Tagged in: high spots

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.

The Power of Freight Train

Like many fans packed into the Jeffersonville ArenA last November for Terry Harper’s first wrestling show at the Southern Indiana venue, I was a little taken aback when I got my first look at Freight Train. He didn’t move like other wrestlers. He didn’t fight like other wrestlers. A couple of casual fans standing near me turned their noses up and left the building to smoke a cigarette until the match was over. It’s a shame they did, because the longer I watched Freight Train do what he does best, the more intrigued I became.

If you’re not familiar with the name, Freight Train is one of the stars of Five Dollar Wrestling. He’s a native of Charlotte, North Carolina who has achieved a level of success most can only dream of. He’s overcome the odds that stack up against every wannabe wrestler and then some. He’s the subject of the inspirational documentary, “The Power of Freight Train.”

I mentioned Freight Train didn’t move like other wrestlers. Freight Train has mild autism spectrum disorder known as Aspergers Syndrome. One of the hallmarks of Aspergers is a singular focus on one or more key interests. For Charles Stevenson, the boy who grew up to become Freight Train, there were two things that drew his interest more than any other: trains and wrestling.

Rather than hinder Stevenson’s dream of becoming a wrestler, his condition actually helped him to achieve his dream. Stevenson refused to take no for an answer when men told him he couldn’t train. He refused to take no for an answer when people wouldn’t book him. He ignored the people who laughed at him. He was persistent; he never gave up. And when 5 Dollar Wrestling opened a door, he made that dream come true.

Packed with interviews with friends and fans like like Colt Cabana, Mad Man Pondo, Crazy Mary Dobson, and even the notoriously old school Rip Rogers, “The Power of Freight Train” is a beautiful story not only of Charles Stevenson, but all the people whose lives have been touched along the way, especially Freight Train’s good friend and mentor “Manscout” Jake Manning. It was Manning who gave Freight Train a chance with 5 Dollar Wrestling, and Manning, more than anyone else, has been inspired and transformed by his friendship with the gentle giant.

“The Power of Freight Train” is a story even non-wrestling fans can enjoy. It’s an inspirational tale of a man who refused to give up on a dream and the hearts he changed along the way.

“The Power of Freight Train” is available only on High Spots.

Six Inconvenient Truths About WWE and Indy Wrestling

I don’t like to editorialize about the WWE, and I don’t like to go negative in this space. That said, after hearing the air get sucked out of the building at the end of the Money in the Bank match, it’s time we face some inconvenient truths.

Inconvenient Truth #1: The WWE doesn’t want to push your favorite indy stars. Over the last several years they WWE has snatched up a dream roster of independent wrestling stars, but it’s becoming clear none of these signees are ever going to be “the guy.” Styles, Owens, and Rollins have done well carrying the top belts for long periods of time, but when push comes to shove, the WWE will always favor their own.

Inconvenient Truth #2: The WWE wants the next top guy(s) to be their guys. Never mind that independent wrestlers bring not only an established fan base but experience and ring saavy to the table. The WWE still believes it can manufacture stars from scratch at its Performance Center and push them over the independents. Get used to seeing Sami Zayn staring up in frustration at the latest home grown wrestler on top of the Money in the Bank ladder. This is your new reality in the WWE.

So why does the WWE continue to mine the independents?

Inconvenient Truth #3: The WWE is spending money on independent wrestlers to bleed the indies dry of their top stars. It’s not about enhancing the roster. It’s about hurting the competition by taking away their marquee stars and using those highly paid signees to put over their chosen elect.

So what does all this mean?

Inconvenient Truth #4: Any independent star who has a WWE contract needs to consider more than just the money. That’s a hard, hard thing to do when you’re looking at going from $25 a night to the top of the business, but is the WWE really going to give you your dream shot? The roster is overcrowded. Guys who were on top all around the world are forced to job to pre-fabbed stars. Dalton Castle, Kenny Omega, and the Young Bucks have made the right call, staying where they are instead of taking the money for a one way ticket to obscurity. (Remember how excited we all were when Anderson and Gallows got signed?)

Of course it’s easy for the guys who are being paid well to stay put, but what about the guys struggling to make it?

Here comes the most inconvenient truth of all.

Inconvenient Truth #5: Fans who are sick of it need to seriously consider where they spend their money. If you keep paying for a product you hate and refuse to spend a dime on ROH, NJPW, High Spots, CHIKARA, CZW, or any number of alternatives. Am I suggesting you cancel your Network subscription? Not necessarily. I am saying you should stop spending all that fat cash on T-shirts and Pops and Booty-O’s Cereal and spend a little more on a wrestling product you can care about!

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: one ticket to a WWE show costs the same amount as six tickets to an independent show; or two tickets and two T-shirts; or a six month subscription to the alternative wrestling network of your choice. The money you spend there goes into the pockets of real men and women who need and appreciate it far more than a faceless corporation that long ago decided it knows better than you what you want to see.

Inconvenient Truth #6: The WWE is not about to change its ways any time soon. Indy stars will continue to take the WWE money, and Inconvenient Truths 1-3 will continue to play out.

Knowing this to be true, you have a choice. You can continue watching a product you hate and griping about it online, or you can make a choice to spend your time and hard-earned money on a wrestling show you do love.

Life’s too short to spend on these Internet rants. I’m going to find something I enjoy.

While You Were Complaining…

While you were complaining about Sasha Banks losing her title so soon, Marc Hauss was standing up for the women’s wrestling revolution in the indies.

While you were complaining that your favorite guys never get pushed because “politics,” a your other favorite guys – Aron Rex/Damien Sandow, Cody Rhodes, and The Big Guy/Ryback – began their takeover of the indies.

While you were complaining about about the promotion that you routinely pay $9.99 a month to watch, CZW, High Spots, CHIKARA, Rockstar Pro, and others have tried to offer you alternatives – some for less, some for free!

While you were complaining about an ugly title belt, Matt Hardy was busy blowing up the Internet by deleting his own brother.

And lest we forget, you could have been enjoying an independent show where a ticket and a T-shirt costs less than an upper level ticket you complained about buying for the so-called “only” promotion left.

It almost makes you wonder: do the people who complain incessantly about title belts and ticket prices more in love with wrestling or whining?

If you answered wrestling, prove it. Stop complaining and take action. Put your money where your mouth is.

I’m not telling you to cancel your $9.99 subscription. As good as NXT and the CWC have been, you’d be a fool to back out now. But I am telling you to go see a local show, or subscribe to a second network, or look around Youtube and discover what’s out there to watch for free. If even a fraction of the whiners would invest just a few dollars a month in independent wrestling, we might really change the landscape of pro wrestling today.

Support what you love. Stop complaining about what you hate. Prove that you’re a fan and not just a whiner. Let’s pour some fuel on the fire if this indy revolution.

Black Friday Part 4 – More deals for wrestling fans

A few more Black Friday shopping tips for wrestling fans:

Ring of Honor is offering 20% off your order and has released a new 2 DVD set featuring Samoa Joe. A new Kingdom T-shirt is available as well.

CHIKARA Pro Wrestling is offering $4 off all VOD events. Most T-shirts are discounted for Black Friday, and if you order three T-shirts this weekend you get a mystery T-shirt for free!

High Spots is offering 25% off most items in their store and 40% off most DVDs. This is a great place to check out promotions like Evolve, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, CZW, Dragon Gate USA, and IWA Mid-South.

And finally, WWEShop is offering discounts up to 75% off on merchandise, plus 25% off your entire order and free shipping on all orders over $15.