Casual wrestling fans don’t have many options when it comes to the mediocre and often lacklustre programming provided by WWE on their flagship shows.
The recent brand split did bring a spur of diversity to proceedings but it still leaves much to be desired, especially when you consider the quality of programming provided by WWE in their prime.
Many casual fans are tired of this decline in quality, and this can be seen in the ratings for both Raw and the newly renamed SmackDown Live, so with that in mind, here are five alternatives to Raw & SmackDown that are the best hope for getting casual fans back into wrestling.
Lucha Underground is the perfect choice for the casual fan looking to get back into wrestling. Why? Because it does not take itself too seriously, blending the heavily fictionalised side of wrestling brilliantly with the athletic in-ring side, choosing to operate more like a TV show than a professional sports programme, with intense storylines and a range of unique characters. The show boasts that rare TV-14 age guideline, and features some faces that WWE fans will find familiar, including Johnny Mundo (formally known as John Morrison), Chavo Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, and former WWE announcer Matt Striker calling the action. In this shows two seasons, it has generated perhaps the most hype of any wrestling show of the decade so far and a is must-see for all wrestling fans, casual or hardcore.
Ring Of Honor
Ring Of Honor is one of the most well-established independent wrestling promotions of all time, and in recent years it was purchased by Sinclair Broadcasting Group, ensuring a guaranteed TV slot for the first time in it’s existence. What makes ROH so important to the casual fan? The string of talent that has passed through over the years. Ring Of Honor is responsible for launching the careers of global superstars like CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens, and Seth Rollins, and they’re always generating more. With exciting, fast-paced matches, and fresh entertaining talent, like world famous tag team competitors The Young Bucks, ROH provides what many believe to be the perfect alternative to Raw and Smackdown.
Thanks to the WWE Network, it’s now possible to enjoy WWE without having to sit through five hours of moderately boring mainstream television content. This, WWE’s treasured third brand is the jewel in the crown on the WWE Network, often praised overwhelmingly as the best thing WWE has done in years, NXT is slowly taking over the sports entertainment world, with even their pay-per-view-style events overshadowing anything produced for the main roster, this promotion really does prove that alternatives to Raw & SmackDown can even be found within WWE itself.
TNA: Impact Wrestling
Known for years as the only real competition to WWE, TNA has had a tremendous fall from grace over the last couple of years, losing TV deals with Spike TV and Destination America, and losing most of it’s home grown talent to WWE and ROH, it seemed as though Impact Wrestling was sentenced to death. But a recent resurgence has given new life to the promotion and it’s churning out entertaining content on a weekly basis, with familiar faces like Bobby Lashley, Drew Galloway (formerly Drew McIntyre), Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins, and Matt & Jeff Hardy who are perhaps at the most entertaining point of their careers. Even somewhat saving the company with their instantly iconic match “The Final Deletion”, which has received praise from wrestling legends across the board, it is hilariously entertaining and is not to be missed. The match assures audiences that Impact Wrestling can still hold up as an alternative to Raw and SmackDown. You can watch “The Final Deletion” by clicking here.
The newest and most unique show on this list, Loaded is brought to you exclusively on YouTube by WhatCulture Pro Wrestling. WhatCulture Pro Wrestling was started, as the name might suggest, by WhatCulture.com and features all the best that British wrestling has to offer, as well as the inclusion of several popular personalities from the WhatCulture Wrestling YouTube channel, which is one of the most popular wrestling channels in the world. Some of their shows even include some special appearances, with the likes of Damien Sandow, Kurt Angle, Cody Rhodes, Eric Bischoff, Jim Ross, and Bret Hart, all appearing, or being scheduled to appear in the near future. Big things are expected from the promotion in the future and they are definitely one to watch, you can check out their channel by clicking here.
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