If you have ever spent considerable time around fellow wrestling fans, there is one conclusion that you inevitably come to each and every time: wrestling fans like to complain. A lot.
Some of these complaints are warranted. The booking direction of their favorite company. Certain performers being paid favors over other performers that they deem more necessary of a "push." However, incessantly complaining about wrestling in 2017 is foolish. In short, there's never been a better time to be a pro wrestling fan in the history of the world.
Let's start with the obvious, WWE. The company has, by far, their most talented roster in history. We are blessed with great match after great match at every single PPV. No, "Attitude Era" PPVs were not this good, wrestling-wise. Go back and watch them for yourself. When was the last time a WWE PPV didn't have a proverbial "four star and up" match over the last couple of years? It's quite rare these days. No matter what you think of the booking direction, the in-ring product is unparalleled in the company's history.
And speaking of these PPV events, we get to watch all of them now. For incredibly cheap: $9.99 a month. This column isn't supposed to be a commercial for the WWE Network, but if you went back to the 1990s or 2000s and told someone they'd be able to watch every single WWE PPV event for ten bucks a month in the not so distant future, they would think you're crazy. Look, even if you have problems with the booking, the fact that you can watch all of these shows without shelling out $50 a month like in the pre-2014 days is pretty amazing.
But hey, maybe WWE continually disappoints you. You see your favorites getting pushed down in the card in favor of people you deem undeserving of their push. This is often an argument that has some merit. However, there's so much other pro wrestling out there today that's easy to access that you'd be better served giving another company some of your business and enjoying wrestling again rather than complaining about WWE and continuing to hate watch.
Gone are the days of VHS tape trading. As a veteran tape trader myself, I often lugged boxes of heavy VHS tapes to the post office and waited days upon days to see the latest Japan or U.S. indy shows. Looking back at the lifestyle we lived to stay up to date on wrestling around the world 15 and 20 years, there's no doubt it was a (crazy at times) exercise of love. Who would have ever believed it'd be so easy and cheap to watch all of these promotions (live) in the future?
For less than the price it used to cost me to ship one box of tapes (let alone buy the VHS tapes themselves), I can subscribe to NJPW World and watch events from the other side of the world live or on demand. If you're not liking WWE, New Japan Pro Wrestling is definitely the promotion you should give a try. Especially if you're the type of fan that likes high paced, action packed matches with a great work rate.
But it doesn't stop there. Promotions from all over the United States and Europe also have streaming services. You could probably subscribe to all of them and be paying less money per month than an active tape trader in 1999 was spending on tapes and shipping.
PROGRESS (a punk rock style U.K. promotion), EVOLVE (historically one of the best U.S. independents), ROH (the top non-WWE U.S. promotion, coming soon), and Impact Wrestling (formerly TNA) all offer monthly streaming services, among others. This doesn't even include all of the promotions that allow single purchase, on demand viewing of their product via the internet. Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) out of California, one of the best U.S. independent promotions known for the yearly Battle of Los Angeles (BOLA), doesn't have a streaming service but stick to the old model of selling DVDs and Blurays. The fact that they don't have a competing streaming service allows them to bring in talent that otherwise would not be allowed to contractually perform for them. Their older shows are available on the Highspots Network, however.0comments
Don't just stop with watching these promotions on your television, though. Go out and attend some of their shows live. You'll see that the non-WWE live events these days are often times the most fun to attend.
Simply put, if you love wrestling and are feeling dissatisfied as a fan in 2017, you aren't trying hard enough. There's so much talent out there right now that is deserving of your support, and it's never been more accessible or affordable to follow so many different styles of pro wrestling.