Monday, January 26, 2015

#CancelWWENetwork Is Runnin' Wild!

Photo Credit: WWE
No, I am not canceling my WWE Network subscription.  I'm not here to rally support for that cause either.  Personally, I love WWE Network and think it's a terrific product and a tremendous value.  That said, I find this movement absolutely fascinating and surprising.  Maybe I shouldn't be surprised, but I'll admit I was.  The response to last night's show was swift and brutal and seems to have culminated with the #CancelWWENetwork movement.

While I disagree with this movement I respect the passion behind it.  This is also different than previous passionate movements such as #OccupyRAW.  That one was certainly as passionate as this, but it had a few failings.  One, it was kind of hokey.  During this segment the crowd will turn their backs, at this point we will chant such and such.  I appreciate where your heart's at, but that's just goofy.  Two, it was convoluted.  You had to basically print out these instructions and take them with you to the arena and respond appropriately throughout the show.  You were also going to have to drown out the casuals who don't care or aren't aware of the #OccupyRAW movement.  Three, it was difficult to execute this kind of hostile takeover of the crowd.  Lastly, it was a statement that might be heard in that arena that night, but would be unlikely to have any lasting effect.

To that point, I went to bed last night thinking that I had witnessed another Philly crowd that passionately rooted for what it wanted to see and killed what it didn't like.  That was the case, but it was also something bigger than that.  I kicked around some of these topics on Twitter (@S_ATL_Wrestling) and the crowd itself will be addressed in the Royal Rumble post that should be up later today.  The gist of that will be that you can't overreact to how that one crowd responded to Reigns as they have long had a reputation as "independent thinkers" that may not reflect the WWE Universe at large.

When I woke up I was shocked to see that #CancelWWENetwork was trending.  As I got in bed last night I read that the page for canceling subscriptions was overwhelmed and that the topic of canceling subscriptions was escalating.  I figured it would blow over fairly quickly and we'd be back to normal.  As of early Monday morning that clearly isn't the case.  I think it's a shame in one regard because I want to see the WWE Network and WWE do well, but their arrogance in some regard has created this mentality in their fans.  For once, there's a large segment of the fanbase that can say they did more then "get online and complain" and it's pretty impressive.

What will it mean in the long run?  I have no idea.  Personally, I enjoyed the show last night.  I'm a Roman Reigns guy so I had no issue with him winning the Rumble and the title shot.  WWE could have mitigated that reaction in the building and possibly online with some fairly basic decisions that I will touch on later.  In the end it seems that this is another example of Vince McMahon thinking that he could manipulate the audience as he pleased, but it appears that he was dead wrong.  The arrogance shown by that man and his promotion is astonishing.  Will they be able to win back some of the #CancelWWENetwork contingent?  I don't know.  I hope they do, but it seems that there's a good number of folks that are fed up with Vince McMahon and his hand-picked Superstars.  Maybe the day and age of WWE pretending they know what people really want is over, but I'll believe that when I see it.

Is #CancelWWENetwork a turning point for the fanbase and the company or a minor hiccup on the Road to WrestleMania?  I don't know, but tonight's RAW and the rest of the build for Mania will be interesting to say the least. 

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