What's good wrestling to watch these days?

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ehyehasherehyeh

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I am not very familiar with the many leagues, federations, events and what-have-you, and I don't want to plunge in at the deep end. What I mainly want is to occasionally get together with a handful of good, foolish friends (once that's an okay thing to do again, my vaccine's probably not happening for at least another month, maybe two) and enjoy some beers and muscular (dare I say, vascular) theatre.

I'm hoping the lovely GB community can give me some great pointers, for where the good storylines and talent are, how to get at the streams from these distant shores, and in general how to enjoy me some good wrasslin'

Some background, if you're curious about what brought this on:

European here, Norwegian to be specific, so wrestling wasn't a natural part of my cultural awareness, and I've never really followed it, but I have been somewhat aware of it, as an odd part of american culture and weirdly unique form of entertainment from my teenage years onwards. I actually had my first exposure to it in the form of a truly deranged multi-anime/game crossover fanfic styled as an extra-dimensional wrestling tournament. In those wild, lawless early days of the internet, stumbling headfirst into that as barely a teen, with not much awareness of the concept of either fan-fiction or wrestling, probably fucked me up but good. Anyways, had a stint of watching wwe in my student days, back in the late noughties, when I for the first time had access to channels where it was broadcast, and was also living with dumbasses willing to enjoy this unique art form with me.

For near on a decade now though, I've more or less only gotten it second-hand through bombcast complaints about the terrible state of wrestling that they nevertheless watch. However, this evening (this very night), I watched an old Monster Factory episode, and they tried out Shinsuke Nakamura's entrance, and something about that pricked a dormant seed in me, which made it irresistible to find some videos of the real deal, which led down a rabbit-hole and brought back memories and emotions about this peculiar-to-say-the-least pasttime. Which is why I've already got in touch with a buddy from those aforementioned student days who lives in the same city and gotten him hyped up about it too, and am now soliciting here for curation. All in all, it can't be that much weirder to have a wrestling watch-party than the damn eurovision watch-parties we do 'round these longitudes, right?

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STE89

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#2  Edited By STE89

WWE I think is ok, it’s gets a bad rap because if you haven’t watched it for years it has gone down in quality and some of the storylines just don’t have good payoffs, or don’t respect the wrestler involved in them. Wwe network has a free version to watch some new stuff and some good old school stuff the wrestlers in WWE or nxt are amazing it’s just the storylines that let them down.

There is so much choice at the moment, but you can’t go wrong with AEW has a little of the sports entertainment aspect that WWE has but is treats like a sport like it used to be in the 80’s. Jon Moxley is great almost like a stone cold of today’s era, Rey Fenix is someone you have to see to believe and you can’t go wrong with kenny omega!

You also can’t go wrong with new Japan, Roh (ring of honour) or impact wrestling some are easy to find on YouTube and see what you think. New Japan has its own streaming site called new Japan world, impact is on YouTube or FITE and so Is Roh. My overall recommendation would be AEW though, I really enjoy it and it’s on FITE tv, you can get it £4 (not sure of the conversion) but it’s a really good deal for weekly tv!

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VerticalMonkey

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#3  Edited By VerticalMonkey

@ste89: That basically should sum it up, listen to this guy OP. I will add that on the WWE side Smackdown is vastly superior to Raw (each show has its own roster and stories), and NXT is also generally good though IMO it has seen better days. Raw historically is the flagship WWE show but right now the writing is really bad. I won't say don't watch it but please don't let it represent the industry as a whole for you.

I will second AEW being the first must-watch weekly show(s) for me in a long time as someone who has been a fan for about 30 years now. Enjoy!

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ehyehasherehyeh

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Great! Thanks for the overview! 😄 If I want to get just a bit wise to the current characters and storylines, but not dip deep into years and years of it, any good resources for that?

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Jaymii

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#5  Edited By Jaymii

Best advice for that is to just start watching. You'll pick it up quick and start to get favourites. The weekly shows are:

Monday: WWE Monday Night Raw

Tuesday: WWE NXT

Wednesday: AEW Dynamite

Thursday: IMPACT Wrestling

Friday: WWE Smackdown

Wrestling can always seem intimidating, but announcers and commentators are there along the way to explain what's happening. No YouTube video, documentary or wikipedia page is really going to help you find what you specifically like from the variety show that is pro wrestling.

As you watch, things will become clearer, and you'll work out what rabbit holes you'll fancy going down to find out more.

My suggestion is to watch AEW Dynamite and WWE Smackdown from this past week and see what presentation you like. If you want a single 'one-off' show, my suggestion is AEW Revolution 2020 or WrestleMania 31.

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sombre

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YES: New Japan Pro Wrestling

NO: AEW

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Undeadpool

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AEW is the connoisseur's choice at the moment (at least for Western options), and it's truly spectacular.

Storylines are charted out and have payoffs, characters are actually consistent, and while it's not perfect and they have their missteps, you don't feel like your time is being wasted watching it. Friend of the site Kenny Omega is one of the best working right now (and one of the best of all time), but names like Darby Allin with his high-flying, goth/punk style is making huge waves, Team Tazz's squad of beefy thugs (and ultra-hunk Ricki Stark) is always fun, and they JUST started finding their footing with an incredible Women's Division (go back and watch Thunder Rosa VS Dr. Britt Baker in their "unsanctioned" match from a couple of weeks ago). John Moxley and Eddie Kingston are two of the best promos in the world right now too. Very little of this will actually make sense without context, I'm more just giving you names to look up if you're interested.

WWE is faltering at the moment, the talent is there and incredible, but only watch if you LITERALLY don't care about storyline or character, because they have a BAD habit of trying to subvert expectations, even if the expectations are "a good storyline or consistent characters."

There are a ton of other options too, as you can see listed in the thread (AEW and Impact Wrestling are doing a crossover angle, for instance), but I'm not so familiar with those. AEW has two wrestling shows (and one backstage show) for free on Youtube as well in the form of "AEW Dark" and "AEW Dark Elevation," so check those out as they're more match focused. And free.

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Shiftygism

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#8  Edited By Shiftygism

'87-'92 WWF (and then follow Bret Hart/Shawn Michaels until '97/'98)

The WWE was at its peak creatively during the late 80's when it was a steroid and cocaine fueled circus of larger than life Superstars that felt like they had jumped off the pages of a comic book.

Really, most of the promotions were on fire that decade. WCCW, NWA/WCW, Mid-South, and a lot of it is available on YouTube.

That along with samplings of wrestling from Mexico and Japan over the decades won't disappoint.

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ToughShed

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#9  Edited By ToughShed

AEW by far for current stuff. I have my quibbles w it but the product has gotten me back into wrestling when WWE made me quit it for many years.

Its night and day over WWE and for the most part just what wrestling should be.

NJPW is also very fun to watch. I dont watch very regularly but I check out the big shows and have a great time. It sounds like if I watched week to week some shit would annoy me more tho with EVIL and all the run ins for example (although AEW been a little run in and distraction finish heavy lately)

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DinosaurCanada

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#10  Edited By DinosaurCanada

@jaymii: This is the best advice. It's how I got into it

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ehyehasherehyeh

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Thanks everybody for friendly and helpful advice! AEW seems the the best match for what we want, but I'll keep New Japan Pro Wrestling in the back of my mind.

@shiftygism, I really feel like that era is what formed my early understanding of what wrestling was, picked up through snippets here and there in american pop culture. Then getting to watch some actual shows regularly in '09/'10 was a lot more... subdued and didn't keep me invested, but I get the impression that the scene has broadened in later years, or maybe I'm just becoming more aware of wrestling outside wwe.

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Retris

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Here's the deal, as a fellow Nordic person I'll tell you this: trying to follow wrestling when you're in the complete wrong time zone for everything can be hard. Same with access to actual episodes of weekly shows. Impact Wrestling is the easiest to get to as they air their shows on twitch. Then you've got NJPW than has a monthly subscription, but NJPW hasn't been very good for a while now if you're not the the type that just cares about match quality. It's also in Japanese (or a very bad English commentary) so that's also a notch against it.

My biggest suggestion: Look into local wrestling. Don't really remember what's the name of the current fed in Norway right now and if it's affected by COVID, but the Norwegian wrestling scene at least used to be pretty healthy and had a lot of pretty good wrestlers. Nothing beats seeing wrestling live.

Another good pick for a beginner would be Lucha Underground. It wasn't a wrestling company, but a wrestling TV Show. It's basically wrestling meets B-movies in the Robert Rodriquez style. It's digitally on sale on Amazon and iTunes and it's well worth the money.

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redwing42

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@retris said:

Here's the deal, as a fellow Nordic person I'll tell you this: trying to follow wrestling when you're in the complete wrong time zone for everything can be hard. Same with access to actual episodes of weekly shows. Impact Wrestling is the easiest to get to as they air their shows on twitch. Then you've got NJPW than has a monthly subscription, but NJPW hasn't been very good for a while now if you're not the the type that just cares about match quality. It's also in Japanese (or a very bad English commentary) so that's also a notch against it.

My biggest suggestion: Look into local wrestling. Don't really remember what's the name of the current fed in Norway right now and if it's affected by COVID, but the Norwegian wrestling scene at least used to be pretty healthy and had a lot of pretty good wrestlers. Nothing beats seeing wrestling live.

Another good pick for a beginner would be Lucha Underground. It wasn't a wrestling company, but a wrestling TV Show. It's basically wrestling meets B-movies in the Robert Rodriquez style. It's digitally on sale on Amazon and iTunes and it's well worth the money.

Lucha Underground is also available for free on the Tubi app, but not sure if that holds internationally, or if that is US only.

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shamusisaninja

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#14  Edited By shamusisaninja

AEW is easily the best weekly American big wrestling show, it has issues but week to week much more interesting wrestling and stories.

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jewunit

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If one of your formative wrestling experiences was a wrestling tournament fanfic, I think Lucha Underground is for you. It definitely has aspects of muscular theater to it in addition to solid wrestling.

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Dizzyhippos

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#16  Edited By Dizzyhippos

I will echo AEW as the best weekly American TV wrestling show right now. Their wrestling style is not for everyone but they very very rarely let stories just drop with no resolution. And as something of a "bonus" its only 2 hours a week. If you want more there's Elevation and DARK for their developmental stuff and BTE, Sammy Guevara's Vlog, and Ethan Pages Vlog on Youtube but they are not required viewing, there more "fun extras" where you get to see a bit more.

As a side note to AEW, at this time of me writing this (4/28) this week would probably be a good time to sample the show if your curious because its a lead in to a big one match show on May 5 for their version of WARGAMES.

If your looking for something a bit more off the beaten path STARDOM is very good and can be watched for 8.50~ a month on STARDOM world. I subscribed sometime mid last year and they haven't put on what I would call a "bad" show since.

Unless your a fan of dumb shit stay far far away from RAW.

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jagerxbomb

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Hello, I haven't watched wrestling since the Attitude era, and for whatever reason (I really don't know), I have a hankerin'.

This is an old thread, so sorry for the necro, but are all the suggestions here still valid?

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sombre

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Hello, I haven't watched wrestling since the Attitude era, and for whatever reason (I really don't know), I have a hankerin'.

This is an old thread, so sorry for the necro, but are all the suggestions here still valid?

Don't bother with New Japan at the moment.

It's currently in the darkest timeline ever