WWE Network Should Not Host Last Hour of WrestleMania XXX Pre-Show

WWE Network

Courtesy of Official WWE Facebook Page

The WWE announced yesterday that this year’s WrestleMania XXX pre-show will be two hours long, starting at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT. The main program will begin at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.

According to WWE.com, the first hour will include a panel of famous guests analyzing the card for WrestleMania, similar to what the company has done on recent PPVs. There is no word yet as to who the panel guests will be. The first hour of the pre-show will be available to the public through WWE.com, the WWE app, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pheed.

The second hour of programming is where things get dicey.

Starting at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT, the pre-show will move exclusively to the WWE Network. The format is essentially the same as the first hour, but an exclusive pre-show match will be added.

First of all, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to restrict casual fans, aka those who do not subscribe to the WWE Network, from viewing the second hour. One would assume WWE would use the second hour as a way to garner late PPV buys. However, anybody watching the second hour already has the Network, and therefore will already be watching WrestleMania.

It also seems unfair to broadcast a pre-show match that nobody other than subscribers can see. Again, the point of these pre-shows is to build interest in the event and draw added PPV buys. While you can appreciate them wanting to give their subscribers the best bang for their buck, the strategy makes little sense.

Another issue involves fans who do not live in the United States. WWE Network is currently only available in the U.S. and U.S. Territories. The WWE issued a statement that they hope to launch overseas by the end of 2014 or early 2015, which is obviously unhelpful in the current situation. The countries mentioned in the statement include the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Nordics. All the fans living in these countries will not have any opportunity to watch the second hour or the pre-show match, but they’re still expected to purchase the event on PPV.

The WWE would be better advised to air the first hour exclusively on their Network. The second hour, including the pre-show match, should be made available to the general public and fans overseas.

The current setup is a sign of disrespect to the huge number of WWE supporters in other countries. It’s never good to make fans feel left out, especially when they don’t have any options to work with. Let’s hope the situation rights itself before Apr. 6.

Dan Marsiglia is a Pro Wrestling columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter or add him to your network on Google.
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