entertainment, Philippines, Sports, television

Thoughts on WWE Raw 25

Next week will mark a celebration for WWE’s flagship program.

On January 22 (January 23 Manila time), WWE Raw will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a special three-hour presentation. The episode will feature special appearances from WWE legends as well as matches that will serve as a final tuneup for the Royal Rumble.

Unfortunately for Filipino wrestling fans, Raw has not been available on television for nearly a year after previous rightsholder FOX Philippines declined to renew its rights with the WWE. Instead, commercial-free 90-minute full episodes of Raw are currently uploaded on its YouTube page for the benefit of the fans.

There is also the WWE Network subscription service where every WWE programming is available on-demand, including live pay-per-views such as the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania. However, new episodes of Raw are only available weeks after its original broadcast.

As for TV5, even though it signed a contract with the WWE, it has so far opted to air only a one-hour condensed edition of SmackDown. It’s a shame since previous rightsholders made good use of a full complement of WWE programs including pay-per-views, and due to TV5’s delicate financial situation, they were unable to complement SmackDown with other programs such as Raw.

Regarding Raw 25 next week, snubbing such a show on Philippine television is an insult to wrestling fans in the country. After all, this is the longest-running and flagship program in the WWE, with so many great moments and legendary personalities to boot.

While WWE Network and an uploaded YouTube episode of Raw may be enough appeasement for fans, airing it on television may still be the better option given its wider availability and uninterrupted access. Even in the U.S., Raw is still aired on television because of reasons stated earlier.

In the end, fans can only hope that one day Raw will return to Philippine television in the near future. This is an important wrestling program that cannot be missed and fans deserve to see more of WWE’s top superstars (more than just the ones shown on SmackDown).

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entertainment, Philippines, Sports, television, United States

FOX Philippines Adds More WWE Programs to Already Loaded Lineup

FOX Philippines continues to strengthen its WWE programming with recap shows Bottom Line, Afterburn, This Week and Experience. (Logo courtesy of WWE)

FOX Philippines continues to strengthen its WWE programming with recap shows Bottom Line, Afterburn, This Week and Experience. (Logo courtesy of WWE)

It is clear that FOX Philippines is drastically changing its lineup for the benefit of wrestling fans.

Since the beginning of November, new episodes of WWE Raw and SmackDown Live are being aired on FOX Philippines within 12 hours of original American broadcast (FOX Sports Philippines continues to air both shows live). Now, more WWE programming awaits viewers of the said channel.

Starting the week of December 5, recap shows WWE Bottom Line, WWE This Week, WWE Afterburn and WWE Experience are placed on FOX Philippines’ regular lineup. They join the aforementioned Raw and SmackDown Live, as well as WWE Vintage, WWE NXT and WWE Main Event, in FOX’s menu.

Previously, Bottom Line, This Week, Afterburn and Experience were exclusive only to FOX Sports Philippines, who prior to nabbing the live broadcasts of Raw and SmackDown Live, were only content to air WWE recap shows to satisfy its commitments. Nowadays, the option of viewing WWE programs is more flexible than ever thanks to the two networks.

Despite that, however, there is still a question of whether or not FOX Philippines will recommit themselves to airing live pay-per-views. For now, though, that is out of the question, considering that ‘The Walking Dead’, by far the network’s most popular property, airs new episodes that could come in conflict with WWE pay-per-views.

Speaking of pay-per-views, FOX Philippines did air a SmackDown Live-exclusive pay-per-view when it aired WWE TLC last November 27. Still, it remains to be seen if they will indeed continue with this newfound commitment, now that the upcoming Raw-exclusive pay-per-view WWE Roadblock is slated for next week.

In other news, the replacement show for WWE Superstars, WWE 205 Live, is now being aired on FOX Sports Philippines. With that being said, FOX Philippines could find a way to accommodate this new program sooner or later, but for the time being, the program is exclusive only to FOX Sports Philippines.

Overall, FOX Philippines’ addition of more WWE programs is a good decision considering the renewed popularity of professional wrestling in the country. However, one week’s test is not enough so it’s up to them to keep this momentum going.

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entertainment, Philippines, Sports, television, United States

WWE Raw and SmackDown Airs Live Next Week, But FOX’s Problems Resurface

WWE Raw and SmackDown will air live starting next week on FOX Sports Philippines, with a same-day replay on FOX Philippines. (Photo credit: WWE)

WWE Raw and SmackDown will air live starting next week on FOX Sports Philippines, with a same-day replay on FOX Philippines. (Photo credit: WWE)

WWE fans in the Philippines are in for a big surprise.

Starting next Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, new episodes of WWE Raw and WWE SmackDown will now air live at 8:00 a.m. on FOX Sports Philippines. Same-day replays will air within 12 hours of original broadcast on FOX Philippines.

With viewers becoming more dependent on WWE’s social media accounts to follow the action as it happens, it was only imperative for FOX to make this drastic measure. After all, the success of WWE Live in Manila last September only furthered wrestling fans’ desire to watch WWE programming on a regular basis.

Although the announcement was enthusiastically welcomed by WWE fans in the country, there are still some issues to address. Last Monday morning in Manila, many viewers awaited the live telecast of the Raw-exclusive Hell in a Cell pay-per-view on FOX Philippines, only to be greeted by replays of ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘American Dad’.

The erratic WWE pay-per-view scheduling issue on FOX Philippines has been well-documented since it fully acquired the company’s broadcast rights in 2014. There were times when WWE pay-per-views were aired on the channel live, and there were other occasions when it first aired within 12-13 hours of original broadcast.

And just recently, FOX began to focus more on the flagship Raw brand once the brand extension came into play. As a result, SmackDown-branded pay-per-views were not aired, and to make matters worse, SmackDown itself was aired on a one-week delay.

While FOX Philippines should be excused for not airing Hell in a Cell live (thank you ‘The Walking Dead’), their indecision is an inexcusable one. Come on, FOX Sports Philippines also airs WWE programming (mostly recap shows), so why not transfer those live pay-per-views to the said channel.

As for the delay and subsequent snubbing of SmackDown and its related programs, it is unfair to do such a thing. Both Raw and SmackDown are equally important and must-watch shows, and deemphasizing either one of them is insulting to any wrestling fan.

As both FOX networks move on to upcoming pay-per-views and episodes of Raw and SmackDown, one thing is certain: no one wants to be left behind. For wrestling fans, this is a promise that FOX will have to fulfill in the weeks ahead.

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