Published on February 26, 2013 | by Ben Bailey

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Wrestling with a university degree

Wrestler and student Noam Dar

Mod-inspired wrestler and student, Noam Dar, celebrates winning his match.
Photo: Ross Watson

Glasgow Caledonian University student and professional wrestler Noam Dar is a unique individual.

By day the teenage Scot is the archetypal student, studying for a social sciences degree, but come nightfall he becomes an entertainer, plying his chosen trade in front of rabid audiences for diminutive paydays.

The 19-year-old has been forced to overcome a hectic schedule that combines his day-to-day classes wiith regularly travelling long distances to perform in places as far away as London.

As if this was not already enough to deal with, Dar will always be up against the public perception of wrestling as simply greased up, under-dressed men pretending to fight one another.

And while there may be something inherently absurd about this quasi sport, wrestling at its core is performance art.

Every graduating student is soon faced with real life and the prospect of a full time job, which if you’re anything like most, fills you with dread and a deep-seated loathing at how society operates.

Balancing act

While this may be unavoidable – tragically – life at university is then nothing if not a balancing act between your aspirations and the actuality of how to achieve them. With that being said, a career in professional wrestling is probably not something most students are contemplating.

“Like a lot of people, I watched it (wrestling) as a kid, but, being from Scotland, actually becoming a wrestler seemed unattainable. In a way it’s like American football, in the sense you can watch it but never actually imagine yourself doing it.

“In school I was very determined to get my Highers to go to university, and at that point I was quite fresh to the wrestling so it was exciting and new, but I managed to keep a bit of composure in terms of not going you know, ‘screw studying I’m going to be a wrestler Mummy’”.

Dar’s wrestling persona or ‘gimmick’ is that of a cocky, preening, mod lookalike technician. Clad in an Adidas shell suit he struts his way to the ring much in the way of a young Liam Gallagher.

Reaction

“I take a lot of my influences from music and film. Almost every variation of character has been done before in wrestling, so I try to use anything that I can to stand out and be unique.”

In the ring he carries himself as a star and understands how to provoke a reaction, be it negative or positive from the crowd. Dar comes across as an affable, intelligent young man who fully understands the uncertainty of the wrestling industry.

“In a sense, I think it [being a wrestler] has made me more determined to study, because I don’t want to be this kind of clichéd ‘I’m going to be a wrestler’ and then have nothing to fall back on if I don’t achieve monetary success to justify the ridiculousness of all this.

“My long term plan, in terms of a real life job, would be to do a post-grad for teaching and either be a primary teacher or a history teacher in secondary school. In terms of wrestling, I would say by 25, 26 if I feel I’m not going to make this a successful full time job then I don’t imagine I would have much problem stopping and fully committing to a real life job.”

Life skills

Darr then went on to discuss how being a wrestler has impacted his university life.

“Wrestling carries over to real life, in a sense that it gives you much more confidence to perform under pressure. I know it’s completely different but wrestling gives you that ‘it will be alright on the night’ mentality, which is quite good to have for exams. And if my exams don’t go that well, I’ve got this other thing.

“I have learnt real life skills. Being able to accept any situation that’s chucked at you. People skills are a major aspect of wrestling, not a lot of people appreciate that. Performance part aside, the social etiquette in wrestling is very key to any success you want to achieve.”

As far as his ambitions in wrestling go, Dar is pragmatic: “I want to do the things everyone else wants to do in wrestling. I want to make money. I want to be able to do the time, scrapping along as many years need be and then I want to make the money to justify this, but I’m in no way under any illusion that wrestling owes me anything.

A lot of people are, and have that perception that it’s like a length of service when it’s not. Being a wrestler you have so many incredible, ridiculous experiences. It’s so unique it’s not really comparable to anything else.”

Indeed, wrestling is quite unlike any other form of sport or entertainment and is hard to quantify. Now if you have a conversation with any dullard about professional wrestling and they will inevitably respond with the tedious question “don’t you know it’s all fake?”

Professional wrestling has many different nuances and can be viewed in different ways. But the chances are unless you were once a childhood fan, you will never understand the appeal.  For those who do understand, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not, no explanation will ever be good enough.

 

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