For old-school WWF fans, the new WWE Network may be gold

I’ve gotta say, the announcement of the WWE Network seems to act as a hand reaching back in time to lost fans who don’t watch the product any more or who want to relive stuff from their childhood. I mean, how many times did the announcement make mention of Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant from WrestleMania III?

There’s little reason for any fan, current or erstwhile, not to give this streaming online network a shot. For $9.99 for an initial six-month commitment, you can see WrestleMania (at least this year) and the other monthly pay-per-views, which is a huge savings over ordering even just Mania on its own through cable TV or satellite. It’s clear the WWE wants a huge turnout of initial subscribers to impress stockholders and business analysts.

If the network takes off, it will mark the end of wrestling PPVs as many of us have known it since the late 1980s, which is a risky and ballsy move to make. Once fans get used to not paying full price for PPVs any more, they will never go back to it, even if they don’t continue as network subscribers.

For me, the on-demand library of wrestling matches is a big reason I will be signing up for the network, which first becomes available on February 24, 2014. I have to imagine that many of the old Boston Garden matches the WWE taped for New England Sports Network in the 1980s will be offered for viewing.

Vince McMahon changed wrestling history when he began the WWF’s national expansion in 1984. Since that point, it seems he has tried and failed to make a broader impact on U.S. television and pop culture (witness the WBF, the XFL, WWE movies, the World Restaurant, etc.).

Now, after all this time, the WWE Network may make its own unique mark as the first 24/7 streaming network of its kind, which seems to be a harbinger of what Internet TV has to become.

I bet a lot of people, wrestling fans or otherwise, are going to be closely watching what happens.

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5 comments

  1. Nash

    Interesting for the true old-skool wrestling fanatics. What I will watch the most, is the wrestling events from the 80s & 90s. Specially the house shows which are reported in the PWI magazine, those are incredible. Watch all episodes of prime time wrestling, SNME, the Main Event, ShotGun Saturday Night, WCW Saturday Night. Hope that all arena events from the library will be available. Talking about the 1st King of the Ring until the ppv. Can’t wait to see all the great events.

  2. Joe Lowry

    Ok I am slowly realizing how smart these creative folks over at WWE truly are. I watched an entire episode of RAW last night for the first time in a long time. And as I awoke this morning I figured out why. Each time I went to channel surf, either a news piece or a match somehow involved with something to do with wrestling from yesteryear. Whether is was news about the “Vault” on the WWE Network, Wrestlemania Rewind or matches such as the New Age Outlaws teaming up with CM Punk it kept me watching. The only thing I am already getting a little peeved at is the information overload we are getting with the launch of the new WWE Network. Its like when voting season comes around…signs everywere, politicians covering your TV set with Ads, this is turning out to be the same thing. Now if we can only vote as to what we like…oh wait the WWE already has that…LOL

  3. Joe Lowry

    J.Cee I wholeheartedly agree with your statement. I am sure this is only the beginning of what will be numerous changes to this “over the top” digital distribution. But I do see a strong desire of the WWE to lure our age demographic back to the forefront. One being that most of the current WWE demographic would be somewhat our childrens age. With the economy the way it is, most kids getting out of college are back living at home and not making nearly enough money to support themselves. So who better to help with finances but Mommy and Daddy. Since the WWE is marketed in just about everything what better way to lure both demographics back to them?

  4. Joe Lowry

    I to watched the press conference live at 9:30 pm last night as the WWE unveiled its new WWE Network. I am somewhat impressed about this new adventure into what is ultimately going to change the technology industry forever. Its funny, us die hard fans of yesteryear think alike. The first mention of anything out of Stephanie McMahons mouth last night had references to either the 80’s or 90’s era of wrestling. Of course that got me to thinking, will they allow us fans access to the vault in which we can relive matches from the old Boston Garden? Or better yet, relive matches from Saturday morning TV of yesteryear. For me, the best thing about the WWE On Demand subscription service is the TV tapings of yesteryear. Will this continue onto the WWE Network? The programming they introduced us to last night seemed more of a filler type thing than anything. Outside of the Wrestlemania show and the Monday Night War (War”s” if you watched Triple H and HBK last night) the only new show or content I saw was the “Legends House” or something to that affect and the Countdown show. I am not sure if this will captivate the fans or not, but we will see. I am sure with the money invested going into this the WWE did their research. What I do know is that for us WW(F)E historians this is a goldmine. To have at our fingertips and on any digital platform anything to do with yesteryear is simply genius. To shell out $9.99 for access to this stuff and not to mention all 12 monthly pay per views is a no brainer. If this truly is a ploy to get us fans of yesteryear back in front of a WWE screen then on my behalf it just may work. Something tells me that February 24, 2014 will no doubt be an historic day…Oh and I did have one question, what was the reason that Stephanie McMahon could not mention Apple or any of their devices? I did hear her say on the side, “you got that right?” Do we know why? Anyone? Beuller??? Bueller?? Anyone??

    • J.Cee

      I didn’t see the press conference but from what I’m reading here, it would seem from a business-sense that after the initial 6-month commitment for 9.99, then the price will go up and the range of access to content may be curtailed. Not to play devil’s advocate, but how often do cable services offer incredible deals one weekend for free, only to be followed by subscription offers should the viewer decide to continue–TV wrestling from yesteryear is becoming a niche within our age demographic, and it would seem that the WWE is catering to that potential demand. What happens from here will be based on how many people sign up for this service.

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