By Frank Ram Chief of Content
It's been a long time since there has been such a variety and selection of different wrestling promotions and TV shows that fans can watch and follow. There hasn't been a better time to be a pro wrestling fan since the late 90's. WWE, AEW, NWA, MLW, ROH, New Japan Pro Wrestling, Lucha Libre AAA, CMLL, and more are all available to watch on U.S. TV.
There's so much wrestling to watch, but here are my top five shows to watch on a weekly basis.
Honorable Mention: NXT 2.0
If you keep in mind that NXT 2.0 is going to be a strict developmental territory that just happens to air on national TV, and view it through those eyes, there's a good chance you'll like the show. It's not going be the NXT we've known for all these years, where the likes of Charlotte Flair, Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, and Sasha Banks could be bigger stars than those on the main roster. Instead we are going to have what an old FCW show looked like, just amped up 10X for a national audience. We're only once episode in and I'm optimistic to see where this rebrand is going to go. Just an FYI for all of you, if there was no rebranding and we were dealing with the OG NXT, it's easily No. 2 or 3.
5. AEW Rampage
It's the B-show of All Elite Wrestling, but not really. It's really just a one-hour extension of AEW Dynamite, which is the company's premier show. Every Rampage episode has featured the company's top stars featured in high profile matches and angles. Unlike AEW Dark and AEW Dark Elevation which are clearly less than shows, Rampage is in the same conversation, as far as quality and entertainment value goes, as Dynamite.
4. NWA Powerrr
When it comes to old school wrestling, all wrestling fans think of the NWA. I'm not talking about the 1960's and 70's Wrestling at the Chase show out of St. Louis or the WCW Saturday Night show of Georgia Championship Wrestling and Jim Crockett Promotions. I'm referring to the new NWA Powerrr show, led by NWA owner Billy Corgan, lead singer of the Smashing Pumpkins. While I love the old school studio wrestling style that makes me feel like I'm watching a 1986 episode of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, the detail to storytelling and character development is unmatched. Each promotion I'm talking about have their strengths, and the NWA sits atop the mountain as far as storytelling and character building. It's only available through the FITE app for $4.99 a month, which makes it difficult to watch and find. I can't wait till Corgan can find a solid TV deal and allow the NWA to flourish to its' fullest potential.
3. AEW Dynamite
While NWA does dominate in the character development and storytelling aspect of pro wrestling, if you just want to have a good time and watch a fun wrestling show with a party type vibe, then All Elite Wrestling is your promotion. While you can dissect every episode of Dynamite and find faults with each episode, it's such a blast to watch that their fan base doesn't really care. They have the perfect blend of veterans (CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Christian Cage, Chris Jericho), current stars (Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, The Lucha Bros., Britt Baker), and future stars (Adam Cole, Darby Allin, Adam Page, Jungle Boy). I get the same vibe from AEW Dynamite as I did watching WCW Nitro in 1995, 96, and 97. If I had to sum up AEW in one word, it would be fun. It's as if you're watching a rock concert every week, where all the fans are united and there to have a great time. Does Paul Stanley play the wrong cord occasionally at a Kiss Concert? Of course, but those fans don't care because they're there to party. Does AEW do things every episode of Dynamite that make you scratch your head and make you wonder what they were thinking? Of course, but the AEW fan base doesn't care because they're there to party.
2. MLW Fusion
In the pound-for-pound rankings of wrestling TV shows, MLW Fusion is probably No. 1. The problem is that they have been on a four-month hiatus and the content they have put out during that time has been minimal (the Battle Riot was a lot of fun though). But when MLW is in full swing, there is nothing else like it. The companies ability to build to a super main event is unmatched in 2021. In their last episode of Fusion before they went on hiatus, we saw the rematch between Myron Reed and Lio Rush for the MLW Middleweight Championship. It felt like a UFC style build. Reed vs. Rush 2 felt like Conor McGregor vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov. It had that kind of big fight feel. Court Bauer, owner and booker, did such a great job building up both guys that it was must watch for MLW fans. And did I mention this was for the Middleweight Championship. Not since ECW, where Rob Van Dam elevated the TV Title above the Heavyweight Title, has a non-heavyweight championship meant so much in a company. That is a credit to Bauer and everyone involved in MLW. Not to cut the heavyweight title short, the company is currently building to Jacob Fatu vs. Alexander Hammerstone, another fight I cant wait to see.
1. WWE SmackDown
In the current world of pro wrestling, WWE SmackDown is king. First off, they have national broadcast TV. They're on Fox and they have the most potential viewers each and every week. It's also the most entertaining brand under the WWE umbrella. Everything with Roman Reigns, The Usos, and Paul Heyman has been gold. Adding Brock Lesnar to the mix, making Heyman choose sides, has just added to the fun. SmackDown also has a very entertaining heel Becky Lynch as women's champ, Rey and Dominik Mysterio, Bianca Belair, Seth Rollins, Edge, and many others.
Founder/Chief of Content. Host of Fan Observer Radio and The Great Taco Chase. Torn meniscus survivor. Dodger, Laker, Ram, and Trojan Fan. Runs marathons on the weekends.