WWE taking Main Event seriously because of the WWE Network

The Undertaker on Main Event. Image credit: WWE.com

For a long time, WWE Main Event was just another hour of WWE programming, taped before the big TV shows RAW and SmackDown.

Over the last few weeks though, Main Event has taken on a new importance; and that’s because of the WWE Network.

WWE have started airing Main Event live on Tuesday nights (the day it used to be taped on), one day before it airs on Ion Television. The reason behind this change is simple; make the WWE Network the primary destination for all of WWE’s content. And with Main Event being a tertiary programme, WWE had to do something big to attract the viewers.

First there was Daniel Bryan (the most popular wrestler in the company) vs Kane and a Tag Team Title match between The Usos and The New Age Outlaws.

Then on WWE Main Event on March 11, there were two title matches: AJ Lee defended her Divas Title against Natalya and Dean Ambrose defended the United States Title against Mark Henry. Ambrose defending his title is a rarity to begin with but the fact it aired on Main Event on the WWE Network shows that WWE really want people to tune in to see it live.

WWE’s most recent attempt to boost the status of Main Event was on Tuesday night, when the legendary Undertaker appeared. Taker did nothing more than a similar promo to the one he delivered on RAW a number of weeks ago, but still, he was there.

Whether WWE continues to put the big guns on Main Event in an attempt to increase the pull of the Network remains to be seen but it is at least refreshing to see WWE put care and attention into a show that falls way behind the priorities that are RAW and SmackDown.

NXT ArRIVAL announces the stars of NXT to the WWE Network

Cesaro and Sami Zayn embrace as a sign of respect. Image credit: WWE.com

NXT ArRIVAL took place last night as the first ever live-streamed show on the newly launched WWE Network.

Being the first ever live-streamed show on the Network, the show didn’t go without any troubles, but the show itself announced the wrestlers on the card to every WWE Network subscriber.

Headlining the show was Cesao vs Sami Zayn IV, Bo Dallas (c) vs Adrian Neville for the NXT Championship and Paige (c) vs Emma for the NXT Women’s Championship.

Cesaro vs Sami Zayn IV kicked off the show and did not disappoint. Both men put in stellar performances with Cesaro continuing to show his skillset that sees him as one of the top stars in the WWE at the minute. Sami Zayn, an NXT favourite, might have been unknown to many of the WWE Network subscribers watching, but not for long. Zayn, with the fans firmly behind him, gave Cesaro a run for his money and showed how versatile of a wrestler he is but fell just short. Expect to see Zayn on the main roster soon.

Paige vs Emma was kicked off by Stephanie McMahon, signifying how important WWE see these two Divas from NXT. Paige is a very different Diva to the Divas you see on WWE TV every week and backed up her unique look with some unique moves rarely seen from WWE wrestlers, never mind Divas. These two had a very good match that put all of the Divas matches on WWE TV to shame and showed the fans that Emma is more than just a comedic sidekick for Santino Marella. Paige retained the title.

The last of the three big matches on the NXT ArRIVAL card was Bo Dallas vs Adrian Neville for the NXT Championship in a ladder match. As good as Bo Dallas and Adrian Neville are, this match was always going to have a hard time living up to the ridiculously high standards set at the outset by Cesao and Zayn. This is not to say that this match was bad by any stretch of the imagination; Neville’s high-flying and Bo Dallas’ cunning character traits meant this match was equal parts interesting and action packed. Adrian Neville defeated Bo Dallas to become the new NXT Champion after delivering his spectacular finisher, the Red Arrow.

Elsewhere, Mojo Rawley defeated CJ Paker, the NXT Tag Team Champions defeated Attitude Era favourites Too Cool (Scotty 2 Hotty and Grandmaster Sexay) and Alexander Rusev attacked Tyler Breeze and Xavier Woods, dominating the two wrestlers that were scheduled for a match.

NXT ArRIVAL was just the start of NXT on the WWE Network. While a lot of fans have been watching NXT for a while, there is doubt that more people now have access to it through the WWE Network. The Network should give NXT the attention it deserves and a continued place for the stars of tomorrow to practice their craft before being called up to the main roster.

Check out videos from NXT ArRIVAL here.

Elimination Chamber, WWE Network, Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker return. Analysing a very busy few days in the WWE.

The Undertaker strides to the ring, glaring at Brock Lesnar. Image credit: WWE.com

What a few days it has been in the WWE. First the Elimination Chamber, which provided a number of big talking points, then the long-awaited WWE Network launched and then WWE bought back the legendary Hulk Hogan and the iconic Undertaker on RAW. Time to analyse all of the big talking points from the last two days.

Elimination Chamber: The Shield and The Wyatt Family tear it up

Wow. What a match we were treated to on Sunday night at the Elimination Chamber PPV. The anticipation and expectation had reached a fever pitch, even before the match had begun. After both teams made their respective entrances and engaged in a pre-match stand-off, the fans began chanting “this is awesome” before the match had even started.

Once the match started though we were treated to a fantastic match. Each individual character shone brightly at different stages in the match; Ambrose’s volatility boiled over in a pre-match brawl, Rollins’ high flying athleticism was showcased in a great spot with Luke Harper and Reigns’ power and strength was demonstrated throughout. As for The Wyatt Family; Rowan provided the craziness, Harper showed a degree of athleticism never seen before from The Wyatts and Bray Wyatt, the leader of the cult, showed that he is not just a character; he can wrestle, too.

The match was a brilliant clash of two brilliant teams and with the crowd duelling with themselves chanting each team’s name, the match had a fantastic atmosphere to boot.

The Shield face off against The Wyatt Family. Image credit: WWE.com

Elimination Chamber: Daniel Bryan screwed again

Elsewhere at the Elimination Chamber PPV, Daniel Bryan had the match won before Kane interjected, distracting Bryan and allowing Randy Orton to RKO Bryan for the win. This left the fans smarting and booing the finish, but really there was no other outcome. Randy Orton was always going to retain and go on to the WrestleMania title match against Batista. However, that did not soften the blow. Bryan had been screwed over again, a theme that has been running since SummerSlam last year. Orton vs Batista remains the main event of WrestleMania 30 while Daniel Bryan looks elsewhere for challenges.

The WWE Network

At 9am EST on Monday the WWE Network finally launched. At $9.99 a month and with a one week free trial you get to watch all of the PPVs WWE produces in the year, as well as a massive on-demand library of past WWE, WCW and ECW shows, live, original programming and weekly WWE TV Shows. The only catch is it is currently only available in The United States of America.

I did find success in using a friend’s American address to sign up for the free trial, though, and I found the content available very exciting. As a wrestling fan there is so much content for you to sink your teeth into that it actually becomes a task in itself simply deciding what to watch. The on-demand content streamed fine and in good quality on both a laptop and an iPad, but the live content was unavailable to watch from the UK. The WWE have since blocked all UK users using this method to access the Network, but with the live programming an issue anyway, it may be worth holding off on the Network until it officially launches in the UK and other territories later this year and early next year. If you do want to access the WWE Network, you can subscribe to a DNS-changing service and it does work that way.¬†

What the WWE Network does is changes the dynamic of how wrestling is provided to fans. Currently, WWE’s TV shows will take a while to be able to watch on-demand on the Network, because of the current TV deals the WWE has in place. Even so, the sheer amount of content available, with more being added as time goes on, is mind-blowing. There’s WCW, ECW and WWE content spanning years and there is something for everyone to watch. It really is a game-changer.

Hulk Hogan is all smiles on RAW. Image credit: WWE.com

Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker return on RAW

With the WWE Network out to the masses, Monday Night RAW was always going to be huge in terms of turning viewers into subscribers. Enter Hulk Hogan, who returned to the WWE after a long hiatus and a stint in TNA. Hogan opened the show to a huge ovation, and provided all the classic Hogan-isms that the fans wanted to see, brother. Hogan plugged the WWE Network, and reminded everyone that he will be the host of WrestleMania 30 and then went on his way.

Later in the night, Brock Lesnar was in the ring with a contract for a WrestleMania match. Then, all of a sudden, the famous gong went off and The Deadman returned. The Undertaker has been missing from WWE since a brutal beatdown from The Shield last year, and as it is WrestleMania season, it was time for The Undertaker to return. Taker strode to the ring, pointed at the WrestleMania sign, signed the contract for a match with Brock Lesnar and then proceeded to chokeslam Lesnar through a table. Drama, excitement and a very simple way to announce a WrestleMania 30 match.

WrestleMania 30 begins to take shape

So Hogan has returned and announced he will be the host of WrestleMania 30. The Undertaker has returned to challenge Brock Lesnar. Daniel Bryan, as I mentioned earlier, is looking for a challenge. On RAW, Bryan challenged Triple H to a match at Wrestlemania, which The Game shrugged off and disrespectfully declined; don’t let that fool you though. Bryan vs Triple H will surely happen at WrestleMania as it will give Daniel Bryan the chance to finally get back at the authority figure that has been holding him down and screwing him over for months. It should provide a good WrestleMania moment for Daniel Bryan, even if it’s not the title win that the fans have been clamouring for for months.

WrestleMania 30 will take place on Sunday, April 6th at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.