The WWE Network is a different animal to Netflix or Amazon Prime Instant Video. I didn't grow up watching Breaking Bad or The Wire, mostly because they weren't broadcast until years after I grew up. Yet, I never actually grew up, I'm writing about wrestling from the perspective of a Nintendo fan, after all. I may have married and had children, but WWE and Nintendo aren't just things you grow out of. You can throw both companies in with Disney and the blokes that make Horrible Histories, as examples of timeless entertainment that all ages can enjoy. They are institutions.
Consider that WWE is currently a PG-rated product with a key demographic of families, while also having a strong following from young adult males who get off on telling John Cena he sucks. Ten years they've been doing it! The poor lad probably cries in to his bowl of steroid pills, adamant that we still can't see him. While John may be deluded, I'm starting to think somebody somewhere is just plain stupid. The WWE Network is a digital streaming service much like Netflix, except it also has a 24/7 schedule of shows, including live Pay-Per-Views and original content. The big draw for myself was access to every event in WWE, WCW and ECW history. It would have taken a lottery win to fund the storage space, let alone the DVDs to cover such a large catalogue of wrestling history, but now we have it in the palm of our hands for the measly sum of £9.99 a month. That's right, you don't even need to pay Sky over £50 a month, only to then have to pay for the Pay-per-View on Sky Box Office as well. There's one catch though – no Nintendo devices are compatible. What?
The Network has been available in the USA for a full year now, and is available on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, Smart TVs, Amazon Kindle Fire, Roku, Android phones, iPhones, tablets and PCs. It's been available in the UK for a month or so, because much like a game of cards with Rikishi, we always have the bum deal. Considering I have a smart phone and a laptop, my WWE experience is limited to watching Ric Flair on my Samsung Galaxy, or catching Wrestlemania on the laptop. This isn't ideal, and just like Rikishi, shows a gaping hole in Nintendo's major selling point of the Wii-U – the Gamepad. With a screen bigger than a phone but smaller than a laptop, it is the perfect size for chilling out on the sofa. And unless the wife is horny, there's no danger of burnt thighs or cramped wrists.
All of my friends that still show blind faith to Nintendo are now having children of their own, and reliving their childhoods vicariously through their offspring. It's no coincidence that them same friends are also wrestling fans – it was hugely popular in the 1990s and early 2000s. WWE and Nintendo both live off of past successes and are now mainstays in popular culture, despite being shadows of their former selves in terms of sales and profit. They both need as much exposure as possible – what could be more enjoyable than seeing Iwata and McMahon at the next Nintendo Direct, doling out body slams to each other. Think how many children still have Wiis knocking about, or young lads that are tired of waiting three months between Nintendo releases. Both WWE and Nintendo are missing a trick here.
The best wrestling game was on a Nintendo console, after all.