It’s me, it’s me, it’s JDB…
Monday: WWE Monday Night Raw | AEW Dark: Elevation
Tuesday: WWE NXT | AEW Dark | NWA Powerrr
Wednesday: AEW Dynamite | Major League Wrestling (MLW)
Thursday: Impact Wrestling
Friday: WWE Smackdown | Ring of Honor
Saturday: MLW (again)
This is a lot of wrestling. I’ve now heard many wrestling fans complain that there is simply too much out there to try and keep up with.
This doesn’t even include programming from New Japan, Stardom, and DDT, as well as a plethora of Independent promotions within the U.S. and around the globe. Much of these can easily be viewed on YouTube, or even on Fite TV or Independent Wrestling TV Video-On-Demand services.
So this begs the question: Is it too much? Has it always been like this through the annals of wrestling history? What can a person do about being overloaded with professional wrestling, but wanting to stay on the pulse of the industry?
First, some history…
Wrestling on Television
Filming from the Grand Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles (now a Korean-American Evangelical Church) was NWA Hollywood Wrestling . This was professional wrestling’s first syndicated television program. The show ran from 1947-1955 and featured many of the greats we recognize today a trailblazers of the industry.
The momentum carried well into the 70s, as at any given time you would see the following wrestling shows on the boob-tube.
-WWWF Championship Wrestling
-WWWF All-Star Wrestling
-Big Time Wrestling
-Georgia Championship Wrestling
-Worldwide Wrestling (Jim Crockett Promotions)
But these were largely locally syndicated, meaning if you wanted to catch Big Time Wrestling, you would have to live in Detroit and tune into WXYZ Channel 7 to watch it. While shows like Georgia Championship Wrestling was broadcast nationally, you had to pay something called a cable subscription to watch it on TBS. However, only around 2-5% of the population even had a cable subscription in the 70s.
But during the early 80s Vince McMahon would slowly take over the industry.
Wrestling’s Boom Periods
The WWF would air 9 different shows over the 80s. However, even though McMahon was dominating the industry, even more professional wrestling found its way to the airwaves.
-AWA Championship Wrestling
-World Championship Wrestling (4 shows over the 80s)
-Superstars of Wrestling (Canada)
-Southern Championship Wrestling
-…and many more…
But once the 90s hit, WWF and WCW were the two promotions you were likely seeing on your television if wrestling was on. ECW did have two programs through the 90s, but only one (on TNN) was a short-lived cable deal.
So even in the 90s cable-era wrestling boom, you only really had Raw and Nitro going head-to-head. At one point both promotions would add in Smackdown and Thunder, respectively, with ECW landing a cable deal in 1999.
Compared to the current landscape, it’s not an incredible amount to follow.
With the debut of All Elite Wrestling in 2019, Vince McMahon would finally see a non-WWE show on a major network since WCW folded in 2001. However, with the rise of production technology, a lot more was already out there on smaller networks. This includes the likes of Ring of Honor, TNA/Impact Wrestling, Lucha Underground, and Major League Wrestling.
The internet, and largely YouTube, has given smaller wrestling promotions a wider audience — more than local syndication could ever provide. In 2021, one doesn’t have to go far to follow up on literally dozens of wrestling promotions around the world.
Furthermore, the talent is out of this world. I can easily argue that more raw talent exists in the current wrestling industry at this time than in any other time in wresting history.
Is it Too Much?
A large amount of professional wrestling has always been available to the viewing public in one form or another. Accessibility for smaller promotions was always the issue. With the internet, this problem is largely solved. I liken pro wrestling to coffee, as you can get good coffee just about anywhere now. You don’t have to rely on Starbucks anymore when you likely have 3 or 4 local ma-and-pa coffee shops that offer higher quality coffee in your area. Wrestling has greatly evolved over the past decade.
I don’t believe the question should be “is it too much”, but instead “what do you actually want to watch?”.
It seems as if internet trolls will go out of their way to bring down other promotions that aren’t their preferred brand. Predictably, when Sadie Gibbs announced her recent retirement, many comment sections were filled with “who?” — as if anyone not in WWE or AEW aren’t worth mentioning.
Wrestling sites wouldn’t be doing their job if they didn’t report on ALL wrestling promotions in the world. But that doesn’t mean the average, or well-educated fan, needs to know literally everything that is going on in the industry. Yet for some reason, many act as if they do, and that they need to endlessly comment or troll others about wrestlers they don’t even really care about.
If you only want to watch WWE or AEW programming, then so be it, but don’t be a dick to others when a site mentions a wrestler you don’t know.
The truth is that dozens of wrestling promotions have always existed around the world at any given time since the 1940s. The only thing that has changed is the wide accessibility to these promotions. Recording and streaming a quality wrestling show is actually pretty easy once you have the right equipment — and it’s not as expensive as you would think.
In conclusion, no, there isn’t too much wrestling. There is, however, too many people that think they need to keep up with it all and then troll others who actually do so. This behavior needs to stop, and it just makes us all look bad as a fanbase. As a fan, you don’t need to follow every promotion out there, nor need to feel pressure to do so just because other fans may know talent you don’t.
As a metalhead, I don’t listen to all the 50+ genres that are out there. You’re going to catch me listening to bands like Fleshgod Apocalypse more than you would a band like Poppy most times. But you know what? I’m still happy those Poppy fans are out there. In the same vein, I’m just happy there are enough fans in the industry to keep so many promotions afloat with support.
Let’s just embrace our wrestling diversity and stop being dicks to each other over men and women who stage fight each other in tight clothing.