With the seemingly massive outcry at last week’s Royal Rumble finish, it seems like a lot of people are ready for a break. The immediate #CancelWWENetwork hit with such ferocity that it broke the Network cancellation page, and (maybe) (probably) forced WWE into trying to entice you back with a free month of programming.
While I’ve been in and out of watching WWE on a regular basis for quite a while now, I’ve never been happier to not watch WWE than the Monday night after the Rumble. The #RAWlternative movement had already been born the week before, but the hunger for something different was practically palpable. While Beyond Wrestling re-ran the #Rawlternative stream, other companies finally picked up on the idea that not everyone who sets out to watch wrestling on a Monday night is looking to Watch Raw. SMASH Wrestling from Toronto gave a live viewing of their Challenge Accepted show, most notably featuring Biff Busick and Drew Gulak vs. The Young Bucks. InterSpecies Wrestling gave away their most recent event, Slamtasia V, one of my actual favourite events from last year. The first time I watched this show I was on an overnight bus to Philadelphia, and shoot had to cover my mouth because so much of the show elicited very loud, joyous reactions from me and I was afraid I’d wake people up. The Food Fighters vs. Team Tremendous alone filled my heart with way more happiness than a person should be allowed to feel. Chikara, my truest wrestling love, gave us a three-hour mix tape/love letter, including Claudio Castagnoli and Sara Del Rey vs. Mike Quackenbush and Manami Toyota in one of the best mixed tags I’ve ever seen.
By the time that mix tape hit, I was already pretty emotionally compromised, and seeing four of the best wrestlers showcased in such a strong and empowering way turned me into a pendulum, swinging back and forth between totally cryfaced and downright giddy. In fact, I was downright giddy. People were trading links and free matches, be it New Japan World recommendations or full Inspire Pro shows. Instead of people complaining about what they were watching, my entire twitter feed was excited. People were reminiscing about shows they had been to that others were seeing for the first time. There was such a genuine spirit of community that is so lacking in wrestling sometimes that it was…well, for someone like me, it was beautiful. There’s so much great wrestling, and so many great wrestlers out there to discover and love, and for one night it seemed like everyone was living in the world I try to create for myself. Were it not my actual job, I don’t think I’d ever really want to leave that happy little bubble.
So I guess, really, Raw’s time is up, and my time is now. What about you? Was there a time you fell out of WWE, or wrestling as a whole? Are you just getting back into it? Did you cancel the network, and do you plan on keeping it that way? What did/are you replacing it with? Let us know in the comments below.