So the WWE Network numbers came out after Wrestlemania. They announced 667,000 or so people signed up for the WWE Network for the pleasure of watching Mania and the next five PPVs, plus literally every PPV WWF, WCW, and ECW ever put out, plus a bunch of other stuff. For this people agreed to pay $9.99 a month over six months. This seems pretty great to me, but I’m a wrestling fan. This is the problem.
The thing about the WWE Network that has never made sense to me, and with the benefit of these numbers proves my non-sense makin’ made sense, is that in 2014 there are very few wrestling fans. The WWE stock shot over thirty dollars before the Network number announcement and is currently sitting at about twenty-one bucks because a million people didn’t buy the Network like they promised. This was predictable, and I assure you my greatest life regret will be not buying WWE stock in January so I could sell it before Mania. It was probably literally the only thing I’ve understood ever.
Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer (the smartest wrestling guy that wrestling guys) was initially hesitant to support the idea of the Network, but in the weeks leading up to Mania kept preaching that from the things he heard from people in the company the number was gonna probably be over a million. THIS WAS NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN. This wasn’t going to happen for a simple reason. There aren’t that many people in America that understand streaming devices and are wrestling fans. WWE is doing great monetarily at the moment even with this recent hardship but they aren’t creating new wrestling fans (defined as children I expect to remember anything like I remember Wrestlemania V). In the last ten years a great many of the hardcore fans have been driven away by the current product and since the alternatives are all sorta sad these people have moved on. I know exactly one person that has ordered the Network for nostalgia reasons and I suspect he’ll cancel before renewal.
I’m sure the WWE Network will be around in three years at a different price point and for different benefits, but I’m equally sure they’ll be catering to a smaller and smaller group of fans, even as the numbers inch up. More and more people are going to be comfortable with this kind of service, but less and less people will be interested in buying this one. I simply can’t fathom the massive group of people who need more WWE programming when it is freely available for them 6-9 hours a week depending on where they live, and as we go on these aren’t going to be people who want to watch Mid-South. PPVs in this country that aren’t Wrestlemania and to a much, much lesser extent Rumble/Summerslam have been doing 100,000-150,000 buys for YEARS. Where are these people who need the WWE Network, I said. Now I know hey, they weren’t there. But I knew that already.
In conclusion, buy the WWE Network, as it is awesome.