WWE Network is everything a fan of wrestling would desire. Unfortunately, what the WWE Network promises it has, is also what it lacks.
When the concept for the WWE Network was first introduced back in January 8, 2014, many seasoned wrestling fans were excited. Not only would they be able to watch past pay-per-views along with past and original shows, but every future pay-per-view could be watched via live stream at no extra charge. The best part of this deal is the price of $9.99 a month. That seems like a steal with all the content right? Well that depends how precise you want WWE’s promise of the WWE Network to be.
Prior to its release, WWE Network had many lucrative promises for the fans. After using the WWE Network for the last three months, I have to say the promise is unfulfilled but to an extent. Some situations are understandable, but some require explanation. Please note there is a lot to enjoy with the WWE Network. However, it comes down to this question. How precise you want the promise of the WWE Network to be? To be fair, it also depends what kind of WWE fan a person may be. Do they like to reminisce on nostalgia of wrestling history? Do they just want to know what is happening with current WWE? My hope is this review of the WWE Network helps decide if it is right for you, or not.
So without further adieu, here is a breakdown of what the WWE Network, primarily on what it does not deliver on because everything else is just fine.
You cannot watch all RAW and Smackdown! past episodes.
This is probably the biggest issue the WWE Network has. When a subscriber selects to watch a WWE Monday Night RAW or WWE Smackdown! show, one glaring fact is obvious: there is a lot of missing episodes. For example, we will use WWE Monday Night RAW, which started on January 11, 1993. A season averages about 52 episodes, if we don’t take into consideration specials and certain holidays. Up to the end of 2013, that is an estimate of 1,092 episodes in total. On the WWE Network, just by glance, there are about 40 episodes. Where did the other 900 plus WWE Monday Night RAW episodes go?
Fellow writer of The Inquisitr, Patrick Frye, believes it has to do with the contract WWE had with television networks. This makes sense because contracts may hinder which shows are allowed to be shown on WWE Network. Using WWE Monday Night RAW as an example again, it started out on the USA Network, then went to TNN, then under Spike, then back to USA Network. What Patrick thinks is all theory, but the fact of the matter is we don’t get all the episodes. If a WWE fan wants to watch past WWE Monday Night RAW or WWE Smackdown! episodes, it is better to subscribe to Hulu. The streaming service has up to three seasons of past episodes on their WWE channels.
On-demand airings are MOSTLY unedited.
One of the promises WWE Network made is unedited content of shows, either they be cable episodes or pay-per-views. However, some of content is edited. Now I will give the WWE some slack and state some editing is understandable. For example, WWE Over The Edge 1999, which is infamous for Owen Hart’s death during it. I technically was seeing if they would actually edit the pay-per-view in respect to Owen Hart and the Hart family, despite their promise. Fortunately, the WWE did edit that part out.
Another big edit pertains to musical rights issues. Most of the time, the content is just edited with custom music, but sometimes, it is just too hard. This is the case with New Jack’s entrance in ECW. Personally, I would allow this editing because the last thing the WWE needs is a lawsuit. Fortunately for us, New Jack’s entrances were eventually reinstated with remixed music and brand new commentary by Joey Styles. This proves that the people behind WWE Network are at least trying to get content, which was edited out for an understandable reason, back in.
Now here is where the editing, or censoring, may get in the way of those who want to relive certain moments in wrestling history, mostly surrounding sexual content, profanity, and nudity. Some of these moments have been censored or edited such as Stacy “The Kat” Carter flashing her breasts at WWE Armageddon 1999 or Mickie James’s infamous V-lick at Wrestlemania 22 during her match against Trish Stratus. Now I understand there might be little kids watching the WWE Network, but parental controls are included. Why censor certain moments when parents can simply block programming with child safeties?
There is still content missing in the WWE Network.
Once again, this probably comes down to television and/or network contracts, but there are certain shows that are missing from the WWE Network. This includes WWE Tough Enough, WWE Sunday Night Heat, and Total Divas. The first two are more for nostalgia but unfortunately for the divas division, WWE fans need to watch Total Divas, just so they understand why some of the divas are wrestling on WWE Monday Night RAW or WWE Smackdown!. Also, certain pay-per-views are still missing. For example, WWE Insurrextion 2000 is missing. I honestly don’t know why it would be though.
Another issue WWE Network has is missing sound stability. We reported earlier, here on The Inquisitr, how the WWE Network has some connection and lag issues, even on a strong T1 internet connection. I myself have experienced issues with the WWE Network at home, in which certain shows freeze and then catch up. Let’s hope WWE is rectifying this issue quickly.
Well that is it. I really wanted to cover what may be considered an issue for fans who might want the WWE Network. Besides the above three – which I will admit is heavily summarized – the WWE Network is a worthwhile purchase if you want to catch up or relive past pay-per-views. Once again, for $9.99, the network is a steal, especially for upcoming pay-per-views. As for the other original shows, like WWE Countdown and the pre and post shows, they are fine if subscribers like commentary and discussion. It is WWE Legends House that is probably the biggest reason to subscribe to the WWE Network. The show is very entertaining for “reality television”.
So what do you all think? For those who don’t have WWE Network, did this review give you an understanding what to expect if you decide to subscribe? For those who have WWE Network, is there anything missing from this article? Did I write something you disagree with? Let us know in the comments below.