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Monday, September 17, 2012

[WWE/TNA] Top Pro-Wrestling Accounts on Twitter

Social media has had a huge impact on the pro-wrestling industry in recent years, with Twitter being at the top of the list. From companies encouraging fan interaction, to talent using it as a promoting tool, to disgruntled employees using it as a ranting platform, members of the industry in various capacities use Twitter on a regular basis. In this article I will look at (in alphabetical order) the top pro-wrestling accounts from the two biggest companies in the industry- WWE and TNA. The criteria that I am using are their amount of followers and the frequency of engagement that the tweeter has with them.

WWE

CM PUNK (@CMPunk): CM Punk tweets every day. He stands out because unlike many wrestlers who are out of character most of the time that they tweet, the CM Punk that you see on television is the same CM Punk that you see on Twitter. If he is a heel in WWE, Punk is quick to lash out on Twitter at any followers who rub him the wrong way with their mentions to him. Punk even goes as far as taking his feuds in WWE to Twitter, as he has done with The Rock.

JIM ROSS (@JRSBBQ): Jim Ross has 38 years of experience in the pro-wrestling industry, and has spent 19 of those years in WWE, where he has been working as an announcer (and currently also as a Talent Relations consultant) and also served as their Executive Vice President of Talent Relations. Ross engages with his Twitter followers more than anyone else in the pro-wrestling industry, tweeting every day, replying to his followers and retweeting them often. He also gives his opinions on goings-on in WWE, both praise and criticism. With Ross' lengthy period of experience in pro-wrestling both on camera and behind the scenes, his knowledge makes his viewpoints very valid.

JOEY STYLES: (@JoeyStyles): Best known for his days working as an announcer in ECW, Joey Styles is still involved in the pro-wrestling industry, as the Vice President of Digital Media Content for WWE.com; Styles tweets daily, providing information regarding website updates and additions. This is very useful for fans that don't have time to check WWE.com every day.

KOFI KINGSTON (@TrueKofi): Kofi Kingston tweets almost every day. He tweets like a "regular" person, talking about music, sports, his travels, and WWE topics involving him and others. Kingston's tweeting style makes him easily relatable to his followers.

MICK FOLEY (@realMickFoley): Mick Foley recognizes the true power of Twitter. Whenever he has had an opportunity to promote one of his non-wrestling related endeavors, Foley has taken it; and social media is one of those opportunities. The more followers he gains, the more he promotes, and even though he may lose followers from time to time as a result of it, his core followers remain. After all, why follow someone unless you want to be updated on their latest projects?

NATALYA (@NatbyNature): Natalya uses Twitter almost daily. Not only does she reply to and retweet her followers, she follows many of them back, and also engages in Q&A with them. Instead of using Twitter to promote only herself, Natalya uses it to promote WWE as a whole, commenting on various storylines that are taking place, whether they involve her or not. This encourages her followers to engage with her regarding a variety of WWE topics, making her Twitter account one of the most diverse accounts to follow out of all of the WWE wrestlers.

TYSON KIDD (@KiddWWE): Tyson Kidd keeps his followers updated on all of his upcoming appearances, both televised and non-televised. All pro-wrestlers should utilize Twitter this way.

WILLIAM REGAL (@RealKingRegal): William Regal usually tweets daily, and retweets his followers. He also is not a stranger to engaging in a Twitter war. This past spring, Regal went back and forth with Chris Jericho, as Jericho criticized Regal's career success, while Regal shot back that he was more willing to help younger talent than Jericho was. While it's unclear whether this was a legitimate battle or merely two co-workers "arguing" for the sake of entertaining themselves and their followers, it definitely caught the attention of fans that read their tweets, and made them anxiously await what was going to be tweeted next.

WWE UNIVERSE (@WWEUniverse): WWE has fully embraced social media so that fans can interact with the product, going as far as using it to further storylines and often inviting fans to go online and vote on what they want to see on WWE programs. The purpose of the WWE Universe account is to maintain fan interest in WWE. Followers are retweeted and replied to, polls are conducted, and links to videos of WWE matches from the past are presented on a regular basis.

ZACK RYDER (@ZackRyder): Zack Ryder is a daily Twitter user. He tweets in a style that his followers can relate to, because opposed to tweeting mainly for publicity purposes, he tweets like a "regular” person. However, Ryder uses it for professional purposes as well. When fans have ordered his T-shirt and sent a picture of them wearing it to him via Twitter, Ryder has sent them an autograph. Also, Ryder has used Twitter to speak out when he has been unhappy with directions that his career is taking (ie. lack of television time).

TNA

AJ STYLES (@AJStylesOrg): AJ Styles tweets daily, and replies to/retweets his followers often.

DIXIE CARTER (@TNADixie): Although TNA has its own Online Media staff, social media savvy TNA President Dixie Carter often takes to Twitter herself to announce TNA news and updates.

ERIC BISCHOFF (@EBischoff): The author of "Controversy Creates Cash", Eric Bischoff also proves that controversy can create followers, as his follower count is far from lacking, and continues to rise. Bischoff's outspokenness shines through whenever he comments on politics and current affairs, which inspires his followers to engage with him on a regular basis, whether they agree or disagree with him. Bischoff also gives updates regarding his endeavors outside of pro-wrestling, such as his production company (Bischoff-Hervey Productions) and brewing company (Bischoff Family Brewing).

HULK HOGAN (@HulkHogan): One of the main reasons why Hulk Hogan has remained one of the biggest names in pro-wrestling for as long as he has is because he always adapts to constant changes in the industry. So when Twitter became integrated into the industry and continued to grow, Hogan opened an account of his own. Unlike many stars at his level of popularity, all tweets coming from the account are done by Hogan himself. He replies to tweets; and also retweets his followers, sometimes simply because they ask him to.

IMPACT WRESTLING (@IMPACTWRESTLING): Via this account, TNA does the best job at integrating social media with pro-wrestling events. It promotes TNA-related hashtags, retweets TNA stars, and previews upcoming, "IMPACT WRESTLING" episodes as well as does running commentary as the shows takes place, encouraging follower participation via hashtags.

SHAWN HERNANDEZ (@SuperMexGPW): Shawn Hernandez’ Twitter account is very informative, because even though he is not always active in TNA, Hernandez is always wrestling for promotions on the independent circuit (such as the Texas-based RCW), as well as making appearances. He keeps his followers up-to-date on all of this via Twitter. Hernandez also advertises shows that he helps run.

TAZ (@OfficialTAZ): Although Taz doesn't use Twitter on a daily basis, he makes productive use of it when he does. While feuding with former TNA Gut Check Contestant Joey Ryan on television, Taz made things interesting for his followers by extending the feud to the Internet, engaging in a Twitter war with Ryan. Also, Taz sometimes looks at his mentions during live TNA broadcasts, and talks about them.

OVW WRESTLING (@ovwrestling): As the official developmental territory of TNA, Kentucky-baed OVW is definitely a place to watch for stars of the future. They have a television show, but it is only available in Kentucky. Nonetheless, you can stay on top of OVW goings-on thanks to their Twitter account. It features retweets of tweets from OVW talent, and links to episodes of their TV shows.

As far as social media goes, TNA employees are some of the most accessible people in pro-wrestling, from in-ring talent, to important people who work behind the scenes. Below are TNA employees on Twitter who work behind the scenes that you may not have heard of, but should know.

BOB RYDER (@brydertna): Bob Ryder is the Director of Talent Booking & Travel, and has been a part of TNA from the very beginning. He's a TNA original.

DAVID SAHADI (@DavidSahadi): David Sahadi is a writer/producer/director for, “Impact Wrestling”. He has been with TNA since 2004.

SIMON EDWARDS (@yetiboomfilms): Simon Edwards has been the Senior Producer/Editor of, "IMPACT WRESTLING" since 2006. He is also the co-creator of "WROXER", an animated project aimed at pro-wrestling and MMA fans.





Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mystery Angles in Pro-Wrestling

As anyone who watches American pro-wrestling knows, angles play a large role in it. Fans enjoy seeing a storyline encapsulate the action that takes place in the ring. However, I feel that one genre that doesn't receive enough attention in pro-wrestling is mystery. A genre that makes fans sit on the edges of their seats while they watch the angle unfold, wondering what is going to happen next. After the show is over, they go online and speculate with fellow fans, the angle's details still fresh in their minds. And most importantly, they come back for more.

In truth, promotions have presented mystery angles many times in the past. Most of the time however, the angle falls flat, due to it either being rushed, not well thought out, or being scrapped before the mystery is revealed. There are a few mystery angles that I have enjoyed though, and one is TNA's current, "Aces & Eights" angle. Masked assailants running rampant throughout the company with possibly a mastermind within TNA controlling them behind the scenes, and the suspense of not knowing what is going to happen next. It reminds me of how WCW was in 1997, complete with closing segments that are the best part of the show. The last five minutes of the August 23rd episode of, "IMPACT WRESTLING" was the most exciting closing segment I have seen on an American pro-wrestling show all summer.

The fact that this angle is being kept under wraps very well is beneficial to it. Both fans and the pro-wrestling media are speculating on a regular basis regarding who it will turn out is supposed to be behind Aces & Eights (much like they speculated on who would be next to join the NWO back in the 90's). I too have been speculating. I notice that out of everyone who the Aces & Eights have given the dead man's hand to, the only people who they did not make good on their promise with were Brooke Hogan and Bully Ray. I also notice that Ray rarely joins in on brawls against the Aces & Eights members, and when he does, they don't put up much offense (if any).

What is your opinion of mystery angles in pro-wrestling? If you like them, which ones have you enjoyed the most? If you dislike mystery angles, what is it about them that turns you off?