Brock and Cena: Their turbulent history

Remember last year? We were so impressed with WWE for beginning a story involving CM Punk and Randy Orton with an altercation they had in 2008. We thought, how awesome is it that WWE is finally recognizing it’s past? bringing up the 2003 feud involving Lesnar and Cena blows it out of the water.

My only complaint: ‘Brock and Cena’ should be either ‘Lesnar and Cena’ or ‘Brock and John’. Why mix up first and last names?

12-Man Tag Team Match to decide GM of both shows

What a great way to get a bunch of guys suffering from injuries and nothing else to do on the show.

Great “letter from the board,” too.

I was thinking that these “ exclusive” bits don’t serve the “montage” system very well—you know, the theory that Raw and Smackdown exist solely to create clips before PPV matches.1 But if you know in advance that you’re not going to do a montage, there’s no reason to not colour outside the lines.

  1. That would be the theory I just made up right now.  ↩

WWE pay-per-view on iOS

About time.

I’d call this forward-thinking if they’d done it four years ago. Today, in 2012? I’m still surprised they haven’t entirely dumped flash.

People may joke about watching a WWE PPV on an iPhone, but remember: you can stream video from iOS devices to an Apple TV. If you want to buy PPV and watch it on your big screen TV, you don’t need cable anymore. That’s why this is news.

No related content found.

❖ The new 2012 edition

On Sunday, March 10, WWE re-launched their website. A series of decisions have been made to severely alter the experience. This appears to be a major relaunch, as opposed to the TMZ-like refresh that occurred last summer (which was more a coat of paint). Here is a rundown of all the changes.

Brand new URL-system:

I link to quite often, because it is a primary source of information. Unfortunately, almost every single thing I’ve linked to is now broken. I linked to this Shawn Michaels story only a few days ago, but the URL is already busted.

Here is the old URL for the Shawn Michaels article:

Here is the new URL:

Changing the URLs in this manner makes it basically impossible for me (and anyone who’s ever linked to anything) to fix this problem. It looks like has changed their permalink structure from numerals to subject matter, which is a pretty “wordpress” thing to do, if you ask me.

Bigger pictures, multiple-page articles is using another trick of breaking up articles into multiple pages in order to garner more traffic. They’ve also increased the size of photos, but they’re still shackled to shitty slideshows. There still aren’t permalinks to any one photo, and now the slideshow arrows don’t fade out anymore.

A deep archive and search system

The most noticeable improvement to the site is its search and archive system. “Related article” lists abound on the side and bottom of everything, and the search box leads to real results now. Searching by superstar leads to not only photo and video sets but also a chronilogical list of articles that mention them. The Superstar pages look great, too, making each wrestler look like an action hero. Timeline is also nice, but it’s clear there’s still a lot of work to do.

A greater focus on live appearances and dates, interactivity

Something that wasn’t as apparent on the site before was where you could actually find WWE superstars, in not only live appearances but house shows, too. Now, scroll over the “superstars” button and the entire left-side of the screen is filled with appearance dates. Nice.

They’ve also allowed comments on articles. It’s not every article. This is interesting, because they’ve disabled comments on Youtube. To comment, you sign in using Facebook, Twitter, Google, or Yahoo, and go nuts. It’s too early to tell how curated the comments will get, or if they’ll let the Universe go wild (my bet: this will be the first new feature to die).

WWE Greatest Matches

WWE Greatest Matches is basically gone. There appears to be no place to pay them money to see vast quantities of full video. Instead, a huge amount of video content is now essentially free, if it’s in a wholly different form. Videos are still in flash, but at least no entire sections of the site are flash anymore. Instead of being able to watch an entire episode from MSG in 85, there’s probably a video that gives you highlights of the main event. There are so many little summary videos of things now.

Video Playlists are how videos are organized now, and they’re curated by subject, event, and company. For instance, here’s a video playlist of matches between The Rock and Steve Austin. You’ll notice these videos are roughly two minutes long. These videos don’t show the beginning or ending of these matches. It’s very confusing, actually, until you realize they’re opening up a network pretty soon and they probably only want one place to get full-episode content.

I’m fine with that, of course. I’ve always thought that WWE should streamline. But it’s sure interesting that they’re touting a mountain of video content as a new feature when most of the content is tiny slices of matches.

Seemingly random region-blocking

There are, actually, lots of full matches on, but if you’re outside the US, good luck watching any of them. Region-locking is frustrating, but it’s even more frustrating when last week I could watch this stuff on Greatest Matches, but now that it’s free I can’t.

The region-blocking seems to go into effect as soon as you try to begin watching a full match. Clips and scenes seem to work everywhere. It’s a baffling decision. I understand reasons why they can’t just put up full episodes of Raw and Smackdown (due to TV licensing deals), but why are all PPV matches, both new and classic, blocked? Why are all WCW and ECW matches blocked? Those TV deals absolutely don’t exist anymore, and nobody but WWE has any say on how they air. If you live in the US, you can watch Flair vs Steamboat from Wrestlewar 89 in full, but nobody else can.

This is what says about it:

The ultimate source for the most epic confrontations and unforgettable matches in WWE history – is now totally FREE! From now on, access to WWE’s most colossal confrontations requires absolutely no subscription cost.

That’s nice, for people who can actually see it.

I guess we’ll see has been completely redesigned every 2 years or so since it began in the mid-90s. This new relaunch presents a challenge for guys like me, who used the site as a primary source for news and material. Do I continue linking to them, knowing that at any time they might change things?

The region-blocking bugs me, not because I can’t see things, but because depending on the month, sometimes I can. The inconsistency is crazy.

I don’t like the link-breaking, but that’s not really WWE’s problem. It’s not their job to make my job easy.

But the site does look much nicer than it did before, and the new features are both welcome and novel. Hopefully they don’t throw it all away in a year.

WWE Greatest Matches might be changing

I just got this electronic mail today:

Dear Kyle

Please be aware that you will be experiencing content access modifications with your Greatest Matches subscription within the next few weeks. We will keep you informed of these changes as we move forward.

Thank you for your loyal support.

WWE Services

I can’t help but think this has something to do with the impending WWE Network. WWE Greatest Matches launched last year, only a few months before they announced the Network, and has felt like a half-baked effort ever since. I’ve written about this before (Redundant Product Lines), and I can’t wait to see what this turns into.

If you ask me, I feel they need a singular feed that offers a paying customer everything: Raw, Smackdown, PPV, those new Youtube shows, exclusives, and the back catalogue of WCW, AWA, etc., as well as their own reruns. They can speed up or slow down that feed to their liking, but there’s too much juggling right now. If I want to clock in as a member of the WWE Universe, I shouldn’t have to watch several TV shows on several different networks, visit the website, visit Youtube, remember my password for a flash-based closed garden, pay my cable operator extra for a special channel, and then also give them more for every PPV. There should be one place for all this stuff.