WWE Network Lowdown: UK Launch, Episodes of Heat, CM Punk The ‘Crybaby’?

January 5, 2015 by Team WDN

WWE Network Lowdown

The big news in regard to goings-on with the WWE Network recently has to be last night’s announcement that the Network will finally be launched in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Just in time for the Royal Rumble PPV, the Network will hit the UK & Ireland in two weeks on Monday, January 19, 2015. Also of note is that the service will be priced at £9.99 in the UK and €12.99 in Ireland (i.e. $15.30), which interestingly wasn’t the pricing when it was to have launched back in November (that was to have been $9.99/£6.30).

Finally, some feared that the UK version of the WWE Network would be delivered using Sky TV (similar to Rogers in Canada), however that will not be the case. The WWE Network will be delivered as in the United States as an Over the Top digital network via the Web, WWE App (on iOS & Android), Streaming Devices, Smart TVs and Games Consoles.

What’s new

It’s been a little quiet over the past few weeks on the WWE Network when it came to new, original content – as you may have expected over the festive period.

Just prior to the holidays the latest edition of The Monday Night War was added. The episode, titled “Mistakes on the Battlefield”, looked at the rise of Eric Bishoff within WCW and some of the mistakes made by WCW leading to Bischoff’s eventual removal from power in the fall of 1999. One of the true highlights of the episode however was the archive footage of “Easy E’s” WWE tryout from 1990, which included him “selling” a broom!

Eric Bischoff Broom Interview : WWE Network Lowdown

The other big original show was WWE Rivalries. Airing immediately after RAW, the episode looked at the feud between Edge & Christian and The Hardy’s (appropriately timed to air after E&C hosted RAW). The episode looked at the feud between the two teams spanning 1999 through their famed Ladder and TLC matches together and with the Dudley Boys.

Edge & Christian vs. The Hardy's Rivalry : WWE Network Lowdown

Highlight of the week

While there was a lack of new original content, we did have an attitudinal escape over the holidays, as WWE Network treated us with: The 12 Days of Attitude. — It’s nice to escape the family over the holidays and what better way than with some Attitude Era Rasslin’?

12 Days of Attitude : WWE Network LowdownEach day over the holidays the WWE Network added one complete episode of either: RAW, SmackDown or Heat along with a handful of extras (classic clips, matches and promos). Each day there was something new to check out — personally I feel this is a much better way to add new content rather than adding up 50+ episodes all at once. Here’s a rundown of all of the complete shows which were added during the 12 Days of Attitude.

 
RAW 229 [10/13/97]
This RAW comes hot off the heels of the initial Hell in a Cell match and steaming down the road towards Survivor Series, with the rivalry between Shawn Michaels (with DX) and Bret Hart (with The Hart Foundation) reaching a fever pitch. Other highlights of the show are the build to the Road Warriors Tag Team Title Match and Jim Cornette (and Vince McMahon’s) take on New York Post writer Phil Mushnick.

Vince McMahon : WWE Network Lowdown

RAW 238 [12/15/97]
The debut of the scratch logo! This edition of RAW featured not only a new logo but a new ‘attitude’ as Vince McMahon delivered the famed “Cure for the Common Show” monologue. The main event of the show saw the Road Warriors take on Shawn Michaels and Triple H in what would prove to be a very memorable angle and launching point for the antagonists.

RAW 274 [8/24/98]
The Highway to Hell had its final stop on August 24, 1998 and it was headlined by a Hell in a Cell encounter between Mankind as Kane (just weeks after the iconic, much more widely known King of the Ring matchup).

RAW 284 [11/2/98]
All too often these days RAW will begin with a 15 minute promo that seems to never want to end, however back on November 2, 1998 the show began with a 15 minute promo THAT YOU DON’T WANT TO END! This particular show illustrated why we all hated Mr. McMahon so much and there’s a really cool visual at the end of the show; one which isn’t really remembered by the masses.

The Rock - Halftime Heat : WWE Network Lowdown

Heat 27 [1/31/99]
Halftime Heat. Nuff said? If not, this episode of Sunday Night Heat aired during SuperBowl 33, with the main event “empty arena” WWE Championship match between The Rock and Mankind timed to happen during the SuperBowl’s half time. A week after their brutal brawl at the Royal Rumble, this one while still violent had a little more comic relief. The show also features the WWE’s memorable SuperBowl commercial — get it?

SmackDown 0 [4/26/99]
While the first weekly episode of SmackDown is already available on the WWE Network, the pilot episode was not… until now. Originally broadcast in April 1999 the special episode features the formation of the Corporate Ministry, as well as the beginning of Edge’s rise after picking up the slack in a Brood in-ring promo.

RAW 315 [6/7/99]
The long anticipated reveal of “The Higher Power” was given to us during this particular episode of RAW, and of course this lead to Steve Austin becoming the WWE’s new CEO, something which we will see more of later. Another memorable angle on the show was the closing match between Undertaker, The Big Show and the ring.

WWE CEO Steve Austin : WWE Network Lowdown

RAW 316 [6/14/99]
This was a very appropriate way to close out the 12 Days of Attitude; the three hundredth and sixteenth episode of RAW. Following up on the prior episode this show featured Steve Austin fulfilling his new CEO duties at WWE HQ in Stanford, CT – and who’da thunk that craziness and hilarity would ensue?

Heat 52 [7/25/99]
The final countdown to Fully Loaded 1999, this show might be most remembered for Triple H’s promo with JR where “The Game” was born. However, the show also featured a really hot angle leading into the PPV and the “End of an Era” First Blood Match for the WWE Championship with The Undertaker and Steve Austin. I bet once you’ve watched this show, you’ll be more than temped into checking out some of the Fully Loaded PPV! 😉

The McMahon-Hemsley Era : WWE Network Lowdown

RAW 346 [1/10/00]
The McMahon-Hemsley regime ruled WWE with an iron fist, but on this night the WWE roster, unified by The Rock, had enough. The roster threatened to walk out unless the recently fired Mankind was reinstated, which began the build to the iconic Royal Rumble Street Fight. The show also features the roster choosing their own matches and DX facing off as Road Dogg battles Billy Gunn, while X-Pac takes on Triple H for the WWE Championship.

RAW 360 [4/17/00]
The momentous night in Penn State University when the Ayatollah of Rock n’ Rolla – Chris Jericho shocked the world by winning the WWE Championship…. only for it to be overturned a few minutes later. — This was fantastic storytelling from the Chris Kreski era of WWE.

SmackDown 39 [5/18/00]
On the road to Judgment Day and the Iron Man Match between Triple H and The Rock, the McMahon-Hemsley regime had one final opportunity to put The Rock in jeopardy. Believe it or not they did just that as The Rock would compete in the first Handicap Lumberjack Tables Match. Also of note this episode featured Gerald Brisco “stealing” the Hardcore Championship from Crash Holly.

SmackDown 82 [3/15/01]

Two weeks before the showcase of the immortals where the WWE Universe is destined for the showdown between Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock at WrestleMania X-Seven. This episode of SmackDown featured the build to that match with a great sit-down interview with JR and Steve Austin and a No Disqualification Match between the Texas Rattlesnake and Kurt Angle in the main event with The Rock at ringside…

Coming up…

After an absence of a few months, a brand new episode of WWE Countdown will air after RAW. The episode will count down the biggest crybabies in pro-wrestling history. Interestingly, a few weeks ago the poll for this edition included some of the following names: Chris Jericho, Raven, The Miz, Eric Bischoff, Bret Hart and CM Punk! — can the WWE Universe have the audacity to pick CM Punk as one of the biggest cry babies in wrestling… Find out TONIGHT at 11:06PM EST!

CM Punk WWE Countdown Cry Baby?!? : WWE Network Lowdown

The other big new original show is the penultimate episode of The Monday Night War, which will air tomorrow night and is set to look at more WCW mistakes in the wake of the first Bischoff era:

“Backstage politics, corporate mergers, and questionable decisions would doom sports entertainment’s former powerhouse.” — get ready for some Russo bashing!

Classic of the Week

Steve Austin vs. The Rock - Rebellion 2001 : WWE Network Lowdown

WWE Championship Match
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock
Rebellion • November 3, 2001

With the impending launch of the Network in the United Kingdom, buying a WWE PPV on Sky Box Office might well become a thing of the past for many. Back in 2001, us fellow UK fans were still getting UK exclusive PPV events in addition to the usual lineup, and I distinctively remember ordering Rebellion as a youngster all excited to see Stone Cold vs. The Rock. Well, how could you not be? This was their first match together one-on-one since that fateful night in the Astrodome where Rock was screwed, and he wanted his revenge!

That revenge didn’t come with a title switch though, thanks to some interference and calamity toward the end. It was a good match to go back and re-watch though and for me it still has the same sort of atmosphere to it that it did all those years ago, with a nice back and forth brawling style to it that reminded me a lot of their WrestleMania X-Seven match. Fans in North America might not have seen this bout outside of owning the DVD so why not check it out through WWE Network’s VOD library now? Fans in the UK can relive it later this month.

 
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18 Comments left on this article...

  1. HunterWW says:

    “personally I feel this is a much better way to add new content rather than adding up 50+ episodes all at once”

    Well, you’re an idiot then…

  2. LP1 says:

    “RAW 346 [1/10/00] – The McMahon-Hemsley regime ruled WWE with an iron fist…”

    Fast forward 15 years later. Not much has changed in that regard. And I’m pretty sure it will be the same thing 15 years from now.

    • Mark D says:

      ….and that opening segment last night was most definitely inspired by episode 346! LOL

      • LP1 says:

        The difference between episode 346 and last night is that back in 2000 it was fresh. Now it’s beyond played out. The whole idea of a heel GM/President/Commissioner/CEO/etc. in itself is a played out concept. Raw was brutal last night. Not in a “I hate the heel and want to see them get theirs” kind of way, more like “I can’t believe I wasted 3 hours watching this” kind of way.

        • Mark D says:

          I agree 100%, it’s brutal trying to get through today’s shows. It’s not only the 3 hours but they use the over run as well and then expect you to watch another hour of WWE stuff on the Network. I would be curious how many people watch the Network shows after getting through almost 4 hours of RAW (inc. the pre-show).

          • attitude.era.4life says:

            If only the WWE had the back catalogue in full hd as a VOD-only subscription membership seperated from the current soap opera reality-tv bs, I gladly continued my membership.

            The lack of excitement and especially fresh juicy angles, makes wwe just being another clone of reality tv, that goes with times, like Vince stated in the so called groundbreaking Austin podcast…but, back then, in the attitude era especially..wwe MADE times..CREATED times..and was indeed Groundbreaking, with authority story line like year 2000..

            If last night…and for that matter, nights before that too, really was reaching more for the so called brass ring, I don’t blame the locker room for failing..I blame the “groundbreaking” writings and creativity, that in the end has an ‘ay or ‘nay from…

            Vince!

            • LP1 says:

              It’s impossible to have the whole library(pre-2008) in full HD since WWE recorded all of their shows on tape instead of film. Tapes can not upgraded to HD format. The reason old movies and tv shows from decades ago can be upgraded to HD is because they were recorded on film. Film can be upgraded, tape can’t. So the best you’re going to get out of pre-2008 wrestling is whatever the highest quality you can get on DVD. Putting on blu-ray won’t make a difference either. That’s why I never understood the argument to include more pre-2008 matches on blu-ray when they’ve already been released on DVD. There won’t be any real difference, quality-wise.

  3. motorhead says:

    The thing about the broom get’s lost. Bischoff was asked to INTERVIEW the broom. Hell, I could even make that sound funny; he doesn’t talk, is he cocky? Is the brook rude? does the broom think he’s better than me? He’s not going to last long in the WWF if he acts like that. And so on… What Eric did was SELL US THE BROOM. He didn’t have what it took to be in the WWF at the time. I think the actual footage makes Bischoff looks bad and makes the WWF and Vince look good in respect to their eye for actual talent, imho…

    • Mark D says:

      I’ve checked back at the episode and it’s Eric (in his 2002 sit-down interview) that says he was asked to “interview” the broom, however in the actual footage you can hear Vince ask Eric to “sell” him the broom. I’ve updated the post to reflect this now.

  4. ALK says:

    But they left Vince out when he cried over saying goodfbye to Punk…

  5. attitude.era.4life says:

    Third time may do it for the UK fans..unless they maybe this time drag it to 20 seconds prior launch time, before they pull the plug??? We’ll believe it, when we see it..on the 19th. Hope is, that WWE have learned their lessons, about not promoting and promising launchings, they can not fulfill..

  6. Mark D says:

    FYI: The complete list of “crybabies” in WWE’s poll were: Chris Jericho, Stephanie McMahon, Eric Bischoff, Raven, The Miz, CM Punk, Matt Hardy, Michael Cole, Christian, Batista, Vickie Guerrero, Marc Mero, Kurt Angle, Bret “Hit Man” Hart & Big Show. So five of those folks won’t be included in the Countdown.

  7. King9998 says:

    Real men buy WWE DVDs/Blu-Rays. Only bitches get the network

  8. Vintage Simon says:

    Didn’t Steve Austin and The Rock face each other in a one-on-one match on Raw the very next night after WrestleMania X7?

    • Daniel Bee says:

      You’re right, think I meant Rock was getting his revenge on the whole Austin heel turn angle of Mania, but must admit the cage match slipped my mind for a second there. I loved X7 and the next night so I’m ashamed. 😉

  9. Richard says:

    Most of the Countdown lists are a joke and should be taken in fun, so I don’t see why anyone should be concerned with where Punk lands on the latest “list”. I mean, at the end of the day, who cares?

    Are fans going to be LESS interested in Punk because of this list?

    Is landing at No.1 or No. 10 going to hurt Punk’s UFC status?

    Is putting Punk at the top of this loist going to do anything to help RAW ratings?

    The answer to all of these is most likely, NO – BUT – the IWC will somehow try to make this a “story” of how much WWE is trying to bury Punk, etc, etc. Yawn.

    The list means nothing, it will do nothing and it will lead to nothing.

    • attitude.era.4life says:

      it will take much much more than having Punk on the top list of a alledgly legit survey, to help RAW ratings..it would take a completely turn in creativity and storytelling

  10. Anonymous says:

    I just hope WWE has the sense to put the Raws/Smackdowns/Heats under In Ring as well.

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