As December winds on, Christmas grows ever closer, and the time to get in your last minute shopping is rapidly coming to a close. World Wrestling Entertainment might have exhibited a tenuous understanding of holiday cheer over the years, but that doesn’t means fans of sports entertainment are averse to their passion mixing with Old Saint Nick entirely. Chances are, if you have a grappling enthusiast in your life, there’s something wrestling related they might want for Christmas, Hanukah, or whatever other holiday they celebrate this time of year, and it might just be your duty as their friend to purchase it for them.
Much like with any gift, most of the items on our list don’t have a whole lot to do with Christmas, and are just things wrestling fans would want year round. Some of them aren’t exactly things you’ll be able to give, either, as often the things WWE viewers want most is for the company to start making more sense and giving them what they want to see. While you probably won’t be in the unique position to do that, hopefully our ideas will at least create some creativity as you attempt to give them the closest thing possible from a person who isn’t Vince McMahon.
Even amongst fans, not everything is universal, so you might want to check with your friends about what kind of wrestling they like before you buy them anything on our list. However, if all you’re looking for is a basic idea of something fans of pro wrestling might want inside their stockings, we hope this will provide you with a decent starting place. Keep reading to discover 15 gifts every wrestling fan has on their Christmas list.
15. Wrestling Books
Not enough people read books these days, and an unfortunate misconception would imply pro wrestling fans might not read anything at all. This certainly isn’t true, especially considering the vast number of pro wrestling related tomes that have been written over the past few decades. Autobiographies are the biggest trend in wrestling writing, but there are also countless opinion based books about the industry, not to mention fictional stories and comic books. Quite recently, in November of 2016, WWE launched their latest serialized comic attempt with a series called Then. Now. Forever, and a new comic book is a relatively cheap way to give WWE fans a new way to express their enjoyment of the sport the love. Or, you could go with one of the many classic wrestling autobiographies by names like Mick Foley, The Rock, or Edge. If you want to go more obscure, Gary Hart’s legendarily hard to find My Life In Pro Wrestling is the sort of gift only a wrestling super fan would love, but we assure you a real fan would appreciate it more than almost anything else on the list.
14. Wrestle Crate
For the techies amongst us who love jumping on every virtual trend app-producing geniuses can contrive, look no further than the monthly subscription service Wrestle Crate. Based on (and honestly almost identical to) the more mainstream Loot Crate, Wrestle Crate sends a box of old school wrestling memorabilia directly to fan’s homes once a month. Generally speaking, the boxes contain classic toys and t-shirts, though it wouldn’t be out of place to find just about anything tangible on our list inside one of them. The company also creates original t-shirts, with apparel such a big part of the deal that you’ll need to know the clothing size of anyone you give this gift to. Should the person you’re buying a gift for be a big enough fan, or if you just want to drop the big bucks on them, you can upgrade from the Standard Crate to the Ultimate Crate, doubling the wrestling goodies delivered to your door every month.
13. A Meaningful NXT Call Up
Moving on to some of our less tangible ideas, honestly speaking, there’s few things that could bring a wrestling fan more joy than their favorite NXT superstar getting called up to the main WWE roster. Just about anybody could serve to shake things up, whether they happen to be a top name like Samoa Joe, Shinsuke Nakamura, or Asuka, or a newer standout with indie cred like Oney Lorcan or Nikki Cross. It might be unrealistic to expect WWE to give fans this present before December 25th, but this one would be just as sweet a few weeks or even a month late, especially if it comes at the Royal Rumble. A quick debut would pop fan interest whenever it happened, though, adding energy to the show during a season where people traditionally don’t pay much focus to pro wrestling. Of course, this is one of the few presents that could turn into a nightmare if WWE doesn’t handle it properly, so maybe we don’t want the company to give it to us after all.
12. WWE 2K17
It should be a no-brainer that the best gift for the wrestling fan/gamer in your life would be the latest video game offering from World Wrestling Entertainment. While the smaller wrestling promotions make games, too, none hold a candle to the long running relationship between WWE and Yuke’s, starting back in 2002 with SmackDown: Shut Your Mouth. The 2K series started with 2K14, and has only improved with each passing release. WWE 2K17 was released in early October as is usually the case with the series, so there’s a chance anyone who wanted to play it particularly badly already bought it. In that case, more classic gamers might prefer you go retro, in which case you might want to look for one of the actual SmackDown games, or even No Mercy or Pro Wrestling on the NES if you seriously feel like going old school. Honestly, at least amongst recent years, there hasn’t been much variation to the wrestling game format, so the best course of action might just be to pick the game with the best roster.
11. NJPW World
New Japan Pro Wrestling has often been equated to a Japanese equivalent to WWE, and though that may be a slight exaggeration, the company is indeed the most popular and successful in Japan. Similar to WWE, NJPW has recently created their own online streaming service, called NJPW World. The service costs 999 yen per month, which looks like a lot, but is actually only about $8.90, a full dollar cheaper than the WWE Network. Hurting NJPW World somewhat, at least to American fans, is that the site connected to it is entirely in Japanese. However, the actual videos themselves do often include English commentary from well known names like Jim Ross and Kevin Kelly, so you have no reason to worry your friends will stay lost if you somehow navigate through and actually purchase the service. It’ll almost definitely be worth the trouble, as NJPW mainstays like Kazuchika Okada, Kenny Omega, and the remaining members of Bullet Club will no doubt continue revolutionizing the business for years to come.
10. Seats In The Temple
Since it debuted in October of 2013, Lucha Underground has presented an entirely unique and innovative wrestling product unlike anything the average American fan has ever seen. Based on kayfabe owner Dario Cueto’s thirst for violence and inspired by the traditions of lucha libre, LU is a highly stylized program that often feels more like a traditional scripted TV show than a pro wrestling show, all the while featuring new and exciting high caliber matches each week. The downside of the style is that they don’t tape episodes often, and when they do, not many people can fit in The Temple, where LU has primarily been filmed. In fact, it would actually be impossible to give even the biggest wrestling fan alive tickets to Lucha Underground in 2016, because no tapings are currently scheduled, nor will they be until/unless a fourth season is announced. Regardless, with the critical reception as high as it has been, there’s a good chance season four will indeed happen soon enough, and you’ll need to keep an eye open to give fans a ticket in the future if you think they have similar thirsts to Cueto.
9. A Ride On The WWE Corporate Jet
This one still needs to sit in the planning stages, because as of 2016 it isn’t possible. However, the idea has been floated as possible in the very near future, so it might already be time to start thinking about buying yourself or your friends a trip on the WWE corporate jet. Outside of the novelty of flying in an aircraft emblazoned with the WWE logo, there’s also the fact Vince McMahon is constantly riding around the country in the jet, along with his friends, family, and advisors like Stephanie McMahon, Triple H, and executive producer Kevin Dunn. WWE purchased their newest corporate jet in 2013, updating from a 20-year old Canadair Challenger to a 2007 Bombardier Global 5000. Though that might not mean much to the layman, the important part is the company also hinted at plans to make the jet available to fans for private charter. Even in the planning stages, the perks of such a flight are so obvious any fan would be dying for the chance to ride on it, and given how expensive the idea sounds you’ll probably have to start saving already if you want to jump onboard as soon as it’s possible to do so.
8. A Tour Of The WWE Performance Center
After years of relying on developmental territories and outright stealing talent from competition, the official training ground for World Wrestling Entertainment has been the WWE Performance Center. Located in Orlando, Florida, the highly specialized gym/wrestling school offers training in sports science, sports medicine, and most of all, professional wrestling. Former WWE superstars like Matt Bloom, Norman Smiley, Mickie James, and the late Dusty Rhodes make up the Center’s regular employees, fine-tuning the superstars of the future with constant and yet indispensible advice. The WWE Performance Center is generally closed to the public, and only a handful of tours have ever been offered, for pretty hefty prices in the neighborhood of $1,500. This exclusivity only serves to make a Performance Center tour an even greater gift, albeit a difficult one to give without making sure all the right scheduling is in order. Practically speaking, for wrestling fans visiting Orlando, it might be easier just to check out a small NXT show, especially because NXT superstars are the ones most likely to be at the Performance Center in the first place.
7. Their Name On The List
Chris Jericho might treat it like a bad thing, but just about everyone in the WWE Universe recognizes what an honor it would be to find their name on The List. First of all, most wrestling fans would already appreciate a copy of Jericho’s original list, the write-up of 1,001 submission moves he knows, most of which were arm bars. More recently, Jericho has compiled a new list, denoting those who wronged him as though he were a bitter Richard Nixon naming his enemies. The fastest route to a spot on the list is refusing to watch It, whatever It is. For an express trip straight to the top of the List, try being a stupid idiot. From almost anyone else, such designation would feel like a horrible lump of coal falling in their stocking. Out of Chris Jericho’s mouth, however, insults like this can be worn as the badge of courage they are, and any fan of his legacy would be happy to see him mock them in written fashion.
6. Total Nonstop Action
Formed in May of 2002 as NWA: Total Nonstop Action, the company we know today as TNA has been experiencing dire financial straits for more than a full year now. Every few months it seems like the company is on the brink of going out of business, waiting for a new buyer to swoop in and either turn things around at long last, or put it out of its misery once and for all. The latest taping schedule has wrapped up and the future of TNA is entirely up in the air once again as of this writing, so if you happen to have a couple million dollars lying around, Total Nonstop Action might be the best gift you could ever give a wrestling fan. Dixie Carter probably won’t want to give up control of her baby altogether, but Billy Corgan recently proved that you can at least give it a go without taking too much of a loss. Even if you do lose on the endeavor, hey, you got a wrestling company for Christmas! That’s a one of a kind gift if there ever was one.
5. Replica Championship Belts
Contrary to the way the company presents itself, most WWE fans reading this list are probably a little too old to picture themselves actually going to a store and buying a replica championship belt. Truth be told, though, there’s no such age as “too old” for a wrestling fan to put down the blinds, turn up their favorite theme song, and cut a promo in front of the mirror while pretending you’re the champion of the world. The best thing about replica championship belts is that toy companies never quite seem to stop making them, so if for some reason you don’t want to be WWE Universal Champion, a late-period run as the AWA World Champion or ECW TV Champion isn’t out of the question. You might have trouble if the wrestling fan in your life wants to be NWA Western States Heritage Champion, but just about anything else is a possibility. Championship belt replicas also come in various forms, so you could easily find a plastic facsimile for cheap. Real fans might prefer you churn out the big bucks and get the real diamond encrusted metal, but that tends to be a bit harder to come by.
4. Their Favorite Wrestler’s T-Shirt
Vince McMahon made billions of dollars on professional wrestling, and he didn’t do it by selling intangible concepts or toy titles. McMahon and other sports entertainment impresarios by and large butter their bread with pro wrestling merchandises, most ubiquitously the t-shirts and apparel worn by the WWE superstars. Regardless of where they work, practically every sports entertainer ever to don a pair of tights has created at least one t-shirt to promote their work. Although there’s an unfortunate reality behind some wrestling t-shirts not being quite as cool as the wrestler they represent, fans of the athletes will nevertheless be happy to help advertise the sport and performers they most love. Luckily, chances are that if a wrestler is good enough to be anyone’s favorite they have a fairly long career, meaning a handful of t-shirts to choose from, some of which will hopefully be less embarrassing and more relevant than the others. If all else fails, you can’t go wrong with a classic, like Austin 3:16 or an old school nWo logo.
3. WWE Network Subscription
We already covered the NJPW subscription service NJPW World, and there’s also NWA On Demand (formerly NWA Classics), but the real peak of online streaming sports entertainment is unsurprisingly the WWE Network. Containing almost every Pay-Per-View ever produced by WWE, WCW, and ECW, plus thousands of hours of television content, the WWE Network is the one stop shop for everything under Vince McMahon’s empire. The Network isn’t perfect, but it’s impossible to imagine a wrestling fan who can’t find something they like on it, whether it’s the wide backlog of Raw, SmackDown, and even Nitro, or they prefer the more original content including out-of-character reality shows and dozens of standalone interviews. The Network is also home to forgotten old school content like the first several WWE Hall of Fame ceremonies, plus an entire section of “Hidden Gems” assumed to have been lost even to the most die hard fans alive. It’s hard to think of a better gift for a wrestling fan than almost the entirety of wrestling history, although if you happen to have an in and know how to negotiate, there’s one gift fans might think of as better than the Network itself…
2. New/More WWE Network Content
As great as the WWE Network is for wrestling fans, we just mentioned the fact it isn’t perfect for a reason. The WWE Network doesn’t just have holes in it, it has craters bigger than the moon’s. It might have every episode of Raw and Nitro, plus most SmackDowns, Pay-Per-Views, and a smattering of extras, but old school fans have been dying for even more of those obscure extras since day one. More glaring an absence than just a few rarities, the Network is completely lacking in classic shows like Superstars of Wrestling, WCW Thunder, Sunday Night Heat, pre-Raw shows like All-American Wrestling or Championship Wrestling, and hundreds if not thousands of hours of episodic television produced by companies like the NWA, AWA, and Smokey Mountain Wrestling, amongst others. Next to making your favorite wrestler the WWE Champion, it could be hard to picture a better Christmas gift from the company to Network subscribers than an expanded holiday package. It will probably years before the entire history of wrestling is available online, but there’s no better time to start sharing more with the fans than the holidays.
1. Tickets To WrestleMania
It might be hard to get some of the other items on this list (not to mention the outright impossible ones), so we’ll finish off our list with what seems to be the yearly holy grail of wrestling related gifts, tickets to the Granddaddy of Them All, WrestleMania. The 33rd annual version of the event comes our way April 2nd live from Orlando, Florida, the same location as WrestleMania XXIV. Despite the fact none of the card has been announced, the spectacle of WrestleMania often sells itself, and indeed most sports entertainment fans would be happy to attend even before knowing who will wrestle at the event. Tickets went on sale in November of 2016, but as far as we’re aware, they’re still available from as low as $40 if you want the really cheap seats to over $10,000 if you want to sit up close—or give somebody an especially expensive present.