Things have been turbulent, to say the very least, for the WWE Network. It’s been bringing in less money than WWE anticipated, and it’s been slow to make its way across international borders. As you’ve probably heard by now, new subscribers are now getting all of November for free to sweeten the deal, but this still leaves the problem of launching the Network in other countries. Yesterday was scheduled to be the United Kingdom’s first day with the Network, and unfortunately, it was probably the most ill-fated British launch since the Titanic left Southampton.
With less than half an hour to go until the Network went live, the official WWE UK Twitter feed posted this.
Earlier in the day, UK fans who signed up using an American proxy had been able to access the Network, but that clearly didn’t last too long. Naturally, Twitter had a field day with the news, spreading the hashtag #BeforeTheWWENetworkUKLaunch like wildfire. As of right now, there is no official explanation from WWE as to why the plug was pulled at the eleventh hour. There is a popular theory making the rounds at places like Wrestlezone, though. There may be a legal matter to settle with Sky Sports, the current carrier of WWE programming in the UK – Sky Sports Box Office airs the pay-per-views, with Raw/Smackdown/NXT airing on the other Sky satellite channels. There’s already a Sky distribution contract in place for 2015, so it looks like both sides would need to hash things out.
Hang in there, my UK friends. I mean, it’s not like they’re having titles change hands exclusively on the… oh, dang. Sorry.