Who’s Chasing Who?

Remember when WCW was chasing WWF?

Remember when WCW went in and signed away all the WWF’s top stars?

Remember when they tried to run WWF by recycling the same feuds and angles the WWF had already run?

Have you noticed how many former stars from New Japan, TNA, Ring of Honor, and other indies are in WWE/NXT lately?

Did you know that New Japan already did Styles vs. Nakamura at Wrestle Kingdom?

Did you see the dismal remake of Final Deletion on Raw this week?

Who’s chasing who?

E? Not For Me

I broke down last night.

After a month away from the “E” I renewed my subscription to watch the Elimination Chamber. The ladies absolutely killed it in the opener, but the rest of the show… gotta be honest. Other than Ronda Rousey tossing Triple H through a table, I just lost interest.

I’m not down on anyone who enjoyed last night, but the E is just not doing it for me these days. It’s frustrating because I use a Roku box, and WWE is so much easier to watch than my preferred network with Roku… but it’s just not for me.

There are some incredible wrestlers in WWE, some of the best stars produced in the indies. Styles, Balor, Owens, Zayn, Rollins, Nakamura, Anderson, and Gallows. There are some home grown stars I like too. Strowman is a big time star in the making. And say what you want about the Miz, but he gets old school heat. I truly believe could have been a star in an older era.

The women in WWE have never been better and they often steal the show. NXT is consistently great. But I get more great moments from indy-bred talent by actually watching the indies.

I’ll be watching Wrestlemania with the rest of the world come April 8, but after that… I’ll be sticking with New Japan. I keep tweeting and begging for that Roku app, but until then, it’s worth the hassle it takes to watch what I enjoy most. And when NHL season is over, I’ll probably add High Spots for a few months too.

You have a choice. If you don’t like what you see, find a new network. I’ve definitely found mine, thank you.

People Who Love (To Complain About) Wrestling

Are you a wrestling fan or a fan of complaining about wrestling?

It seems to me the Internet falls into these two camps. In the first camp you find all sorts of fans: WWE fans, New Japan fans, hardcore fans, old school fans, and yes, “comedy wrestling” fans. Some of these fans have strong opinions about wrestling, and they’re not afraid to voice them. They sound off when they see something they don’t like, whether it comes from Roman Reigns or Joey Ryan. But it isn’t constant. They don’t spend all their time complaining because it takes time away from enjoying what they do love.

The “Kool-Aid Drinkers” who pack the Memphis Flea Market every Thursday and Saturday here in Southern Indiana are a perfect example. A lot of those folks hate the WWE, and they don’t care much for New Japan either. But not even the threat of incoming winter weather would keep them from staying out late to see Mance Warner crowned the new IWA Mid-South Champion last night!

The other camp doesn’t seem to enjoy anything wrestling-related. Nostalgia, maybe, but nothing else. They hate the WWE. They hate comedy wrestling. They hate the Young Bucks. They thought Wrestle Kingdom sucked, top to bottom – except for maybe Jericho. I’m starting to see some of these folks don’t even watch wrestling any more. They have too many angry wrestling podcasts to listen to, and they just don’t have the time.

You can be a positive or a negative force in this world. If you don’t like something fine. Let your voice be heard. But for your sake – and those on your social media feed – don’t spend all your time complaining. Find something you do love. If it’s not wrestling, then move on and find something else.

It’s cool if you’re a wrestling fan. It’s cool if you’re not. But being a fan of complaining about wrestling? Come on, man.

Don’t Wait for Omega to Come to You

I’ve seen more than a few people on Facebook asking questions like, “When is Kenny Omega’s contract up?” “When is he coming to WWE?” And “Do you think he’ll be in the Royal Rumble?”

Those are the wrong questions to ask. Fans who want to check out Kenny Omega should be asking, “How do I sign up for New Japan?” And “Which match should I watch first?”

If you wait to see Kenny Omega in WWE, you will miss out on what has made him the talk of the Internet. Omega is in his prime and has hit his stride. He had a phenomenal 2017, and no doubt he is red hot headed into 2018. But there’s no guarantee that you will see anything close to that if and when he makes it to WWE.

New Japan is less than $10 a month. Not only will you have access to all of Omega’s work in Japan, you’ll also get to see Cody Rhodes, Davey Boy Smith, Jr., Juice Robinson, and other wrestlers the WWE just didn’t know what to do with along. You’ll also see Cruiserweight Classic darling Kota Ibushi, Tetsuya Naito, Jay White, Evil, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Marty Scurll, and of course, the Young Bucks. New Japan is home to the IWGP World heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada, a man who carries himself like Ric Flair, Harley, Race, and the great champions of the past. And for the time being, it is also the one place you can see Chris Jericho in action.

You can also go back and see the classic matches that led to the WWE signing people like A.J. Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Anderson and Gallows, and Prince Devitt (now Finn Balor). You can travel back even further in the archives to see other legends who never “made it” to the WWE… like Bruiser Brody.

The WWE doesn’t always get the best out of the people they sign, and the rose colored glasses that made the WWE look like the end-all, be-all of professional wrestling are finally coming off. For every Kevin Owens and A.J. Styles, there are dozens of talented performers who get lost in the shuffle, cast, aside, and fed to the top stars as jobbers. That doesn’t mean they aren’t good enough. You’re just not seeing them in the right place.

Kenny Omega found his place, and it’s made him a star. Don’t wait for his Royal Rumble surprise entrance. This is the time to see him in the place that made him a star.

Support indy wrestling.

How to Watch Wrestle Kingdom

Japan’s version of Wrestlemania takes place on Thursday January 4, and it all kicks off while most of the USA will still be in bed. Here’s all you need to know if you want to catch the show live.

First off, you’ll need a subscription to New Japan World. Go to their website at www.njpwworld.com to sign up. If you don’t read Japanese, click the little link up near the top right to switch to the English language website.

A subscription will cost you just under $10, depending on the daily value of the yen. NJPW charges you at the end of the month for the full next month. Be aware: If you sign up in early January, you’ll be charged full price on the day you sign up and at the end of the month. If you sign up mid-January, you’ll pay full price on that date and on the billing date at the end of the month. Don’t start an account on the 27th of the month because you will be billed a second time just a few days later. Found that one out the hard way.

Once your account is set up, you can stream live events and all archived events from their website. New Japan has an app available for the Amazon Fire and I think Google, but they do not have channels for Roku or Apple TV yet. I currently stream the site from my iPad to my Apple TV to watch it on the big screen.

The pre-show starts at 2 a.m. and the main show starts 3 a.m. Eastern Time Thursday morning. If that’s too early, you can stream it later in the day when you’re awake and off work, but stay off the wrestling news sites and social media. There are enough fans on Twitter and Facebook that it will be spoiled for you!

The match everyone’s talking about is Alpha vs. Omega: Chris Jericho vs. Kenny Omega, but the entire show is stacked, from the opening rumble through the main event between Okada and Naito. Long story short: if you enjoyed Finn Balor vs. A.J. Styles, you’re going to love what you see Thursday.

Welcome to the bandwagon, new New Japan fans. Enjoy the ride, and please, join me in begging for that Roku channel!

Net Neutrality and Indy Wrestling

If net neutrality ends, what does that mean for independent wrestling?

Independent wrestling has thrived thanks in part to a free and open Internet. Youtube has given us a wealth of video from wrestling’s past and present. Fans not only have the WWE Network but CZW Studios, the High Spots Network, New Japan World, Impact, Ring of Honor, Powerbomb.tv and dozens more. Facebook Live has changed the game even further, and the Billy Corgan-owned NWA is now using that platform to bring live action to the fans.

Could all of that wrestling, all of that momentum, really come to an end in less the two weeks?

Rumor has it the “gatekeepers” of the Internet want to create fast lanes for content creators who will pay for it, while minimizing and slowing down the creators who don’t. Do you think New Japan is going to pay for a fast lane? Or High Spots? Or CZW? There’s only one promotion I know of that even has the money, and I imagine when they pay up, they’ll pass that cost onto their subscribers. Bye bye, $9.99.

If you haven’t raised your voice, do it. Call your Senator. Call your Representative. Sign every online petition. Demand that Congress take action if the FCC won’t.

Raising our voices with our government is a must right now, but it’s not the only action we should take. We need to start a dialogue. Fans, promoters, wrestlers, podcasters, bloggers, and anyone who makes even part of their living from the wrestling business need to come together and ask the question: where do we go from here? Is there an alternative to the “new” Internet landscape? Where can promotions take their video? How do we get the fans to follow? What do we do to make sure this is not the end of the indy revolution, but just a speed bump on the way to a new era?

No one could have predicted the indies would return like they have. If net neutrality ends, I believe we can do the impossible once more.

Why Jericho is the Best in the World


The best thing about Chris Jericho is you never know when he’s working you.

Jericho worked everyone the last few weeks in his Twitter war with Kenny Omega. Yes, we all suspected something was up, but no one knew what – not until he showed up on the big screen at Power Struggle this weekend.

In an era where fans think they know everything, Jericho is the one guy who can still pull off a shocker. He will never tip his hand if he thinks he can sneak up on you. He loves a surprise. If you’ve ever told anyone that you “called it” when he returned in the #2 spot at the Royal Rumble a few years ago, you are a liar.

Even now, questions surround his unexpected move to Japan. Did Vince know? One report says the WWE found out when the rest of us did early Sunday morning. His video package featured music from his band Fozzy, not his WWE theme. His contracts with WWE are month to month, and he has ROH on his cruise next October.

Sounds like he’s gone independent. Only Jericho knows, and he’s not telling.

That’s what makes him the Best in the World.

If you’re one of the many coming aboard the New Japan bandwagon because of Y2J, welcome. If you thought Balor vs Styles was awesome (and it was!) wait until you see what NJPW has to offer.

I’m Learning Japanese

Back in January, I set an unusual goal for myself. I decided I want to learn Japanese.

It happened because I decided to pick up New Japan for a month just to see Wrestle Kingdom. I had trouble navigating the mixed language site, and I ended up watching the show with the Japanese commentary instead of English. I loved it, and I was intrigued. So I decided to pick up Japanese.

Just a month or two before watching Wrestle Kingdom I heard Kevin Owens tell the story of how he learned English by watching Monday Night Raw. I wondered if it was possible for an American fan to do the same watching New Japan.

Four months later, Duolingo released their Japanese language module. I’ve been working at it ever since, and in July, I re-subscribed to new Japan World. Is it working? Well, no. Not yet. I’m still very much a beginner, but I’m determined. I’m also loving New Japan way more than WWE right now. As a matter of fact I’m planning to drop the WWE Network this fall and go exclusively with New Japan.

I’ll repeat that in case you missed it. I am unplugging WWE this fall in favor of New Japan.

Fans, if you are sick of what you’re seeing on TV, there are options. Vote with your remote. Vote with your subscriber dollars. Pick up New Japan World, or CHIKARATOPIA, or CZW, or High Spots. Or drop ’em all and get the free Rasslin’ channel on Roku.

The WWE doesn’t listen to your complaints on Facebook and message boards. As long as you keep on paying your $9.99 a month, they could care less what you say on Twitter, Reddit, or any other website.

You know what they do care about? People hitting the unsubscribe button. That’s how you get their attention.

Right now, the best wrestling is not at the biggest company. I know I’m not alone in this sentiment. If you are tired of being disappointed, stop setting yourself up for disappointment. Cancel the Network. Find something new. Find something you love and support that. Stop supporting the stuff that’s letting you down.