Friday Night Fandom: PRODUCTION Matters!
We here at L.E.W.D. pride ourselves on our ability to enjoy pro wrestling in its many iterations around the world. While we do take a decidedly particular interest in the WWE’s product (as if there were more prominent sites that don’t lean slightly towards a promotion more often than not…), we also regularly engage in light banter about other promotions that most fans rarely speak of.
For example: The Nic Johnson’s affinity for Ring Of Honor wrestling is much more than a passing fancy. In fact we all think Ring of Honor is pretty nifty; it’s wrestling, and as we’ve come to accept in this day in age, “wrestling matters.”
The one thing about ROH that provides me with unlimited amounts of consternation is the production quality of their product. To put it nicely, it effing sucks.
Ever since ROH lost its deal with HDNet, the production quality of their product has seemingly taken one giant-ass leap backwards. Whether it’s a DVD or their weekly televised show, viewing ROH’s “wrestling” will immediately take fans back to a simpler time where women stayed in the kitchen and polio was the silent killer.
Things for the country’s third largest wrestling promotion don’t get any better as they also have to contend with a pesky iPPV problem that haunts them with more fury than herpes.
This is what makes it frustrating to watch anything shilled by ROH. One would have to ignore the hobo-like quality of the product to enjoy the in-ring action. No offense to the great minds and athletes in ROH, but that’s simply ridiculous in 2012.
It’s like watching The Great Muta versus Tiger Mask through a keyhole covered with layers of butcher paper and Saran Wrap; after about two minutes you’ll say, “Eff it, where’s a Damien Sandow match?”
As it would happen, I found myself wandering the wide world of pro wrestling late last night/early this morning after yesterday’s Smackdown left me wanting a little more.
I ran across six smaller and independent promotions that have televised products (thanks YouTube!), and believe it or not,THREEof them have better production quality than ROH!
But hey, you don’t have to take my word for it; watch the videos and judge for yourself:
American Wrestling Federation (AWF) Saturday Night Slam – Ep. 85 – Hutchinson, MN
This 30-minute show from Minnesota tans ROH’s figurative fanny from the very beginning simply by being taped in hi definition! That fact in and of itself is a win; they could showcase 22 minutes of the two announcers palavering over toothpaste and hair plugs, and it’d still look better than ROH’s stuff!
The other obvious fact is that the show was taped in a packed – I reiterate, PACKED – high school gymnasium. Not only was the place packed, but the fans were also hot for the entire show! Even the WWE and TNA have difficulty getting that type of momentum from their shows and fans regularly.
I also thought it was hilarious that Tony Denucci entered and excited the match with Batista’s music…it’s the little things, you know? On to the next one:
NWA Championship Wrestling from Hollywood – Hollywood, CA
Let’s be real: the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) is about as relevant to the average wrestling fan today as Ahmed Johnson. Even in the midst of near irrelevancy a “territory” of the NWA can afford to produce a better product than ROH; that’s just plain sad.
It doesn’t appear that the show is filmed in hi def, but it still manages to look and feel big league and up-to-date. Then again it would look poorly upon Hollywood, California to allow shoddy workmanship to creep from the dark alleyways of its gold brick paved streets (I’m looking at you Asherology…).
The biggest story here is the “Seven Levels of Hate” series that will see NWA World Heavyweight Champion Colt Cabana defend his title against former four-time NWA champ “Scrap Iron” Adam Pearce. An awesome series of matches with two solid ring workers filmed with something more advanced than Super VHS…can’t really get mad at that.
Moving right along…
NWA Mountain State Wrestling – Ep. 331 – Beckley, WV
Touted as the “flagship of the National Wrestling Alliance,” NWA Mountain State typically provides me with numerous reasons to be proud of my Alabama roots. The wrestlers in this fed have more missing teeth than a box of broken combs.
Hillbilly jokes aside (and there are a bunch of them), it cannot be ignored or downplayed thatat leastyou can see all of this Appalachian glory in crystal clear clarity. Even with no more than 25 people in the audience (rough estimation) and one camera (also a rough estimation), the show is taped as if it were Saturday Night’s Main Event.
For heaven’s sake the damn thing was filmed in the front of a store and it still comes off better than ROH’s stuff!!!
The big story coming from the hills of West Virginia is that the Mountain State Champion, Lance Erikson, wants to rise to the top of the Talk NWA Top Ten Rankings. I could go more in-depth about that, but that would be unnecessary if you watched the video. Here are the rankings:
- “The Temptation” Shaun Tempers
- “Scrap Iron” Adam Pearce
- Damien Wayne
- Chance Prophet
- Tokyo Monster Kahagas
- Scorpio Sky
- Jason Kincaid
- Brian Fury
- The Mempho Mofo Mark Bravura
- Lance Erikson
The brass tax here is twofold, folks: there is much more to pro wrestling than TNA and the WWE. If we expand out horizons just a tad we can witness some truly amazing and befuddling action depending on where we look.
On that same note, we can appreciate and expect more from the larger companies if we allow ourselves the opportunity to see what others are doing and can do.
To this analyst it’s crazy that a promotion that has a nationally syndicated product comes across as if it can only be seen on channel 69, only available to cable subscribers in the area surrounding Lake Chaubunagungamaug.
Then again when the focus of your product is centered on great wrestling instead of the presentation of great wrestling, filming with an 8mm camera doesn’t seem like that big of a deal….I guess…
Here’s to hoping that some day soon ROH will be able to at least make their product look like a million bucks.
Honorable Mentions (i.e. In-the-same-boat-as-ROH):