WWE Network Over The Top; Concerns For Workers & Consumers, What We Cover, WWE Souring On Ryback?

With WWE Network being only available online and other devices that have the capability of streaming live TV, is Vince McMahon still pursuing bringing it to actual cable and satellite distributors?

No, Vince McMahon and WWE are going forward with the WWE Network as an over-the-top service. I ran an article here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com where Vince McMahon explained to the Los Angeles Times there were deals in place with major distributors that he refused to sign. His argument was they were too restrictive, despite members of his staff feeling that wasn't the correct move. The WWE Network as an over-the-top service completely changes my thoughts on it. By eliminating the distributors, WWE is able to have full control over its distribution. With the deep evolution of the Internet as well as smart phones and tablets, this is absolutely the right move. Cable and satellite distributors are some of the most corrupt organizations in this country. They have large monopolies where consumers are left with very few choices. In most cases, you have to go with the cable company available in your area or pick between DirecTV or Dish Network. As a result, the distributors can bully the networks by refusing to carry them unless they meet their demands.

Obviously DirecTV is already upset over losing WWE's pay-per-view business and from their standpoint, you can see why. However, from the consumer's standpoint, the consumer wins. By cutting out the traditional distributer, the consumer is left with more freedom and a lower price. This should also serve as a warning to cable and satellite distributors the business is changing and if they do not evolve, they'll end up like Blockbuster.

Aside from the distributors being ticked, do you see any other immediate concerns regarding the WWE Network?

The two biggest concerns currently up for discussion have to do with WWE talent and an issue regarding quality. First, a number of WWE workers are concerned about what this means for their pay-per-view bonuses. WWE performers booked for pay-per-views are given percentage bonuses based on the total number of buys that each show does. This is why everyone wants on the card for Wrestlemania because it's the most-bought show each year and provides the biggest payout. Vince McMahon is aware of the concerns and has plans to address them at next week's television tapings.

As for the consumer worries, I know international fans are already upset they have to wait. However, the situation is different depending on where you live. My immediate concern is the quality of programming. I subscribe to NBA League Pass Broadband and the service routinely has issues with lagging. Even if I bypass my wireless router and plug directly into my computer, there are sometimes issues where games are unavailable. This is also the reason I stopped ordering the Webcast of pay-per-views available on WWE.com. It does make me optimistic that WWE worked with MLB Advanced Media to build the platform. While I haven't used MLB.tv since 2010, the service used to work very well and from what people have told me, it's only gotten better. If there are widespread lagging issues, WWE is going to have a major problem on their hands.

Hypothetically, should Jeff Jarrett open a new promotion will you at WNW be following from day one to the extent you do WWE and TNA on account that it's Jeff Jarrett?

This is a hypothetical question but it's also a general question that is good for me to answer from time-to-time. We cover what the public is interested in. This is why our coverage of promotions such as Ring of Honor is inconsistent. If we think people want to know about it, we report it. We have a filter we put everything through and do so to establish standards that our readers deserve. Another reason why our coverage of ROH Wrestling is so inconsistent is the promotion's lack of communication with us. WWE and TNA routinely communicate with this website, which keeps them at the forefront. ROH used to do the same but haven't done so since the departure of Dave Lagana. Back to your question about Jeff Jarrett, if he were to start his own promotion with a group financed by a major country music star, there would be enough interest to spark our attention. However, it would be up to said company to follow-up with us by assigning us a Public Relations representative.

Ryback is known for being green and not the most polished wrestler. After this week's WWE Superstars taping, where he injured Dolph Ziggler, is WWE starting to sour against him?

Ryback being green and reckless is nothing new. It's an issue everyone in WWE is aware of yet they continue to put him in this position because of his size. There is concern about his in-ring work, with some even saying it's a source of backstage heat but I find his attitude more problematic. Further, I was annoyed with his joke about Lilian Garcia on this week's "Old School" episode of Raw. The ongoing joke, apparently started by Triple H, alluded to him "hanging out with Lilian Garcia" as the reason he was hoarse with the underlying factor being that people joke that Lilian has a "horse-shaped" face. I wasn't offended by it - I just saw it as a desperate attempt to make people at the top like him. In addition to the joke being old and played out, Ryback should be more focused on improving his own work. He's had more opportunities in WWE in anyone in recent memory and his behavior does him no favors when it comes to being green.

From the Ask WNW vault…

October 2012: I’ve read that you (along with others) feel WWE is making a mistake pushing Ryback in the main event for the WWE Championship this soon. But didn’t WWE do the same thing with Sheamus? My question is if it worked for him then why don’t you believe that it could work with Ryback as well? - I am diametrically opposed to the notion that Sheamus over John Cena for the WWE Championship at WWE TLC in December 2009 worked. Sheamus ended up developing into a main event talent but his title win was one of the most underwhelming in WWE history. The move received positive marks because it was over John Cena but I didn’t like it. I’m all for the element of surprise but strapping an unproven worker is a risky proposition that I’m not sure the reward outweighs the risk. I didn’t buy Ryback at all when he debuted but the character has grown on me as he “turns the corner” in terms of getting over. However, to take him from working indy call-ins to the WWE Champion and expecting the audience to be interested, seems a bit much. The gimmick needs more time and Ryback needs more seasoning. Neither of which are going to happen as Vince is hell bound on pushing him at the top but I fear the long-term outlook is not being considered.

The next installment of Ask WNW is scheduled to run on Monday, January 13, 2014.

Remember questions that are legible stand the best chance of getting answered. Check out the Ask WNW archive at this link.

  • Venom

    Triple H is the last person to make fun of someone’s face considering that giant beak of a nose he has.

  • Dave Barton

    Ahmed Johnson, Mark Henry, Sid Vicious…all big guys who kept hurting themselves. When is Ryback going to follow suit, instead of hurting everyone else?

    • I don’t root for anyone to get injured. Why not focus on getting better? Ryback had a good night on commentary but all anyone is talking about is the Lilian Garcia joke.

      • Dave Barton

        I’m not rooting for Ryback to injure himself, just questioning when it’ll happen. Ahmed, Mark, and Sid were never known for the grace in the squared circle, and neither is Ryback.

  • youcantnailher

    you were always right about Ryback

    • Venom

      While he may be right about Ryback it’s not like it was predicted he would be a sloppy worker down the road. He was sloppy from the beginning but he was getting a push from the beginning, kept doing the feed me more chants and fans ate it up.

      He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was really over while Randy Orton was being disciplined for his wellness violation, CM Punk was wwe champion, Bryan was over but not to the extent he’s in now, Cena got injured while the plan was was for Punk to face The Rock at Royal Rumble. He was in a no win situation. Then the Sheild debuted and which would have been bad if they were losing early on so ryback became a jobber.

      When ryback was being built he was being compared to Goldberg but now comparing them is a joke. They could have turned him face after Paul Heyman left him when they brought Lesnar back, have him win meaningful matches again and make fans believe he can beat Lesnar but they screwed him up. I’m not saying I’m a ryback fan and I want this to happen. But wwe could have made Bryan, ziggler and ryback big stars but again they shot themselves in the foot. In the last 10 years the only stars they have is Cena, Orton and in a distant it’s CM Punk and in a farther distant they tried with Sheamus, Miz and Del Rio.

      That’s pretty sad. While we love nostalgia I think the term has lost meaning in the last few years cuz wrestlemania is now that. They bring in part timers for the nice paycheck. Maybe I’m the rare mentality that being on wrestlemania should be a reward for all the hard work a performer put in all year whether it’s on tv or house shows. Being on wrestlemania is like NYE. But that’s just me.

  • Mike

    Triple H may have a big nose but unlike Ryback he has an amazing in-ring career behind him and is an all-time great and a shoe in for the WWE Hall Of Fame. Ryback should focus more on his in-ring skills than insulting people who are respected in WWE like Lillian Garcia. He has spent too long injuring other Superstars. Send him back to developmental and promote people that can wrestle like Sami Zayn and Adrian Neville

  • JR Texx (Jamie)

    Ryback has a great size and is getting chance after chance, I don’t get why he’s not making the most of it.

    • Nostaljack

      There’s this unwarranted sense of entitlement he feels because of his size. This site is littered with stories about how he complains when he’s not in the spot he wants to be in. He has earned absolutely *nothing* and is in no position to complain about anything. It’s this entitlement that keeps him from putting the real work in. Hopefully, that changes sooner than later. He had a very good look and he does have a certain charisma.

      • Batman

        ” It’s this entitlement that keeps him from putting the real work in. ”

        You know what, I think it’s less he feels entitled to it, and more than he KNOWS that they want to push him so can get away with not putting the real work in Because why put the effort in when they’re happy to keep pushing him when he doesn’t? He’s not got a bad sense of entitlement, he just knows he can get away with being shit because he has done so dozens of times.

  • Smexy “JAY” Shuffle

    This is probably one of the better Ask WNW that I have read in a long time! Nice one Richard! And great questions and are all relevant to today’s news.

  • Jay El Bee

    I read from someone that claims they were they were at Raw this week that the concussion wasn’t Ryback’s fault at all, Ziggler just landed wrong when he oversold the clothesline or something like that. Also what’s the real story behind Lilian Garcia and the horse and why do the dirtsheets always seem make a big deal out of it. It can’t just be because her face is “horse shaped” because it’s not, there has to be more to it than that.

  • Mike McCarthy

    “they’ll end up like Blockbuster.”

    I love it.

  • Tim

    Worried about the bonuses they say? Triple h, undertaker,john cenas pay combines to 10 million. Not even including merchandise and appearances. Wwe or nfl nba or mlb. All get paid way to much maybe not wwe tho but some do. The only ones that kinda deserve their pay is nhl.