Regular readers have probably deduced by now that I’m a longtime wrestling fan. I’ve written a host of posts focused on the world of sports entertainment and, when the WWE gives us a new pay-per-view event, which is every month, you can be sure that I’ll be reviewing whatever it is. I’m also a huge fan of Street Fighter and video games in general. I may not be the best the fighting game community has to offer, but I do enjoy watching high-caliber competition with some of the best professional players/eSports competitors from all over the world.
Seeing as I’m a fan of both the wrestling and video game world, I was stunned to find out that CEO, a fighting game tournament event, was bringing over the folks of New Japan Pro Wrestling over. But not to compete in a Street Fighter, Tekken or any kind of fighting game. No, CEO organizer Alex Jebailey, who is a longtime wrestling fan himself, brought over the NJPW guys over to wrestle and put on a live show with a little help from his buddy and current IWGP Champion, Kenny Omega. And thus, CEO X NJPW: When Worlds Collide! was born!
But the best part is that they treated it as part of the entire CEO show, meaning that, like a lot of the fighting game matches, they broadcast the entire show live over on Twitch! It was amazing! There were definitely some matches that were generally goofball bouts, like Michael Nakazawa giving an open challenge and taking on CEO organizer Alex Jebailey (with a broken foot). But we also got to see some really good matches. The final match featuring Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi of the Golden Lovers take on Tetsuya Naito and Hiromu Takahashi was pretty good, even if I did have to suspend my disbelief since Ibushi cautiously approached Daryl Jr., Takahashi’s stuffed cat, during the match. Still, it was incredible.
Now, you can watch the entire thing free on YouTube thanks to CEO. I even posted the video of the final match above. But you’ll be missing a huge chunk of what made the entire thing fun if you don’t watch it on Twitch. Why? Because of the live chat! For those who haven’t used Twitch before, the service always has a streaming chat window active while the video is being shown live. This system allows anyone to give their comments on what’s happening on screen as it happens. Some of the fun of watching a tournament like CEO can be derived by reading some of the comments that people put up. And, after watching the CEO X NJPW show, it works for wrestling as well!
So, here’s a million dollar idea for the WWE: Why not implement a chat option in the WWE Network?
Think about it. The WWE has always been trying to sell us on the idea that we are all part of one gigantic WWE Universe. They want us to tweet about the match or share what’s happening on social media, right? The WWE sometimes even uses a ticker at the bottom of the broadcast to show us what we’re tweeting as it happens. Well, why not really go the extra mile then and implement in in-app chat so was can actually interact with other members of the WWE Universe in real time? It sounds perfect!
Another reason why implementing a chat in the WWE Network would be a good idea is because most wrestling fans nowadays know that “sports entertainment” is predetermined and is basically a soap opera. For the little kids who are reading this and hadn’t realized it until now, I’m sorry to burst your bubble but your cheers for Roman Reigns isn’t giving him the energy to make a comeback. This isn’t Dragon Ball, you know.
But the mere fact that we all, okay… most of us know that wrestling isn’t real doesn’t mean we’re not invested. We still are incredibly excited to see our favorite WWE Superstars win or see our hated wrestlers lose. It’s part of the fun and we like to express out emotions. Putting in a chat in the WWE Network will allow us to vent out our joys and anger as it happens without having to pull out our phones or open up another browser window so we can put them out on Twitter. It’ll allow us to just blurt out something without needing to #hashtag or have to explain what we’re talking about.
Another thing that I noticed while watching the Twitch stream of the CEO X NJPW matches was the liberal use of fighting game lexicon and emojis/emotes. Gamers who watch Twitch streams immediately understand Twitch emoticons like Kappa, PogChamp, Kreygasm and BibleThump. So, when we see these emotes pop up in relation to the action, gamers immediately understand what they mean. Gamers and Twtich viewers also have our own set of words and phrases that we use. Things like “salty,” “OTG,” “footsies,” “shimmy” and many more may not mean anything to “regular” people but these simple words are shortcuts gamers use because it’s part of our vocabulary.
Well, wrestling fans have their own glossary of words that no one else understands. We know who a “face” and a “heel” is. We also know when a wrestler is a “midcarder” or a flat-out “jobber.” We know when a wrestler is going for a “cheap pop” or when the “botch” a move. Wrestling fans know what they are because we’re “smarks” but we will “mark out” once in a while when something amazing happens. The only thing that’s lacking are the emotes but that’s something the WWE chat can work on.
But I think the biggest reason why the WWE Network needs a chat function is because, well, the app simply needs something to push it over the top. Sure, it’s great to get all of the pay-per-view events and even past matches but how is that different from any other streaming service out there? The WWE can push the chat function as a way to bring fans together in one place where we can all enjoy each other’s company. That’s something that I really like about the Twitch community. I may not know any one there personally but I know I have something in common with each and every one in the chat: we like watching people play video games. We can laugh at the funny moments together. We can express our amazement as some unbelievable sequence at the same time. We can be part of the same moment together.
Adding a chat option to the WWE Network app would give the entire WWE Universe to feel as if we are part of one gigantic microcosm and we have someplace special where we can talk and experience wrestling as a community. Right now, I have the WWE Network app and all I’m doing is watching the shows with my family, totally apart from the rest of the WWE Universe. The mere act of adding a chat would connect me to the rest of the WWE Universe in an instant.
Do you think real time chat would work in wrestling? Let me know in the comments section below!