ESPN Personality Comments In Depth on the Launch of the WWE Network

Josh Isenberg

ESPN Personality on WWE Network

wwe networkESPN personality and Grantland Editor Bill Simmons, with David Shoemaker, wrote a new article on the launch of the WWE Network. Below are some of his comments on the ground-breaking launch. The entire article can be viewed here.

On if he thought the WWE Network would happen:

Simmons: "I gave up. When WCW and ECW folded and McMahon bought their wrestling libraries, I thought the WWE Channel was definitely coming. Instead, they started releasing DVD after DVD after DVD after DVD. For years. I actually landed on the distribution list for a while. Every few weeks, suddenly something like The Greatest Steel Cage Matches Ever or Hulkamania: The Complete Collection would arrive in the mail, then my pissed-off wife would hand over the DVD with one of those “I really thought when we got married the whole wrestling thing would go away” frowns. AU CONTRAIRE!"

Shoemaker: "I have to admit that, no, I didn’t. Or if it did, it would be another flash-in-the-pan Vince McMahon special like the XFL. Or The Wrestling Album. Or No Holds Barred, where his ambition to be more than an ordinary wrestling promoter leads him into a misbegotten punch line."

On the price of $9.99 a month for the WWE Network:

Shoemaker: "It’s just right insomuch as it lures every possible fan into signing up. I had theorized months ago that it would be $14.99 and wouldn’t include the Big Four PPVs. It’s an incredible price at $9.99, even with the six-month commitment, and you get every PPV. You break even from what you would have shelled out just for WrestleMania in four weeks."

Simmons: "I would have charged $14.99 a month to start, and even that would have been a deal. This feels too cheap. I feel like I’m stealing money from Vince McMahon, actually. Wait, I’m stealing money from Vince McMahon!!!"

On their favorite thing about the network:

Shoemaker: "My no. 1 thing — the video quality. When I was writing my book, I watched more wrestling footage than I probably did during the rest of my life put together. Seeing the difference between your average YouTube video and the average network video’s resolution makes me feel like I wrestled a match with a hand tied behind my back."

Simmons: "Ditto for me. The resolution difference is massive — it’s nice to see King Kong Bundy blading in WrestleMania 2 so clearly now. By the way, you’re lucky that you had YouTube for your book — in 2007 and 2008, I had to badger NBA Entertainment to cut me DVDs for the Book of Basketball because barely anything was on YouTube yet. I can’t believe how much has changed in six years. Everything is online now."

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