TORONTO — TNA Knockout Taylor Wilde headlined an all-afternoon Squared Circle Training fantasy training camp Sunday afternoon at Squared Circle’s training facility. Eighteen bright-eyed and bushy-tailed students attended to learn all they could and as Wilde noted to SLAM! Wrestling afterward, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Students were introduced to a various assortment of basic rolls, lock-up techniques, bumping, submission maneuvers, primarily taught hands-on and personal by the TNA women’s tag-team championship co-holder. She made sure to impart her words of wisdom early and often, in a manner which the students could absorb.

Taylor Wilde addresses the fantasy camp audience. Photo by Kenai Andrews.

Squared Circle Training is the training-school wing of local promotion BSE Pro Wrestling, considered one of the leading schools in Ontario. Wilde started wrestling in BSE Pro (formerly known as Blood, Sweat and Ears) before getting the call from TNA.

“There are a lot of fly-by-night places everywhere in the world,” Wilde, whose real name is Shantelle Malawski, explained to SLAM! Wrestling. “Specifically in Ontario, now that you don’t need a wrestling license to actually run a show or have a school, there’s even more of them. When I say fly-by-night, I mean you go to a school, and pay $5,000 to have wrestling for one year, you come back the next day and they’re packed up, gone, and they don’t exist. All the Knockouts that are Canadian came from this school, which is not a fluke. This is where I got all my nuts and bolts to competently wrestle in North America, in Mexico. I was also able to go to WWE and be more than prepared for developmental and help teach other girls and adapt to many styles. So, in Toronto is where I learned everything pretty much.”

Shantelle Malawski (the future Taylor Wilde) at the Squared Circle Training Centre in Toronto when she first started training. Photo courtesy Squared Circle Training.

Wilde was assisted by BSE’s play-by-play team of Dave Blezard and “Bloodthirsty” Bob Kapur, who is also a SLAM! Wrestling writer, as they explained the science behind an effective promo.

Special guest Madison Rayne of The Beautiful People also appeared, posing for pictures and signing autographs.

SLAM! Wrestling staffer and participant Andy McNamara summed up his thoughts on the camp: “What a great experience from a writer’s perspective to actually step into the ring and get a small taste of what it’s like to train,” he said. “Shantelle did an amazing job as trainer and added so much value to the session.”

“I didn’t know what to expect early, but Taylor Wilde is really cool,” added 16-year-old Pickering student Ulises Minor-Vazquez. “I didn’t really watch her much, but I think I’m going to now. [Creating a promo] was hard at the beginning, but once you found what you were going to do, it became easier.”

“At first walking into the Squared Circle Training was intimidating enough seeing all the people there who seem comfortable and know what they’re doing,” said first-timer Sarah Farrer, 29. “Standing on the ring for the first time is like, ‘Wow!’ But as soon as Taylor started talking I calmed right down. She acknowledged that everyone was at different levels and that we would take it at everyone’s comfort zone, which was relieving. Plus her great teaching ability, supportive comments and character made the rest of the day one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had.

“I really enjoyed the in-ring experience a lot, the character development part was interesting and informative and the bonus of getting to watch some students perform topped it off,” Farrer concluded.

Wilde demonstrates a move. Photo by Kenai Andrews.

The students ranged in experience and age, and included Titus Smith and Shayna Szumach, a pair of seasoned students who drove from Rochester, New York to attend.

Wilde offered some additional nuggets for any other wide-eyed wrestling enthusiasts.

“You need to protect yourself and your opponent,” she said. “It’s a dangerous industry and if you want to be in it for a long time, you need to keep those skills sharp so you can protect yourself and your partner, or multiple partners in my case.”