When will Legends’ House and Monday Night War premiere on the WWE Network?
WWE Legends’ House will premiere on the WWE Network on Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 8 PM ET. A premiere date has still not been announced for Monday Night War. WWE is strategic in the way they release their original programming, as they want to make sure they promote it properly so that people will watch. It’s just like any other network. They strategically plan the release of shows around when they believe the programming will be the most successful. The best thing about Legends’ House is that it’s actually going to be seen as it’s been in the can for two years.
With Wrestlemania XXX less than two weeks away what are the plans for the WWE Tag Team Championship, the WWE Intercontinental Championship, the United States Championship and the WWE Divas Championship?
It’s likely the WWE Tag Team Championship and Divas Championship find their way onto the Wrestlemania 30 card but I wouldn’t expect defenses of the Intercontinental and US titles respectively. Big E is an announced participant for the 30-man Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal and Dean Ambrose will likely be involved in something involving Kane and/or The Wyatt Family. Naomi is probably the favorite to challenge AJ Lee for the Divas Championship but it’ll be interesting to see if more Total Divas get on the card as WWE plans to tie in the reality series into the Wrestlemania card. The Usos defending is likely, at this point it’s just a matter of against who. Vince McMahon often goes back and forth on the importance of tag team wrestling. Some weeks it’s like the division has been restored, others it’s been forgotten again.
Do you feel a lack of hype for Wrestlemania 30?
Yes, the hype surrounding Wrestlemania XXX is not as intense as it’s been over the last several years. Just look at last week’s Raw viewership as it’s clear fans aren’t tuning in with excitement. Last week’s Raw only did an average of 4,075,333 viewers, to mark the lowest viewing audience of the year. These numbers were down an average of 540,667 viewers from the comparable show last year. This is troublesome and something that must worry WWE as they look to push towards 1 million WWE Network subscribers. The WWE Network could actually save the show from disaster as buys will be masked by people that have already signed up. Before readers go blaming Batista or Daniel Bryan (depending on which side of the fence you sit on), I point to product over saturation.
Yes, the build to Wrestlemania 30 has been all over the place with the constant changes in plans but I believe WWE is seeing negative effects from overwhelming their fans with too much content. I’m not just talking about Raw being three hours long, Raw has been three hours long for nearly two years. I’m talking about starting Raw a half hour early and ending a half hour late. I’m talking about an additional live hour each Tuesday, preceding an hour on Wednesday and three more hours on Friday. I’m talking about viewers not even getting the commercial breaks to catch their breath during Raw. As a result, I believe everyone is worn out. Not just the fans but the workers, the writers and the staff.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban recently spoke out about the NFL’s expanded television coverage, predicting the league is 10 years away from an implosion in terms of its popularity. Cuban argues the NFL is trying to take over every night of TV and because it’s all football at some point the people get sick of it. He says, “hogs get slaughtered. And they’re getting hoggy.” I think we can say the same is true for WWE. No one but Vince McMahon wanted to expand Raw to three hours. There was such an uproar amongst the writers there were people lining up to quit. They’ve struggled to keep a head writer and it’s even to the point where Stephanie McMahon gladly handed the job of EVP of creative back over to her father.
With the evolution of the WWE Network, I believe the company is asking too much of their fan base. Not in terms of price but in terms of commitment. I truly believe there are cases where less is more and I believe WWE needs to scale back to help re-energize their fans, their talent and their staff.
Do you think WWE even worries about television ratings?
WWE certainly cares about how many people are watching their programming, however, the two-fold interest on TV viewership and pay-per-view buys is no longer the business model in WWE. Back in the 90s and throughout the Monday night wars, it was literally a war between the WWF and WCW as to who was getting the highest rating and most pay-per-views buys. Since WWE won the war, WWE has transformed into a much bigger entity. They’re now a publicly traded company that has expanded globally. The launch of the WWE Network gives them their own TV clearance even though they consistently have some of the most-watched programs on cable. That’s not to say pay-per-view isn’t important as it made up 17% of their net revenue in 2012 so the launch of the WWE Network is not without risk, however, their hope is the network will become profitable and help them moving forward to stay ahead of any possible competition.
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