Friday, February 28, 2014

Dead on Arrival

Most people who tuned into the WWE Network's first live in-ring event seem to agree the "kids" who performed on "NXT ArRival" did an excellent job. Unfortunately, most of us also didn't get to see everyone's performance.

The feed froze, then jumped to the home screen during Tyler Breeze's entrance. When we tried to get back to the live program, a flurry of issues occurred, from it starting over to it going live for a few seconds before jumping back to Breeze's entrance and freezing again. Eventually, I, at least, gave up on the program for the night.

At one point, WWE recommended on social media that anyone experiencing problems with the feed should "log out, uninstall the WWE app, reboot the (device), then reinstall the app again." The problem is, by the time a person goes through all these steps, quite a bit of a live program has been missed. Yes, we could rewind and watch what was missed, but that misses the point of watching it live.

Could you imagine having to troubleshoot in this manner during WrestleMania in April? What if the feed goes out during Undertaker's entrance and we end up missing what could possibly be his last match?

That is why I, for one, am not confident in the WWE's ability to deliver WrestleMania on this platform at the moment. ArRival was the test for me. It was a 2-hour program which probably didn't draw as many viewers as a typical PPV would. WrestleMania is twice as long and draws the most viewers. I know this is new and glitches should be expected, but WrestleMania is too big of an event for glitches to be a concern.

In fact, WWE Network issued this statement to subscribers early Friday morning:

During tonight's live "NXT ArRival" special, we unfortunately experienced technical difficulties, which are to expected when launching a new digital network. We will work aggressively to solve these glitches and deliver quality service. The complete event will be available on-demand overnight.

Unfortunately, "work aggressively" is also being used as the answer to Xbox users' inability to even log in to app. Yes, that's on Microsoft's head, but, at last check, they haven't seen results since the WWE Network launched on Monday.

If the situation was the other way around, with the performances failing and the feed being excellent, I would have been happier. I would have felt good about watching WrestleMania on this new format. I probably would have even understood why we keep getting the recycled Superstars in main events instead of seeing the younger talent get a chance.

This network is on the cutting edge of broadcasting sporting events, and it would be great to see it work and how it impacts more mainstream sports. Unfortunately, if the glitches continue, I fear it could end up like the XFL.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Technical Issues

Hulkamania was running wild on the "Today Show" this morning to promote WrestleMania 30 on the WWE Network. Unfortunately, the WWE Network is driving many wild in the wrong way.

First of all, one reason businesses like WWE offer a free trial for the first week is because, while they hope everything runs smoothly, they anticipate problems. Whenever any business has a huge launch, whether it's Target or the government, the number of people trying to access it overwhelms the system in some way, shape or form, and people are unhappy. So, if a trial is possible, it's the smart move for a business to take.

The trial period is also the chance for customers to test out the product and see if it is worth their money. On paper, the WWE Network is a great deal even if all you want is to watch WrestleMania and Summer Slam. But, if the quality isn't good, it won't be worth the hassle.

And, right now, on the start of the third day, it is still a hassle for many. It appears those with XBox 360 still can't even log in. Others, like me, can't watch an old PPV without it freezing after a few minutes then going back to the menu screen.
(Image source unknown-circulating on social media)
(On a positive note, the first live broadcast, the Raw Pre-Show, worked without issues. I'm still waiting to see what NXT ArRival looks like on Thursday night.)

Yesterday, WWE issued a statement via social media that issues would be resolved by 6 p.m. When the issues were not resolved, fans made sure to come back and post their unhappiness. This morning, another statement was issued that they were "working aggressively to fix log-in issues."

The log-in issues are definitely the biggest issues the network is facing. Yes, many of these people have reported being able to log-in on their computer, but who wants to watch a sporting event, even a scripted one, on a computer monitor when you could be watching it on a big flat-screen TV?

In time for my issue, the fad of having access to all this programming will die, and all I will really care about are the first-run programs, like ArRival, Legends House (which premieres in April, for those of you complaining about that being "missing") and the current PPV. I don't exactly have the time to watch every single PPV ever made, anyway. Oh, and it's not like don't have a bunch of those matches already available on various WWE DVDs.

So, as of now, patience is the key. And, on another positive note, could you imagine if this network was launched April 5? So, if you really think about it, WWE gave themselves more than a month to get things in order before their biggest draw to network, as proven by today's morning show appearance, goes live.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


If you have Dish as your television provider, you'll have to find another way to watch the Elimination Chamber PPV on Sunday. In true pro wrestling fashion, Dish took its ball and went home over its displeasure with the WWE Network debuting Monday.

In a response to a customer complaint on Facebook last night, Dish said, "We need to re-focus our efforts to support partners that better serve DISH customers. Other satellite and cable companies, including DIRECTV, have also expressed they may no longer provide WWE PPV events in the future."

But, as reported in Variety, Dish said, "As WWE enters the increasingly fragmented media world by themselves, Dish will continue to consider the value of WWE pay-per-view on an event by event basis."

I suppose that means if the backlash is bad enough, especially with WrestleMania coming up next, Dish could change its mind to keep customers. After WWE announced Dish's decision on Facebook yesterday, many fans with Dish threatened to switch to another provider, like DirecTV.

While some think it isn't a big deal since the WWE Network will provide all PPVs, the network does not launch until after this PPV, and this PPV will not be available to watch immediately on the network. That means anyone with Dish will either need to find another way to watch the Elimination Chamber or cut their losses.

To help, WWE provided on their Facebook page all the alternatives Dish customers have to watch the Elimination Chamber:

In New Jersey, Buffalo Wild Wings locations are showing the Elimination Chamber, according to The site also lists the Fox & Hound in Edison, Hooters in Wayne, Pub 46 in Clifton, and the Tilted Kilt in Wayne as places to watch the PPV.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Love, Professional Wrestling Style

For Valentine's Day, I could run through the best wrestling weddings, but I've done that before. I could talk about how lovingly Stephanie always looks at Triple H whenever he's talking on camera, but there's not much more to that. I could tell you about the new WWE video blog series starring newlyweds Cody and Brandi Rhodes, but you can just watch it here.

No, and I'm not even going to give you a DX-type promo for the new HBK DVD.

I'm going to talk about the latest wrestling break-up. And, of course, the only way to settle their differences was in the ring.

Sometimes, it's kinda frowned upon to throw a woman in a match against a man. Considering it's all staged and the women train with the men anyway, I have no problem with it, especially if the woman shows she can hold her own against the man. It can show girls watching to stand up for themselves and show boys not to underestimate girls.

Chris Sabin isn't exactly the biggest guy (or the smartest) on the roster, so it was credible that Velvet could take him. She showed bravery and intelligence, until the unexpected happened.

See, usually in these matches, a man comes out to help the woman. The woman somehow becomes a damsel who needs to be saved, and sometimes even looks like a slut by some implied relationship with the second man.

But, in this match, it was Sabin who was saved by another woman. A new Knockout (Alpha Female, according to Diva Dirt-- yeah, I did some research) who looked like the female version of Nuclear Man from "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace." You know, the "I will hurt people" guy. In fact, you know how that Nuclear Man had Superman's DNA? It almost looked like this newbie was made from Velvet's and maybe Chyna's DNA.

I'm assuming Alpha will be more of the body guard type rather than girlfriend type, at least at first, considering she carried Sabin out on her shoulders. Yeah. That's where the Chyna part comes in.

This certainly wasn't the best break-up in wrestling history, but it is a great fantasy example of how to break up the day before Valentine's Day. She got to hit him in the balls twice, while he was able to get his revenge without being the one to hit her, and neither have to worry about getting a gift during a snowstorm.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Rumor Mill

Two big rumors have been circulating lately and, for now, that's simply all they are- rumors.

It's true the rumor that MVP was the investor came true in TNA, but, let's face it- he wasn't the only one rumored for the role.

The first one is that The Rock will play Green Lantern in either the Superman/Batman movie or the Justice League movie or both. Yes, The Rock did tweet that he talked to WB execs about a role in a DC film a while back, but no role was mentioned.

Green Lantern John Stewart is a Marine and probably the most mainstream black superhero. I'm not sure if his charisma would be able to come through in this role, so this rumor isn't a lock for me, but it's not like other casting decisions for this movie have made much sense to the geeks at this point. I also cannot think of a DC superhero or villain The Rock has GOT to be to counter the Green Lantern rumors.

The other big rumor involves Stacy Keibler. Either she's coming back or going into the Hall of Fame. All of this started after she was seen talking to Stephanie McMahon at an event. When asked by a follower, McMahon admitted to seeing Keibler.

For all we know, they could have been talking about their mutual love of TLC, the Affordable Care Act or how good of a kisser is George Clooney. But, of course, the two rumors were started.

It would be great to see Keibler back, but we have so many young, talented Divas just getting attention right now, that it may be a disservice to them. Hall of Fame could be possible, but there are already two big ticket-selling names going in that I'm not sure if she would be a choice for this year. Also, while I certainly like her and think she probably is a future Hall of Famer, there are other women who did more for the wrestling business who more deserving at this point.