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Tape Trading - the old school WWE Network


The Reverend
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Having seen the moaning on here about the WWE Network, I thought it may be time to educate some of the young lot (yeah - I am a grumpy old man!) about the 'Network' we had back in the day. Instead of having thousands upon thousands of hours of different promotions, we had to rely on tape traders - yep actually send off a cheque and then wait weeks for a 3hr (maybe longer with Long Play) of fuzzy nth generation footage. All of which cost a fortune. So let's hear your stories (good and bad) of the golden age of tape trading!

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How are people moaning about the network !!! Its the best thing ever !!!

I starting watching wrestling back in 1990 and only WWF with a little bit of WCW on ITV on a Saturday night. We only really got regular WCW from the 97/98 on Bravo, no chace of PPV unless you caught a rare one, in German, on DSF.

I remember buying the complete Clash of Champions from ebay, the quality was terrible. Now I have managed to watch all WCW PPV's. Nitros, NWA/WCW PPV', JCP/WCW TV, ECW TV and even older WWF stuff like Primetime and SNME.

I have just started WCCW from 1982, it goes all the way up to 1987 for now.

There is Mid South on there which I will start next.

I actually watch the old stuff on the network over the current product, the current product cannot compete.

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"Best of WCW Cruiserweights" = every match in the division in sequential order starting at an arbitrary point in 96 taped off Nitro, 2 minute matches, job boys and no contests all over.

Or buying a tape called "Champions Carnival 94" thinking its either highlights or finals night, finding its a random throwaway night from the group stage.

I like The Network.

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While not trading per se, this may be the time for a nod of good service to the long lost gem of the high street - the video store. Moving to a new place in Birmingham for a year when I was in my early stages of fandom, right across from this store, where a friend at school told me about the litany of wrestling videos in their disposal. I followed his instructions - walked up to the counter, turned left, and there they were. A wall FILLED with WWF videos, some WCW ones and No Holds Barred. I was in heaven. There had to be over 50 tapes, easily, my own WWE Network before my eyes. Rumbles, Survivors, Manias, Summerslams, Home Releases, the lot. From that point I always had something rented out and wore those tapes out. Key to note I didn't have Sky at this point, so WCW Worldwide and magazines was it for keeping up on current events, or if a friend would randomly tape something for me.

Getting older and having the internet for the first time, I found Strong Style Tapes and bought "Misawa Vs. Kobashi", a video with 4 of their matches in full, back to back. After reading about Japanese wrestling forever, and those two in particular, it was weird to watch. Slower at first than I was used to, then Kobashi drilled Misawa, who was standing on the apron, with a lariat that would make a normal man shit his pants on impact, and it was great. Best of Dynamite Kid, Best of Jushin Liger, Best of the NJPW Juniors and a tape of random ECW matches from TVs and house shows of international wrestlers (a lot of Tajiri/Crazy/Taka/etc) followed.

The Network is a beautiful thing. I don't see how anybody can complain about it in any way, outside of inconvenient skipping on occasion.

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The days of tape trading and scouring in second hand video stores has a nostalgic feel to me but certainly not better than the network plus all the other indy alternatives. I'd probably spend 20-30 quid a month on tapes of often dubious quality. If I sent that on WWE, wwn etc now I'd have a lot more bang for my buck. Remember being super pissed off when a copy of wcw fall brawl 2000 had the main event cut off. Not Steiner Goldberg but Nash booker in a cage. Watching it years later the trader might have been doing me a favor

 

 

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14 hours ago, Liam O'Rourke said:

While not trading per se, this may be the time for a nod of good service to the long lost gem of the high street - the video store. Moving to a new place in Birmingham for a year when I was in my early stages of fandom, right across from this store, where a friend at school told me about the litany of wrestling videos in their disposal. I followed his instructions - walked up to the counter, turned left, and there they were. A wall FILLED with WWF videos, some WCW ones and No Holds Barred. I was in heaven. There had to be over 50 tapes, easily, my own WWE Network before my eyes. Rumbles, Survivors, Manias, Summerslams, Home Releases, the lot. From that point I always had something rented out and wore those tapes out. Key to note I didn't have Sky at this point, so WCW Worldwide and magazines was it for keeping up on current events, or if a friend would randomly tape something for me.

 

That's a great point.  I remember going to the States in 2000 and walking into a random video rental store in awe at the sheer volume of wrestling tapes available.  I can still remember the only videos I was ever able to rent growing up:  Wrestlemania 12 and No Mercy 1999 from the local library, Burried Alive 1996 on request from another library in the country, and a couple of those duel Best of WCW releases from Blockbuster (think it was Goldberg/Sting, and best of Starcade or something).

 

The Network is absolutely mind-blowing, but I barely use it to watch anything old.  My time spent on watching wrestling is neatly all devoted to keeping up with current product.

Edited by bbabba
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On the rare occasions my parents would go out for the evening¬†in the late 80s early 90s we were allowed to go to Kennedy Videos on the Chester Road in Birmingham. They had a small selection of tapes but the sheer joy of spotting the bright colours of a new front cover on¬†a new mania or survivor series was unrivalled. My brother and I would deliberate over which tape to get- which was longest? - which had the best looking matches? - were there wrestlers we‚Äôd never heard of? (Imagine this, not knowing everything about a wrestler, believing they were ‚Äėreal‚Äô)¬†-¬†until my dad lost his temper and gave us a 5 minute warning and threaten to get Flight of the Navigator again.¬†

The sheer amount of content available on the network can be overwhelming and I generally stick to the same nostalgic 80s/90s PPV and the most recent  PPV.  I can imagine getting obsessed with the network as a child but the drip feed approach and having to wait and wait and wait for something new, I feel, was what kept my interested for many years. 

The instant gratification generation will never know...

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On ‚Äé14‚Äé/‚Äé10‚Äé/‚Äé2017 at 10:25 AM, Thefatduck said:

 I can imagine getting obsessed with the network as a child but the drip feed approach and having to wait and wait and wait for something new, I feel, was what kept my interested for many years. 

I'd love to know how kids with access to the Network actually use it - because I'm sure if I had it when was a kid I'd have never watched anything else, and would be trying to keep track of anything and everything.

But then, I know a kid who started wrestling training at 16, and he just knew nothing outside of present day WWE. He was utterly obsessed with WWE, his goal in life was to become a wrestler - he's working in the US now - but he hadn't watched anything outside of WWE, hadn't even watched WWE shows from before the time he got into it, so had seen nothing of the Attitude Era or earlier.

I couldn't get my head around how a kid who had his heart set on being a wrestler, who was obsessed with wrestling, had only watched the bare minimum available to them. When I was his age, and younger, I was ordering tapes, I was spending the paycheque from my Saturday job on whatever videos HMV got in their tiny wrestling section, buying all the magazines, using my limited internet time to spend an hour downloading a grainy 30 second clip of an FMW match, just doing everything I could to see more wrestling, and find out more about wrestling. That he had stuff like the Network, or even just YouTube, available to him, yet didn't know about anything that wasn't happening on RAW or Smackdown seemed mad to me.

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