Growing pains aside, now's the time for WWE Network to strike.
Since its debut last winter, the WWE Network has been under a microscope. Wrestling fans were excited, while detractors were baffled. (Although, they weren't not as baffled as lapsed fans that collectively asked, "Is this still on?). An online network strictly dedicated to the nation's favorite sports-entertainment hybrid was doomed to fail, right?
As a fan of professional wrestling (and sports-entertainment) for over twenty years, I find myself caught in the middle. I have the network, paying the oft-repeated tagline of "$9.99". When I do flip it on, I enjoy what I see and I thoroughly enjoy having monthly Pay-Pay-Views bundled with the admission price. However, sometimes I find myself going weeks without watching the network. I'm aware of the thousands of hours of content at my disposal, but without context (or more accurately, remembering the circumstances surrounding the actual matches), I only tap into the library when a wrestler (or "superstar") pops into my head. For example, I watched this match last night.
Yes, the irony of that same match being on YouTube for free isn't lost on me. Some of the programs I love are shows like "Countdown," which as its name suggests, picks a topic and ranks the entries from ten to one. To me, that's the kind of playing with and remixing the content that Titan Towers needs to act as a gateway to the other things. Or how about some of these ideas?
The Return of Tuesday Night Titans
The original program was devised as a send up to late night talk shows. Why not bring that back? Performers not involved in major story lines can appear as guests, as well as celebrities who are fans of the product. Why not take it a step further and have the audience interact with the show like Comedy Central's @midnight.
Okay, I'm not asking for 12 Rounds: The Series. I think having an original program or two can break up the static visual of wrestling ring onscreen at all times. Perhaps an irreverent sitcom featuring talent or a one-hour drama about the business behind the scenes. Okay, the second premise could be grounds for a comedy as well, but what I was thinking was more like a Playmakers type of show. Does anyone even remember Playmakers? What about Entourage? Are the kids still into that? Would that be something you would be interested in?
You have Total Divas (reruns), what about a male-centered companion program? A program featuring the crew and their lives on the road would be interesting. Perhaps a show revolving the granting special fans "once in a lifetime experiences" could work too. Whether it's giving that family of four tickets to SummerSlam or witnessing a Make-a-Wish being granted, there's a lot of ground to cover there.
Steve Austin's podcast appearance on the network, in which he interviewed WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, got mainstream media coverage.
Sure, it was for a bunch of other reasons, but the platform definitely is there for more podcast programs to be featured on the network.