The team at Fale Dojo have a new reason to be immensely proud of their most recent intakes: Michael Richards, Andrew Villalobos, Ben Payne, and Nathan McCarter have been accepted into the New Japan Pro Wrestling Dojo where they will receive further training in the hopes of achieving their ultimate ambition of competing on the NJPW roster.
Richards, Villalobos, Payne, and McCarter recently graduated from Fale Dojo following their successful completion of the professional wrestling training course. This three-month regime is regarded as one of the best programmes in the world that specialise in Strong Style. Fale Dojo offers the highest level of training and is the only NJPW affiliated dojo in the southern hemisphere.
“From the first day they started training, I made it clear to the trainees that there were no guarantees of making it to Japan,” said Bad Luck Fale, founder and Head Trainer of Fale Dojo, as he recounted on the students’ first day at training. “All they had to do was train hard and get through it, then the rest would come.”
Having been through the New Japan Dojo himself, Fale is fully aware of the requirements that are necessary for a pro wrestler to succeed and have longevity in the wrestling profession. “I’ve certainly seen them grow strong, physically and mentally,” explained Fale. “However, what they’ve gone through at Fale Dojo is only just a taste of what they would expect from the NJPW Dojo.”
Young lion, Michael Richards wrestled throughout New Zealand, Australia and in the United States before training at Fale Dojo, and in his travels, he also received training from other established facilities. As a product of Fale Dojo, Richards attests to its reputation. “The experience training at Fale Dojo is like no other. I’ve been to the Ring of Honor Dojo, I’ve been to WWE’s Performance Center, but the training there pales in comparison to Fale Dojo.”
“They push you to your limit, and they want you to be an elite athlete,” said Richards as he highlighted the level of expectation that the Fale Dojo trainers demand of the students. “Not only did they teach me pro wrestling but they also taught me boxing, kickboxing and amateur wrestling, and a huge amount of discipline.”
When he was informed of his acceptance into the New Japan Dojo, Richards’ initial reaction was of disbelief. “It’s quite a weird feeling because it almost doesn’t feel real. When I was younger, I didn’t think I would ever become a pro wrestler”. Now realising what’s ahead, Richards sees the opportunity that could elevate him to an international level. “But now, I have a chance to prove myself to one of the biggest companies in the world. It’s really mind-blowing.”
Fellow graduate Nathan McCarter moved from New South Wales, Australia to train at Fale Dojo. “I relocated for the 3 months, it wasn’t a hard decision to move into the Dojo,” said McCarter. The visiting Australian also came with prior wrestling experience and explained the challenges in adjusting to the course. “The dojo was such a hard transition, that first few weeks were gruelling to the point where I really didn’t know if I could make it.”
McCarter explained in detail the demands of the body and mind that were put in place for the purpose of stretching him beyond his limitations. “The dojo gets you in this weird mindset where you either believe you’re the worst wrestler in the world or that you’ve got the potential to be the greatest,” McCarter told that his greatest battle was the isolation he experienced in being away from his support system, although he is relieved to have withstood the challenges. “It’s a hard mental barrier that needed overcoming, as well as the brutal physical punishment and the factors of missing your family and being essentially alone for 3 months, but seeing it pay off makes me feel it was all worth it.”
“Once I overcame all the mental adversity I think I started to thrive and was able to grow as a person and a performer,” reflected McCarter, as he openly spoke about the valuable lessons he learned at Fale Dojo. “I was given avenues and the choice on working hard and succeeding.”
McCarter also shared of his excitement about training at the NJPW Dojo. “I’m looking forward to continuing working hard,” said McCarter, determined to grow and to reach his goal as a pro wrestler. “The possibility of becoming a contracted full-time wrestler makes me so hungry and I look forward to extending my knowledge and ability as much as possible”.
Fale Dojo General Manager/Coach, Mark Tui expressed his thoughts in guiding the young lions on their journey thus far. “They worked hard and came up against a lot of obstacles, but they overcame them,” stated Tui. “It was our privilege to have them at the dojo and I look forward to seeing their progress in the coming future.”
The graduates from Fale Dojo will be moving to Japan in pairs with the first two leaving in October, followed by the second two on a later date.