No, I’m not a WWE shill nor am I some kind of superfan (nor am I getting paid for this endorsement). But as a longtime 30+ year fan of the sport, I’m getting more than my money’s worth at this point. Let’s take a quick look at the reasons why WWE Network is totally worth $9.99:
NXT – I mean duh…c’mon now. Let’s face it; this show is probably the best wrestling program on television right now. It’s basically indy wrestling slowed down with WWE production values behind it. I mean, I’ve gotten to see some of the greatest independent wrestlers of the past decade finally get their shot over the past few months. Getting to watch Kevin Steen, El Generico, KENTA, Prince Devitt, and Samoa Joe appear on my screen has been an absolute joy. It’s not a perfect program (nothing is), but throw in the incredible women’s matches and you’ve got a fantastic reason for signing-up.
Tough Talk – I’ll be honest: I have never watched a single season of Tough Enough before. After two episodes, I’m already hooked. I love the “Big Brother meets WWE” concept. So because of that, I’m loving Miz as the host of the Tough Talk aftershow. He’s cocky and quick, and he hits points that don’t always get brought up in the show. He’ll call people out on their bullshit and will haggle with the judges if need be. He helps move things along in a fun way. Simply put, it’s just an entertaining television program.
Swerved – I wasn’t entirely sure I would like this show, but after realizing that I was laughing out loud to a lot of the two episodes that were aired, I found that I did, in fact, enjoy the show. It’s silly, sure…but it’s a hidden camera prank show with wrestlers. What’s not to love?
Unfiltered – I love Renee Young. I loved watching her on The Score here in Canada and have been thrilled with her progression as a “every down back” in WWE. She can do it all! This show thus far has worked best when it’s just her and a wrestler shooting the shit. The first episode with Seth Rollins was fantastic, primarily because they were sitting down to breakfast and just talking. No storylines; no professional set-ups; just two friends hanging out. I love that. I don’t need to see celebrities such as Wiz Khalifa on there, but I understand the need to branch into the entertainment side of the world. The only downside is that the show isn’t nearly long enough. This should EASILY be a 20-30 minute program. And hey, let’s make it a version of Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” by having Renee interview the wrestlers in a local eatery, regardless of what city they’re in. It’s interesting, it’s free publicity for the restaurant, and it’s a way for the two people on camera to relax a little bit and try to forget that the world is hanging on their every sentence.
Culture Shock – It’s awesome how Corey Graves has seamlessly moved into the broadcast booth from the ring. And y’know what? Kudos to him for working his ass off. He’s got a completely unique look and could scare a lot of people away, but his personality and demeanor really help him get over so that people quickly forget what he looks like. I’m hoping to hear him announcing Smackdown at some point in the next couple of years, because he could give Byron Saxton or Booker T (or Jey Uso, for that matter) a run for their money as the color commentator. Nobody can really replace JBL or Jerry Lawler, but Graves certainly could carve his own niche and stand out on his own. He makes NXT thoroughly enjoyable and this show a lot of fun. Much like Unfiltered, though, it’s not nearly long enough of a program. This should be 20-30 minutes per episode…easily.
Legends House – Besides the nonsense that is obviously scripted, this was a fascinating look into how some WWE superstars were living today. Some, as you would expect, are living better than others. You come to love the “real” Roddy Piper and respect why he decides to be a loner most of the time, then really love “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan because he’s just a lovable guy. You don’t know if you should like Tony Atlas very much and think Gene Okerlund’s a little rough around the edges. Scripted or not, this was a lot of fun to watch. I love the concept, too…bring on the second season already!!
Add to that the PPV’s like WrestleMania, SummerSlam, and the Royal Rumble (not to mention the numerous “countdown” shows and things like that), and how could it NOT be worth ten bucks a month?
I’ve seen people complain about not having enough content. I don’t know about you, but I dish out a LOT more money for channels that don’t seem to have half as much entertainment on their weekly schedule than the WWE Network does. And they’ll only increase their original programming with the more customers they sign-up, so it’s really a win-win situation.