SoCal Wrestling School Guide


UPW’s school is based out of El Segundo and has been running since 1998. Rick Bassman is the owner of UPW while Tom Howard is classified as the head trainer. Howard was trained by Jesse Hernandez in the early 1990s and while he has never actually been a WWF developmental prospect, he has been through the WWF system. He currently wrestles for ZERO-ONE as its top gaijin and is UPW’s champion. Howard is respected throughout the SoCal scene for his knowledge within the ring, both as a performer and as a fighter. Bassman (like Roland Alexander further up North) believes wrestlers should have knowledge of how to defend themselves for real before they master the performance aspect of the business and Howard represents that ideology perfectly.

Other main instructors include the Hardkore Kidd and Shane and Shannon Ballard. Kidd was originally trained in lucha libre (Super Boy has been given credit as one of his trainers) and later trained under Howard and Chris Daniels in UPW. Kidd teaches basics. The Ballards were also originally trained in lucha libre by Martin Marin in WPW. They have worked around the country and teach all levels. Daniels and Samoa Joe are regular substitute instructors. Daniels, along with Mike Modest and American Dragon, is typically credited with being the best independent wrestler in the country, while Joe was originally trained in the defunct UIWA, but is now recognized as one of UPW’s greatest successes.

The instructors are top notch in UPW and so is the safety aspect. All students are required to have written Emergency/Injury and Liability Insurance policies on file. The school is treated like a business, not as a hobby, which is reflected with these mandatory safety documents. The school has also taken steps in the past to curtail student injury before it could happen to them. When a student injured his neck in Shawn Michaels’ school in a pile driver attempt, the move was banned in UPW’s training sessions. Head instructor Tom Howard also is respected by many for his knowledge of injury and how to deal with it. I am unaware of any serious injuries within UPW’s school.

UPW’s school is well known for being a place where previously trained wrestlers come to further their experience as well. Joey Ryan, Ricky Reyes, Rocky Romero, Keiji Sakoda, Frankie Kazarian, and Mikey Henderson were all initially trained in EWF but came to UPW to gain further advancement. Tommy Wilson and others came from Ken Shamrock’s Lions Den school recently for the same reason. Tough Enough’s Hawk and Anni are continuing their training with UPW as well.

Everything about UPW is top notch, although its price is somewhat steep (over $5000 for a full term new student). For workers with prior experience, though, it is much cheaper and offers tons of advancement in the industry, not just with in-ring training, but also in the entertainment business (Bassman is keyed in there) and to larger leagues (former WWF deal, current ZERO-ONE deal). To date, two UPW-trained wrestlers are regulars on WWF television (John Cena and Victoria), a dozen more have been given developmental deals, and twenty-five have been given shots overseas with ZERO-ONE.

Go to or call (949) 475-7663 for more information.


EWF’s school is owned by Jesse Hernandez and is based out of San Bernardino. Its head instructor is Hernandez himself. He has been training wrestlers since the early 90’s. Steve Masters and Touradj are the other main instructors. Masters is a product of Hernandez’ training in the mid 90’s. While not very well known outside of EWF, Masters is one of the head liners within the fed. Touradj has some shoot training to go along with the training he has received from Hernandez in 2000. Bobby Bradley is a regular substitute instructor and is the most well known and respected of the three. He has wrestled around the world, including with AJPW in the mid 90’s. For example, Bo Cooper credits much of his success and knowledge to Bradley’s teaching.

While the regular instructors (without Hernandez) are not as well known and highly acclaimed as UPW’s, the safety aspect of the school is taken just as seriously. All students are required to have Emergency/Injury information on file and are also required to pay a fee for insurance. Hernandez’s experience working for the San Bernardino Fire Department has also given him perhaps the most knowledge of anyone in SoCal on how to properly treat injury. When questioned on how to treat a concussion, he gave one of the most detailed, careful explanations possible. Like UPW, I am unaware of any serious injuries coming out of the EWF school.

EWF’s school has a strong rep for getting students good initial training but the large number of guys that have gone on to UPW’s school seems to indicate that at a certain point EWF doesn’t seem to have what the guys need. To EWF’s defense, some, like Bo Cooper, have stuck with EWF throughout and get regular bookings and have built relationships with bigger names like Honky Tonk Man. On the other hand, while Herndanez is well known to WWF officials and has entertainment connections, they are not at the same level as Bassman’s and so EWF-only students will not gain the same opportunities for advancement as their peers in UPW. EWF has one graduate in WWF, Rico Constantino. Although the promotion has recently claimed to have gotten several students deals through Antonio Inoki’s NJPW dojo in Santa Monica, none have actually made it to Japan yet.

EWF is much cheaper than UPW, which makes it a better option for many students. Students can pay $25 per lesson or $200 for twelve lessons. The seventeen month fee for that would likely come below $3000, far less than UPW’s $5000 fee.

Go to or call (909) 349-1061 or (909) 886-5201 for more info.


Revolution Pro’s school is based out of Anaheim and has been running since 1999. The owner and head trainer is American Wild Child. He has been wrestling since the mid 90’s and although RevPro did not come into existence until 1999, he had heavy influence on the careers of Blitzkrieg, Super Dragon, Yakuza, and Mr. Excitement before the promotion opened. UPW has more “shoot” training, EWF focuses on American-style basics, while RevPro’s students are always more flashy than their peers. Rising Son in 2000, Shogun in 2001 and Gallinero Tres in this year are good examples of the type of wrestlers RevPro churns out. They may not have the basics of UPW or EWF trainees but many fans take to them quicker based on the amount of spots they know.

King Faviano and Stryker have done training at the school as well. Like AWC, Favi is an experienced wrestler with a lucha background. Stryker trained with EWF in the late 90’s and continued his training recently with RevPro. Like Touradj in EWF, he is relatively inexperienced both as a wrestler and as a trainer. Super Dragon, Disco Machine, and some of the other RevPro regulars sometimes help with the training but none are regulars.

RevPro’s safety programs are more lapse than UPW or EWF’s. Students must sign liability paperwork although not all sign any insurance or emergency action forms. None of the trainers have sports medicine educational backgrounds or any extensive first aid training like Jesse Hernandez, although AWC has studied in sports psychology and with his experience, has good knowledge of injury. Students also trust him. For example, he will take injured students to the hospital himself if something happens.

RevPro’s rookies get a lot of acclaim their first year but it seems their progression slows down considerably after that year, unlike UPW’s. Rising Son had big 2000 and 2001 years but has been terribly disappointing in 2002, while the same goes for Shogun. In that way, they are somewhat like EWF in that after the first year or so, more experience elsewhere may be important for the wrestlers to really evolve. AWC also has some entertainment connects. His role with WB’s Nikki got some guys like Super Dragon extra money and exposure and also everyone he got on the TV show got the chance to become a part of the Screen Actors Guild which leads to more acting gigs as extras. RevPro has gotten one guy to a big league with Blitzkrieg, although he actually preceded the actual promotion.

RevPro is cheaper than either UPW or EWF. Actual rates are unknown but they are nothing too amazing. Many backyarders with little money have flocked to RevPro and WPW in the past for places to get fully trained (Gallinero Tres is one example).

Go to for more info.


World Power Wrestling’s school is based out of Anaheim and has been running throughout the 90’s. The owner and head trainer is Martin Marin, who also wrestles as El Genio. He has been wrestling for years and is a veteran of the SoCal scene. He’s just recently gotten R2K, Infernal, and Silver Tyger matches on a Toryumon show in Mexico City and has a strong connection with Ultimo Dragon and many other lucha stars such as Mil Mascaras. The school is primarily lucha oriented although American-style workers are welcome as well. Other trainers include Silver Tyger and Lil Cholo, Marin’s top two up-and-coming guys. Cholo’s rep has grown throughout SoCal in the past year and Tyger is set to join the same status soon.

WPW has the loosest safety program of all the major schools. No insurance or liability paperwork has to be filled out. Students must only put down a down payment before training and then they may start. The positives to this is how easily anyone can get in WPW to train while the negatives would be legal, for if something were to happen, such as in the Brian Ong case in APW. Not having any sort of Emergency Action Plan on file or any detailed student info could hurt WPW bad, but nothing like that has ever happened before. Marin is respected by his students for his care and safety. He knows how to deal with cuts, concussions, and breaks and drives the injured students to the hospital himself. To my knowledge, none of the trainers in WPW have any sports medicine education or the first aid background Jesse Hernandez has.

WPW’s school is similar to RevPro in the wrestlers they churn out. It was also haven for former SCWA backyarders who could not afford training with UPW, EWF, or another school. Gallinero Tres credits RevPro for his training, for example, but he also trained with WPW during the same time. R2K and Infernal are young guys that just recently came out of the school that have impressed people and work a similar “spotty” style RevPro’s rookies show. Where WPW’s school has the most strength is its venue and the amount of experience people can get. WPW has a permanent spot in the Anaheim Marketplace and can run weekly in addition to running practices every day. Many of UPW’s students or rookies have taken advantage of this to gain weekly experience. Supa Badd, Matrix, Preston Scott, Joey Ryan, and others have wrestled there regularly in addition to their commitments elsewhere. Marin does not have the entertainment connections other promoters have, but he is well keyed into the lucha scene and his guys are offered great opportunity for advancement in the lucha world.

Like RevPro, WPW is cheaper than the other schools. The down payment is considerably smaller than UPW or EWF’s, and the per session payment is minuscule.

You can e-mail for more info, although the school and fed are not running during the winter season.


XPW’s defunct school was ran by all sorts of people. Dynamite D was the recognized head trainer for awhile and the most respected due to his veteran status in the SoCal scene. At some point in the last year, he faded out and many different people ran the classes, including Scott Snott, who has to be considered even less qualified to train than Touradj in EWF.

Students had to sign liability waivers but not all (if any) paid for or signed any insurance paper work. Students also signed paperwork giving XPW full rights to any gimmick ideas they used and also had to give an oral commitment not to work for any other fed in the area. If they did, they were not welcome back and were also banned from attending XPW shows as fans.

Leroy is the most famous XPW rookie although his lack of success may be one of the reasons the school is now defunct. Several GSCW wrestlers such as Stepfather and Blazing Tyger trained in XPW. XPW does not have a very impressive class of graduates.

It is currently out of business although contact info for the school should it ever return is (818) 755-8757. You could also go to or e-mail (aka GQ Money) for more info.


Other feds such as GSCW and WCWA have hinted at schools in the future. WCWA is based out of San Diego which would be very attractive to students based out of that area who don’t want to drive an hour or more North for all the other schools. Ken Shamrock’s Lions Den pro-wrestling training in San Diego seems to be defunct like XPW’s, so WCWA would be the only option. If both feds start up schools in the future, I’ll try to gain more info.


Based on the information provided, it seems as though UPW offers the safest most effective training. It’s rookies are always acclaimed and it has the most safety procedures of any school running while also offering the most advancement in the industry through Bassman’s many connections.

EWF is the next best bet if only for its safety program, which while not as extensive as UPW’s, is still farther along than the other schools. It offers solid basic training, but evidence points to the fact that students eventually need to branch out to other feds such as UPW to go farther in the business.

RevPro and WPW trail EWF only because of the safety issue. Both feds produce flashier rookies who gain more press in their first year. If you are very interested in only lucha, WPW would be your best choice due to Marin’s connections. If you love seeing your name being praised on the net, RevPro would be your choice there.

None of this may matter, though, if price is the only option. UPW is the most expensive which rules out many people while EWF is cheaper but also relatively expensive compared to RevPro and WPW. With Brian Ong’s case with APW becoming so high profile, wrestling training is being recognized as a physical, dangerous act. For example, it is a risk to choose WPW over UPW. Although unfortunately, not everyone has that financial choice. None of the four active schools covered are really considered unnecessarily dangerous. Although some cover their bases better than others. In the end, it’s the students’ choice.

It should be noted that I have never attended any of the schools and the information provided is merely meant as a guide. All prospective students are encouraged to contact each school themselves and make a final choice only after that.


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