5 Best Wrestling Shows to Watch Before WrestleMania 34

Gargano Ciampa

Wrestling, wrestling everywhere, so why not watch a stream?

You say WrestleMania is too long. I say bollocks to that. With an expected run time of seven hours plus, people are seeing WrestleMania 34 as more of an endurance test than a spectacle to behold. To borrow the immortal words of Ryback, I say “Feed. Me. More.” Let me sit on my throne and be entertained like some Roman emperor, but instead of grapes, let me gorge on the graps.

This is the one weekend of the year where I embrace every aspect of wrestling. These precious next few days are everything I dreamed of as a five year-old watching Junk Yard Dog on my grandma’s back room telly. I want it all, wall-to-wall wrestling, morning, noon and night.

Seven hours is too long? Please. The Hobbits had barely left the Shire after seven hours. Give me a seven hour pre-show. Give me the smug face of Sam Roberts, Booker T screaming about ducks and Renee Young in glorious high definition atop the Superdome. Don’t give me a social media lounge, give me a social media mansion. Give me all the Mountain Dew they can stuff inside their made-for-TV faces. Give me fifteen meaningless battle royals, each with their own strangely phallic trophies.

Give me wrestling.

WrestleMania 34 is such a small part of what’s happening in New Orleans this weekend though. It’s a time for every promotion that wants to make a name for itself to stand on the rooftops and shout it out loud. There’s so much wrestling going on and you can watch it all. Or at least most of it. It’s a time to revel in all of your favourite indie stars and make some new favourites along the way.

The hardest part of it all is knowing where to start. With so much to enjoy, you have to pick and chose your battles, at least which shows you want to see live. The following list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s the best wrestling you can watch live this weekend. I’ve included all of the most anticipated shows of the weekend that you can watch live without any crossovers. It’s all in order of viewing, too. Think of it as the wrestling fan’s version of highlighting all the best movies in the Christmas Radio Times. You’re welcome.

 

1. Game Changer Wrestling presents Matt Riddle’s Bloodsport

Matt Riddle Bloodsport

Thursday 5 April
9pm BST
$9.99 live viewing price, $14.99 with video on demand

What a way to kick off your WrestleMania weekend viewing. The first event of the proceedings could prove to be one of the best. It’s certainly one of the most unusual, with matches ending in knock out or submission only. Oh yeah, and did I mention there are no ring ropes? It’s being billed as more of a fight event than a traditional wrestling show, but the card is stacked with well known names such as Eddie Kingston, Dan Severn and Timothy Thatcher. The main event of the evening features Riddle himself against the one and only Low Ki*.

*Minoru Suzuki has recently stepped in in place of Low Ki on the card.

 

2. Joey Janela’s Spring Break 2

Joey Janela

Friday 6 April
6pm BST
$9.99 live viewing price, $14.99 with video on demand

Joey Janela’s Spring Break was one of the absolute highlights of last year’s WrestleMania weekend. Spring Break 2 promises to be just as exciting and twice as bat shit insane. Featuring James Ellsworth vs. Matt Riddle and Janela vs. The Great Sasuke, it’s sure to be a glorious car crash. If Bloodsport is all about the fight, Spring Break is all about the flash. Expect the unexpected.

 

3. Impact Wrestling vs Lucha Underground

impact
Source: WrestlingInc.com

Saturday 7 April
3am BST
Streaming for free on Impact Wrestling’s Twitch channel

It seems like the days of arguing over Hernandez are behind them. Impact Wrestling and Lucha Underground will team up to promote some amazing match ups. The best part is that it’s all free on Impact Wrestling’s Twitch channel. The main event of Austin Aries and Rey Fenix against Alberto El Patron and Pentagon Jr. is worth staying up for. Add what is sure to be a heated bout between Eddie Edwards and Jeremiah Crane (Sami Callihan), and Impact Wrestling and Lucha Underground should generate a big buzz this WrestleMania weekend.

 

4. Shimmer 100

Shimmer 100

Saturday 7 April
10pm BST
$9.99 live viewing price

The company who championed women’s wrestling before it was cool, Shimmer, turns 100. Some of the best female talents the world over will compete on this historic show. Fans of the Mae Young Classic will be familiar with the likes of Toni Storm and Kimber Lee, but the card is stacked from top to bottom. A great chance to see how women’s wrestling outside of WWE has evolved.

 

5. NXT Takeover: New Orleans

new orleans
Source: WWE

Saturday 7 April/Sunday 8 April
1am BST
$9.99 (as part of the WWE Network monthly subscription)

It’s arguable, and I agree, that the best WWE matches of the last WrestleMania weekend occurred on the NXT TakeOver special. This year’s event has a lot to live up to, but given the matches planned, there’s every possibility the same could happen this year. Almas vs. Black will be a phenomenal main event, but Johnny Gargano vs. Tomasso Ciampa could steal the whole weekend.

As I said, this list doesn’t include everything. One big omission is ROH’s Supercard of Honor (featuring Kenny Omega vs. Cody Rhodes) which clashes with NXT TakeOver. Also not included is the WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony or any of the Evolve events scheduled for the weekend. Oh, and there’s a progress show somewhere in there. And The Crash, Rev Pro, WWN Supershow, CZW, Kaiju Big Battel…

How long is WrestleMania again?

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