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    Monday, November 16, 2020

    Meet Sam See: the Comedian-Streamer Behind Wrestling RPG Series, Red Dot Wrestling

    The lockdown has encouraged most of us to try out new things like making sourdough bread, becoming streamers, and starting TikTok accounts. In the wrestling world, promotions have done empty arena shows and virtual audiences to keep business afloat.

    For Singaporean stand-up comedian Sam See, what's keeping him busy is a wrestling RPG series called Red Dot Wrestling on Twitch.

    Sam started streaming on Facebook and YouTube five days after the lockdown started in Singapore before ultimately jumping to Twitch. Just like many of us during this pandemic, his livelihood has been greatly affected since live shows are banned and travel restrictions are in place, and streaming has helped him stay afloat. 

    "[I've had some bookings] here and there, but much less and with a reduced payment, due to the fact it’s online, so people are less willing to pay since it’s not up live and in person," Sam tells us. "It’s been rough on that end, my income has dropped by about 90 percent due to it, but so has [that of] many folks out there; we all just got to knuckle down and try to find some way of getting there.

    "I had never even considered being a streamer before then," he adds. "But desperate times call for obvious measures. I got the equipment together, which seemed like a foolish move to start spending money as I was about to lose it all, but it paid off in the end."

    Since then, Sam has done several streams where he plays games like Cuphead and Jackbox with his Chat Buddies (a.k.a. members of his Discord community) and he also hosts shows featuring various guests. And since he's loved wrestling since he was young, he came up with Red Dot Wrestling.

    Entering the world of Red Dot Wrestling

    So, what is RDW? Think of Dungeons and Dragons where players are allowed to customize their characters and roll a die to predict their fate throughout the game—but it's in wrestling form.

    At the start of every RDW stream, Sam introduces it as a trillion-dollar show held in a gigantic arena in Singapore. Here, you can find wrestlers from all over the world who each have a unique set of skills they can use to take down their opponent.

    "Imagine professional wrestling, and take away all the restraint, common sense, and human rights. It is chaos in the squared circle, where anything and everything will happen. Orphans will fight an enslaved gymnast. Cows will be bribed with Euro," explains Sam, who also plays as the general manager of RDW.

    Wrestling RPGs aren't new—one quick Google search will show you that. What makes each RDW session unique is how the GM will book the shows, the interactions between wrestlers, how the story will progress based on who'll win matches, and the rivalries that will form later on. (Now that I think about it, it's literally the tabletop version of GM mode.)

    For Sam, he wanted to focus more on the story so it would be easy for newcomers to understand what was going on and they can chime in and laugh along. Of course, just like with any game, it took time for some people to get it in the beginning. 

    "Wrestling fans didn’t understand the RPG elements. RPG fans couldn’t understand the wrestling. The product itself should have a very niche audience, so it was a trial and error to make it both easier and more fun to watch and play. It grew from a story told on a stage to a chaotic night at the pub, which is where the show and the players can shine the brightest," Sam says.

    As of writing, there have been over 50 characters created through the course of six or so months. Some notable wrestlers who have been involved are the #PWOGs Jake De Leon (a.k.a. Señor Pollo Sr.) and Ken Warren (a.k.a. Casper), SPW's Dr. Gore (a.k.a. Reverend Law) and Da Butcherman (a.k.a. Daddy Danny), and MyPW's Cornelius LOW (a.k.a. Cornelius Vanderbilt CCXXXIV).

    Viewers are also free to participate by voting on the best promos, redeeming stream points to throw weapons and suggest stipulations (the sillier the better), and simply hyping up their favorite wrestlers in the chat.

    With the growing success of RDW, it was only inevitable for it to go to the next level: the Lockdown Cup. It's a seven-week G1 Cup-esque event that started on Nov. 6 featuring 16 wrestlers, divided into two blocks. Whoever wins the prelims in each block will face each other in the finals next month. There's also going to be a Losers Rumble to give losers a chance to also fight for the grand prize in the end.

    (Note: Crystal, Carlo Cannon, and Gotham have dropped out and were replaced by Tengu, Emman the Kid, and the audience-controlled wrestling robot Wrestletron.)

    Behind the scenes of the Lockdown Cup

    If there are two words to describe the planning behind the Lockdown Cup, Sam says it's "messy and chaotic."

    "Whenever you run a big scale event with this many people or that many weeks, hiccups are bound to happen," he says. "Dropouts, connection issues, people canceling last minute—all part and parcel of show-running," he says. "I’m lucky I have folks like Dr. Gore (who designed the logo) and the wrestlers who have all been so generous with their time and patience to let me put them through the nonsense in the fictional ring."

    Sam has talked about the challenges that he's faced while organizing this event in some of his streams. Aside from last-minute cancellations, he is still working on the actual reward. Right now, the Cup isn't finalized yet and it's temporarily a Comic Sans sign that reads "INSERT PIC HERE." It's become a running joke at this point with Sam saying he'll just frame it and turn it into a plaque for whoever wins the whole thing. 

    That's what the game is anyway: a lot of improvisation and lighthearted fun. Just like the wrestlers in RDW, Sam is also figuring out how to keep everything cohesive and silly in order to entertain the viewers.

    Once the Lockdown Cup ends in December, what's next for RDW? Sam tells us that he's taking a break at the end of the year. "My last break in my career was in 2017 and I think I need a good one. After that, RDW will return and maybe there'll be special PPVs and big charity royal rumbles," he says.

    "Who knows? Maybe when live shows return, we can play the show inside of an actual wrestling ring? Only time will tell. As long as folks keep tuning in, we promise to put on the best shows that we can."

    The Lockdown Cup streams every Friday, 7 p.m. on Sam See's Twitch channel.

    Photo courtesy of Sam See


    Jackie Arias (@bouvierx) is a writer and former content creator for a feminist lifestyle website. Aside from casually catching up on wrestling news, you can find her listening to music and playing video games she can never finish while drinking copious amounts of coffee. Her Twitter and CuriousCat are open for story suggestions and comments—or photos of your cats.

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    Item Reviewed: Meet Sam See: the Comedian-Streamer Behind Wrestling RPG Series, Red Dot Wrestling Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Jackie Arias
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