It’s no secret that I seem to go through phases of being really into something and then loosing track or drifting away; often through just not having the time to stay up to date with whatever that thing is.
Lately I’ve been rediscovering my love of wrestling, and expanding my viewing habits into new areas. And I think that’s probably down to Fire Pro Wrestling World being released.
Fire Pro has a long and storied history, and I first found out about it with the European release of Fire Pro Wrestling Returns on the PS2, back in 2008. I won’t go into full details of how much I love Fire Pro here but for a rough idea you can see the lengths I’ve been to in order to get this new game and the old one working on my MacBook in this blog post.
Basically the new Fire Pro (and the build up to it’s release) has made me want to watch wrestling again, which I’ve not done regularly in quite a while. My viewing habits for wrestling had basically dwindled to just catching the big showcases of WWE (WrestleMania) and New Japan Pro Wrestling (Wrestle Kingdom). But I know a fair few people on social media who are big wrestling fans, and it appears that the WWE has taken to signing a lot of guys I used to be a big fan of from Ring of Honor, Dragon Gate and NJPW. So I had to give them another shot.
I signed up for a free month of the WWE Network and have ended up keeping it for the past three months now.
I quickly became a fan of the NXT roster. 205 Live isn’t too bad either. I still can’t watch Raw or SmackDown but do watch the pay-per-views and have enjoyed some, but not all, they have to offer. Some of it is great, most of it is decent.
I always remember enjoying ROH much more than WWE, back when I used to watch that regularly (which was probably just before their first TV deal), so wondered if that was still good… or if there was something else out there that would interest me more than the WWE product.
Between the WWE’s UK Championship and seeing friends online post things about seeing British wrestling shows, I became interested in trying to find out more about the UK scene. A friend of mine posted something about an event they had been to right here in Southampton, called Lucha Forever. They seemed to have some good guys appearing on their shows and had just announced a new show in Southampton, so I bought three tickets and persuaded two friends to come along with me. But I still had never seen one of their shows.
And then I discovered Fite TV.
Fite TV is an app that streams wrestling, MMA, boxing and other combat sporting events. You can buy pay-per-views through it but there are also a lot of free shows that you can watch on it. I found Impact Wrestling, Ring of Honor, ICW, EVOLVE, Shine, All Japan Pro Wrestling, CMLL and Lucha Forever all within the first few minutes. And those were just the promotions I’d actually heard of.
By the end of that first weekend I’d watched an episode of Ring of Honor’s TV show, an ICW show and the last Lucha Forever show from Southampton; Live and Let Dive. It was great.
One person stood out for me, who was on both the Lucha Forever and Ring of Honor show, and that was Marty Scurll. The Villain. Latest member of the wrestling faction known as The Bullet Club. He was brilliant, in both his in-ring ability and getting his personality across.
And now, as I write this, I have had a sudden realisation that I’ve had a conversation with Marty Scurll.
Back in 2009 I went to a Dragon Gate: UK Invasion show in Oxford and had paid extra for a meet & great session with the Dragon Gate stars. Stars like CIMA, Naruki Doi, BxB Hulk and Shingo. But it also included The Young Bucks, now also in the Bullet Club, and Pac (now known as WWE’s cruiserweight champion, Neville). In fact I wrote a blog post about it. And after posing for photos and getting my Dragon Gate towel signed I stood and chatted to a few guys, who were some of the British wrestlers who were also appearing on the show. And now I think back I remember that Marty Scurll was one of those guys.
Anyway, distraction over, back to my original point…
The Villain, together with the likes of Will Ospreay, Trent Seven, Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate have really got me excited about British wrestling in a way I don’t think I have been before.
So with Fite TV and the shows I can watch through that… will I watch much of the WWE Network? Well I’m not sure I’ll miss much, with the exception of NXT and the PPV’s which I’ll still try to keep up with. So I’ve now cancelled my subscription, and in the end have subscribed to something else… NJPW World!
Back when I was writing stuff on For the Geek I wrote an article about NJPW World, which at the time was only in Japanese and needed a guide to help navigate the signup/cancellation process. But now it’s available in English and costs 999 yen a month (about £7.25 at time of writing), which is cheaper than the £9.99 WWE Network.
So I think my wrestling viewing will now consist of NJPW, ROH, Lucha Forever, NXT and anything featuring Marty Scurll.