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By Mike Johnson on 2019-07-25 09:02:00

World Wrestling Entertainment will begin to roll out a new, updated version of the WWE Network streaming service today as they migrate from BAMTech over to Endeavor Streaming, allowing the company to improve a number of features and functionalities related to the Network, which first launched in February 2014.  Based on an early opportunity provided to this morning to sample the revamped streaming service, every move looks to be a massive positive for Network subscribers.

WWE Network updates will begin take place over the next several days with the hope being that as WWE migrates to the new infrastructure, there will be zero to minimal downtime for users.  WWE Network subscribers will need to log into their accounts again once they update the streaming service on their platforms.  The updates will roll out accordingly via the respective platforms (Roku, computer, Apple, Amazon Firestick, etc.) and may not all update at the same time.  The company expects the process to be completed within the next two-three days.

The new WWE Network system is being rolled out in advance of company plans to create a new, tiered system of the WWE Network.  The tiered system will roll out over the next year, initially with a free tier that will feature some WWE programming that will be available for all to view via their devices and the WWE website.    Later, a VIP tier, for an as of yet unannounced price, will also roll out, which WWE has promised will feature “additional programming similar to the EVOLVE 10thanniversary celebration that WWE Network streamed earlier this month,” so we are looking at independent wrestling, likely made up, at least at the start, from WWE-affiliated promotions such as EVOLVE, WXW in Germany, PROGRESS in the UK and Scotland's ICW. 

WWE has not announced a timeline for the tiers launching beyond the free tier launching “over the next few months” and the VIP tier launching “a few months after that.” 

WWE’s main focus today, however, is rolling out the new, updated WWE Network with a lot of improved features and new additions to the service, including a sleeker design that is very reminiscent of the current version of Netflix with all WWE Network content reorganized. has been told that no WWE Network content has been removed as part of the reboot, but there will be significant changes to how it is presented, curated and found.

The primary change will be immediately apparently that WWE PPVs, Raw, Smackdown and WWE NXT will now all have their own listing on the Network’s menu, where before they were listed under Shows, requiring users to click around to get to the content.  These events and TV episodes will also now all have chapter points similar to a DVD movie, allowing users to quickly skim and track down any match or segment on a specific show.  If you want to go watch Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels from Wrestlemania 25 for example, you’ll now be able to quickly track that down instead of having to fast-forward through the entire show to find the match you wanted.  This is a huge leap for the service. 

The plan is to roll out similar chapters for older content, which is something the company is working on but had not 100% completed as of today’s rollout.  So, you won’t be able to do the same with old Mid-South Wrestling episodes, yet, but the intention is that eventually, users will have that option with all content, new and old.

Today’s new version of the WWE Network also debuts a Superstars section, setting up an area that features all of the company’s current Champions listed by talent, as well as current and even former personalities.  This new area not only includes bios for the specific talent but allows users to scroll through all material related to that performer.  If you click on Roman Reigns for example, you’ll find shows, matches and WWE Network programming related to him.  

The WWE Network’s new infrastructure also allows a Netflix-esque Home Page with carousel-style sections that fans can slide through as they seek content.  The new setup allows WWE to spotlight programming (such as live broadcasts) on the home page and allows them to directly deliver and spotlight important events, which can be updated at WWE’s call.  One would think they can also eventually use that setup to promote live event tickets, merchandise, etc.

Material that is trending based on what subscribers are viewing in the moment will also be featured, as will different topics that can be constantly refreshed and curated by the company.  If WWE is pushing a certain storyline or marketing a specific event, they can roll out a carousel that supports that using related programming.

Carousels are curated by event, by topic (think title matches) and by performer.  A carousel for the Women’s Evolution features not only the WWE Evolution PPV but content related to Rounda Rousey, The Bellas and Charlotte Flair.

In terms of vintage material, a carousel for ECW, features not only sections for ECW PPV and TV episode, but anything ECW-related that the Network offers, such as a Paul Heyman documentary and a Legends of Wrestling episode on Hardcore Wrestling and more. 

The carousels can be updated for timely material, so if the company wished to roll out all their holiday-related content this December or content honoring a legend who was set to appear on an upcoming PPV, Sgt. Slaughter for example, the company could also do that relatively easily. 

There is also a possibility down the line that like Netflix, the system’s A.I. would suggest content based on a user’s previous viewing choices, but the company isn’t at that point yet.  One would think WWE would eventually want to roll out the ability for users to create their own curated carousels to create their own playlists and share them with others, but they are not at that point yet.  The new infrastructure leaves WWE a lot of wiggle room to add additional features down the line. 

The new WWE Network search format rolling out this week, appears to be far, far easier to track down specific material and matches vs. the original format of the Network, which is already a massive plus for users.  The company will be including function buttons for  fans to “jump to” another event/match, bring them to the next match in the show and more. 

WWE’s goal in launching the new search function is to give a more optimized experience that allows subscribers to go deeper down the rabbit hole (think YouTube) as opposed to the previous, clunkier version that required users to search for a specific talent or topic and then click on that one specific result in the search.  We are told the new infrastructure under Endeavor streaming will allow far more flexibility for the company to launch and offer far more within their system, where before they were locked into the previous infrastructure.

Already, there is now an option to skip past the opening of certain shows to get right into the content, similar to how Netflix offers you the chance to skip past Stranger Things’ opening credits.  Lots of little bells and whistles to advance the user experience.

As noted, there is a new PPV filter.  Based on an advance look was afforded this morning, the new filter lists major shows (think Wrestlemania, Summerslam, etc.) by title and then year.  If a user clicks on Survivor Series, it will give them the option for every Series event ever, most recent back to the inaugural event in 1987.  You will also be able to find secondary events by clicking on a specific PPV year, so the idea here is that you will have the choice to binge the entire PPV year or dive deeper to follow specific talents or stories.

Under the reorganized WWE Network system, original in-ring events will be listed by date while specific programming based on a WWE talent (think Photoshoot or WWE 24) will spotlight that’s specific original content in order to give users a little more information.  Original programming will also now be listed by seasons and episodes going forward, as opposed to the original air date, as it had previously been organized.

As noted, there will be a re-organization of content.  Original programming, which was once just a list of programs, will be also broken down by genre, including Reality TV, Talk Shows, Comedy and more.  This allows a user to find similar programming that they may enjoy.  If you want to watch Holy Foley, you might then want to go watch Legends House, and they’ll be curated in the same carousel, where before you’d have to click around looking for the show by title and under original programming.  WWE wants to make it easier for you to find what you want, so that you spend more time consuming their content.

The popular Vault section, featuring the majority of classic content from WWE and beyond, will migrate to the In-Ring section, which now features areas for WCW, ECW and Territories.  One you click on Territories, you are given the option for a slew of different TV and in-ring programs from across the WWE Video Library.  One major change is that there will be no specific area for WWE Collections going forward, with all of that content instead falling into the new organization. 

While content is being shifted around, we have been cautioned that zero programming has been removed and with the new search functions, all of it will be far easier to track down vs. the original version of the WWE Network.  The company went from black and white to color this morning.

It is obvious based on what I’ve sampled this morning that this is a huge leap forward into the future for WWE.  While they were on the cusp of streaming technology based on when they launched the Network, it had not evolved and adapted until this moment.  Today’s rollout will create a far more intensive, yet far easier user experience and allow WWE fans to dive much deeper into what they were promised when the Network launched, their all-purpose destination of all things professional wrestling.

Mike Johnson can be reached at

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