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The Thread Killer

Conrad Thompson set to expand his podcast schedule with new shows

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Tonight it was announced to AdFreeShows members that Gerald Brisco will be starting a new weekly Q&A podcast called "Monday Mailbag."  This will be exclusive to AdFreeShows members and will not be available on Westwood One or any other podcast platform.  Although he is a WWE Hall of Famer, I don't think this is the mystery podcast Conrad has been alluding to.  In fact, based on the wording of the announcement I don't even know for sure that Conrad will be co-hosting the Monday Mailbag with Gerry Brisco podcast, but it will be part of the AFS subscription service. On the AFS feed, they are promising regular major announcements about additions to the AddFreeShows service for the rest of the month.

For example, Conrad talked about a major "one time only" podcast he is working on.  He says he has no less than three researchers working on the format and questions for this interview, and that when he goes to do the interview he will have to travel a long distance to interview the subject.  I have no idea who or what this could be referring to.

I get the impression that the announcement of the new podcast might be the grand finale of this series of announcements.

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You could honestly tell me wrestling ended with Covid and I would believe you. The fact that it's still a thing that's happening is crazy to me.

I enjoy Cornette's rants from time to time, but I'm not keeping up with any wrestling podcasts regularly. I'm usually listening to Parcast shows or something revolving around comic books, films, etc. instead. I'm a real "deep dive" personality type about the subjects I love, but modern pro wrestling just isn't one of those things anymore.

Oh. I lie. I did watch a week or two of NXT and Smackdown with my nephew when we were riding out Hurricane Laura. Those shows were awful, but I dug the experience of watching something with him that wasn't Marvel or DC for a change, I guess.

I think the last episode of AEW I saw was back around February. They were still live, and the episode was pretty awesome. Cody versus Bodyguard Warbucks guy in a steel cage and a decent Omega/Page versus Bucks match. It wasn't good enough to get me to follow their show every week, but I could see why some people liked it at the time.

I tried watching some AEW again recently with a friend, and gross. It's everything Cornette claims it is. Also, it's much worse.

So yeah. Nobody asked for an update on me or anything, but there it is.

PODCASTS, y'all!

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I felt pretty much the same way as @SomethingSavage up until recently.  I finally cancelled my subscription to the WWE Network.  I rarely used it, and the thought of any of my money going into Vince McMahon's pocket just makes me feel uneasy. I find weekly WWE programming (including NXT, sadly) to be pretty much unwatchable. When Dynamite debuted last year, I watched AEW for a while and thought it was good to very good at times, and cringeworthy at others.  But the last few episodes I saw left a distinctly negative impression on me. The last AEW show I watched in it's entirety was All Out 2020, and after that I swore off AEW for good. I just don't like "modern" Pro Wrestling.  I will be perfectly content if I never see another Kenny Omega or Young Bucks match again as long as I live.  I don't deny that there are obviously plenty of people who enjoy WWE and AEW and I don't begrudge them that.  If you find that kind of stuff palatable then more power to you.  I don't, but to each their own.  I had been enjoying the NWA, but that is gone and is probably not coming back thanks to the pandemic and creepy Dave Lagana. 

I have pretty much stopped listening to Jim Cornette, for the most part.  I agree with about 75% of his opinions on modern Pro Wrestling, but I don't need to hear it every week and I could not give less of a shit what he thinks about politics.  Cornette's shows have become extremely repetitive, to the point where it doesn't even matter if you hear them or not.  It's the same crap, every week. Rant about Trump, rant about Republicans, rant about AEW...lather, rinse, repeat. Brian Last has basically helped turn Cornette's shows into the podcast equivalent of a Twitter troll. Cornette used to be a bombastic, eccentric but entertaining Pro Wrestling historian.  Now he's just boring.

The only form of Pro Wrestling entertainment I was getting was from Conrad Thompson's AdFreeShows service, and even then I found I was listening less and less.  I usually listen to 83 Weeks, I will listen to Grilling JR if I am interested in the topic, although I have to be in the right mood for Grumpy JR.  Arn just bores me now.  I don't listen to Tony really, because I can't do watch alongs anymore without the WWE Network.  I haven't listened to Bruce Prichard in  years, and I have no interest in hearing him while he is an active employee of WWE.  He was bad enough with butt kissing and revisionist history before Vince started signing his paychecks again. I can't even imagine how he'd be now.  Surprisingly, it's the "bonus content" that you get as a member of AdFreeShows that has kept me as a subscriber.  I find Conrad's weekly Q&A to be more interesting than most of his podcasts.

I was actually starting to think that after 37 years I was done with Pro Wrestling.  I even stopped dropping by PWO daily, which was unusual for me.  My posting here has decreased because I really don't have anything to say.  The only thing that has changed my tune lately is surprisingly the rebooted, pandemic version of Ring of Honor, specifically the Pure Wrestling Tournament.  I have really been enjoying those shows, a great deal. Between the in depth video profiles on the talents, the increased focus on mat psychology and the lack of highspots and dives, and the match quality...this has been some good shit, pal.  Even since the tournament started, I have been eating that stuff up.  I don't know how long this will last, and I don't know if this is sustainable as a product, but ROH since coming back has reminded me why I actually enjoy Pro Wrestling.

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Regarding podcasts, I just stopped listening around the end of August. We've been hit by back to back hurricanes (Laura and Delta) with about six weeks of separation. Between power outages and my job, I just haven't had any care to hear Cornette bitch about AEW or NXT anymore. And really, his show was my favorite before all that real life stuff started to kick my ass.

But yeah. You're right. His shows started to feel more & more like a chore, so dropping the habit was fairly easy for me when it came right down to it.

Conrad's shows had already fallen off for me. They're enjoyable enough when they're good, but that's so rare nowadays. The formula was already tired and worn out before 2020. But it's become really obvious with the more shows and co-hosts he's brought out.

I won't lie though. I'd still probably scope out any new feed Conrad puts out there (for free only, of course), but I doubt it would take long before it felt like every other one of his shows. Whether it's Nash or Waltman or Foley or Jarrett or whatever, it wouldn't be long before he's reviewing Unforgiven 1999 for the sixth time or whateverthefuck.

Regarding current stuff, yeah. Modern pro wrestling is basically Dragon Ball Z. It adheres to the same formula as that anime, and it carries both the pros & the cons along with it.

I mean, of course that means you can keep and maintain a very dedicated, passionate fan base. But it's so niche and alienating to a lot of others. It's also repetitive. Incredibly, incredibly repetitive.

Like Dragon Ball Z, there's next to no narrative. There's rail thin story advancement and minimalistic plot developments. Instead, it's a lot of yelling and fighting for the sake of fighting. It's endless vamping and posing. It's filler piled on top of more filler. It's all motion, no emotion. It's everything under the sun being done for the purpose of killing time and, yup, producing content. Loads and loads of content.

And hey. DBZ was capable of creating some exciting moments. But there were also endless episodes of posing, vamping, dragging their feet, and just general nothingness in between. That's modern pro wrestling. You can step away for months and miss nothing of note.

It just feels like the days of building stars and promoting bold personalities is gone away. And with those elements, the fun in following along has gone away for me. There's no reason to care. There's no connection to be made to any of it.

I mean, I'm sure someone could point out how there's one promotion somewhere doing it right. Or presenting a decent feud. Or whatever. But I couldn't care any less. It's just the general state of the business that I can't be bothered to care about anymore. Everything feels like it's happening on a treadmill. Everyone is just running in place. Everything is disposable.

Just to bring things back to podcasts, I really think my fandom peaked at the perfect time - back in that 2014/15 period when PWO and PTBN were killing it with a flood of fun shows. There was just SO MUCH audio out there, and it was all so fascinating and varied. I really got into selectively seeking out things, analyzing them to death, and discussing it. But I also got burned out on that method of viewing what, at the end of the day, is just an escape. It's entertainment. And what they're producing now doesn't entertain me in the slightest way - not on any level. There's just far better stuff out there to scratch that itch.

And it isn't that I'd ever label or categorize wrestling as juvenile or simplistic. It's just that today's wrestling is such a far, far cry from the stuff I loved for 30 years. This thing it's transitioned into just doesn't do anything for me.

The podcasts offer a fun trip down memory lane, more than anything. And God knows I love hearing Cornette tell old stories about Ernie Ladd or a coked up Butch Reed. But that's about it. And now he's gone the route of talking more about the awful modern stuff than any of that. So even the podcasts are starting to all sound alike.

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Conrad is continuing to roll out all sorts of major announcements regarding additions to his AdFreeShows service...pretty much on a daily basis.

So far this month he announced the aforementioned "Monday Mailbag" weekly Q&A podcast with Gerald Brisco. This will be debuting in November.  The interesting news is that it was announced yesterday that Monday Mailbag will be alternating hosts.  Some weeks it will be Gerald Brisco, but every other week it will be hosted by Mike Chioda.  Depending on how forthcoming he is going to be, it might be interesting to hear the perspective of a guy who was a referee in WWE for what...30 years?

Next up they announced that Madusa will be hosting a bi-weekly Zoom chat for AFS subscribers with some dork named Alex Ansel. It's going to be called "Dusa's Wild Happy Hour."  That one is going to be a hard pass for me.  I don't use Zoom, I find Madusa obnoxious and this Alex Ansel guy is a stand up comedian who isn't even one little bit funny.  First Casio Kid, now this guy.  Where the hell does Conrad keep finding these people? This will apparently be starting in November, and will most likely be exclusive to the upper tier of AdFreeShows subscribers (as most Zoom exclusive events are.)  You usually have to be a member of one of the top tiers to participate in the event, but then they release an audio recording of the Q&A later as a podcast for all of the AFS subscribers.

The next new project actually looks somewhat interesting.  It's called "AFS Book Club."  Basically every month, they will announce a different Pro Wrestling themed book, and then host a Zoom chat with the author so they can talk to them about the book and ask questions.  The first event has already taken place, they had Bill Apter discuss his book "Is Wrestling Fixed? I Didn't Know It Was Broken."  I guess depending on the book and author, that could be interesting...although as I said, I don't do Zoom so I will probably skip this one.  Plus, I think that might be exclusive to the higher tier members to actually participate, and other members will get to hear the recorded event as a podcast.  You know if Eric Bischoff has anything to say about it, they'll be interviewing Guy Evans about his book.

This also looks kind of intriguing. The next new podcast they have announced is a watch-along show called "X-Ray" with Dr. Tom Prichard. "Every Monday, Dr. Tom will examine a classic match, and break it down piece by piece."  To be honest, this sounds very similar to what Jim Cornette has been doing lately on his Drive-Thru podcast.

Next up they announced that starting in November, all five of Conrad's podcasts will be available in video format for AFS subscribers.  So basically, you will be able to get the normal audio version if you want, but if you'd like to see the shows as well, you can watch them.  This will supposedly be like the "Something Else To Wrestle With" show that Conrad and Bruce Prichard did on the WWE Network.  Honestly, I don't really see the appeal of this.

The next new podcast they announced is going to be free to everybody...not just AFS subscribers, but everybody.  It's going to be called "Wrestling with Stereotypes."  "Every other Monday, hosts Andreas Hale & Kel Dansby bring you no holds barred conversations with minorities from the past, present and future of pro wrestling; talking about their respective journeys and the adversities they have faced along the way as a minority in the business."

The next new show might be interesting for guys like @sek69, although I'm sure he'd probably rather not subscribe to AFS.  "Every Sunday, starting this November, AdFreeShows.com invites members to journey back in time to relive our favorite pro wrestling video game experiences, as we introduce our brand new series: "Wrestling Game Rewind."  Long-time developer, Sanders Keel, who oversaw production on games like WCW/nWo Revenge, WWF No Mercy, and the Smackdown series, will take us through the behind-the-scenes process inside the making of your favorite games! And we're kicking it off with his first title -  WCW vs The World for Playstation 1.  This podcast is debuting next month and is available for lower tier members.  Even though I am not a gamer, I might check out an episode to see what it's like.

Supposedly Conrad is getting back from his road trip today and is going to be making another major announcement tonight about this "one time" podcast he is going to be hosting that he is very excited about.  When the podcast is announced, I'll share it in this thread...because until I end up going back to work, I apparently have nothing better to do with my time. I finally finished watching "The Boys" on Amazon Prime last night...so I do have some time to fill.

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3 hours ago, The Thread Killer said:

The next new show might be interesting for guys like @sek69, although I'm sure he'd probably rather not subscribe to AFS.  "Every Sunday, starting this November, AdFreeShows.com invites members to journey back in time to relive our favorite pro wrestling video game experiences, as we introduce our brand new series: "Wrestling Game Rewind."  Long-time developer, Sanders Keel, who oversaw production on games like WCW/nWo Revenge, WWF No Mercy, and the Smackdown series, will take us through the behind-the-scenes process inside the making of your favorite games! And we're kicking it off with his first title -  WCW vs The World for Playstation 1.  This podcast is debuting next month and is available for lower tier members.  Even though I am not a gamer, I might check out an episode to see what it's like.

Interesting, I may be inclined to check this out.

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So here's something...I just got a phone call from Eric Bischoff.

So today, there I am...sitting around watching Futurama, when my phone rings and it's Eric Bischoff.  He tells me that he's calling to thank me for being a subscriber to AdFreeShows, and also to wish me all the best with my upcoming heart surgery. (I had mentioned to some of the other members I have gotten to know that I am due for surgery in a couple of weeks. Obviously, somebody told him.)  He was really nice and came across as super sincere.  I'm not one of the upper tier members who pay $50 - $100 a month, either.  I know part of being on that level is interacting with the hosts but that wasn't something that interested me for a couple of reasons.  He wasn't trying to sell me on anything...he just wanted to say thank you and wish me the best.  And he didn't rush me off the phone either, we spoke for over 20 minutes.

And then at the end of the phone call, I told him.  "Eric, over at Pro Wrestling Only myself and @SomethingSavage have always said good things about you and your podcast even when guys like @sek69 and @El-P criticized you."  And he said: "Dave, that's okay.  And you tell sek and El-P that I forgive them for not appreciating how awesome I am."

Okay...that last part didn't actually happen. 

But he really did call me and we really did talk for 20 minutes, so that was something.  He did say he was going to call me again, and if he does maybe then I'll tell him about sek and El-P and all the rest of you who have said bad stuff about my new close personal friend Eric Bischoff.

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1 hour ago, The Thread Killer said:

But he really did call me and we really did talk for 20 minutes, so that was something.  He did say he was going to call me again, and if he does maybe then I'll tell him about sek and El-P and all the rest of you who have said bad stuff about my new close personal friend Eric Bischoff.

Ah ah ah ! Actually, I am a fan of Uncle Eric as a performer and quite marked out when he showed up in AEW. Also, loved the Nitro years. So there. :P

Cool story though.

And all the best for the upcoming heart surgery too ! 

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4 hours ago, Ricky Jackson said:

All the best with the upcoming surgery from me as well, TTK

 

3 hours ago, El-P said:

And all the best for the upcoming heart surgery too !

Thanks guys.  Honestly, I am so ready for this whole deal to be over with.  I have been off work and dealing with this stupid never ending heart condition for almost two years now.  I have an arrhythmia which landed me in the ICU a couple of years back.  One minute my heart would be beating 170 bpm and I'd feel like it was about to explode but then the next it would drop down and beat so slow it would make me feel faint. After trying about a million different treatments and medications, they managed to shock my heart back into a normal rhythm and keep it that way with a cocktail of medications, blood thinners and beta blockers.  The problem is, the arrhythmia is doing serious damage to the structure of my heart, and the medications are toxic if you take them long term.  I have been in Congestive Heart Failure for a long time now.  But there is a surgical fix.  They have isolated the chamber of my heart which is causing the problem, so they are going to insert a catheter directly into my heart (going through my groin?!) and use a camera that they are going to insert down my throat to guide them. (And yet this surgery is somehow classified as "non-invasive.") Then they are going to cauterize the damaged section of my heart, and they tell me afterwards I will be 100% healthy and as good as new. Ready to go back to work, exercise...everything. No lasting side effects.

I would have had the surgery in the Spring, but all "non-invasive" surgeries were indefinitely rescheduled due to the pandemic.  But now they have to do it, because these medications they have me on are trashing my kidneys, and my heart can't take much more...so they are doing this on November 6, come hell or high water.   If you remember when Ric Flair was hospitalized due to a heart condition back in May 2019 and required emergency surgery but he bounced back afterwards?  He had the exact same condition I do right now. (Not to be confused with the time he was in the coma and almost died in 2017. That was something different.) But Flair had emergency heart surgery and missed his "roast" at Starrcast II as a result...and there was the whole controversy and back-and-forth between Ryan Satin and Conrad Thompson about how serious the situation actually was.

Hey look at that...I actually managed to make my post about Conrad Thompson again, even though I was discussing my stupid heart surgery!

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I agree with a lot of what Savage said above about interest level.  I think I hit the wall this week with podcasts.  I’m weeks behind on Cornette and them pumping out 6+ hours a week of repetitive stuff that’s so based around negativity, I think I’ve had my fill for a while.  I’ve been trying to fast forward thru most of the NXT and AEW talk but I think I need a break.  I regularly keep up with the Bowdren shows and do occasionally mix in Jericho or Zellner shows (again a chore to get thru due to length), but I think I’m just burnt out on the time commitment level of it all.  I never have time to listen to music or do other things I enjoy.  It’s like I’m held captive by the time commitment of my hobbies and it can be draining.

I’ve kind of been heading this way for years, it seems as consumers of wrestling, colllecting videos, indexing them, etc. after a while it’s just easier to bypass stuff entirely than spend the hours of overhead on top of just actually watching something & moving on.

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AdFreeShows has announced their latest two additions to the service.  Neither one of them seem particularly impressive.  Rebel from TNA/Impact (aka Brit Baker's assistant Reba in AEW) is going to be hosting a monthly Zoom chat with the higher tier members.  The combination of an attractive woman who works in the wrestling business and a bunch of guys who are willing to pay up to $100.00 a month for a Pro Wrestling podcast service seems like a recipe for one hella creepy video chat, but who knows.  I can't imagine what she would have to say that I would find all that interesting, but to each their own I guess.

The other new addition to the schedule is a new podcast called "ManceSplainin with Mance Warner."  "Wrestling's most ridiculous, outlandish matches and moments are explained to non-wrestling fans like never before, as AFS introduces "ManceSplainin" with Mance Warner! Mancer sits down with a light beer in hand AND a wife/girlfriend/partner of a Top Guy (top tier AFS subscriber) as his guest every week, as they try to make sense of it all.  Who else can say "Mance Did My Wife"?! But he will, AND when he does, you'll get a free t-shirt to make it known to everyone!"

Uh...yeah.

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Just now, WrestlingPower said:

I agree with a lot of what Savage said above about interest level.  I think I hit the wall this week with podcasts.  I’m weeks behind on Cornette and them pumping out 6+ hours a week of repetitive stuff that’s so based around negativity, I think I’ve had my fill for a while.  I’ve been trying to fast forward thru most of the NXT and AEW talk but I think I need a break.  I regularly keep up with the Bowdren shows and do occasionally mix in Jericho or Zellner shows (again a chore to get thru due to length), but I think I’m just burnt out on the time commitment level of it all.  I never have time to listen to music or do other things I enjoy.  It’s like I’m held captive by the time commitment of my hobbies and it can be draining.

I’ve kind of been heading this way for years, it seems as consumers of wrestling, colllecting videos, indexing them, etc. after a while it’s just easier to bypass stuff entirely than spend the hours of overhead on top of just actually watching something & moving on.

I can fully empathize, my interest in wrestling has never been lower and I can't see a point to where it will ever return to anything close to what it once was.  And that's if it ever returns at all.

While I've not cared for the current product for years, there was always a ton of old stuff that I enjoyed; be it watching old territory footage for the first time (like I did with Smoky Mountain or with JCP), revisiting the Yearbooks, getting involved in PWO2K.  Now there is nothing that gets me even remotely excited and it's like, "Have I really spent so much of my life, devoted so much time to wrestling?"  My memory is shot and I do wonder if that is because it's filled with so much pointless wrestling knowledge?  My actual interest in watching has definitely slowly subsided year on year, but 2020, despite trying to throw myself into the 2001 project, has been the straw that broke the camel's back.

Even if I was going through a fallow period of not really watching, I would still take in numerous podcasts, read as much as possible about wrestling, spend far too much time on newspapers.com researching things, check the various message boards I frequent several times a day etc.  The podcast listening has dropped to virtually nothing, the last thing I checked out being Zellner & Naylor's Cover to Cover on the first PWI 500 (and yup, I listened to all episodes in the background whilst doing other things) and Kris' stuff (with the exception of BTS which I have long had no interest in listening to) were the only wrestling podcasts I'd really keep an eye on.  I have no idea how he can keep pumping out the volume of stuff that he does!

I unfollowed all wrestling related Twitter accounts quite a while ago and immediately felt better for doing so.  There are still a few people who if it wasn't for wrestling I wouldn't be following, but all news accounts, all wrestlers, gone, and I don't miss all that negativity on my timeline one bit.  This whole sorry "sport" just feels way too negative now.  I still read the Observer every week, but can't help feel that is out of habit, even though I do really enjoy Dave's historical pieces.  I've sold off most of my original wrestling DVDs, have started to sell off my books and then it will be the arduous task of trying to move a several thousand DVD-Rs that remain.

I still visit PWO daily as well as three other message boards, and although it was wrestling that bought me to those boards, they're not purely devoted to wrestling like PWO is.  I do wonder how long boards will stick around for as it seems to be an ever smaller number of people posting, and that's not just here, that's on all four I frequent, and it tends to be longtime members who have been posting for years, no "new blood" so to speak.  This place bought me so much enjoyment (shodate apart!) and I learned and discovered so much at the height of my fandom, but when I see Loss posting about wrestling regularly on Twitter and nothing here I do wonder what the future of this place holds?

So yeah, a fairly rambling post.  But I am 100% in the same boat as others, someone who's fandom has never been at a lower ebb than it is at the moment and someone who can't see that fandom returning any time soon.

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Yeah, count me among the longtime diehards whose fandom has dropped off a cliff in this cursed year. I'm down to visiting PWO and listening to one wrestling podcast (Greetings from Allentown). That's it. That's the extent of my fandom in 2020. I haven't watched a single match since late-August, and that was for a podcast appearance. I haven't watched a single match for my own enjoyment since the Stadium Stampede, so like the end of May? I retired from podcasting after 7 years, cancelled my WON sub, and stopped reading wrestling history books. My interest in wrestling is at its lowest ebb since around 2003-04. I'm pretty much done with the hobby and dont really care. I've gone back 100% to comics fandom, which I neglected for about a decade, and I'm absolutely loving it. Wrestling had dominated most of my free time for so long. It feels great to toss it aside and return to a hobby that I've loved for longer than wrestling. 2020 has just been a perfect storm I guess, with the the pandemic taking away crowds, and all the depressing #SpeakingOut news, coupled with finally hitting a wall with watching wrestling and podcasting. I'll probably return to the hobby eventually, I always do, but it's going to be at least a few years 

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5 hours ago, The Thread Killer said:

The other new addition to the schedule is a new podcast called "ManceSplainin with Mance Warner."  "Wrestling's most ridiculous, outlandish matches and moments are explained to non-wrestling fans like never before, as AFS introduces "ManceSplainin" with Mance Warner! Mancer sits down with a light beer in hand AND a wife/girlfriend/partner of a Top Guy (top tier AFS subscriber) as his guest every week, as they try to make sense of it all.  Who else can say "Mance Did My Wife"?! But he will, AND when he does, you'll get a free t-shirt to make it known to everyone!"

lol Jesus Christ. I read that paragraph three times to make sure I wasn't having a stroke. 

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On 10/23/2020 at 7:15 PM, GSR said:

This place bought me so much enjoyment (shodate apart!) and I learned and discovered so much at the height of my fandom, but when I see Loss posting about wrestling regularly on Twitter and nothing here I do wonder what the future of this place holds?

I am actually quite excited about current pro-wrestling, but as far as the board goes, the futur certainly looks a bit bleak, and it's sad. Social medias did kill this kind of environment which was a lot more than quick posting of a 150 words and vanity tagging people. 

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On 10/23/2020 at 4:25 PM, sek69 said:

lol Jesus Christ. I read that paragraph three times to make sure I wasn't having a stroke. 

I like Mance, and the idea of him talking about bad wrestling has the potential to be funny. But the rest of that is so weird and creepy and why I feel turned off by the whole community around Conrad's shows sometimes.

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11 hours ago, Migs said:

I like Mance, and the idea of him talking about bad wrestling has the potential to be funny. But the rest of that is so weird and creepy and why I feel turned off by the whole community around Conrad's shows sometimes.

Even though I am a member and it might seem like I am promoting it here in this thread, there is absolutely no denying the AdFreeShows community is a little...strange.

There are four tiers. If you pay $9.00 a month you just get all of Conrad's podcasts a week early and with no ad reads at all.

The next tier is $29.00 a month.  That's the tier I am signed up for.  I get all the shows with no ads, plus one bonus episode a month from each host.  Plus they are converting all the old episodes of all Conrad's podcasts and removing all the ads from those, and you get access to those which is great. They are also converting all the special events, panels and guest appearances from all of Conrad's Starrcast shows into video and podcast format, and you get access to those. (This past week they released an audio version of the RVD and Jerry Lynn special event and Q&A from Starrcast II, for example.) You also get 10% off anything you buy at Box of Gimmicks (the merchandise site for all of Conrad's shows) or Pro Wrestling Tees.  To me, the main selling point of this level was all the content with no ads.  I literally can't keep up with the amount of stuff they churn out. I have to pick and choose which shows and what bonus content I want to listen to, because I'd never be able to listen to it all.

From where I sit, the two lower tiers are pretty standard, and not unlike most Patreon services where you can pay extra to support your favorite podcasts or whatever. The tiers above that are where things start to get a little cult-like and weird.

The next level is $49.00 a month, and you get all the same stuff I get, but a bigger discount on the merchandise (20%) and you also get a free shirt every three months and an autographed picture of all the hosts and Conrad.  You also get special access to the "AFS Community" on Discord where a bunch of the members chat quite a bit, from what I understand.  On top of that, you get rotating monthly Zoom Chats with all five of the hosts (except Bruce) and Conrad.

The top level is $99.00 a month.  You get all the stuff that the $49.00 a month guys get, plus free tickets to all live events and Starrcast.  Plus, Conrad will be hosting an annual weekend long get together at his house with at least two of his co-hosts in attendance. He will also be hosting regular PPV Watch Parties. So basically a couple of times a year you get to go to Huntsville and hang out with Conrad and at least two of his podcast co-hosts.  It is my understanding that members who sign up for the top two tiers have a fair bit of interaction with Arn, Tony and Eric.  I know all three of those guys routinely call the members on the phone, and participate in Zoom chats with the members.  Eric Bischoff is especially active, because of the five hosts he is the only one not actively working in the Pro Wrestling business at this time.

If you are signed up for a lower tier, they are constantly trying to talk you into upgrading your membership.  I get emails and Twitter DM's at least once a week trying to entice me into bumping up to a higher tier.  Their main selling point they push at you is the increased amount of interaction with the hosts, and they really go on and on about how when you sign up you are part of a "community" or even a "family." I get the impression that the top level members socialize with each other a fair bit via Discord and Zoom.  But it's a bit weird because all the members of the top two tiers are constantly promoting how great it is and how more people should sign up.  It's a little off-putting to be honest, it's a constant barrage of messages about how great it is to be "part of the AFS family" and stuff like that. 

Don't get me wrong, I thought it was great getting a phone call from Eric Bischoff.  But I have no burning desire to participate in regular Zoom chats with those guys, or to go hang out in Huntsville with the hosts and Conrad.  And I really don't have any interest in getting to know the other members and chatting with them all the time and being part of the "family."  I just wanted to listen to my favorite podcasts with no ads and to get the bonus episodes.  Plus, I really can't see paying $50-$100 a month for that service.  Hell, what I pay right now seems a little high and once I go back to work full time I am going to cancel that.

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Yeah, it seems like there's a weird performative aspect to being a "top guy." Like, why do I want to see Mance talk to some random guy or gal's partner? (Oh, who am I kidding, this is going to be the wives of dudes who are insufferable.) The only logic is that it's fun that your wife is the one people have to see talk to Mance. Don't get it.

To be clear, would never begrudge Conrad or the hosts for making a buck. If they're making people happy enough to drop $100 a month, more power to them.

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On 10/23/2020 at 1:26 PM, Ricky Jackson said:

Yeah, count me among the longtime diehards whose fandom has dropped off a cliff in this cursed year. I'm down to visiting PWO and listening to one wrestling podcast (Greetings from Allentown). That's it. That's the extent of my fandom in 2020. I haven't watched a single match since late-August, and that was for a podcast appearance. I haven't watched a single match for my own enjoyment since the Stadium Stampede, so like the end of May? I retired from podcasting after 7 years, cancelled my WON sub, and stopped reading wrestling history books. My interest in wrestling is at its lowest ebb since around 2003-04. I'm pretty much done with the hobby and dont really care. I've gone back 100% to comics fandom, which I neglected for about a decade, and I'm absolutely loving it. Wrestling had dominated most of my free time for so long. It feels great to toss it aside and return to a hobby that I've loved for longer than wrestling. 2020 has just been a perfect storm I guess, with the the pandemic taking away crowds, and all the depressing #SpeakingOut news, coupled with finally hitting a wall with watching wrestling and podcasting. I'll probably return to the hobby eventually, I always do, but it's going to be at least a few years 

Right there with ya on reigniting the comics fandom, brutha. Mine began a year or two ago with all those MASSIVE posts I made here on this board. I've been excited to get back into them and catch up on everything I've missed since my college years.

But also - primarily - I've been super excited and engaged in helping my nephew to explore them alongside me. He's big BIG into his comic fandom right now, so I've immersed myself in it while it lasts. He'll outgrow it just as I did, but I want to make the most of it while he's fully on board.

There's just nothing engaging or inspiring about modern pro wrestling to me. Zero interest for me. And very little for even my twelve year-old nephew. He's never once watched a wrestling match to rate it, review it, or analyze and critique it. But he can sure turn to you and tell you why it doesn't interest him anymore. Nothing matters. Results don't matter. The same guys wrestling this week will just do it again next week. No stories progress. Nothing moves forward. It's just a big hamster wheel of endlessness. It's a time suck, and not even an entertaining one anymore.

But anyway. It sucks to hear that you've retired from podcasting. I actually really dug your shows with Johnny Sorrow back in the day. I have discovered PLENTY of comics and film podcasts this year though, and those have quickly supplanted all the wrestling stuff I used to listen to instead.

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3 hours ago, SomethingSavage said:

Right there with ya on reigniting the comics fandom, brutha. Mine began a year or two ago with all those MASSIVE posts I made here on this board. I've been excited to get back into them and catch up on everything I've missed since my college years.

But also - primarily - I've been super excited and engaged in helping my nephew to explore them alongside me. He's big BIG into his comic fandom right now, so I've immersed myself in it while it lasts. He'll outgrow it just as I did, but I want to make the most of it while he's fully on board.

There's just nothing engaging or inspiring about modern pro wrestling to me. Zero interest for me. And very little for even my twelve year-old nephew. He's never once watched a wrestling match to rate it, review it, or analyze and critique it. But he can sure turn to you and tell you why it doesn't interest him anymore. Nothing matters. Results don't matter. The same guys wrestling this week will just do it again next week. No stories progress. Nothing moves forward. It's just a big hamster wheel of endlessness. It's a time suck, and not even an entertaining one anymore.

But anyway. It sucks to hear that you've retired from podcasting. I actually really dug your shows with Johnny Sorrow back in the day. I have discovered PLENTY of comics and film podcasts this year though, and those have quickly supplanted all the wrestling stuff I used to listen to instead.

 

Any comic podcasts that stand out? I've never really found one to join my weekly listening rotation.

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