Please select which
testimonials you'd like to read:
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...
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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,
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!!!
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.
Augustus of AWA-CWF Mid-Atlantic writes:
of Austin, Texas, writes:
Vaine attended the November 2004 seminar in Spindale, North Carolina,
Amado and Tony Elias (aka “The Big Islanders” Makua & Ka Hoku) from
Boston, Massachusetts, said:
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!
such a great experience, we are going back for the January seminar and
we are bringing other workers with us!
Darnell Anderson who attended the Elite Seminar at PWF Northeast
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.
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.
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.
Darnell Anderson, Esq.
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:
West and Kyle Storm, Owners of PWF Northeast
Anderson of Knoxville, Tennessee writes:
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:
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.
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
Christie Ricci from Nashville, Tennessee writes:
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!!!!
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."
Mike Sanders (WCW, WWE, NWA TNA):
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.”
Jim Ross, in the Ross Report, July 19th 2002
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
The Wrestling Tribune, January 22 2002
"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
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
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
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...
Dave Meltzer, Wrestling Observer Newsletter, August 2 1999
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
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
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.
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.”
2004-2006 Elite Pro Wrestling Training, EPWT.Com All rights reserved.