Now that the WWE Network is more or less running properly (I’m sure there’s some frantic behind-the-scenes action happening to further ready it for a big, live event like Wrestlemania) I’ve been thinking more about their site and their feature set. I used to not really think about sites this way, but it’s been one of the things I’ve picked up a bit while building and using Giant Bomb. Actually, I guess I should put “building” in quotes. I’m no engineer and I’m definitely not a designer.
ANYWAY! Here’s stuff I’d certainly try to get built onto the WWE Network if I were, like, in charge of that. I suspect this is all obvious stuff that they’ve already thought of. Most of it would require them to post a lot more tagged content than they currently have, too, since it’d benefit from having the weekly shows appearing as connective tissue between the big pay-per-view matches.
Title Histories - Clickable timelines that show every time a belt was defended, retired, unified, and so on. Click the day and get taken right to the match.
Story Arc/Character Pages/Playlists - If I just want to watch “The Shield Breaks Up” then serve up a chronologically ordered set of clips that moved that story along. Similarly, users should be able to follow specific performers, not only to get a long view of everything that person/tag team has done, but to also build notifications that fire when a new match from that followed entity takes place.
User Lists - Let users build and share playlists of their favorite matches and moments, setting in and out points and letting them add names/comments to the list and clips. That’d get you a bunch of “My 10 Favorite Matches” or “The Worst Botches of All-Time” lists, plenty of which could be pretty interesting. The ability to share those lists out to social networks would create some additional exposure, too.
User Ratings - I’d probably sprinkle ratings modules all over the place, on matches, overall shows, and maybe even individuals. That, along with popularity, would help them surface the best stuff from the back catalog and get a better insight into what their “best customers” are enjoying.
Spoiler/No-Spoiler Option - Right now, they return search results two different ways, depending on how the match is tagged. There’s usually one tag for the match it self that says who is in the match, and then there’s often another tag for the finish. Both tend to come up in search, one right after the other, when a show is fully tagged. So if you search for a match, you often discover how it ends. Not that big of a deal, but something that replaced the details of the match’s conclusion with something less-specific would be handy.
Like I said, that’s the easy stuff off the top of my head. I guess I don’t mean “easy to engineer” there. Actually, the bulk of the work they probably need to do involves tagging each show with match starts/stops, participants, and so on. That aspect of the site is currently a little scattershot. I was just watching Wrestlemania X-7 and they only have tags for “show starts” and the finish of the main event in there. They probably need an army of interns to go through and watch everything to tag it all up. Or they could just go with user tagging and elevate the most popular ones to official status…