February 24, 2014 saw the WWE Network launch in the United States and since then the WWE has received my $9.99 every month. I enjoy the Network for a number of reasons from live pay-per-views, NXT and a gold mine of archives. The WWE Network also features a number of original series and it’s a mixed bag; some good, some bad. In this top five list, I want to discuss my personal top five original programs on the WWE Network.
Honorable Mention: Tough Enough (2001)
Now I know what you are thinking. Tough Enough?! There goes any credibility this writer had.
For what it was, I really enjoyed the initial season of Tough Enough. Primarily because this was around the time that I started to become curious about what happens behind the curtain. It is worth noting that in 2001 I was still on a dial-up connection and was not aware of any “dirt sheets” websites that were out there at the time. Therefore, this series gave me that first taste of a behind the scenes look.
One of my personal favorite moments from the show comes from episode three, The Rules of The Game. Triple H pays the cast a special visit and is blunt with them; questioning why they are there and showing his passion for the industry. It is a moment that I would highly recommend people watch. My second favorite moment comes from episode eleven, Lessons from the Road. The cast joins head trainer, Al Snow, as they head to three events. The cast gets a taste of what it is like to be backstage and to cut promos. The entire series offered the viewer (including myself) a unique experience on what it takes and what it is like to be a superstar.
5. Monday Night War (2014-2015)
Credit: WWE (YouTube)
The Attitude Era, it is regarding by many fans as the greatest time in professional wrestling. While I am more of a fan of the Ruthless Aggression era; I can’t necessarily disagree that it was a fantastic time to be a fan. Whether one was rooting for Nitro or one was rooting for Raw, pro wrestling was everywhere. It was cool to be a fan and you could hardly go anywhere without seeing an I or Austin 3:16 t-shirt in public.
The Monday Night War series was one of the first pieces of original programming that I remember watching. If somebody wanted a crash course of the “hottest period in wrestling”, I would point them here. By watching this series you’ll obtain an understanding of the rise and fall of Nitro, how Attitude became to be, special looks at superstars like Mick Foley, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Goldberg, the wild card that was Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) and more. This is a fantastic place to begin on the WWE Network, and is much easier than watching six years of Raw and Nitro (especially that last year of Nitro, Good Gawd). Plus, this is a great series for those who want to take a trip down memory lane.
4. Table For 3 (2015-2018)
Ever want to watch wrestlers from the past and the present eat a nice meal and tell some stories? Look no further, because this is the series for you. Table For 3 is a series that speaks for itself in a lot of ways. Each episode has its own unique cast to it; whether it be Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Sean Waltman sitting down together to Matt Hardy, Xavier Woods and Zack Ryder. Like Forrest Gump’s mama always said: “you never know what you are gonna get” and that is the case with Table For 3.
Growing up when professional wrestling was on top of the world; one of my absolute favorite episodes was a special Table For 4. Table For 4 saw four of the six names that put the Tables, Ladders and Chairs (TLC) match on the map, The Hardy Boyz and Edge & Christian. Just watching this episode brought back a flood of memories. Whether it be the four in a phenomenal ladder match at No Mercy 1999 to the second TLC bout alongside The Dudley Boyz at WrestleMania X-Seven. Another personal favorite was the Nation of Domination reunion; Ron Simmons, Mark Henry and The Godfather. Without spoiling too much, let me just say The Rock gets one over on Simmons once again. That moment is worth watching that episode alone.
3. Something Else to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard (2018)
Credit: WWE (YouTube)
Conrad Thompson has struck gold with the podcasts that he co-hosts; they are my absolute favorite and I listen to them on a weekly basis. The very first episode of Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard that I ever listened to was: the nWo in the WWE. From then on, I was hooked. When I saw that Bruce Prichard and Conrad were going to have their own show on the WWE Network, I was thrilled. To summarize what Something Else to Wrestle is: it is a shorter version of Something to Wrestle in video form
My personal favorite episode and arguably my second unpopular opinion in this list is, Big Evil. “Biker Taker” is my personal favorite incarnation of the character. A performer being more of their real selves just turned up to 11 is something that always caught my eye more than over the top gimmicks; The Undertaker was no exception to this. This episode talks primarily discusses about 2001-2003 Undertaker, but briefly covers how the American Badass came to be in 2000. Whether it be the various stories, Prichard’s impressions to Thompson’s facial expressions; Something Else to Wrestle is a lot of fun to watch.
Now can we get 83 More Weeks with Eric Bischoff and What Else Happened When with Tony Schiavone on the WWE Network?
2. WWE 24 (2015-2019)
Taking what I enjoyed from the initial Tough Enough, a behind the scenes look. WWE 24 takes it an entirely new level. 24 offers a behind the scenes look at specific events like WrestleMania 30 to overviews of superstars like The Hardy Boyz and their return to the WWE. From following around specific superstars as they get ready for the show, what goes into making the show happen or a unique look at performs beyond what one would see on television. If one is interested in seeing what happens beyond television and does not want the additional reality television drama of Tough Enough, look no further.
Thus far, my favorite episode covers The Hardy Boyz return entitled The Hardys: Woken. From start to finish I was glued to my screen as I watched this episode. Whether it was covering their initial run in the WWE as Team Xtreme, their runs at TNA and personal demons with addiction and how the two did a complete 180 in life. It shows that issues with addiction can hit anybody and the beauty of comeback stories. When the Hardys theme hit at WrestleMania 33, I marked out at home. Considering they just finished a short stint with Ring of Honor (ROH), I did not think they were going to return that night. I am beyond glad that the secret was held as tight as it was and that I was proven wrong.
1. Edge & Christian Show (2016; 2018-2019)
Credit: WWE (YouTube)
Kazoos rule! Whether it be their skits from 2000-2001 as a tag team to their podcast, E&C’s Pod of Awesomeness, Edge and Christian know how to entertain. The Edge and Christian Show That Totally Reeks of Awesome (EACSTTROA) keeps this going from their on-going ribbing of Tommy Dreamer to making fun of the Internet Wrestling Community (IWC). The show does not fail to make me laugh and I enjoy playing along during the Chumpstain Challenge, just to see how many I can get right.
Unlike my previous choices, I do not have a specific episode that I would recommend here. As a whole I think the first season was stronger than the second season. Therefore, I would just recommend starting with the beginning and watching the entire series. Like any television show, not every episode is a winner per se, but as a whole is incredibly entertaining. With that said the “IWC announce team” skit from the most recent episode, Sitcom Powerbomb, was hilarious and is at least the worth the watch.