The longer title of this article was going to be ‘Pro Wrestling and YouTube: A Look At How YouTube Has Helped All Wrestling Promotions, Large And Small’ – And then I realised how ridiculously long that title was. Pro Wrestling is definitely an interest of mine, as many of you will be aware. With the Royal Rumble coming up at the end of the month, I thought I’d do one of my usual rare talks about how ridiculous a show can be – But instead of focusing purely on WWE, I thought that it might be interesting to talk about how YouTube has played such a massive role in helping with what is effectively a boom of interest.
First of all, let’s begin by talking about various different promotions, so you’ve got a bit of a background to it all. Standing at the top is arguably WWE. I say arguably, because it sort of depends where you are in the world – But, I don’t think anyone could dispute that WWE at least has the highest buy-rates of all of the promotions, which is why they can pump money out into their product (and in buying up talent across the world). However a lot of fans dispute how well the company has been doing as of late. There are looks at the weekly episodes, which talks about the TV ratings of their products and more.
Next up, arguably second on the list, you have New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). This company has had something of a resurgence since the internet has gotten so vocal about pro wrestling (especially YouTube and Reddit, but the focus of this article will be on the YouTube side). NJPW doesn’t do as well as WWE in terms of buy rates, but often are winning awards for their match quality by a well known wrestling newsletter, known as the Wrestling Observer Newsletter run by a Dave Meltzer. He states the awards are just his opinion, but they do hold a lot of credence to a lot of wrestlers and wrestling promotions. Typically, NJPW offers high quality matches – And it is possible to have English commentary for an NJPW show. Just this past weekend we had Wrestle Kingdom 13, which was said to be exceptionally good. I’ve been watching some of it, so if you want my genuine opinion, you should at least go to watch the matchup of Kota Ibushi vs Will Ospreay. That was as close to perfection as a match gets.
Other promotions then include Impact Wrestling, who are still relatively big – An American rival to WWE. If people don’t go to WWE, but they want to get good pay, they’d usually head over to Impact – Plus sometimes they get to wrestle with people who have left the WWE. Then you have Ring of Honor, which is a huge one in Baltimore, Maryland.
Pro Wrestling on YouTube
YouTube has a strange role to fill in these days for pro wrestling. WWE uses it to put some of their matches up, or some announcements and even the pre-shows of their Pay-Per-View shows are put on there for free to watch live, along with live on Facebook too. The company has embraced the use of the platform to try and draw in more viewers, because hey, with each and every click on their videos, they get more money, so it makes sense that they’d work hard on the platform, as well as their own WWE Network. But that’s not the only way the company gets attention – More on that in a moment.
Before we look at how the YouTube community makes a difference for pro wrestling, it’s fair to point out that other promotions also use YouTube as a platform to drive interest to their products. NJPW has their own YouTube channel, which includes breakdowns of all of the various stories and rivalries throughout the years. Further to that, Impact has one, as does Ring of Honor. All of the big promotions do, which is before we even look at WWE NXT and WWE’s 205 Live cruiserweight division.
When the YouTube community got involved with wrestling, you begin to get guys like the above – WhatCulture Wrestling. They started off pretty much just covering some basics, before slowly turning into a massive full-time production, keeping everyone interested in the shows in the loop. They often get a chance to speak to wrestlers, as well as having their own wrestling promotion for themselves, Defiant Wrestling. WhatCulture Wrestling talk about all different elements of pro wrestling as a whole, great for if you want to know what’s happening right now – But they’re not the only ones.
WrestleTalk is another huge channel which provides us with wrestling news. The format of WrestleTalk is quite different, usually featuring a high-paced Ollie Davis, or a slightly more relaxed Luke Owen – Both of whom are highly entertaining. Next up, we have Cultaholic, which is formed of former WhatCulture Wrestling staff – The Cultaholic folk are pretty well connected, through their experience at WhatCulture. Finally, there’s Wrestling with Wregret, which features Brian Zane who has had experience as a wrestling manager. It’s worth checking all of these channels out, especially if you have some interest in pro wrestling and want to know where to look for the news side of wrestling.
Naturally there are lots of other great channels on YouTube, so if you’re looking to get into pro wrestling on YouTube, even if you wanted to try and understand why people watch the shows, then hopefully these channels will be of interest. Do you watch any wrestling, or is it a bit too over the top for you? What do you think of wrestling channels on YouTube and indeed, what other niche communities do you keep up with on the video sharing platform? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.