Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Economy of Time: Why NWA Hollywood Succeeds Where the Mainstream Fails

The Cutlers taking it to Johnny Goodtime outside the Showcase... a sampling of what you'll find each week
Screen Grab Credit: NWAHollywood.com (pardon the ad!)
One of the big reasons why I continue to go out of my way to watch NWA Hollywood online is because they have so many stories that keep my interest. If it were just wrestling like the ROH on HDNet show was, with very little serial storylines to keep me enthralled from week to week, I might skip it, might being the operative word here. However, not only do I find an outlet for good indie wrestling, they do their best to tell several stories each week.

Their show on KDOC-TV has one hour of runtime each week. Take commercials and other stuff out, and it distills down to between 40 and 45 minutes of "meat" each week, with the term meat referring to matches, promos and angles. In that three-quarters of an hour, NWA Hollywood manages to put over at least four if not more angles. Furthermore, nearly every other story in the company at least warrants a mention throughout the telecast. Contrast that with the other companies.

Impact Wrestling distills down to between 80-90 minutes of meat each week. Most of it is spent on three to four top angles for each show, some of which don't carry over into the next week. Angles are started and dropped with no resolution at times. Guys don't appear on the show for weeks at a time and garner no mention from Mike Tenay and Taz. The WWE is a little better. They have anywhere between 2.5 and 3 hours of meat each week on actual TV, with two web shows that run 40 minutes a piece on average. Those times can be cut into by fluff segments, recaps of stuff that happened barely a half-hour prior or blatant advertising for patently non-wrestling things. Furthermore, many times, their idea of a feud is the face beating the heel cleanly in consecutive weeks with no real rhyme or reason why the story is continuing after the first clean defeat.

With NWA Hollywood, you get the aforementioned 4 angles minimum each week. You also get a sense of purpose for each one, be it through promos, matches or post-match happenings. Often times, it's not anything complex, whether it's Ray Rosas, Rico Dynamite and Peter Avalon cheating to win a match or Candice LaRae walloping Buggy across the head with a chair. Hell, I think the most "complex" thing that happened recently has been the Cutlers and the RockNES Monsters brawling out onto LaBrea Boulevard, with Excalibur noting the next week that no criminal charges would be pursued from the melee. It's all simple pro wrestling stuff, but the rub is that it works. It makes everything make sense.

Now, is the storytelling perfect? No, it's not. Sometimes, circumstance dictates that they have to drop an angle, whether it's Austin Aries signing a one-month or longer deal with Impact that precludes him from coming back to tapings to continue his heat with Scorpio Sky, or Colt Cabana losing his NWA World Championship because the NWA is an antiquated model that doesn't know what's good for it, or because Adam Pearce got hurt and might have to retire. Sometimes, they tell stories that fall flat, but it's not for lack of effort.

It might be trite to talk about effort like this is some grade school exercise, but at the same time, the effort going into making NWA Hollywood what it is right now is certainly appreciated and it makes up for the lack of production values they may have compared to even Impact. Effort doesn't always equal quality, but when that effort is combined with a vision like the one that the folks who run the fed have, it can totally make for a great viewing experience.

Remember you can contact TH and ask him questions about wrestling, life or anything else. Please refer to this post for contact information. He always takes questions!

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