Twitch has been a huge platform for many wrestlers....but not so much those in WWE. Fortunately for Effy, that opens up things for him.
Still, Effy had adjustments to make to the Twitch platform, and as he tells Fightful, it's been a fun experience, albeit a new one.
"It’s incredible," Effy said. "I was super nervous starting out ‘cause people will stream for three, four, five, six hours and I’m going, ‘I’m used to super editing myself down to a minute and a half, with a concept, and a single opponent and I’m quippy and witty and cut,’ right? So, you’re just sitting there and you go, ‘Holy moly, how am I going to fill this time?’ But, the people who come in keep it moving so quickly and have such interest in what you’re saying and the knowledge you have. Especially Monday nights when we watch wrestling and Wednesdays afternoons when we’ve been watching wrestling on the front page with a crazy amount of people. You get people who, you go, ‘Oh, man. We’re not known by everyone in the world.’"
For Effy, a big benefit of Twitch compared to other platforms has been the exposure he's gained. Twitch has a variety of features that accentuate that, and enhance it to a non-wrestling audience. That's something that has made a big difference for the indie wrestler.
"This little bubble we live in sometimes, there’s so many more people who would like to see it and get involved, but we can’t scream at them ‘cause they don’t know who the first heavyweight champion was. We can’t yell at them and treat them like crap because they don’t know everything, because they’re coming in with genuine curiosity and we’re able to turn people’s minds around a lot of the time because Twitch is global. So, when I’m thrown in front of these people, being able to have someone in the corner who kind of knows what they’re talking about, isn’t going to yell at you, isn’t going to be mean if you have a question, but is also going to keep it entertaining and keep it moving and fill you in on the parts you need to know. It’s a lot less intimidating than coming in and going, ‘Here’s what you missed four weeks ago!’ and ‘Here’s what you missed here!’ and ‘We’re putting this person in the Hall of Fame and you missed their whole career and you gotta catch up.’"
In addition to being exposed to a new audience, Effy has found that distribution has helped him a lot more. While Undertaker has more matches on Youtube or Google than Effy, it takes the same amount of effort to seek them out. Effy explains.
"There is this bite of nostalgia that we have almost rejected in this new form of Twitch that we’re figuring out that people don’t need. I know you do a lot of work with them, but WWE loves that safety net of the nostalgia bite. They love it. But, what they don’t realize is, it is diminished returns. No offense to anyone, but we’ve been to these places, we’ve been to these cons, we’ve been to these legend shows. Our fans have not, in some cases, kept care of themselves later in life and nor have our wrestlers. We can’t keep relying on the fact that they’ll tune in to a cable show to keep our lifeblood moving. The difference right now between me and the Undertaker is distribution. Because if you know the name Effy and you know I’m a wrestler, that Google search to find a full match is just as easy as finding the Undertaker. What we don’t have is that same distribution so far. But, while we look into these new avenues, we are finding that there is a much larger distribution and there’s a lot of people who would like to get on boar," Effy said.
Effy is in control of his own destiny right now, in and out of the ring. He's performing at GCW's Fight Forever on Saturday, January 30 as a part of the Big Gay Block from 10 AM- noon EST, which he helped put together, and his Twitch channel is his own vision.
"Sean, I don’t know if you know this, I don’t take a lot of instructions from anybody right now. I’ll say stuff on Twitch that I think is so out of line and crazy and outlandish and weird and wild, and me and Zicky both, we get out of line sometimes and they’re like, ‘No, keep it up. People are loving it and they’re subscribing and they’re coming into the channel.’ It’s kind of mind blowing that you’re like, ‘Wow. I’m flinging together a TV show on the fly and there’s a lot of people who are into it.’ The more I get to see wrestlers during this COVID period, there’s more people who I’m like, ‘Would you mind coming on the show?’ They’re like, ‘I would love to do it.’ I’m like, ‘This is crazy to me.’"
Not only is Effy in control of his own destiny right now, so are many others who are finding ways to connect outside of the ring. Not being in a WWE ring right now isn't anything that Effy himself is too worried about.
"It’s a whole new dawn and I’m glad we’ve held out for this future transition. I’m still a guy who truly believes Vince had three really good ideas in the 80s and we kinda gave him a thirty year pass and surrounded him with the right people. Once you make three good ideas in the 80s, you know, revolutionizing pay-per-view and closed caption, revolutionizing what sports entertainment looks like, and revolutionizing that TV distribution into your pay-per-view model. Once you look at these things and go, ‘Those were great ideas,’ you can start to afford the people around you who came up with all the other good ideas. There’s a lot of things he’s in control of, but instead of giving him the pass and clinging on to what our idea of these WrestleMania moments is or what our idea of success in professional wrestling is, jump into something new. I joke with a lot of the kids sometimes, the reason you want to work at IWA: Mid-South is not because IWA: Mid-South is the best place in the world to work. It’s so you can say you worked somewhere where Samoa Joe, and CM Punk, and Chris Hero, and Claudio Castagnoli, and Bryan Danielson worked at," said Effy.
It's not just Effy, for a new generation of wrestlers, WCW isn't a dream option because it's gone. Same with ECW. But other dreams in wrestling are realistic options.
"Look at the current dream and how it currently looks now. Your WrestleMania moment right now, kids, is in front of a Zoom call with fake background noise. I know a lot of people will see it, but it’s not the same dream. It probably won’t be for a long time. So, hedge your bets and figure out what works for you. I want that decision to be more difficult because all we’ve been able to do in the last five years is make those starting salaries over at those big TV companies less and less. I’ll be honest, since March, I’ve done about 8k less than a starting NXT salary and that takes a lot of hustling and that takes a lot know. But, that’s in a pandemic and I’m telling y’all, once this thing clears up even a little bit, and even looking into 2021 as companies have changed and done safer tapings that money is not going to be worthwhile and I’m going to show you how it’s not going to be worthwhile and I’m not going to hide the secrets," Effy said.
GCW's Fight Forever is a part of that dream, as it supports wrestlers affected by the pandemic. For 24 straight hours, GCW takes center stage starting January 29.
"We’re shifting everything and I think Fight Forever is going to be a big part of this. 24 hours of wrestling. Because it goes completely against the idea of the industry saying, ‘Don’t ask the fans.’ Because what GCW found is when we turned out and asked the fans, there were a lot of people willing to step in and willing to step up and say, ‘We love wrestling. We would love to put our name out there. We would love to have those moments to say, ‘Hey, this is a match that our podcast or our stream or our wrestling t-shirt company was able to create and put on.[‘’] To see the split for some of these guys coming in for this 24 hour stream, it’s going to be the biggest payday they’ve ever seen. I think people’s minds are going to be blown when they see what GCW was able to put together to pay wrestlers at a time when there’s not a lot of wrestler pay," Effy said.
You can see our full interview with Effy at the top of the page, and follow him on Twitch at this link. You can see GCW's Fight Forever on their channel and on Fightful January 29. Donate to wrestlers who have had their bookings impacted by COVID-19 at this link.