Hey everyone, this is Stephen Wago, a co-host of Smack Talk and the MPR Post RAW show. In my first column for Smark Out Moment I'm going to be giving you my thoughts on the current state of the WWE Network. Breaking it down in to the good, the bad and the ugly.
NXT ArRIVAL was a huge a success in my eyes, the debut of the developmental show on a live format was the best wrestling show this week. It brought me back to the days of watching of NWA-TNA and ROH back when they were in their glory. The production values were a step below what I'm use to on a WWE broadcast, yet at the same time with the way they lit Full Sail University and shot it just felt right. The highlights of the show included a fantastic opener with Cesaro and Sami Zayn, and an awesome Ladder match for the main event. This was my introduction to the NXT product, and I'll be continuing to watch.
I'm more than satisfied with the quality of old WWF, WCW and ECW PPV's. Whilst a few shows could be better, it's amazing watching some of these old shows from the 80's in next to near crystal clear quality. I recommend you pick up an old favourite and see what the WWE Networks done with it. In addition most of the shows have not been butchered with editing. Numerous PPV’s still have old soundtracks like Wrestlemania 17. Plus the old WWF scratch logo has not been blurred like on previous WWE DVD releases. If you're a fan of nostalgia and want to catch up on some old favorites, try it out!
The one week trial, there isn't much I can say about that other than when you think it's the right time to cash it in, give the service a look and try it out. Most services give you a trial, and luckily so does the WWE Network.
Whilst the WWE Network has all these great PPV's in the library, I feel they greatly missed the boat on a few simple things that I would of improved the series in leaps and bounds. First off being a chapter select on all devices, really most PPV's have some abysmal matches or at least something you'd rather skip past. Instead of being able to simply have a drop down menu and pick what you're want. You're left to fast forward through an annoying and sometimes buggy system to get what you want. This is something I hope is implemented and expanded upon in the near future.
The Apple TV application for the network kinda blows to be honest, I've had it crash and fail on several occasions. For example, long pauses before playing a video and simply freezing for periods of time. Unfortunately it's the only device I have that has a working app for me to watch the WWE Network on my TV. However with all that I say it has a boatload potential.
Your six-month stay, whilst not a deal breaker for most, it is someone irritating. With services like Hulu and Netflix you pay 7.99 and get to cancel your payment any month with out issue. The WWE Network has it so that whilst it might be 9.99 each month, you're still left in a 6 month commitment so opting out if you're dissatisfied is going to have a wait a while.
I'd like to give you my views on the WWE Network on the PS4 and the XBOX 360, but I can't. They both downloaded relatively quickly, however logging on to them has never been successful. If you even try to type in your PS4 login information, it exits out the typing window. For the XBOX 360 it'll insist your login information is wrong. Whilst the WWE Network and both Sony and XBOX say they're working on the issues, we don't hear much more than just that. No timeframe, no mention of what the issue is. With this being many peoples plans (myself included) to watch the WWE network, it seems that we won't be able to for the near future.
With the WWE Network failing to even handle the amount of people signing up initially and with all the bugs getting the service to even work on promised devices. I worry for the future of Wrestlemania 30, they've seemed to have no issue streaming stuff like pre and post shows, and no issues streaming NXT ArRIVAL. However when everyone floods the WWE Network so they can watch the biggest drawing event of the year, will it work? WWE has instilled little to no confidence in me that'll go off with out an issue.
The WWE Network promised everything and more, and for the most part they have not delivered with that. Don't get me wrong I found myself watching old PPV's and being impressed with their improved quality. At the same time that's pretty much what the bulk of their service is. With the most interesting original content yet to be released and a thirty day wait to catch up on anything like RAW and Smackdown, the WWE Network doesn't offer to much. In summary the selling point of the network is the PPV’s that come with it, and with their first being Wrestlemania, we're yet to know if the severs can deal with it.
Should You Purchase The WWE Network?
If you're a pro wrestling loyalist and die-hard fan then go a head and get the service and I think it's money well spent. Between the PPV's and all the old content, you get your moneys worth. Even if the near future looks like crud, in the long run I think the service is going to knock it out the park.
If you don't find yourself in that category then I say don't bother purchasing the network until there is more information out there. Right now you're going to hear more negative than positive feedback with frustrated consumers. What's important to remember it isn't just 10 bucks you're spending, you're tied in for a 6 month stay with the WWE Network. So try before you buy and wait it out before making a choice.
Do you agree with my thoughts on the WWE Network? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!