clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Cageside Countdown: Top 10 Things Missing on WWE Network

It's been nearly 15 months since the WWE Network changed the complexion of their company...and the finances of said company. While it's been a godsend for many wrestling fans, for just as many, if not more, it feels like that there's not enough stuff on WWE Network.

And if we can be honest for a moment, I mean really honest...those people are right. While their offerings have been spectacular (especially their documentaries), there's still a long way to go before the wrestling version of Netflix reaches its full potential.

So we asked you, the Cagesiders, to help with that by telling us...well, them...what's missing on WWE Network. Before we get to the top ten, here are...

Six honorable mentions.

Yeah, they didn't make the countdown, but it's still worth some consideration.

1.       Chronological playlists and programming. Remember back in the day WWE Network played three or four episodes of RAW in a row? Granted it was from that godawful New Generation Era, but hey, it was cool. You could watch a month's worth of programming in a single morning. Or as Cagesider HacksawBuggin suggests, maybe people want to watch a few episodes of RAW or Smackdown in a row. Have the next one automatically play if it's available, just like Netflix.

2.       Before Monday Night RAW, people got their primetime wrestling fix with a little show called Prime Time Wrestling. Yeah, it was a studio show interspersed with footage from house shows, but it had Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan, one of the best wrestling duos of all time. Any old school fan will tell you that was awesome television.

3.       Mid-South Wrestling. Though it does not get nearly enough credit as it should, Mid-South Wrestling under Bill Watts remains one of the most influential promotions in wrestling history, and was the breeding ground for the Junkyard Dog, Eddie Gilbert, Sting, the Steiners, Missy Hyatt, Ray Traylor, and Jim Ross among countless others. Their episodic format and mix of fast-paced matches with complex characters made Mid-South stand out among other promotions in the 1980s. But like many competitors to the WWF throne, they would be swallowed up, not by the Federation, but by Jim Crockett Promotions.

4.       Stampede Wrestling. The outfit that's responsible for every Hart family member ever also gave us Brian Pillman, The British Bulldogs, Junkyard Dog, and Chris Benoit. It was one of the top promotions in Canada during its peak in the 1970s and 1980s. Though many old school fans would like to see some of their exploits, the chances of it actually happening are very remote thanks in part to Benoit's death in 2007 and Martha Hart's continuing issues with the WWE.

5.       AWA. Long before the Big Three of the WWF, WCW, and ECW, there was the Big Three of the WWF, NWA, and AWA. Based out of Minneapolis, the AWA predates the WWF by a couple years in breaking away from the NWA. The promotion gave us Nick Bockwinkel, the Hennigs, Scott Hall, Jerry Lawler, Kokina Maximus, the Nasty Boys, Hulk Hogan, Bobby Heenan, Gene Okerlund, Paul Heyman, and Madusa among countless others. Oh, and it gave us the Wrestlerock Rumble, which alone should be enough to justify its presence on WWE Network.

6.       WCW Saturday Night. Wrestling fans young and old know the time and place: 6:05pm eastern time every Saturday night on TBS. Next to 9pm Mondays in the fall on ABC, it was the most recognizable time slot in sports. Though the roots of the show date back to the 1970s, it was the NWA's primary place for storyline development and PPV buildup. But the additions of Nitro and Thunder caused Saturday Night to slide down the priority ladder, and by 2000, into extinction altogether. Saturday Night was the perfect blend of Saturday morning wrestling shows with primetime sensibility and urgency.

Don't click that X button, yet WWE management. This wishlist is just getting started. In fact, we're about to get to the main course. Brace yourselves for...

The top ten things missing on WWE Network.

10. An improved search function.

When Reddit has a better grip on the potential of the search function for WWE Network than you do, you have a problem. That link there is a list to every program available by show name. And by wrestler name. And by stable name. And by date. Even events in chronological order. I have no idea how long this took, but if a lone Redditor (or more likely a group of them) can put the effort in, you can too.

9. C-level shows.

Look, I bust the chops of those that watch Main Event and Superstars, because, let's be honest: in the grand scheme of things, those shows don't matter. Like preseason football. But it doesn't mean they don't serve a purpose. Like determining if someone's good enough to perform in front of a live audience or warm said audience up for the real show happening a few minutes later. Shows like Sunday Night Heat and Velocity and Jakked and Metal and Shotgun Saturday Night. Come on, you'd be interested in those shows, right? Even if they were mostly recaps?

8. World Class Championship Wrestling.

Did you know there are exactly 21 episodes of WCCW's weekly show available on WWE Network? 21? And only one has been added in the last year? Seriously, who didn't care about the never-ending family feud between the Von Erichs and Fabulous Freebirds? If you watched WCCW back in the day and say you didn't care, you are LYING. Hell, at the height of its popularity, the show was getting ratings that rivaled Saturday Night Live. When Saturday Night Live mattered. Come on WWE, more Von Erichs vs. Freebirds. Please.

7. Ohio Valley Wrestling.

In 2002, Ohio Valley Wrestling produced one of the greatest foursomes in wrestling history: John "The Prototype" Cena, Dave "Levaithian" Bautista, Randy Orton, and Brock Lesnar. From 2000 to 2008, OVW was the primary developmental territory for WWE and has produced almost a who's who of professional wrestling. Beth Phoenix, Drew McIntyre, John Hennigan, Edge, Christian, Kevin Kelly, the Hardys, Mickie James, Sean O'Haire, and Shelton Benjamin is just a small list of the best to have come through the Danny Davis-Jim Cornette outfit. A lot of fans, young and old, wanna see where some of the best in WWE got their start, I'm sure. Plus people wanna see Brock Lesnar hit shooting star presses (don't say you don't. You know you wanna see 300-pound freaks do shooting star presses, admit it).

6. The Smackdown Six era.

Under the guidance and pen of Paul Heyman, the second half of 2002 may be the best six-month period in the history of Smackdown. Known commonly as the Smackdown Six era, the intertwining storylines involving Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Chavo Guerrero, Edge, and Rey Mysterio produced PPV-quality matches almost every time out. I mean, I have an idea why they're not up, but Smackdowns from 2000 featuring Chris Benoit are up. I get it. Two of the six are dead, and of the four still alive, you had a bad falling out with three of them. That's stopping you from putting up these shows?

5. Chris Jericho the conspiracy victim.

WCW in 1998 was actually still pretty hot. Goldberg was coming into his own, the nWo after conquering all of WCW's heroes were about to have a civil war, and the cruiserweights were still awesome. Basically, WCW still had hope. And, according to one Chris Jericho, a conspiracy on their hands. See, at Slamboree, a returning Dean Malenko won a battle royal for the right to challenge Chris Jericho for the cruiserweight title and won it one of the most cathartic moments in wrestling history (Malenko and his family was dragged through the mud for months). Jericho thought this was all a huge master plan by WCW management to get the belt off him. Mind you, this was not a master plan to get the belt off him, but Jericho believed the lie, and it actually led to some of the best TV in the Monday Night Wars. How about throwing Y2J fans a bone and throw some of these Nitros up? Hell, how about all of 1998 for that matter?

4. Live Monday Night RAW.

While this sounds like an awesome idea, it's one that isn't going to come to pass any time soon due to television contracts and such. However, let's say in a one-off situation where RAW is pre-empted because of some tennis...ohhhh. That's on ESPN now. However let's say in a one-off situation where RAW is pre-empted because of some dog show... ohhhhhh. CNBC does it now? Ooooooooookay. How about in a one-off during say... the Olympics... next summer... maybe? I mean, it would certainly give the Network some juice.

3. Nitros from 1997.

Look, WWE, I get it. WCW was beating you left, right, and center in 1997. That's probably a reason why you haven't gotten around to putting the best year in Nitro's history on your Network. But I have an idea: how about you let newer fans judge for themselves? Who doesn't want to experience Sting dropping from the rafters and beat down the nWo week after week for about nine months? Who doesn't want awesome as all get out cruiserweight action? Who doesn't want 20-minute promos from Hollywood Hogan and Eric Bischoff every show while constantly looking over their shoulders for a dude with a black baseball bat? Ok, I don't, and probably you don't either, but doesn't the rest of it sound awesome? Come on WWE: get off your ass and get the next 100-125 hours of Nitro up, STAT.

2. RAWs from 2000.

And while you're at it, how about getting some of the best stuff YOUR company has done on the Network too? This may be the craziest thing about how the Monday Night Wars was won: for about half of 2000, they were without THe Undertaker. For about three-quarters of 2000, they were without their most popular performer in Stone Cold Steve Austin. Oh, and Mick Foley was gone for about three months too AND he spent the second half of that year in a non-wrestling role...because he had just retired. But.... 2000 saw Triple H become a main eventer, The Rock become a legend, the beginning of the resurgence of the women's division, and the height of tag team wrestling in the WWF's history, and yes, I'm counting the late 80s. And the midcard was a freaking MONSTER. Know how many episodes from the best year of RAW ever are on the Network right now? ZERO. Fix this, WWE. Fix this NOW.

1. FCW pre-NXT era.

Before NXT became WWE's in-house developmental territory, the company farmed their young talent elsewhere, most notably Ohio Valley Wrestling. There were a few others, including Power Pro Wrestling out of Memphis, Ultimate Pro Wrestling out of southern California, and the Heartland Wrestling Association. They've produced some of the best that stepped through their ropes. In 2007, that task was handled partly by Florida Championship Wrestling (and two years later, their developmental was handled wholly by FCW). Pretty much every significant name in recent memory in WWE has come through FCW, including current WWE Champion Seth Rollins, former WWE Champion Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose, Bo Dallas, Tyler Breeze, Sheamus, Curtis Axel, AJ Lee, Wade Barrett, and Paige. And they put on some of the best stuff WWE's done in recent memory. Unfortunately, no one outside of WWE management, central Florida citizens, or people who scour the dark corners of the Internet have seen it. And I have a gut feeling a lot of you want to see what NXT Wrestling was like before... NXT. In fact, it's your vote for what you want to see most on WWE Network. Come on, guys. We're a little more than curious. Give us some of that sweet FCW.

That's the countdown. What do you want to see on WWE Network? What do you want us to count down next?

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats