The WWE Network launch is set to be celebrated with star power aplenty.
A number of Hall of Famers will join today's Superstars in welcoming the Network and will be featured on it the night before WrestleMania XXX. Stars of the past will also have their most gruesome battles displayed.
The latest word surrounding the WWE Network centers around the completeness of its video library and the name power of those ushering the Network in.
WWE clearly plans for the launch to be big. Some of the company's most renowned names, past and present, will be a part of the Feb. 24 Raw that marks the WWE Network's official start.
Hulk Hogan is BACK, brother! Hogan has been booked for the 2/24 RAW in Green Bay! Hogan, Taker, & WWE Network launch date! (via PWInsider)— WrestleChat.net (@WrestleChatNet) February 10, 2014
The same report also mentions that fans can expect to see Undertaker make his annual return. His rumored WrestleMania XXX opponent, Brock Lesnar, is slated for that Raw as well.
The night would already be bursting with megastars at that point, but there is reason to speculate that another Hall of Famer will join those men. Shawn Michaels is scheduled to appear at a World of Wheels show in Milwaukee, Wisc., the weekend before the launch.
That's mighty close to Green Bay, which will host the Feb. 24 Raw.
Hall of Fame Ceremony
There is more great news about the WWE Network. Triple H announced in his weekly interview with Michael Cole that the 2014 Hall of Fame ceremony will air on the Network.
In previous years, one had to either attend the event live or watch a heavily edited version on cable.
Now every word of Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Ultimate Warrior and Lita's acceptance speeches will be a part of the insane value that is the $9.99 subscription fee.
Many a casual fan will find little interest in wrestlers in tuxes getting teary-eyed, but fans who grew up watching Warrior and Roberts will relish the chance to see them accept the honor of induction. Warrior's unpredictability alone makes this worth watching.
There is no word yet on whether this will be a yearly tradition or if it's just a one-time incentive to get fans hooked. As a bonus, WWE will get to essentially run a live test of the Network before WrestleMania XXX.
One of the biggest questions fans had early on about the WWE Network was whether its archives would be heavily edited.
WWE has decided to include some controversial items, including the show where Owen Hart died. The company told KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, Pa., "WWE Network will be airing the 1999 Over The Edge pay-per-view. However, portions of the event will be edited out of respect for Owen Hart."
Stephanie McMahon also discussed with the Pittsburgh CBS affiliate how tough a decision that was. She said, "At the end of the day, we try to do what’s right for our fans and we try to give them exactly what they want to see."
For fans pining for WWE's more violent past, that is exactly the right answer. WWE will forge ahead with more family-friendly programming in the present, but honor and acknowledge what the product used to be.
To emphasize that point, WWE.com listed 10 matches which are too bloody or violent to air on the website but will be available on the WWE Network.
- Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho-The Great American Bash 2008
- Mankind vs. The Rock-Royal Rumble 1999
- John Cena vs. John "Bradshaw" Layfield-Judgment Day 2005
- Big Show, Vince McMahon and Shane McMahon vs. D-Generation X-Unforgiven 2006
- Randy Orton vs. Cactus Jack-Backlash 2004
- Stephanie McMahon vs. Trish Stratus-No Way Out 2001
- Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar-No Mercy 2002
- Ric Flair vs. Vince McMahon-Royal Rumble 2002
- Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin-WrestleMania 13
- Batista vs. Triple H-Vengeance 2005
This list boasts a number of classic bouts that will be among many fans' first choices when loading up the Network for the first time. Orton's brutal struggle against Cactus Jack in 2004 and Lesnar and Undertaker's Hell in a Cell masterpiece are both must-watch matches for those who have yet to see them.
Blood and barb wire await those hungry for such things.
Legends will usher in the WWE Network's dawning and make up its content, a collection of memories that WWE has seemingly chosen to leave unchanged.