Note from John Canton: We are adding Adam J. to the TJRWrestling team starting with this column about the WWE App. He's a very qualified writer with a passion for the wrestling business. His columns will be featured weekly usually on Fridays or Saturdays. Enjoy!
In an age where it seems every company has some sort of app to represent their product, it’s no wonder WWE jumped on the technology bandwagon and created their own version. Some companies have apps where you can order food ahead of time (Chipotle) while others have apps for coupons for groceries or specials in their stores to entice the buyer to purchase the product from their location. Anyone can make an app for just about anything and market it. There’s even an app that measures how long you can hold a button down on your smartphone screen (Hold On). The amount of time and effort a company puts into their app makes all the difference when it comes to representing their brand. Thusly, the WWE app is a reflection of the current status of the company. It can also be considered an extension of what is important to WWE as well.
Having never viewed the WWE app before I decided to download it today before Raw to help assist me in my viewing pleasure. After all, I will only be able to watch exclusive content through the WWE App. After what felt like an eternity I am greeted with a WWE App that wants to verify and use my location? Why? Why is this necessary? Is Randy Orton going to come make a special appearance at my house? Will I be greeted by the Funkasaurus at the door? (Don’t let him in, he’d just make a mess of the place). I imagine the reason is to sell tickets to upcoming events, but if I’m a fan of WWE, I’m always checking their schedule for the latest info on live events anyway.
So the app loads and I’m greeted with a stunning Raw graphic along with Cena, Ryback and CM Punk greeting my entrance into the technologically savvy world of WWE. I wouldn’t have Ryback as one of the wrestlers to greet me to begin the app, maybe a Damien Sandow would have been a better choice. I wouldn’t pick the guy who is touted as a simple-minded bully-like figure to grace the cover of the app, just my two cents.
So I click the tap here button and thus loads the Raw page. And I am first greeted with a Doritos ad letting me know that two years ago today, Cody Rhodes beat Ezekiel Jackson for the Intercontinental Title in Sacramento. I then thought to myself, “Is Ezekiel Jackson still employed by WWE?”
I turn to the Superstars page which immediately lists ALL WWE SUPERSTARS, both past and present. With the search tab I simply put E thinking there wouldn’t be that many choices, especially many people’s names that start with E. Wrong choice.
Just one letter searches both first AND last names, or any part of their name that begins with an E.
It even gives me the NXT guys!
Big E Langston
And at the very bottom Ezekiel Jackson! He’s still considered to be a part of the Smackdown roster. So then I returned to the app itself and kept browsing. I thought it would be nice to review the results of Smackdown this past week having missed the show. But lo and behold, there are no results. I’ve missed the show and now if I want to see anything I have to re-watch the episode via the video clips made available to me from the app. What’s the point of the app if I am unable to review results?
Back to the Raw side of the app, and as I scroll down I am met with a mess of information regarding Raw, random tweets from wrestlers, and information that isn’t pertinent to what I want to see.
I see at the bottom of the Raw page a photo with the caption,
“Backstage Peek, Wade Barrett strokes his chin, that, up until last week had been adorned with a beard.”
I immediately tap on the photo thinking it leads to a video or some sort of dialogue about Barrett being upset with Daniel Bryan, but it’s nothing more than just a photo. Why? Was I meant to assume that Barrett would leave his face looking like a mangled malcontent after Daniel Bryan laid a path of razor destruction across his face? Why are you toying with me WWE?
The app is meant to allow fans to be interactive with its fans and join the conversation of Monday Night Raw. Since Raw trends on a weekly basis, have the ratings improved via their twitter mentions? Are people that invested in the product that they are willing to sit with an additional screen by their side in the hopes their tweeting attempt at being hilarious scrolls across the TV screen for a couple of seconds?
As I sit here and watch Raw, the app has become more of a distraction at this point and hasn’t added anything to Raw itself. Oh look! It’s an exclusive video of Great Khali winning the battle royal? But it hasn’t even aired yet! Upon further review it’s a video of a Battle Royal from 2012 on Main Event that Great Khali won. What a misleading title, since it’s dated today, August 12th, 2013. It also says it’s a “WWE App exclusive”. Really?
Oh look, a then and now photo of Brock Lesnar. It’s a before and after look of him and his phallic tattoo across his chest. Not the brightest idea in the world my friend.
I have to admit the superstar spotlight is nice, especially with the shop link right next to their profile as you watch their match, but why isn’t there a link to every active performer’s shop page when viewing the superstars section of the app? Why is it just limited to wrestler’s that are spotlighted? WWE is in the business of making money right? So why not have the shop button next to each performer? Sure, they have a Shop Page as well that takes you directly to the store, but even there you have to search for a specific performer. Why not cut out the middle man and just have it attached to each superstar? If you’re planning on shopping for a Daniel Bryan YES! Shirt, chances are you’re not also going to want a Jack Swagger ‘We The People’ shirt as well.
If you want to watch exclusive footage of rest holds during matches while the show is on commercial break, then the app is certainly for you. This app is meant to be interactive and keep you informed about the latest trends in WWE. There’s an entire twitter button at the bottom. Does it tell you the handles of your favorite superstars? Of course not, but if you want to connect with ‘Carlos Rodriguez’ @Irock12346 (what, 12345 was taken?), with the following eloquent statement, “#raw it’s stupid that bray wyatt just sits there and after the assault he just finishes the them”.
Bottom line, there is nothing this app provides that can’t be found on their own website. The exclusive content is sparse and not entertaining enough to warrant a download. If you like answering poll questions that WWE rigs anyway and reading nonsensical tweets from fans that don’t make sense this app is for you. The worst part of the app is the lack of results from each show.
One of the great advantages to having an app is providing information instantaneously to fans. What could make the app great is if you wanted to review the results of a particular episode of Raw or Smackdown just by putting the date in would be a terrific idea for the app. Furthermore, they could provide archived results for its other defunct shows like Superstars, Shotgun Saturday Night, Velocity or Sunday Night Heat. This app could be so much better if WWE put the time and effort into it, but it’s quite obvious based on the cluttered mess it is that a couple of twelve year-olds suffering from A.D.D. put this maligned piece of trash together.
Apps are meant to make things easier for people. They are meant to pass the time if you’re waiting (games, movies, books) or provide new information at one’s fingertips (WebMD) or allow people to network when necessary (Gmail, Twitter, Facebook). This app doesn’t provide any assistance in watching the WWE product. I’d much rather watch it without having to deal with my phone in one hand while I watch Titus O’Neill and his millions of dollars lose to Kane. WWE needs to hit the reset button with their app and start from scratch. The interface is awful and it’s a waste of time since most of this information is already available on their website.
Oh, this just in, apparently “European explorers dubbed Samoa the ‘Navigator Islands’ due to natives seafaring skills. Are the Usos shipshape?”
Ugh, time to erase this app before it destroys anymore brain cells.
A Bay Area native, Adam has been writing for over ten years at the-oratory.com and has been a lifelong fan of WWE, The Golden State Warriors and the SF Giants. A self-professed Disney nut, Adam is a proud father and husband. He is a graduate of University of California Santa Cruz and has a degree in Pre-Early Modern Literature.