Finally, the WWE Network has come back to the UK.
I was pretty excited to read that the WWE Network was finally ready to launch here in the UK yesterday, following the announcement of its delay in November – mere minutes before it was set to go.
I was even happier to read on Digital Spy on Sunday that it was already a-go – only a couple of days early but still a good long weekend of viewing for viewers.
Without hesitation I signed up on Sunday morning and enjoyed a full day’s viewing of old and new WWE programming, starting with the end of this week’s NXT which was definitely a revelation when I first saw it on Sky Sports a while back. I’ve got to say, the live PPV every month is all well and good – certainly better than paying twice the price for just the one event through Sky Box Office – but I’m more excited about being able to get into the archives, not just for the WWE/WWF but also WCW, to educate myself on the ratings juggernaut that was Nitro – and the mess that was 1999/2000 WCW live pay-per-views.
So here’s what I’ve enjoyed so far – I’ve yet to watch a full PPV event but the following have tided me over nicely.
The Monday Night War
The brand new documentary series examining the history of the two major wrestling companies as WCW Monday Nitro went into direct competition against Monday Night Raw.
While there are plenty of interesting tidbits and anecdotes from all the major players involved, there’s some seriously heavy bias running throughout which kinda taints the whole thing. I’ve watched a good few episodes so far, though I’m not at all interested in watching the antics of DX who appear to have their own episode, and am looking forward to seeing the rest.
Hulk Hogan v Sting – Starrcade 97
First brought to my attention by the Attitude Era Podcast, this match was nearly 18 months in the making, with Sting’s attempt to destroy nWo leader Hollywood Hulk Hogan signposted as a sure conclusion to the feud.
While fans rightly expected Sting to let out his pent-up rage on Hogan, what viewers got was actually a fairly one-sided match the other way round. Hogan even managed to deliver his leg-drop finisher and get a three count, though referee Nick Patrick was supposed to make it a crooked fast count (he didn’t). Whether Hogan was simply playing up his creative control or the bookers just did a horrible job of this blow-off match, the storyline was set to go on…and on…and on…
Royal Rumble match – Royal Rumble 1996
Thanks to my excellent sound syncing skills (and no thanks to my below-par internet connection) I was able to watch the ’96 Rumble match along with the commentary supplied by the New Generation Project podcast in their latest episode. The Rumble match is one of my favourite events and this one was pretty good too – though the work of the alternative commentary certainly added to the fun. It’s got me looking forward to this year’s match too – expected Reigns win aside.
Vince McMahon vs Shane McMahon – Wrestlemania 17
And finally just for the amazing move which concludes the match, I watched father and son go to war in a fondly-remembered highlight of what’s generally regarded as the greatest Wrestlemania of all time.
Oof, that bin shot.
I could do with your help here, fellow Network viewers – I’m looking for recommendations of good ECW and bad WCW shows from the archives. Let me know in the comments or by sending a tweet to @AlpSig5.