I can’t say I particularly wanted to watch the pre-show for Extreme Rules. I know from bitter experience that the entire thing would have been set up with an undercurrent of laughter at the very idea of small people attempting to wrestle, and a disturbing overtone that those small people aren’t quite REAL people. You know, like US.
Nevertheless, I logged on to YouTube – and realised that WWE aren’t showing pre-shows on there any more. The only place to see them is on the WWE Network.
I understand that they want to keep a close control over their product; I really do. But the fact of the matter is that the Network hasn’t officially rolled out globally yet.
So half the WWE’s viewing audience does potentially have access to it – that’s great. What about the rest of us? We’re now finding that because of the piecemeal TV deals and the incremental roll-out of the Network there are some things happening in storyline that not everyone has access to.
It was one thing when WWE Superstars got taken off air in the US and put on Hulu (we still had access to it in the UK). But since then Main Event has become a staple of the WWE programming – and we don’t get that in the UK.
Similarly, we Brits continued to have NXT aired week by week on television, while US viewers saw it on Hulu and then the Network – but then Arrival, the first “special event”, happened. That was only available on the Network – and hasn’t been shown on UK TV.
So do WWE want those of us not in America to subscribe to the Network, what with geo-workrounds and so on? Do they want us to download shows? I genuinely don’t know. They keep talking about the content available on the Network – but they also keep flagging up that it’s just for US viewers.
And I’m confused, because they’re clearly starting to think about their global market with their talent. We have two Brits with belts on the main roster, plus Adrian Neville on NXT; an Aussie Diva; several Japanese names linked to signing contracts; and more. Although WWE have historically confused the hell out of themselves by expecting overseas audiences to react in the same way as American ones, they do finally seem to be demonstrating that they understand there’s a difference – and they want to cater for all of us.