Something I wish I had was an extensive video library of past pay-per-views, consisting of the best-and-worst of WWE, ECW, and WWE, and I always dreamed of having old television shows of those companies and past territories. When I heard rumblings from Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez of the F4WOnline website about the WWE Network, I got excited. What excited me was finally being able to watch the early Starrcades from the early-to-mid-80s and the last year and a half PPVs of World Championship Wrestling; because I’m still amazed that WCW went belly-up after almost putting WWE down-and-out.
When I finally sat down and did some searching on the WWE Network, I smiled from ear to ear when the first few months’ worth of Monday Night Raw. With the commercials edited out, each Raw ran about 43 minutes, so I made time around 4am after work to watch some 1993 Raw. Man, was it great to hear Vince McMahon, Bobby Hennan, and Randy Savage on the announcer’s booth. Hearing those three brought me back to my childhood while watching Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty build their WWE Royal Rumble 1993 WWF Intercontinental Championship match.
Than this past weekend (as of writing this piece out), one of my former roommates came up and we watched ECW Wrestlepalooza 1998, headlined by Shane Douglas retaining his ECW World Heavyweight Championship against future WWF Hardcore Champ, Al Snow. The show was pretty good, gave me a glimpse into what was the “Underground Movement” that changed professional wrestling with the Attitude Era. It was fun seeing the 30-minute time limit draw that Sabu and Rob Van Dam had and I enjoyed seeing Shane Douglas defend his ECW title with an injured arm.
One of the first matches I went out and saw was the Doomsday Cage match that the Mega Powers, Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage, had at WCW Uncensored 1996 against ‘the Alliance to End Hulkamania,’ which consisted Lex Luger, the Taskmaster, the Barbarian, Meng, Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Z-Gangsta, and the Ultimate Solution. You may know Z-Gangsta as Zeus from the WWE film No Holds Barred and had a WWF SummerSlam 1989 main event match against Hogan (Zeus and Savage fought Hogan and Brutus Beefcake). Jason Mann of Wrestlespective podcast covered the Doomsday Cage match on a podcast, which was the inspiration of my watching. You can hear the podcast here.
So, besides some past shows like that, few other things I am looking forward to on the WWE Network can be summed up as: the future. WWE aired live the NXT Arrival show during the free week trial and it went off as a success. Cesaro defeated Sami Zayn in the opening match, a rematch from their awesome Best of 3 falls match from last year, and Adrian Neville won the NXT title from Bo Dallas in a ladder match in the main event. With Triple H heading up the next generation of WWE talent, I am excited that WWE’s developmental has their own show on the Network for we can see the future of the WWE before they debut on one of the big shows.
Besides the superstars on NXT, I feel the Network benefits younger talent like Cody Rhodes, Curtis Axel, Damien Sandow, Big E, Cesaro, and Dolph Ziggler. WWE still puts out Main Event and Superstars, so why not use those shows to give those guys experience and TV exposure, that way, when stars like John Cena or Randy Orton get injured, they can use one of those guys and use the television time that they appeared on for video packages to build-up those new main eventers.
One guy four years ago people thought would be an after-thought now is Cody Rhodes. I believe he has a future in the company and always enjoyed his body of work since the days of him teaming up with Hardcore Holly as World Tag Team Champions. WrestleMania 26 was playing on the Live Stream before I started typing out this blog and the triple threat match between Rhodes, Ted DiBiase, and Randy Orton was playing, and I remember listening to different podcasts and everyone thought DiBiase will be the next main eventer after Legacy had their blow-off match at WrestleMania that year. Looking back now, DiBiase wasn’t the one we should have placed out eggs on, it should have been Cody. I feel like teaming up with his brother Goldust, Cody can go only but up, gaining experience from Goldust and gaining fandom while building up the tag team division. So going back and watching guys like Cody Rhodes grow on the WWE Network makes me appreciate paying $10 a month for the backlog of television.
To conclude, the WWE Network is living up to my expectations and is blowing whatever bugs that came across out of the water weeks and months after. Yes, we haven’t had live pay-per-views yet on the Network, but with time, they’ll come across seamlessly too and be perfect. Could Monday Night Raw and Friday Night Smackdown ever come on the Network and be streamed live? Only time will tell us if they would or not, but first, the PPVs need to be perfect before that could and should happen. Maybe in five years, that could work. But for now, let’s enjoy the WWE Network, watch classic shows, vintage pay-per-views, and blog up some reviews of what we watch.
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