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2018 pro wrestling is insanely interesting


Sean Liska
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Just want to take a moment here to appreciate all the wacky stuff going on in pro wrestling now and how wrestling hasn't been this interesting since the late 90's.


- WWE currently has a higher valuation than any pro wrestling company in history. Dave is indicating that they are considering Ronda Rousey the biggest star in their company moving forward. AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura is your WWE title match at Mania. Vince has so much money he's restarting the XFL. There is a lot of speculation about their next TV deal, with Dave saying they could even end up on the Fox network itself.


-NXT has HHH, HBK, Regal, and Gabe creating a possible second boom for the yellow brand, with a great roster, TV shows that sound awesome for the next 6 weeks, and they just had the first 5* match in WWE in 7 years. How big can this brand get? Can Gabe get into a creative position where he's able to recapture some of that 2004-2008 magic?


- NJPW sold out 5,000 tickets in LA in minutes for a show a week before WrestleMania, meaning it was likely just locals buying tickets. That's insane! How big of a crowd would a Dominion type show do in LA or NYC or Chicago? How big can they get here? Also their business is fantastic in Japan, having just done the best Tokyo Dome number in 15 years.


- Lets stick with puro - AJPW! They may be having a resurgence, the success of NJPW seems to be helping the entire industry, and they're delivering a fun product. Can they grow into being a legit #2? How about NOAH?


- ROH is doing better business than ever despite the lack of buzz here. How big can they get? Will they get screwed by relying too much on NJPW and the Bucks or are they going to just keep growing?


- Impact is even worth paying a fraction of attention to, with Dixie and Jarrett gone and Don Callis getting his chance to show us if he's really as smart as people say. Can they resurrect themselves?


- The UK indy scene keeps getting bigger and more interesting. ICW drew another big crowd for Fear and Loathing and the Square Go sold out weeks ahead of time. They're so tight with WWE that HHH made an appearance at a show and WWE.com posted an article about Drew Galloway going into their HOF and plugged ticket sales for them. Progress sells out every show and is running an 8,000 seat venue in September. OTT has the most fun atmosphere in the world and are able to draw over 2,000 for their big shows and seem poised for growth.


Where is this all heading? How many streaming services can the market support? How big can these groups get? Will technology continue to create more and more hardcore fans, making things like this NJPW LA show possible?

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- Lets stick with puro - AJPW! They may be having a resurgence, the success of NJPW seems to be helping the entire industry, and they're delivering a fun product. Can they grow into being a legit #2? How about NOAH?

 

 

All Japan has had a nice bounce back since last year but let's hold our horses here. They have a really good core of talent that produces consistently great matches but they aren't even on DDT's level right now (which is probably #3 atm, after Dragon Gate). NOAH is out of the gutter but that's not saying anything to be honest.

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-NXT has HHH, HBK, Regal, and Gabe creating a possible second boom for the yellow brand, with a great roster, TV shows that sound awesome for the next 6 weeks, and they just had the first 5* match in WWE in 7 years. How big can this brand get? Can Gabe get into a creative position where he's able to recapture some of that 2004-2008 magic?

Jim Smallman from PROGRESS has also had his hand in NXT or at least has been spotted backstage with HHH and Gabe, so he may have his hand in it too.

 

- The UK indy scene keeps getting bigger and more interesting. ICW drew another big crowd for Fear and Loathing and the Square Go sold out weeks ahead of time. They're so tight with WWE that HHH made an appearance at a show and WWE.com posted an article about Drew Galloway going into their HOF and plugged ticket sales for them. Progress sells out every show and is running an 8,000 seat venue in September. OTT has the most fun atmosphere in the world and are able to draw over 2,000 for their big shows and seem poised for growth.

The UK indy scene has been booming. PROGRESS in my opinion is the top organization there. They also have strong ties with WWE for the reason I mentioned previously and the WWE UK title defenses there.

 

Depending on my mood, I'll watch a show from an organization, but I'm really looking forward to seeing what EVOLVE's 2018 looks like. They already got off to get a start with the Ringkampf vs. Catch Point and ZSJ title defense against Darby from EVOLVE 98 last month.

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- Lets stick with puro - AJPW! They may be having a resurgence, the success of NJPW seems to be helping the entire industry, and they're delivering a fun product. Can they grow into being a legit #2? How about NOAH?

 

 

All Japan has had a nice bounce back since last year but let's hold our horses here. They have a really good core of talent that produces consistently great matches but they aren't even on DDT's level right now (which is probably #3 atm, after Dragon Gate). NOAH is out of the gutter but that's not saying anything to be honest.

 

 

I agree with this. They are headed in the right direction but DG and DDT have been doing their thing for years at this point and I think it's going to be a really long time and consistent performance for them to be a #2 promotion.

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The exciting part is that it's all so accessible.

 

It's like having a master satellite dish in 1983 that let you watch all the territory TV and big shows whenever you wanted! It's such a crazy time. And that's without going into how easily accessible so much great old-school stuff is now, but that's off-topic.

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The exciting part is that it's all so accessible.

 

It's like having a master satellite dish in 1983 that let you watch all the territory TV and big shows whenever you wanted! It's such a crazy time. And that's without going into how easily accessible so much great old-school stuff is now, but that's off-topic.

I had said to a friend recently that if this stuff was this accessible when I was a kid, I would have never gone to school. It’s amazing.
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I would have never seen the outdoors if we had this kind of wrestling accessibility when I as a teenager. I likely would have never talked to girls in college if accessibility was at this level. It's weird (sad?) to think that my life would have actually been quite different.

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It's nuts. I am so overwhelmed by the access to all kinds of wrestling from all different places and time periods from the past that I can't even imagine trying to keep up with all the new stuff coming out. For me, it's all of the archives and old footage that makes watching wrestling in 2018 insanely interesting.

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Interesting as opposed to exciting as a TV product, yes.

 

I mean, NJ delivers awesome main events regularly on big shows but the average undercard is bleh.

 

Usual weekly WWE TV (not talking about NXT) is still unwatchable to me because of the format, production and god-awful scripted (in-ring promos and backstage stuff) shit.

 

As a guy who never cared one bit about MMA, the Rousey stuff is interesting as far as business goes and how this woman will do in the company, but I never even saw her before the Rumble, so invested I'm not even one bit.

 

Indy wrestling I have no interest into, really, as the style isn't for me (tried ROH a few times, never cared for it).

 

Basically, what wrestling needs is a format change, and as long as WWE has no challenger, it won't happen.

 

So I just wish LU gets a good fun S4, really.

 

Availability is insane indeed.

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I'm having more fun watching random 90s indy undercard matches than the super main events of today. If someone offered me the choice between a 6 hour comp of Masayoshi Motegi matches and a 6 hour comp of 6.75 star matches from todays NJPW/WWENXT/Superindys I'd gladly pick the Motegi. I'm saying this without any irony, as I've seen Motegi have better matwork sections, selling performances, highspots and generally engaging matches than nearly any currently active dude. I'm not exaggerating when I say Fugofugo Yumeji in 1997, a rookie jobber then, had a better understanding of how to lay out a match, add stiffness and hate to it and build to a finish than most main eventers right now.

 

On the GME discussion board, Gordi mentions it's crazy how a match like Ikeda/Ishikawa (the half hour broadway) that doesn't have any major highspots or exaggerated emotions can be so great, possibly one of the greatest of all time even, and those kinda matches are sorely lacking. It seems pro wrestling has become a video game with wrestlers trying to get the Meltzer high score, and often when I'm watching matches, I feel like I'm getting sexually assaulted with self conscious epics.

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Modern wrestling is good actually. A hoot that folks still talk down about the modern wrestling.

 

The weird thing is that I don't know if 2018 is any more wild than the past few years, things are just layering on top of each other, continually building. Not sure what we are building too but 2018 might be the year we find out what the WWE and NJPW international relationship means, ROH's goals as a promotion, and if TNA is a wrestling promotion.

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I think wrestling is as good in the past 2 years as its been in the past 15 years. The down side about modern product is that Raw is really tough to watch. The upside is pretty much everything else. Also wrestling (like most media ) is much more readily available than ever before. The barrier to entry for watching some obscure promotion 15 years ago was that you had to know somebody from a message board or that you met at an ECW/ indy and had to trade for tapes of that obscure show. The barrier for entry to watching some obscure show is simply having an internet connection.

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I honestly can't keep up with all the stuff I want to watch. Even just delving into Progress and PWG has been a delight. The WWE is too tedious to watch but that really isn't a problem considering the sheer volume of footage out there. I haven't quite stooped to the level of putting wrestling on the TV and watching more wrestling on my laptop yet. But it's incredible that I have subs to Progress, NJPW, DDT and Stardom and I have to stop myself from subscribing to other promotions.

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I think wrestling is as good in the past 2 years as its been in the past 15 years. The down side about modern product is that Raw is really tough to watch. The upside is pretty much everything else. Also wrestling (like most media ) is much more readily available than ever before. The barrier to entry for watching some obscure promotion 15 years ago was that you had to know somebody from a message board or that you met at an ECW/ indy and had to trade for tapes of that obscure show. The barrier for entry to watching some obscure show is simply having an internet connection.

 

I actually think Raw is super-easy to watch if you watch the Hulu version, at least over the past few months.
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What is the Hulu version like? Is it condensed down to around an hour- hour and a half without commercials and much of the fluff or is it the full 3 hours? Maybe its me, but I can't make it through the entire 3 hour broadcast without flipping to something else. Honestly for the 3 hours that Raw is on, if I'm in front of the TV all 3 hours (which I'm too ADD to stay in front of the TV for 3 hours without doing something else) I probably spend about a third to half of that time watching RAW and half to two thirds doing or watching something else.

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Yeah, I have the Hulu no commercial plan and it’s just a solid 90 minute show. It’s usually just got really minor stuff edited out (seems like this week it was the Balor Club/Revival segment), sometimes shortened entrances, etc. I usually wind up finding out what was edited out when I listen to one of the review podcasts about the show. I pretty much have to psych myself up to watch an 80 minute Smackdown episode right now, though.

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