WWE Network free for April / Wrestlemania 31

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WWE Network is currently free for the month of April for new subscribers, so I decided why not check it out and watch last Sunday’s Wrestlemania. Even though I had previously subscribed to the WWE Network last year it still let renew my account while receiving April for free which was pretty cool. It’s also worth noting the six month commitment is no longer in place and you can cancel at anytime. They previously locked subscribers into 6 month subscriptions (billed monthly) so that you couldn’t just drop $10 for Wrestlemania and immediately cancel your subscription.

I’m going to watch Wrestlemania 31 and jot down some thoughts while doing so. Sorry for constantly changing tenses in what follows, you’ll forgive me right?

Note: Wrestlemania spoilers will follow.

I haven’t kept up with the WWE at all for at least the last six months, if not longer. I can’t even recall what was going on when I last watched. I believe I stopped watching around the time when there was the struggle between Daniel Bryan and the “authority” or whatever, where they basically said he wasn’t championship material. It was surprising, then, to see Daniel Bryan participating in the opening seven-man ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship with lower card talent such as Stardust, R-Truth, Dolph Ziggler and defending champion Bad News Barret.

I’ll give the match credit, it was pretty exciting though was often cheesy. The R-Truth ‘scared of heights’ set up was a little lame, as was the opening series of over the rope volleys knocking more and more people to the ground until all seven participants tumbled like bowling pins. It was so absurd it made me laugh, which isn’t all the surprising coming from the WWE these days. I’m glad Bryan was victorious, but I feel like he’s a better talent and not someone who should be relegated to a lower title.

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The Randy Orton – Seth Rollins promo that followed next was pretty exciting. Sure the storyline seems pretty silly (Kane is with the authority, why?) but I’m starting to see parallels between the WWE and comic books. The story lines are silly and often don’t make a whole lot of sense, but you just have to stop trying to justify things and simply enjoy the drama. I kind of wish I had watched the Orton vs. Rollins storyline, it seems interesting (and I don’t think the WWE has been interesting since CM Punk’s reign, though Daniel Bryan’s rise came close).

As I’m watching the match I can’t help but see all the people shielding their eyes from the sun in order to see the action. I’m not sure how much I like the idea of an outdoor venue for wrestling. There’s just something you lose by not having all of the indoor lighting and effects. Maybe it’s just me.

The Orton – Rollins match when on for an excessively long time, though maybe it’s just that I don’t have the patience for wrestling anymore. For the most part it was unremarkable, yet the curb stomp counter into an RKO finish was pretty sweet. Glad Orton won.

This whole Sting – Triple H feud is probably exciting for a lot of long time wrestling fans, but to me it just seems like it’s too late and is overly gimmicky, if that’s even possible for wrestling. I guess it’s all a gimmick, isn’t it? Maybe if there was more of a WCW vs. WWE thing going on it’d be more interesting, but then again I don’t think I can name a single WCW wrestler. Goldberg? He was one right? Meh. Hope Triple H loses.

Sting’s entrance is over the top. They could’ve done something better to build tension. Heck, Triple H’s entrance has hyped me up more and I almost want to cheer for him instead…if he weren’t a total a-hole of course!

I feel like the match is a little unrealistic. I mean Triple H is huge, there aren’t many in the WWE who stack up against his size and power, while Sting is older, less fit and less powerful. It doesn’t make a lot of sense for him to be able to hang in there with Triple H. But here I am, trying to make sense of wrestling again! D-X coming out should’ve been cool, but they’re all so old and terrible looking and they ran out with hardly any energy just to get bowled down by Sting in a scene torn from the opening match of the night. Not as exciting as it should’ve been. Then comes the NWO, another group of elderly men. Why couldn’t this have happened years ago? Hulk Hogan just needs to go away.

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The bat vs sledgehammer scenario was a little cheesy, though why not go all the way? Ultimately I think the match would’ve ended better as a draw. Triple H won, what’s new? The handshake doesn’t really fit with Triple H’s character, or at least what I perceive his character to be at this point. Also I expected more from Hogan (even if I’m sick of him).

Well, I’m not sure how much more of this I can take, so I’m going to stop watching for now. If I get around to finishing it I might drop in with some final thoughts. Until then, thanks for reading. Let me know what your favorite Wrestlemania 31 moments were in the comments!

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The WWE Network

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I haven’t watched a whole lot of wrestling lately, but I decided to subscribe to the WWE Network in anticipation of Wrestlemania XXX which takes place tomorrow night. It seems like too good a deal to pass up. For $9.99 a month (with a required 6 month commitment) you get to watch every PPV live on the WWE network via the website, or app on the device of your choice (though it’s not on Xbox One yet).

You also get access to absolutely TONS of on demand content including every past PPV. I was under the impression you could watch RAW and Smackdown after they air, however it turns out there’s a delay of over a month because HULU has the rights to those shows. There’s also some live content and original programming, however I’m not that much of a wrestling fan and probably wont watch very much of that.

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Wrestlemania is going to be the first PPV broadcast live over the WWE network so we’ll see how the network holds up tomorrow night. A friend of mine ordered Wrestlemania last year through the PS3 app and the broadcast stopped working after about 30 minutes and never started working again.

I decided to check out what the WWE Network has to offer mainly because I like the business model. I’m not a cable cutter (I have Dish Network and love it), but it’s interesting to see a content provider deciding to take control of its content and distribute it on its own. I also subscribe to MLB.TV and love being able to access content on my own terms. I’ve read a few articles where Dish and DirectTV have expressed frustration over the WWE’s decision to provide PPV content live to WWE Network subscribers (why would you continue to spend $50 a month on PPV’s when $9.99 gets you the same thing and more?) and apparently Dish even refused to carry the last PPV in protest. I’m glad the WWE is deciding to shake things up, and maybe we’ll see more a la carte content in the future.

Wrestlemania 29 follow up

So my buddy called WWE today to complain about the fact that although he paid $60 to watch the PPV streaming via WWE.com he couldn’t watch any of it due to the fact that the server apparently crashed. Well the customer service response he received was that they will not be issuing any refunds for anyone affected, but rather they extended access through the rest of the week.

Are you kidding me? You pay $60 to watch a live event and you can’t watch it due to the servers being down and all you get is the ability to watch it the rest of the week? First of all the results are already out, second of all it’s already on The Pirate Bay, and thirdly we already watched an illegal live stream of the event.

So will we be buying a WWE PPV again? No. It seems you’re better off streaming it illegally or pirating it.

Also, this guy exactly sums up my thoughts on the PPV:

Wrestlemania letdowns

Please note there will be SPOILERS ahead.

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So I can’t describe myself as the hugest wrestling fan on the planet, but rather an occasional watcher and friend of a few more hardcore fans, but I have to say Wrestlemania 29 was a bit of a disappointment, especially after all of the buildup.

There wasn’t a whole lot of drama, especially not in the main event. When compared to the match between The Rock and CM Punk at the last pay per view, the match between The Rock and John Cena was nowhere near as electrifying. It really just seemed like them going through the motions with The Rock handing over the title and walking away back to his film career….once again. And the hug and handshake at the end? Really?

The most exciting match of the night was easily the one between Undertaker and CM Punk, but even that seemed like it could’ve had just a little more to it.

On a side note, WWE.com really dropped the ball on this one. My buddy purchased the PPV stream via WWE.com and after about ten minutes of watching the server crashed and for the rest of the night simply said the service was unavailable. We tried to call the 1-800 number several times, however it only rang and rang with no answer. We had to end up streaming the PPV illegally which of course was a big sacrifice on quality. We weren’t the only ones with this problem either, there were plenty of other users complaining via Twitter about being unable to stream the PPV they purchased. I can only hope the refund process is painless for those affected.