WWE Network Takeaway, Benoit Footage, International Expansion, Royal Rumble Favorite

What were your biggest takeaways from the formal announcement of the WWE Network on Wednesday night in Las Vegas?

My biggest takeaway from the WWE Network announcement was the fact the WWE Network will be “over-the-top.” In fact, the first catchphrase promoted for the WWE Network is - “It’s way over the top!” WWE had considered traditional models, including buying a network and overhauling it (like what Fox Sports 1 did with the Speed Channel) and launching a premium paid channel (like HBO). However, when it came down to it, they could not get significant clearance from cable and satellite providers to launch it. This is why WWE announced it was “coming in 2012,” only to later back off that. This was an attempt to rally their widespread audience to demand the WWE Network from their providers. I was very concerned about the WWE Network in the traditional model. While Vince McMahon made it clear he understood the struggles that Oprah Winfrey had with her network, he was confident that would not be the case with WWE. However, it still seemed incredibly risky. Now after seeing what the company is doing, as an over-the-top hybrid, my position has changed.

If WWE can prevent widespread issues with lagging or streaming errors, something MLB apparently has under control on their own model and has assisted in developing the WWE Network, all should be well. In fact, I think it’s revolutionary and exactly where television is heading. WWE’s core programming will remain on cable, however, the WWE Network is how I see all of television evolving over the years – one device that essentially does everything. WWE is “punting their pay-per-view model” but the pay-per-view business has been dying for years and a move such as what WWE is doing was inevitable.

How will WWE handle Chris Benoit footage of the WWE Network?

The last I heard Chris Benoit footage will be included on the WWE Network but it will air with an advisory. Contrary to popular belief, WWE’s stance on Benoit is not to completely erase him from their history. WWE wants to avoid a situation where they are promoting a man that murdered his wife and child. He will not be promoted in any fashion and yes, that does mean he will never be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. The WWE Network will not be limited to PG programming either, as it will feature programming rated TV-14 and TV-MA depending on the time it airs.

When will the WWE Network be available internationally?

The WWE Network will be launched domestically first on Monday, February 24, 2014 after Raw on the USA Network. People in the United States will have the first opportunity to purchase earlier that morning. There are plans to expand out internationally as WWE noted the following with their formal announcement – the WWE Network will be available in the “United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Nordics by the end of 2014/early 2015.”

I know you aren’t a big fan of shoving members of The Shield directly into the main event but from what I’ve seen in Roman Reigns, he seems to be ready for such a push. Could you see him winning the Royal Rumble?

I’m against hot-shotting members of The Shield faction to the main event scene in fear it won’t be done properly and they’ll end up getting lost in the mix. With Undertaker, Batista and Brock Lesnar all in the plans for Wrestlemania XXX this year, any match featuring Roman Reigns is going to feel like a downgrade. While anything is possible, and I haven’t heard the booking plans for the Royal Rumble match, I would not favor a situation where Reigns goes over. Two entrants have been announced – Alberto Del Rio and Batista – and Batista seems like an overwhelming favorite at this point.

From the Ask WNW vault…

July 2012: I was wondering about your thoughts on the WWE Network. Oprah’s network is basically hemorrhaging money at this point. Isn’t Vince McMahon and the rest of WWE upper management worried the same could occur with them? – Vince McMahon addressed the failure of the Oprah Network when talking about the WWE Network in a conference call with investors in November 2011. McMahon called the Oprah Network a “miserable failure” and said that it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the Oprah Network didn’t capitalize on what Oprah does best. Vince argued they tried to brand the Oprah name without featuring Oprah. He said WWE was going to do the opposite and would be “extraordinary successful.” Despite Vince’s calculated optimism, there are many in the company asking questions much like yours. As for my thoughts, the WWE Network is a huge risk and I’m not seeing a lot of upside. Sure, I’d like to see a network launched with all WWE programming and quite possibly carrying most of the pay-per-views, however, the fact they’ve struggled to gain clearance shows just how difficult it’s going to be just to get it launched.

The next installment of Ask WNW is scheduled to run on Friday, January 10, 2014.

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  • John

    Why are they bringing Batista back 1 week before the Royal Rumble? It’s very obvious that he is going to win the Royal Rumble match and it has caused me to lack interest in the event now. Had they brought him back as a surprise entrant in the match and he went on to win, it would’ve been awesome.

    • JR Texx (Jamie)

      So just because he’s returning a week before the RR makes it obvious that he is going to win it? I don’t see it..

      • John

        Nothing to do with him returning a week before the PPV… He was going to win the Rumble regardless because he’s facing Orton at Mania.

        • JR Texx (Jamie)

          That’s funny.. because I’m pretty sure Lesnar is going to be champion before Wrestlemania, so I don’t see how Batista winning the rumble is going to get him a match with Orton when he doesn’t even have the title.

          Anyone could easily eliminate Batista to start a feud, I don’t know where you are getting your information from but it’s wrong.

          • Mysterion

            You do know what you just did? A guy expressed his concern Batista was gonna win the rumble and if was obvious. You then said, in effect, the guy can’t possibly know that. Then, claimed Lesnar was going into WM as champion. Which you said is a definite. Hypocrite.

          • JR Texx (Jamie)

            You do know the WWE World Heavyweight Title and the Royal Rumble winner are two different things?

            They wouldn’t put a guy like Lesnar saying he wants a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match and have him lose, Lesnar WILL win, but will probably lose it at Wrestlemania.

            Batista winning the RR makes no sense and is more than likely someone like D.Bryan or CM Punk to win.

            I’m not fussed if its hypocritical or not, also he can’t possibly know Batista is going to win because it is pure speculation, but like I said, Lesnar winning the WWE World Heavyweight Champship match is an almost certainty.

          • Hardy

            Yeah and don’t forget lesnar has a championship reign included when he signed his contract extension. I think punks going to win the RR and as said before Batista can start a feud with anyone during the RR. Or maybe Batista will interfere during the championship match? Causing Orton to lose, then setting up a feud between them?

          • JR Texx (Jamie)

            I personally think he’ll screw Orton, but obviously this is just pure speculation.

          • John

            You might be right about Batista not winning the Royal Rumble (I doubt it though) however I can guarantee that Brock Lesnar will not be WWE champion before WrestleMania!

          • JR Texx (Jamie)

            So they give a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match to a man they are trying to label a “destructive force” and they are paying close to a million per match ($5million contract for 5 matches which they have now extended) just so he loses and if he loses he will be 3-3? yeah.. I stick by my statement saying Lesnar will be champion before Wrestlemania.

            I’m basing my opinions based on facts and what makes sense.
            Yours are just pure speculation that doesn’t help anybody.

    • D_gilbert88

      I think it could quite easily be D-Bry to win the RR. Pushing the story of the Wyatt’s destroying the corporation, “bringing down the machine” as Bray has said.

      Outside shot for CM Punk and Batista. The winner will probably be facing Lesnar at WM though, given Lesnars title run clause in his contract.

      • Jbreed

        Daniel Bryan has no chance of winning the RR, and neither does anybody else on the active roster. It most likely will be Batista who wins it. WM 30′s upper card is gonna revolve around the guys who Vince McMahon thinks have the best chance of bringing in the big bucks, and those guys to Vince are the part-timers like The Undertaker, Triple H, Batista and Brock Lesnar. The Undertaker/Lesnar is gonna happen, let’s be honest, it’s Vince’s dream match ever since The Rock made it obvious the originally planned main event of The Rock vs. Lesnar was not gonna materialize. And Triple H will most likely face CM Pubk so it leaves Batista as the guy who challenges for the WWE world title. Let’s think about it, Daniel Bryan got demoted to the mid-card at a B level ppv because so there’s no way he’ll be co-main eventing at the biggest ppv in ten years. It’s unfortunate but it’s the way things work in the WWE.

        • David F.

          Im still holding out hope Bryan challenges Taker for streak. Taker is in bad shape and I dont think he can handle such a physical match with Lesnar at this stage of his career. Bryan can protect Taker and carry much of the match. Plus Bryan and Taker can plan and work on match together and I doubt Lesnar would be willing to do that based on part time schedule. I also wonder if WWE will keep its commitment of including Wrestlemania in WWE network package. I doubt WM 31 will be included and I bet it will be an additional charge

          • Bob’s Diner

            That is pure speculation. The press release states “including WrestleMania” – though it does say “WrestleMania XXX’ in other parts, which I believe is an encouragement to get people to sign on beforehand.

            Considering they are launching in new countries for the next 12 months, I doubt they would remove WrestleMania for the fans that will miss it this time around. Doing that would upset their UK and Australasian fanbase and possibly impact on those fans purchasing the network.

            As for Undertaker, what makes you say he is in bad shape? His matches last year showed no signs of that whatsoever and he doesn’t need anyone to carry him at all – never has. If he couldn’t go, I am sure he would be the first say it was time to stop.

        • Mysterion

          All ppvs revolve around the big bucks fella. That’s called business.

          • Jbreed

            Well if you read my post carefully it’s basically the point I’m trying to make.

      • Bob’s Diner

        That’s about as likely as Kane entering at 29 and clearing the ring so HHH can come in at 30 and win because he is sick of Randy Orton being useless or something…

        Actually, what I said sounds more believable

        • JR Texx (Jamie)

          I think its going to be Punk to be honest.. and there begins Punk V Authority.. bound to happen at some point.

          • Bob’s Diner

            I was expecting that storyline for Royal Rumble – given HHH started going back to his typical comments about how no one outside of the internet cares about CM Punk, I thought he might have been in line to challenge Orton at the Rumble.

            If Lesnar wins the title next month, having Punk win the Rumble would setup Punk vs Lesnar II… but then would that actually be the main event? Would they find a way to insert Orton and Cena as well?

            I dunno… I’m not convinced… but then, I’m not convinced on anyone winning it, for some reason. Maybe Bruno Sammartino should come back and win it? Pretty sure even at his age he could take half the roster

          • JR Texx (Jamie)

            If Lesnar is to be the Champion at Wrestlemania, I don’t see who could win the Royal Rumble and go on to face Lesnar who already hasn’t, unless it’s Big Show? I don’t see it being Big Show though. Going to be interesting to see who wins anyway.

            They had Rock V Cena II, so I don’t see what harm it would do doing Punk V Lesnar II

          • Bob’s Diner

            Well, Big Show is already going to be losing to Lesnar at the Rumble, so we can rule him out. Maybe Mark Henry is going to come back for revenge? Imagine that for your WrestleMania XXX main event! :-)

            Could be Sheamus? Having someone come back from injury and winning the Royal Rumble is the very obvious thing they do, but he’s already won it recently…

            Yeah I got nothing… Which is fun. I’m glad that this Royal Rumble isn’t predictable like last year. To me, anyway. I’m looking forward to it. If by some miracle you are right and CM Punk wins, you will have earned yourself an internet hi-five for sure

          • JR Texx (Jamie)

            I’m hoping Sheamus returns, would be interesting to see him win, but to be honest I’m kind of liking the idea of CM Punk winning the RR, just so I can see an Authority V Punk after Wrestlemania or at Wrestlemania.

            I think Mark Henry V Lesnar would just be slow and sluggish, can’t imagine that being a main event at Wrestlemania, then again I could be wrong.

            Last year was a bit predictable.. but yeah I agree, I’m looking forward to it aswell, CM Punk doesn’t have much of a storyline now.. Lesnar V Punk at WM for the championship? with Heyman? That could settle that feud once for all until after mania. Yeah… now I’m just overlooking it again. Bad habit.

          • Michael

            Triple H’s typical comments about CM Punk are true. No one out the IWC cares about Punk and the fact that he never once drew a 3.0 cable rating as champion (435 days) reflects that. And that was a horrible time in wrestling indeed.

          • Bob’s Diner

            Yawn… once again… bad ratings with Orton & Cena = lots of reasons why. Bad ratings with someone else as champ = blame that person entirely.

            Besides which, you are completely and utterly wrong – 34 episodes of Raw during his 434-day reign as champion scored a rating over 3.0. Including his first 2 weeks both scoring 3.2.

          • Mysterion

            Oh look. A man using THE INTERNET TO DISCUSS WRESTLING and missing the point entirely that he is an IWC member. People like you and Justin Lal spend all damn day bashing the IWC and yet don’t get the irony. It’s hilarious.

    • Razmos

      Batista was suppose to be a surprise entrant but his return was leaked by a venue who had him advertised for an event after the rumble, because of this leak they decided to publish his return as the surprise was already ruined, you cant have a surprise entrant if the eliment of surprise isnt there anymore.

    • Tim

      I’d rather him win then Sheamus. I just don’t want a recent winner to win.

  • kristolium

    wwe mentioned they are going internationally with the network but what about countries that were not mentioned?

    • Bob’s Diner

      They mentioned at the announcement that more countries would follow in time

      • JR Texx (Jamie)

        I think he lives in one of the countries where not mentioned for the WWE Network to be in.

        • Mysterion

          No shit?

  • Foamy

    If it is the WWE network, not much of a WORLD if it gonna take so long to launch here in the UK, surely been better to make it available to more countries. Not everyone can afford cable!

    • Bob’s Diner

      So… you get offered all this content at a reasonable price and you are upset because it is going to take a few months to make sure it is running properly before making it available in the UK? Be thankful it isn’t going on cable – then you would have had to wait years, if it all

    • EricDraven86

      You act as though this is the first entertainment product from America that takes longer to release to markets outside of North America….

    • the arbiter

      As someone who works in a similar field I can tell you that its not that easy to set up. Each country will have legal issues to work through around terms and conditions and payment. I know where I live the act of law that protects consumers differs from the US for example. Also, there is the IT infrastructure to set up and you want to ensure that you can handle the load of each country as it is added.

      This is a pretty big operation, i’m not suprised it took as long as it has to deliver.

  • Dave Barton

    Is the WWE Network programming going to be on-demand like Hulu, or scheduled like regular cable tv?

    • RJR

      it is going to be both. There will be 24/7 scheduling, but there will also be an enormous amount of archived shows (100,000+ hours worth, so they say). And whenever something airs for the first time on the WWE Network, they will automatically be archived for future viewing at any time. So, it’s kind of the best of both worlds. A TV network combined with a Netflix/Hulu dynamic.

      • RJR

        Sorry, got my numbers mixed up. I meant to say 1,500+ hours worth. That’s still a lot of archived footage, including every PPV in the histories of WWE, WCW and ECW. And they’ll add more as time goes on, including every episode of RAW and Nitro.

      • Bob’s Diner

        I’m really interested to see how the 24/7 schedule ends up looking – even with Legends House and repeats of Raw/Smacksown, that is a lot of hours to fill, so will be interesting what shows they use to fill it with. Nightly episodes of Raw and Nitro, perhaps? Maybe even old MSG shows? They mentioned historical stuff – so perhaps we’ll get to see Bruno Sammartino in action? The options are endless

  • RJR

    The answer to the Roman Reigns question doesn’t seem terribly well thought out. I think there is a large difference between hot-shotting him in to the main event scene and expecting him to be in a marquee matchup at Wrestlemania. The obvious Wrestlemania match would be a triple threat involving all three members of the Shield. And given the year+ long storyline involving the Shield, I don’t see how that could ever be considered a downgrade, especially since it’s very likely Reigns would go over in the match.

    • Gary Robert

      Very valid possibility with the current “who’s the best” story line brewing between the three of them at the moment. In terms of The Shield, the only thing I’m hoping for is NOT to break them up the same hum drum way they d every other faction.

      • Bob’s Diner

        Triple Threat for the US title

        • Gary Robert

          That would also be an added good idea!

    • Bob’s Diner

      The question specifically asked if Reigns should be winning the Royal Rumble. I don’t really think anyone can argue that would be hot-shotting him into the main event scene, and we all saw how well that worked out for Ryback. The Shield match is very much the more obvious route and it is much more likely he will get a midcard title run first, which is far more sensible. He has a long way to go before he is ready for the main event of WrestleMania

  • Gary Robert

    Batista better not win the goddamn Rumble.

    • JR Texx (Jamie)

      I don’t see him winning, I’m pretty sure he is going to be a part timer, so I don’t see how this benefits anybody.

      • Gary Robert

        Exactly why I don’t want to see it happen. Plus he bores me to no end. That being said, IS he part time? Have we been given info on his new contract?

        • JR Texx (Jamie)

          I’m pretty sure it has been listed here before, I can’t remember. Pretty sure it was.

      • Mysterion

        It’s almost like having a part time champion main event WrestleMania and WWE would never do that… Wait.

    • Jimmy

      I can picture Batista coming out at #29, everyone thinking he’s gonna win it. Then another returning superstar that was not advertised coming out at #30 and winning it.

      • Gary Robert

        as long as he doesn’t win…..hope this lame return opened up the eyes backstage. No one cares about him. He’ll get pops b/c they hate Orton….but thats the only reason.

  • Jasont2300

    Nahh, Punk will win the rumble, Batista will take the title at Elimination Chamber, Punk vs Batista at wm, Cena will fight Bryan or Wyatt at wm, taker vs Brock, Orton vs Triple H

    • Mysterion

      Thank Jesus you’re not booking it.

    • JR Texx (Jamie)

      I too think Punk will win the RR. Lesnar to take the championship to WM. Orton V Batista. I mean several years ago Cena did say at a press conference he wanted to face Undertaker at Wrestlemania so who knows.

  • Tim

    No returning star better win not Batista not Sheamus not Brock. Someone young needs to win it to establish the self more. I still don’t want roman to win. Even tho I love the whole shield story.

  • Tim

    Was it a million percent confirmed about Benoit killing his family. Not trying to upset anyone or thing. But what if his family was killed and he found them and couldn’t take it so he hung himself. Almost seven years is awhile to remember all the details. But maybe someone does.

    • Mysterion

      Yes. Chris killed his family. No one broke in and did it for him. He went home on the Friday before Vengeance, killed his wife, killed his kid, had a chat with his neighbour then hung himself. Their is no conspiracy theory with Benoit.