while a bigger names might earn £325 to £650 per match, according to Marshall Crook of "The Wall Street Journal." Most indie wrestlers earn so little that they have to work a full-time job on the side.
An indie wrestler can actually lose money because these wrestlers often have to pay their own travel expenses, such as hotels and cars. Some independent wrestlers share hotel rooms to cut costs. Thus, many indie wrestlers only wrestle as a hobby. Some wrestlers hope to build their identity and hopefully land a contract with a major league, such as World Wrestling Entertainment or Total Nonstop Action.
Independent wrestlers usually have to pay for their own health insurance. Unless the indie wrestler makes enough to afford health coverage, he is at great risk of going into debt in case of an injury that puts him on the shelf for months. Even if a wrestler can afford health insurance, he might not find an insurer to cover him because wrestlers have a high rate of injury. Some wrestlers in the major promotions do not have health insurance because of the extreme risk category of wrestlers.
Becoming a Pro Wrestler
Most wrestlers need to enter a school to learn the fundamentals of pro wrestling. Training schools usually charge several thousand dollars for tuition, and some schools run by famous former wrestlers ask for £6,500 in tuition or more as of 2011. Pro wrestling school takes about six months of work, with training sessions twice a week, before a wrestler is ready to perform in any capacity, according to John Rambo of the National Wrestling League.
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- "The Daily Iowan"; Professional Wrestling Circuit Hits Iowa City; Ben Schnuff; June 2011
- "The Wall Street Journal"; Indie Wrestlers Bleed for Cheers; Marshall Crook; December 2008
- CageSideSeats.com; A Closer Look at How the TNA Office Handles Outside Bookings; February 2011
- "The Baltimore Sun"; Dawn Marie: Health Care Program for Wrestlers 'Very Close'; Kevin Eck; September 2009
- National Wrestling League; What it takes to be a Pro-Wrestler; John Rambo