Consuming pro wrestling media is both more and less convoluted than any other type of movie or TV show these days. Even with only one major company (WWE) that dominates the landscape, there are dozens of smaller leagues with niche products to appeal to just about every kind of fan. Nearly every major company has a streaming option, which can make watching their product pretty easy, so long as you pony up the dough for their service. If you have a wrestling fan on your list that might enjoy one of these subscriptions, here are a few suggestions for the one person in your life who’s on their fourteenth consecutive day of wearing the same Bullet Club shirt:
The showstopper, the main event, the grand-daddy of them all. My personal waning interest in the current WWE product aside, I have to admit that the WWE Network is still the best value for your wrestling dollar, by far. For ten bucks a month, you’ll get every new WWE pay-per-view live, as well as a nearly-exhaustive archive of events and TV episodes from WWE (including NXT), WCW (going back to the NWA and Jim Crockett Promotions), ECW, and several more of the wrestling companies that Vince McMahon has crushed under his heels. You’ll also have access to a ton of documentaries about WWE superstars and legends, which are some of the best things that WWE produces these days, and all the side projects the World Wrestling Entertainment machine can churn out every month. There’s more content here than anyone could ever watch, and more added almost every day, so this is a pretty safe gift for a fan that might not be a subscriber already.
Ten bucks a month could get you an archive of matches from PWG, DEFY, AAW, the always entertaining BAR Wrestling, and more. But the real draw of Highspots for me is the breadth of shoot interviews here, and there’s unique content like the Kevin Steen Show, Egos Amigos, and Best Friends. Also included are some fantastic documentaries including the Bruiser Brody doc Wrestling’s Last Rebel, which is one of the best wrestling films I’ve ever seen. There’s a reason why wrestling fans in the know call Highspots “the best $9.99 in the biz”.
IWTV has an awesome library of independent shows from CHIKARA, CZW, Beyond, and many other promotions. I love this service because it’s got a lot of early work from this generation’s current stars. Old CZW shows, like 2011’s ‘From Small Beginnings…Come Great Things’ for example, features Adam Cole, Jon Moxley, Brodie Lee (the recently-emancipated Luke Harper), and Orange Cassidy. Just randomly searching wrestlers yields some pretty cool results, and might introduce you to a new promotion where you can see wrestlers before they hit the big time.
If your fave fan is a Ring of Honor devotee, then a subscription to ROH’s Honor Club would be a great gift. Besides the archive of ROH events, TV episodes, and interview content, Honor Club gives you a discount on live event tickets as well as discounts on ROH’s pay per view events.
If All Elite Wrestling, the hottest new wrestling league is your jam (and why wouldn’t it be?), AEW Plus gives you weekly episodes of Dynamite both live and on-demand through the FITE app for only five bucks monthly. Unfortunately, this one is only available outside the US and Canada but for those outside of those areas, crack open a bit of the bubblay and check it out.
New Japan Pro Wrestling has some of the best wrestling and wrestlers on the planet, and their events are always excellent shows. NJPW World features an archive going back to the 1970s and has deep cut classic matches of many of your favourite wrestlers including Hulk Hogan, Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles, Brock Lesnar, and many more.
My reservation in recommending NJPW World is that the site’s navigation leaves quite a bit to be desired. This is still a Japanese product, first and foremost, so trying to get to the content you want (or even browsing for something to watch) is still a chore years after it’s launch, despite the inroads NJPW has made into the North American and UK markets. There’s been a major effort to provide more events with English commentary, though, so if you’re willing to overcome the interface, or if you’re a fluent Japanese reader, there is some outstanding stuff here, and a subscription to World just in time for NJPW’s biggest show of the year, Wrestle Kingdom on January 4th and 5th from the Tokyo Dome, would be a real treat.
These are only a few of the biggest over-the-top services that the wrestling industry has to offer, and there are many more. My suggestion would be to try out a few, or find out if your giftee has a favourite promotion or even style of wrestling, whether it’s Lucha, strong style, British catch wrestling, or American style wrestling, and gift them a subscription to the service that matches their tastes. There’s so much out there right now. Just, maybe, give that Bullet Club shirt a wash first.