In one of the least surprising bits of news today, reports have come out from both the site we don't name and the Wrestling Observer that WWE is delaying the launch of its Network from April 1 to either the fall of 2012 or whenever it's ready to roll out, which is certainly no time soon.
We've covered extensively the many issues the company has run into with its ambitious plan to roll out a Network from the ground up in just over three months. The initial idea was to make sure it was ready to hit the same day as WrestleMania 28, which is expected to be the biggest pay-per-view show in the history of pro wrestling.
The problem, of course, is that Vince McMahon was biting off far more than he could chew, as reported by industry insiders with knowledge of television workings. Realistically, there was never any chance that WWE could get clearances and cut distribution deals in such a short period of time. Not only that, they still haven't hired the necessary number of people to even run the channel, let alone a competent executive to head the project.
As stated previously, the issue many of the leaders in the industry are having is that they can see more than six inches in front of their face and this entire ordeal has failure written all over it. Associating yourself with a disaster waiting to happen is a business decision even the simplest of simpletons could recognize as silly.
McMahon is stubborn as a mule and is pushing as hard as possible to make the channel a reality. They still don't have a full slate of shows to even fill 24-hours, at least not as far as original programming goes. Sure, they have enough archival footage to run non-stop, but that's not a big enough selling point to get anyone to purchase a channel.
Other ideas included shifting "B-show" pay-per-views to the Network while simultaneously offering them for pay. While a good idea in theory, this could prove to be a disaster in practice, if it's ever something they would bother to go through with. They have a hard enough time selling those shows now, splitting up the audience this early in the game is a terrible idea that wouldn't see benefits for some time. And with an operating budget reportedly close to $100 million, there's very little room for error.
At the very least, cooler heads seem to have prevailed and the WWE Network will not be launching on April 1. Even if the idea is to launch in the fall, and that's certainly not set in stone at this point, that could prove to be far too soon for a successful channel.