Bret Hart’s “Who Are You to Doubt El Dandy?” Promo

As great as WWE legend Bret “The Hitman” Hart was in the ring, few pro-wrestling aficionados would say that he was stellar on the mic. For the most part, The Hitman cut dull promos that weren’t particularly interesting, inspiring, or memorable. Sure, he had his moments as the anti-American Canadian babyface during the Attitude Era, but compared to guys like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, The Rock, etc., Bret was a bit boring.

Then there was Bret’s WCW run, which was pretty lame compared to his WWE work. His ring work was uninspired, he was given dumb angles, and Goldberg ended his career with a botched spot. With that in mind, it’s surprising that one of The Hitman’s best and funniest promos took place in WCW. I’m talking about the legendary “Who Are You to Doubt El Dandy?” promo.

The promo starts off slowly, so skip ahead to the 1:22 mark. That’s when the magic starts to happen. “Mean” Gene Okerlund tries to put over Booker T as a worthy challenger for Bret’s US Championship title. The Hitman scoffs at this and rattles off some wrestlers he deems worthy. Bret tries to put over cruiserweight luchador El Dandy. After Gene protests, Bret delivers the awesome line of, “Who are you to doubt El Dandy?” Next, he tries to suggest Psicosis, but erroneously calls him Hypnosis. Ha! It’s hilarious stuff from a guy that’s usually not very funny.

Check out the promo below and let me know what you think of the shockingly funny Bret “The Hitman” Hart promo. After you’ve done that, ask yourself one question — who are you to doubt El Dandy?!?

Special thanks to my pal Lorie for inspiring this article with this Instagram post.

Lex Luger Looks Like Gollum

“The Total Package” Lex Luger was known for his Herculean physique and high-impact power moves. His strength and appearance were so impressive that Luger was once tabbed as the heir apparent to Hulk Hogan by Vince McMahon. These days, he looks more like Gollum from The Lord of the Rings. I’ve been watching The Monday Night War on WWE Network and seeing modern Lex Luger made me sad. Years of performance-enhancing and recreational drug abuse combined with a spinal stroke have left Luger a shell of his former self. The Total Package looks more like The Disheveled Packaged and seeing him on The Monday Night War was mildly disturbing. Check out the photo below to see Lex Luger’s uncanny resemblance to Gollum.

Lex Luger Gollum

Coffee Talk #642: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Hulk Hogan

One of the most frequent arguments I’ve heard between wrestling fans is about “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and “The Immortal” Hulk Hogan. Both are cited as the biggest WWE Superstar of all time and there are compelling arguments for both wrestlers. Naturally, I want to hear your opinion on the matter. Several of you are longtime smarks and I’m sure that you’ll make excellent cases for both WWE Superstars. Before you make your pick, let’s take a closer look at the Steve Austin vs. Hulk Hogan issue.

Fans that pick Austin as the greatest WWE Superstar of all time point to the fact that he was the top guy during the most popular era in the business. He has sold more merchandise than any other pro-wrestler. Working a program with boxing great “Iron” Mike Tyson, Austin was part of the biggest crossover angle in wrestling history and garnered a ton of mainstream coverage. He has had all-time great matches with Bret “The Hitman” Hart, “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels, The Rock, and more. His mic work and sketches are some of the best in WWE history. I’ll never forget the awesome sight and sound of Steve Austin smashing a bedpan on Vince McMahon’s head.

On the downside, Austin’s career was cut short due to a number of injuries. In addition to having knees that were beat up to hell, he suffered a serious neck injury from a botched piledriver delivered by Owen Hart. While the injury helped Austin develop his character on the mic and through sketches, it probably shaved of a decade or so from his in-ring work.

Hulk Hogan supporters point to the fact that the man took wrestling to the mainstream. He was the top guy for a ridiculously long time and paved the way for future WWE Superstars. He’s had dozens of iconic moments, perhaps none bigger than when he bodyslammed Andre the Giant at WrestleMania III. His interviews were legendary and he was a master at getting fans charged up. Unlike Austin, Hogan was a main-event guy in both WWE and WCW, selling out arenas around the world for both companies.

Hogan detractors point to the fact that he was never all that good in the ring. His work in TNA Wrestling (arguably) tarnished his legacy. While Austin’s in-ring work had to stop because of injury, Hogan kept on going…and that resulted in some really ugly matches. Austin fans say that Hogan never achieved the merch and ratings numbers that Stone Cold did.

Now it’s your turn! Kindly vote in the poll below and make your case in the comments section. It’s Steve Austin vs. Hulk Hogan time — fight!!!

[poll id=”194″]


Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, the alarming rumors of a Nutella shortage, Curt Schilling battling mouth cancer, or Mick Foley’s daughter getting hot, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

Coffee Talk #632: On Samoan Thor

I finally watched Fast & Furious 6 and, as expected, had a marvelous time with the movie. As many of you know, I’m a big fan of the series. The late Paul Walker’s acting was mesmerizingly bad, but in a deceptively entertaining way. Vin Diesel gets my support for being the Iron Giant and Groot, as well as for being the biggest Hollywood star that play Dungeons & Dragons. As a lifelong WWE fan, I try to support all of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s movies. In addition to those three talents, the Fast & Furious series is just good, dumb fun.

While the vast majority of the movie was predictable, there was one scene that totally caught me off guard…continued

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, dissecting the 2014 NBA draft, Hope Solo’s attractive insanity, or Shawn LeBeef’s getting arrested during a performance of Cabaret, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

I finally watched Fast & Furious 6 and, as expected, had a marvelous time with the movie. As many of you know, I’m a big fan of the series. The late Paul Walker’s acting was mesmerizingly bad, but in a deceptively entertaining way. Vin Diesel gets my support for being the Iron Giant and Groot, as well as for being the biggest Hollywood star that play Dungeons & Dragons. As a lifelong WWE fan, I try to support all of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s movies. In addition to those three talents, the Fast & Furious series is just good, dumb fun.

While the vast majority of the movie was predictable, there was one scene that totally caught me off guard. Tej Parker (awesomely played by Ludacris) receives a phone call on his (completely product placed) Nokia. It’s from “Samoan Thor.” At first I thought it was some odd bit of Nokia product marketing infused with dry Finnish humor that was too smart for me. Then Tej says that it’s Hobbs (The Rock’s character). That short bit totally cracked me up in a true laugh-out-loud moment. Samoan Thor is a stellar nickname for any character portrayed by The Rock.

The bit was certainly funny, but it wasn’t that funny. Still, it’s odd that the Samoan Thor gag was one of my biggest takeaways from the movie. It totally killed me at the time and it’s something that I’m still thinking about days after I’ve watched Fast & Furious 6. The bit as even influenced my daily life. I recently added “Asika Hot Legs” to my Google Contacts. I’m thinking of nicknames for all of my friends and colleagues on my phone. While none of my puns or gags will be as funny as Samoan Thor, perhaps I can come close.

Anyway, I wanted to see if any of you have had Samoan Thor moments recently. Was there a bit in a movie that was “only” funny objectively but you found completely hilarious? Please share your tale in the comments section.

Coffee Talk #621: Athletes, Sports Entertainers, and Counting

As many of you know, WWE’s The Undertaker finally lost a WrestleMania match. Going into WrestleMania XXX, the promotional videos and ‘Taker’s in-ring soliloquies were full of things like, “21 men have tried to stop The Undertaker and 21 have been defeated.” The problem is, The Undertaker did not defeat 21 WWE wrestlers at WrestleMania. He beat Triple H thrice (WrestleMania XVII, XXVII, XXVIII), Shawn Michaels twice (WrestleMania XXV, XXVI), and Kane twice (WrestleMania XIV, XX). The wording of those 21-0 Undertaker promos always bugged me, but not as much as…continued

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, Miley Cyrus’ topless Instagram photos, placing bets on Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley II, or Felix Trinidad going broke, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

As many of you know, WWE’s The Undertaker finally lost a WrestleMania match earlier this week. Going into WrestleMania XXX, the promotional videos and ‘Taker’s in-ring soliloquies were full of things like, “21 men have tried to stop The Undertaker and 21 have been defeated.” The problem is, The Undertaker did not defeat 21 WWE wrestlers at WrestleMania. He beat Triple H thrice (WrestleMania XVII, XXVII, XXVIII), Shawn Michaels twice (WrestleMania XXV, XXVI), and Kane twice (WrestleMania XIV, XX). While WWE storylines and finishing maneuvers often defy logic, Vince McMahon isn’t powerful enough to defy proper counting. The wording of those 21-0 Undertaker promos always bugged me, but not as much as…

…when boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr. brags about his undefeated record. Mayweather has been the most talented pugilist in the sport of boxing for the last decade, but he has also been one of the most obnoxious morons in any sport for the last decade. His boasts about his perfect record make him sound like an even bigger moron. When he was 43-0 he would say, “43 have tried and 43 have failed.” When he was 44-0 he would say,  “44 have tried and 44 have failed.” You get the idea. The problem is, he fought Jose Luis Castillo twice. So really, when he was 44-0, 43 boxers tried and failed against him. Mayweather is a known idiot, but I expected super advisor Al Haymon to teach him the finer points of counting.

While I understand that undefeated records are precious things and fantastic marketing tools, you can’t lie about math to embellish undefeated streaks. It’s stupid. It’s annoying. It teaches impressionable youths that counting properly isn’t cool. It’s like The Undertaker and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. were traumatized by Sesame Street and want to negate the counting lessons the show has taught millions. (It’s not really like that, but for some reason I was thinking about the counting segments Sesame Street.)

Perhaps I’m nitpicking, but I’ve always hated when The Undertaker and Mayweather would infuse their promos with improper counting. What do you think? Does it bother me, simply because I think that Mayweather is a complete ass? Or do I have a legitimate point. Leave a comment and let me know (please!).

Random Thoughts on WWE WrestleMania XXX

After a subpar WrestleMania XXIX, WWE roared back with WrestleMania XXX. It was an important show on several levels. Obviously 30 is a nice, round number and WWE often pulls out all the stops for “anniversary” shows. Last year, smarks blasted WWE for its fan-unfriendly booking. This year, the company (mostly) listened. On a corporate level, WrestleMania XXX was the first major show to take advantage of WWE Network. To my delight, the stream was flawless on my AT&T U-Verse connection. As for the show itself, WrestleMania XXX was a mix of great matches, bland bouts, and bizarre happenings. Here are some assorted thoughts on last night’s show. I’d love to hear yours in the comments section. (Also, spoilers ahead!)

Hogan’s Hot Start: The immortal (not really) Hulk Hogan kicked things off as the host of WrestleMania XXX. He got the crowed hot…until he gaffed and called the Superdome the Silverdome. Pundits have used thousands of words arguing on whether or not the Silverdome gaff was a simple mistake or a result of Alzheimer’s. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin joined in and got the crow even hotter. He even played up the Silverdome error and turned it into a fun rib. Finally…The Rock returned to WrestleMania. Kicking off the show with three of the biggest pro-wrestling stars of all time was tremendous. The live crowd loved it and it played well on TV.

Daniel Bryan Plays the Game: The opening match was predictable, but mostly good. Triple H is a part-timer these days and there were several moments where he looked rusty. His timing was slightly off, making for action that wasn’t as crisp as it could have been. It’s one thing for Hunter to pull off a great match with someone that he’s been wrestling for years, like Shawn Michaels or the Undertaker. With a relatively new opponent like Daniel Bryan, the results weren’t his best. As for the artist formerly known as Bryan Danielson, he was tremendous. I am of the opinion that he has been the best in-ring performer on the WWE roster since HBK retired.

Overall, it was a solid match, the right guy won, and it got the crowd going. The post-match beat-down was also very good. Stephanie McMahon’s legs were pretty distracting. It was difficult to concentrate on the wrestling when naughty thoughts about the MILF-y Stephanie McMahon kept invading my mind.

The Shield vs. Some Old Guys: This was a short squash. The Shield has been one of the hottest acts in WWE for the last year or so. Sadly, they didn’t get the opportunity to shine at WrestleMania XXX. Oh well, they’re young and I’m sure there will be several chances for them down the road. As for the New Age Outlaws, I like that they were brought in to shake things up in the tag-team division, but they should hang it up as regular performers. I’m probably in the minority, but I dig Corporate Kane. He’ll never do this, but I wish he’d incorporate some of his real-life libertarian views into his gimmick. That would rule.

WWE WrestleMania XXX Cesaro

Andre the Giant Battle Royal: As many of you know, I’ve been a huge mark for Cesaro from back when he wrestled as Claudio Castagnoli in Ring of Honor and other independent wrestling promotions. I was delighted to see him win the WrestleMania XXX battle royal. The match itself was typical WWE battle royal fare — mostly boring with some cool spots by Kofi Kingston (I was amazed that he landed on the stairs) and Dolph Ziggler. Cesaro slamming Big Show out of the ring was pretty spectacular and I’m sure that clip will be replayed hundreds of times over the next decade. Most importantly, the win and the highlight slam helped establish Cesaro as a future WWE player. I loved that WrestleMania XXX was used to elevate Cesaro to the next level and hope WWE doesn’t botch the followup.

John Cena is Tempted by the Dark Side: A lot of wrestling fans are blasting this match, but I enjoyed it. The psychology was unique and the storytelling was strong. That said, it had some flaws. I’m certain that it played better on TV than it did live. The announcers did a great job of enhancing the storyline of Bray Wyatt trying to get Cena to give into his anger and ruin his legacy. Obviously the live crowd doesn’t get the benefit of that enhancement. There were slow moments that appeared to be tense on TV, but probably looked dead to people at the show. On the downside, the loss damages the Wyatt family act a bit, but they have the ability to bounce back. While I respect Cena’s work ethic, I was happy to see him in the middle of the card instead of the main event.

WWE WrestleMania XXX Undertaker

Brock Lesnar Breaks Undertaker’s Streak: This WrestleMania XXX match…I didn’t get at all. I didn’t expect a great match; Undertaker is old and in constant pain — dude can’t go like he used to. Lesnar is phenomenally gifted, but he’s never been great at carrying opponents. The action was brutally stiff at times, though awkward and lumbering at others. The result doesn’t make sense to me. Lesnar is a part-timer and he gets a huge rub for ending “The Streak.” Wouldn’t it have been better to give the rub to a young up-and-comer that can capitalize on it for the next decade? I don’t see the point in using “The Streak” to elevate Lesnar, a guy that wrestles three times a year and will probably be out of the business within the next few years…

…unless he was Undertaker’s personal pick to end “The Streak.” In that case, you can’t really say anything, can you? Undertaker has earned the right to go out however the hell he wants to.

Divas Clusterf*ck Match: I’ve loved AJ Lee for years. I called out her hotness back in the NXT days. I was happy she won, but WWE’s use of Divas…kind of sucks right now. I’m happy that they all got a WrestleMania XXX paycheck and some exposure, but there was so much wasted talent in the ring. The Divas roster is stacked with women that can work great matches — AJ, Nattie Neidhart, Naomi, Emma, etc. It would have been nice to see some female talent (that’s not on a stupid reality show) elevate at WrestleMania XXX.

WWE WrestleMania XXX Daniel Bryan

Daniel Bryan Conquers Drax: This was a good match that was better than I thought it would be. Yes, it had the completely-expected moments of Batista sucking, but Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan helped covered up Big Dave’s enormous sucktitude. That Batista-Bomb-into-an-RKO spot was pretty gnarly. I was worried about Orton when he landed (unplanned) on a loose monitor after the spot. The near-finishes at the end were exciting and dramatic. Most importantly, the right guy won to open and close the show.

Some fans felt that the match was over-booked towards the end, with interference by The Authority and a shady referee being inserted into the match. I disagree with those folks. While I expected Bryan to win the match, the interference planted some seeds of doubt. The booking had me wondering if the writers were going to blow it again. I liked that doubt crept in for a few brief moments.

As a big Bryan Danielson fan and someone that hated some of the booking decisions behind Daniel Bryan, I was thrilled to see him finally emerge victorious at WrestleMania XXX. The live crowd reaction wasn’t as big as I thought it would be, but part of that was the audience still reeling from the shock of ‘Taker’s streak coming to an end. Naturally, the crowd went home happy and millions of smarks were left happy. I enjoyed the match and loved the result. Hopefully the writers don’t screw this one up.

Pro-Wrestlers vs. Zombies Trailer

As requested by RPadholic N8R, here’s the official trailer for Pro-Wrestlers vs. Zombies. Yes, it’s a real movie featuring real pro-wrestlers and real zombies! Pro-Wrestlers vs. Zombies’ cast of grapplers includes “The Franchise” Shane Douglas, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, Kurt Angle, Matt Hardy, and more. The lovely ladies of the film include 2009 Penthouse Pet of the Year Taya Parker and former TNA Knockout Reby Sky.

As most of you know, pro-wrestling and zombies are awesome. Putting them together is…magic. It’s kind of nuts that nobody has put this combination together before. Check out the Pro-Wrestlers vs. Zombies trailer below and I’m certain that you’ll agree that this pairing is sheer genius. If you dig what you see then you can pick up the movie at the official Pro-Wrestlers vs. Zombies web site. As you patiently wait for the release of this cinematic masterpiece, kindly share your thoughts on the movie in the comments section.

Coffee Talk #618: Nerd Subscriptions and You

As you know, we are living in a digital world (and I am a digital girl…err, scratch that). One of the byproducts of the digital age, particularly for people with nerdy hobbies, is that we’re spending more money on subscription services. For nerd subscriptions, Microsoft’s Xbox Live was the first monthly subscription for many geek chic. Since then, the nerd subscriptions have multiplied like Gremlins. For an endless supply of geeky media, people are dropping money every month on Xbox Live, PlayStation Plus, Netflix, Hulu, WWE Network, Marvel Unlimited, and more. I’d love to hear about your nerd subscriptions. It’ll be fun to see the services we all subscribe to…continued

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, Captain Kirk drunk driving in New Zealand, your favorite sandwich getting snubbed by this list of the best sandwiches in America, or NBA excitement building up as the playoffs approach, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

As you know, we are living in a digital world (and I am a digital girl…err, scratch that). One of the byproducts of the digital age, particularly for people with nerdy hobbies, is that we’re spending more money on subscription services. For nerd subscriptions, Microsoft’s Xbox Live was the first monthly subscription for many geek chic. Since then, the nerd subscriptions have multiplied like Gremlins. For an endless supply of geeky media, people are dropping money every month on Xbox Live, PlayStation Plus, Netflix, Hulu, WWE Network, Marvel Unlimited, and more. I’d love to hear about your nerd subscriptions. It’ll be fun to see the services we all subscribe to.

As for me, I’m a current subscriber to Xbox Live, PlayStation Plus, Netflix (though to be fair, it’s a comped press account), and WWE Network. While I need those services for work purposes, I think they all provide good to great value and would happily pay for them even if they weren’t tax deductible expenses. The videogame service subscriptions are necessary; I don’t really have a choice there. I’m committed to WWE Network for six months, but that would be the first one to go; I love watching classic Ric Flair matches, but from a value standpoint I want to see how live pay-per-view events perform. Netflix has so much great content, with a growing library of exclusives (PokemonStar War: The Clone Wars) that makes it a must-have nerd subscription.

Now it’s your turn! Kindly list your current, cancelled, and prospective nerd subscriptions in the comments section.

WWE Network Update: Much Better, But Still Flawed

Here’s a followup to my first impressions article on WWE Network. After 10 days of uptime, performance is considerably better. However, there are still some issues that are puzzling. If you’re using WWE Network, I’d love to hear more about your experiences. Now in the immortal words of Degeneration-X, join me as I “Break it Down!” with more random thoughts on WWE’s new streaming Internet video service.

– As I mentioned, network performance has gotten much better. The buffering issues that plagued my first few days of WWE Network no longer occur. The streams have been smooth on both my MacBook (Google Chrome) and iPad (Safari). This was my biggest issue with the service and I’m happy that it’s no longer a problem.

WWE Network Robocop Sting

– For some reason, I’ve been watching goofy moments in wrestling. One of my favorites is Robocop’s WCW appearance during WCW Capital Combat 1990. The card is worth watching just for Robocop’s angle. Sting selling Robocop as a menacing ally is impressive. The Four Horsemen cowering in fear of a foe that moves roughly five feet per minute is legendary.

– Although WWE Network’s streaming has improved greatly, the search function is still annoyingly primitive. Searching on a PC is okay at best. As long as you’re sticking to wrestler and show names, you’ll get good results. If you input something more complex or specific, it can confuse the search engine. Searching on the iPad is just awful. The WWE App limits your search to wrestlers’ names and the results don’t always work. For example, I know that WWE Network has a classic WCCW match featuring Kevin Von Erich. If I search for Kevin Von Erich on the WWE App, nothing comes up. Search is a basic function that’s hugely important. WWE Network needs a more robust search engine.

WWE Network search

– Keeping on the goofy tip, check out the SummerSlam 2005 match between Shawn Michaels and Hulk Hogan. It’s HBK like you’ve never seen him before. Going into the match, Hogan exercised creative control and went back on the agreed upon plans to put himself — and only himself — over. There wasn’t much HBK could do…except make Hogan look like a fool for most of the match. It’s frickin’ hilarious watching HBK oversell all of Hogan’s moves. From punches to clotheslines to the legendary Hulk Hogan leg drop, Michaels sells each move as if he were taking a gunshot. It’s pretty awesome.

WWE Network Shawn Bump SummerSlam 2005

– I’m really enjoying the NXT archives. Part of the fun is watching up-and-coming talent, but for me, it’s all about the atmosphere. I dig the relatively small size and high smark concentration of the NXT audience. It’s like watching a Ring of Honor show…but with much more production money and cameramen that actually know what they’re doing. As an RoH fan, I especially enjoyed the last match between Cesaro and Sami Zayn. I enjoyed Zayn when he performed as El Generico in RoH, while Cesaro has several of my favorite matches from the last decade from his days as Ring of Honor’s Claudio Castagnoli. Between talent I use to watch in high-school gyms and an intimate atmosphere that’s quite different from Raw/Smackdown, I’ve been loving these NXT shows.

Conclusion (Updated): Despite the primitive search functionality, I recommend subscribing to WWE Network at this time. The streaming is smooth (for now) and new programs are added every week. Hopefully network performance doesn’t take a dive during WrestleMania, but I’m cautiously confident that the company will plan ahead and make sure that it has the bandwidth it needs. Between the classic content, original programming, and pay-per-view events, $9.99 a month for WWE Network is a steal.

Please let me know how your WWE Network experience has been so far. Are you getting your money’s worth? Are you happy with the service and content quality? Leave a comment and let me know (please!).

WWE Network First Impressions: Not Ready For Prime Time

WWE Network launched earlier this week. The new online video service offers new WWE content and lots of archival content. The initial price for the service is $9.99 with a month with a six-month commitment. The company is offering a free one-week trial of the service. On paper, this is an outstanding value for wrestling fans. You get live WWE pay-per-view (PPV) events and tons of classic content for less than the cost of a single PPV. That said, there are some major issues that the company needs to work on. Here are my initial impressions on WWE Network.

– Do yourself a favor and watch all the Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat matches from 1989. If you like classic wrestling, these are some of the best matches you’ll ever see. The Ric Flair content alone makes WWE Network worth $10 a month.

WWE Network Flair Steamboat

– It was great fun watching wrestlers before they became huge stars. I enjoyed watching “Stunning” Steve Austin. There are a lot of wrestling fans out there that are totally unaware of his WCW/ECW work. The same goes for Mick Foley. I was always a fan of Cactus Jack in WCW/ECW.

– Naturally (and it’s a sad fact that it’s natural), WWE Network has lots of matches with wrestlers that died too young. It was great taking a stroll down memory lane with Rick Rude, Brian Pillman, Owen Hart, and others.

– It was fantastic watching classic Sting matches. I was a Little Stinger back in the day. He was one of my favorite wrestlers ever. Then he watched The Crow. That gimmick sucked. Give me neon-tights wearing, rat-tail sporting Sting over Crow String any day of the week.

WWE Network Sting

– I’m hoping that newer wrestling fans will watch some classic Bruiser Brody matches on WWE Network. Every “monster heel” character has been influenced by Brody.

– It was weird watching standard definition video in a 4:3 aspect ratio. It feels…unnatural.

– It was disturbing to hear the word “oriental” used so much in 1989 broadcasts.

– It’s annoying that WWE Network censors profanity. Wtf.

– While I expected the service to be loaded up with WWE, WCW, and ECW content, I was hoping for more WCCW content. I was big fan of the Von Erichs, Fabulous Freebirds, Chris Adams, and other wrestlers that worked for the Texas promotion. You can even see the Ultimate Warrior when he was known as the Dingo Warrior. Hopefully more WCCW content will be added on a rolling basis. I’m also hoping for more content from the “territory” days, like Mid-South Wrestling and Florida Championship Wrestling shows.

– Watching the Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart feature made me sad. Michaels seems at peace with where he is and what he’s done. Hart has let go of a lot of his anger, but it still seems to be lingering in the back of his psyche. He, rather sadly, wasted too many years of his life being a bitter and angry man.

WWE Network Shawn Michaels Bret Hart

– The live stream works just fine. I haven’t had any issues with whatever is being pushed as “current” programming on WWE Network.

– On-demand content is another story. I’ve had numerous issues with buffering, as well as quite a few crashes. Performance on my MacBook (Chrome) and iPad (WWE App) has been disappointing. This is a big-time concern. While I’m jazzed about WWE Network’s potential and I’ve really enjoyed watching old matches, the performance has been abysmal.

– Watching WWE Network on my MacBook reminds me of why I hate Flash. The performance is shoddy and the CPU utilization is ridiculously high. I really wish the company went with HTML5 video. Hell, Microsoft Silverlight (think Netflix) would have been much better. This is what happens when a huge Internet video project is headed up in Stamford, Connecticut. If WWE had a satellite office in Silicon Valley, it could have hired a number of engineers to make a superior product.

WWE Network Performance

– WWE has already added new features to WWE Network. Shows now have bookmarks, so you can skip to the matches you want to see. Of course the buffering issues make this more difficult than it ought to be. Personally, I wish individual matches were available instead of entire shows. Slicing up PPV events into individual matches would potentially help performance and make the mediocre search function more meaningful.

– I’ve been using WWE Network primarily at home through an AT&T U-Verse Max Turbo connection (24 Mbps downstream). The service was usable 30 percent of the time, which would be a fantastic average in Major League Baseball, but is rather pathetic for a streaming Internet video service. When I took my iPad to a nearby coffeehouse to test out the service through a decent AT&T DSL connection, it was completely unusable.

Conclusion (For Now): WWE Network has so much potential, but it’s not ready…at all. It feels like a product that needs several months of beta testing, yet the company is comfortable charging for it now. While the current content lineup is great and has the potential to become brilliant, the performance is just dreadful. Hopefully WWE gets past the numerous technical issues that plague WWE Network and make it the streaming video service smarts and marks have dreamed of.

Stay tuned for more updates on WWE Network soon. For now, please use the comments section and let me know about your WWE Network experience. If you can, please list the type, speed, and provider of your Internet service.