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 (Pokemon, Star 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.
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.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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 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.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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 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.
A curious thing is happening over at WWE.com. Amidst the numerous fluff articles, vapid pieces where WWE Superstars stay in character, and countless photo galleries, are a bunch of high-quality articles. Some of them are really, really good — a genuine treat for smarts, marks, and smarks alike. Since the WWE pretty much has a monopoly on the wrestling business, the company has access to wrestling legends and current superstars. It has used this access to create some fantastic oral-history articles that cover various eras and territories in wrestling. Here are some pieces that I recommend:
The Ring of Honor story is my favorite. Some of my current WWE favorites like Daniel Bryan (Bryan Danielson) and Antonio Cesaro (Claudio Castagnoli) wrestled for this independent promotion. It was very cool to see loads of quotes from people that are no longer involved with WWE (Colt Cabana, who wrestled as Scotty Goldman in WWE) and people that have never been involved with the company (promoter Gabe Sapolsky).
ECW’s heyday was another one of my favorite periods of wrestling. It was fun learning details about how close the company was to getting the funding to remain independent. Likewise, it was nice to read some candid commentary on WWE’s (ill-advised?) attempt at relaunching ECW as a WWE sub-brand.
True wrestling fanatics are familiar with the Smoky Mountain Wrestling territory, but there are millions of WWE fans that have no idea about the impact this indie had on modern wrestling. It’s a nice behind-the-scenes look at one of the last territories that was successful before the Monday Night Wars changed pro-wrestling forever.
When you have a chance, please check out some of these articles and let me know what you think of them. If you only have time for one, please check out the Ring of Honor story. In retrospect, the crazy popularity of Daniel Bryan’s “Yes!” chant shouldn’t have surprised me. When he was Bryan Danielson, he managed to use the simple phrase of, “I have ’til five!” to get over. I miss that…but not nearly as much as Claudio’s, “Heeeyyyyyyyy!”
Bonus Ring of Honor match: Claudio Castagnoli vs. Colt Cabana!
The 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2014) is wrapping up and tech nerds are still recovering from being inundated by awesome announcements. Looking through the retroscope, I wish I had gone to this year’s show. It had the expected technology and gaming announcements I expected. What surprised me was the amount of vaping goods on display. Gah! Before I plan for CES 2015, let’s take a look back at five announcements I liked from CES 2014…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, the fraudulent NY Knicks giving fans false hope with their fluke win over the Miami Heat, the Broadway musical based on the lyrics of Tupac Shakur, or the unfortunate news of Emma Watson dating some fool rugby player, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.
The 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2014) is wrapping up and tech nerds are still recovering from being inundated by awesome announcements. Looking through the retroscope, I wish I had gone to this year’s show. It had the expected technology and gaming announcements I expected. What surprised me was the amount of vaping goods on display. Gah! Before I plan for CES 2015, let’s take a look back at five announcements I liked from CES 2014.
WWE Network: I wrote about the CES 2014 WWE Network announcement yesterday and I’m still jazzed about the news. This streaming-video service is a dream come true for marks, smarts, and smarks. For $10 a month you get all 12 live WWE pay-per-view events, some original programming, and on-demand access to classic pro-wrestling matches. Hell, I’d pay $10 a month just to watch Ric Flair’s vast library of five-star matches.
First-Gen Steam Machines: Valve-powered Steam Machines are potentially disruptive for the entire videogame universe. Steam Machines could dratically change things for gamers, game developers, and game publishers. I was thrilled to see that first-gen Steam Machines will be coming from top hardware vendors at a broad range of prices. Steam Machines are on the way from Alienware, CyberPowerPC, Digital Storm, Falcon NW ,GigaByte, iBuyPower, Origin PC, and others.
T-Mobile Pays For ETFs: T-Mobile USA’s John Legere is easily the most entertaining CEO in technology today. I love his bold moves and juvenile antics. Some of the things he does aren’t exactly professional, but damn they’re funny. It was hilarious that he crashed AT&T’s CES 2014 party…and promptly got kicked out. In a serious move, I dig the latest step in T-Mobile’s “Uncarrier” initiative: paying early-termination fees (ETFs) for customers moving from AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon to T-Mobile. It’s just the latest in a number of aggressive moves from carrier.
Razer Project Christine: Speaking of bold and aggressive, I’m absolutely smitten with Razer’s Project Christine concept design that was unveiled at CES 2014. This modular PC chassis looks amazingly cool and is extremely practical. It makes upgrading and expanding a PC’s capabilities a snap. Even though I’m mostly a Mac guy these days, I’d love to get a Project Christine PC for when I’m working on PC games.
PlayStation Now: The Gaikai streaming-videogame service will be reborn as PlayStation Now. In addition to streaming older PlayStation games to PlayStation consoles, the service will be built into select Bravia televisions. This is a fantastic value-added feature for casual gamers that want to play videogames every now and then, but aren’t into it enough to buy a dedicated machine. It could even serve as a gateway service and create born-again gamers. It’s a very cool and very smart move from Sony.
How about you guys and dolls? What CES 2014 product or service announcements did you enjoy?
At CES 2014, WWE announced details on the WWE Network, a streaming-video service that offers live and on-demand videos. WWE Network will feature live programming — including all 12 WWE pay-per-view events — and on-demand viewing of classic wrestling. Additionally, it will have a number of original shows that will be exclusive to the service. WWE Network will launch on February 24, 2014 at a cost of $9.99 per month with a six-month commitment required.
WWE Network will be available on a number of popular devices. According to the press release:
WWE Network, the first 24/7 network delivered directly to fans through over-the-top digital distribution, will be available on desktops and laptops via WWE.com. WWE Network will also be available through the WWE App on: Amazon’s Kindle Fire devices; Android devices such as Samsung Galaxy; iOS devices such as Apple iPad and iPhone; Roku streaming devices; Sony PlayStation 3 and Sony PlayStation 4; and Xbox 360. Availability on additional devices, including Xbox One and select Smart TVs, will follow this summer.
Original WWE Network programming includes pre- and post-show commentary on Monday Night Raw and Friday Night Smackdown, NXT Wrestling, WrestleMania Rewind, The Monday Night War, and WWE Legends House. I’m particularly excited about that last show, which features “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Tony Atlas and Hacksaw Jim Duggan living together and doing goofy things.
The press release notes that classic WWE, WCW, and ECW matches and pay-per-view events will be available for on-demand viewing — uncut and uncensored. I hope that WWE’s immense archive of the “territory” days of wrestling will be included as well. There are so many tremendous Mid-South Wrestling, World Class Championship Wrestling, Florida Championship Wrestling, etc. matches that I’d love to see. Hell, it almost makes me wish that I had a son, just so that I could show him how awesome Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, Ricky Steamboat, and Harley Race were in their primes.
Assuming that the streaming service works well, WWE Network is a fantastic value. The monthly cost is cheaper than ordering a single pay-per-view event and you get tons of other content to enjoy at your leisure. As a fan of current WWE programming and a huge mark for older wrestling shows, WWE Network is a must-buy for me. On paper, it looks like I would get way more than $10 of entertainment out of the service every month.
I know that several of you RPadholics are (wisely) WWE and pro-wrestling fans. Are you excited for WWE Network? Will you subscribe? What questions or issues do you have about the service? Kindly layeth the smacketh down in the comments section!
WWE Superstar Chris Jericho — the best in the world at what he does — has an upcoming web series called But I’m Chris Jericho! The trailer, embedded below, shows a Curb Your Enthusiasm-type of comedy (but I’m guessing that the show won’t rely so heavily on improv). But I’m Chris Jericho! chronicles the ex-wrestler’s (fictitious) attempt at breaking into the acting world. It debuts on October 29, 2013 with new episodes every Tuesday. Behind-the-scenes footage will run on Mondays, while “bonus” episodes will air on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Basically, you’re getting four doses of Chris Jericho every week.
Here’s an excerpt from the official description:
But I’m Chris Jericho! is a web series starring WWE superstar and multi-faceted performer Chris Jericho as a fictionalized version of himself. In this tongue-in-cheek portrayal of his life, Chris is a former wrestler struggling to make it big as an actor.
The trailer seems entertaining enough. I have no doubt that Jericho will be funny and I’m definitely going to check out the first episode. It’s really up to the writers and supporting cast to bring me back. As most of you know, being the best in the world at what he does covers multiple disciplines — professional wrestling, music, dancing with stars, etc. I’m confident that Chris Jericho can be the best in the world at episodic Internet television too…if he has quality writers and funny comedians to play off of.
Check out the trailer below and let me know what you think of But I’m Chris Jericho! Are you going to watch the first episode? Do you think it will take off? Will the show be a flash-in-the-pan (like Kane’s WWE title reign)? Or will Jericho ensure that web television will never…ever…be the same…again.
Looking at the current WWE roster, I was wondering what WrestleMania dream match is floating around in your head. It doesn’t necessarily have to be for WrestleMania XXX in New Orleans. Any WrestleMania in the near future works for this fun game. Do you want to see a clash of giants? How about two masters of technical wrestling going at it? Perhaps you fancy a David-and-Goliath showdown. Whatever your WrestleMania dream match is, I’d love to hear about it. As for me, the answer is easy. I want to see…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, the Miley Cyrus media blitz, spending an hour researching the life and times of Kevin Sorbo, or Scarlett Johansson looking perfect without makeup, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.
Looking at the current WWE roster, I was wondering what WrestleMania dream match is floating around in your head. It doesn’t necessarily have to be for WrestleMania XXX in New Orleans. Any WrestleMania in the near future works for this fun game. Do you want to see a clash of giants? How about two masters of technical wrestling going at it? Perhaps you fancy a David-and-Goliath showdown. Whatever your WrestleMania dream match is, I’d love to hear about it. As for me, the answer is easy. I want to see Daniel Bryan vs. Antonio Cesaro fighting for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania.
I’m a big, big fan of these two guys, going back to their Ring of Honor days as Bryan Danielson and Claudio Castagnoli. I’ve seen them have amazing matches together and I’d love to see them have an all-time great match at WrestleMania. They’re both wonderfully talented pro-wrestlers with diverse arsenals. Both are technically proficient, but have skills that complement each other. Danielson has the edge in high-flying maneuvers, while Claudio can pull off some power moves that few others would even think about trying. For a taste of how awesome a WrestleMania dream match between Daniel Bryan and Antonio Cesaro would be, check out this 2008 Ring of Honor clip below.
If you didn’t think that match was fantastic then I hope someone gives you a Ricola Bomb followed by Cattle Mutilation.
Sadly, it looks like this WrestleMania dream match is a few years away. While Danielson has been main-eventing WWE cards for some time, Claudio is being held back by Jack Swagger and Dutch Mantel as part of the “Real Americans” group. Hopefully he gets a chance to break out as a singles wrestler soon. He certainly has the ability. He just needs another opportunity. When that happens, I hope (but doubt) WWE creative brings back the, “Heyyyyyyyy!!!” gimmick. I miss that.
Anyway, what’s your WrestleMania dream match? Be the booker-man in the comments section (please!).
Claudio Castagnoli, known as Antonio Cesaro in WWE, has been one of my favorite pro-wrestlers of the last decade. He has an incredible combination of power, technical wrestling skills, and dynamic moves. While his “Very” European uppercuts are wicked to watch, WWE fans have been marveling at Antonio Cesaro’s “giant swing” move. Check out the two clips below of Antonio Cesaro executing the maneuver on the gargantuan Great Khali. The first is from the WWE Battleground pay-per-view event on Sunday and the second is from last night’s Monday Night Raw. They’re just amazing displays of strength…and my back hurts just watching Antonio Cesaro do the move on YouTube. After you’ve checked out the clip, let me know who you’d like to see as a future victim of the Cesaro Swing. The Big Show? Mark Henry? Vickie Guerrero?
(On a side note, I love how Michael Cole accidentally called Hornswaggle by his real name, Dylan, in the second clip. Sadly, WWE edited that part out.)
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson confirmed via Twitter that he’ll be starring in The Fall Guy. The movie, which will be directed by McG, is an updated version of the popular ’80s action series. For those of you not familiar with The Fall Guy, the show was about a stuntman that moonlighted as a bounty hunter to make ends meet. The “unknown stuntman’s” adventures were filled with stunt-acular action. The original show starred Lee Majors. It will be fun to see if The Most Electrifying Man in All of Entertainment will be able to fill the shoes of the Six-Million Dollar Man.
Another reason for the show’s popularity was its leading lady: Heather Thomas. In the ’80s, she was pretty much the hottest woman alive. The vast majority of my friends had Heather Thomas posters on their walls back in the day and many of them watched The Fall Guy because of her. And yes, The Fall Guy news is a fantastic excuse to post a vintage Heather Thomas photo.
Now back to The Rock. This role is perfect for him. It takes full advantage of his physicality, pro-wrestling training, and comedic timing. McG’s Charlie’s Angelsmovies were great at blending action and comedy; The Rock is awesome at combining the two, making this a great pairing. It’s easy to see The Rock running, jumping, punching, kicking, and cracking jokes for 90 minutes in The Fall Guy, stylishly directed by McG. Hopefully the script is decent.
On a side note, many of you know that RPad.TV pal Justin Leeper is an actor and stuntman. He’s a pretty cool guy, but he’d even cooler if he pursued a part-time career in bounty hunting. I think you should all join me in encouraging Justin to become a real-life version of The Fall Guy.
Anyway, what do you think of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson starring in The Fall Guy. How many of you are too young to remember the show (don’t answer that, as it will only depress me). Who would you pick to reprise Heather Thomas’ role?