People look at this greying, middle-aged old school guy, read my tongue in-cheek “reviews” of WWE TV (“That was 3 hours of my life I’ll never get back”), and assume I’m one of those haters who does the “There’s been NO good wrestling since the 80’s” spiels.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
You see, the exact opposite is probably the case. This is a new golden age in professional wrestling. And I’m not talking just “dollars and cents,” but rather the all-time great Art that is being created in ring almost daily.
You see New Japan’s Okada is probably the number one wrestler in the world right now- albeit the WWE names are “more famous” especially with the youth market that Vince hawks T-Shirts to. Regardless, here’s a guy who virtually every time he defends his belt is putting on 4* plus clinics against guys who are Artists in their own right. Okada-Omega have had matches off the charts great and for under ten bucks a month you can watch one of the greatest rosters of all time streamed into your living room to enjoy live at very odd hours (that time zone thing) or archived forever. New Japan World may be the greatest wrestling website bargain ever with content going back decades and the greatest names in the history of the business in legendary classics. Simply put they’re indicative of the buyer’s market that’s out there.
Speaking of which, Ring of Honor’s Honor Club at $120 a year is also a steal as you get all their house shows, pay per views, and additional content at pretty much the price of a few tickets. Although they may not be what they were ten years ago before WWE cherry picked their stars, the Bullet Club is in full effect and Cody Rhodes has reinvented himself from mid-carder to headlining star. Sure, the roster may be a wee bit thinner than it was back in the Nigel McGuiness/Bryan Danielson/Austin Aries/Kevin Steen/Claudio Castagnoli/Roderick Strong days, but it’s nonetheless a great deal for the purist who enjoy (gasp!) wrestling rather than mere sports entertainment.
And since I acknowledged the 800-pound gorilla in the room, WWE, I daresay that some of their interviews, hidden gems, old school content, and even an occasional excellent pay per match makes their $9.99 a month pitch worthy as well. You could pretty much sit on the WWE Network all day if you chose to and even if you loathe much of what they do today, enjoy some of the best old school TV ever created at your leisure and you can’t go wrong with THAT. Watching Bill Watts’ TV is as good as it gets for us nostalgic types and just to see my old friend Boyd Pierce’s outfits makes the visit more than worthwhile.
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the “All In” one-hour sellout with Cody Rhodes, the Young Bucks and their whole crew. Indie wrestling is exploding with a buyer’s market of international stars coming right to your town. In New York alone we’ll get the touring British groups, lucha shows, women’s groups, Evolve’s world class athletes, endless small indies of varying quality, and over in New Jersey some of the most blood drenched hardcore matches you’ll EVER see with stars like my friend Lowlife Louie Ramos mutilating themselves for your viewing pleasure if that’s your thing. In short, whatever it is you’re into, it’s out there. I even saw an ad for Extreme Midget Wrestling coming soon. Whatever works for ‘ya.
Speaking of old school, I hope everybody will set aside July 12th for the nationwide one night only screening of 350 Days starring Bret Hart, SuperStar Billy Graham, and three dozen other legends including Tito Santana, Paul “Mr.Wonderful” Orndorff, Tito Santana, Greg Valentine, Marty Janetty, Ted Dibiase, and many of the legends we’ve lost along the way in some of their very last interviews. You can watch the trailer here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvcnVv55cQk In addition to the documentary, this special event will also present an exclusive introduction from and my interview with legendary wrestling manager JJ Dillon of The Four Horsemen to discuss the impact of the film and the current state of professional wrestling. Tickets for “350 Days” can be purchased at https://bit.ly/2s0uhD5 or participating box offices. Finally, you can visit the 350 DAYS WEBSITE at http://www.350daysthemovie.com/.
That should about do it for this old school guy who still loves wrestling and enjoys the endless choices offered to us all. If WWE is your thing more power to you. But don’t let anyone EVER tell you “There’s been no great wrestling since back in the day.” It’s right here at your fingertips. With a little effort, a trip to the local arena, and a couple of streaming services, it’s yours for the taking.