Newsletter Special Feature #4 - Shane from WrestleWipe.com and 'Hotdogs and Handshakes' Podcast
Newsletter Special Feature #4
WrestleWipe Shane @GlobalForceGold
Shane, formerly ‘Deep Shane Thrombosis’ on Twitter, is the man behind the highly impressive WrestleWipe series. This was firstly a quarterly thread on Twitter but has now evolved into a website, WrestleWipe.com, which features the 2019 quarters as archive and the 2020 version in monthly chunks.
This feature comes at an opportune time as off the back of his well-received appearance on POST Wrestling's BWE, Shane and his brother Liam are starting a 2000's indy wrestling retrospective podcast. Hotdogs and Handshakes is to be recorded this week with a tentative release date of this coming weekend.
Hello Shane and welcome to the newsletter! Can you tell us a little bit about the content you create and why you have decided to spend time collating a satirical retrospective of the year’s wrestling stories?
Hi, thanks for the interview! The main mission of WrestleWipe is to collect news stories, big and small, of the fast-paced world of pro wresting and present them in a digestible (and hopefully entertaining) format. This comes in the form of an initial Twitter thread and is then followed by a more comprehensive version on WrestleWipe.com.
Wrestling news and drama flies by so fast these days, that big stories or skirmishes are often forgotten or pushed to the sidelines within hours, so this is my attempt at shining a light at just how far-reaching and rapid the industry and the fan base has become.
One may suggest that you are compiling a record of all the misery and negativity surrounding wrestling which doesn’t need any more promoting, what is your perspective around this idea?
It's a fair point to make. When I first started WrestleWipe last year, I knew that it would come down to shining a massive negative light on the industry but it would also be punctuated with splashes of good to remind you that wrestling is still worth engaging in. It's also a good exercise in punching up and developing a patter about the woeful levels that wrestling can duck into.
Unfortunately, 2020 hasn't really proven to be a real good year for pro wrestling, both in and out of the ring. It's hard to feign enthusiasm for something that has proven itself to be stale at best and rotten at worst. The pandemic and Speaking Out are two huge Earth-movers for the business, and it's had an effect on the way I see wrestling right now.
Wrestlers who I praised in previous WrestleWipes got outed as nasty pieces of work (David Starr, for example), and the pandemic has really shook the foundations of in-ring quality. In fact, in the immediate wake of Speaking Out, I was close to shutting down the site and it's related projects all together as I just lost enthusiasm for the scene. I did question whether it would be healthy or productive to carry on.
What really brought me back round to the idea of soldering on was the sheer volume of pro wrestling positivity crusades popping up and acting like everything was still great and fantastic. It silences the idea that wrestling can be improved and is incredibly ignorant and insulting to wrestlers and fans alike.
If everything is good, then nothing is good; if someone is shouting “Hey, this is REALLY bad and detrimental, it has to be dealt with” only to be drowned out with cries of “YEAH BUT LOOK AT THIS OTHER THING, IT IS AWESOME!” then nothing gets fixed, standards are dropped and wrestling becomes an awful, inaccessible mess. I'd say that rampant positivity and ignoring the issues is more detrimental than highlighting the negativities.
You are openly inspired by Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe series, what made you decide to create a wrestling version of Screenwipe?
It was the first way I envisioned WrestleWipe and it just stuck that way! I'm a MASSIVE fan of Charlie Brooker and have been following his work for close to 15 years now. He's a huge inspiration on my writing style and the way I present my opinions on the internet. I actually only started calling it WrestleWipe during the second instalment (the first one was just keyed as a news round-up) as it felt too on the nose. But I threw caution to the wind and just went with it.
There was a four-day period at the end of August 2019 that had so much going on that it felt impossible to keep up. You had Rev Pro's Summer Sizzler and the all the controversial fallout from that, the next day was a triple-header with New Japan, AEW, NXT and then Chris Jericho coined “Little bit of the bubbly!” and goes on to lose his belt on a bar crawl. There's no other hobby that has so much going down on a constant basis, and that week planted the initial WrestleWipe seed in my brain due to how hectic and news-filled it was.
You also cover CZW and ladder matches in your blog part of the WrestleWipe website. What is it in particular that led to you deciding to explore these very specific topics in your writing?
Ladder matches and old CZW both hold a special place in my heart as both played a role in keeping my wrestling fandom alive when I was growing up. My fascination with ladder matches goes back to seeing highlights of the Shawn/Razor WrestleMania 10 match and just being mesmerised. Shawn became my favourite wrestler instantly, and his Summerslam '95 rematch only cemented that.
A ladder match can make a wrestler, or at least that's how it used to be. The gimmick seems tired now, but it launched the careers of several wrestlers in '99-'00 WWF (and several of my teenage faves), and became appointment viewing for myself. A crazy ladder match could make an indy show instantly must-see and the performers would usually be welcomed by those fans after a good performance.
I guess I'm just looking for that star-making thrill again. Wrestlers going balls-out, innovating the gimmick and getting the crowd invested due to the sheer passion for the match. I'm chasing that one shining match again, that elation of realising “Well these guys have just MADE it with that!”.
CZW is the promotion I jumped right into after WCW and ECW were bought out, so when WWE decided that HHH was their man I looked to CZW as an alternative, and when WWE threw the strap on JBL that was it; I was done and fully on the indy train, with CZW being my main go-to.
Zandig's weird and wonderful company gave so many notable names their first big pushes andexposure to a wider audience (Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn being two big examples). That, mixed with the nostalgia I have for that period of the dub and an constant itch to see if it really holds up all these years later really pushed me towards that project.
Fingers crossed I can get back to doing those topics on a more regular basis, as they've taken a back-seat during this bloated year. I'll be back in the saddle sooner rather than later, starting with a slew of ladder match catch-up reviews before jumping back into early '04 CZW.
You were very open about your extreme disappointment and disgust in the quantity of wrestlers called out as perpetrators in the #SpeakingOut movement. How are you feeling about the wrestling world right now and what are your thoughts on the progress of the industry in the wake of the movement?
I'm not feeling too good about modern wrestling if I'm being completely honest, and I think that's reflected in some of my previous answers. There's a lot that's being swept under the carpet and a portion of the wrestling fanbase just wants to carry on as normal.
Maybe it's me getting older and maybe it's because I'll be starting a family soon, but knowing that I've given my hard-earned money to dirtbag promoters and shitbag wrestlers, and knowing that there are people who are still dealing with the professional and emotional ramifications from these abusers, is enough for me to lose all hope for the wrestling scene and the industry at large.
I honestly believe that the larger companies, and even some mid-level promotions, don't understand how big and wide-reaching Speaking Out was. It didn't reach the mainstream media in any real meaningful way, but the fanbase is going to shrink because of this. People are going to be picky and choose their content wisely, and when live shows are back in full-force promoters are going to be very surprised at the dwindling support and numbers. All I ask for is transparency, and the wrestling scene at large has failed at this simple concept numerous times since June.
I think the days of getting myself getting emotionally invested in one single wrestler are over. I'll have my faves, and I'll always gravitate towards a good feud or a well-built card, but I'm not going to believe in a promotion or wrester's ideals again. That bridge is burnt.
With all that being said what is it about pro wrestling in particular that has kept you around for 20+ years?
Honestly, being able to discuss and dissect wrestling on chat forums, forums and then social media has been a huge totem pole propping up my fandom. I have my favourite promotions through the years, and favourite wrestlers and favourite feuds, but without the ability to talk about (and maybe most importantly, cirque it) I don't think I would have stuck around this long.
All these conversations, arguments and debates are what have really kept me around quite honestly, especially in wrestling's dryer years. I would also be amiss if I didn't mention CZW's output from 2002-2006 and PWG's brilliant 2011-2015 period as massive anchors in my fandom. But if I wasn't able to talk about it, would I even have bothered?
Follow Shane on Twitter @GlobalForceGold
Follow Hotdogs and Handshakes Podcast on Twitter @HotdogHandshake
Visit the WrestleWipe at www.WrestleWipe.com
Listen to Shane on the September 4th Episode of BWE using the link below: