Since I’ve started my weight lifting, I’ve looked at WWE in a completely different light.
I used to love Professional Wrestling as entertainment. Especially as a kid, I would walk around with the Memorabilia, saying the catch phrases, and even went as far as telling people my father’s name was Stone Cold Steve Boston and he would “stomp a mud hole in your ass.”
However, when I started working out religiously, I started looking at the wrestlers as Athletes. When I started looking to them for inspiration, I came across one of my favorites – The Rock – and realized he was using Social Media. I figured it would be a good idea to follow him and read all of his posts. My obsession grew, and I moved onto Netflix and watched the documentaries about his Wrestling career. As I was watching, I learned a couple things that can be applied to artist (Character) development.
1. Being a Heel Is Okay
Heels are the ‘bad guys’ in the WWE. You’ll notice that as the story line progresses, the wrestler switches between good guy and heel almost seamlessly. In The Rock’s case, he started out very thankful and happy to be at the WWE until he grew tired of the “ROCKY SUCKS!” chants. They started utilizing the hate towards him, turned him into a heel, and he became one of the front runners in the WWE as such.
People hated him, and they LOVED to. When he would insult the state he was at, they would boo him the whole time, only to laugh afterward and admit that it was pretty clever and funny. There’s a difference between blatant hate and entertaining rivalry.
If you can be entertaining while being rude / confident, then apply that to your character. Don’t be afraid.
2. Try New Styles
Don’t be afraid to be diverse. While you could master one thing (The Rock, for example, is a heavyweight wrestler,) don’t be afraid to incorporate different techniques into your style. Yes, The Rock came in as a 6’5″, 275lb wrestler, but he was jumping off the turn buckles, out running his opponent and slamming them down like a train.
If you use the same flow over and over, you’ll become very mechanic and boring (yes, I think Vinny Paz is a pretty boring rapper. He’s dope, but realistically, I’d rather listen to Crooked I.) Look at Busta Rhymes. He’s the type of rapper who can spit “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See,” then turn around and rip apart “Look At Me Now” in a completely different way.
3. Play Ball!
Be ready to play ball. A lot of rappers condemn underground artists who diss bigger rappers. While 99% of the time it’s for attention, it’s also very gratifying to get noticed by the bigger artist. You have to show them that you can hang.
The Rock’s FIRST WWF match was against Triple H — it was a Title Match. The Rock won. That garnered him a lot of respect right off the bat. Imagine battling your favorite rapper and just tearing him apart limb from limb. How do you think Eminem got so much respect? He even claims that be “Bullied his way into the game…” It’s all about respect, the money comes later.
4. Garner a Hard Core Fan Base — They’ll Be The Only Ones There For You
This one’s short, ’cause it’s simple. Just think about this:
When The Rock went off to do his first movie, he came back to the WWE afterward, and had a really good response. He then went off to do another movie, and came back a year later. 50% of the stands boo’d him, because they believed he was ‘cheating’ on them. If you ever go off to try something else, just do it. Your real fans will understand and welcome you back with open arms.
Whether or not you choose to believe it, you’re a character. You are an artist, but these people only see what you show them, thus making you a character that you’re consistently molding with your art.
Just as the professional wrestlers are characters, all part of a predetermined story line. You need to build these characters and make it as relatable as possible. Of course it takes time, but it’s better to build a slow, unbreakable fan base, than to build a huge one quick (usually a one-hit wonder type of scenario.)
Take these tips or leave them….But I offer them to you.