Viewers' Guide to WWE Network Original Programming

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Viewers' Guide to WWE Network Original Programming
Credit: WWE.com

WWE Network's initial draw is its collection of pay-per-views, old and new, but it's the original programming that truly provides it with its massive value.

The 24/7 streaming service offers a glut of viewing options. Fans can dig into countdowns, behind-the-scenes looks at WrestleMania, cartoons and recaps. 

These are the shows that are mostly likely to get overlooked. After all, a fan can go revisit every SummerSlam ever or watch Sting and Ric Flair at the height of their rivalry. 

Pay-per-views, NXT and WWE Superstars, pre- and post-coverage of Raw and SmackDown and full-length documentaries populate the impressively robust WWE Network. The following is a look at everything else it offers, from WWE Countdown to Daniel Bryan's long trek to the mountaintop.

 

WWE Countdown

WWE has been putting together top 10 countdown videos for its YouTube channel for years. WWE Countdown is far more in depth and enjoyable.

The series focuses on a specific topic such as coolest catchphrases, biggest backstabbing incidents or Raw's most memorable moments, ranked according to fan voting.

Rather than just show all of the entries in the top 10 as the YouTube videos do, WWE Countdown breaks them all down. A mix of clips, voice-over narration and talking-head interviews look back at moments and characters.

It's very similar to NFL Top 10 from NFL Network in terms of both pace and format. 

The show either provides a hit of nostalgia or a course in wrestling history depending on how long one has been a fan. Either way, it's hard not to get sucked in.

There are currently seven editions of WWE Countdown on the WWE Network, with new ones being added each week. 

 

WrestleMania Rewind

WWE dissects the biggest matches in WrestleMania history on WrestleMania Rewind.

Interviews, backstage footage and clips of the matches themselves make up the in-depth looks at the main events and grudge matches that made the biggest impact at "The Show of Shows." That includes Andre the Giant vs. Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania III, Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XIV and Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart at WrestleMania X.

The narrowness of the scope of WrestleMania Rewind leads to WWE picking apart these bouts from several angles.

The result is that even the most diehard fans hearing a new perspective or learning some intriguing detail. With just six episodes up on the WWE Network so far, fans can look forward to the series covering a lot more of WrestleMania's past.

When Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar gets its own WrestleMania Rewind, that will most certainly be a must-watch. The story of Angle risking his career and health for the sake of the show is a fascinating one.

 

Slam City

For brief bursts of kid-friendly entertainment, fans can turn to WWE's animated series, Slam City.

The episodes are nuggets of cuteness and ridiculousness. Each one is only about two minutes long.

The basic premise is that all of the WWE Superstars have been fired and have to find new jobs in the fictional city where the show gets its name. Alberto Del Rio works as a barista, John Cena is a mechanic, and Kane works in a school cafeteria, for example.

These wrestlers, as you might expect, are ill-fitted for these new jobs, leading to a number of funny situations.

Slam City doesn't exactly feature cerebral humor, but it's fun. Kids will definitely dig the visual gags, the striking animation and silliness. Their parents may enjoy themselves too.

 

This Week in WWE

Catch up with the major happenings from Raw, SmackDown and elsewhere on This Week in WWE.

The 30-minute show recaps WWE's biggest storylines. The production teams splices together the week's most significant beatdowns, betrayals and triumphs, complete with snappy editing, film effects and background music.

Even the most tepid of squash matches are made to look thrilling in this format.

It's certainly an entertaining way to take in a week's worth of WWE action if you missed it the first time. Fans who religiously follow WWE programming will find little use for the show, unless they want to see what went down in the ring when they went on vacation.

Both Renee Young and Justin Roberts provide narration for the series.

 

Original Specials

This vault is the least stocked so far, but the greatness of Journey to WrestleMania 30: Daniel Bryan suggests that future masterpieces await fans.

The hour-long documentary features backstage footage and interviews as it chronicles Bryan's rise to being a top WWE star. See him chat with Seth Rollins backstage or hear from Brie Bella as she raves about her man. The insider feel makes this more than just a recap.

It has been earning scores of positive reviews.

James Caldwell of PWTorch.com wrote of it, "the overall feature was terrific and professionally-produced. It's a must-watch program."

The only other film in this category right now is Legends of WrestleMania. This is more of an extended countdown-type program discussing WrestleMania's biggest stars, including Hogan, Ultimate Warrior and Michaels.

Should WWE highlight other stars in the same way it did with Bryan, fans will only have increasingly more incentive to sign up for the WWE Network.

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