Hey Pajiba, it’s me. Joe. We’ve been seeing each other for a few months now and I feel like we’ve had some laughs and maybe a few fights and also a few times where I realized I was talking to myself because you literally paid zero attention to me. It’s fine. I’m not upset. What I’m trying to say is that we’re basically in a pretty serious relationship now and I want you to take the next step with me.
I want you to start watching wrestling.
I know, you don’t like shows about colorful characters settling their differences through physical violence. You don’t like comic books and you don’t like live performance. So there’s no way you’ll like pro wrestling, which is the perfect holy blend of all three. But sometimes you just need an in — something that makes you go ‘oh ok, call me when that thing is on and I’ll pay attention.’ Like, my wife could give a shit unless Tyler Breeze is on. Who is Tyler Breeze? Oh, he’s part man/all model.
So like I said before we got crazy distracting by that beautiful man: Maybe you just need an in. A point of access. Well, I’m here to help. Be glad that this is just an article and that you’re not stuck at my house right now because this is what I do to my friends all the time. Here are five things I know you’ll dig about wrestling that will make you want to watch at least a little wrestling.
The New Day
I don’t really know where to start with New Day. They are the WWE Tag Team Champions. There are three people in their team. Tag teams are only supposed to have two. They get to choose which two members of their team compete in their matches, while the third guy helps cheat. Because they are bad guys, you see.
They are also probably the most charismatic trio on television right now. They’re obnoxiously positive, call their opponents ‘booty,’ and one of them plays the trombone at ringside. You heard me. This past Monday after they won a match he played a Final Fantasy victory fanfare. Come on. Melt the ice in your heart and let wrestling in.
Lucha Underground just wrapped its first season on Robert Rodriguez’s El Rey Network, and it is one of my favorite things I’ve ever watched. This show is as far from WWE as the guys that directed Crank are from Spielberg. Blending high flying American wrestlers with incredible Luchadores from Mexico, the action and story in this show take place in ‘The Temple,’ an old warehouse in Boyle Heights.
The show is pro wrestling through the B movie grindhouse lens, and to me, that’s exactly what pro wrestling should be- a bunch of muscled up Bruce Campbell clones beating the shit out of each other. LU has those guys, and it also features a guy that turns into a dragon, mercenaries, undead ninja masters, and even cool guys in backwards hats that love motocross. Wait a guy that turns into a dragon? Yes, his name is Drago.
Like the best B movies, Lucha Underground gives you a ridiculous story and insane action without ever winking at you. It’s so, so fun. Season 2 was announced this week for early 2016, and if you want to catch up, watching the show is a Google search away.
So, promise me you’ll check out Lucha Underground. Shake on it?
The Vaudevillians are a tag team on NXT, which you can watch on Hulu Plus, and as you can see they are they are an old timey strongman (Simon Gotch) and a silent film actor (Aiden English) that beat people up like proper gentlemen.
I’m not sure what else you need at this point. Still no deal? Fine. Hanging up now.
We’ve talked a good bit about women’s wrestling here before, and the good news is that it has continually gotten better since that article was written. Women are stepping up in big ways in professional wrestling, from the ladies of Lucha Underground (which doesn’t separate divisions by gender and doesn’t make a thing of it, which is cool), to NXT’s Bayley and Sasha Banks being the first women’s match to headline a major WWE event next month.
If you want to get caught up, Bayley and Banks stealing the show in Brooklyn recently is a great place to start. If the big leagues aren’t your style, check out women like Athena and article cover girl and cosplay delight Leva Bates tear it up in Shine, or the Veda Scott/Barbie Hayden/Jessica James anchored XX Division of Inspire Pro Wrestling in Austin. Both companies have shows on ippv and VOD.
And if you want to get excited about what’s around the corner, Japanese wrestling star Kana recently signed with WWE, performing under the name Asuka. Who is Kana? A bad ass face kicker, that’s who.
And speaking of Japanese wrestling, welcome to the nerdiest of nerdy things for wrestling fans. Japanese pro wrestling has long been the four star dork general rank for American wrestling fans, and for good reason- in the old days you literally had to trade video tapes with people to see it. Through the mail. Like in the pioneer days.
But even with programming from companies like New Japan Pro Wrestling readily available, it can still be a pretty dense jungle of ‘wait, what?’ to get through. Sometimes it’s tough to process a show when the first thing you see is a guy with a buster sword standing next to an animatronic raptor while money rains down from the heavens, you know?
Luckily there is a nice anchor of awesome if you’re ready to take the intermediate fan plunge of Japanese wrestling, and his name is Shinsuke Nakamura:
What is a Shinsuke Nakamura? It’s very easy to explain. He’s what happened one day when Prince, Heath Ledger’s Joker, and Kanye West decided to donate their sperm to help create the world’s deadliest warrior.
He loves food.
He loves being kingly.
And he loves fair play.
Am I starting to wear out my welcome? Eh, you’re right. I’ll dance myself out.