Streaming Wrestling Woes: 4 horrible things about on demand wrestling

JERSEY CITY, NJ - JUNE 03: Joey Ace and Joe Keys battle during Capitol Wrestling Live on June 3, 2017 at Cathedral Hall in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - JUNE 03: Joey Ace and Joe Keys battle during Capitol Wrestling Live on June 3, 2017 at Cathedral Hall in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

We live in the age of digital video and premium on-demand content. Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ have destroyed the need for cable television. A wrestling fan can enjoy endless content through various free and premium subscriptions. Streaming wrestling is the wave of the future.

But the world of digital subscriptions and streaming wrestling is not without its annoyances. As wonderful as it is to have hundreds of wrestling hours at your remote control, there are a few tweaks that need to be made before the recipe is right.

 Here are four annoying wrestling streaming woes.

AEW, Cody Rhodes
Cody Rhodes, AEW (Photo by Paras Griffin#SPORT/Getty Images) /

Streaming Wrestling Woe 1: AEW is still in the stone ages

I am convinced that Tony Khan is secretly Ted Turner from the 90s. Only Ted Turner from the 90s would expect a person to purchase a cable package so you can watch his exciting AEW product for two hours a week. SmackDown, Raw, Impact, and NXT offer easy and affordable ways to catch their weekly offerings, but the greatest wrestling show on TV today, Dynamite, is locked behind a Spectrum or Cox cable deal.

That means I need to order MTV2, BBC, and Hallmark just to enjoy a match with Kenny Omega. My money needs to go to Lifetime, Food Network, and Nickelodeon just so I can see the Young Bucks. I need to invest in Swamp People and Real Wives of Memphis just to see Hangman Page put his title on the line. Maybe, Tony thinks I can be satiated by AEW Dark because it is free and carries 2 hours of exhibition matches. But who is he kidding? All the really important stuff happens on the Dynamite show.

I am not sure what Cody and Tony have to do to get their own dedicated network in America. In other countries, FITE TV has a $4.99 subscription plan to watch all the latest episodes. Technically, there’s a way to trick your computer into thinking it’s from the UK so you can access it. In reality, It’s time to pretend like it’s 2021 and not 1991, Mr. Khan. I know TNT has a golden leash around your neck, but the world is very, very, very past cable.

I know I am spoiled with tons of different wrestling options. The 90s child in me would have loved wrestling matches that can be viewed on a computer at any hour of the day. I just want to know why NWA Powerr, NJPW, Evolve Wrestling, and $5 Wrestling is easier to watch than the top wrestling show in all America.

Streaming Wrestling Woe 2: WWE became a product (that won’t shut up about itself)

I keep thinking it’s well worth my time to invest in a WWE Network subscription. It’s the number one wrestling company in the world and it has tons of retro content. Then I watch one current episode of SmackDown or Raw and I realize why I can’t stomach the product. In the mid-2000s, WWE decided that being a wrestling show was not enough. They chose to be an entertainment show. Now, every single product that WWE comes out with is a lead-in to every other single product they have on the market. The New Day loves Skittles, Charlotte Flair has her own Capitol One card, The Undertaker uses Progressive, John Cena owns land in China, Bayley wants you to switch to Cricket. As a 90s child, we expected this from our wrestling shows.

I am accustomed to Diamond Dallas Page trying to get me to make a collect call or Kane trying to get me to burn fat with Stacker 2. But I thought we evolved past that when Netflix and Amazon Prime invented premium streaming. I thought you could buy your way out of the ads to get pure wrestling. Nope! The WWE  makes their advertising and sponsors part of the show. Even their PPVs have commercials. This is not Mean Gene telling us about a 900 number where we can learn where Hulk Hogan had dinner last week, these are full-blown interruptions to a Pay-Per-View show.

I get it. The LED screens that make up the Thunderdome cost more to maintain than an Impact wrestler makes in a year. But it seems that as WWE flaunts its obnoxious heaven of flashing lights and spinning strobes it needs to get Big E to push more State Farm sales.

Streaming Wrestling Woe 3: The Graveyard of Post Pandemic Wrestling Promotions

The pandemic hit the world like an unprotected chair shot to Cody Rhodes’ skull. The wrestling world was forced to perform in empty and echoey studios that looked more like a dress rehearsal than a wrestling show. The saddest part is seeing all the wrestling promotions that folded because of this devastating illness.

Some smaller promotions have crawled up from the ashes, like MLW, ROH, and ICW. They are now limping, trying to return to their former glory, but at least they can stand on two legs. There’s a subscription called Pivotshare, which hosts a lot of international and smaller wrestling leagues. Before the pandemic, each one of those promotions had a regular schedule. Now the entire selection is a ghost town. So many wrestling shows had their unexpected last event in March of 2020.

We live in a very ambitious world where the internet can help us build up a company overnight. However, it’s the fans that make the company thrive. The pandemic took that away with force. As you watch your wrestling show this week, remember to pour one out for the poor shows that could not afford a ThunderDome, fake audience cheering, and 6,000 video monitors.

Streaming Wrestling Woe 4: Finding a wrestling show can be so confusing

With great streams comes great responsibility, but the world of streaming wrestling can be an endless maze of confusion. Take MLW, for example. They have a deal with Bein sports, YouTube, Vice, and local channels. You need to constantly monitor those four things to make sure you don’t miss any of their content. It also doesn’t help that they fired the guy responsible for telling you how to watch their shows (probably).

You might think that big networks don’t have this problem because they can throw money at it. Nope. WWE, ROH, and Impact have this teetering deal where they are trying to decide which shows come with the subscription and which shows you have to push extra money out for making you have to guess what comes with the plan and what makes you have to shell out more cash.

Next. Wrestling promotions before, during, and post pandemic. dark

Now, YouTube Paid Subscriptions (look it up) is a new streaming service where wrestling fans can get different perks that are not on their subscription network. So I have to go to Hulu to get the latest episode of NXT, but I can log in to Peacock to watch Summerslam 2008, but it’s YouTube Plus that will help me watch the Good Brothers show on my Impact subscription. Sheesh…