We are in a world where more and more people have cut the cord when it comes to their television. No cable. No satellite. Their viewing is strictly via downloads, Netflix and if they can get it, a few channels off an antenna. Streaming especially has become the way to go for programming.
I have not had cable in six years and I don’t really miss it except for two things: Baseball and Professional Wrestling.
I’ve learned to get my baseball fix via the radio and watching at bars and friends’ places. But wrestling is a little bit harder. For the WWE, in Canada, my only real solution is downloading or illegally streaming as I don’t have any cable connections of any sort to get the WWE Network.
To be fair, WWE hasn’t really held my attention much the last little while. I can watch Ring of Honor on their website about a week later and I can binge the crap out of Lucha Underground a year later on Netflix when the season’s available.
Which leaves me with New Japan Pro Wrestling.
NJPW also happens to have their own streaming service. For twelve bucks a month I can watch every taped event the day of.
But is it worth it?
As you loyal readers are probably aware, I love NJPW. It honestly has some of the best wrestling with the easiest to follow storylines in the world right now. They’ve even made a lot of their major events more accessible by having an English commentary team (Kevin Kelly and former pro wrestler Don Callis aka Cyrus). But am I going to get my money’s worth out of the service.
The answer is, YES!
I now have access to a crap ton of NJPW. Having caught up on the current episodes and PPVs (if you are a fan of pro wrestling in any form, you owe it to yourself to watch Okada/Omega II), I started to dive into the archives.
There’s a lot of good stuff.
I watched a match between Jushin Liger and Ultimo Dragon from the mid 90s. Old material featuring Owen Hart that I had never seen. Some classic Super J Cup matches. It takes a little while to figure out how to navigate the site but once you get the hang of it, there is so much good wrestling, a lot of which I’ve never seen. There’s always a ton of specials and press conferences (press conferences are a big thing in pro wrestling for some reason).
It’s also formats to my Google Chromecast fairly well so I get near HD video of these matches on my big screen where they belong.
That being said, there are a couple of things they could improve on or take a little work.
I’m listing these as Needs Improvement as opposed to Bad because these aren’t bad points about the service. It’s more annoying stuff that can easily be fixed in the future. The first issue is how I have to go about sending the video to my Chromecast. First, I log into the NJPW World website. Then I find my event (makes sense so far right?) and I hit the Chromecast button on the video at which point it launches the NJPW World app which as far as I can tell, it’s only reason to exist is to stream to my Chromecast. Why not just have the button on the site work? Youtube and every other video site can do it like that, why do you have to use an app just for this purpose?
The most minor of issues is the fact that their search bar seems wonky. Direct searches for certain matches don’t seem to always work but vague ones do. Now I say minor because this may just be the case of the translated version of the website (the site is native Japanese but turns to English via a button that activates Google translate) and can easily be worked around.
Beyond that, this is a great service. If you love pro wrestling and want something a little different, it’s definitely worth the twelve bucks a month.
Now if you will excuse me, I have to watch every match Okada has had in New Japan.
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!