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   September 18, 2014



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It's official: The WWE Network is finally announced
By MATTHEW ASHER - SLAM! Wrestling




The wait is over -- the WWE officially announced the launch of its WWE Network on Wednesday night live from the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. WWE boss Vince McMahon unveiled the new network.

"Today is a historic day for WWE as we transform and reimagine how we deliver our premium live content and 24/7 programming directly to our fans around the world," said McMahon, the WWE Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "WWE Network will provide transformative growth for our company and unprecedented value for our fans."

The WWE Network will officially launch after the February 24 episode of Monday Night Raw, at 11:06 pm ET. Fans can subscribe to WWE Network beginning at 9 am ET on Monday, February 24 at WWE.com, and for a limited time will be offered a free one week trial.

Michelle Wilson, the Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer for WWE described the network as "Over the Top" (in a good way). If the WWE can produce everything they promised tonight, that description should end up being correct. Shawn Michaels joked that if the WWE Network existed back when he was a kid, he would never have gotten off the couch. Triple H added that he would still be at home eating Froot Loops in his underwear, to an unusual applause from the audience for that visual image.

Take your pick on which of these sounds “Over the Top” to you:


24/7 Video Streaming

First is a 24/7 streaming service which includes live daily studio shows and pre and post shows to both Raw and Smackdown. Several new television shows including a new reality show called Legends House which includes Rowdy Roddy Piper, Tony Atlas and Hacksaw Jim Duggan.

Other shows include WrestleMania Rewind which is a a behind-the-scenes show about the classic matches that took place at the Showcase of the Immortals.

Stephanie McMahon, Triple H and Shawn Michaels came up to talk about another intriguing show: the Monday Night War (Triple H and HBK remind us that there is no “s” because it was just one war, even though the teleprompter had the S underlined). During the presentation Triple H said that it was very much a war because if they lost, there was a good chance he'd be out of work.

In the words of Stone Cold Steve Austin "You get to go back in time and relive the Attitude Era." Why is that important? According to Austin "I used to look forward to every Monday Night Raw because it was damn near like therapy for me."

On-Demand Library

The second is an on-demand library that includes access to every WWE, WCW and ECW PPV ever filmed (currently more than 300 PPVs). There will also be access to more than 1,500 hours of material from the WWE library available at launch.

Current Monthly Pay-Per-Views

The third, and possibly the best news is that all 12 live WWE yearly PPVs, including WrestleMania, are available at no additional cost.

The total cost for a subscription to the WWE Network? $9.99 a month.

For a better fan experience, the WWE collaborated with Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM) to create a way to deliver 24/7 WWE content to fans. “We applaud WWE for this bold, timely and strategic move to fully optimize the power and potential of live entertainment,” said Bob Bowman, President and CEO, MLBAM. “We are proud to work with WWE to help provide its millions of loyal fans with unencumbered access to distinctive and engaging live content across the devices they use most.”

WHAT YOU THINK
For sure - 21%
Maybe - 26%
I doubt it - 54%
The WWE Network is also scheduled to launch in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Nordics either by the end of 2014 or early 2015.

WWE says that you can access this content on nearly any mobile or gaming device. Currently the WWE Network can be viewed using Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 & 4, Roku, Kindle, iOS and Droid devices. Other devices including the Xbox One will be made available in the future.

Matthew Asher is a freelance journalist currently living in Atlanta. He's very intrigued with what the WWE Network claims to offer. What do you think? Email him your thoughts.