As any fan of pro wrestling can tell you, we’re living in a golden age in terms of being able to stream live shows or have access to on-demand content. It seems as if nearly every promotion no matter how big or small has attached itself to one streaming service or another. In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the big players and try to get an idea what you’re really getting for your money.
The WWE Network
It’s the one that started them all and it has to be mentioned first. If you “legally” watch the WWE there is a good chance that you shell out 9.99 each month for access to their vast content library and “pay-per views”. The WWE has been at the forefront of the on-demand wrestling business for years and introduced the WWE Network back in 2014. The selling point for fans is that the pay-per views are included in the monthly price. The WWE also has the advantage that they have one of, if not, the largest library of “classic” wrestling content. In addition, they produce a lot of exclusive content for their network including 205 Live, NXT and recently the UK title tournament.
If there is a drawback to the WWE Network it is the fact that its content, with the exception of old WCW and NWA content is based completely around the WWE. You’re not going to be seeing a lot of new wrestlers on the WWE network, but it is seemingly a must have for any WWE fan.
A bit of a newcomer to the market, the FloSlam.tv app allows subscribers to stream events from EVOLVE, Shine, Full Impact Pro and WWN Supershow. They claim that subscribers will have access to approximately 60 live events annually. In addition they have access to the WWN libraries dating back to 2003 and are starting to produce exclusive “documentary-style” content which should be debuting soon. In terms of “Classic Content” subscribers have access to events from House of Hardcore, Dragons Gate USA and others. If you like independent wrestling and want to watch a lot of up and coming stars, FloSlam is definitely an option.
Unlike with the WWE Network, FloSlam gives its subscribers access to a lot of new content across a variety of promotions. However, the price may be a bit of an issue for many would-be subscribers. $20 a month or $150/year is a bit steep, but annual members also get access to all of the FloSports network content including FloWrestling, FloGrappling, FloCombat, FloKO and others.
The FITE.tv app is unique on this list, as it is the only app that is completely free. With WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross as their pro wrestling adviser behind the scenes, the FITE.tv app gives its users access to a variety of content from around the globe. ROH, TNA, ICW and Fully Loaded Wrestling are just a few of the companies that regularly have their shows available on the app. Additionally many MMA and boxing promotions also feature in prominent roles on the app. They have a very nice calendar feature that allows you to see when the event will air in your area.
As I mentioned, the FITE.tv app is free, which is true and there is a good deal of content which is available to watch for free. However, much of the content is only available on a pay-per view basis. Not entirely sure if it is cheaper through the app, for example the recent TNA: One Night Only event costs $14.99 and you can watch it as many times as you like in a go day period. They also sometimes offer deals on replays of events so if you can avoid spoilers you can watch it more or less “live”.
I went back and forth about adding this one to the list. In the end I decided to add it because I think that what WCPW is doing is truly very interesting and I’m still not exactly sure how they are making money. So WhatCulture Extra is the $6.99 a month $69.99/year plan that gives you access to all the WCPW content, much of which is free on youtube. Doesn’t sound great, well hold on a second. You also get their pay-per views, which would normally cost extra, for example Delete WCPW cost $14.99 on the FITE.tv app.
For me this is the toughest sell. You’re basically paying for the pay-per views, which you’re getting at a discount, which if you enjoy WCPW is a good deal. They downside is that WCPW is still in its infancy and doesn’t have a back catalog of content to really keep you coming back after you’ve watched the monthly events. If you want to help a company grow and like WCPW maybe it’s worth it for you.
There are many other apps that I could have mentioned, TNA has their own service for viewers in the UK and Ireland, ROH has a VOD service and New Japan Pro Wrestling has a service which allows their pay-per views to be broadcast with English commentary. There is really something for nearly every wrestling fan out there and more and more services are popping up each year. The important thing when choosing is looking at what you get for what you pay and deciding for yourself if its really worth it. But I mean really we used to pay like $40/month for pay-per views so even getting 2-3 services are still cheaper than it was to watch wrestling in the late ’90’s and early 2000’s.
Which streaming services do you use? Let us know in the comments.
Image from http://www.wwe.com