Beyond the Network: Wrestling Streaming Options

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A few weeks ago, we discussed how the WWE Network changed the face of the WWE as well as the method for distribution for the entire industry. Video On Demand has long been apart of indies (even before the network), but this ‘over-the-top’ monthly subscription is a direct result of the WWE’s paradigm shift. Now you can stay up to date on small North American companies like Beyond or international juggernauts like New Japan Pro Wrestling. While we don’t have the money to subscribe to all of them, we decided to put together a list of the most notable streaming services we were able to find. This list isn’t entire comprehensive, so let us know if we missed any that you’d like to see added! Continue reading

5 Up/5 Down: This Week in Wrestling

This week, we began incorporating wrestling from all over the world. As always, we pay no mind to spoilers and base all Ups and Downs on shows that air from Wednesday through Tuesday. If you feel like we’re missing someone or a promotion, tell us about them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and we’ll take a look! 

5 Up

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The Brian Kendrick has returned to the WWE main roster and he’s wasted no time picking up where he left off: chasing championship gold. During his last run, Kendrick and his tag team partner Paul London held the WWE Tag Team titles for a record 331 days (A record that stood until New Day recently broke it!) Wrestling on Raw for the first time in 7 years, Kendrick bested 3 other cruiserweight stand outs to earn a shot at TJ Perkins’ Cruiserweight Championship at Clash of Champions. At 37 years old, this could be TBK’s last title match in WWE…or the start of a fascinating and deserved reign as champ.

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Chikara Grand Champion Hallowicked is on fire. Now serving the evil entity Nazmaldun, the Sleepy Hallow native has dominated Chikara over the past 18 months. When the Philly-based promotion visited the UK early last year, Wicked defeated Icarus to become the Grand Champion and the first wrestler in Chikara’s history to win every title. He lost the title briefly to Princess Kimberlee before taking it back in Scotland a few months later, becoming the first ever 2 time champion. His match with Drew Gulak at last Saturday’s The Black Goodbye was an instant classic and would have fit right in on the Cruiserweight Classic. As a matter of fact, maybe we should add him to the list of potential 2017 CWC participants!

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Ghastly Gimmicks: The Dicks

Chad wicks, Tank Toland, wwe, wwf, the dicks, tag team, wrestlers2005 was a strange time in the WWE. The Attitude Era was over, but the PG Age had yet to begin. It was a transitional period during which the company attempted to continue pushing the envelope with shocking gimmicks and storylines, but had already said goodbye to most of the gritty in-your-face characters that had made the adult-oriented programming of the past several years a success. The result was lots of sophomoric humor akin to what the WCW was producing during its death throes, with plenty of offensive stereotypes to boot. This may not have been as evident anywhere as it was in the tag team division.

The 2005 WWE tag team division featured: A team of swinging club-goers, a trio of tractor-riding Mexican stereotypes, a Road Warrior / Rapist combination, two Middle Eastern terrorists, some tobacco-chewing rednecks, a superhero and his protégé (a Super Hero In Training, otherwise a S.H.I.T.), an Englishman and his mentally challenged nephew, and of course, The Dicks.

Comprised of Chad Wicks and Tank Tolland, The Dicks were standouts in Ohio Valley Wrestling, where they first began teaming. By the time they reached the main roster, however, it was failure by design. Saddled with a Chippendales gimmick that saw them use baby oil to blind their opponents, The Dicks were, well, a couple of dicks. During their five-month tenure on Smackdown, The Dicks primarily interfered in the matches of other teams, but did manage to notch a few victories of their own along the way. In early 2006 it looked like The Dicks may be on the rise, but a real life altercation quickly derailed any momentum that the duo had.

Most likely due to a combination of their juvenile gimmick and their short statures, The Dicks found themselves the targets of heavy locker room ribbing during their stint in the WWE. According to the Wrestling Observer, James Dick (Tolland) was able to take the pranks in stride, while Chad Dick (Wicks) had a harder time dealing with the situation. Chad’s poor reaction to the ribbing only caused locker room leaders like JBL and Chris Benoit to heap it on more heavily. Eventually fed up with his partner bringing this heat down on them, James Dick punched Chad square in the mouth, breaking his own finger and busting his partner’s lip. Shortly after the real-life altercation, the WWE unsurprisingly released The Dicks. Upon his release, Tank Tolland continued his career in Ring of Honor, while Chad Wicks faded into the sunset. The days of The Dicks were over before they ever really began.

ProRasslin’s WWE Figure Wishlist

img_9769Above was ProRasslin’s Wish List for 2016 SDCC reveals. We didn’t get a ring attire Lana, Carmella, Byron or Shane McMahon but boy did Mattel hit on most of our wants! Amazingly, this want list is already starting to feel outdated. Luckily for collectors, with Ringside Fest coming up in October, there is a good chance we see a couple new figures. We’ll definitely see the near-final products for most of the figures above. So what do action figure collectors have to look forward to in October? How many new figures might we see? The answer to both could be a lot!

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2015 Ringside Fest Line Up

Though nothing has been announced for this year yet, Ringside Fest typically happens in early October. Ringside Fest, toy distributor Ringside Collectibles’ annual event, is a real treat for fans who can get tickets and make it to NYC. Top stars appear for autograph sessions, release dates of late 2016 and early 2017 figures will come into focus and you get to see many new figures on display. Ringside is the online leader in WWE toys often getting the most recent figures weeks or months before Walmart, Target and Toys R Us. Once they announce which figures will be in what series, the figures typically go up for preorder on their site. The prices are higher than almost everywhere other than eBay or your local hobby shop, but there is something to be said about getting your hands on the newest figures well before retail store toy hunters. Continue reading

What If: The Brand Split Ends Again (Belt Edition)

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Following WWE’s acquisition of WCW in 2001, there was an overabundance of performers under contract. The influx of talent and titles coming in from WCW were utilized in the Invasion storyline which pitted Shane, Vince and eventually Stephanie against one another as the respective owners of WCW, WWF and ECW. The Invasion provided some memorable, I-can’t-believe-my-eyes moments like Kane & Taker winning the WCW Tag Titles and The Rock beating Booker T for the WCW World Title. Still, the WWE felt no need to carry that many championships. All of the WCW titles were unified with their respective WWE counterparts by the end of 2001.

This clarity of champions lasted only a few months. As a way to create competition for itself in the absence of Monday Night Nitro, WWE announced the first ever brand extension in early 2002. Raw was Raw. Smackdown was Smackdown. No crossover. The recently retired Big Gold Belt was resurrected as Raw’s World Championship with the WWE Title becoming exclusive to Smackdown. Other titles were added over time to balance the brands but none stayed around too long.

By the time the brand extension officially ended in 2011, the only remaining titles were the WWE, World, US, IC, Divas and Tag team championships. The World title was merged with the WWE title in 2013. The champion would walk around with both belts until August 2013 when Brock Lesnar was presented with a single title featuring the new WWE Logo. Big gold was no more and the WWE was back to 5 championship belts for the first time in over a decade…until this summer.

With the WWE brands now home to 9 combined titles, we ask ourselves…What if the brand split ends again?

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Full Match Friday: Eddie Guerrero vs Rey Mysterio Jr.

Today, we close out Cruiserweight Week with a match that was instrumental in making the idea of a cruiserweight division not only palatable, but exciting, for American audiences. In his youth, Rey Mysterio’s high-flying antics were an awe-inspiring spectacle. Regardless of how tired his shtick may have gotten by the end of his WWE tenure, the man revolutionized the sport. Without Rey, this is no Lucha Libre movement. Meanwhile, if you watched the CWC, you heard just about every competitor cite Eddie Guerrero as a source of inspiration. These two were both masters of their craft, and they both brought their A-games to WCW Halloween Havoc ’97. This Mask vs Title match is a truly impressive athletic display, and if you’ve never seen it, it’s mandatory viewing. It changed wrestling forever.

Of course it wasn’t just Eddie and Rey who altered the wrestling landscape and opened the floodgates for a generation of smaller competitors. Guys like Dean Malenko and Juventud Guerrera had a lot to do with it, as did Chris Jericho and Ultimo Dragon. Today, cruiserweights rule the indies. Despite its questionable beginnings, the Cruiserweight Championship has become an important part of North American wrestling, and matches like this are how that was accomplished. Now, thanks to the groundwork laid by men like Mysterio and Guerrero, the future of the cruiserweights is looking brighter than ever.

 

10 Candidates for the 2017 CWC

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Last night, live on the WWE Network, the Cruiserweight Classic came to a close. TJ Perkins, who upset Kota Ibushi to advance to the finals earlier in the night, defeated Gran Metalik in the hard fought tournament final. In addition to being the winner of the inaugural CWC, he also became the champion of the newly launched cruiserweight division, which will debut on this week’s episode of Raw.

As good as it is to know that we’ll be treated to cruiserweight action on Monday nights from now on, the CWC will leave a void in our weekly wrestling intake that will be difficult to fill. The past ten weeks have been nothing short of magical, and seeing Perkins and the rest of his peers move from their Network bubble onto the flagship show is a bittersweet sensation to say the least. That said, all eyes are on the future. This cruiserweight division has the potential to make Monday Night Raw great again. Moreover, I couldn’t help but notice the commentators’ emphasis on this trophy being the first one to be awarded. It would seem to me that this would indicate that they’ll be a second, and possibly many, many more.

With the WWE having already scouted the globe to find 32 elite competitors for the 2016 Cruiserweight Classic, what might next year hold should the tournament return? Today, we’ll take a look at 10 early candidates for the 2017 CWC. So without further ado… Continue reading