I like professional wrestling. In fact, I’m the rare adult who became a fan after not watching it as a kid. When Monday Night Raw was in Hartford back in June 2012, I watched for a few minutes, just for the hell of it. Just as I tuned in, a match between Ryback and two local jobbers was about to start.
“We’re gonna send you packing out of Hartford faster than the Whalers,” one of them said, douchily.
Okay, you have my attention.
So I watched, and while that particular match was terrible, the product was so much better than I ever thought, as a guy who spent his whole life to that point judging wrestling fans as simple-minded white trash who watch fake sports. Not to mention my disdain for perennial Senate candidate Linda McMahon and everything her relative success says about the state of our democracy.
But eventually CM Punk in particular had me convinced that wrestling could be smart. Yes, it’s fake. Yes, it’s pointless. But I’ll be damned if it wasn’t top-notch entertainment.
A few months later, WWE began to put their content on Hulu Plus. I was watching Raw and SmackDown enough that this was my cue to cancel cable television and go exclusively with the magical three-headed monster of Netflix, Hulu Plus, and MLB.TV. I couldn’t be happier with the decision, and I will never look back.
Now, the WWE Network has launched, and the reviews are promising. I don’t watch as much as I did last year, after Linda’s second Senate loss liberated me from the need to hide my fandom. Plus, CM Punk’s (hopefully temporary) departure leaves me without a fake wrestler to real cheer for.
But I look back on how the WWE led to me cutting the cord, and I’m tempted. At $9.99 a month, including every pay-per-view, it’s reasonable and amazingly disruptive to the cable and satellite TV industries.
Vince and Linda don’t need my money, but I want to encourage good behavior. If this is successful, it’ll set a precedent for other content providers and change the way we consume media forever. (Looking at you, CBS.) Also, I like it, and I’m not ashamed.
So I’m going to subscribe. If CM Punk comes back.