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Mania missed: Why video streaming killed WWE's biggest show of the year

Although most within World Wrestling Entertainment would argue otherwise, the company, the performers, the employees and anyone associated with the organization tend to work a little harder, drum up a little more creativity and have an extra sense of purpose around one specific time of year.
"Wrestlemania" season.
The WWE's annual wrestling spectacular has been a fixture on pay per view (or closed circuit back in the mid 1980s) for more than 30 years as easily the most important event in the history of the company and sports entertainment in general.
More importantly, "Wrestlemania" was the one pay per view the WWE could bank on to have one million or more people buy it at a price tag that tipped the scale at nearly $70 for the pay per view. That kind of revenue is hard to replace, and you can easily see why the WWE and its kingpin Vince McMahon put so much time, effort and stock into making the show sensational.
Until 2014.

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Two years ago, the WWE opted to ditch the pay as you go wrestling show mentality that it had incorporated for so many years, and deliver a streaming "network" that includes all of its pay per views for free as part of a $10 per month subscription service.
While most of the WWE's monthly pay per views haven't been good for quite some time and deserve to be basically free as part of the network, "Wrestlemania" should be different. This is the WWE's version of the Super Bowl, and lumping it into the rest of the heap of mediocrity as far as monthly pay per views are concerned seems remarkably bad business considering just how much of a draw "Wrestlemania" was.
WWE really wanted to sell the subscription model, and adding "Wrestlemania" to the overall package should have been the tease propelled the network to unbelievable heights, but it didn't do much to move the proverbial needle. That's all the more reason "Mania" should have stood on its own as WWE's one true pay per view that fans should have had to pay to see.
You have to create some sort of differentiation for the one event that deserves to be on a level all its own. "Mania" is that for the WWE, and now it is just another show on the network model. If you don't believe that, just look at how flat the hype is and underwhelming the matches have been in recent years.
But what do you expect: if the event isn't treated as special, why do fans care about matches and the drama that once centered on the show itself? They don't, because quite simply WWE took everything that was unique and special about "Mania" and transformed it into a show that is just a shade above the rest of what the company is offering.

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