Vince McMahon’s vision is now a reality.
On Monday’s Raw, the WWE ran a commercial promoting the launch of the WWE Network, a channel dedicated completely to anything and everything WWE. Though no exact date was given, it will start at some point in 2012.
The idea behind McMahon’s latest project is to have an avenue featuring nothing but WWE programming. We aren’t sure what that means or what will fill up the station for 24 hours a day and seven days a week, but we can assume we’ll see a lot of stuff from the past and just as much from the present.
Basically, it will be a WWE geek’s paradise.
However, since the company hasn’t told us what shows will air on the WWE Network, I decided to predict what we might see—or more specifically, what plenty of us will want to see.
Here are 13 things we’re most looking forward to about the WWE Network.
While exact figures aren’t readily available, I can say with 100 percent confidence that not as many fans are tuning into NXT and WWE Superstars now that they’re both running on WWE.com.
It’s a lot easier for someone to turn on SyFy or WGN and watch wrestling than it is for them to sit in front of a computer for an hour. Despite the fact that it’s 2011, more people have TVs than Internet access; thus, they’re going to be more likely to watch NXT or Superstars when all it takes is a click of the remote to do so.
With the WWE Network launching next year, that might be possible once again.
I’m sure the WWE brass would like to air those two shows on different networks—because it gets the company more exposure and makes the company more money—but I wouldn’t be surprised to see both of them on the WWE Network if they don’t have a home by then.
If the History Channel is airing a documentary on the Civil War, I won’t watch it unless I need something to help me fall asleep.
The WWE’s documentaries are a different story, though.
Whether it’s the new Randy Orton DVD or one highlighting the history of Wrestlemania, the company’s video production staff does a tremendous job putting these documentaries together.
They’re some of the few documentaries that I’ll actually watch, because they find a way to go in-depth on whatever topic they’re covering and do so in an entertaining manner. I’d love it if the WWE would give us access to these documentaries (that are typically released in DVDS format) on the WWE Network.
When the Monday Night war was brewing, I’ll admit that I was originally a WCW guy.
Granted, I was only like eight years old at the time, but I was drawn to the company’s Cruiserweight division, the wonder that was Goldberg and anything involving the NWO or the NWO Wolfpack.
I’m sure there are plenty of wrestling fans who feel the same love for ECW that I do for WCW, too.
And guess what? We’ll now have a place to relive the best moments from both promotions without having to get on YouTube and hope someone illegally uploaded the video.
Sounds good to me.
Given that I was born in 1988, I’m a little rusty when it comes to wrestling history.
I either wasn’t alive or wasn’t old enough to remember some of the greats of the business like Ricky Steamboat, Jimmy Snuka, Bruno Sammartino and so on. Consequently, I really don’t have much of a grasp on what these guys did during their prime.
With the launch of the WWE Network, however, I expect to see a heavy dose of “old school wrestling.” I’m talking about stuff from the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s that is way different from what we see on TV today.
It’ll be fun to compare wrestling from back then to wrestling today and see what I missed out on.
I’m sure Jerry Lawler is salivating.
Among the countless footage in the WWE’s tape library, there’s a boatload of video that focuses on the WWE Divas—not necessarily the wrestling, but the sex appeal of some of the hottest women on the planet.
Something tells me that we’ll see some ridiculously sexy photo shoots on the beach, Bra and Panties matches and Mickie James making out with Trish Stratus.
Well, at least I hope we do.
The WWE has plenty of footage from the past, but the WWE Network likely won’t be successful if the company relies too heavily on stuff that happened 10, 20 or 30 years ago.
That’s why I’d fully expect to see the WWE come out with a number of new shows featuring today's top wrestlers. The sky’s really the limit for what the WWE can produce.
In the age of the Internet, the demand for access to a wrestler’s personal life has never been higher, and “behind the scenes” type shows could really thrive on the WWE Network.
That’s just one idea, though.
Realistically speaking, WWE can come up with so many show ideas that it would take me hours to list them all. You’ve got shows focusing on Divas, on the announcers, on the wrestlers, highlight shows, “pre-game” shows, etc.
Most likely, we'll see the WWE gradually roll out a ton of new programming.
New shows and a likely home for both NXT and Superstars? The WWE’s lower and mid-card workers are breathing a huge sigh of relief.
With the unofficial end of the brand split—I don’t care what anyone says, it’s essentially over—guys like Tyson Kidd, Curt Hawkins and Yoshi Tatsu have probably been freaking out, worried that they might get “future endeavored.”
However, news of the WWE Network’s upcoming launch has probably calmed them down a bit. With the WWE needing 24 hours of programming per day, it’s more likely that the WWE’s forgotten superstars will be remembered again.
If they get left off of Raw and Smackdown, they’ll still get a chance to shine on the WWE’s channel.
We like to complain a lot about what the WWE does wrong, but one thing the company almost always does right is its DVDs.
Aside from the random ones—like the one-sided slant on Ultimate Warrior—the WWE-produced DVDs are well done and enjoyable to watch. My personal favorite is the Ladder Match DVD, which is downright awesome.
Now, the WWE may not air its newer DVDs on the WWE Network (because they want people to buy them), but we should see plenty of older ones on the channel.
Just take your pick as to which DVD you want to see, and you probably will.
The WWE calls itself “sports entertainment,” but if often forgets about that sports part.
With the need for new programming, the WWE should—and likely will—air shows that have more of a “sports feel” to them. This would include “pre-game”-type shows before Raw and Smackdown as well as highlight shows featuring match finishes and post-match interviews.
These types of shows would go a long way toward portraying the WWE as a legitimate sport (even though it obviously isn’t), which is something that Vince McMahon might seriously want to consider.
I don’t know about you, but there’s no way in hell I could afford to buy every WWE pay per view every year.
At 55 bucks a pop and with 13 PPVs per year, that’s a whopping $715 spent on WWE PPVs in a 12-month span. No thanks.
The WWE has to realize that not everyone can afford to buy its PPVs, and if they do, they’ll begin airing them in their entirety at some point after their original airing. I mean, I’m not even asking them to do it right after the PPV occurs, because that would obviously prevent fans from buying them.
I am, however, suggesting that the WWE shows full-length PPVs five or six months after they originally air, when no one’s going to still be buying them.
Also, it would be cool to see retro PPVs from the 1990s and early 2000s on the WWE Network.
Can the WWE Network really thrive if it has a PG rating? I don’t think so.
That would take a ton of editing, and all it would accomplish is taking away from the original moment. For example, let’s say that we’re watching a Hell in a Cell match in which Shawn Michaels gets busted wide open and is bleeding profusely.
Will the WWE really blur that out or take it out altogether? I sure hope not.
Especially when you consider that the WWE Network will cost additional money, it absolutely has to have a TV-14 rating.
If not, it will instantly lose a lot of its original appeal.
Whenever I’m bored, I often find myself searching for random WWE videos on YouTube.
Those days are over.
Much like the NFL Network does with professional football, the WWE Network will feature something professional wrestling-related all day, every day. That’s 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
The true WWE fanatics are probably freaking out right now…in a good way.
I’m a huge fan, too, so it’ll be fun to be able to watch some good old fashioned professional wrestling at 3:00 in the afternoon or before the sun even rises.
You know what I really miss? “Special” WWE Shows like Saturday Night’s Main Event.
They can really be a nice treat for WWE fans who can’t afford to buy PPVs but still want to watch “special” shows that feature a card loaded with matches you wouldn’t normally see.
The WWE has gotten away from these as of late, and I haven’t exactly been thrilled by that. There’s no guarantee that they’ll come back on the WWE Network, but my guess is that they will.
That’s undoubtedly the right move, WWE.
Maybe every three or four months, air something like Saturday Night’s Main Event and see if you can outdraw the company you refuse to acknowledge is actually competition: the UFC.