TNA Impact Wrestling will continue to be broadcast throughout Sub-Saharan Africa until 2019, thanks to an agreement between TNA and the continent’s leading sports broadcaster SuperSport.
Does anyone think TNA will even be around next year, let alone 2019?
Instead of a giant Netflix-style thing, WWE could have absolutely done the browsing section like a curated experience. Not necessarily chronologically, but by quality. Did you like this show? You’ll really like this show, which would then unlock for viewing. Have the viewer watch a specific match before getting to see another match in the same vein. Educate wrestling fans to be better.
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Kermit the Frog Ice Bucket Challenge, responding to Vince McMahon.
WWE Network in Canada observations, part i
If you’re in Canada, the only way to get the WWE Network is through Rogers. I signed up for the service and will have a lot more to say about it in the coming weeks, but for now I just want to say how disappointed I am thus far. It wasn’t made clear that there even was any on demand content at first. There is, on channel 397 (the live channel is 512). It’s also abysmal. This is all there is available for WCW. ECW has about five shows. WWE content is just a set of Summerslams.
The main event of Summerslam 2014, between Brock Lesnar and John Cena, was one of the most unique pro wrestling matches I’ve ever seen. It was almost not a wrestling match by historical structure. Nearly all wrestling matches have a balanced pacing, allowing both performers time to exhibit their moves and personality. This is opposed to more traditional forms of combat theatre like boxing or MMA, where there is not only no predetermined winner, but also no guarantee of what will occur. Pro wrestling matches aren’t just fixed; they’re choreographed, and they are for the purpose of entertainment. It is entertaining to watch pro wrestlers do their signature moves. It is entertaining to watch them over and over, often in the same order. Repetition allows for familiarity, and John Cena is familiar. We know everything he can and will do during a performance.
Traditionally, a well-designed wrestling match contains two somewhat equally-skilled performers, thereby making the outcome a mystery. You can’t guess who will win simply by knowing the better wrestler, because the story leading up to the match nullifies the equation. One week, wrestler A gets the upper hand. The next week, Wrestler B does something sneaky and gets the hand back. Performers are rarely shown as identical, instead with complimentary attributes. The victor is a mystery until we know which attribute proves key.
In a one-sided contest, however, no such logic persists. Real sports make an effort to limit imbalance, but pro wrestling uses it as a trope. This was, however, not what WWE communicated to us in the narrative leading up to Summerslam. They played it as they often do: Both sides had quality points. Lesnar was on the streak of a lifetime, having defeated HHH, CM Punk and the Undertaker in the span of a year. Cena, conversely, defeated Lesnar not long before all that, and he did it with aplomb. This match was billed as an even contest between two of the best.
WWE certainly exhibits one-sided contests from time to time, but it is almost always a comedy. A real star will compete against someone far below rank, and the match will be a farce. Ryback vs Brad Maddox was one of these, and it was paced in a way to make us shake our collective heads, enjoying the slimy villain get his. Uneven matches where the villain is outmatched is comedy; flip the roles and it becomes inspirational. Can the plucky hero with no chance of winning defy the odds? Certainly. WWE is very much in that business.
But what business does WWE have by feeding John Cena to Brock Lesnar? Certainly, this story isn’t over. They have a rematch coming, but the outcome of that match will never matter as much as Summerslam. And what Summerslam showed us is that WWE may be in a completely new kind of business.