This list concerns the WWE Network available to USA customers only. Content varies depending on region.
The WWE Network has been out long enough to work out the bugs and establish itself. The WWE has been pushing it strongly on their television shows as it's obviously an important part of their future. Not only the WWE, but since the Netflix revolution, every intelligent company delivering a show should have plans for this type of delivery.
The network is an absolutely incredible deal, offering a more-than-generous package for a meager price. Wrestling fans should be happy that Vince bought the rights to WCW and ECW's vault of matches. The fact that every major PPV from the past 30 years is available in high quality is absolutely staggering. For that alone it's more than worth it. Sure you can find full matches and events on Youtube but the quality and availability varies. Time spent searching for a particular match or a quality higher than 240p is time that could be spent watching Royal Rumble 1992.
Beyond the past PPVs, you get access to the future. All future PPVs included in the price is another mind-blowing feature. For fans that were used to paying $50 before, they and you, have to be jumping at this.
Beyond the content, the layout and interface is incredibly easy and intuitive. Searching by PPV or wrestler is a nice touch, making it painless to find what you're looking for. To-watch lists are simple to create, and it even tracks your last watched shows, holding your place.
The WWE Network is better than expected, and I daresay sets the standard for future media-streaming sites. You'd have to believe the big four television companies are keeping a close eye on the WWE.
If you don't already have it, here are the top 10 reasons why you should! No, this is not WWE propaganda or Michael Cole behind this keyboard. It's just calling the WWE Network for what it is: a great product at an amazing price for any wrestling fan.
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11 Video Quality
I've watched many a match on YouTube. It's free and you can find a good selection of matches. However, unless it's from a recent PPV you can be hard-pressed to find an upload of decent quality. Sourcing from an old VHS to digital usually results in some very rough 240p content. Also, due to copyright infringement, the match may be mirrored, zoomed in, or slightly slowed down, making the announcers sound drunk. Wrestling is supposed to be larger than life! Presentation is an important factor.
All of the content on the WWE Network is at the highest possible quality, shown the way it was meant to be.
10 Always something on
Not just an on-demand library, but it also exists as a live-stream channel, with an entertaining lineup of shows. PPVs are shown live and then repeated, with ample pre-show coverage. You can also stumble upon something new, like NXT, or the very well done WWE 24 episode, chronicling WrestleMania XXX.
The network has also broadcast Stone Cold's podcast interviews with Triple H and Vince McMahon live. Legends House is also worth a watch, if anything for Mean Gene's epic one-liners.
Speaking of NXT, this is a great place to catch up on everything you've missed in what some call the best wrestling available. For the hardcore fans who grow tired of too much soap-opera drama and the sometimes bloated three-hour Raw broadcast, NXT is a wonderfully refreshing alternative. Seeing the good work Triple H has done, it's comforting for wrestling fans to know that one of Vince's successors has his priorities straight and truly loves wrestling.
Besides wrestling action, there's a large amount of enlightening specials available. Documentaries, interviews, behind-the-scenes looks are a treat for the long-time and new fan. You even get some previous DVD releases for free. I particularly enjoyed the first ever interview about the Montreal Screwjob from the DVD, Greatest Rivalries: Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart. The interview has both Bret and Shawn at the same time! Jim Ross hosts with his usual excellence, Bret pulls no punches, and if you are a Shawn-hater, you may just leave with a different opinion of him.
7 Match Point Markers
Not sure if they're called that, but when watching your PPV, every matches' start and finish is helpfully marked. This makes it beyond easy to quickly load WrestleMania 13 and skip to Austin passing out in the Sharpshooter. All wrestling PPVs have their longer matches and backstage filler that you might not be interested in watching. This was a must-have feature, and they pulled it off perfectly.
6 Vintage Raws and Nitros
When you're done watching the fantastic Monday Night Wars documentary series, relive the magic an episode at a time. So far only the 1996 season of Nitro is available but it is still historic and is essential viewing. The pinnacle of WCW's storytelling was on display that year with the nWo, Hulk Hogan's heel turn, and the saga of Crow Sting. There was a lot of excitement surrounding WCW's first direct competition with WWE's Raw, as they upped the stakes with two hours of LIVE wrestling.
The Raw archives are even better! Binge-watch your way from 1993's first episode to see the fascinating evolution of Vince McMahon's vision towards the Attitude Era. There's really nothing quite like those early Raw episodes. The crowd was older and rowdier, representing the kids that grew up on Hulkamania and were ready for something more mature. The venue felt like you were watching the biggest wrestling stars go back to their rec-center roots. Monday Night Raw represents one of the many reasons Vince McMahon is considered a genius.
Warning: watching all these old Raws may really sour you on the current product.
Want to find a match and don't quite remember all the details of when it took place? Have a favorite wrestler and want to see everything they've ever done? The search will do this and more. Every search result allows you to quickly add that match to your watch list as well, so you can quickly line up a few hours of custom entertainment. It was a really solid feature added to the network and fans sure do appreciate it.
3 The Interface
I would have forgiven the WWE Network for being a bit clunky; websites aren't their business, wrestling is! Or as Vince calls it, sports entertainment. However, they blew me away with a layout so smooth and intuitive Steve Jobs would be proud. Hovering over a video gives a brief description as well as letting you add the event or the 'series' to your watch list. You can just as easily remove a video from your watch list in the same manner. This is always available on the main screen, giving you easy access to the content you most want to see. Adding to this, there is an additional row that holds your most recently watched list. Since most videos are on average two or more hours long, you are most likely not finishing it in one sitting. This allows you to quickly hop back in and pick right up from where you left.
WWE blew away my expectations for how this should be done, and sets the gold standard for companies looking to join the future of entertainment.
2 Live PPVs!
Another feature that is more than worth the price on it's own. Any fan that was previously ordering PPVs at $50 (more for WrestleMania) has to be ecstatic to save over $400 a year. Vince is going hard with the Network and this is a strong feature that is impossible to ignore. This alone tells you how valuable it is to buy the network. You're essentially getting five for the price of one. That was good enough, but the WWE also threw in WrestleMania. A huge win for all fans. Seriously, why would you ever buy another PPV?!
1 Best. Video Library. Ever
The amount of material on the network is nothing short of staggering. If they just had every WWE PPV that would be more than enough. That's a huge amount of hours of some of the best wrestling footage the WWE has. It's a joy to go back and relive classic events as well as catch up on all the ones you missed. But the WWE didn't stop at their own material; they included the WCW, ECW, and even NWA events as well! You can go back and see all of the zany match gimmicks Jim Herd and boys down south were coming up with. See Flair versus Steamboat, Sting versus Vader, or watch the very last PPV that WCW did before folding. For 10 bucks a month you instantly have the best wrestling library in the world.
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