The WWE Network has officially launched and while there have been myriad issues with would-be subscribers attempting to sign up and being unable due to high demand, those problems are slowly but surely being resolved. I made multiple attempts roughly two hours after the announced launch time of 9 a.m. ET and didn't get in until around 1 p.m. ET.
Still, I got there and everything appears to be running smooth, at least as I browse through the service on my laptop. I should note immediately that I have not attempted to use the service on any other device.
After browsing the Network for even 30 minutes one thing became clear: It's early, but this is glorious.
We start with the home screen, where "live" programming is playing at all times. Think of it like a TV channel. When you have it on, something is playing. It's set up on a schedule, which you can easily access through the arrow links you see in the above picture or you can simply click "Schedule" at the top of the page.
It will take you to a new page showcasing everything planned for that day. You can also jump to any date you would like to see the schedule for.
The rest of the home screen features easy clicks shows and PPVs, as well as a recommended section that features popular content.
Finding anything you're looking for is also incredibly easy to do. The "Search" function is a valuable tool on any site, but that's especially true here. There is a drop-down menu when you hover over the "Search" button at the top of the page that gives you the ability to search for anything from any page, or you can simply click to take you here:
Let's say you clicked the WCW PPV option. It takes you to an incredibly easy to navigate menu where you can find any show you're looking for in no time flat. You can categorize by year, or simply go through the entire catalog by scrolling down the page.
This is how you'll get to all the WWE and ECW PPVs as well.
However, if you want to do a search for just one wrestler, let's say Hulk Hogan, it looks like this:
Unfortunately, there does not appear to be a clear cut way to get directly to a particular match you may be looking for. For example, when I searched for "Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior", these are the results returned:
In addition, clicking the link for the Survivor Series 1990 Grand Finale match does not take you to the actual match, but rather the Survivor Series 1990 event. As far as I can tell, there currently is no way to simply skip straight to individual matches. Instead, you go to an event and work from there.
This is also the case when looking for matches in episodes of Monday Night Raw or Friday Night SmackDown.
It should be noted that there are some PPV events that are not listed as WWE said they would be, including WCW Great American Bash 1991, Royal Rumble 2011, and others. No word on why this may be but it's likely this will change soon enough.
As for the streaming video:
It loads slow to start -- that may be due to the high demand right now -- but once it gets rolling the picture is solid and I've experienced no lag while streaming a show, no buffering nonsense just yet. Skipping around is slow but, again, that could have something to do with the overload of traffic on the first day.
Others have noted that different devices are not running as smooth right now.
All told, based on early usage and a quick run through of the WWE Network, this is a glorious service that fans will really love once they're truly able to get in and start using it on a regular basis. The wealth of content combined with the low price for live PPV shows makes this a must buy.
Now here's to hoping all the issues get worked out soon so everyone can start enjoying this. And here's to really hoping that they can handle traffic for WrestleMania.
Cagesiders, if you're in and using it, how do you like it so far?