In the old territory days, the young guys were made to watch every single match. Dutch Mantell forced a young Steve Austin to sit in a chair, watch every match on the card every night, and learn. He did, and look where it got him.
In the heyday of IWA Mid-South, when the old territories were just a memory, CM Punk, Chris Hero, Colt Cabana, and Dave Prazak would stay up all night raiding Ian Rotten’s video tape collection and watching wrestling from around the world. Prazak founded Shimmer. Cabana and Hero are two of the few making big bucks outside the WWE. Punk became a legend.
Today’s young stars grew up with Internet and YouTube. They have access to wrestling from every era, every federation, every continent, and every style. It’s Ian Rotten’s old video library times a million.
I am not excusing those who never get in the ring to train and call themselves “professional wrestlers.” There’s no excuse for not learning all you can, inside the ring and out, from veterans who know the business. There are some things you can’t learn from video, but there’s a whole lot you can learn just by watching.
There’s a reason why Stone Cold became Stone Cold. It’s the same reason Punk became Punk. It’s one of the reasons today’s indies are a far cry from the indies of fifteen years ago.
Just one of many reasons we are seeing a revival in independent wrestling.