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Panny's Guide to Professional Wrestling

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Panny's Guide to Professional Wrestling

Post by Calamity Panfan » Sun Apr 09, 2017 6:16 pm

I've got a general wrestling thread, but I've been thinking of doing this for a while and decided a separate might be the best way of doing it. Basically I've been gradually obsessed with professional wrestling for about two years, and I'd like to maybe share it with you. So I've decided to come up with a little guide where I first break down some basics of pro wrestling, then do a guide to the different companies there out there - strengths, weaknesses, certain styles and storytelling methods, etc. - so people who may be interested can have an idea of what they wanna do. If you have any questions, please let me know!

So let's get started on this thing.

A trusty guide to basic wrestling terms:

Pro wrestling very much has its own vocabulary, just like any other real or fake sport. These get thrown out quite a bit, so I'll do a quick dictionary guide here. Cool? Cool.

Work (n) - A "work" basically means something planned to happen. Wrestling as a whole is a "work" - generally predetermined and choreographed, acting.

Work (v) - To act in the constructs of the greater "work." A wrestler

Shoot - The opposite of a work. Anything unplanned that happens in a wrestling match is a "shoot." It can be intentional or unintentional. Unintentional would be a wrestler accidentally breaking out of an accent that's part of his/her character. Intentional could be a wrestler getting mad at his opponent for messing up and actually hitting him.

Worker - Basically another term for "wrestler," though it is sometimes used to describe anyone involved in the "work" of wrestling, including commentators, managers, etc.

Kayfabe - Kayfabe is the umbrella term for the storylines of wrestling. A wrestler keeps kayfabe by staying in character and acting like everything's real. Kayfabe is "broken" when outside, non-storyline life is referenced.

Worked Shoot - The intentional breaking of kayfabe to make wrestling feel more "real." A small example would be somebody in a speech referring to Triple H by his real name, Paul. The idea is to make things in feuds more personal. When done well, it can be really good. It is often not done well.

Promo - A speech given by a wrestler or manager. Often done in live settings in the ring, but can be done backstage or in pre-shot videos. Generally used to establish/build characters when they're not having matches, or to get reactions before and after matches.

Gimmick - The particular character a wrestler is playing.

Face/Technico - The hero of a match

Heel/Rudo - The villain of a match

Tweener - Someone who isn't necessarily good or bad.

Note: Face/heel roles in general are blurred nowadays because cheering heels and booing faces is a lot more common than it used to be.

Turn - A wrestler going from face-to-heel, heel-to-face, etc.

Belt - Because belts are generally the trophies wrestlers win for earning championships, the word "belt" is often used in place of "championship" or "title" in general.

Sell - A wrestler acting hurt, "selling" the damage taken in a match.

Swerve - A twist in the storyline to shock fans

Stiff/Snug - Wrestlers using actual strikes on each other for a more realistic feeling in matches

Jobber - A wrestler whose purpose is to lose and get other wrestlers over with the crowd

Stable - A collection of wrestlers who have a common purpose.

Manager - A non-wrestler who aids the wrestler. This can include cutting promos for them, providing general moral support for them or cheating to help the wresetler win.

Pop - Vocal audience approval

Heat - Vocal audience disapproval. Pops and heat are used to measure fan reaction. Ideally, faces should get pops and heels get heat.

---

Brief History of Pro Wrestling

Pro wrestling has its origins in carnivals, as companies would put on fake fights for the entertainment of fans. Wrestling is often still referred to as a "carny business" due to a lot of people backstage wanting to rip-off fans and/or workers themselves. It's **** up and sad. Eventually throughout the 20th century, wrestling moved on from just being a carnival attraction into an attraction of itself. Up until the mid-late 80s, usually one promotion dominated a particular region of the country. That changed when a particularly greedy **** named Vincent Kennedy McMahon decided to take over the competition and expand his territory (the World(Wide) Wrestling Federation) nationwide and eventually globally. Cable and television deals helped expand the popularity of wrestling especially, and wrestling companies had a much greater reach. In the 90s, there were two major companies in World Championship Wrestling and the World Wrestling Federation competing for American televisions. Both companies had flagship shows on Monday nights, so this was dubbed the "Monday Night Wars." This was the time wrestling was most profitable and popular in the mainstream. Eventually a series of **** decisions basically killed WCW's popularity and the company was bought out by WWF. Now, wrestling is generally considered a mroe niche interest and there's not a whole lot of realistic competition. However, while there's still only one real major player in the market, there's more alternatives than ever due to the internet making it easy for other, smaller companies to get their product out.

Different Styles of Wrestling

Wrestling has different styles, many of them have their origins in regions, especially worldwide regions. Here are the most prominent.

Sports entertainment - This is the WWE style, as "sports entertainment" is what McMahon prefers people call wrestling. Production values are increased, often more focus on out-of-ring content. Inside the ring, it's a lot safer style and generally lower risk. Character work in matches is just as important/perhaps more important than the actual physical acts.

Puroresu - Japanese pro wrestling. It's often associated with "strong style" pro wrestling - so this is more influenced by MMA. So there's a lot more strikes and submission holds in this style to give it a more athletic feeling.

Lucha libre - Mexican pro wrestling. Oftentimes workers adopt masks as part of their characters and keep their real identities hidden. Things move a lot faster in lucha, and more high-flying maneuvers are used here. With the larger-than-life, almost superhero-like characters that luchadors use, there's a lot less selling and there's often not as much of an effort at making things feel real.

Catch-style - This is a more European-centered style. Once again this has some roots in MMA, but also other forms of "shoot" wrestling. Strikes and high-flying maneuvers can be used, but often the grappling and submission aspects are the most important. Former MMA fighters and amateur wrestlers tend to adopt catch and "technical" style wrestling styles.

Hardcore - Hardcore wrestling isn't necessarily regional, although it is more popular in other regions (the American south loves hardcore wrestling). There's more of a brawl-type feel here, and weapons are often used. This style also can have varying levels of blood/gore. A streetfight where chairs and ladders and tables are used but there's no blood is hardcore. It's just not as hardcore as literal "deathmatches" where wrestlers cut themselves the hell up. Obviously, your mileage may vary.
Shoot-style - This is a style that's not as popular today, though you most often see it in European companies. This is like catch-style and puroresu but there's even more emphasis on making it seem like MMA. Often only submissions and knockouts are allowed. Sometimes matches are divided into rounds.

These are very general styles of wrestling, and modern wrestling companies all around the world usually use a mix of all the styles in some degree for variety's sake.

Whew. That was a lot. If you wanna stick with me, next time I'm going to break down the three major American promotions. That's WWE and the two most prominent competitors - Impact Wrestling and Ring of Honor.
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Post by Marilink » Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:56 pm

This is pretty fascinating. In one of your later posts, think you could write up a section on the appeal of Wrestling? I admire Wrestling from afar, and over the years I've come into contact with a lot more people who love it than I expected (yourself included). I'm fairly certain I'll ever get into it, but why people like it is of great interest to me.
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Post by Calamity Panfan » Sun Apr 09, 2017 9:14 pm

Yes, certainly. I do plan on having a longform post about why people love wrestling and breaking down my absolute favorite wrestling feud ever to explain why it connects with me and so many others. For now I'll give a relatively short answer.

There's a variety of different reasons people like wrestling, and those reasons are varied. I think an overall theme that will come up though is that it's fantastic escapist entertainment. As "fake" as much of wrestling is, it's also very real. The risks the people in the ring are going through on a daily basis are insane. Oftentimes guys are throwing real strikes at each other, even if it's exaggerated. People are really falling onto each other and have to lift each other and bring them down. A pro wrestling match on any level requires an incredible amount of trust from everyone in the match. They're putting their health, careers and even lives into each other's hands. For two people to be able to have that amount of trust (even if they barely know each other) and put on this performance that makes people go "wow" is incredible.

There's just so much spectacle, and you can go as deep as you want into it. If you just want to appreciate guys flipping around or big slams into tables or whatever else, that's fine. Or you can look at the emotions in peoples faces as they're selling the story they're telling in the ring. You can look closely at how different moves are applied and how both parties work to get everything across (especially if people are working different styles and have to adapt to each other). Sometimes (a lot of the time, depending on what you're watching) it's hella juvenile. But man when it's good, it's great. And it's usually so different, there's rarely two companies that put out a product exactly the same, even if they're using the same talents.
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Post by Calamity Panfan » Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:28 pm

American Mainstream Wrestling

So you're interested in wrestling, but aren't sure where to start. It's quite a daunting thing to get into. So the most basic place to start would be what's most popular. And there are three top American companies that might be worth a look. Well, really, there's one top American company and two others that also have television deals. So they're in this category.

World Wrestling Entertainment

WWE is the biggest wrestling company in the world and it's not particularly close. They've been building on themselves and destroying competition for decades. As far as American wrestling goes, they've basically held a monopoly for nearly 20 years, since TNA and ROH have never been able to really take a significant bite out of WWE's viewership. So let's break it down on why you might want to watch (and why you might not want to watch) WWE.

Why Watch?
  • Quite simply, WWE has the best collection of talent in America, and probably the world. The best wrestlers in America (and quite a few of the best in Mexico, Japan, Europe, and other places) come to WWE to wrestle. It's usually the dream. Since the collapse of WCW, very few of the best workers in America have gone through their entire careers without at least an attempted WWE run. It's the big company in town. It pays the best, it has the biggest audience, it gives wrestlers the most exposure, etc. There are definite exceptions, but for the most part this is true.
  • Production value. Watching a WWE show is unlike watching any other company's show because it has phenomenal production value. Everything is meticulously detailed from entrances to graphics to hype videos, etc. WWE often manages to get people hyped for feuds that had relatively weak buildups just from their video packages. They do a fantastic job editing all that.
  • Variety. One strange part about having the reach WWE does is that it presents this weird feeling that it's competing with itself. It's smart promotion, honestly, because I've seen a lot of people fall for it. WWE has two main brands - Raw and Smackdown. Each show has its own rosters of wrestlers with men's singles, women's singles and tag team divisions. Raw is three hours long and tends to favor the more entertainment side of things. Smackdown is focused more on longer-term storytelling and a better in-ring product. Raw, however, has a bigger roster and better overall women's and tag team divisions. Smackdown has the better men's singles division. WWE also has three other regular weekly in-ring shows. Main Event features wrestlers who are on the lower card, with recaps of what happened on the bigger shows in between matches. NXT is WWE's "developmental" brand. It's designed to feel like one of the indie wrestling companies that we'll talk about later, and it's where a lot of the wrestlers that huge nerds like me enjoy work. 205 Live is an hour-long show focusing on the cruiserweight division of WWE, who are also on Raw. They're also working on doing a weekly show that takes place in the UK where they can focus on their European wrestlers.
  • Convenience. On WWE Network, you can watch every WWE, WCW and ECW pay-per-view ever, including live so there's no need for buying pay-per-view anymore. NXT and 205 Live are available exclusively on the Network. There's also hundreds of old episodes of Raw, Smackdown, WCW Nitro, ECW Hardcore TV, and older stuff from the territory days. AAAAAAAAND there's original programming. It's $10 a month and the first month is free. It's really easy to dive in and get addicted.
Why Not Watch?
  • Vince McMahon is a noted pile of ****. He employs other noted piles of ****.
  • WWE has so much talent that not everybody gets the opportunities you would hope. There's a good chance you start to really like a wrestler that works for WWE and get super frustrated that he/she is not as heavily featured as you'd like.
  • WWE has definite formulas, and they don't like to break them. I don't know anybody who likes when the heel authority figures of Raw start the show off with a 20-minute promo, but that doesn't stop them from happening.
  • Going off those last two points, WWE is stubborn. Vince will try a million times to get what he wants done before listening to somebody else. This varies depending on who you ask, but unless there's serious backlash, WWE execs will do what they want.
  • There's a "50/50 booking" problem. This basically means that in a lot of feuds, wrestlers just trade meaningless wins and losses that don't build more compelling storylines because you know everyone's just going to get their win back.
  • They've gotten better, but WWE still has very juvenile tendencies, especially when it comes to humor. And let's just say that the company has... interesting history with women and PoC.
Impact Wrestling

Up until about two months ago, Impact Wrestling was known as Total Nonstop Action wrestling, or TNA. Impact Wrestling does not want you to call it TNA anymore, because being called TNA is a bad thing to be called. The company has not had a great recent history, and it hopes that you will forget about it all. TNA established itself as an honestly pretty decent alternative to WWE a while back, but then a string of awful, awful, awful, awful ideas made it into a running joke among wrestling fans. It's almost gone out of business so many times in just the past year, it's ridiculous. Even people who like TNA/Impact clown on it.

Why Watch?
  • Honestly, it has a pretty strong core roster. Lashley, Ethan Carter III, Moose, Eddie Edwards, Davey Richards, DJ Z, Rosemary, Laredo Kid, and Trevor Lee is a very talented core.
  • There's not nearly as much to keep up with. Only two hours a week investment as compared to the 8-12 hours a week that keeping up with WWE requires.
  • They seem to be at least somewhat financially stable at the moment, so you shouldn't have to worry about them going out of business soon?
Why Not Watch?
  • New (but not really "new") owner Jeff Jarrett has failed terribly before. He's been in charge of TNA in the past, and as much as he'd like to blame former owner Dixie Carter for some of the company's failings, he's done as much to kill the product in the past. Also, the company he founded between runs as TNA owner might have been a pyramid scheme, so....
  • When the new ownership came in, they failed to re-sign any of the major talents whose contracts were expiring. They took an attitude of "nobody is irreplaceable." That included losing the Hardy Boyz, whose "Broken Hardys" gimmick got TNA some of its only positive press in recent memory. They also let other very talented wrestlers like Drew Galloway, Jade and Mike Bennett go at the same time.
  • Even when the TV product is strong, PPV events have never really had a reputation of being worth much of your money.
  • The main event scene looks fine right now, but the other divisions aren't very strong. The women's division is pretty weak right now, and it doesn't seem like new ownership thinks it's a priority (this came from Jarrett's wife). The X Division (cruiserweights) was for a long time the best thing in the company, but right now it's just kind of a **** with no real direction and the occasional dope match.
  • Impact Wrestling hasn't toured for a while and don't seem to plan on doing it anytime soon, so if you want to see all your favorite Impact Wrestlers live, you're going to have to go to Orlando and catch one of their TV tapings that they do every... let's say two months.
  • No streaming service, so you'll have to pirate or track down out-of-print DVDs if you want to see old matches. Also you'll need to have POP TV, which I don't know how widespread that is.
Ring of Honor

ROH has been around since 2002, and for most of that time period it's stood out to be the wrestling choice of "smart" wrestling fans. It focused a lot more on the in-ring product and producing great matches than it did on dramatic storylines and any of the pomp. A lot of current and former WWE stars worked here before they hit the "big leagues" - Samoa Joe, Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Cesaro, to name a few.

Why Watch?
  • Ring of Honor's reputation of producing a great in-ring product has never gone away. Most PPVs the company produces have at least a couple great matches, and I'll say right now they've had multiple matches that rank up there with my favorites of the year.
  • ROH has partnerships with Japanese-based NJPW, Mexico-based CMLL and England-based Revolution Pro, giving Americans a place to see top-tier global talent.
  • They tour well. A lot of indie companies that focus more on in-ring work tend to stay regional. ROH is probably the best non-WWE company at hitting the United States as a whole for shows and tapings.
Why Not Watch?
  • ROH's TV situation is kind of a mess. Unlike WWE on USA or Impact on POP, ROH doesn't have one channel it's on in all markets. The channel ROH TV is on all depends on where you are.
  • The TV show still isn't that great. There's good matches, sure, but they tape them so far in advance that it's hard to get things timed right with the upcoming PPVs. It feels like a completely different product from what you're getting on the PPVs sometimes.
  • ROH also has no streaming service despite having one of the best back-catalogs of any wrestling company. So like TNA you'll have to pirate or track down old DVDs to watch old stuff. It's also wildly outdated in PPV prices so if you wanna watch things nice and legally, you'll have to drop $35 or so to watch the *good* shows they put on.
  • A lot of fans have heavily criticized ROH's booking in recent years. They've had a hard time building up new stars, and they tend to favor guys who have been with them or already established elsewhere. So while ROH has a lot of good young talent, they're not featured like they should be. Also, the foreign companies don't like sending top stars to lose, so ROH's guys tend to take losses to other international stars. Needless to say, a lot of younger guys trying to make names for themselves haven't been a fan of this and have jumped ship to other companies.
  • There's a decent chance ROH won't fix any problems because its parent company Sinclair doesn't seem too interest in changing much because it's profitable enough to them and they're fine with things staying the way they are.
  • Despite having had a lot of talented women wrestle for them as part of "Women of Honor," don't expect those women to be featured much on TV and PPVs. You'll have to wait for specific "Women of Honor" specials to see them.
Next up: An overview of the top American independent wrestling companies.
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Post by Calamity Panfan » Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:53 am

Can't sleep so I did more of this.
American Independent Wrestling

The American independent scene is probably my preferred scene out of any that we'll discuss, but each promotion offers different things so it's daunting to get into. So allow me to break some things down for y'all. What I'm telling you here is a mix of the most popular indies and my personal favorites.

Pro Wrestling Guerilla

Pro Wrestling Guerilla (PWG) has probably the best reputation out of any independent company. It's based in Reseda, CA (and does not move so if you wanna go, you've gotta travel). What makes PWG unique is that the way they do shows allows them to use wrestlers from bigger companies like ROH and TNA who otherwise have exclusive deals. PWG runs a show, and don't ship DVDs until over a month later and don't put it on streaming service until about 6 months later. I don't know what the exact logic behind it is, but other companies are cool with PWG using their talent under these conditions for whatever reason. But hey, it gets us really cool cards featuring the best talent in the US. PWG's Battle of Los Angeles shows and All-Star Weekend shows are usually two of the best collections of shows of the year.

The problem is that the rest of the shows are sometimes a mixed bag. And they only do a handful of shows over the year, once a month if you're lucky (unless it's one of the aforementioned BOLA or All-Star multi-show weekends). The month-long waits for DVDs to ship can often be multiple month waits.

EVOLVE

A lot of people think EVOLVE right now is currently what ROH used to be. I think that as well. I think outside of WWE, EVOLVE has the best roster of regular talent, and they bring in some top notch guests as well. They usually run two shows a month, and those shows are usually very, very high quality. They have the best in-ring product and bring the most consistency, in my opinion. EVOLVE actually has some sort of working relationship with WWE, and WWE scouts their talent pretty regularly. If you want to see the people who are going to be in the WWE before they hit the WWE, this is the place to watch them.

The big issue with EVOLVE used to be price point. Shows were $15 on-demand so getting shows could be pricey. Now it's available for live-streaming on demand on FloSlam, a streaming service that offers EVOLVE and other wrestling companies for $20 a month (less if you go for a full year). The issue there is that FloSlam's service has problems that they don't seem too focused on trying out. Also, it doesn't bother me so much, but EVOLVE lacks much variety in style. What you'll find here is generally catch style and strong style wrestling. They throw in some high flyers and the occasional hardcore brawl, but if you don't like grappling and technical wrestling, you're not gonna dig EVOLVE.

Combat Zone Wrestling

As ECW was folding in the late 90s to early 00s, somebody needed to fill the niche. Enter CZW. Like ECW before it, CZW offers a broad variety of different styles of wrestling but you only really hear about the hardcore matches. And while ECW did occasionally have the "deathmatch" style, it's a lot more prominent in CZW. A lot of people **** on CZW because of the death matches, and I don't necessarily blame them. Out of everything in wrestling, it's probably the grossest thing. I can get over blood in matches and hardcore spots that risk the bodies, but some of the **** people do in these matches makes my stomach turn. That being said, I've checked out CZW shows before and liked them. Just basically have to find out online what matches are over-the-top with the violence. If you're into high flying, I think CZW does feature some of the best lucha libre you can find in America.

Chikara

Chikara's an interesting beast. It's a family-friendly wrestling promotion heavily influenced by lucha libre, comic books and cartoons. Because of its comic book mythology influence, it likes to play on long-term stories and back references. It can be very dense, though its light tone is really easy to pick up. Chikara used to be bigger than it is now, but lost momentum for a variety of reasons. The head of the company Mike Quackenbush can have some out there ideas, which included running an angle where the company shut down for the entire year. Most recently, the company filmed a secret 17th "season" that was announced at the first event of the year, which they put up on their streaming service Chikaratopia. It's weird.

I like Chikara overall. It's got charm and it's fun. The company's King of Trios event every year is fantastic. They've got a focus on equality in everything so there's no divisions by gender or weight class. From an in-ring standpoint, it's rocky right now. There's recently been a mass exodus of talents that have left due to either creative/professional differences (even a seemingly forward-thinking company like Chikara is guilty of some carny ****) or leaving for greener pastures like the WWE. So a lot of the current roster in the promotion relies heavily on students from the company's training facility who aren't exactly the most ring-ready.

Beyond Wrestling

Beyond's become one of my current favorite promotions. It presents itself as an all-you-can-eat buffet of wrestling. Pretty much all styles are represented every show. There's techincal showcases, high-flying spotfests, hardcore brawls, tag team matches, trios matches, multi-man matches, everything. I like it a lot. Not all the shows are consistent, but they have a good pace to them, and they seem to be growing well. They use a lot of the same talent as EVOLVE, but have them working different style matches than EVOLVE does.

CWF Mid-Atlantic

CWF Mid-Atlantic has been around for 20+ years, and for most of that time has served as a more traditional territorial indie company. It's not the flashiest company around. What it has is good ol' southern wrasslin', and often feels like a blast from the past to those old territory days of the 80s. What's great about CWF-MA is that their weekly television show is for free on Youtube. Every show they do is divided into about three hour-long shows and released. It's really cool, and it's been growing slowly but surely and has a very dedicated following. I've discovered a lot of indie wrestlers who aren't exactly "big names" in the independent scene from here. It's nice, because while I love those big names in the indies, I like companies that have their "own" workers and use them primarily, with the bigger names used to enhance the cards, not dominate them.

SHINE/SHIMMER

Putting these two together because they're "sister" promotions and often use the same workers. Both of these companies are completely focused on women's wrestling, which is great because unfortunately a lot of these companies above (aside from Chikara and somewhat Beyond) don't often use female workers. Women's wrestling has gone a long way in being taken seriously as bigger companies only used women for sex appeal and hired more non-athletic talents for that purpose. Companies like SHINE and SHIMMER are two of the building blocks in getting it to where it is today in America (Japan, on the other hand, has a very, very rich history of great women's wrestling).

Here's a rundown of some other promotions with which I have varying degrees of familiarity:
  • AAW: Chicago-based promotion. Probably the biggest indie in the Midwest. They've gotten bigger in the past little while and their cards have gotten more and more stacked.
  • Freelance Wrestling: "Punk rock wrestling" promotion out of Chicago. Focuses on home-growing talent. I've seen two shows and they're pretty great. Love the style.
  • Inspire Pro Wrestling: Texas-based indie. Like Freelance, focuses more on creating homegrown talent and having distinct feel. I've never seen but I've heard very good things.
  • Global Force Wrestling: I think this still exists. Jeff Jarrett's promotion between stints at TNA/Impact. Might be a pyramid scheme.
  • IWA Mid-South: The midwest's answer to CZW but less lucha and honestly a lot **** though they have had some big stars come through.
  • Full Impact Pro: Used to be an indie along the lines of EVOLVE, but it's recently gone through a bit of a re-launch to make it "edgy" and has had mixed results.
  • Style Battle: WWN (the company that owns EVOLVE, SHINE, FIP and some others) hosts a monthly tournament with 8 wrestlers supposedly (not always) of different styles. It's pretty fun.
  • House of Hardcore: ECW legend Tommy Dreamer's promotion. Does a lot of nostalgia acts along with big names on the hardcore scene.
  • Smash Wrestling: One of the bigger names in Canada, though relatively new.
  • Absolute Intense Wrestling: Cleveland's big indie. Good mix of established/local talent
  • Tier 1: Rising company out of New York. I haven't seen them yet but they have an impressive roster.
  • Juggalo Championship Wrestling: **** wrestling - how does it work?
Next time: Japan
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Post by Apollo the Just » Mon Apr 10, 2017 2:52 am

So THAT'S where the term "heel face turn" comes from.
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Post by Calamity Panfan » Sat Apr 29, 2017 6:22 pm

YOU THINK I FORGOT ABOUT THIS ****? NO. I JUST HAVE HAD A **** ON MY PLATE.

Japanese Puroresu

Like I said in my first post, Japanese wrestling, often referred to as puroresu, is a style that focuses largely on a shoot fight feeling. MMA strikes and submissions are a common sights. Companies have even tried their hands at MMA along with the worked wrestling styles. There are a lot more stiff strikes, and there's been a lot of controversy recently with Japanese companies allowing shoot headbutts and other dangerous moves at the medical risk of the wrestlers (NJPW superstar Katsuyori Shibata's career likely just ended a few weeks ago because of a shoot headbutt used in a match). Storylines are built basically on pure competition. Many shows don't use much time for promos. Everything is focused on the story the wrestlers tell in the ring. That's the most important, and backstage segments and promos are secondary. Let's dive in.

New Japan Pro Wrestling

NJPW is the big dog in Japanese wrestling. Nothing really comes close in terms of reach, and arguably in-ring work. You'll find a lot of hardcore wrestling fans tell you that NJPW is the company to watch if you want to watch the best wrestling in the world. I'm not sure if I agree with that as I have some issues with the way they book shows, but I would agree that while entire shows might have issues, NJPW almost always delivers when it comes to championship matches and upper-card matches. NJPW is currently trying to break out more in America, and is touring this upcoming summer. There are also rumors they want to have a more permanent presence in America than just their collaborations with Ring of Honor. NJPW seems to want to position themselves as WWE's biggest worldwide competitor (even if they likely already are). With the hype that wrestlers like Kenny Omega, Kazuchika Okada and Tetsuya Naito are getting even beyond hardcore wrestling circles, it's possible they can build that in the States.

All Japan Pro Wrestling

Historically, AJPW is NJPW's biggest rival when it comes to puro. This is less true in recent years. In the 1990s, this was the place to go when it came to Japanese heavyweight wrestling (NJPW's strengths were more with the cruiserweights) as it was held up by the Four Pillars of Japanese wrestling, Kenta Kobashi, Mitsuharu Misawa, Toshiaki Kawada and Akira Taue. Their matches together are legendary, and there was a roster full of other legends around them to bolster it. Unfortunately as time passed there were huge disputes over creative control, and wrestlers split to form other companies. Today, AJPW has a very solid roster, but they don't have the stars or the consistent quality that NJPW has to really compete.

Pro Wrestling NOAH

NOAH was one of the offshoots of AJPW, and it pretty much replaced AJPW in terms of quality as it got going in the 2000s (NJPW had a particular fetish with trying to be especially like MMA at this time, and it suffered for a while). That's because many of the people who built NOAH were the ones that made AJPW what it was. Today, it's probably got the second-best roster in Japan after NJPW, and it's my second favorite straight puro company to check out. Unfortunately, the company has an awful habit of putting on uppercard matches that are too damn long. This is a common problem in puroresu as the culture seems to value "epic" matches a lot, but it's the most evident and problematic in NOAH.

Dragon Gate

Dragon Gate is unlike the other three major promotions in Japan. NJPW, AJPW and NOAH are a lot more traditional in their weightclass distinctions. There are heavyweight and junior heavyweight divisions. Dragon Gate isn't like that. Instead, Dragon Gate is closer to a lucha libre or American indie wrestling company. Dragon Gate is dominated by cruiserweight wrestling and high-flying styles. It's a nice change of pace from the other companies. Dragon Gate used to have a US presence, but it basically merged into EVOLVE a couple of years ago.

Dramatic Dream Team

This is my favorite Japanese company if we're being honest. It's unlike any other wrestling company on this earth. You can see great wrestling on DDT, but DDT is also known for being weird as hell. DDT features a wrestling sex doll. One of the wrestlers in DDT is a 9 year-old girl. They recently had a match that took place on a train, and they've done other weird location-based wrestling matches. You can see great in-ring work, deathmatches, comedy, whatever you want. DDT shows are extremely watchable due to their variety and a hell of a lot of fun.

Big Japan Pro Wrestling

Consider BJW the equivalent of ECW or CZW in Japan. BJW features a lot more hardcore styles and deathmatches, and has often worked with places like CZW in worldwide appearances. BJW doesn't have the biggest roster, as many of the wrestlers work with other companies as well. BJW is more of a peripheral company to watch as opposed to the others.

Wrestle-1

I don't honestly know much about Wrestle-1 other than that it's another one of the companies that split off of AJPW. I've heard okay things about it.

Joshi

None of the above companies (aside from DDT, which often does intergender werestling) feature women as anything more than managers and things of that nature. Instead, Japan has their own separate companies for women wrestling. I'm including them all lumped here because the scene is going through some changes. Stardom is one of the best companies in the entire world, and their best wrestlers Io Shirai and Maya Iwatani are top-10 caliber wrestlers in the world period, no matter the gender. Unfortunately it's looking to be in trouble as top stars are looking to move to WWE or retire. JWP Joshi Puroresu has a rich history in Japan, but after 25 years is disbanding and evolving into Pure-J, which has yet to debut. Sendai Girls and Oz Academy are two other dojos that have brought top talent to the scene. Many of the women who work these joshi companies are freelancers, so there's a decent amount of overlap as well. Even if joshi's future is in a bit of question right now, it's still a very rich scene that is very worth your time.

Next time: We talk some lucha.
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Post by Calamity Panfan » Thu May 18, 2017 10:19 pm

Let's talk lucha.

Lucha Libre

As mentioned before, lucha libre means "free fight" and it is the most common term for the style of wresltling most well-known in Mexico. The style has a tendency to prefer high-flying, fast-paced styles of wrestling. The style is more larger-than-life than others, so there's a lot less focus on being realistic. The luchadors and luchadoras are often masked and portray basically superheros and villains in their matches. The mask is sacred to the wrestler, and losing the mask can mean losing one's identity or career. Unlike other countries, there are not as many major lucha companies as there are, say, puroresu or American wrestling companies.

Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre

CMLL has existed since the 1930s, and has remained the gold standard for lucha for decades. There have been other companies that have come and gone, but CMLL remains one of the top dogs, even during times it was not the number one promotion in Mexico. I would compare CMLL immediately to something like NJPW considering the dominance it has on the Mexican wrestling market compared to its competitors. CMLL has contracts with RevPro, NJPW and ROH that give it access to some of the best talent in the world. NJWP sends many of its young talents on excursions to CMLL to learn the ropes before becoming bigger stars in Japan. If there's any Mexican promotion you follow, make it CMLL.

Asistencia Asesoria y Administracion

AAA has been CMLL's primary rival in the lucha business since it was founded in 1992. It set itself apart in the 90s by working with companies like WWF and WCW, often trading talent. AAA has come and go in the past few decades as having some of the best talent in Mexico. It still does have some of the best wrestlers in the world. The problem is AAA has never really had consistent management that keeps many of its wrestlers happy. There have been a lot of departures from the company over the years, especially recently. AAA has the money to pay its talent, but it doesn't necessarily have the prestige because of poor booking.

Lucha Underground

I'm kind of cheating here, because technically LU is an American company. Still, it has lucha in the name, and over the years it has used a partnership with AAA to its advantage. At this point, it's separated far enough from AAA to not consider it the same company, as many of the top stars have left AAA while remaining in LU. LU is an incredibly interesting promotion, as it combines aspects of lucha, American pro wrestling, Robert Rodriguez/Tarantino films, telanovelas and more into one promotion. It has been on an indefinite hiatus since January, but when it is running, I think it is maybe the best promotion on earth. The first two seasons of the show are on Netflix.

The Crash

The Crash is a relatively new scene in lucha, as it was founded only a few years ago. Basically, the Mexican legend Konnan (he's been called the Mexican equivalent to Hulk Hogan) got sick of AAA's ******** and started his own promotion. Their shows are not as widespread as AAA or CMLL, but they are starting to build hype as they sign a lot of other luchadors that have become sickened with the other major companies in the country. Guys who left AAA and CMLL and have not taken full-time bookings in America or Mexico work at The Crash.

International Wrestling Revolution Group

IWRG is the closest competitor to AAA and CMLL as far as the mainstream goes, but it has never really established itself as a top dog compared to those two. It has had the support of many independent companies and has had some prestigious figures hold its titles. However, it remains a relatively small player in comparison to the other major companies.

Along with these companies, there are several indie lucha companies, although they don't have the widespread access as the US, UK, and Japanese indie companies do. There are companies like Lucha Memes that do good work, but overall there's not much to look for in recorded shows outside of CMLL, AAA and IWRG (occasionally The Crash shows make tape but they're not on the level of other companies yet).

Very soon: We talk British wrestling guv'nor
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Post by Calamity Panfan » Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:13 am

Oh wow I'm bad at this but I wanted to write about some wrestling so here we go

European Wrestling

While the title of this chapter is "European wrestling" I'm mostly going to talk about wrestling in the UK. There is indeed wrestling all over Europe, but if we're keeping it 100 there's not a whooooooole lot that's notable in mainland Europe aside from one very important promotion. British wrestling has a rich history starting in the 1950s and 60s. Wrestling was a major part of the television series World of Sport, where many British stars were made. WoS ended in the 80s and major wrestling companies became defunct soon afterwards. Yet the catch-as-catch-can, "technical" style featured in World of Sport would become extremely influential on the American independent circuit, and British independent promotions continued to exist. In the past decade there has been a huge resurgence in the British wrestling scene. While I feel like some people still treat it like a lesser scene than America, Mexico and Japan, for my money a lot of the world's best talent has its roots in the British scene. Let's dive in.

PROGRESS Wrestling

In only 5 years of existence, PROGRESS has become one of the hottest promotions in the world. This "punk rock wrestling" company has been lauded for its long-term storytelling and high match quality. The Super Strong Style 16 tournament is one of the best tournaments on a yearly basis, and attracts names from across the globe. PROGRESS has probably the most dedicated following of any British company right now. Recently they've collaborated heavily with the WWE. Many of PROGRESS' top talents are signed to WWE right now but are allowed to tour other promotions and especially PROGRESS, and PROGRESS owner Jim Smallman has made various appearances in WWE.

Revolution Pro Wrestling

RevPro doesn't have quite the rabid following or the long-term storytelling as PROGRESS, but the match quality is right up there with it. RevPro benefits from having deals with Ring of Honor in the USA and NJPW in Japan, giving it access to unique talent its British competitors cannot have. It's not shocking to see an occasional RevPro show loaded with international talent.

Insane Championship Wrestling

ICW is a Scottish wrestling company and one of the older companies I'll be covering (started in 2006! WOW!). ICW mixes a lot more hardcore elements in its wrestling and its shows are 18+. I don't know if I'd compare it to CZW and IWA-MS in the US or BJW in Japan as far as craziness, but it can get real bloody. ICW is the other promotion along with PROGRESS that has partnered with WWE in its attempts to get a foothold in the UK.

westside Xtreme wrestling

wXw is the only non-UK-based promotion I'll be covering here, as it's really the only notable one I've come across. Based in Germany and founded in 2000, it's very similar to a lot of American indies. The promotion is definitely Europe's biggest success in reaching worldwide talent. It has worked with talent from ROH, CZW, IWA-MS, BJW, NOAH, NJPW, Chikara, Dragon Gate and more. The 16 Carat Gold tournament is one of the absolute best yearly events in wrestling. I'd say it's the best tournament in wrestling period outside of NJPW's G1 Climax.

WhatCulture Pro Wrestling

The website WhatCulture decided to capitalize on the popularity of its wrestling content and start a wrestling promotion of its own. This is the newest promotion I'll cover in this entire series, as it was just founded last year. WCPW has quite a budget and has managed to book a lot of big name talent and is currently running a daunting "World Cup of Wrestling." In this tournament there are 8 qualifying tournaments representing various regions, where two finalists are crowned. The 16 finalists then will wrestle in an elimination-style tournament. A lot of people look down a bit on WCPW (the worst parts of WCPW are the WhatCulture personalities and storylines, while the best parts are the wrestlers who've established themselves and done better work elsewhere), but it's gained a very significant following and managed to fight Youtube's demonetization of wrestling.

Attack! Pro Wrestling

Attack! is a really cool indie promotion run by Pete Dunne and Mark Andrews, two of the biggest stars of the British wrestling scene right now (and both now signed with WWE). Attack! is a lot more focused on comedy and lighthearted matches, and is incredibly unique. Fun gimmicks and fun wrestling.

IPW:UK

IPW:UK is another indie that's been around since the mid-00's and has had a lot of talent come through, but from what I've seen there's nothing much here to make it unique in comparison to its competition.

Pro Wrestling EVE

The premier women's wrestling company in the UK and has been getting bigger and bigger as years go on. The UK's had a lot of women's talent come stateside recently, and EVE's the best place to see their work before coming to places like WWE, SHINE and SHIMMER.

There's a variety of other notable UK promotions - Fight Club: Pro, Over The Top, New Generation Wrestling, Preston City Wrestling and Lucha Forever - but I'm not as familiar with them (I've heard PCW sucks, and OTT just got themselves in a bit of trouble for being asswipes online this week fwiw). There was also a recent attempt at a World of Sport revival associated with TNA, but there hasn't been a show since they ran a TV pilot last year.

Coming Soon, Maybe: Panny answers the question, "Why the **** do you like wrestling?" If you have any other questions you want me to answer, let me know.
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Post by Calamity Panfan » Wed Jul 26, 2017 4:42 am

So, Panfan. You seem like a normal enough guy. Why do you like wrestling? Isn't it fake? Isn't it silly? I've seen your posts and your tweets - aren't you constantly disappointed and frustrated with so many aspects of the industry? Yet you still consume hours of it on a weekly basis and spend hundreds of dollars a year on streaming services, tickets and merch. WHY?

Because the joy that great professional wrestling gives me when it's good is unlike the feeling that any other form of entertainment gives me. Not sports. Not television. Not video games. Not even music.

I see this video thrown out a lot when I see discussions of why people like wrestling when it's fake. I think Max Landis is an asshat who can't write a script to save his life and his wrestling takes are generally garbage, but the video's actually pretty good if you've got like 25 minutes to spare. At the end, he hits the point right on the head. Wrestling's "fake" and it sucks a lot of the time, but when it's good, it's great and unlike so many other forms of media. The storytelling can be silly, but it can be incredible to characters grow. The action in the ring is staged of course, but the athleticism and precision is so spectacular that you can forget that at times.

But I don't just wanna throw a Max Landis video at y'all and say "here." This is how I became the fan I am today, if you wanna read a long story.

I got into wrestling two summers ago. I was between sophomore and junior years in college and was working a summer job I absolutely loathed. There was something wrong with me that I was still suppressing. It was still a few months before I actually did something about my far-too-long-unaddressed mental illnesses and saw a psychologist about my depression and anxiety. Things were bad.

One night I saw an advertisement for the WWE Network. The first month was free. At first part of me scoffed because wrestling is dumb and stupid and for kids. But then nostalgia took over. I watched wrestling as a kid. I watched RAW and Smackdown whenever I could. I loved making create-a-wrestlers in WWF No Mercy. Subscribing would let me watch The Rock, Stone Cold, Shawn Michaels, Edge and Christian, The Hardy Boyz, Rob Van Dam, Kurt Angle all my favorites from when I was a kid. I watched old WrestleManias and Royal Rumbles, because my parents never bought us PPVs when I was a fan. Watching stuff like the Triple H-Cactus Jack street fight at Royal Rumble 2000 and the E&C/Hardy Boyz/Dudley Boyz TLC match at Wrestlemania X-7 made me realize that even though the action was "fake," these guys were putting their bodies through some hell. The more matches I watched, the more I respected the "art" of professional wrestling.

I would find myself watching old wrestling shows with a few beers a few nights a week. It would soon become nightly, and I soon wouldn't need alcohol while I watched, because I realized this wasn't just a thing that was fun to watch just while drinking. It was straight up fun to watch. This is a good escape.

In July 2015, WWE Network aired a special called the "Beast in the East" that took place in Japan. I decided to make it my first foray into modern wrestling because I was familiar with quite a few of the names - Chris Jericho, Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Kane. Chris Jericho was wrestling some dude I'd never heard of named "Neville" with weird ears. Turns out he's one of the greatest high flyers in wrestling, and he and Jericho tore it up. Lesnar just threw around Kofi Kingston for a few minutes, but the spectacle of this massive monster wrecking **** was mesmerizing. But what really stood out to me was a match from two guys I'd never heard of.

Finn Balor and Kevin Owens fought for the NXT Title on this show. Apparently NXT was WWE's developmental or whatever. Finn Balor comes in, and he's got this amazing entrance where he's bodypainted like a demon. The Japanese audience loves him - he apparently wrestled in country and made his name there. The champion, Kevin Owens, is a massive *******. He had just moved up to the main roster and beat John Cena in his debut. He's a chubby, bearded, sarcastic *******. I immediately connect with him. The Japanese crowd throws streamers for the championship match before the ring and the wrestlers are presented with flowers. Kevin Owens tosses the flowers and streamers because he doesn't give a ****. The two have a match, and it's unbelievable. It's presented to make these two feel like stars, even though I thought they were two developmental guys. Turns out they're two of the best in the world. Michael Cole is going crazy on commentary, selling every ounce of drama in the match. Balor stomps the everloving hell out of Kevin Owens. He's the new champion. This is wrestling. This is pure. It's great and without the... problematic nature of the attitude era shows I was watching.

I started watching Raw weekly. I watched PPVs from earlier in the year so I knew more about what was going on. But nothing the main roster gave me compared to that NXT title match, so I started watching the weekly NXT show. The characters of the wrestlers, the writing and the wrestling itself all seemed so much better on NXT. I was drawn to characters like Owens, Balor, Tyler Breeze, Enzo Amore & Big Cass, The Vaudevillains and more. But I especially saw myself drawn to the women's division.

The WWE I knew as a kid didn't care much for women's wrestling. A women's match went long if it was longer than 5 minutes. Women wrestlers were "divas." A lot of focus was on the looks of the wrestlers and not the talent. Sure, you'd occasionally get a Trish Stratus or a Lita or a Molly Holly who could go in the ring, but even those more talented women were thrown to the wayside. In NXT, they had the Four Horsewomen, and they were the best **** wrestlers on the show. You had Ric Flair's daughter, Charlotte. You had the adorable, pun-loving Becky Lynch. And standing above even them you had the ultimate underdog Bayley, who hugs kids on the way to the ring and has wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tube men as part of her entrance. And then you had the NXT Women's champion, the Goddamn boss, Sasha Banks.

When I started watching, Bayley was out with a wrist injury. Banks was on top of the world, having recently defended against Lynch and also defeating Charlotte. By the time Bayley returned, the other three horsewomen had debuted on the main roster as part of WWE's "Women's Revolution." But Bayley wasn't going to be forgotten. She beat Emma. She beat Charlotte. She beat Becky Lynch to become the number one contender. She was going to wrestle Sasha Banks for the NXT Women's Championship, which had eluded her throughout her career, at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn, the biggest show in the history of the NXT brand. She was going to do it on her terms. Everyone around her was leaving her. Her former friends had betrayed her in the past.

This video played before the match. I still get chills.

[MEDIA=youtube]ygBswu7QSfA[/MEDIA]

Bayley came out to her normal entrance. She wore a polka dot headband in honor the recently passed Dusty Rhodes, wrestling legend who helped Bayley in her career at NXT. Sasha Banks came out in a **** Escalade and was escorted by four security guards. It was the coolest **** thing, for the coolest **** wrestler. The match that happened was the most incredible match I've seen still to this day just because of the storyline and pure drama. Bayley really was the ultimate underdog and as much as Sasha tried to overwhelm her, even stomping the living daylights out of Bayley's injured hand in the steel steps, she wouldn't give up. After 20 minutes, Bayley overcame Sasha Banks to achieve her dream of becoming Women's Champion with a belly-to-belly suplex. The crowd went wild. Charlotte and Lynch, who had previously tossed Bayley to the wayside, came out once again as her friends to embrace her. It was special. It was unique. I sat in my room, having only watched these wrestlers for maybe a month, bawling my eyes out. I felt like I had known Bayley for years. Like I had witnessed her struggle along to achieve her dreams. It felt like a true triumph of good vs. evil.

After Bayley and Banks tore the building down, Kevin Owens had his rematch with Finn Balor for the NXT Championship in a crazy ladder match. This was an even better match than the one they had in Japan. The two people who made me watch NXT in the first place. I couldn't pay attention to a single minute of it that night, and had to rewatch it the next day. I was so ecstatic about the match I had just seen with Bayley and Banks. It was incredible. It was like the first time I listened to Kid A. It was like when I saw the Pistons win the NBA Championship. It was pure bliss and awe. I forgot my problems in those moments. For a short while, everything was perfect.

Wrestling is dumb. Wrestling is silly. Wrestling is fake and frustrating and time-consuming and exciting and compelling and brutal and funny and rewarding and incredible. Wrestling is escapism like I cannot experience elsewhere. It helped me in the months before I finally addressed my mental illness. It's gotten me through the months afterwards. It's there during my sleepless nights. When I'm sad, it cheers me up. When I'm happy, it makes me feel even better. It helped me get through the stresses of graduating college and is helping me get through my current, ever-frustrating job search. Wrestling is the best. I love it so much.
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Post by Marilink » Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:47 am

That was a great read, Pan. Thanks for that. It was awesome to get into your mind on this.
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Re: Panny's Guide to Professional Wrestling

Post by Calamity Panfan » Fri Oct 06, 2017 4:08 am

Here's a guide to the various wrestling streaming services if you ever get interested enough in wrestling to check it out.

WWE Network ($9.99/mo) - FIVE STARS

-What You Get: Live stream/immediate archives of all new WWE PPvs, all classic WWE, WCW, ECW PPVS, Raw (one month after original air date), Smackdown (same), NXT, 205 Live, Main Event, Superstars, Network-exclusive tournaments (Cruiserweight Classic & Mae Young Classic), WCW Nitro, ECW Hardcore TV, WCCW TV, WWECW, Mid-South Wrestling, Smoky Mountain Wrestling, a **** of other archival footage, original documentaries, original interview shows, original comedy shows

- Pros: The most essential archives of wrestling, live access to PPVs, a lot of the original content is worthwhile, would be worthwhile at twice the cost, they may start hosting indie content soon

- Cons: The search function could use some work, honestly. While they have a lot of stuff, they don't have everything just yet.

Highspots Wrestling Network ($9.99/mo) - FIVE STARS

-What You Get: PWG, CZW, AAW, wXw, classic FIP, classic IWA-MS, select PROGRESS shows, SMASH TV, PCW, original shows and shoot interviews, a million other smaller indie companies

- Pros: Biggest selection of indie wrestling of any streaming site,

- Cons: No livestreams, shows can take months from initial date until they reach the website, user interface could be a lot better

Powerbomb.tv ($10/mo) - FOUR STARS

- What You Get: IWRG, PCW, Beyond, Tier 1, C*4, Anarchy, BATTLEWAR, GSW, Scenic City Invitational, NOVA Pro, a lot more

- Pros: probably best company I've interacted with from customer service aspect, rapidly expanding with new promotions added weekly, good livestreams, really eclectic selection with stuff you can't find elsewhere

- Cons: relatively recency-biased, so if you're looking for some of the companies' output before ~2014 you're out of luck.

FloSlam ($19.99/mo) - ZERO STARS

- What You Get: WWN (EVOLVE, SHINE, Dragon Gate USA, FIP, Style Battle, ACW), House of Hardcore, IPW:UK, select shows from Beyond, OTT, wXw, Tier 1, GCW

- Pros: EVOLVE has some really good wrestling

- Cons: Price, most of the non-WWN companies stopped working with them, legal issues with WWN has stopped them from adding new shows from the company, the video player sucks, the user interface sucks, everything sucks. **** FloSlam.

New Japan World (~$8.50/mo) - THREE AND A HALF STARS

- What You Get: livestreams and archived NJPW shows, shows that NJPW runs with other companies like ROH, CMLL and RevPro

- Pros: vast archive, probably the best current individual promotion, increasing focus on English consumers (most new shows have English commentary now)

- Cons: not yet available in non-Japanese languages making browsing the archives a nightmare at times

Chikaratopia ($7.50/mo)

- What You Get: pretty much every show Chikara's ever run that's made tape, including new shows about a month after they happen

- Pros: Chikara is really **** good wrestling

- Cons: Only a few shows a month so hard to warrant month-to-month subscription

Demand PROGRESS ($7.50/mo) - THREE STARS

-What You Get: PROGRESS, Smash, AAW,

- Pros: Really good wrestling with a weekly TV show as well as "chapter" shows

- Cons: Despite their number one rule being "don't be a dick," they can be dicks when you ask them about stuff about their sevices

CZW Studios ($9.99/mo) - TWO STARS

- What You Get: CZW, DEFY, ECCW, PCW, select BJW shows, a few other indies

- Pros: some original CZW content you can't get on Highspots

- Cons: most stuff everyone but the most hardcore CZW fans would want is on Highspots, though

RPW on Demand ($8.50/mo) - TWO AND A HALF STARS

- What You Get RPW, OTT

- Pros: RPW's pretty solid stuff, mate

- Cons: Pricier than similar services that only offer one/two promotions

ICW ON Demand ($6.99/mo) - THREE STARS

- What You Get: ICW's big shows and weekly TV

- Pros: Cheapest of the individual promotions' services

- Cons: ICW doesn't run big shows as often as a lot of competition does

DDT Universe (~$8/mo) - THREE STARS

- What You Get: DDT, DNA, BASARA, TJPW, Ganbare Pro, DDT's millions of other offshoot promotions

- Pros: DDT runs a LOT of shows so there's tons of content constantly being added

- Cons: Like New Japan world, the site's only in Japanese so browsing can be a pain unless aided by a fansite


That's pretty much all of the major ones I've experienced. There's plenty of others but these are going to be the main deals. TNA/GFW/Impact/Whatever it's calling itself this week and ROH unfortunately don't have streaming services. There's a lot of companies that offer a ton of free stuff on Youtube as well that I may eventually run down. A lot of Japanese wrestling (especially archives) is really only available to American consumers through torrent sites and things of that nature.

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Re: Panny's Guide to Professional Wrestling

Post by Dux is not you » Sat Oct 07, 2017 8:08 pm

Wow! It's really awesome that you've taken the effort to write all of this. You seem a dedicated fan.

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Re: Panny's Guide to Professional Wrestling

Post by Calamity Panfan » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:36 pm

yeah, i'm the kind of wrestling nerd that keeps a spreadsheet of all the matches he's seen and updates it with ratings, thoughts, etc. so he can be super-accurate when he makes his wrestler of the year list haha

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