Our new signing Ruairi “The Hitman” O’Hagan talks about watching WWE after many years away, thanks in particular to one thing….
It wasn’t meant to happen.
I wasn’t meant to fall back into the WWE trap.
But it seems I have.
It all started so innocently. Oh, a free two week trial of the WWE Network? I’ll give it a go I guess. It’ll be fun to watch Wrestlemania 17 again.
Oh, the Royal Rumble is free? I might watch that.
Ah shur, I might as well watch some old Royal Rumbles while I’m at it.
Oh, there’s an Irish guy in NXT. I’ll give that a go.
What’s that Vince? The Network is free for February? I’ll hold off on cancelling it so.
Oh, there’s a series of documentaries on the Monday Night Wars? That’s when I used to watch wrestling. I’ll have a sconse.
Fastlane, you say? Ah shur, might as well. (I feckin wish I hadn’t though. By Christ that was awful. Roman Reigns? Pah)
I’ve been played like a fool by the WWE.
It’s a similar tactic to that used by drug dealers. Your first taste is free, to get you hooked. And then, a second, larger taste. Also free. Cheers for that Vinny Mac. So now it looks like I’m going to be paying 13 quid a month for the feckin thing, looking for my next fix. Mrs Haganator isn’t too amused to come home to find her husband watching wrestling every day I have to admit.
I’d not watched WWE programming in quite a long time. Every so often I’d re watch an old match on Youtube – Austin v The Rock at 17, Foley v Taker in the Cell, that kind of thing. But nothing major. I watched last year’s Wrestlemania and kinda enjoyed it, but watched nothing since.
I had heard good things about the Network. So when the free trial came around, I said I’d give it a go. Why not? It was free. What I wasn’t prepared for was the sheer amount of hours I’ve sunk into the thing since.
Like Netflix, the Network makes compulsive viewing easy. That “just one more episode” feeling one gets when watching a TV series on Netflix? It’s now been replaced by “just one more match”. And it’s been fun. Re-watching old events has been a blast (one of my favourites so far was watching Ric Flair win the Royal Rumble in 1992, WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO). Listening to Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan brings me back to a simpler time of watching wrestling with my cousin Paul as small kids, when Paul would tape the events and we’d watch them on weekends. For sheer rose tinted nostalgia alone, the Network comes up trumps.
But it’s NXT that has gotten me hooked most of all. “Like Ring of Honour on crack” is how it was described to me. And I love it. I love the whole look to the show, even simple things like the LED screens on the ring apron and above the ring give the show a really glossy feel. They’ve also spent a lot of time on the entrances of wrestlers – and it shows.
But most of all, it’s the wrestling. Watching the likes of Ireland’s own Finn Balor, the high flying Adrian Neville and the brawling Kevin Owens has been a blast. I’d seen Balor and Neville wrestle in front of handfuls of people at IWW shows back in the day (Balor as Prince Devitt, Neville as Pac) so to see them on a big stage like this is great. NXT is almost worth the cost of the Network alone.
Almost, being the key word. Is it worth 13 quid a month? For someone like me? I’m not sure. Yeah, NXT is fun and watching old events is entertaining. But it’s already gotten to the stage where I’ve watched a lot of the old matches that I want to watch. The search function on the Network is abysmal and is preventing me from watching the Network even more -when I search for “Bret Hart Steve Austin” I expect their Wrestlemania 13 match to be the first result that pops up, not some poxy Raw rewind.
I might hang on to the subscription for March, and to see if I use it enough to justify 13 quid for it.
Feck it, it’s nearly worth it just for Finn Balor’s entrance. Awesome.
Ruairi will be writing his thoughts on WWE and UFC for Deck.ie. He once gave Balls Mahoney a can of Fosters in Neptune Stadium. True story.