(The opinions expressed here are solely those of "the King of All Wrestling Media" Gene Jackson and do not reflect those of "Hollywood" Jimmy Blaylock or anyone else affiliated with WrestlingNewsCenter.com)
As a die hard fan of old school wrestling I often only see complaining about today's current wrestling product whether it's what's presented by WWE and TNA or any of the thousands of independent companies promoting wrestling all over the country...and I too am guilty of that. However, if there's one thing old school fans can rejoice about, it's the current availability of old school wrestling to watch and enjoy. I watched plenty of wrestling as a kid and recorded a lot of it and purchased every wrestling VHS I could get my hands on. I got in the wrestling business in 1997 and after a couple of years I wanted to study every territory I could get my hands on. This is when I joined the wonderful world of tape trading. DVDs hadn't become popular at that point so everything was VHS. I joined a couple of different "trading message boards" online and was in complete awe at some of the treasures that many of these traders had. There was literally THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of hours of wrestling footage out there I wanted. From the stuff I grew up on like Continental, Memphis, AWA, Global, WWF, World Class, and Crockett Promotions....but other stuff I'd only read about like Japan, Mid South, Portland, the early Mid Atlantic, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Stampede, and of course all the amazing angles I'd read about in Florida with Dusty Rhodes, Kevin Sullivan, etc.
The thing about tape trading then was....with VHS there was no quick way to do it....if you're trading for 12 hours of footage, it would take you 12 hours to dub the footage to another tape. Then you also had the issues with quality....if you were getting 8th generation copies, they were often unwatchable. Most traders were pretty straight up about picture quality but sometimes you'd get screwed, or even screwed to the point you never even got your tapes at all. I traded for several years and acquired a LOT of the footage I wanted....however when DVD became popular it completely changed tape trading. For one, you could burn DVDs MUCH faster than you dub VHS tapes AND the quality was better because it didn't matter how many times you burned a DVD the quality is still the same. At that point I was able to acquire footage much faster and in bigger quantities...getting full years of Smoky Mountain Wrestling, Memphis, and other territories all at once. It got to a point the only issue I had was finding the time to watch all of it. Between working my job and burning discs for trades there wasn't much time to watch stuff. Having sold a lot of it, I still have well over 2,000 or more wrestling DVDs....many of which I still haven't had a chance to watch....but they're there at my disposal as the need arises or when I get the time.
The point of all this is....I spent hours...days...months...and years to build a wrestling collection to study and enjoy the business I love so much only to find that now between the WWE Network and YouTube...there are literally thousands of hours of wrestling out there to watch for little or NO cost to you whatsoever. It's amazing...and not just singular matches anymore, there are full episodes of some of your favorite old school territories right there at your fingertips anytime you wanna watch it. From old school to Japan to independents from all over the world you could watch wrestling 24/7 and not run out of stuff to watch anytime soon. My friend Memphis Monroe tells me he spends hours each week watching old school masked wrestlers to come up with ideas for his "Mega Star" persona. The reason I'm writing this is I hope everyone realizes how fortunate wrestlers and wrestling fans are to have this kind of easy access to SO MUCH wrestling history at their fingertips and take advantage of it! Watch it, study it, enjoy it, and learn from it....take what works for you and what you are doing today and use it moving forward. Anything that has worked in the past can be updated and tweaked to make sense today, in this day and age with all this access there is NO excuse to be in the wrestling business and be ignorant of it's history. If so, it just shows laziness and a lack of passion for the business that everyone supposedly loves so much. If you love it, then prove it by studying it....understanding it...and getting better at it every time you step in the ring.
Thanks for reading,
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