Professional wrestling has been one of the top forms of entertainment since it began over 100 years ago. It was cheap to produce and easy to watch, so it was a staple of early television, with its star “Gorgeous” George Wagner, the first charismatic wrestling villain. Both Muhammad Ali and Bob Dylan have admitted to stealing parts of Wagner’s act for their stage presentations. Years later, wrestling helped Ted Turner become the media magnate he is today. Without wrestling as the top show on his then-fledgling TBS cable network in the early 80s, he wouldn’t have been able to create TNT and CNN. Pay-per-view as a concept was a flop until hundreds of thousands of people began buying Vince McMahon’s then World Wrestling Federation events in the late 80s.
Vince McMahon turned his WWF into World Wrestling Entertainment in 2002. WWE is now more than a wrestling company, they are a true entertainment conglomerate. WWE Studios produced the recent hit “The Call,” starring Halle Berry and a number of direct-to-DVD hits. Coming in a few months will be a WWE-Scooby Doo crossover movie and a Flintstones version is coming in 2015.
WWE is so much more than simply a wrestling company. At this point in the game, they are the wrestling industry. From the 1960s – 1990s, there were a number of small, regional wrestling promotions spread throughout America. In the 1980s, Vince McMahon and Hulk Hogan took the WWE worldwide and set all of those other promotions out of business. With a few small exceptions, WWE now owns the video libraries and rights to all of those other promotions. The WWE Network has been an idea for at least four years, but as of Feb. 24, 2014 it has been a reality. It is an “over-the-top,” video-on-demand service, basically the WWE version of Netflix.
Whether you are a current fan, a “lapsed fan,” the term WWE uses to describe somebody who used to watch but doesn’t anymore, or if you’re unfamiliar with professional wrestling, here are 5 reasons you should order the WWE Network.
1. WWE runs 12 pay-per-views per year at a cost of $45-65 depending on what type of definition you want to watch it in. For an entire year, you would spend over $600 to watch those 12 pay-per-view events. The WWE Network is $9.99 a month. For less than $10 a month, you get to watch all 12 of those pay-per-view events. WrestleMania, Royal Rumble, SummerSlam, Survivor Series, et cetera are all available to watch on your phone, tablet, computer, smart television, et cetera.
2. Old pay-per-views are available on the WWE Network. The “Big 3” of the 1990s, WWE, World Championship Wrestling, and Extreme Championship Wrestling combined to produce approximately 400 pay-per-view events. If you’re a WCW fan from back in the day and miss old events like Starrcade or Bash at the Beach, you can watch those for only $9.99 a month. If “EC-Dub” is your thing then you can watch all your old hardcore heroes – Rob Van Dam, Tommy Dreamer, Sabu and all the others for only $9.99 a month.
3. There is a slew of original content on the WWE Network. There are interactive countdown shows, looking at the best of this or worst of that. In the 90s, there was a war on Monday nights between WWE Monday Night Raw and WCW Monday Nitro. A series called “The Monday Night War” looks at those tense times. Reality programming will be a big part of the network, with a slew of “old timers” living together under one roof in the first season of “Legend’s House.” Ever wanted to hear the back story behind the greatest WrestleMania matches of all time? You can on the WWE Network. And all for only $9.99 a month.
4. The WWE Network is on your schedule. The VOD aspect of WWE Network makes it truly able to be customized for each person. Suppose you’re stuck in traffic on April 6 and miss the first 20 minutes of WrestleMania XXX. Before, you would either miss the beginning or wait until the replay. Now, you can just start it from the beginning on your own schedule. You can watch anything whenever you want. For only $9.99 a month.
5. There’s more to come. There doesn’t even seem to be enough time to watch all of the stuff listed above, but that’s just the bare minimum of things. WWE has over 200,000 hours of original programming and only a fraction of it is available on the WWE Network right now. They haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of utilizing the regional promotions of the 80s and 90s in their library. What about the AWA Team Challenge Series? Or, maybe it’s best that they’re not showing that one.
To sign up for the WWE Network, head over to WWE.com and you’ll see a bunch of “click here to sign up” buttons. Did I mention the price yet? For less than $10 a month, all of this content and more can be yours. It just makes dollars and sense.