FEATURE: The Wrestling Streaming World Tour Part Two

The Wrestling Streaming World Tour Part One


It goes without saying that here in the US and Canada that the WWE is King but we’re not here to talk about them.  In the US, outside of WWE there’s four promotions you really need to know about (Five if you count New Japan’s expansion but we’ll get there.)  Those four promotions are: Ring of Honor, Impact, Chikara and Shimmer.  There’s two other things I’ll mention but they’re not quite promotions in the same way.

Ring of Honor, depending on who you ask, is either the Number Two or Number Three Promotion in the US.  They were started in the early 2000s after the collapse and buyout of WCW and ECW.  ROH could be argued to be the spiritual successor of ECW not because of a hardcore style but more of them going out and finding young talent that’s just starting to make a name and building around them.

CM Punk, Samoa Joe, Daniel Bryan (as Bryan Danielson,) Kevin Steen (Kevin Owens in WWE,) AJ Styles and Seth Rollins (as Tyler Black) all made names for themselves in ROH but if you want to talk about ROH today, you have to talk about Bullet Club.

Bullet Club began as a stable (a group of more than two wrestlers that work together) in 2013 when Prince Devitt (a pre-WWE Finn Balor) joined forces with Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga and Karl Anderson.  One of the first acts to join them were the Young Bucks and the group quickly gained popularity in Japan and later the US.  The Young Bucks returned to ROH after joining Bullet Club and quickly became one of the promotion’s biggest acts.

Cody left the WWE in frustration in 2016 and after going on a tour of several promotions to wrestle one-off “Dream matches” he hooked up with the Bullet Club and the Bucks and soon found himself on top in ROH and the Bullet Club stable is pretty much the centerpiece of Ring of Honor.

ROH has a weekly syndicated television show, they also tour the US, Canada and even run shows in Europe and Japan.  This spring, ROH launched “Honor Club” where you can watch their weekly television show, their backlog of PPVs and stream their PPVs and select House shows.  Honor Club also provides discounts on live event tickets and merchandise.

Like ROH, depending on who you ask Impact (Pop TV, Thursday 8/7central) is either the number two or number three promotion in the US.  They also started in the early days following the collapse and buyouts of ECW and WCW as TNA (Short for “Total Non-Stop Action” not what you’re thinking) like ROH is the spiritual successor to ECW, Impact was very much the spiritual successor to WCW.

TNA was started by Jeff Jarrett and his father, Jerry and took a lot of people left over from WCW as well as castoffs from WWE.  TNA/Impact has a rocky history, they had the foresight to hire AJ Styles and Samoa Joe from ROH but often used them to prop up aging guys like Jeff Jarrett and Kevin Nash.  They hired Sting but often misused him.  They had some of the best cruiserweight and women’s talent but always seemed to treat them as unimportant.

Impact fell on hard times in the last three years, going from Spike TV and monthly PPVs to where they are now.  On Pop TV and running two PPVs a year.  However there’s hope, Impact has changed ownership (Anthem Sports and Entertainment) and made some positive changes.  Impact also runs shows on their Twitch channel and runs the Global Wrestling Network streaming service where you can find their back catalogue of PPVs and weekly television. Impact has also developed working relationships with several international promotions like AAA and Japan’s Pro Wrestling NOAH.

Chikara is a smaller promotion based out of Philadelphia and while they don’t have television they do run a lot of internet shows and maintain their own streaming service called “Chikaratopia.”  Chikara also runs a very-well respected training school and as a result they build shows around promising younger wrestlers and tag teams.  Chikara, despite using the kanji for strength as their logo, is a lucha-style promotion so if you found CMLL and/or AAA to your liking Chikara should be right up your alley.

This brings me to Shimmer.  Shimmer is currently the premiere women’s promotion in North America, WWE stars like Asuka, Ember Moon, Nikki Cross, Candice LeRae, Becky Lynch, Bayley and Ruby Riott all wrestled there.  Shimmer doesn’t have weekly television rather they run two day shows three to four times a year and release the shows on DVD and Blu-ray however they announced plans to launch a streaming service very soon.

Now I said that there were two companies I would talk about despite neither being wrestling promotions in the traditional sense.  First up is Pro Wrestling Guerilla (PWG) out of Los Angeles.   

PWG runs shows every couple months and are considered something of a super-indie because of how they release content.  PWG doesn’t stream live.  Instead they release their show a couple months later and because of this release strategy nearly every wrestling promotion, including WWE, allows their talent to be booked at PWG.  Kevin Steen, the Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, Adam Cole, Jushin Thunder Liger, Zack Sabre jr, Daniel Bryan and Tommaso Ciampa have all wrestled there frequently over the years and the company has gained a reputation for top notch wrestling with a large side of comedy.

Lastly, there’s All-In.  Cody Rhodes and the Young Bucks have put together a show this Labor Day Weekend in Chicago at the Sears Centre.  The 10,000 seat venue sold out in under an hour, making it the biggest selling non-WWE event in North America since WCW still existed.  The event, despite support from ROH and New Japan has been self-funded by Rhodes and the Bucks and will feature wrestlers from around the world (along with Green Arrow’s Stephen Amell) and the Main Event will be Cody vs Nick Aldis for the NWA World Title (One of the most prominent titles in all of wrestling.)

I included All-In not merely because the event will be broadcast live… somewhere but the event has set the wrestling world on its ear and everyone’s not only taken notice but are waiting eagerly to see what the fall-out will be.  All-In could very well end up being a turning point in the history of wrestling and I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t put it on your radar.

For Part three, we’re going across the pond to discuss the emerging European/British wrestling scene.

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