New year, new column. Welcome to the debut of the WWE Week in Review. This is yet another new column from me. I swear I don’t have (diagnosed) ADD but I may when it comes to writing about wrestling. In my time at TJR I’ve covered WWE NXT, TNA iMPACT, WWE SmackDown and WWE Main Event. I’ve even taken a try at my own columns called The Diagnosis, The RAW Rewind and Retro Wrestling. We’ll stick with this until another shiny toy comes along and I get distracted and come up with something new.
So, what is the WWE Week in Review? It is going to be my take on the five biggest stories coming out of WWE in the past week. The stories can be related to what’s happening in the ring such as Big Show and Brock Lesnar’s match at the Royal Rumble. Or, they can be about stuff happening outside the ring such as signings, releases and maybe even a revolutionary new way to watch wrestling. Basically, whatever comes up during the week that is WWE related that I want to talk about will be in this column.
This column is designed to get you up to date on the most important things happening in WWE before the new week starts. The WWE week traditionally starts on Monday with RAW. Since this column will be posted on Sundays, the day of a PPV there will be NO WWE Week in Review. Instead I will do a Retro Wrestling column. I could explain why but it probably wouldn’t make sense. Just know that in my head it does make sense.
Got all that? Ok, let’s get to the Week in Review.
WWE Week in Review 1/6/14-1/12/14
1. WWE announces a start date for WWE Network.
Loved ones and business associates of wrestling fans only have until February 24 at 11:05pm to enjoy or get use out of them. At that exact moment, WWE Network goes live. The long awaited announcement finally came from Las Vegas on Wednesday night when Vince McMahon and other WWE executives and Superstars told us just what WWE Network will be. So, what is WWE Network going to be? Well, in case you’ve been living under a rock since Wednesday night I’ll tell you. In short, it is Netflix for wrestling fans. It will be an online streaming service will have access to WWE’s vast library of wrestling programming. At the onset of the Network you will be able to watch every WWE, WCW and ECW PPV whenever you want. Yes, you read that right, EVERY PPV from the Big Three. As time goes on WWE will add other footage of those three companies including TV shows and other specials. If that’s not enough, WWE Network will be a linear channel with regularly scheduled programming. NXT and Superstars will now have a home inside the USA and there will be new programming such as pre and post game shows for RAW and SmackDown, WrestleMania Rewind and Legends’ House. All this for the awesome price of $9.99 a month. Ready to hand over your money? Hold on a second because that is not all. Every single monthly PPV will air live on the Network for no extra charge, in HD, including WrestleMania.
You have to give WWE Network a six month commitment when you sign up. I’ve heard people complain about that but think of this. If you sign up and watch WrestleMania and nothing else, you broke even. Most cable carriers charge close to if not more than $60 for WrestleMania in HD. You can watch the Network through the App on tablets, smart phones, computers, X-Box 360 and PS3 and 4. I’m sure there are other ways to watch it but those are the main ones.
I’ve heard complaints about the Network being a streaming service and not a traditional channel but I love that WWE went this route. This is the future of TV and Vince McMahon is there first again. Just like he was with PPV and syndication. Anything you want, anytime you want it all at your fingertips.
This is literally the most awesome thing I’ve ever heard of. If this doesn’t make you happy as a wrestling fan, nothing will. There’s really nothing to be disappointed about with the Network. My one pessimistic thought is that since WrestleMania is the first PPV to stream on the Network there may be some bugs that have to be worked out. It is a good sign that they are working with MLB who do an excellent job with their own streaming of live baseball games with the MLB At Bat app. So, hopefully that partnership will erase any kinks there may be in the streaming of WrestleMania.
Besides this being the end all, be all for wrestling fans, it’s going to save me a ton of money. Unless the Yankees or New York Giants are on up against a PPV, I order every WWE PPV. That’s roughly $540 a year on PPV. With the Network it’s only going to $120 a year and you’re going to get all that extra content to watch during the week. If you looked up “no-brainer” in the dictionary, the WWE Network would be there.
I can’t wait for WWE Network to go live. I will be signing up for it the second you can and then will grow fat and lazy laying on the couch with my iPad on my belly streaming WWE Network until I go blind.
2. Daniel "Wyatt" debuts on RAW.
After the cliffhanger with Daniel Bryan joining the Wyatts two weeks ago, he made his debut as a Wyatt in a losing effort with Harper and Rowan against the Usos and Rey Mysterio this past Monday. The loss came about after some miscommunication with Harper and Bryan. Bryan later on said that he joined the Wyatts to teach and learn to become a monster. He will team up Bray Wyatt to face The Usos this week.
Part of me thinks that the miscommunication he had with Harper wasn’t an accident. We’ll find out if it was or not based on how the match goes down on Monday. I say that because I think Bryan joined the Wyatts to destroy them from within. Maybe he figured the only way to beat them is to infiltrate them. I don’t know for sure. It doesn’t seem like a real heel turn because he hasn’t been treated as such by the announcers.
There has to be some sort of big babyface payoff for Bryan in this angle. After how hot he was they can’t have him play second fiddle in a heel group to a rookie. I heard a report that WWE stuck him with the Wyatts to cool him down after the way the crowd hijacked the main event segment on RAW before the TLC PPV. I hope to God that isn’t true. Instead of giving the fans what they want, you basically bury a guy? I can’t believe that Triple H and Vince McMahon are that egotistical and blatantly stupid because a guy got over more than they wanted him to. It’s not unprecedented though. Remember Zack Ryder? Exactly. To be fair to Ryder he was never positioned as a WWE Championship contender, which makes this, if true even worse.
3. Dolph Ziggler suffers a second concussion.
This past Monday prior to RAW, Ziggler battled Ryback in a match taped for Superstars. That sentence should really tell you all you need to know about how far those two fell since WrestleMania. I was at WrestleMania 29. The crowd was hot for Ziggler to cash in Money in the Bank all night and when it was apparent he wasn’t going to it was one of the biggest let downs of the night. The next night he did cash in and it led to one of the best reactions of 2013. Then shortly after that he suffered a concussion after a misplaced kick by Jack Swagger. Ziggler sat out almost two months, lost the title in his first match back and he has ultimately been floundering since then.
I know the treatment of Ziggler’s push or lack thereof has angered a lot of WWE fans but now, at only 33 years old, I hope his career isn’t over. When a person suffers one concussion they become more likely to suffer a second. Ziggler has proven that fact after suffering his second in nine months. As much as I love Dolph Ziggler the wrestler, I hope Nick Nemeth the person does what’s best for his health. He doesn’t need to risk permanent injury to perform for us. No wrestler owes that much to the WWE or the fans.
4. The Beast vs. The Big Show is on for the Royal Rumble.
After Brock Lesnar decided to break the arm of Mark Henry on RAW, The Big Show of all people came out to stand up to The Beast. It was announced to the public on SmackDown that Show would face Brock at the Royal Rumble.
On one hand, it’s great that we don’t have to wait until WrestleMania to see Lesnar in the ring again but on the other hand, The Big Show, really? I have no problem with Show but I can’t get excited for any match that he’s in regardless of whether it’s against Lesnar or not. I can and will begin to describe to you how this makes no sense either. During Daniel Bryan’s entire title chase, The Big Show was being poised as the bigger star and to WWE’s credit, they got the majority of the fans to buy into Show. Then it was his turn to challenge Randy Orton and what happened? The match flopped and he lost clean. What about that big payoff to the nonsensical broke Big Show angle? There wasn’t one. He never faced Triple H and in fact just kind of showed up in a Tag Team Championship match at the TLC PPV. Quite the drop. Then it looked like he and Rey Mysterio were going to challenge for the titles but that was dropped in favor of Show dancing like a baby in a diaper. Then all of a sudden he’s a big bad ass again taking a shot at Lesnar. The booking of Big Show is head scratching to say the least. In fact it seems more like someone is ball scratching instead of thinking of ways to book Big Show.
Anyway, I’m not excited for the match but I can’t wait to see Lesnar kill Show with an F-5. It’s nothing new but we haven’t seen it in about ten years so it’ll feel new.
5. Mae Young has not passed away but is gravely ill.
We were made aware of Young’s condition after WWE contacted her to appear on Old School RAW and her family informed WWE of how sick she was. When you hear the words “hospice care” you know it isn’t good. We learned that she was taking off of life support and that her time on this Earth was drawing to a close. Then on Thursday morning the wrestling world was informed that she had passed away. Everyone that every worked with her or saw her perform mourned the loss of the legendary woman wrestler. Then just a short time later the report stating her death was proven to be false. Mae is still fighting as of this writing but there is no denying that she is still very ill with the gravest of outcomes still likely at any moment.
Mae Young is going to be remembered for being a pioneer in woman’s wrestling and someone that wasn’t afraid to take a risk or embarrass herself to entertain the fans in her later years. None of us will ever forget her getting Powerbombed off the stage by Bubba Dudley. I am however hoping I forget her giving birth to a hand.
Let’s close this out with the WIR Awards. There’s only two so don’t get all excited.
Wrestler of the Week- CM Punk
Match of the Week- Roman Reigns vs. CM Punk (RAW 1/6/14)
Well, that’ll wrap up the first edition of the WWE Week in Review. I would love to hear from all of you to let me know what you think of the column and what you may want to see in future editions. This is my first try at this so I’m willing to tinker to make this more enjoyable for you, the readers.
PS- Please go easy on me with the images. It's my first time inserting them into the body of the column. I'm not exactly savvy at that type of stuff.
(That’s what she said.)
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Thank you for reading.