For nearly five years, the WWE Network has been heaven for any WWE fan.
The ability to watch WWE programming all in one place has been great. Fans can watch every WWE, WCW and ECW PPV whenever they want, as well as thousands of hours of original programming.
However, it isn’t perfect. There are a lot of things that WWE could do to improve the Network. Some of what I have selected might happen, others probably won’t. WWE have promised sweeping changes for later in the year. Here are 5 things I think they should do to improve the WWE Network.
1. Better Search Capabilities
This is a huge pain for a lot of fans. Often when trying to search for one match, they’ll get a whole host of pointless segments and matches that have no relation to it. For example, I tried to search for a HBK vs. Triple H match and got a bunch of Triple H vs. The Undertaker matches, or HBK vs. Jericho bouts. At times it feels like it’s more of a lucky dip rather than a refined search. When WWE update the Network, they’ll need to properly understand what people want when they’re searching for something. I don’t see any Undertaker matches when I’m looking for a Triple H match or vice versa. WWE needs to have smarter searching soon because it’s beginning to annoy people.
2. Bring All WWE Affiliated Promotions Onto the Network
It feels like at least once a year, there’s always rumours that WWE is about to put all of their affiliated promotions onto the Network. This would mean that British promotions such as Progress and ICW, as well as German company WxW and American company Evolve would be coming to the WWE Network.
In my opinion, now is the perfect time to do it.
WWE already sends out people to these companies anyway. ICW, WxW, and Progress have WWE signed athletes as champions at the moment (The Progress World Championship, Progress Atlas Championship, the WxW Women’s Championship, ICW Women’s Championship, and ICW Zero-G Championships are all currently held by wrestlers signed to WWE). If they put the companies onto the Network, it allows WWE fans to see some new wrestlers, as well as earlier incantations of some of their favourite stars. Granted, some of it will need a lot of disclaimers (Some of Progress’s early work would need A LOT of disclaimers in particular), but WWE produced a lot worse in the Attitude Era, so that wouldn’t be a huge problem. With more and more people watching these promotions due to their relationships with WWE now is the perfect time to put them on the Network and remind everyone just how good Indy wrestling is right now.
3. Tiered Pricing Structures
This is the one most likely to happen. For the past couple of years, there have been rumours that Vince McMahon wants to introduce a tiered pricing structure for the WWE Network. It does make sense. Why pay extra for things you don’t watch? There’s no point in paying all that money if you’re never gonna watch the product.
A tiered pricing structure would benefit both the company and the fans. It’d please the company simply because they’d get more money, and perhaps more subscribers, and it would please the fans because they’d be allowed to choose how much they’d watch.
For example, you could pay £5 a month and that’d allow you to watch the live stream as well as the latest PPV. The £9.99 one could stay as it is, because if it isn’t broken, then you don’t need to fix it. Then, harking back to my last point, you could pay £15 a month for the WWE affiliated shows, as well as more original programming and documentaries (All prices are just guessing at this point). Admittedly, I can’t imagine a lot of people would be willing to pay £15 a month, but WWE would be able to convince enough people to subscribe for it to be a success in my opinion.
4. More Documentaries
One of the best things about the WWE Network is the original programming it has. Sure, there are a few terrible ones (Ride Along, that stupid Jerry Springer show, etc). However, the best programmes are always the documentaries they show about the WWE Superstars. The Chronicle series with Roman Reigns as he announces his battle with and then his remission of leukemia, in particular, was absolutely fantastic.
There needs to be more of these.
The reason why they’re so warmly received is because it humanises the superstars. It allows fans to see the person behind the wrestler as they go through their life as a WWE Superstar. There are a lot more people who would be great subjects for a documentary about their life (Big Show, Becky Lynch, and Booker T to name a few). Watching PPVs is all well and good, but for WWE to attract more fans, it needs more original programming to draw in the fans.
5. The Ability to Watch Shows Offline
PLEASE DO THIS, WWE. Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer and Sky Go all have the ability to let people download shows and watch them whenever they please. So why can’t the biggest wrestling network in the world let you? It’s completely baffling.
This has been on top of every fan’s wish list ever since the Network came out and for good reason. People would love it. They’d be able to watch it on their way to work, or on a flight, or even if they have a dodgy signal at home.
Letting fans download PPVs and documentaries would encourage more and more fans to sign up and be reassured that even if they don’t have great signal, they’ll still be able to watch some of their favourite shows and PPVs.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @Bannister007. Thanks for reading!