By Will Pruett
For the last two years, I’ve traveled to WrestleMania’s host city and attempted to gorge myself on as much wrestling as possible. This year, I decided to stay home in the sunny theme park ruled city of Anaheim, California instead of going to the sunny theme park ruled city of Orlando, Florida. One would think I’d experience less wrestling this way, but nope. I’m watching way too many shows! Here are some short reviews of them, along with what you must watch from each one!
ROH Supercard of Honor XI
My biggest takeaway was how great this show looked on TV. ROH’s newly professional production standards were on full display and in stark contrast to what I’m used to from them during WrestleMania weekend. Not only did this show look good, but it was actually good as well. There were a couple great matches and nothing truly bad. I’d only criticize the presence of an intermission, but I criticize anything with an intermission (I legitimately get grumpy during intermission whenever I see a play).
I was on the fence about ordering this show, especially with a $30 price tag, but ended up deciding to do it. I am without regret on this one.
Must see: The Young Bucks vs. The Hardys in a Ladder Match was fantastic. I expected fun nostalgia, but it was so much more than that. Also, Adam Cole vs. Marty Scrull was better than I expected.
My first takeaway from this show was the garbage experience offered by WWN Live as an iPPV provider. While it isn’t the provider for Evolve anymore, the site was the only place to see and order Progress’ US debut. My second takeaway: No one can shoot Progress like Progress. This was a detriment. While the show was good, it didn’t look and feel like Progress Wrestling. They have a unique and great production style and it was missing. Progress doesn’t usually feel like everything else and this weekend it did.
Must see: Mark Andrews vs. Tyler Bate for the WWE UK Championship and Pete Dunne vs. Mark Haskins for the Progress Championship. I’ll toss Zack Sabre Jr vs. Jimmy Havoc on here as well.
Flo Slam, as a service
This is its own section, because I have to rant a little about the usability of Flo Slam. This weekend has been my first experience with it. For double the monthly cost of WWE Network, I now subscribe to a service that is organized in a worse way (which I didn’t think was possible). Flo Slam’s app is divided into 2016 and 2017, with shows from as early as 2010 in each folder. The Evolve shows on it are in a super weird order making them impossible to find. It’s not an intuitive app. It’s not a good app.
On top of a bad app, Flo Slam’s shows itself have looked awful. I’m talking a lot about production and not wrestling, but production is important. People should be able to enjoy shows without distractions, but since no one at the Flo Slam shoot decided to white balance their cameras, they now have one super yellow hard camera shot (most evident at Evolve 81). The lighting on these shows has been atrocious. Why can’t Flo Slam rent a lighting rig for the weekend? They’re doing something like 10 shows. Split the cost between everything and provide the people paying twice what the WWE Network costs some good looking shows!
And for the love of all that is holy, do a simple white balance on your cameras. It’ll take four minutes. If you don’t know how, call me.
Now that I’ve ranted about production, I can say this show (from Thursday night) was alright. It featured solid wrestling from top-to-bottom with a couple worthwhile matches.
Must see: Ricochet vs. Keith Lee, which began what has become a breakout weekend for Keith Lee. Zack Sabre Jr vs. ACH.
For me, only one match on this show was worth writing home (or, well, to you) about: Keith Lee vs. Donovan Dijak. It was a fun encounter from two big dudes. Keith Lee is really impressing me this weekend and I’m hoping it’ll continue through the rest of the shows I watch. Lee could be a breakout performer of 2017.
Must see: Keith Lee vs. Donovan Dijak.
Got thoughts on any of these shows or the weekend in general? Hit me up with them! Check the Twitter @wilpruett, leave a comment, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.