26th Jan2014

WWE Network: Taking a look

by Chris Cummings

WWE-Network

Over the course of the last couple of weeks the wrestling world has been buzzing over the news that WWE will be launching their on-demand streaming network at the end of February, this year (2014). The idea of a network has been rumoured for a while but nobody knew the details until WWE provided them, in detail, a couple of weeks ago at a press conference featuring the McMahon family and an array of big WWE names.

The service will launch on February 24th 2014 and will, like Netflix streaming, feature on demand content galore, but will also feature live shows on a weekly schedule as well as all twelve annual WWE pay per view events, all in glorious HD. The fact that all the PPV’s are included is the biggest surprise here, considering that buying each show separately would cost more than a monthly payment for the network will. Oh yeah, the price, the network will launch with a price-tag of $9.99 a month, with a six month minimum subscription.

The on-demand section of the network is what interests me the most here, with WWE advertising that the network will launch with every single WWE, WCW and ECW pay per view available, whenever you want it. That is massive news for wrestling fans, but the addition of various television shows like RAW and SmackDown (as well as replays of the current shows) and content from the vast library of other promotions that WWE owns the right to has endless potential. WWE have said that the initial content will be only a fraction of what will eventually become available over time with the gigantic amount of content they have to add over the coming months and years. The DVD releases such as biographical presentations of guys like CM Punk and Steve Austin will also be available here.

The live schedule has a chance to be very interesting too. WWE are working on exclusive content for the network, including a countdown show called, erm, WWE Countdown, where lists of various wrestling-related topics will be reeled off., Legend’s House, a reality show featuring wrestling legends like Jim Duggan, Roddy Piper and Jimmy Hart. WrestleMania Rewind, a show that will look into current WWE superstars’ favourite WrestleMania moments. A show looking back at the Monday Night War between WWE and WCW, and more, will be on there. There will also be weekly RAW, SmackDown, Superstars, Main Event and NXT shows to watch, plus WWE have revealed that more exclusive shows will be added over time, including a weekly WWE panel show.

The potential of the WWE Network is immense, with the library of wrestling history in the vaults of WWE just waiting to be explored and shared with the millions of wrestling fans worldwide. Oh yeah, worldwide, that brings me to this part. The network will only actually launch in North America on February 24th, with other countries having to wait, possibly until the end of 2014 or early 2015, before we can subscribe and enjoy the WWE Network. This, to me, seems very unusual and also very stupid. The hype that the network will be getting prior to its launch will be massive and the initial buzz will be too. WWE are missing out on a lot of potential customers by not launching worldwide on the same date. Some people might have gone off the idea of subscribing to the network by the time their country has the opportunity to. Millions of customers exist outside of North America and it is ignorant of WWE to not make sure that everyone can receive the product before offering it to its “fans”.

Still, that is the only problem I have with this whole thing, because the concept of the network and the details, on paper, sound wonderful, not to mention the price, which is around £6 a month in the UK, is a bargain.

I am excited for the day that the UK (and everywhere else for that matter) gets to sign up to the WWE Network and enjoy the content. Have the urge to watch Ric Flair against Randy Savage from WrestleMania 8? CLICK, done. Have the urge to watch The Kat take her top off after a swimming pool bikini match from Armageddon 2000? CLICK, done. Have the urge to watch John Cena take on Johnny Ace…wait… of course you don’t, ignore that.

There will no doubt be plenty more details revealed about the product over the coming months, and some video reviews probably out there after its February launch, so stay tuned and try to remain interested over the next year while we wait for the chance to sign up.

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