EPWT Testimonials

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The Professional Wrestler's Instructional and Workout Guide
EPWT Training Camp Testimonials
Industry Testimonials


The Professional Wrestler's Instructional and Workout Guide Testimonials

Featured Review:
Your Mother & Harley Race

No, I am not trying to pick a fight.  I just have some of the same good advice your Mother might give, which is also good advice from Harley Race. Don’t think that the writers of Atomic Athletic’s newest book have never picked a fight.  I was just leafing through this outstanding publication and I noticed a great TIP.

Harley Race, Ricky Steamboat and Les Thatcher have done more than just bump heads.  They wrote the book on how to professional wrestle.

REALLY.

It’s called “The Professional Wrestlers’ Workout & Instructional Guide”. This is not just another fitness book by the current baby face, this is the real deal.  Not collegiate wrestling, but real TV type professional wrestling is what you will find here.

Here is the TIP that made me start to really read their book, and carry it at Atomic Athletic, from page 19 “Always wipe your feet while standing on the edge of the ring apron before entering.”

That is the same advice I got when I started Olympic weightlifting.  In fact, the best gyms always have some sort of floor mat next to their platforms.  In international competition there is actually a rosin box to step in.  Think about a violin bow’s rosin, or the rosin sometimes used in baseball.  It will make your feet just a little more grippy.  This was essential when Olympic weightlifting shoes soles were made of leather, instead of rubber type composites.  Yet, it is still nice to have.

This book is full of great tips like that.  Whether you want to start into professional wrestling, you are a martial artist, or just a fan that wants to know what REALLY is going on in the ring, and how those guys train to do those amazing stunts, this book is for you.  Here is the link:

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=BK70

 Right now, we have it as part of a limited edition package, including an original “Acrobat” magazine that is over 50 years old, and our new speed, strength and agility charts.  More on those later, or just go to the link.  This is really great, and when the magazines are gone, then they are gone...

Here is that link again:

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=BK70

Live strong,

Roger LaPointe
Atomic Athletic
500 Lehman Avenue, No. 21
Bowling Green, OH 43402
www.atomicathletic.com

Roger LaPointe is a long time power lifting, and fitness expert whose "Atomic Athletic" has been supplying and servicing the nations strong men for years.

Other Book Reviews:
"Your Mother & Harley Race" by Roger LaPointe (longtime power-lifting & fitness expert whose "Atomic Athletic" has been supplying and servicing the nations strong men for years)
"The Two Sheds Review"
"The Inside Pulse Review" by Jed Shaffer




EPWT Training Camp Testimonials

Bob Evans Wrestler/Promoter/Trainer

I've known Les for approximately 10 years. During this time he has offered me his time, effort, and advice for which I am eternally grateful. I look upon him as one of my "top-tier" mentors who has really accelerated my career when I was smart enough to listen. If you are a promoter or run a wrestling school, I would not hesitate to seek Les out for his 50 years of wrestling expertise. You will greatly benefit. The man is a game-changer.

Bob Evans
slamtech2000@yahoo.com
(508) 335-6634

Chris Hero writes:

I started wrestling in Fall of '98. After a year of on-the-job training, I found my way to Les Thatcher's camp in the Cincinnati area. I soon discovered that, despite the dozens of independent promotions I had been working for and the hundreds of independent wrestlers I had worked with, my knowledge of wrestling was practically non existant. My mind was blown as Les put me through a crash course of the mental (particularly the mental) and physical aspects of professional wrestling. Here I was, assuming that I had a solid base to build on. It turned out that I couldn't have been more wrong. Thanks to Les, I was then able to lay down a proper foundation for my wrestling career which holds strong even ten years later.

Les gets a bit of flack for his 'tough love' approach of coaching. The truth is, to be a success, you need that voice of reason to direct you. Unnecessary sugarcoating lulls so many wrestlers into a false sense of security regarding their potential careers. If you wish you be a success, in professional wrestling, you need to take matters seriously and that means finding an honest perspective.

Through the years, Les has continued to keep a modern eye on wrestling and has kept up with the changes to our business. I now find Les to be an invaluable resource when it comes to asking for advice or looking to discuss wrestling in general.

Had I not stepped into Les's gym in the Summer of '99, I don't know how my career would have progressed. However, I do know that I wouldn't be where I am today and I am thankful for that.

 

Former RoH World Champion and current TNA star Desmond Wolfe/Nigel McGuinness writes:

Les started me out in the wrestling business a little over a decade ago. He took a skinny kid from England with nothing more then a dream and a never say quit attitude and gave him the first inklings of respect for the business, understanding of psychology, and appreciation for the art form. He pulled no punches and minced no words, but created a genuine desire in me to give everything I had to be successful. In fact when I first started wrestling all I ever wanted was to one day make him proud.Things have come a long way since then, but I still hold with me the desire to succeed and be the best I can possibly be, which in no small part came from Les. He has seen a lot in the wrestling world, and the real world too. Given the chance, he’ll give you insights into both.

 

Dany Only writes:

I wanted to take a moment to speak about the NWA Excellence/Elite Pro Wrestling Training camp that I attended this past weekend (MAR 19-21 2009) at the NWA Anarchy arena in Cornelia GA.

I thought that I knew a little bit about wrestling, having been a fan for 20 years, around it for 8 years, and in it for 5 years. Something dawned on me when listening to Les Thatcher talk about wrestling. I don’t know shit. To say the camp was a valuable experience does no justice at all. There is really no way to categorize the knowledge that I feel I have gained in just three days working with, and listening to Les. Not once was he disrespectful, he did not berate anyone, and he never once had to raise his voice. His position and demeanor spoke more than his words needed to and people knew when to shut up and listen. Brutal honesty is something that few people can handle. If something you did sucked, Les let you know. But it was not left at that. He let you know why it sucked and what you needed to do to improve on it.

So many people in wrestling today are comfortable with their position. They do not need to train to get better and they do not need to listen to anyone’s advice. I feel that people like this drag the business down. There are people who know “there is no such thing as too much ring time” and there is always room to improve. These are the people that I look up to. To stop trying to improve makes you a weaker competitor day by day. Some think that they can get a wealth of knowledge looking at tapes, however, if you do not know what to watch for, watching tapes does you no damn good. People think that they are in good enough shape, some are sorely mistaken. Some wrestlers believe that they can get by on fancy gimmicks and interesting poses alone, or simply on their physiques. These are a dime a dozen. Les teaches you the one thing that you need to know, you need to know how to work. You need to know how to work with anyone, how to adapt on the fly, how to listen to the crowd without having the crowd dictate the match you will have.

In short, I have a lot to learn, and I will continue to train and listen in attempts to get better. I hope that I am able to attend another of these camps in the near future. If anyone in the wrestling business wants to improve their game, then they NEED to attend one of these camps. Sit down, shut up and listen. You will be amazed at what you learn.

 

3 Weeks Later:

I am adding this part since I am resending the original testimonial. Almost EVERY person who was at the camp that I have run into over the past three weeks has improved. It is weird to say that three days had such an effect, but everyone who was at this camp, JT Talent, Drew “Money” Pendleton, Tyler Smith, Andy Alexander, Shaun Tempers, Bo Newsome and Kareem Jamar to name a few, every time I see them they are looking better and better. The way they think in the ring, when going over a match, when in the gym, everything has improved. Something was “awakened” in these guys, in all of us. We want to try harder, push ourselves harder and be the best damn wrestlers that we can be.

Thank you again, and come back soon.

Dany Only

 

Bobby Wohlfert writes:

I've finally had a little time to sit down to write this but I wanted to thank you so very much once again for the wonderful seminar & the many lessons you taught us, not just me, over the weekend at NWA Anarchy.  It was very insightful & I'm trying to take a lot of what you taught us & use it in the ring every single time as well as pass along that same knowledge to all those I come in contact with.  I also wanted to thank you again for your vote of confidence after the entire seminar & giving such great words of wisdom from every drill done as well as the 3 way match on the final day.  I hope to continue to do you and the rest of the trainers proud for the remainder of my career in the sport of wrestling.  I am truly humbled by your graciousness & giving to especially me those 3 days, as was dany.  I truly look forward to another seminar/training camp whenever it goes & I hope I'm not deployed at the time.
    Also, I want to say that you also reminded me of a man I greatly respect & truly admire from my past, which is why I enjoyed the camp a thousand times more than I normally would have.  You have the same philosophy & mentality as my former high school wrestling coach, for whom I owe everything in my life to.  His name was Duane Wohlfert & he is who I have named myself after in the ring to pay my respects.  He passed away back in June of 2006, one week after I was in Iraq.  He wrestled for Michigan State University and was considered one of the greatest coaches in Michigan wrestling history.  You both have the same techniques, methods & ways about you that you reminded me greatly of him.  I wanted to truly thank you for that, in a way, I was trying to impress & make proud him in another way & for that I can't thank you enough.
    Thank you for your time in reading this but I wanted to personally convey my gratitude as I know everyone wanted to get your ear before you left on that Sunday from the Arena.  I look forward to seeing you again.
With great respect,
Bobby Wohlfert aka "Gunny"
United States Marine Corps.

 

"The Reverend" Dan Wilson of NWA Anarchy Wrestling writes:

I'd like to take this opportunity to once again sincerely thank Les Thatcher for the knowledge, wisdom and experience he lent our crew for our first ever EPWT/NWA Excellence Camp. The talent who were lucky enough to attend this camp all progressed 5 or more steps ahead from where they were when they went into it. It was amazing to see some of them even putting to use some of the things they'd learned in just one day of training that night at the television taping. We had talent from four states come to Georgia for this experience, not to mention a sizeable group of our regulars. If you compete on the independent level. If you think you want to be a professional wrestler, or if you think you are a professional wrestler this camp is not something I just recommend. No matter your experience level (there even was one particular individual with a TNA contract who wasn't too good to attend a portion of the camp), no matter your size or shape, this camp is an absolute necessity. If every indy show brought Les in for a camp a couple times a year, I think we'd see a reshaping of the entire independent scene, and in the most positive way possible. Not to mention as merely a bonus, if you run TV, you can listen to those legendary golden pipes on commentary once again. Thanks again Les, we are eternally grateful to you, and can't wait to do it again....

 

Notes from Larry Goodman show report 3/21/09 for Georgia Wrestling History.com:

The reviews of the first two days of Les Thatcher’s NWA Excellence Camp were uniformly stellar. One of the attendees commented on how Thatcher was a master of metaphors. He came at the key point from multiple angles so if one metaphor didn’t speak to you, he had another one that would. I attended a portion of the camp today. It was phenomenal. If you’re involved in pro wrestling at the indie level, you need to hear what this man has to say. I know for a fact that NWA Anarchy is all the better for the experience…The top 2-4 trainees in camp will get to wrestle on Anarchy television…Hunter made the point that Thatcher is the only announcer to have worked alongside Jim Ross, Gordon Solie, Lance Russell and Bob Caudle.

 

Curtis Stone writes:

Warriors 4 Christ Wrestling (W4CW) had a recent 3 day seminar scheduled with Les Thatcher and as the owner and founder, the best way to explain the seminar is WOW!!! After 25 years in the business I still learned a tremendous amount. I learned on four levels as a promoter how to improve my shows, as a trainer how to improve my Warriors' skill, as a wrestler some serious do's and dont's, and as a fan of Les's for so many years I learned he is the "REAL DEAL". He personally got in and trained with each wrestler and took time to explain everything with such precise instruction. ANY promoter, wrestler, trainer or fitness school can learn so much in three days. We will use Les as follow up and several times a year...Thanks Les for helping out W4CW!!
 

 

The Ground Xero Family writes:

Dear Elite Pro Wrestling Training & Les Thatcher,
We at Ground Xero can not express our gratitude enough for sharing your wisdom and experience with us.  Across the board, EVERYONE learned so much from the time you were with us.  We STILL get calls from those participants thanking us for hosting your seminar.
Mr. Thatcher, you not only reinvigorated our own training program, you also lit a fire under the backsides of some of our trainees and other local talents.  You were able to support our training by reinforcing the messages we have been sharing with them since day one.  And there is no better person for anyone to hear any message in the world of professional wrestling from than you.  And there's also no one better to tell it as directly as Mr. Thatcher can.
We plan on bringing Mr. Thatcher back in the future, not only for the opportunity for more of our students and local talent to gain valuable training from, but for those who have participated previously to continue their own refinement even further.  We can't wait to have our students and talent who have continued to implement the lessons they learned from our weekend with Mr. Thatcher to show off the improvements they have accomplished.
We greatly appreciate the time and talents you shared with us.  Here at Ground Xero, we can not thank you enough.  To any other promotion, training center, or wrestler, if you do not have E.P.W.T. or Les Thatcher as a part of your experience, you are missing out.
-- The Ground Xero Family

 

Rich Tate, Webmaster of Georgia Wrestling History website, writes:

If anyone wants to SERIOUSLY learn about this business, and if there ever was ONE person who could teach it to you, his name would be LES THATCHER. I have seen him working with some of the younger guys before, and the passion and energy he brings to the table is inspiring.

Don't miss out on the opportunity if you can help it.

 

Brian Falcon Writes:

I attended your meeting at Percy's (Percy Pringle's Gulf South Wrestling ) school in Mobile, Ala.  Also met you at the Gulf Coast Reunion.  I took to heart what you said about being out of shape and trying to make it in this business.  I purchased the book (The Professional Wrestler's Instructional & Workout Guide) and have been following the weight workout program you have in there since that weekend.  Since then I have dropped 40+ pounds!!!  I started on a strict diet and been hitting the treadmill about 30 minutes a day.  All I need now is a ring close to here where I can try that cardio workout (The 5-5-5) that everyone is afraid of!!!! haha

 

I just wanted to say THANKS for opening my eyes!!  I even feel confidant enough to take the damn muscle shirt off!!!

 

Thanks again,

 

Brian Falcon

"Minotaur"

 

P.S.  I am the big red haired mohawk guy that was at the school that night!!!

 

 

Krissy Vaine, Greensboro, North Carolina

Hi this is Krissy Vaine and I just wanted to take the opportunity to give credit where credit is due. I just signed a developmental deal with the WWE. I have only been wrestling a few years but I was able to  learn and and be trained by the best in the business. Every time that EPWT came to NC I tried to always make sure that I took part in the camps. I had already been to wrestling school and was "trained" but I knew the knowledge that I would recieve from Les, Ricky, Harley, Dr Tom and whom ever else may "drop" by would be priceless. By taking part in these camps I was able to learn so much about ring psychology and really hone my own skills. The camp was very one on one and I recieved alot of individual attention. Just because I am a chick didn't mean that I didn't do every drill that all of the boys did. I formed friendships not only with the wrestlers but also the trainers, though they were tough on me (especially Uncle Les-lol) I value so much the knowledge that I recieved from being able to train with these legends and i really believe that by taking part in this extra training I furthered my career at a faster pace. Whether you are brand new or have been at it for a while you should never think that it's ok to stop learning. Believe me you will learn at EPWT and you will be learning from the best in our biz. So if you have the opportunity take part in these camps!!!! They are well worth the time and money.


Thomas Penmanship, Boston, Massachusetts
I went to my first ever EPWT camp, which was held in North Carolina. The camp was excellent. When looking at the list of legends who would be training, on paper the decision was a no-brainer. Once arriving in North Carolina, after about a 15 hour drive, I was instantly assured that it was well worth the trip. Anytime you have the chance to learn from Steamboat, Dr. Tom, Tracy Smothers, Terry Taylor, and Les Thatcher you know you will leave a better wrestler than you entered. The camp I attended was half in-ring training and half lectures. To listen to the trainers talk about the business was eye-opening. I suggest that anyone who goes to a camp be sure to have a notebook. As far as the in-ring training goes, the camp is a terrific way to learn the psychology of the business from some of the best. I would suggest that any wrestler who is looking to make an impact in this business attend the camp. You will certainly leave the camp a better wrestler than you enter. As if all that is not enough, you also get to make some terrific contacts and meet some amazing people. Good luck to all and continue to train hard.

-Julius Augustus of  AWA-CWF Mid-Atlantic writes:
Les Thatcher, Tom Pritchard, and Tully Blanchard, wow what a group! I had the privilege of learning from these three "wrestling gurus" in November 05' at the Spindale, NC camp. Les Thatcher exuded that father-like care to all of the trainees. He was full of countless stories and "old school" wisdom that is, and will always be invaluable to the future of professional wrestling. You can't know where you’re going unless you know where you've been. There is a reason why Dr. comes before Tom Pritchard's name. Tom was breaking down and analyzing all of the finer points of wrestling psychology. His tag team psychology is "priceless." Dr. Tom gave us a lot of insight into what it takes to make it to the "big time." Tully gave us a lot of info on wrestling psychology as well as how we should approach this profession. He talked about growing up in pro wrestling. He talked about learning the "ropes" firsthand and early. My advice to any wrestler out there that is serious about improving their overall game, attend one of these camps. I give you my word, you won't regret it!

 

Venus of Austin, Texas, writes:
It is with great enthusiasm that I highly recommend this camp to anyone who is serious about the wrestling business.

The truth is that if you are looking for that edge in the ring, if you are stump and at odds as to what your next step, change, or what you are lacking is the best thing to do is to get in front of the people that can help you not only answer these questions but can give you logical advice for optimum results.  The camp covers an entire wrestling career in three days!  I believe that it can shed years of trial and error from your learning and professional wrestling experience.

I will begin by breaking down the camp and exactly how it benefited me.

The trainers deal with all of us at an individual and personal level, taking time to single each and every one of us in private.

The camp covers your in ring ability: what you can and cannot do from both a psychological and physical point of view.  It is neither hurried nor slow; everything is covered at the pace of each individual student.  If you need to slow down (such as I do!) if you require more intensity, not only are you told what to do; you are challenged to figure out other ways to execute a story.

Look and Physical appearance:  Not only do they explain where you are strong and what you are lacking in look and appearance, but also they give you the necessary tools to make these changes.  In my experience I was told what my physical strengths and weakness were; given a list of the exercises that would improve my problem areas, and to top it off a meal plan that would make the whole thing a NO BRAINER!

And finally your Charisma and personality inside and outside of the ring:

Trust me when I say that they will not hold back!  They ask you to convince them of your passion and heart for this business, because when times get
hard you need to have the heart to stick thru the tough times.  They ask you to convince them that you are really in the ring fighting for your life, and if you are a baby to garner the compassion from the audience by relying not on the usual “Indy” stereotyped behavior but your own characters appeal; through facial expression and ability to convey emotion.

I know that this camp prepared me mentally, emotionally and physically to seek out the next step in my career. Before this camp I wasn’t confident in
my role as a female wrestler.  For one I felt that my appearance was lacking in the Diva look that the current large company is looking for.  Secondly, I didn’t feel that my in ring ability was strong enough. It was only thru the encouragement of Les Thatcher and the other trainers that I finally contacted Tommy Dreamer Talent Scout and coordinator for the WWE.  I believe that because of this experience I have secured a future tryout before Tommy Dreamer.

Thank you for all of your help and I look forward to participating once more in your future camps!

Maria M. Arellano, "Venus", Austin, TX
www.venuswrestles.com
 

Krissy Vaine attended the November 2004 seminar in Spindale, North Carolina, said:

My experience attending my first EPWT camp this weekend was amazing. I have been working on the indy circuit as a wrestler for only about a year and 1/2 and I jumped on the opportunity to train and learn from legends such as Rick, Les and Tully (Blanchard)-- who made a guest appearance on day one and stayed for the day. I learned more in three days about this great business than I did in 6 months wrestling on the indys. From ring psychology, to tweaking moves, to adding character and intensity to my ring presence I feel like with the knowledge I received this weekend I will be a step ahead of those who I know that did not attend. I received plenty of one on one interaction and advice from all three of trainers. This is an experience that is priceless and should be taken advantage of by every wrestler on the independents who wants to advance to the next level or be at the top of his or her game. My only regret was that Harley was unable to make this seminarand I was unable to learn from him also. If I have the chance to attend another EPWT camp I will jump at it. This was a great experience and my most sincere thank you's go out to Les, Rick, Harley and Tully( for attending the camp in Spindale). What you guys are doing and giving back to this great business is appreciated so much by myself and everyone else who ever attends one of your camps!!! You guys are the BEST!!!!

Much Love,
Krissy Vaine

 

Sam Amado and Tony Elias (aka “The Big Islanders” Makua & Ka Hoku)  from Boston, Massachusetts, said:
Going to the seminar held in Spindale, NC was an  an unbelievable experience!  It taught us so much.  The trainers gave individual attention to each person making is feel like there was no one there but you and them.  When Les and Ricky spoke and explained, you could FEEL their love for the business and what they were doing. 

We have been to other camps and seminars that just weren’t anything like this.  Other seminars had the trainers talking about what was wrong and how to fix it, but these guys do it with you over and over until you get it right.

They taught us psychology about things that you wouldn’t normally take into consideration during a match but make so much sense once put into action.  We left feeling like we were better workers and a better tag team!

We had such a great experience, we are going back for the January seminar and we are bringing other workers with us!

Thank you EPWT!!

Sam and Tony (Makua & Ka Hoku)

 

Eric Darnell Anderson who attended the Elite Seminar at PWF Northeast seminar:
I have had the pleasure of being a part of this great business for 20 years now. During that time I have always believed that learning from the 'Masters' is a rare and golden opportunity.  The EPWT firmly proves that rule.  They also showed that you can always learn more in this business if you are willing to listen and soak up the knowledge available to you.  During the weekend I spent with these fine gentlemen I gained a re-appreciation for the basics, a greater depth of understanding character presentation, many different views on successful booking, the fine line between 'selling' and 'dying', some more shooting, and priceless historical information.  This is just a small sample of what we picked up.

These men, already established legendary wrestlers, showed themselves to be master teachers as well. As a former educator and coach I appreciated the qualities they showed: brightness, caring, charisma.  These men, who have every reason to be arrogant and condescending were the complete opposite.  They were encouraging and supportive, but tough when the time called for it.  Some youngsters out there think that they know it all when they have been at it for 3 years and have had 100 matches. They will think otherwise after only a few moments with men who had 300 matches in their very first year.

These legends also show a vast understanding of subtlety.  Harley Race commented, " I made the championship belt the heel".  If you do not know what he means, you should take the time to ask him. After all, many people have won championships, but Harley Race is one of the few who DEFINED what being a champion means.  By the same token, Ricky Steamboat , in my book the greatest working baby face of all time, has tremendous insight on tag team wrestling (if you have no idea he and Jay Youngblood formed one of the greatest teams ever, you are sorely lacking in your knowledge and appreciation of this business)  and being a great baby face. Les Thatcher will be able to tell you how to be effective in subtle ways from the time you enter the ring , to the lock up , to the way you exit.

If you were a baseball fan and had the chance to learn from Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, and John McGraw you would do so.  If you were a basketball fan and could learn from Phil Jackson, Magic Johnson, and Bill Russell, you would do so. If you were a fan of football and could learn from Pele,  Macalister, and Maradona, you would do so. If you were an American football fan and could learn from Montana, Unitas, and Butkus, you would do so. The wrestling equivalent is here, the chance to learn is before you, and I recommend that you do so.

-Eric Darnell Anderson, Esq.   Wrestling's "Ebony Blade"

Matt West and Kyle Storm, Owners of PWF Northeast had these comments after the recent seminar on Feb 6th through 8th held by the EPWT team:
"After eleven years of working in the business, I was beginning to feel that I wanted to only concentrate on promoting. Working with Les, Harley, and Rick for three days was invigorating. I have since decided that it's not quite time to hang up the boots. The trainers of EPWT have so much knowledge to pass on, I would push for every worker to attend one of their seminars. It's not often that you get an opportunity to train with one, if not multiple, bona fide legends. These are men who paved the way for our generation. If you only take home half of what I learned this past weekend, you still will be way ahead of the game!"

 Matt West and Kyle Storm, Owners of PWF Northeast

Jeff Anderson of Knoxville, Tennessee writes:
Les, Harley, Ricky, and Leilani, you all have out done yourselves.  I am still JACKED UP about the camp last week. I have absorbed so much in my small brain that it hurts. This camp was great, and I can’t wait till there is another one close to me. I could not wait to get home and call Tim Horner, and Tony Anthony and tell them about the information that I received. 

I’ve been in the business for 15 yrs. and at the age of 41, I thought I knew a little.  I was ready to walk out Thursday morning but after listening to Harley and Les I quickly realized that I did not know much about this business.  I listened and tried to apply myself to what little I did know.  I walked away from this camp with a new fresh attitude and the will to go out and make myself the best I can possibly be.   This is my hobby but I have a great passion for my hobby.  I still have a few goals I would like to achieve in this business, and I am going to strive to those goals.  With a little more help, and a lot more work, I can get there.  You guys have paved the road for a “nobody” like me and I am not going to let that road turn to gravel on my time. 

This business has little respect in it now days.  There are wrestling companies popping up everywhere that don’t know a headlock from a headband.  Myself as well as few others, whether we are full timers or hobbyist, have a passion for this business and we also have respect for all of you. 

If you did not get emotional when you received that certificate of merit then your heart’s not where it needs too be.  For a split second I had to fight back tears.  Why? Because this business is close to my heart and I am so appreciative to people who are willing to sacrifice their time to teach me their craft. Call me a mark.  No, I just think I am one of a dying breed that has a passion for this business and still respect my elders who paved the way and are still trying to protect this great sport.  For anyone that has a question in their mind about this camp, let me tell you, don’t hesitate to go, it is well worth the money and time.  You can’t even imagine what you will learn in this camp. 

This business is a continuous learning experience.  We learn every time we get in the ring. If you never want to be any better, then you need to stay at home.  But if you want to learn, and excel, then don’t hesitate.  If this camp comes close to you and if you have the passion, then you be the first one to sign up.  I promise you will not be let down. To all my fellow campers and instructors I love you guys from the bottom of my heart and I can’t thank you all enough on the impact that you all have created in my life.  Once again guys, I thank you. I also want to thank all of you guys including Stryker, Ace, Steve, and Cody for all of your help in camp.   In Wrestling, Jeff Anderson

Michael Texeira of Greenville, South Carolina writes:
I have been on the independent wrestling circuit for two years. I don't claim to have been in the business for those 2 years because Elite Pro Wrestling Training Camp (EPWTC) taught me a lot about the wrestling business that I did not know. I knew of the basic holds and moves which is one of the many reasons I enjoy this profession. 

When I heard of this wrestling camp hosted by Harley Race and Les Thatcher, I had some doubts, as I knew this would be a risk of time and money.  I had spoken to many other wrestlers and I was told that this camp was just a generated payday for those involved. But I had decided to take this opportunity to expand my horizons and learn from someone else. Little did I know that those other wrestlers were DEAD WRONG. 

The 1st day of camp was a "shell shock" to my wrestling career. Granted, the moves and holds were the similar...but the intensity level was off the page. The EPWT trainers seemed to be on a much higher level than I was. Harley Race and Les Thatcher taught these men and women how to be a smart, tough, and a strategist in the ring. These two instructors would not allow for any of us to just go through the motions. You had to work your tail off. You had to be thinking and reacting twice as fast as your opponent.

On top of all of that, a man whom wrestled against Randy "Macho Man" Savage in perhaps one of the greatest Wrestlemania matches to date; made his presence felt.  Ricky " The Dragon" Steamboat had arrived. He personally taught me how to take a basic elementary move...the arm drag... and make it look like a high impact move. That is only the "tip of the iceberg" of the kind of knowledge that he has and he is very willing to teach to anyone who has a burning desire to learn. 

I also learned how hard you have to train to make it in this business. Wrestling is not just a Friday or Saturday night at an arena. It is a lifestyle. A hard road of pain and sacrifice; not made for everyone, but for those who have a passion and a desire to be the best.

I returned to the independent circuit and I feel like I am on a much higher level than most of the other guys... The EPWT training seminar allowed me to elevate my game and move one step closer to realizing my dream.  I recommend this course to any wrestler who wants to elevate their performance and not become just another tomato in this business.  Regards and good luck to those who possess the fire. Tynan " The Dark Lion"  

Christie Ricci from Nashville, Tennessee writes:
To be perfectly honest, I did not know what to expect the first day of camp and I was extremely nervous.  Being one of the only females made me feel as if I had greater expectations to meet.  I am a female wrestler, but I don’t want to wrestle like one.  I never want to be treated differently because I am a female.  It is important to me that I am treated like one of the guys, and I can honestly say that everyone was extremely professional.  The three days I spent at the EPWT training camp not only improved my wrestling ability, but it also taught me valuable information that people seem to overlook these days.

I have always been told that sometimes it is the small things that matter.  This is defiantly true in wrestling.  This camp taught me how to slow down and pay attention to the minor details.  I realized that I concentrate so hard on the holds and execution of moves that I forget about the minor details that set apart a wrestler from an endowed wrestler.

Common sense is something we are taught as children, but it is amazing how many times we forget to apply it to wrestling.  That may sound like an ignorant statement, but I think at some time we have all been guilty of not applying common sense to wrestling.

I have always thought that psychology was something you had to experience and it couldn’t just be taught.  Well, in these three days I learned more about ring psychology then I have learned in the past year.  Over the last year I have been fortunate enough to be able to work with one of the best female veterans in the business –Leilani Kai, and during this camp I felt like everything she has been teaching me started to make complete sense. 

The best part of the EPWT camp was the overall learning experience I walked away with.  I am so eager to learn, and to be taught by veterans such as Steamboat, Les, Harley, and Leilani was truly an honor.  I am very grateful for these people making an effort to keep this business alive by passing on their knowledge and experiences. – THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!!  

 

Industry Testimonials

Jim Ross, in JR's Blog, July 18, 2007

"I know Les Thatcher well and he is a friend. I have much respect for “Lester” as he is a great student of the game, a wonderful teacher of fundamental wrestling skills, and a man I had fun broadcasting with during the Smoky Mountain Wrestling days. Plus, Les is one heck of a story teller which I love."



Percy Pringle III, Owner of Gulf South Wrestling

"I've known Les Thatcher for many years, both professionally and personally.  I have been in the industry for over 30-years and I have never walked away from a conversation with him, whether it was for 30-seconds or 30-minutes, without learning something.  When we had the opportunity to have Les as a guest speaker at our training center, we jumped at the chance; because I knew it could very well be the "tipping point" for our little company.  Indeed it was.  We are looking forward to a full blown 3-day seminar in the future!"

Mike Sanders (WCW, WWE, NWA TNA):

“The last year of my life in Heartland was a good experience with Les. I got to learn how to book, how to write. I got to wrestle…For the last year, I had a lot of opportunity to train with guys like Benoit and Malenko in the Heartland Wrestling Association. Guys like Raven came up. Tommy Dreamer. Meng. Dave Taylor. You got a feel for what everybody did.”

“When WWF came along, I went to Cincinnati and I did some work up there and some booking for Les Thatcher. It's a really good organization up there, had a lot of good guys. We busted our asses but we never really got the credit because they [WWE] never gave it a chance.” 

Jim Ross, in the Ross Report, July 19th 2002

“Les Thatcher has done a wonderful job of working with us in Cincinnati.  I hope all the men and women who have worked with and for Les realize just how fortunate they are to have worked with the veteran.  Les loves our business and is a superb mentor for these kids, and we do and always will value our relationship with him.  Les is a friend and will remain so.”
 

The Wrestling Tribune, January 22 2002

"The "20/20" piece on wrestling schools aired recently, as we said in the last issue, and focused primarily on the Cincinnati school of Les Thatcher. It was a very good piece. It was amazing, but every single Thatcher student they showed looked really well trained, which is a tribute to Thatcher. They showed a 6 foot 1, 260 pound called Craig Zellner who looked like he has all the tools to make it in the business, and a smaller guy from England called Nigel McGuiness who was also real good. They showed them doing interviews and both handled themselves real well. They also showed scenes from the WCW Power Plant and focused on
Dean Roll (aka Shark Boy), who originally was trained by Thatcher.

Shawn Patrick, Senior Referee of NWA East, January 18 2002

"I would like to compliment you on the training your students receive. I had the pleasure or working with several of your students in the past few days. I was impressed by the maturity level displayed by this group vs. years in the business. Not only did they perform well in respective matches, but they took the time to help me reset the ring, boards, and canvas at a recent TV taping they were involved in. I am happy to know that someone is bringing people into the business with the correct mindset and not just promising pie in the sky. If you need an endorsement for your students from a(n) outside, I would be happy to recommend them.”

Jim Knippenberg, Cincinnati Enquirer, January 13 2000

"Like the saying goes, teach 'em to grunt and slam bodies loudly enough and the world will beat down your door. Witness Les Thatcher, owner of Main Event Pro Wrestling Camp, the Evendale school of hard knocks that teaches aspiring wrestlers how to take a hit without getting permanently creamed. Last year, Thatcher was all over national TV: Banks Tarver, producer of MTV's Real Life was here several times for a 90-minute show that ran in August. ABC's 20/20 Downtown spent three days there in September for a mid-December
segment. Now this: MSNBC producer Alexis Claiborn arrived Tuesday and remains through today, working on a "how to become a pro wrestler" feature. Focus is on workouts, training exercises and the moves a pro needs to learn. Thatcher says Claiborn will return January 22 to shoot trainee B.J. Whitmer in his first match.
It set to air in late February or early March, Thatcher says.

Dave Meltzer, The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, December 27 1999

"The long awaited 20/20 piece on training to become a wrestler aired on 12/16. It was really good as well as being pretty accurate, which is something of a rarity for school for mainstream media pieces. It focused largely on Les Thatcher's training school in Cincinnati and the Power Plant. The piece was accurate in that they noted pro wrestling was choreographed with predetermined endings, but also showed just how hard it is train to become a top pro wrestler. They showed one sequence of two trainees in the ring while Thatcher was at ringside calling one high spot after another for them to do. Thatcher's students aren't even full-time pros are more solid in the ring than a lot of wrestlers in the big three. The main people in the piece were Dean Roll, or Shark Boy, who Thatcher actually trained before going to the power plant, and since the piece was filmed, Roll was let go by WCW; Nigel McGuiness, who came all the way from England to train with Thatcher who displayed a world class attitude and enthusiasm but was undersized, and Craig Zellner, a former New Mexico football player at 6'1" 255, who can do backflips and land on his feet and who is Thatcher's current top student and who he used as an example of someone who is going to make it.They showed both men cutting interviews (McGuiness was better than many current pros already) and wrestling on a small-time show"

Wade Keller, Pro Wrestling Torch, August 21 1999

"MTV's "WWF Week" included an excellent 90 minutes documentary on professional wrestling. It included behind the scenes footage of live on the road for Triple H and Chyna, plus showed what life is like now for the virtually penniless Tony Atlas as he wrestles in the Northeast, and follows a couple of wrestlers through Les Thatcher's training camp. It ranks with "Wrestling with Shadows" on the list of the best pro wrestling documentaries ever."

Jim Knippenberg, Cincinnati Enquirer, August 3 1999

"Merciful heavens, but aren't things a'popping in Evendale? Referring here to Les Thatcher's main Event pro Wrestling Camp, a school of really hard knocks that trains young wrestlers. Consider...

* Back in March, the school caught the eye of MTV's Banks Tarver, producer of the True Life series. He has led a film crew here three times to follow student Rory fox of Watkins, Iowa, through training and his first match. Tarver wrapped up shooting last week and has an air date of August 14, times to be announced

* At the same shooting: Tarver also a piece on Dean Roll, who has been wrestling as Shark Boy since 1996. Tarver, working the "dreams come true angle," shot Roll's going away party before his move this week to Atlanta where he enters the big time: World Championship Wrestling. "He'll train there until he's ready for Nitro and pay-per-view," Thatcher says.
 
* Thatcher student Craig Zellner was just snatched up by Brady Westwater of Hollywood's Westwater/Weiss Productions to co-star in The Dalton Brothers, a feature movie about three brothers entering pro wrestling. He plays one of the brothers."

Dave Meltzer, Wrestling Observer Newsletter, August 2 1999

"Dean Roll who does indies in Ohio and the area as Shark Boy, who is something of a cult favorite of a lot of major league pro wrestlers particularly in the WWF, signed a developmental deal with WCW, which is
scouring the country trying to bring junior heavyweights into the Power Plant (Shark Boy was trained at Les Thatcher's Main Event Pro Wrestling Camp, and the HWA Cruiserweight Champion)"

Ryan Sanders, Daily Wrestling Digest, July 29 1999

"The 'fan' who accepted Ivory's challenge this past week on RAW (7/26/99) was independent valet Hellena Heavenly. Hellena currently works for the Heartland Wrestling Association in southern Ohio. She first caught the eye of WWF bookers at the Brian Pillman Memorial show, and the HWA sent in some pictures of the young valet. Titan was impressed, and asked her to do the spot this past Monday. Heavenly is currently training to be a wrestler, although she is still said to be several months away from a debut in front of people. She has been working as a valet for several months, accompanying Astin Augustus Ambrose, Esq. there are currently no plans for her to return to WWF TV."

Jim Knippenberg, Cincinnati Enquirer, May 13 1999

"Well, would you look at who's back in town - it's MTV producer Banks Tarver (True Life), shooting footage for his wrestling documentary. That's the one, recall, he's shooting at Evendale's Main Event Pro Wrestling Center, a school of hard knocks where young wrestlers learn how it's done. Tarver was there in March, shooting Matt Taglia, 24-year-old trainee learning the ropes. Taglia dropped out of the school, so Tarver is shifting his focus to Steve Moss, who wrestles under the name Rapid Delivery Rory Fox.
Tarver will shoot at the school today, then head to Hamilton's National Guard Armory Saturday to shoot Moss' match. Main Event director Les Thatcher expects Tarver back for one more session but
isn't sure yet. The show will air in the fall."

 
"Look for it next summer. Or early fall.”  That from Les Thatcher, owner of Evendale's Main Event Pro Wrestling Center, a facility that trains young wrestlers for a life in the ring. What he's telling us to look for is a TV show. Seem Banks Tarver, producer of MTV's True Life series, spent three days there in March, shooting 24 year old Matt Taglia, a 200 pound trainee from Chicago - falls, slams, drills, the stuff you gotta do before you can get in the ring. Tarver and crew will be back twice more for footage, but no dates are set. He decided to film at Main Event (it has trainees from 12 states and three countries) because of the school's reputation in the industry."

James E. Cornette, WWF Raw Magazine, September 1998

"A short trip up the road to the Queen City of Cincinnati brings us into the Heartland Wrestling Association country.  HWA head honcho Les Thatcher, a 42 year veteran of the sport, presents cards as well as operates a great training center.”

 

 


 



 

 
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