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Tracy Higgs Takes on Professional Wrestling

February 3, 2023

Friday Vibes, Women in Sports, Motivation for Women

I couldn’t imagine how I was ever going to try wrestling as a 58-year-old woman, one slightly past her prime wrestling starter age, but I was pleasantly surprised when a 27-year-old co-worker of my husband, who started professional wrestling a year ago, offered to “show me the ropes.”  

Admitting that I was a bit unsure of myself, I walked into the Institute of Professional Wrestling doors, wearing blue, not my traditional pink, to blend in with the dudes I’d be with. I was greeted by my friend Mark, his coach and four other guys there for the evening’s workout. I started by sharing my sports background to show them I wasn’t there as a joke but rather as someone truly interested in learning their sport and trying it out.

Immediately we began warming up with footwork, running in and out of ladders on the ground, in different ways. “Footwork is most essential in wrestling,” our coach Isys Ephex, a long time wrestler and coach stated. A good twenty-minute running of the ladders got the heart rate up. Next, the men went into the ring practicing different moves as I watched and asked questions. Before I knew it, I was in the ring to learn some necessary beginner moves involving multiple rolls crisscrossing the four corners of the ring. I hadn’t done somersaults in forty years but it came back to me sort of,  if not as gracefully as  wished.

Coach Isys showing me how it is done.

Then the guys got into doing more individual work while I watched and talked to each man waiting for their turn in the ring to learn why they do pro wrestling. Soon enough,  it was my time to get in the ring to learn specific ways to run into the corner of the ring, throw your body up and then feet out, propel yourself off, and then do it again in the opposite corner. There are ways to use, not only your body but the apparatus, to your advantage in doing this.   

Next it was time to watch the guys spar, or wrestle, each other performing specific choreographed moves with sounds and “acting” – thus theatrical athletics. You just don’t go into a ring to compete with someone without knowing what you are doing, if you are the “good” or “bad” guy and how your choreography sells the crowd. Sometimes there are hits and punches that land, but good wrestlers know how to move so it looks and sounds like it authentically, thus the practice.

One last call into the ring for me so I could learn the most basic technique of “locking up,” a technique when a pro wrestler has their first contact with their opponent. It is usually a collar and elbow tie-up where each wrestler grabs their opponent behind the neck. Oh, I was ready for this one.  As Coach Isys and I did a number of lock-ups, I told him it felt like waltzing with him, which created a chuckle, but that is what it felt like at least for this beginner. Movements back and forth, following his lead, around the ring and into the final corner. I liked it!

Thanks to Mark aka @markuszeal on Instagram (follow him) for inviting me to the ring

After two and half hours which, went by quickly, we all gathered in the ring for a photo. I told them about the name contest for my WWE name – the Savage Suffragette – to which they all said, “that’s too long!” so they asked my full name and they all said, “Your name is Tracy Higgs!”  So there you have it, my official WWE name if I ever go into pro wrestling officially.

What I learned from these awesome guys and the sport, is it is way harder than you think it is so the professionals on television or in the rings have put in tons of training. It is very athletic so you need muscles, strength and also a good memory for choreography, along with some vocal prompts and noises to sell what you are doing. I can easily say, I had fun and learned a lot as well as having some aches and pains now as I type, which I expected, and hold in great honor for my attempt.

You can find out more about the Institute of Professional Wrestling on their Facebook page. Go try it out one night and you might like me, wish you could go back.

Pro Wrestling in Syracuse NY at its Finest
Tracy Higgs and her guys!

Note: Professional wrestling is a dramatic enactment of wrestling as a spectator sport. “Promotions” are the way wrestling federations create events featuring pro wrestlers. In the United States currently there are four professional wrestling promotions: WWE, Impact Wrestling, Ring of Honor, and All Elite Wrestling (AEW). In 2015, WWE revamped its women’s divisions by hiring mainly independent wrestlers opposed to models.

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