How WWE Network & More Will Make 2014 Similar To 2001

Justin LaBar

WWE NetworkI have a wrestling column every Monday and Friday for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review which can be read online at Triblive.com.

Today, I talked about how critical 2014 will be for WWE. The following in an excerpt:

In 2001, the wrestling world went from three main companies of WWE, WCW and ECW to just one.

The best of the best talent merged onto one roster.

At the same time, Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, Batista and John Cena were in WWE's developmental system in Kentucky.

And, of course, we can't talk 2001 without mentioning the inaugural and final year of the XFL football league.

This upcoming year will see different changes but will be equally historic for the business no matter if it succeeds or fails.

It appears after years of suspense, the WWE Network will finally launch, likely in February. Within that launch, we'll see a change in the landscape of WWE programming.

It's expected the network will feature all of the WWE PPV's as part of the subscription package. Tie that into the fact WWE is looking to renegotiate its television rights deal and is hoping for more money — this means emphasis will be on the weekly cable shows of RAW and SmackDown.

RAW and SmackDown ratings dictate how much money the company can ask for in its television deal. It also means these programs on free television will be what is used to attract new customers for the network.

This is the exact opposite formula of what wrestling was built upon. The industry was on building storyline up and culminating with payoffs at a PPV. But, coming soon, the big events already will be purchased courtesy of WWE Network subscription.

The accountability for each PPV's performance will decrease as people won't be spending a large sum on the spot of a Sunday night, but many will be paying months in advance for a plethora of programming everyday that also will include pay per views.

‚ÄčThe full column contains if I think this will be a good or bad year for WWE and more.

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