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Friday, February 28, 2014

The WWE Network – The first week




 On Monday, February 24, the WWE Network went live and changed the way that many wrestling fans will watch wrestling from now on. The WWE Network offers a staggering amount of content – both in terms of archived Pay-Per-View events from the WWE, WCW and ECW as well as live streaming events and original, scheduled programming. However, with the high demand that has been seen for the service so far, the early days of the WWE Network have not been without issue.

I signed up for the Network the first day it was available and though I was able to access a few ECW PPVs eventually, the service was pretty spotty. When the video would work, it would often become choppy to the point of freezing altogether – and that was if the video even loaded up in the first place.

The following days the service got better and better and I was able to watch whatever shows I wanted, whenever I wanted – I’m guessing peak hours around noon and the evening would cause the Network to become bogged down in the first few days. A really nice feature of the archived PPV events on the WWE Network are the markers on each video track which denote where matches begin and end, allowing you to easily skip to preferred matches. You can also search for shows by names of wrestlers, if watching a whole event is too much for you. You won’t be able to search for Chris Benoit, though the shows he appeared on are still available and uncut.

It was easy enough to sync my account with my PlayStation 4 but I am still (as of writing on Friday, 2/28) not able to access the WWE Network through my Xbox 360. When I put my info in, it insists that it’s incorrect. I’m hoping this gets fixed soon, but it’s less of a pressing issue for me than someone without a device that can access the Network.

Thursday, Feb. 27 held the first event that WWE tried to stream live on the Network – NXT Arrival. The live, two-hour show promised a Women’s title match between Emma and Paige, a grudge match between Sami Zayn and Cesaro and a ladder match for the NXT Title between champion Bo Dallas and challenger Adrian Neville. I planned on watching the event live, as interested to see the matches as I was to see how the Network would hold up while streaming its first live event.

The show started at 8 and I hooked up my PS4 in the living room to watch some ECW before the show started. Around 7:30, the PPV I was watching slowed down until it froze entirely. I decided to play some Battlefield until 8. When I switched back to the show, I was pleasantly surprised to see that not only would Zayn/Cesaro open the show, but the feed was actually holding up pretty well. It wasn’t until the second half of the show that things took a turn.


After a short match between CJ Parker and Mojo Rawley, with the always-hyped Mojo Rawley picking up the win, the NXT tag champs The Ascension put their titles on the line (with new theme music) against Too Cool. The Attitude Era vets put up a good fight but were no match for The Ascension. It was during this match I saw a few hiccups but nothing major.

The Women’s championship match followed and was an outstanding contest – one that put almost any main roster Divas match to shame. Paige picked up with win with a crazy looking submission, the Scorpion Cross Lock but as this match wore on, I started seeing more and more hiccups and freezing in the stream and started to get worried.

The next match was Xavier Woods against Tyler Breeze but I couldn’t watch any of it. By this point, the stream had fallen apart entirely and I (along with a lot of other people it seems) were subjected to a really weird glitch, which is shown in the above YouTube video. Accessing Arrival from the main menu of the WWE Network, the show would boot up and for a few moments, show you what was actually happening. But before long, it would cut to pretty boy Tyler Breeze doing a “duck face” for the camera and then get booted back to the main Network screen. This persisted, making the rest of the show unwatchable, and I’ll have to check out the archived show to see the finishes of Woods/Breeze and the main event ladder match.

Overall, I’ve been very happy with the service of the WWE Network. It certainly hasn’t been perfect but so early in its lifespan, some growing pains are to be expected. NXT Arrival worked a little better than I thought it would and it’s unfortunate I couldn’t see a couple matches live, but knowing I can watch the event whenever I want takes a bit of the sting out. Hopefully the issues with the live streaming of events over the Network will be straightened out by the time Wrestlemania 30 rolls around on April 6.

1 Comments:

Blogger Mary Patric said...

Great article Joe. I love watching RAW and Smack Down. For those who can’t access WWE Network due to geo restriction like me, you can use UnoTelly or similar tools to get it in your country.

August 23, 2014 at 8:45 AM  

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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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