Last week Pacific Coast Wrestling announced that their shows would be available for streaming on Amazon, which is a major coup for them and something that no other independent promotion has managed to pull off. Sure, there are compilation videos and wrestling documentaries available to stream, but PCW is the first that has managed to get full shows on the service (unless there is someone else I wasn’t able to find).
The biggest positive in PCW being on Amazon is the chance at new fans stumbling across their product as they browse through Amazon video. Just to test it out, I searched “wrestling” on the Amazon Video app on the Playstation 4, and PCW’s Clear the Way was maybe the 20th choice when scrolling through the selections. The cover for PCW’s show looks a lot more professional and modern than the choices around it and really catches the eye as well. I can’t imagine some of the stuff available streaming on Amazon ever gets purchased.
With their shows streaming on Amazon, PCW also set the prices for their shows at an amazingly low price of $2.99 if you choose to rent them for 7 days, or $9.99 to buy (there is also options to rent or purchase in standard definition, but this is 2017). With that price and some of the garbage that shows up when you search for “wrestling” I would expect PCW to get a lot of extra attention from people who might not normally check out a Southern California independent wrestling promotion or even an independent wrestling promotion in general. I asked PCW if this will be the price point for their shows going forward and they told me that “the price point is cheap to create brand awareness. I think we will keep it at this price to sell quantity in the hopes that people see the quality product we are putting together and sending out in the marketplace. As the production grows maybe the price will rise but we’ll just have to wait and see.”
PCW should be applauded for not only getting their shows on Amazon, but also setting them at a price designed to introduce fans to the product rather than trying to gouge every dollar out of fans.
Having been to PCW live, I wanted to check out one of the shows to check out the production values on video. I ended up selecting Title Wave as I heard great things about the show and it was their 2nd newest show available (their most recent show Fantasm isn’t available yet). This review is more on the overall show production rather than the matches themselves. The matches were all good.
Just for full disclosure, I purchased the 7 day rental option and I watched the show using the Amazon Video app on a PS4. I also enjoyed some pizza and a soda while watching it.
Immediately when the video starts PCW’s logo appears and the graphics and sound come across as really professional. We go to Todd Keneley and Christian Cole and they run down the show. So far so good.
The first match is Fatu versus Jorel Nelson. The camera work is really shaky here. Cesar Black is Fatu’s manager and he’s talking to the camera as they come out and you can’t hear a word he’s saying. You can’t hear the crowd at all. If there is any entrance music you can’t hear it either. In fact you can’t even hear the ring announcer, Dan Masters. The guys on commentary even say something like “let’s go to the ring announcer Dan Masters for Fatu’s opponent” then there is no sound from the ring mic. The camera work was pretty bad throughout this match. Lots and lots of jumping around between cameras. They rarely cut to the hard cam and there were some weird angles used. At times it felt like I was watching a fan cam. This was basically a squash match designed to showcase Fatu and he looked impressive. After the match they had a backstage interview with Christy Olsen interviewing Cesar Black and Fatu. Cesar Black is great. Christy Olsen did a good job throughout the show.
A Scorpio Sky hype video is shown and it was really well done and made Scorpio Sky come across as a big deal for anyone who hasn’t seen him before. The production on this was great.
The next match is Kevin Martenson versus Mr. 450, and it’s a first round match in PCW’s light heavyweight tournament. There is now entrance music. The ring announcer still couldn’t be heard. The lighting seemed better starting with this match too. The venue where this show took place, The Oak Street Gym, would heat up to unbearable levels, and it’s funny to see people in the audience fanning themselves throughout the show. The crowd still can’t be heard. It’s also weird watching wrestling and not hearing bumps in the ring. The camera work was a lot better in this match. The production keeps improving as the show went on. Mr. 450 wins the match after hitting a 450 and advances. This was a good match.
Brian Cage and JR Kratos was up next. The camera work was even better here. I thought Keneley and Christian Cole did a pretty solid job on commentary throughout the show. Every time they’d show them, Christian Cole looked like he was heading for a heat stroke though. It was kind of funny to watch the progression of him loosening his tie and what steps he was taking to stay cool. The ring announcer, action in the ring, and the crowd still couldn’t be heard. There was one exception, at one point when the crowd did the Terminator theme while clapping it got picked up on the mic. This was a heavyweight title tournament match and I thought it was really good. Brian Cage got the win.
The Almighty Sheik and MK came out for a promo next. The ring mic is now working! This came across on video really flat as there was no crowd noise for reaction.
Willie Mack and Pentagon Jr. is up next. This is another first round heavyweight title match. Finally some crowd noise in this. The crowd is going crazy for Pentagon Jr. This was a good match that saw Pentagon Jr. advance.
Clips were shown of a Douglas James and Tyler Bateman match that was this show’s preshow match. Bateman narrated the clips and then there was backstage interview with Douglas James and Christy Olsen.
Hammerstone and Yoshi Tatsu was up next. This was a really fun match that Hammerstone won.After the match the commentators mention what an ovation Yoshi Tatsu was getting. We’ll have to take their word.
The next match was for the tag team titles and it was Reno Scum facing Keepers of the Faith. Before the match there was a promo video with Reno Scum hyping the match. This was good. The ring announcer’s mic and the crowd can’t be heard again. Keepers of the Faith won and became the first PCW tag-team champions.
Mr. 450 and Scorpio Sky in the light heavyweight title finals is up. During their entrances you can hear the crowd and it makes such a huge difference. Watching wrestling wioth no crowd noise and no ring noise just seems so unnatural. You can hear Dan Masters announce the wrestlers too. The bad camera work came back for this match though. The crowd was super hot at the start of this match. Soon as the match starts, the crowd noise disappears! Why? You can actually start hearing the crowd late in this. I think they get so loud they are getting picked up in the commentator’s mics. This was a good match. Mr. 450 wins and is the first champ.
The main event is Pentagon Jr. versus Brian Cage in the finals of the PCW heavyweight title tournament. Pentagon Jr. won this in a really good match.
After the match Pentagon Jr. cuts a promo in Spanish. I turned the subtitles on, and Pentagon’s promo wasn’t subtitled but the commentary was. After the match it was announced Pentagon Jr. would face Rob Van Dam on the next show. Highlights from the show were then shown.
I thought for Title Wave all of the non-ring stuff came across really well done. The commentators did a good job, Christy Olsen did great as a backstage interviewer, the promos were great. The match quality for the show was good too. Outside of a squash match that did the job it was designed to do, there wasn’t a match on the show that I didn’t think was good at worst. The problem with the show was the production of the matches themselves, which is a major thing when it comes to a wrestling show. The camera work was hit and miss, but the audio was really offputting. The crowd being silent really took a lot of excitement out of the matches, and not being able to hear the bumps, slaps, chops, etc. during the matches took a lot of the impact out of the moves.
I asked PCW about the production issues on this show and was told starting with Clear the Way a new team was brought in and the production was a lot better and it is even better on their most recent show, Fantasm. When Fantasm comes out I’ll check that out to see what kind of improvement there is.
If I was PCW, I’d consider in the future when their video library gets bigger, to pull some of the early shows where there are production issues from the $2.99 rental option on Amazon so they are less likely to be the introduction a new fan has to the product. If you are already a fan of their product, it’s worth checking out for sure. The matches are all good if you can get past the audio. If you’ve never seen PCW before, I’d start with the most recent show that is said to have better production.
You can find any of the shows on Amazon by searching “PCW” and the name of the show, or by heading to http://www.pacificcoastwrestling.com/amazon.html.