Time for another Digital Digest with all the latest news on WWE and TNA digital offerings and some top download picks.
- As reported in the last edition of the Digital Digest, Netflix has added some new WWE titles including Ladder Match 2, Greatest Rivalries, King of the Ring, Evolution of a Predator, Epic Journey of The Rock, and Stone Cold: The Bottom Line. All of these titles are going to be available until Aug 16, 2036 (so you’ve got a while!), which indicates that WWE is looking at Netflix long term.
- Vudu.com is running a “Road to Wrestlemania” promotion where a selection of older WWE releases are available to rent at $2.99 and to buy for just $4.99 per volume. Titles included in the promotion include the Macho Man Randy Savage Collection, The Rock Electrifying, Hulk Hogan Anthology, John Cena My Life, The New & Improved DX, History of the WWE Championship, Edge: A Decade of Decadence, Breaking The Code and others. While some newer volume releases such as Ladder Match 2 and Best of the King of the Ring are available to own from $7.50 per volume.
- Vudu.com is also running a new promotion entitled “Disc to Digital” where DVD’s you already own can be added to iCloud/storage locker/UltraViolet for $2. While no WWE titles are included in this process yet, there is a few ‘WWE related’ movies available such as The Marine 2, The Rundown, Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia and a few others. The project is still in early stages.
- WWE The Best of RAW & Smackdown 2011 is now available to download on Zune and is priced at 1440 (HD) & 800 (SD) MS Points, it is also available to rent on the Playstation Store at $3.99 in SD. Each disc from the DVD is available, spread across volumes, so if your thinking of downloading all 4 volumes, the cheaper alternative is to buy the DVD set. Even if renting it, it will come to $16, and that’s only a few less dollars than buying it physically. This was the only title in the past year not to be released in a digital format at the same time as the DVD but has finally been made available.
- Last week, WWEDVDNews.com broke news that there are more titles being added to the Superstar Collection. Daniel Bryan and Sheamus look to be getting their own releases along side the previously announced titles on Zack Ryder and John Cena. I’d expect to see all of these titles available for digital download much like all recent WWE home videos.
- WWE officials are negotiating with NBC Universal’s Hulu about making Superstars and NXT Hulu exclusives in an attempt to get more people to use the service. The new developmental show that begins taping on May 17th in Winter Park, Florida may also be included in the deal.
- WWE Greatest Matches has been updated with some new videos based around a “High Flyers” theme such as some classic WCW matches featuring the Cruiserweight division as well as some of the smaller guys from the WWE like Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. Here are some of the new videos: Six-Man Cruiserweight Tag – WCW Bash at the Beach 1997, Chris Jericho vs. Jeff Hardy – No Way Out 2003, Rey Mysterio vs. Tajiri – No Mercy 2003, MNM vs. MexiCools – Armageddon 2005, Evan Bourne vs. John Morrison – ECW – 4/14/2009. Also in the past 2 weeks they’ve uploaded some great Extreme Rules matches such as Christian/Alberto Del Rio, Batista/John Cena, Triple H/Sheamus, Edge/Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio/Chris Jericho and many more. More videos will be added next week.
- WWE Classics On Demand has also been updated with new videos of ‘Unforgettable OMG! Moments’ hosted by Joey Styles. Those include a Last Man Standing match between Edge and John Cena, and Shane McMahon’s at Summerslam, plus Tommy Dreamer vs the Sandman in ECW. Both ECW’s Living Dangerously 2000 and Vengeance 2011 have also been made available to view in the full events section. This month’s featured Hall Of Famer is The Original Sheik.
- In the recent WWE Stakeholders meeting, Vince McMahon said that there is still no news on launch of the WWE Network but WWE Classics On Demand will most likely be dropped when it launches. Also during the meeting they mentioned that the Network might not be a traditional network but danced around many of the questions without giving too much away.
- In other WWE Network news, a teaser trailer is running on WWE Classics On Demand, still stating that it will launch in 2012.
- WWE released their first quarter results this week and here are a few of the highlights related to digital:
WWE Classics on Demand revenues were $1.0 million as compared to $1.1 million in the prior year quarter.
Home Video net revenues were $9.2 million as compared to $8.1 million in the prior year quarter, representing a 14% increase that was primarily due to higher than anticipated sell-through rates for releases in prior periods. The resulting increase in sales was partially offset by a 27% decline in average price and a 5% decrease in units shipped, where these factors stemmed from ongoing discounts and promotional activity primarily related to catalog titles.
WWE.com revenues increased to $3.9 million as compared to $2.7 million in the prior year quarter, primarily due to increased rights fees and higher online advertising sales. The increase in rights fees was driven by a new programming agreement, which licenses original, short-form content to YouTube.
- In TNA news, TNAondemand.com has been updated with two PPV’s from 2012 including Genesis and Against All Odds. Both iTunes & Xbox Live have had their TNA listings updated to read “TNA Impact Wrestling”.
- In other TNAondemand.com news, they are offering previous Sacrifice PPV’s to view completely free in the build up to their next PPV including 2005-2011 events. So if you have never watched some of the older shows, this is a perfect way to catch them for free. Expect it to be a limited offer. Click to Watch
- Suburban Commando starring Hulk Hogan and the Undertaker is set to be re-released as a digital download on June 1st. Plot: “An intergalactic warrior, stranded on Earth, poses as a “foreigner” to his landlord, before having to save his new friends – and the universe – from bounty hunters”.
- Ring of Honor’s next IPPV will be Border Wars and will take place on May 12th through ROHwrestling.com. It is priced at $14.95 and if you’re a Ringside Member, you will also get your 15% discount on the purchase as well! In addition, both days of Showdown in the Sun are available for immediate purchase at a discounted rate of $9.95. The show is headlined by Davey Richards vs “Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare” Kevin Steen for the ROH championship. ROH doesn’t look to be using GFL.tv for their live PPV’s anymore but now doing them in house much like the WWE & TNA.
- In other Ring of Honor digital news, ROHwrestling.com can now be watched on “IOS” devices whether that be iPads, iPhones or iPods.
- In some Dragon Gate news, EVOLVE Wrestling Presents EVOLVE 12 on May 11th, 2012 with a start time of 8pm and they have a new pricing structure for the show – $9.99 for live show only, $14.99 for live show and on demand access, or $24.99 for both and a DVD of the event. Evolve 12 features AR Fox vs. Sami Callihan and Fit Finlay vs. Jon Davis. The following night, Evolve 13 takes place with the main event Open The Freedom Gate Title Match. Both these shows can be seen OnDemand and live through WWNLive.com.
Top 3 Downloads
Best of RAW & Smackdown 2011 – I’m taking a different approach this week, since we are in the post-Wrestlemania lull. WWE have finally released the Best of RAW & Smackdown 2011 for digital download. Normally I only give my top 3 downloads, but since this title technically is 4 separate downloads, I thought I would merge them all into one.
The Good: There are some really enjoyable moments on these volumes including CM Punk’s fantastic promo that saw him leapfrog John Cena into becoming the top baby face of the company by simply speaking the truth and Edge’s farewell special from Smackdown. But there are some great matches also included on here such as the Miz vs. John Morrison Falls Count Anywhere match for the WWE title (a year later and they couldn’t be any further away from the title), Randy Orton vs. Christian for the World Title as well as some maybe less remembered matches such as Rey Mysterio vs. John Cena and the mask vs. mask match from Mexico featuring Sin Cara vs. Sin Cara. Other mentionable matches that I enjoyed included Air Boom vs. The New Nexus for the tag titles and Alberto Del Rio vs. Rey Mysterio. 2011 was a funny year for the WWE as they needed new stars to break out but instead went to veterans like Mark Henry and Christian to tide them through.
The Bad: One of the things I didn’t quite get was why they didn’t wait a few more weeks before releasing the set to include some footage from December to give a complete rundown of 2011. A major drawback to downloading the Best of RAW & Smackdown 2011 is the price, since it works out at nearly double the cost of the DVD set. If you’re interested in the watching the best of 2011, wait until the DVD drops in price, watch the clips for free on WWE.com or wait to see if this video goes on Netflix where it won’t cost a packet. This type of release shows how WWE in my view haven’t fully understood the digital market and priced this inline with the DVD.
Top 3 WWEGreatestMatches.com
With WWE Greatest Matches updating their service with a selection of Extreme Rules matches as well as some fantastic high flying action, I’ve picked me top 3 recommendations and best of all, they’re completely free to watch.
1) Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian – Extreme Rules 2011
After Edge retired from the WWE, the World Heavyweight Championship was declared vacant. Would Alberto Del Rio fulfil his destiny? Would Christian finally win the big one? In this ladder match from Extreme Rules 2011, we get a fantastic singles ladder match where a new champion would be crowned. This has to be the biggest night in Christian’s career and one of my favourite matches from last year. Watch Here
2) Batista vs. John Cena – Extreme Rules 2010
Over the years, many have doubted John Cena’s position as the poster boy for the WWE, but he has pulled off some fantastic battles and this one from 2 years ago saw Cena take on the Animal Batista in a full on brawl that sees two of the biggest stars of this generation battle over the WWE championship with Last Man Standing stipulations. Batista cashed in his rematch clause and this is a very different bout to their Wrestlemania contest but it’s fun and as I said, Cena once again pulled off an excellent match. Watch Here
3) Brian Kendrick vs. Paul London
Leaving the world of Extreme Rules behind, this next match is part of the “high flying” theme for May with a match from Velocity. I’ve picked Brian Kendrick vs. Paul London from 2005. There are lots of old and new classic’s available on WWE Greatest Matches but while some of the big matches are remembered, this one was a simple almost throw away match on Velocity that sees one of the best tag teams of that era in singles competition against one another. You just don’t see this type of match in the WWE at the moment and while neither man may have set the wrestling world alight, it’s a fun little match. Watch Here
Top 3 TNAondemand.com
With TNAondemand.com updating with some new Pay Per View’s from 2012, it’s only right that these new videos are included in this edition of Digital Digest.
1) Genesis 2012
The first PPV of the year kicked off with some solid singles battles between Kurt Angle & James Storm, Abyss & Bully Ray and Robert Roode defending the title against Jeff Hardy. Genesis 2012 seemed like the type of show where everything is in cruise control with very little development other than trying to establish Robert Roode as the dominate heel and a real main eventer, which is probably the right thing to do overall as TNA needs fresh new main event talent rather than just using old WWE names. The opening contest involving the X Division championship is also a entertaining affair that bulks up this event into a solid show that is worth checking out.
2) Against All Odds 2012
Much like with Genesis, TNA seems to be treading water and trying to slowly build Robert Roode as their top heel while trying to stretch out a proper singles match involving the former members of Beer Money, whilst Sting is involved in the world title scene. One of the most memorable moments from this show (& not in a good way) came in the opening contest as Jesse Sorensen gets KO’d with a nasty looking knee to the head which has taken him out for months. Another memorable moment was when Samoa Joe and Magnus won the tag team titles from Crimson & Morgan, but in the process shows how weak the tag team division is within TNA with these two makeshift teams. There is also a fantastic singles contest involving Austin Aries and Alex Shelley for the X Division championship that is 1000 times better than anything involving Garrett Bischoff.
3) The Asylum Years – Volume 1
With 2 new 2012 PPV’s available this month, the third recommendation is a trip down memory lane as this video is a best of collection from those very early days of TNA which saw events taking place in a fairground in Tennessee. This video brings together some of the best action and matches from those early days but also we hear from some of the names behind TNA such as Jeff Jarrett and Dixie Carter. If you’re a new fan of TNA and maybe want to learn a little about the history of the company, this is a great starting point.
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