The phrase “wrestling is the best it’s ever been” gets thrown around a lot these days and at the end of every year multiple wrestling fans use that phrase. We are six months into 2016 and I can whole-hardheartedly say this is the greatest year of professional wrestling ever. You may think “well there are still six months left this year, what if everything goes to shit?”. My answer to that is “are you fucking insane?”. There is that much great professional wrestling out there it’s hard to imagine that in six months everything will collapse. I am not one to usually write these sort of articles and I just stick to talking about or reviewing puroresu shows, but I am doing this to find out what all of you think about 2016 thus far. Is it the best year in wrestling? Are you more entertained than ever before? Or are you not happy with how wrestling is going in 2016? I would love to find out what all of you think. First point I want to touch on is the puro side of things.
New Japan Pro Wrestling has more Western eyes on the product than ever before. With New Japan world and being aired weekly on AXS TV the international fan base is larger than ever before which is great! But I hear a lot of folk say “I love Japanese wrestling” and they only watch NJPW which is completely cool, but you are missing out on so much greatness happening outside of NJPW. I really love NJPW, but that’s not even my favorite Japanese promotion of 2016 thus far. There have been excellent matches happening in basements of arena’s in Japan, I am not even joking when I say that. HEAT-UP usually runs out of BASEMENT MONSTAR which seats just over 100 people and I have given multiple matches from HEAT-UP **** or higher. K-Dojo gets a lot of unwarranted hate from the wrestling community. Your probably have no clue who any of the guys are, but K-DOJO has had two MOTYC’s so far this year. Heck some of you won’t even know half of these promotions, but I have seen excellent matches come out of small independents like FREEDOMS, 666, HEAT-UP, K-Dojo, BASARA, DNA, FMW. Those are the smaller promotions in Japan, but I don’t want you to forget about the semi-large promotions either. Big Japan Pro Wrestling is my downright favorite promotion this year. Every damn show has something great on it and the guys continue to put in constant effort. AJPW continues to revive their tainted brand and should be in serious consideration for promotion of the year. Wrestle-1 was labelled the TNA of Japan for sometime, but they have quickly vanquished that nickname and put on fantastic monthly shows from Korakuen Hall. Dragon Gate isn’t for everyone, but every show much like BJW, has something great. Zero-1 is basically never going to make tape again, but they are continuously putting on good-great main events. DDT is one of the wackiest promotions ever and it took me a long time to understand the product, but once I did they became one of my ultimate favorites. Michinoku Pro rarely makes tape these days, but when they do it is always a certified hoot seeing Sasuke and his goons. Japan is better than ever outside of New Japan and not enough people know about it. I don’t mean to discredit New Japan at all! Their big monthly shows are always well paced and usually have at least one MOTYC.
Another thing that has made wrestling this year tremendous is the availability of everything! I have recently delved deep into wrestling from Mexico because I wanted to broaden my horizons beyond just Japan and the U.S. Thanks to the numerous good brothers who upload, it has become quite easy to keep up with all the goodness coming from Mexico. From barn-yards to Arena Mexico, there is a boat load of authentic current day Lucha available online, basically all for free as well. CMLL was behind the times for a long time on the technology side of things and now they regularly stream shows on their YouTube channel for free! Last year the anniversary show was streamed live on their YouTube 100% free. Another guy who deserves credit for streaming live wrestling is Morten VH, better known to us as “Brother Mort”. He has poured his heart and soul into creating the live Wrestling With Words Puroresu Stream. As one of Morten’s close friends, I know how much money and time he put into it. Sometimes I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves, but without him we wouldn’t see half of the puro that takes place. Just days ago he streamed a show of the year candidate live on his stream! Fortune Dream III was streamed live from Japan on the stream. Big Japan from Sumo Hall airs live on the stream in a little over a month. Multiple NOAH shows have aired live. Hell, I was watching BASARA as soon as it aired on Samurai TV! Japan is realizing how popular their wrestling has become internationally. Promotions live STARDOM and WAVE have recently opened up their own payed streaming services. Both have loads of great content and are very easy on the pocket.
Banter. Banter is the best it has ever been. I am not talking about the banter that goes on in promo’s or in the ring I am talking about the banter that goes on between wrestling fans over the internet. I have made so many friends from every continent this year it’s remarkable. Ever since joining this wonderful site I have been able to get to know numerous awesome people. It feels good to say I have friends in Canada, America, Mexico, Germany, Britain, Denmark and Japan. The beautiful thing that is the internet allows us to talk whenever we please and BANTER about wrestling. It’s basically like watching wrestling with your buddies on a virtual couch if that makes any sense whatsoever HAHAHA. If you’re a wrestling fan there is absolutely something for everyone. If you want to see a more realistic product I would recommend BJW, NJPW or AJPW. If your more into big moves and high flying I would recommend Dragon Gate, Elite or CMLL. If your in for a more theatrical product then Lucha Underground is for you. If your into story lines and great production with great wrestling, WWE is the product you should devote your time to. If your into comedy or having a fun time then DDT is for you. If you want to see strictly female wrestling then there is Shine,Shimmer, STARDOM, Reina, WAVE, Sendai Girls among others. Hell if your into a shit promotion then TNA and AAA is out there. What I am trying to say is broaden your horizons and try something new, you may just discover what you have been looking for.
We are the luckiest fans ever to be blessed with all of this goodness we view on a daily basis. Every single day there is some sort of show going down or some awesome news breaks. At this point I have found a Japanese Dave Meltzer that breaks all of the puro news as it happens. WWE puts on consistently good PPV’s monthly. NXT puts on tremendous specials quarterly. NJPW has excellent PPV’s monthly. If you’re a New Japan World subscriber you’re given over 15+ hours of original content monthly. With G1 around the corner you would be dumb not to sign up. All the great tournaments in wrestling brings a smile to my face as one of the biggest tournament marks on the planet. We haven’t even had Fire Festival, G1, King Of The Ring, BOLA or the Scenic City Invitational yet! The British scene is fucking tremendous and I punch myself daily because I don’t watch enough of it. Everywhere from PCW to PROGRESS the scene is on fire. The best thing about it is that it’s constantly growing! In Britain alone their are 117 promotions I believe. Dylan Hales or Fray would kill me if I didn’t mention the Southern Independents. This is another blind spot for me personally, but that’s just because I am way too occupied with puro and Lucha. AWE seems to be killing it. I have seen Fray give multiple matches ****+. I have caught some of PWX and they are tremendous. Guys like Corey Hollis, John Skyler, Anthony Henry, Martin Stone, and Chip Day are having career years.
Look guys, I could’ve gone on forever, but that was just a short article on how much I love wrestling. I love wrestling so much and I rarely criticize it because that’s no fun. It’s entertaining to a point I guess, but I spend most of my life doing wrestling related things and I wouldn’t do that if it sucked. Please let me know what you think of wrestling this year. Is it your favorite year in wrestling? Time can only tell.