Whilst this weekend was undoubtedly headlined by WrestleMania – and with a WWE-record attendance in Dallas, how could it not – a lot of eyeballs were also directed towards the independent scene this weekend. Would they also make it big in Texas?

WWNLive had the biggest offering going into the weekend, and as of Monday morning – almost 72 hours after their weekend events started, we still have only one of their six events available on-demand… and if you’d been watching any of those events live, this would have been a massive source of frustration.

Friday’s EVOLVE 58 show is the only event up there to watch on demand – and regardless of what you paid, you’ll be able to watch it on-demand. See, WWNlive had a nightmare on Friday, with the live stream stuttering so badly, the show was unwatchable. Granted, it was fixed in time for the second half of the show, and the jaw-dropping match between Zack Sabre Jr. and Will Ospreay, but by that point a lot of the audience had been burned. Sadly, WWNlive suffered the same – if not worse – issues on Saturday, with the buffering rendering the feed about as watchable as those entrance videos on the Nintendo 64 WWF games. A little something like this:

Now granted, the issues were resolved by the time SHIMMER started, but anyone planning to watch any of these shows on catch-up before WrestleMania was thwarted, which leads me to two questions:

  1. If you’re going to hold events over WrestleMania weekend – and it’s a no-brainer – then make sure you know for certain that the venue(s) you’re using are capable of doing live streaming.
  2. If the venue cannot guarantee being able to host a high-quality live stream, then don’t advertise it, and instead focus on getting the on-demand product out as soon as possible after the final bell.

By doing that, WWN (and any other streaming group) should be able to avoid the headaches that were encountered during the shows, and make sure that the guys who are meant to be running the show are able to do just that (rather than, I don’t know, go hunting for a ring bell whilst fixing the live stream).

Screencap from WWN Live

Screencap from WWN Live

However, the key part of this is “get the on-demand out as soon as possible”. Ring of Honor held two shows across the weekend, and whilst the group is flat-out promoting the biggest spoiler from those shows on their site, there’s still no news on when you can actually see it. Ditto WrestleCon, whose supershow was expected to have appeared up on the HighSpots.tv streaming network, but again, nothing going as of noon ET the morning after WrestleMania.

Sadly for all groups involved, this isn’t the first time that streaming woes have plagued independent events over WrestleMania weekend. Indeed, it was only four years ago when ROH’s “Showdown in the Sun” iPPV events were such a disaster due to a combination of bad weather and Internet issues, the company ended up avoiding promoting a major live iPPV for years.

The issue tends to be with independent promotions touring to foreign areas and using foreign buildings. EVOLVE – to use as an example – regularly run in New York and Florida, using the same buildings on their tours, so they’re aware of the facilities and idiosyncrasies that each building has. The same can’t be said for, say, the Eddie Deen Ranch, or the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, where the group never has, and likely never will run again (at least until WrestleMania returns to Dallas or San Jose).

Whilst EVOLVE and the rest of the WWN crew have to be applauded for at least trying to let fans around the world watch their shows live and feel a part of WrestleMania (Indy) Weekend from their armchairs, the fact is that this issue has recurred so much, that it’s likely to be a detriment. Numerous fans, angered by the streaming issues, have commented that perhaps the company “doesn’t deserve” their business, given that these issues tend to occur and get the most publicity across WrestleMania weekend.

I’m not entirely privy to what’s going on, but it seems to be that the issue could be a mixture of genuine technical woes and capacity issues. The live feed for SHIMMER’s Saturday show – or at least what I saw of it – was flawless compared to the EVOLVE GIF-o-matic experience. Was that down to good luck (with the problems being resolved) or a lower demand? If it’s the former, then it’s just really rotten luck for all involved… if it’s the latter, then that cannot be so easily explained.

After all, it’s not it’s a shock that extra eyeballs will be wanting to watch your product – live or otherwise – on a weekend dedicated to Wrestling. And whilst some freebies can placate those fans, it’s certainly going to make some of the more casual indy fans think twice about dipping their toes again anytime soon.

– Once WWN Live has posted EVOLVE 59, SHIMMER and the Mercury Rising supershow, we’ll be able to have a look and review it. Until then… we’ll keep ticking the clock down!