So, is the WWE Network worth $9.99 a month? Three reasons why it is for me.
As a child of the 80’s and early 90’s, I loved wrestling. Everyone had their favorites, mine being the Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase and Andre the Giant. I lived and breathed WWF Superstars of Wrestling. I loved the Hart Foundation, Demolition, Mr. Perfect and the Rockers (among many others). But, like many others, I fell out of love with wrestling as it got even goofier. Everyone needed a day job. There was the Repo Man, IRS (Okay, I kind of liked IRS, but only because he was in a tag time with DiBiase), Diesel and Isaac Yankem, among others, showed up. I stopped watching for several years. I decided I was too old for it. And then, sometime in 1998, I think, a friend told me about Goldberg. I checked him out and, while Goldberg was electric at that time, I kept watching for the cruiserweights. I watched for Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko. I liked Raven and the Flock. I started watching for the matches instead of the stories as I had when I was a kid. Eventually, I went back to the WWF and watched the Rock, Stone Cold, Kurt Angle, Eddie (again) and Jericho (again). I fell out of it again, but – since then – I’ve always kept up even if I’m not watching. I occasionally will check out what’s going on with Ring of Honor. But, generally, I don’t watch Raw or Smackdown. There’s too much filler and, with some exceptions, the matches tend to be too short. So, it was with some interest that, many months ago, I saw the WWE Network. At the time, you had to sign up for 6 months at a rate of $9.99 per month. Being that this was shortly before Wrestlemania 30, I decided to do it. Wrestling pay per views were, when I was a child, the rarest of luxuries. My friends would occasionally get one and I would go over to their house and sit on the living room floor and watch, but I don’t think my parents ever went in for one. They were expensive. Stupid expensive. So, I subscribed for six months and then didn’t sign back up. But then Survivor Series rolled around, and I decided to give it a go. I mean, there was no committment any more, and I would probably get $10 of enjoyment out of the PPV alone. Still, the monthly pay per views are, for me, hit and miss (Survivor Series, by the way, I thought was quite good). Still, for me, there are reasons why I will stay subscribed. Here are three of them:
1. NXT is probably my favorite promotion in the world right now. The Triple H run minor league for the WWE is great. I mean that: Great. The stories are akin to the late 80’s: Two people don’t like each other and decide to settle their feud with cartoonish violence and incredible choreography. It wouldn’t work except that the talent is tremendous. Sami Zayn is incredible. I am not the biggest Adrian Neville fan in the world, but his aerial stuff is incredible (I’m glad he’s getting to progress on the mic in relative obscrurity in NXT, though). Enzo and Big Cass are incredibly entertaining. Kevin Owens (Steen) is coming. Hideo Itami and Finn Balor are both extremely well regarded workers. Tyson Kidd is doing some next level heel work, as is Tyler Breeze. Okay, for those that I’ve listed you get a Bull Dempsey or a Mojo Rawley, but it is way more hits than misses. Plus, it’s a minor league, so even the ones that aren’t working might get retooled and turn into something special. Who knows? In any case, there’s some great work going on in NXT, and its weekly show alone is worth the price of admission for me.
2. The legacy content is tremendous. Even if I don’t sit down and watch all of, say, Wrestlemania X, I can go watch Shawn Michaels versus Razor Ramon. I can find matches that I missed during the years that I wasn’t watching or before I was watching. I can go watch old WCW matches from back when I didn’t have access to WCW, or ECW stuff that I never got to see. While I am sure those more hardcore than me will point out things that it is missing, the Network offers a pretty incredible amount of old content on the Network. For those that rely on the stories to pull them through, it may be a miss, but for fans of the in-ring stuff, it’s a lot to go through.
3. You can skip the boring stuff. Seriously, I find it much easier to sit through a pay per view if I can skip a bad match or one that I don’t like. Generally, I also can’t watch a whole PPV in one sitting, which means that I watch it over the course of a day (or days). Being able to skip bad promos or bad matches is a lifesaver for that stuff and I wouldn’t want to watch without it.
So, there you go. I’ve actually really enjoyed the WWE Network. Of course, it’s in a tough boat when you compare it to the content offered by – say – Netflix, but for those that enjoy wrestling – like – a lot, it has a lot going for it. It is a much more attractive option now that the commitment is gone, too. Six months is a steep barrier, but $9.99 to watch a particularly promising PPV and then check other stuff out for the remainder of the month might draw some people in. If you’re into wrestling at all, I’d be curious to hear if you’ve checked out the Network and what your thoughts are. There are definitely some features I’d like to see added (I read that bookmarking, probably my biggest want, may be available, but I don’t see it on PC right now) but, overall, I’ve enjoyed the experience.