How to Quit Your Job and Start a Wrestling School

Wrestling School
(Image credit: Unknown)

Gerry Vanderhorne and Greg Burridge take people from all backgrounds and train them to be larger-than-life professional wrestlers at the London School of Lucha Libre. They also run the wild and unpredictable wrestling show Lucha Britannia (

Greg Burridge

How did this wrestling school happen then?

I used to be a photography assistant. The job was pretty cool but I hated commuting. I’d pay for my season ticket to stand on a train and look down at the floor. I thought, “I can’t do this for the rest of my life”. I ultimately got sacked. I was really bad at it. 

Haha opening a wrestling school would hardly be most people's next logical step though?

Life tells you being a wrestler isn’t worthwhile. Well why not? Life’s too short not to take risks. I went to America to teach photography to kids. I was walking about NYC and I had this intense urge to go into a pharmacy. When I came back outside, a truck had skidded off the road and crashed exactly where I would have been standing. It made me realise that life’s short. I decided to follow my dream to be a pro wrestler. I’d rather have no money and a lifetime of stories than be really rich and not have a chance to spend it because I was working too hard.

Garry Vanderhorne: 

Isn't wrestling fake?

You can’t fake gravity. If your body hits the ground from a height, it hurts. It’s not normal to do this. It’s training to be a real-life superhero. When you watch a movie, you don’t say, “That movie is fake”. You know it’s a piece of entertainment that requires a lot of skill in multiple directions to make.

How did you start wrestling?

I was severely injured in a fight - I had bad nerve damage in my arm and couldn’t turn my neck properly. And because I had time off work I started watching wrestling, and I was like, “How have these guys not got neck problems like mine?” Turns out they all did what’s called a wrestler’s bridge. I started doing it myself and it slowly got stronger and stronger and I was able to go back to the gym. I started rehabilitating and then I found a wrestling school. 

What's the best part about having your own school?

What we do is about making a difference to people’s lives – not about money. On the whole people’s lives are quite miserable and they’re quite unhappy with what they’re doing in their jobs, their relationships, their family lives. We’ve had couples meet here. One couple has got married and had a baby. You also get natural athletes who are quite bland. It’s our job to extract their special magic thing. Some people might be interested but think it’s hard to get involved - I can open that door. Our wrestling shows are like nothing else. Where else are you going to see a robot fighting a voodoo witch doctor? It needs to be seen to be believed. It’s ridiculous. 

What sucks about it?

I’ve broken a few bones along the way. I once did a dive in a venue where the ceiling was quite low. I couldn’t jump up as high as usual so I jumped forward instead but the people I was fighting were a little bit further away and weren’t quite ready. I tried to rectify my mistake mid-jump and land on my feet but instead I landed diagonally on one foot. I shattered my calcaneus [heel bone], broke my ankle and tore the tendons on the outside of my leg. My heel bone sheared in half and there were seven breaks in one half. I knew immediately that I had a bag of bones in my boots. Despite the pain I stayed in character. Breaking character is the worst thing you can do.

Matt joined Men’s Fitness in April 2014 as features writer after spending several years writing for a luxury lifestyle magazine, swapping champagne and canapés for cardio and leg days.

Matt is a keen Thai boxer and his interest in fitness took off when he made the decision to compete semi-professionally and had to get in shape. Training aside, he says the worst thing about fighting is resisting the urge to apologise all the time. 

Oh, and he’s still on the look out for a decent fight nickname after being told ‘The Best’ was reaching a little bit…

Favourite move: Any kind of squat variation

Favourite sport: MMA and Muay Thai kickboxing

Personal best: Competing in a semi-pro K1 bout

Targets: Sub-1hr 40m half marathon and winning a fight by KO

Scariest MF moment: Writing about myself in the third-person for this profile

Favourite MF website story: Spider-Man workout

Favourite trainer quote: ‘Hands up, chin down’ – every striking coach ever

Biggest gym crime: Avoiding the weights and sticking to the treadmill