BG East’s (DVD) Burning Issue

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The last three BG East DVDs orders I have placed have left me with mixed feelings. I’m not talking about the DVDs’ contents. I’m more than happy with the products I bought and I’ve always been satisfied with the quality of BGE’s products. What I’m talking about is one of the burning issues about the producer: using physical distribution as its primary method for content delivery. To me that has started to feel more like a problem.

I’ve been a BGE customer for 14 years and by now I know the cycle by heart: BGE releases a new catalog, I jump to see all the match-ups and their descriptions, I get all hyped up and decide to buy at least half of the DVD offerings, I frantically add all the DVDs I want to my shopping cart, I check all my information and still full of excitement I place my order… only to reach the anticlimax. It is then that I remember that it will take at least 4 days (if I’m lucky) to get to see any of it. Up till not so long ago I was kind of “at peace” with the whole cycle, but with the advent of increased bandwidth and digital distribution systems this has come to feel unnecessary, and after the last three catalogs, it has even started to feel obsolete.

Currently, the only other option to buying BGE DVDs is the streamable “Video On Demand (VOD)” service in which for $10 (or an equivalent of “VOD-Tokens”) you get access to a match for 24 hours. Here is a challenge for you: try to watch “Kid Karisma vs. Gabriel Ross” from “Wrestler Spotlight: Kid Karisma” in its entirety in 24 hours. With 8 hours of sleep and 8 hours of work, you are left with 8 hours to watch. And everything about that match is so hot, there is no way a human being can finish that match without taking at least three “breaks” (if you know what I mean). If you want to try it, I wish you good luck with that.

As basically all other companies offer either downloads or a streaming service, it is starting to feel as if BGE is out of reasons why it stills does not offers a fair digital distribution system to its customers. Of course, a closer look may reveal how a change like this has its possible downsides too. In this post I will try to identify the factors in favor and against a digital distribution system for BGE as well as its gray zones and my own personal take on the issue. 

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DVDs Are Dead

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Just like VHS, cassettes and floppy disks, CDs and DVDs are being quietly phased out with the media not expected to be around by 2020 (or sooner, if you ask me). A clear indication of this is how newer laptops and even desktop computer models are not including optical disk drives to play CD/DVDs. There is a clear trend toward downloadable/streamable content, with media producers bypassing the physical methods of distribution to make their products available. Like it or not, BG East will have to find an alternative to DVD production at some point.

Making Matches Mobile

A digital distribution service can serve to finally make BG East mobile. Finally, BG East fans could enjoy matches without having to depend on the now disappearing DVD players. It is also quite handy for anyone who doesn’t own a PC, or is far from a TV or their DVD collection. I bet many fans would love this instead of going through all the process of ripping their DVD disks and then transfer the files to their computers, phones or tablets.


Wet & Wild 7: Pool Tournament! 

Letting People Buy What They Want

One of the biggest complaints you can read on and on about BGE’s DVDs is customers claiming to be paying for matches they don’t want to see. Segmenting DVDs into individual matches could finally allow customers to pay for what they really want. This could serve as an instant feedback mechanism to identify which wrestlers, formats, themes and scenarios are capturing the audience.

Private Impulses

Either a download or streaming service will be more effective in cashing on buyers’ impulses looking for instant gratification. And perhaps, digital distribution may also serve as a more private way for content delivery. That would have saved me tons of fake excuses back in the day (16 year-old me: *gulps nervously* “ Umm… That’s a CD companion to my biology book, dad!…” *gulps again*).

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The Hidden Costs

You would think downloading goods would be a cheaper option for both you and BGE when compared to having them shipped by good ol’ snail mail. But you’d be surprise of how much would it cost to create and maintain a download/streaming service. Not only it costs a producer to keep their files stored while they are waiting to be downloaded, but there may also be a cost associated to each download or each time a file is played. It may seem “transparent” to us, but these costs may be passed on to consumers in order to keep the service profitable.

Design (Re)considerations

Of course such a transformation will need to be accompanied by design changes in order to support the sale and delivery of a digital service. This would mean the website would need to be updated to somehow accommodate the elements of the structure chosen to deliver the content. You could think adding a link saying “WATCH IT NOW FOR $XX.XX” would be enough, but anyone who knows a bit of coding knows this can be a huge project, specially when having such an enormous amount of content and an already existing website. Not only the structure has to work, but it should be user-friendly and also be heavily protected in order to avoid the biggest of all the possible pitfalls…

The Threat Of Piracy

If I had to pick one, I’d blame piracy as the primary reason for why we haven’t seen downloads available yet at BG East. It’s a widespread problem that is really hard to contain and threatens the sustainability of any producer. Piracy is always going to happen and it is obvious that providing digital files facilitates copy infringement acts. The only thing you can do with piracy is contain it, and that will always be a mighty task that needs to be considered in the delivery system design.

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To Rent, To Stream or To Download?

Can you imagine a Netflix-like service giving you access to BGE’s full library? Or what about a “Catalog Pass” that will let you watch all matches from the chosen catalog for a certain amount of time? What about the opportunity to preview all matches in full before buying? Perhaps a streaming service would be more effective in curbing piracy, but I would expect a download service making people a lot more happy.

Price Points

At $10 for 24-hours, the current VOD system at The Arena is the costliest digital delivery service per hour available right now in the industry. Finding the right price point will need to be crucial in order to maintain competitiveness. A price point that is considered too high by possible costumer could drive them away and trigger piracy. A price point that is too low could eventually result in loses. However, if DVDs are split into individual matches we could see an increase in the average match price as we lose the bundle discounts.

Keep The Catalog Format?

The current format of mass releases may be affected by the use of digital delivery. Releasing 6 DVDs will not necessarily work as well as releasing 15 downloadable matches on a single day. A change to digital distribution may threaten the existence of well-rounded catalogs as they may give way to a smaller amount of matches being released within shorter timeframes. Also, some “specialty” or experimental releases may suffer as certain themes or wrestlers prove to be more profitable or it could be the other way around. More experimental opportunities may arise by having a quicker way to deliver content in order to test a new concept. That same quickness may serve to deliver content that feels fresher and still relevant.

Less Materials = Lower Production Costs?

Do less physical DVDs, less time burning DVDs, less product stickers, less DVD sleeves and less shipping charges actually means lower production costs? The introduction of  digital delivery will probably require supervision of the system,  doing troubleshooting, dealing with customer support and handling a good number of “I can’t download my file” emails.  Although the change looks like a money saving move, it will probably not be so until a while after its running.

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All of BG East competitors seem to use downloads as their primary way of delivering content and they seem to be doing OK (so far). But the comparison is not totally fair since many of those companies were built based around digital distribution. After this post you may understand how complex a transition to digital distribution can be for BG East and the implications it could have. I believe that the minds behind BG East should definitely have had this debate already and they are either still sorting out how they will implement such service or are already working on it.

I would actually expect BG East to announce some sort of digital platform at some point over the next 12 months. More than expect it, I hope they do, because BG East needs to tackle this issue before it has a profound impact in their future on the underground wrestling scene.  finaldot

Uncovering the 'SSS' victim

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About a day ago Cameron Matthews posted a message on the CameronWrestler.com Facebook Fan Page about a “super secret shoot” (SSS).

 

Naturally the LSPID ( La Sustancia P Investigations Department) went into high alert and was quickly activated short after a teaser of the shoot was also posted to the page. What is it so ‘secret’ about this shoot? And why was that image particularly posted? Looks like another case for the LSPID! Let’s take a closer look.

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Here is the teasing picture of the “SSS”. We have two unidentified hunks double teaming a third delicious hunk in what looks to be hot as hell action. Let’s analyze that picture in two parts, shall we? Let’s start by looking at the upper part.

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The upper part of the picture shows the real image of the victim being set up by his tormentors. The victim sports two tattoos, one on his left upper arm and another on the left side of his torso. A lot of the current wrestlers we know have some body art. But my mind quickly made a shortlist of which wrestlers may have this particular combination. Let’s confront the subjects to see if we can identify our secret victim.

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Three possible suspects with similar tattoos come to mind. Let’s check each of them for our markers. First up: Alex Waters!

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Alex has a left side torso tattoo, but he doesn’t sport any ink on his left upper arm. Therefore, he is not a match. Waters is off the hook. Up next: Brad Barnes!

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Brad has ink on his left upper arm which preliminarily matches our evidence. He also sports a side tattoo but unfortunately, that tattoo is on his right side and it doesn’t look like it matches the circular patterns shown in Exhibit B. Barnes is released. Finally, let’s check Cal Bennett!

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We have scored a possible match! He sports both a left upper arm tattoo and a left side torso tattoo. However, we would need to confirm this in order to make a confident statement. Let’s send this to our Forensic Identification lab RUSH!!

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Using state of the art technology (i.e. Photoshop), and a little sample of Cal’s tattoos, I isolated his body art and created a “negative” translucent image. Those samples will be overlapped with the actual image to check if the patterns match.
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Given that the body and limbs positioning is different we may not have a clear match. With that in mind, let’s run our compatibility test.

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SUCCESS! The left side torso tattoo is an exact perfect match for Cal Bennett’s tattoo! The left upper arm tattoo also overlaps in about 90% with the difference being that the positioning of the arm doesn’t let the image to be compared completely. This means that unless he has an exact body double, the victim of Cameron Matthews’ SSS is none other than CAL BENNETT!!!!

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So what about the other two hunks giving out the punishment? Well, I can’t say much. There is not much info aside some plain black trunks on one of the subjects and some nice biceps on the other. The important thing here is that Cameron ensures he had a back-up battery because that one is about to DIE! And I don’t want to miss a second of that match!!!!!! Cal Bennett double teamed!!! Yes Cameron, YOU ARE THE MAN!!!

P.S. In fact, Cameron has impressively released a fresh (taped just hours ago) match from those shoots! It doesn’t feature Cal, but it seems to be a really hot encounter between Chace LaChance vs Ty Alexander. Go get it now! finaldot

A Better Black

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On my last review, I talked about how much I dreaded one of the performers plain black trunks. I kept thinking about it and I realized that I was bothered more by the “plain” than by the “black” part of it.

Black is the perfect go-to color for wrestlers because of its psychology. It visually makes a statement about strenght and power that serves to establish superiority what makes understandable that many performers will try to rock this color while in action. As a basic color, it is not hard to find a good pair of black trunks and it’s even easier to combine them with anything else. And as it is not-so-revealing, it makes a great pick for conservative or self-conscious performers.

But in homoerotic wrestling, plain, basic and conservative are not usually part of the equation. If a wrestler wants to wear black he needs to be aware that if he doesn’t combine it properly with other elements of design he will otherwise look like a basic bitch.

I have taken the liberty to make some observations about the use of black gear and write some very subjective guidelines about how to make a black gear look work:

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Yes, sometimes it’s about the style. Mike Columbo shows four different looks here. It’s a gradient that starts at the top left with a full trunk look, and ends bottom right with a barely-there g-string. In other words, we are going from “I’m so basic” to “LOOK AT ME!”.

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My favorite looks? The two in between. The top right one is the most masculine and conservative, yet still revealing with a deeper waist cut and higher thigh cut that perfectly encapsulates his assets. In that same match he later progresses into the bottom left thong which in all honesty is the reason why I bought that DVD. Every cut serves a purpose but it still it has to be selected according to the body type, assets and personality. And still, it’s not only about the cut…

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2014.12.21_Black_title_2Source: Beefcakes of Wrestling

Looks pretty basic at first, doesn’t it? This is an example of how you can portray a message not only through color, but through fabric. Finn Bálor (Prince Devitt) rocks a reptile/snake texture in his trunks that convey a primal message of strength and aggressiveness that black spandex alone would have never achieved. Of course fabric should be primarily functional, but the type of fabric and its finish can take something really basic and transform into a powerful statement.  The reflectiveness of the fabric also portrays elegance that combined with Bálor’s good looks and ripped body makes you wonder if you are watching NXT or a Fashion Week special. It all adds up to make my second favorite look in pro-wrestling. My favorite is an amazing combination of both the right cuts and fabrics.

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First image: “Basic” Seth Rollins. Second Image: “MOTHER-FUCKING HOT!” Seth Rollins. Third image: “OH-MY-GOD-I-CAME!!!!” Seth Rollins. Evolving from his look of “The Shield” days (where we were neglected of watching him being shirtless), Seth now rocks a contemporary leathered superhero look which includes a sleeveless removable shirt. Completed with gloves, pads and belt, the look marries the smoothness of the structured leather and spandex with the rawness of the wet hair, beard and hairy torso creating what I think is is the most appealing look in pro-wrestling today.

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Sometimes it’s not about the color not being right, but about the possibility of a better option. Being the covering color that it is, black just doesn’t seem like the best option when it comes to discern shadows and lights. Contrast is key when we something needs to be highlighted, and plain black is the worst option for it.

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We know Chris Dickinson (Guido Genatto) is a natural heel that would obviously pick some plain black trunks. But he’s also been naturally gifted with a bulge that needs to be admired.  Just look at the difference when he switched to red. Now tell me, in which color do you want to see that bounce!?

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Because everything works in both ways, Shane Haste delicious ass-ets are better appreciated when he is wedgied while using his black trunks, which provide better contrast against his skin. If he would have been wearing his current orange trunks we probably wouldn’t even notice the difference!

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There are guys that look good no matter what they choose. Black, white, blue or red. Spandex, lycra, pleather, nylon. Whatever AJ Styles chooses to wear I’m good with. He is one of my first wrestling crushes and even though he is not so gay-friendly, I still check on him once in a while to see what he’s up to. His most recent roughed-up look features a full black ensemble that is more than OK with me because it is cohesive and sexy as hell. I’m not going to lie though, I do miss the colorful full length tights and squarecuts!

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So what to do then? If a wrestler looks well using any color,I guess he should used them with a purpose: wear a color to describe his current state of mind, wear it according to his role in the match or simply mix it up so we don’t get bored!

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Joshua Goodman in plain black squarecuts? BLASPHEMY! Joshua Goodman in silver squarecuts? HEAVEN!

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Guys packin’ like this should be prohibited of using anything black. Seriously, with so many other millions of colors to choose it’s a sacrilege that Mr. Joshua ever used plain black trunks. There is just no logical reason. Knowing how much he likes the attention I doubt he would like to conceal that monster by using black. So, does he want to establish dominance? Well, that’s why he’s got a gigantic bulge to show LITERALLY who is the bigger man! If you are a ‘big’ wrestler, don’t try to hide the obvious. Embrace it and let it be part of the show. Just burn your plain black trunks.

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Yes, there is always an exception. My favorite look of Joe Mazetti? His signature plain black trunks. Of course this guy can wear plain trunks because if you dare to call him out about it he will just tear you apart. The trunks may be simple but they are a great fit as they are high at the thighs which makes him look taller. And still without enough contrast, you can see he is packing!

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Some guys just have enough personality to shine through anything including a pair of boring trunks. Joe’s aggressive demeanor and alpha attitude made up for the simplicity of his gear. Personality is any wrestler’s best accessory.

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Sometimes it’s not about the color at all, but about some thing in specific that drives you crazy. For me, it’s the jockstrap, but for you it can be anything else. Of course Davey Richards has never wrestled in a jockstrap (that we know of), but in homoerotic wrestling we get a lot of jockstrap action and I find myself drawn to it, even if it’s black, white, orange, red, blue or green. Put a hot sweaty guy in a jockstrap and everything I wrote so far becomes meaningless!

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Again, this is all heavily based on my opinion and you are more than welcome to share if you agree or disagree with any of this. Do you like plain black trunks? Or how do you think a black gear look can be upgraded? finaldot

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