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LaBar: WWE Network something to behold

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, 10:36 p.m.

After years of anticipation, WWE Network is here, and it's not without questions from the WWE universe.

Some questions good and some not. Someone once said there is no such thing as a stupid question, but that person obviously never dealt with wrestling fans.

On Dec. 5, I revealed the insider information I was getting regarding WWE Network on my video talk show, Chair Shot Reality. I'm happy to say that everything WWE officially announced Wednesday night was what I reported.

But the hits just keep on coming.

The questions focus around two topics: How can I watch? And is it worth the price?

The first one is a bit baffling, considering how thorough WWE and I both explained it, but I'll start from the beginning.

If you have a way to access the Internet, you have a way to access WWE Network. It's everywhere except for your television guide.

It's an online stream and vault of video footage. It's similar to Netflix.

A vocal minority seems to be annoyed by this. They've been dedicated to complaining to me about this as if I was the decision maker when I merely was the first messenger of the news. I'd sympathize with their complaining if all of their complaining wasn't taking place on ... the Internet.

Tweets, Facebook posts, emails — you're using the Internet to complain about how terrible an awesome service of content is on the Internet.

This service being online is fitting to where society and WWE's fans are. If you have 20 minutes, you can pull out your phone and watch the main event of “WrestleMania 17.” Present day or past day, for WWE, WCW or ECW, it's at your fingertips for $9.99 a month.

This brings me to my second common question: “Hey, Justin, is the price worth it?”

The cost of the Network for an entire year is the cost of what two pay-per-views would currently cost in the old fashion (yes, it's now known as old fashion) way of ordering a pay-per-view via OnDemand to your cable bill. So for the price of two pay-per-views, you'll get all 12 in that calendar year plus every other pay-per-view EVER from WWE, WCW, or ECW, plus original programming such as the Legends House reality show, plus much more.

I went into the communications field because math always embarrassed me, but trust me, the money is worth it.

There hasn't been a WWE announcement with so much hype around it and buzz that delivered since the reveal of a concept known as WrestleMania.

Pay-per-views will no longer carry the same significance. How can they?

They won't be hindering on their individual performance nearly as much because people will be paying $10 a month to get it already included in the package. So WWE will have less pressure or traditional data to indicate if that individual pay-per-view was a success.

I said traditional data because the data measurement changes with the times. Social media is becoming more significant. Wrestlers traditionally got bonuses based on the pay-per-view event buys. That's going to have to change. I bet a criteria that will play into performers pay will be social media. After all, WWE is now pushing individual hashtags for particular matches.

WWE's current product isn't their best work. However, give people a lot for little money and give them a lot of the glory days and nobody at the moment is talking about how WWE misuses Daniel Bryan in their booking.

Wrestling might not have some of the good stuff it used to in past generations. There is a certain gritty, old-school feel to it that is gone and unlikely to return. The corporate entertainment brand has taken over, and it's not just about wrestling. A wrestling ring just happens to be their primary stage.

When bad booking decisions happen during the weekly storytelling, it's easy to curse the company with critique. We gotta admit, WWE's silence their critics this week with a project that will change the landscape.

Well, maybe not silenced the critics, just sent the best of the best over to me to deal with and everyone else is distracted by the nostalgia and convenience.

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