I’ll just say this, showing a Non/New fan some of the all time great matches right away without any other smaller matches first can have the adverse effect and skew their prospective/expectations for not just that promotion but all of pro wrestling.
I’d suggest some NXT matches first so they can get a basic understanding of the product and ask any questions they may have, “Why is that guy in a strippie shirt”, “why is that man booed”, “Why is throwing him into the stairs alowed and hitting with the chair not”…yes their all questions I had to answer for my then girlfriend while trying to watch a PPV live, as she had never seen pro wrestling before.
The thing about inviting new people into wrestling is that wrestling is pretty fun when you’re ready to watch it. If you have any interest at all, you can totally just kinda, y’know, dive in. Maybe you need a couple of things explained but generally speaking you’re gonna watch something new and novel no matter what. Non-fans are a little more difficult, but generally I find that to be a lost cause - they’re not just gonna get into it because they saw a couple of good matches. Just watch a couple of RAW/SmackDown’s with em and answer their questions and let them figure stuff out on their own.
I think the most important thing is to not gatekeep. My partner really liked Enzo when we first started watching, despite him being at best a third-rate Road Dogg ripoff who was at best a third-rate wrestler in his own right. But whatever, doesn’t matter. She enjoyed a dude and it was important to not try to foster elitism about it. Which is why it’s also important to not show them a curated list of your favourite shit - because you have different contexts for your favourite shit and you ALSO have the complete context for all your favourite shit. New fans, especially of the WWE which heavily leans on reminding you of what it did in years past, will build their own context and find their own vibe, and YouTube and the internet exist so if they’re that interested, they will expound on their own and figure out what interests them. You can, by all means, suggest stuff, tell them about big shows and stuff you’re into because that’s part of the wrestling experience, but you absolutely have to let them be their own fans with their own thoughts.
Kota vs Nakamura (WK 8). Bate vs Dunne (NXT Takeover), Kushida vs Ospreay (BOSJ 2017), Styles vs Nakamura vs Joe (Unbreakable 05) and if they are a MMA fan, Shibata vs Nakajima (Big Mouth Loud-Illusion 4) if not then Misawa vs Kawada (AJPW-June 94)
I feel like the majority of people who are late comer wrestling fans would typically have more interest in the sport aspect of it rather than the story and promos. Plus matches need to speak for themselves, so devoid of match build alot of these WWE matches will come off very flat. Where as alot of the focus of puroresu is storytelling in the match itself.
Absolutely. Don’t be an elitist and don’t harp on about ‘5 stars’ and ‘work rate’. If they like Roman (to be honest, who wouldn’t?) and you hate him, support that fandom and have fun with it.
I got my partner into wrestling by taking her to indie shows. She loves the atmosphere, the live physicality and the characters. She feels like she is part of something and loves seeing the guys she’s supported go on to bigger things.
However, she won’t sit down to watch it on TV. If I load up the WWE Network or hook up the Powerbomb TV app she’ll sigh and put in her headphones or go to another room. She says it’s just not the same on the TV and she finds it extremely irritating. I’ll show her Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate (two of her faves) tearing it up at Takeover and she’ll be over the moon for their success but has no interest in watching. She’s coming along to the Fight Club: Pro show on Friday and her exact words when I invited her along were, “Sure, it will be good to blow off some steam”.
Non-fans will find different things to enjoy about wrestling, wildly different to what you enjoy about it. It’s best to just to embrace this and go with the flow.
Also, show them Samoa Joe vs Necro Butcher. Always show them Samoa Joe vs Necro Butcher.
If the criteria is both new/non fans AND fans for years who may not have seen certain matches, I’d say
Jericho vs Omega
Bate vs Dunne
The Final Deletion
A question about your podcast… how do you plan to get your podcast out there? I really like the idea, but wrestling podcasts in themselves are usually for die hard fans who have probably seen 95% of the matches that have been suggested so far.
If the goal is for hardcores to listen and get ideas on what to show their friends/partners to get them interested in wrestling, let me know because Ive had to do this once every 2-3 years for basically my entire adult life
There’s also a show called How2Wrestling (hosted by Kevin Mahon of the AE Podcast and Cinema Swirl) which is a very similar concept with him explaining wrestling to his partner, who has recently started watching. The episodes are each dedicated to a specific subject like ‘How2Nakamura’, ‘How2Commentary’ and ‘How2WrestleMania’. Highly recommended.
New Fans: Will Ospreay vs Richochet BOSJ group match from 2016 (the one that made Vader mad) // Marty Scurll vs Will Ospreay, RevPro High Stakes 2016
Non-Fans: Shibata vs Ishii, NJPW G1 Climax 23 - Day 4
Fans for Years: Chris Hero vs Bid Daddy Walter from PROGRESS Super Strong Style 16, 2016, Day 2 // Travis Banks vs Tyler Bate, PROGRESS Chapter 49: Super Strong Style 16 Tournament Edition 2017 - Day 3