Off the Top Rope: I just canceled my WWE Network subscription
I’ve agonized over what to do about my WWE Network subscription dating back to WrestleMania, which I didn’t watch, incidentally.
I love pro wrestling, but WWE … not so much, lately – lately being the past couple of years.
I don’t tune in for “Monday Night Raw.” I wanted to get into the new “Smackdown” on Fox, but then they had Brock Lesnar win the WWE title in a squash, so, that ended that.
I finally pulled the plug this morning.
The final sticking point: the angle on last week’s “Raw” that had Seth Rollins apparently burning down Bray Wyatt’s Firefly Fun House.
I can’t believe that I just typed that sentence.
They ended the show with the Universal champ burning down a fake TV show set, and this counts as pro wrestling.
I’m done. I was probably done long before that, and to be 100 percent honest, I didn’t watch the segment featuring the arson – only read about it later.
How about some simulated athletic competition in the ring, or at least the general ringside area?
And then when you’re trying to build rivalries, maybe make the rivalries make sense, because they involve the idea of simulated athletic competition.
WWE has gone way, way, way too far away from the realm of anything realistic.
Rollins doesn’t need to burn down Wyatt’s fake TV show set. He could just be frustrated with Wyatt because he wasn’t able to put him away at “Hell in a Cell,” and he wants another shot at him.
You could maybe have Wyatt taunt him in a promo, and then Rollins could confront him, get into a shoving match, do a pull-part …
Or, yeah, you could have him burn down his fake TV show set.
WWE does too much of the burning-down-fake-TV-show-set stuff for my liking, if I haven’t already made that clear.
And it’s not just me, I’d argue. TV viewer numbers for “Raw” and “Smackdown” are down about 30 percent from where they were at the beginning of 2016, which, yeah, there’s so much more to watch now, and viewer numbers are down for everything, but this is even more pronounced than it is industry-wide.
WWE Network subscriptions are flat, at around 1.7 million, actually down from the 2.1 million that the network had after the 2018 WrestleMania.
The only thing that had kept me paying the $9.99 a month was NXT, the closest thing WWE offers to an actual pro-wrestling TV show, and which you couldn’t get anywhere else.
Well, now, to counter AEW on Wednesdays, NXT is being broadcast on USA.
Meaning: I’m paying for what, again?
According to my account profile, I’d been a WWE Network subscriber since Feb. 11, 2014, which is interesting, because the precise launch date of the network is lost in my mind, so I had to Google it, and it didn’t actually go live until Feb. 24, 2014.
Which suggests to me that I was a very enthusiastic customer five years ago, and now … I’m lapsed.
I still pay 999 yen monthly for New Japan, plan to be a regular consumer of AEW on Bleacher Report, watch MLW and NWA Power on YouTube.
For the foreseeable future, I’ll have nothing formal in terms of a relationship with WWE.
I’ll DVR NXT and fast-forward through the commercials and extraneous content before I go to bed after watching AEW.
WWE, in other words, isn’t making a dime off of me, and that’s not good for them.
That, and Bray Wyatt doesn’t have a fake TV show set anymore. Poor guy.
Column by Chris Graham
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