WWE News WWE NETWORK ANNOUNCEMENT: Complete coverage of WWE's announcement from CES in Las Vegas
Jan 8, 2014 - 9:30:49 PM
PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO BOOKMARK US & VISIT US DAILY
By James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
WWE Network Announcement
January 8, 2014
Las Vegas, Nev. at the CES Conference
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
WWE's announcement started with a live shot of the theater where WWE is making the announcement. Michael Cole was introduced on-stage to welcome everyone to Las Vegas. Cole called it one of the most important days in WWE history.
- Cole welcomed out WWE CEO Vince McMahon, who walked out on-stage looking grandfatherly. McMahon called himself a WWE fan and said today is a great day to be a WWE fan. McMahon then introduced a video package - the corporate video that airs at WWE live events hyping WWE's mainstream reach and stats.
Back to McMahon, who said today is a great day to be a WWE fan because ... drumroll ... they are announcing the launch of the WWE Network. McMahon then welcomed out executive Michelle Wilson to provide more details.
- Wilson said today is all about the "transformation and re-imagination" of how they deliver content around the world. Wilson went back to March 31, 1985 for WrestleMania I, then said they are proud to formally announce the launch of WWE Network. She said what makes the Network "groundbreaking" is they will be over-the-top distribution. It will be a 24/7 streaming service with live programming, scheduled programming, and an on-demand library from any device. She called it unlike any other Network in history.
Why over-the-top and why now? Wilson said their research shows the audience wants content on any device and they are willing to pay for it. Wilson said the Network is the first to offer best of both worlds - 24/7 streaming service and WWE's video on-demand library.
Included: all 12 live WWE PPV events, including WrestleMania. Plus, new shows WWE Countdown, Legends House, Monday Night War, and WrestleMania Rewind. Plus, NXT, Superstars, Raw and Smackdown pre and post-shows, and a live Daily Studio Show. Wilson said the tape library will initially include every WWE, WCW, and ECW PPV. Plus, past years of Raw and Smackdown.
Wilson said they have another announcement. Wilson said the Network will be priced at $9.99 per month. Wilson said the Network will be available on their website, mobile App, other mobile devices, including Roku. Beyond the U.S., Wilson said they expect to announce over-the-top in various countries across the world. Wilson introduced a video titled "It's way over the top."
- Stephanie McMahon walked out on-stage next to talk about what will be on the Network. Stephanie referenced the Hulk Hogan Era and Attitude Era, then said she will talk about what the Network will look like. Stephanie hyped the Raw and Smackdown pre and post-shows with a behind-the-scenes look before they go "on the traditional air."
Stephanie hyped NXT, then introduced a video package on Full Sail University, the Performance Center, and roster of future main roster stars.
Back to Stephanie, who said in-ring content is not the only type of programming available on the Network. She announced the premiere of Legends House. Steph name-dropped Roddy Piper, Tony Atlas, and Hacksaw Duggan as three of the cast members, then rolled footage from the series taped two years ago.
Back to Stephanie, who hyped WWE's rich history. Stephanie said one of her best memories was sitting in the crowd at WrestleMania watching her friend, Andre the Giant, then listen to Andre tell stories about his career. Stephanie said WrestleMania Rewind will capture that. Steph then introduced a video package on the Rewind show highlighting past Mania matches with soundbytes from wrestlers talking about those matches.
Back to Stephanie, who said the Network isn't just about action and drama, but fun. She said no one knows more about that two of the most outlandish and funny wrestlers in WWE history, Shawn Michaels and her husband, Triple H.
- DX music played to bring out Hunter and Michaels on-stage doing their glowstick shtick. Michaels then spoke first about getting anxious, lost, and nervous when they used to do this routine. He said what he used to do was just start taking off his clothes to get a reaction to cover for his nervousness. Hunter said this is probably not the right forum.
Stephanie interrupted and said she loves them. But, they need to get to WWE Countdown. Stephanie said it puts the power in their viewers's hands to vote on various things. Hunter said that's the best build-up she can do? Hunter said they can do better. DX positioned themselves, then brought over Steph for the "Thousands in Attendance" routine. A video package followed with basic poll questions like Best Catchphrase, Best Managers, Best Matches, etc.
Back to DX and Stephanie. Hunter said one of his favorite things about this is the catchphrases. He asked Michaels what his favorite catchphrase is, but cut him off with The Rock's "It doesn't matter." Michaels answered anyways: "You're fired." Stephanie said this is actually a great segue to Vince McMahon, who became a character on TV portraying an evil boss in the 1990s. "That was a character?" Hunter joked.
Stephanie said it's the Monday Night War, which led to Hunter saying "Monday Night Wars." Stephanie said it's "War," not "Wars." Hunter said it says "Wars" on the teleprompter, prompting WWE to show the "s" added to the script. Hunter then added "s" to his next sentences before introducing a video package on WWE vs. WCW.
- Back to Stephanie, who introduced the man who helped tip the scales in WWE's favor, six-time WWE champion and box office record-setter, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Austin came out on-stage asking the crowd for a hell yeah. Stone Cold went back to 10-15 years ago when they upgraded their vehicles selling out houses everywhere they went. He said he never envisioned WWE Network happening back then.
Austin said he got a phone call from McMahon to be here tonight while he was doing at the Broken Skull Ranch in Texas. So, he came. Austin said he was sitting backstage watching this unfold and thought about past generations of stars laying body parts on the line leading to tonight. Austin then shared some stories about seeing everyone backstage tonight.
Austin said the best thing about the Network is to re-live the Attitude Era, where he showed up every Monday night to open up a can of Whoop Ass. Austin thanked everyone for showing up, then said he is looking forward to checking out the Network himself.
- Back to Stephanie, who fed to a wrap-up video package. The video said television is about to change forever. The narrator called it a 24/7 streaming service with original content accessible anywhere, anytime on computers, tables, and mobile devices. On the bottom of the screen was confirmation that the $9.99 price requires a six-month commitment. So, if you want to order WrestleMania, you either pay $60+ for the PPV or you're locked in to pay $59.94.
- WWE executive Perkins Miller was introduced next on-stage. Miller said he is excited to walk everyone through the "Network experience." Perkins said the first step is creating a Network account. Perkins then went to a video clip from John Cena vs. The Rock from WrestleMania. Perkins said once you buy the Network, you can watch it on any device.
Perkins said the Network is different than a traditional linear service, which is captured by a programming guide. The guide allows you to watch a live show from the beginning of the show or pick up where it's currently airing. Perkins then flashed a clip from NXT featuring Bo Dallas. Next was a look at the "Second Screen experience" that goes with a live TV broadcast.
Perkins then broke down the Video On-Demand content that goes with the 24/7 linear programming. He went through more than 300 PPVs available on-demand from WWE, WCW, and ECW, then navigated the archived footage.
Perkins suddenly pretended to have a "Michael Bay" moment losing the teleprompter. Michaels and Hunter walked out for the gag, offering a comforting shoulder. Hunter said he thinks Perkins was about to pitch to another favorite moment in time. Michaels said he would rather demonstrate how this works. HBK then clicked on a clip showing DX on an army tank.
Perkins remained in a Bay trance, then Hunter gave an "announcer voice" reading from the teleprompter. DX then posed with Perkins, who exited his pretend trance.
- Next up was Bob Bowman from MLB Advanced Media. Bowman said WWE called them six months ago to help with this project. Bowman said great content needs great distribution. Bowman said today's distribution is different than even two years ago. Today, what they're looking at is a first-of-a-kind 24/7 Network distributed online. Bowman hyped Vince McMahon, then said he looks forward to the launch of the Network.
- Next out was John Cena. Cena entered corporate-speak mode about this being historic. Cena said the question is when will the Network launch. Cena said right after Raw on February 24. A graphic flashed for a 47-day countdown. Cena said the clock will be on WWE TV to remind people.
Cena said the first PPV to air live on Network is WrestleMania 30. Cena said they do not exist without the fans, who may or may not like him. But, every week, they create an atmosphere like no other. And in 47 days, they will create a new Network.
- Michael Cole returned to the podium to thank everyone for joining them on this day. Cole signed off to conclude the one-hour announcement.
THE TORCH REACHES MORE COMBAT ENTERTAINMENT FANS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. PWTorch.com launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.
He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.
He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).
He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)
REACHING 1 MILLION+ UNIQUE USERS PER MONTH
500 MILLION CLICKS & LISTENS PER YEAR
MILLIONS OF PWTORCH NEWSLETTERS SOLD
PWTorch offers a VIP membership for $10 a month (or less with an annual sub). It includes nearly 25 years worth of archives from our coverage of pro wrestling dating back to PWTorch Newsletters from the late-'80s filled with insider secrets from every era that are available to VIPers in digital PDF format and Keller's radio show from the early 1990s.
Also, new exclusive top-shelf content every day including a new VIP-exclusive weekly 16 page digital magazine-style (PC and iPad compatible) PDF newsletter packed with exclusive articles and news.
The following features come with a VIP membership which tens of thousands of fans worldwide have enjoyed for many years...
-New Digital PWTorch Newsletter every week
-3 New Digital PDF Back Issues from 5, 10, 20 years ago
-Over 60 new VIP Audio Shows each week
-Ad-free access to all PWTorch.com free articles
-VIP Forum access with daily interaction with PWTorch staff and well-informed fellow wrestling fans
-Tons of archived audio and text articles
-Decades of Torch Talk insider interviews in transcript and audio formats with big name stars. **SIGN UP FOR VIP ACCESS HERE**