I’ve been critical of the WWE product for a while because despite the great talent, creatively it’s in a state of recycling with no idea of how to (or maybe no need to) innovate as it once did. For the love of the old gods and the new ones, we have John Cena Vs Randy Orton headlining Royal Rumble this year—did we wake up in 2008?
Today I’m not here to bash; I’m here to praise. WWE has finally managed to get money out of me, and I’m sure thousands, if not millions of other disgruntled, happy, new school, and old school fans as well. Vinny Mac announced that WWE network is finally here (no, for real this time) and it’s not some throw away channel that’s only available on the 79.99 tier of your cable or dish company; it’s actually NETFLIX FOR WRESTLING NERDS.
10 dollars a month (if you sign up for six months—but not due at sign up) gets you all 12 of WWE's live pay-per-view events, yes bitches that includes WrestleMania. In addition to that price of admission deal, you get old school pay-per-view events from WWE, WCW and ECW (hopefully the old ECW not that Bobby Lashley ECW). Plus they are going to have original programming like Monday Night Wars, which goes deep into the week by week battle between Bischoff and Vince during the peak of the business and The Legends House, which we've heard about for years, and revolves around Piper, Hacksaw, and the who’s who of midcard 80’s wrestlers all living under one roof and still arguing over who really put Hulk Hogan over the best.
Did I mention it’s only $10 and like Netflix or Hulu you can watch whatever you want whenever you want to watch it. 4am, you can’t sleep—watch Hogan Vs Warrior from Wrestlemania. Long night of partying and you and your friends come back, arguing over who was the GOAT-- watch Shawn Michaels outlast 29 men to win the Rumble. The only thing that I’m not sure of is if all images of Chris Benoit will be digitally replaced with Hornswoggle.
Right now WWE network will be available on IOS devices, Android devices, Kindle, Roku, of course your PC, and Playstation 3 & 4. Sorry Xbox fans, you can’t say “Xbox play Total Divas” because Xbox One won’t have the network until later in the year. Still with that many options to watch at home and on the go, what wrestling fan wouldn't get it?
I only buy Royal Rumble, and at $60 for one event, this thing pays for itself. Most people just watch Mania, and again, at $70 for the Granddaddy of them all, why not just sign up for the network? I’ve never been happier for WWE, this shows some real ingenuity, and honestly, it is a game changing move in new media. Everyone with cable or satellite bills knows how outdated and wasteful TV is, 100’s of channels and only ten that you really watch. TV should be A-la-carte and hopefully other networks follow suit when they realize they no longer need a middle man. The UFC just started doing a similar deal for $10 but minus the pay-per-view events. WWE network, if it succeeds could be the watershed moment that proves people will pay outside of cable subscriptions for entire networks that they really want to watch.
5 THINGS I WANT TO SEE FROM WWE NETWORK
Semi-Unbias Wrestling News Show
Inside MMA on AXS TV does a great job of covering the UFC and other MMA organizations and UFC's own show on Fox Sports 2 does a good job of covering the UFC without feeling like you're being fed propaganda. I would love to see the WWE bring in some of these YouTube vloggers, not just their own robots, to report on real stories in addition to the "works" they do. I'm not expecting them to cover ROH or TNA cards, but at least make it feel like a real news show, not just another WWE promo to get superstars over.
Option For TV-MA
I understand that the kids keep WWE afloat, but ADULTS will be the ones who can afford to buy this network, so give us an option of maybe a new show that's not PG or access to uncut archives that isn't bleeped and edited for blood and profanity.
Match Commentary From Wrestlers
DVD commentaries are rarely watched except by film geeks, but I think taking the main event matches on Raw or PPV's and creating an alternate audio track the same week is a smart idea to give the diehards some cool behind the scenes insight on the match while it's still fresh.
Scripted Wrestling Shows
Reality shows are fun and cheap, but there has always been a void for shows about wrestling. The movie The Wrestler was great, why not make a similar drama about a washed up superstar? Big Show is funny, instead of doing some stupid comedy that has nothing to do with what wrestling fans care about, why not do a scripted take on someone like him retiring and having to go move back home with his mom, that would be funny and still keep the wrestling theme.
An option to Mute those outdated "What" Chants.