G5: WWE Network, Ambrose vs. Rollins, Stephanie McMahon, more

WWE Network is finally due out in New Zealand next week. Will everyone—who doesn’t have it already—be signing up on launch day?

Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins will meet one-on-one at SummerSlam, but in what sort of match? With Ambrose announcing his chosen stipulation on this week’s SmackDown, the G5 panel weigh in on what sort of contest they’d like to see.

Plus, has Stephanie McMahon been Raw’s MVP as of late? Where any of the latest cutbacks announced by WWE a surprise? And is it getting to us that New Zealand hasn’t had a WWE live event since 2011?

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1. WWE Network is expected to be available in New Zealand in less than a week. Are you signing up on launch day?

Luke:
Yes, yes, yes! I’ve already had a tease of the Network signing up through an American account, and it is the real jam. Wrestling fans in New Zealand will be in for a huge treat when you have the libraries of basically everything. DVD/Blu-ray buying is done, this is the future. It benefits those younger generations too who only know John Cena and Randy Orton, with the opportunity to go back and see greats such as Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Eddie Guerrerro and Chris Benoit as well as programming from WCW and ECW!

Dion:
No – but only because I’m lucky enough to already have access to the WWE Network! But I’ll absolutely retain my membership. It’s an amazing platform and Kiwi fans are going to take to it in their droves. It will be interesting to see how this will affect WWE content on SKY. You would have to imagine that pay-per-view buys will be affected, but with Raw and SmackDown not airing on the Network, there are opportunities for SKY to leverage the Network with programming schedules. Time will tell.

Stevie:
I already have the Network, so I’m signed up and loving it! I recommend all fans to give it a try. I wrote a column about it a short while back and can honestly say that the combination of new and classic product is enough to keep any fan happy. They’re adding new content regularly and it’s only going to become a stronger service.

David:
I’ll be on board the moment it appears in New Zealand. Live [formerly known as] pay-per-view events, Main Event, NXT specials, and essentially all the on-demand content you could ask for? It’s exceptional value, whatever the price.

 

2. Dean Ambrose bested Seth Rollins in a Beat the Clock Challenge on Raw and will announce the stipulation for their SummerSlam match on SmackDown. What sort of match do you want to see the two have?

Luke:
If I was Ambrose, I’d make it a ladder match for the Money in the Bank contract. Imagine those two going at it in a ladder match. Instant classic!

Dion:
I’m not a huge fan of stipulation matches, generally. I think a good old fashioned cage match would be great with these two, however.

Stevie:
Strap match or in a cage – with Hell in a Cell being the end-all match. Dean needs his matches to control outside influences along with keeping Rollins within reach.

David:
Last Man Standing is my stipulation of choice for just about everything, and I could see Ambrose and Rollins working some real magic with those rules in place. Anything that lets both men go out there and have a wild brawl is fine with me though.

 

3. Has Stephanie McMahon exceeded your expectations of her over the past few weeks on Raw?

Luke:
I think Stephanie McMahon is the greatest female heel in the history of WWE. She literally makes you hate her, and not in the way Vickie used to draw heat. Steph’s heel career is over 14 years long and in both incarnations she has been one of the industry’s biggest heat draws. She should be commended just for her on-screen character.

Dion:
Yes. Stephanie has been amazing. She has created compelling television and is a “must see” character.

Stevie:
I’ll give her this, she does passive-aggressive condescending boss incredibly well.

David:
She’s been all I’ve wanted to talk about after Raw as of late. Closing the show with two Pedigrees for the Bella Twins? Who saw that coming?

 

4. Following its second-quarter earnings report, WWE has made several cutbacks, including releasing long-serving time-keeper Mark Yeaton, and discontinuing the WWE Magazine. Are you surprised by any of these decisions?

Luke:
I am not surprised, considering they promised shareholders a shit-tonne of money when the Network came out and failed to deilver. After losing close to $700 million in half a year, you have to make a few changes. Cutting the magazine is progression and WWE is a progressive company. It’s just another era where WWE are adjusting and, sadly, old favourites could be scrapped.

Dion:
I’m not at all surprised that the magazine has been cut, though it is a shame that Yeaton is gone. Such is the nature of publicly traded companies.

Stevie:
Not surprised about any magazine that has to fold in this day and age. I’ll miss seeing Yeaton at ringside, he’s been there for so long. I hope he saved his money or had another career because I’m not sure what you could do to follow that.

David:
WWE Magazine’s closure concerns me, as someone who writes about wrestling. Not a great outlook for the future. I’ll have to make sure I pick up the last few issues. I hope this is the bottom of the valley, and we start to climb towards a peak now.

 

5. The stars of WWE are currently in Australia for three live events in Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth. Are you disappointed New Zealand is no longer a stop on the Australasian tour?

Luke
I am very disappointed WWE doesn’t come to New Zealand any more. It makes sense for them logistically, but it’s a huge shame. Hopefully, when the market strengthens here, we will see WWE rise again!

Dion:
Yes – it’s a real shame. I have no doubt that they will be back one day, though.

Stevie:
Sure, but I can understand how it’s hard to fit into their hectic touring schedule. It’d have to be worth a lot of money to put the talent through that extra stop.

David:
It was tough in 2012 when we didn’t get a live tour, but if WWE’s not going to come to you, you just have to go to it, so I went to WrestleMania 29 and WrestleMania 30. I doubt I’d have been to either—or be considering WrestleMania 31—if I could still see WWE in Auckland. Perhaps the lack of New Zealand events has been good for me. Still, with WWE Network coming to New Zealand next week we must be somewhat of a desirable location. Maybe 2015?