While it’s had it’s detractors, for the most part, the WWE Network has been a dream for long time wrestling fans, as it features every on-going WWE and NXT Pay-Per-View (or Special Event), plus an archive that houses WWE back to the 1980’s, WCW, ECW, AWA, WCCW and many older territories that WWE owns the archival footage of. NJPW has also launched their own NJPW World, CHIKARA has Chikaratopia, and many others have their own variations. But a new kid on the block is hoping to unite the indie circuit with it’s own Network of sorts, FloSlam, in an effort to creating a one-stop hub for indie wrestling fans.
FloSlam is the latest umbrella network for FloSports, a digital media company that is bringing alternative sports (from softball to MMA to even competitive cheerleading) to a more accessible platform for the many fans around the world. And while many have compared FloSlam to being a competitor for the WWE Network, the reality is it’s probably more of a competitor to Flipps Media‘s FITE App, which is currently offering a similar service, with Ring of Honor, TNA, and Scotland’s ICW (to name a few) already on their roster. But any avenue that gets more indie promotions available to a wider audience is a good thing.
Here’s how FloSlam measured up after the author’s first few days with the service.
PROMOTIONS ON BOARD
While FloSports is a bit older, FloSlam only launched last week. So to be fair, I expect within 6 months time, the rating on this will be much higher. They currently feature only a handful of promotions signed on in it’s first few days, but luckily they’re some pretty solid ones. Gabe Sapolsky‘s WWN was the first to sign on, with a five-year deal out the gate. That means all future Evolve PPVs will air live on FloSlam going forward, and they have a healthy archive of past events from Evolve as well. The WWN deal also includes an archive of past Dragon Gate USA and Full Impact Pro events, as well as Shine, WWN’s all-women’s promotion. They announced their second round of promotions yesterday and while they may not be as big as WWN’s stable, they’re promotions that bring in some pretty spectacular indie talent. Massachussets’ Beyond Wrestling brings in a lot of guys seen on the West Coast in PWG and PWX has an annual tourney called the X16 which is like a smaller version of PWG’s BOLA. This past Friday marked FloSlam’s first live PPV airing, Shine 38, which will be followed by EVOLVE 72/73 (November 12/13), PWX X16 (November 19/20) which this year features Zack Sabre Jr., Matt Riddle, Davey Richards, Trevor Lee and more, Beyond‘s next big event (December 11), then finally EVOLVE 74/75 (December 11/12). With it’s archived events of Evolve, Dragon Gate USA and Shine, there’s still plenty of viewing to catch up on as FloSlam continues to negotiate with other indie promotions around the world. What FloSlam doesn’t have in quantity though, they make up for in quality.
The subscription is only $20, but if you sign up for a full year (as I did), it drops to $12.50 a year, which is easily affordable, especially if you were a regular orderer of Evolve events alone. While many still seem hesitant to wait out until more promotions are announced to the roster (understandable with all the other current streaming sites or networks available), it’s already a solid price point for the content you receive.
MANOEUVRABILITY, CONTENT & HANDLING
For the most part, FloSlam runs pretty well. Events play in HD (or as HD as the original source is or was) and I had minimal interference or streaming problems – so minimal they could easily be attributed to my own internet connection or bandwidth. The site has five drop choices, Events (featuring all upcoming PPV events), Results (results of prior past events, FloSlam affiliated or otherwise), Articles (they have a wrestling news section), Videos (where you find all the latest additions to the archive) and People (a somewhat limited section of wrestler bios). The Results section is barely updated yet (it features just ROH All-Star Extravaganza 8 and WWE No Mercy so far), but I’m sure the early days of launch will see more important things like content get updated first. Speaking of content, here’s where my biggest complaint comes in. It’s a little time consuming to track down and check the archive. For example, to see what Shine events they have, you have to type Shine into the search engine. Not the end of the world, sure, but it would seem to make more sense to have a “Promotions” page so you could see the full list of promotions and then click on each one to see the housed content. Again, this is most likely due to the incredible early stages of the service (again, it only launched this past week) and as more promotions join, it’s likely a feature like this will emerge. The People section looks fairly thrown together (with more WWE than indie stars) but again, in time it should fill up.
The Archive is still limited but not terrible. They’re constantly adding new content, much like the WWE does, but so far, it’s got some good history to catch up while it does fill up.
EVOLVE: Evolve is featured with the last few PPVs, 68 through the last one 71, plus the very first event, EVOLVE 1 from 2010 that features Kota Ibushi vs. Davey Richards in the main event, plus matches featuring such notable indie stars as Ricochet, Chuck Taylor, Kyle O’Reilly, Bobby Fish, Jimmy Jacobs, Mike Quackenbush, and Hallowicked, plus future WWE Superstars like Luke Harper, TJ Perkins and Johnny Gargano. I would imagine that the rest are being added slowly, so one could watch the entire history of Evolve.
SHINE: Shine not only kicked off FloSlam’s live events with last night’s SHINE 38, but it seems to also have the most content in the archive as well. Shine’s first 10 events are all there to watch in their entirety, plus recent ones from 35 to 37. The most recent has yet to appear in the archive as of yet. Like Evolve, it’s likely they will be adding in the blanks as they go.
DRAGON GATE USA: The precursor to Evolve (in many ways), the now defunct DGUSA has two events in the archive right now, 2009’s Open The Freedom Gate and 2010’s Enter The Dragon, which features ‘American Dragon’ Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan) vs. Shingo in the main event, Jon Moxley (Dean Ambrose) leading an insane squad versus Team CHIKARA (Quackenbush with Hallowicked, Jigsaw and Masato Yoshino), and an absolutely off the charts fatal fourway with Chuck Taylor, Ricochet, Arik Cannon and current ROH World Champion Adam Cole, amongst others.
FULL IMPACT PRO: So far, the only content for FIP is a Best of CM Punk compilation, featuring his best matches and moments from his time in FIP during the mid-2000’s.
BEYOND WRESTLING/PWX: Neither promotion has anything on the site as of yet, but they only signed on Friday, so expect something to pop up in the next few weeks.
Too early to give it a proper grade, as there’s bound to be some growing pains as the new site finds its footing and wrangles in some other promotions. Early reports are that both PWG and CHIKARA have already turned them down, but there’s still plenty of other indies in North America, Europe and Japan worth bringing in to still make this worthwhile. Hopefully some of the issues will resolve themselves as the content begins to accumulate, but for now, it’s got some great trips down memory lane (so many bigger names now in early matches) plus it’s a solid hub to get your on-going Evolve and Shine fixes, plus introductions to Beyond and PWX. I spent the first day with the service watching SHINE 38 (live), EVOLVE 1 and Dragon Gate Enter The Dragon, then followed that up with another Shine event this morning for breakfast, so I’ve already got my money’s worth.
Recommended for indie fans, but those who already have multiple subscriptions to other streaming services may want to sit tight until a few more promotions are announced. But if you’ve got an extra $12.50 – $20 a month lying around, it’s well worth the live events already.
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Main Photo: FloSlam.tv