I can't remember who said it, but some guy once said humans have an implicit need to steal or get away with it. Going 70 in a 65 MPH zone. Buy-one-get-ones at stores. Pasting a webpage from target into a word document and altering the price of the first season of house to 9.99 to force Walmart to price match when you bring in the print out. Using one of those pre-paid Visa cards to ring up a bunch of Redbox Rentals and never return them. Paying ONLY 9.99 a month for a Netflix subscription with thousands of movies and shows and sharing your login with 5 or 6 friends. <redacted due to Google Ad-sense shenanigans, but it rhymes with preening and abhorrent(ing) > Movies and TV shows on premium cable networks we don't have.
I never felt this way about pro-wrestling, ever. I have never said "oh, what a steal!". In 2013 the WWE got roughly 100 dollars of my money and I want it all back. I purchased The Royal Rumble (only to have Rock V. Punk cut out on me), and Wrestlemania only to be wholly disappointed. Dollar signs danced in my head while heckling 'You paid WHAT?!", while visions of video games, gas in my car, and hardcore pornography I could have had instead assaulted the part of your conscience that perks up when you engage in any guilty pleasure (This part of my brain burnt out briefly during the Nicole Bass era).
Looking at that bill sometime in May, I felt ripped off and journeyed down the dark path of dailymotion and other none-too-reputable sites in order to get my premium pro-wrestling fix. "Well, fuck them," I thought, "I gave em 100 bucks I've earned it".
Of course, I hadn't. I was stealing, which is wrong. If the WWE Network is all it's cracked up to be, well suddenly I'm not stealing, but feel like I am.
While dwindling(ish) PPV buy-rates and lower ratings probably have a bit to do with the product - Cena, Orton, Triple H (FUCKING STILL?!), and a lack of a mid-card you can root for, I think more of it has to do with the way we humans consume media these days.
Namely we do it on our own terms for a 'reasonable' fee. While my parents handle the cable, I toss in about 40 bucks a month for Netflix, Amazon Prime, Xbox Live Gold, and Spotify to ensure 'There's nothing on!' is never uttered in the house of a proud TV school graduate. 9.99 a month for lots of content is a lot easier to swallow than a one-time, semi-annual, expectation heavy, 60 dollar payment for a 3 hour wrestling PPV. 60 dollars is 6 months of Netflix. 60 dollars is 6 months of Amazon Instant Watch. 60 dollars is of 6 months of Spotify. 60 dollars is a video game which provides literally quadruple the longevity.
90 percent of the time the shame and frustration spiral of googling <redacted due to Google ad-sense, it rhymes with SHEE PREAM> is so much easier that you almost forget it's wrong. Andy PG made a point to say that for all our bitching about the direction of the company, when they finally do something we like, like push Daniel Bryan, we reward them by pirating their PPVs then bemoaning out-loud that the low buy-rate will result in a depush for our chosen golden calf (goat).
Thus I can't help but feel that this is the WWE's genuine attempt to reach us hardcore fans on a qausi-budget. The people who discuss this stuff with passion and fervor and post reviews of WWE shows from 1984 and posts thousands of comments EVERY SINGLE MONDAY about Raw. I mean for Christ Sake this thing started out as a wrestling blog and now it feels like some sort of community. It all started because we like wrestling (and Scott Keith I presume).
This is the WWE reaching out for a handshake and saying 'Hey guys, meet us half way," as they slowly extend their other hand, slyly reaching into our pockets, hoping we don't notice that they're secretly getting more money from some of us over the course of a year than they ever have before.
We notice. But we don't mind because a handshake that firm has to mean well.
1. This won't be on Xbox One until Summer, after Wrestlemania.
2. I guess Benoit will be featured in content, which is good, with a disclaimer.
3. One thing I'd love to see is an 'Indies Hub' where promotions with quality video work can get featured and seen by a wide audience.
4. It's only 720p. Does anyone know if typical WWE PPVs are shot in 1080p?