WWE Wrestlemania XXX, Network and Ultimate Warrior

It’s an exciting time to be a fan of pro wrestling.  Things in the WWE are feeling fresh and seem to be setting up for the future.  Young stars like Bray Wyatt, The Shield, Cesaro and Daniel Bryan are finally getting their time to shine, and the product is all the better for it.

WWE Network

I ordered the WWE Network on the first day it was available and have been enjoying it ever since (about a month and a half).  I’ve had very few issues with it (occasional live feed buffering) unlike a lot of the first day users I’ve heard about.  I’ve used it on my two laptops (Mac and PC), my iPhone and my Kindle Fire.  My Kindle Fire is a few years old, and not the HD model, and the Network does stumble a little on there.

The library is huge, and you could spend all your time watching new stuff.  I started watching in the late 90s, so it is fun to relive some of my early fandom.  There’s also a ton of stuff I’ve never seen that it is great to watch for the first time.  It’s not just WWE either.  There’s ECW and WCW, plus some old stuff like WCCW.  There’s new, exclusive original shows.  Oh, and there’s shows with fresh new wresting, Main Event and NXT.  My favorite thing so far is watching all the young new stars on NXT.

I do have a few complaints though.  I’d watch the Network a lot more if they offered support for the Wii U.  Then I could easily watch it on my TV.  They offer the Network on Playstation 4 and Xbox One, so I don’t see why the Wii U gets left out.  I work on my computer all day, so I can’t really watch the Network on there as it takes up too much of the screen to do anything else.

What I need is a second screen to watch on.  I tried my Kindle Fire, but as I mentioned it doesn’t work that great on there.  I need some kind of monitor, but as I work sitting on my couch that wouldn’t be too convenient.  If I do want to watch on my TV I have to hook up my computer to it.

Another thing, it would be great if they added some kind of memory to your experience, like NetFlix and Amazon Prime.  As it is, if you turn off a show the next time you watch it you have to start at the beginning.  That sucks.  Let me start from where I left off, don’t make me fool around trying to find my spot on a timeline.  A lot of these shows are 3 hours long, and I don’t often have that long to sit around at once.

Also, how about chapters like a dvd on that timeline?  On my Mac it does have chapters at the start and stop of each match on pay per views, but that’s it.  No chapters on the other shows.  No chapters when watching from my Kindle Fire, iPhone or PC.

Lastly, it would be great if I could make a list of things I wanted to watch or had a history of what I’ve already watched.  Currently you have to deal with the somewhat cumbersome navigation or search each time you want to find something.

These are pretty minor complaints though.  Overall I think it is an amazing value and a great experience for any pro wrestling fan.

WWE Wrestlemania XXX

Now I’ll share a few thoughts on Wrestlemania XXX.  It seems like it has divided fans.  The majority of fans seem to be calling it the greatest, or most memorable, Wrestlemania ever.  Some are calling it the worst ever.  I wouldn’t say either side is accurate.  For me, it was one of the more enjoyable Wrestlemanias in years.

I loved seeing Daniel Bryan overcome the odds and take down Triple H, then go on to win the triple threat match for the WWE World Heavyweight Title against Batista and Randy Orton.  He won me over as a fan the very first time I saw him.  But he seemed like someone who was never really going to make it to the top.  His relatively small size and perceived lacked of charisma seemed insurmountable.  But he shocked everyone with his incredible character development and amazing in ring abilities.  And now we finally got to see it all pay off.

I also really enjoyed Bray Wyatt and his insane antics with John Cena.  His weird southern cult leader character is captivating, and something we haven’t seen in quite some time.  He definitely has the ring psychology down.  I liked him back in his Husky Harris days on NXT, so it’s nice to see him get a 2nd chance here.

It was also really good to see Cesaro win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.  He has really impressed me over the last year, and stepped up his game in the past few months.  His future seems very bright.  And the crowd has really gotten behind him.

The Shield match was just a quick squash over some old timers.  Meh.  At least they got to look completely dominant.  All three of them are amazing talents, in different ways.  I think each of them has potential to be main eventers on their own when they eventually break up.

The tag team match on the pre show was really good.  Highly competitive and action packed.  The women’s match was pretty good.  I thought it let some of them showcase their stuff while the right woman (AJ) won.

The match that had everyone talking was the Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar.  And really they were just talking about the shocking result.  It sure shocked everyone I watched with, and everyone in the arena!

guy shosked by Undertaker loss

The Undertaker, who had been undefeated at Wrestlemania 21 times, lost!  It was a match that didn’t have the most exciting build up, and everyone had basically written off as another win for Taker until he had a better opponent.  Everyone assumed Undertaker had a few more years left in him.  Plus all the rumors of him facing Sting next year.  And it seemed inevitable that he would take on John Cena at Wrestlemania at some point.

But what we got was a pretty mediocre match where the Undertaker looked old, then lost seemingly out of nowhere to a guy who only wrestles a couple times a year and has been pegged as someone who doesn’t really love the business.  Later it would come out the Undertaker was knocked unconscious early in the match and had no idea where he was or what he was doing.  Given those circumstances it was a pretty good match.  Also, he collapsed as soon as he got to the back and had to go to the hospital.

So is that the end of the Undertaker?  No one knows yet, but I’m willing to guess it is.  In fact I hope it is.  He’s too old and keeps getting hurt during his one match a year.  Plus with the streak over he doesn’t have that same appeal.  Better to go out on a somewhat high note then tarnish a legendary career.

One other big piece of wrestling news, the Ultimate Warrior died.

Ultimate Warrior

This news was extraordinarily shocking given the timing.  The Ultimate Warrior returned to the WWE last Saturday to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame after an 18 year absence that had been fueled by a lot of ill will on both sides.

In his hall of fame acceptance speech he announced that he had signed a multi year deal with the WWE as an ambassador, so it seemed like we’d be seeing a lot more of him.  On Sunday he got have a moment in front of the 73,000 people in attendance at Wrestlemania.  Then on Monday he got to cut a promo live on Raw.  In that promo he discussed somewhat at length a man (implied to be himself or the Ultimate Warrior character) dieing, and his legacy living on through the fans.

Here’s a transcript of part of what he said:

Every man’s heart one day beats its final beat, his lungs breathe their final breath and if what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the body of others and makes them believe deeper in something larger than life, then his essence, his spirit will be immortalized.

Then the next day, Tuesday, around 6pm he suddenly collapsed and died.  Allegedly he clutched his chest first, making people speculate that it was a heart attack.

So that’s pretty damn weird.

Since then there has been almost nothing but an outpouring of support for the deceased.

You want my thoughts?  Like I said earlier, I started watching wrestling in the late 90s, well after the Ultimate Warrior’s prime.  So I did not ever really get drawn in by him.  I’ve retroactively scene a lot of his stuff, but honestly was never impressed.  He was all flash.  It does not hold up well, either.  He basically only had 2 or 3 truly good matches and a whole career of lame squash matched.

His appeal was mostly his colorful face paint, tassels, rockin’ entrance music, high energy run to the ring and shaking of the ropes, and his insane, often incomprehensible promos.

In more recent years he became known for his insane, bigoted speeches at colleges.  He openly spoke out against gays and liberals, and used yelling as his main argument as to why he was right.  Plus WWE put out a DVD called The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior in 2005, which was basically a collection of the many wrestlers and people who seemed to hate the guy and had a lot of problems with him.

That’s the Ultimate Warrior I got to experience in real time.  And that seemed to be the way most people viewed him, until the recent Hall of Fame announcement.  Then suddenly everyone was a nostalgic fan and the Warrior was a great entertainer.

Well, as far as I’m concerned the Ultimate Warrior (who had his name legally change to Warrior) was an insane piece of shit that everyone wants to fondly remember with rose-tinted glasses.  Of course his death is very sad for his family, and 54 is too young to die (adding to the huge list of wrestlers who died young), but I don’t have to pretend the man was some kind of saint just because he’s gone.

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