The Delco Elbow Drop

Friday, January 10, 2014

The WWE Network is coming February 24

“Then. Now. Forever.” is the phrase coined by WWE that precedes almost every televised WWE event and now the company is taking another huge step in the “forever” department. At CES on Wednesday, WWE executives announced the creation of the WWE Network – WWE’s long-rumored project to bring its content to a wider audience.

The WWE Network will launch on February 24 and be available through for $9.99 a month. WWE Network touts some huge incentives for fans to subscribe. Every WWE Pay-Per-View will be offered on the network, in full streaming HD, including Wrestlemania 30. Every program the WWE offers, including pre-shows, will also be available through the WWE Network. Original content will be offered on WWE Network as well as access to full PPV events from not only WWE but also WCW and ECW as well. With a promise to continually add new content to its Video on Demand library, the WWE Network is a dream-come-true for many pro wrestling fans.

After sifting through all the information available on the WWE Network website, I discovered that the WWE Network won’t be available through traditional cable or satellite providers but instead work like other streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu (and be available on most devices as well). But the WWE Network is a bit more ambitious than just offering a streaming video service as it will not only offer each WWE PPV live in HD but will also feature live, original scheduled programming as well as access to thousands of hours of streaming content.

Along with access to PPV content from WWE, WCW and ECW, the WWE Network promises unique content such as The Countdown, Wrestlemania Rewind and Legends House. The Countdown will rely on fan interaction to pick “Best of” winners in categories like chants, entrance or finishing move. Wrestlemania Rewind will showcase some of the biggest, most memorable matches in Wrestlemania history by providing insight from the Superstars who made the moments unforgettable. And on Legends House, eight WWE personalities -  Howard Finkel, Pat Patterson, Roddy Piper, Jimmy Hart, Mean Gene, Jim Duggan, Tony Atlas, and Hillbilly Jim - live in a house together and zany shenanigans ensue (I’m assuming). The WWE Network also promises that there will be a live daily studio show, I would guess something similar to SportsCenter but for WWE.

According to PWInsider, the WWE is hoping for a subscriber base of 1-2 million by the end of 2014 and wants a “steady rate” of 2-3 million eventually. Additionally, the potential downside of the Network is a loss of traditional PPV buys and the possibility that some carriers could drop the company moving forward for placing PPVs on the Network. PWI also noted that the Network would allow for parental restrictions so that edgier content (like a majority of ECW) could be block, if desired.

Overall, the creation of the WWE Network is a bold move for the company but one that I think will ultimately pay off. “WWE Network” was the number one trending phrase on Twitter for almost a full day following the announcement and almost every I’ve seen commenting on it is at least intrigued if not fully prepared to subscribe as soon as possible. Offering each PPV alone would be enough for most people to subscribe but offering ECW and WCW content along with brand new programming makes WWE Network one of the most exciting developments for pro wrestling fans in years.

WWE Network will only be available in the United States come February 24 and that the “WWE Network is scheduled to launch in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Nordics by the end of 2014/early 2015.” Additionally, subscriptions are locked in for the first six months, so forget your plan of signing up, watching Wrestlemania 30 and then cancelling.

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An avid gamer and long-time pro wrestling fan, stay tuned to Grizzly Gaming and the Delco Elbow Drop for game reviews and pro wrestling news.

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