The WWE is on Peacock, and that's a huge move in the streaming media landscape. And this weekend, the WrestleMania 37 live streams will only be on Peacock, as the WWE network is no more.
And Peacock subscribers should take notice. Yes, pro wrestling occupies a weird channel in American pop culture — somewhere between sport and theatre — but take it from a fan of the medium: Peacock subscribers should not turn their noses up at WWE. In fact, many would probably be surprised by how much they enjoy it.
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Now, I'm not saying everyone is going to love pro wrestling now that it's more accessible. More that there are plenty of reasons to give it a chance.
So, here is everything you need to know about the WWE on Peacock, and how to save money by signing up now. With all this data, you should be ready to watch the WWE Fastlane 2021 live stream.
WWE on Peacock: Price
Peacock will be a net positive in the long run for WWE fans, ushering in a lower starting price and extra content. Peacock starts at $4.99 per month with its ad-supported plan, but you can get a huge deal on Peacock costs $2.50 per month for the first four months up until WrestleMania 37. That's a total of $10 for four months, about as much as WWE Network subscribers are paying per month right now. International subscribers will still be paying the full price.
In addition to live WWE events such as Fastlane 2021, Peacock also has huge library of licensed content drawn from the many brands housed under NBCUniversal. That includes shows like 30 Rock, The Voice, Battlestar Galactica, Law & Order: SVU and This Is Us. There are classic movies and recent blockbusters, too.
WWE on Peacock: missing content
The transition from the WWE Network to Peacock isn't without a few roadblocks (no, not the 2016 PPV).
The upside is that Peacock has every Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam and Survivor Series, as well as the Money in the Bank PPVs. Various other WWE PPVs are included, such as Clash of Champions, King of The Ring and Fastlane, but it's an incomplete set to say the least. Some docuseries specials are here, but not every episode. WWE 24 for example is shy Big E's recent edition, for example.
WCW and ECW, and other promotions' content, is notably missing. The same goes for TV, where Peacock only has 14 "seasons" of Monday Night Raw (which has been on the air for more than 27 years), three "seasons" SmackDown (just the Fox run) and three seasons of NXT.
According to The Verge, Peacock plans to have all the missing content filled in "before SummerSlam" — which takes place in August. I've already seen American fans joke that they'd use a VPN to access the full WWE Network internationally.
Annoyingly, the match "markers" which helped you jump to specific matches on a card are no longer visible. And you won't be able to search by WWE Superstar for their content, as you would do on the WWE Network. We don't know if either of these deficiencies will ever be fixed back to where they are now.
WWE PPVs on Peacock
Right now, WWE produces a lot of weekly episodic programming — and not all of it is must-see. But Peacock will be getting the . That's because Peacock is only getting the live "PPV" shows that have not disappointed even jaded fans of the genre. Unlike WWE's Monday Night Raw program, its PPVs are often all-killer, no-filler, and over in relatively quick fashion. And since WWE is trying to deliver the good with its first Peacock PPV, we've got a huge match to look forward to this weekend.
At Fastlane (this Sunday, March 21) one of the main events sees an epic "David vs Goliath" style match with the environmentally conscious vegan Daniel Bryan challenging the absolutely-jacked Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal championship.
— WWE Fastlane 2021: March 21
— NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver Night 2: April 8
— WWE WrestleMania 37: April 10-11
This matchup isn't just hotly anticipated because each is excellent in the ring — it's a rare battle. While Bryan a lovable underdog who wins with heart and technical genius and Reigns a super-hatable baddie, this is a pairing that has only been seen once before, according to Cagematch. Both have had to step away for health reasons in the passing years. Bryan retired not once, but twice, because of medical reasons, while Reigns stepped away to fight leukemia in 2018.
Both have since returned, but Bryan's definitely in his last years of in-ring activity, so it's unclear if the two would be going head-to-head again. We also don't know how long we'll have Reigns in the WWE ring for, as he seems destined for his own movie career (you might remember him from Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw).
Elsewhere on the Fastlane card, expect a barn-burner brawl between good friends-turned-bitter enemies with Drew McIntyre fighting Sheamus. This Scotland vs Ireland brawl should look a lot stiffer than you might expect from pro wrestling. While the sport is seen as "fake" by many, these two have been going on tears as of late, making audiences wonder how much these two will be hurting in the morning. We're also looking forward to the Intercontinental Championship match with defending champ Big E (a massive muscle man who loves to gyrate) taking on the newly-bad Apollo Crews, a high-flier who's been waiting for the right persona to move up the card. Curious what a man named Big E looks like? Wonder no more:
Women run this show
Love to watch shows with strong female characters on Netflix? I've got dozens of WWE superstars to introduce you to. Yes, gone are the days where women in WWE were referred to as "Divas," and given little time and opportunity to showcase their talents.
On Sunday, you'll see a preview of one of WrestleMania 37's biggest matches, where Smackdown's women's champion Sasha Banks (she was the blue haired badass who fought Boba Fett in The Mandalorian) takes on Bianca Belair, one of the biggest rising talents in recent memory. This weekend, the two face off against the submission specialist Shayna Baszler and the formidable Nia Jax for the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship.
Meanwhile, the Raw women's champion Asuka is a shouting, kicking and bone-breaking force to be reckoned with. Returning from injury, she's looking for an opponent and has familiar foes in Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley, both of whom are no stranger to excellent bouts and feats of strength.
That's not even mentioning Becky Lynch, the pride of Ireland. Lynch became one of the biggest stars in the industry when she built "The Man" gimmick and personality off an accidentally broken nose and a boisterous pose. The Man was so popular that Lynch would be one of the first women to ever main event WrestleMania, alongside Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair. Lynch is currently out on maternity leave, in case you tune in looking for her.
Wrestling is crazy athletic now
If your ideas about wrestlers revolve around lumbering giants like Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash, and smooth talkers like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Ric Flair, you might be surprised with the feats of athletics taking place these days under the WWE banner.
Not to say Rocky wasn't in peak shape, but today's superstars are just going to shock you every chance they get. Just look at how effortlessly Bianca Belair (a power-lifter in her own right) tosses one of her enemies over a stack of production crates.
One of the wilder trends in modern WWE is how huge mountains of men are moving like their smaller counterparts do. Take for example Keith Lee, a 340-pound goliath who takes to the skies and will have you worried for what comes next — in a fun way.
I watched Lee dazzle crowds in smaller venues for years, and he's only at the start of his run in WWE. Unfortunately, he's seemingly out with injury at the moment, so watch this excellent match he had with the current WWE champion, Bobby Lashley:
We go deep behind the scenes and characters
One of the bigger reasons why pro wrestling manages to stay popular is how much more we know about the men and women on screen. Gone are the days where anyone doesn't know these matches have pre-determined results. Instead, we get excellent documentaries about what the true lives of these people are like. Take for example the WWE 24 specials, which go behind the scenes to tell stories that flesh out the humans behind the characters.
One of the best the company has released (that's on Peacock) is titled "Edge: The Second Mountain" and shows how retired pro wrestler Adam Copeland (known to fans as Edge) made a miraculous comeback.
These specials make the larger than life superstars a bit more human, showing how Dave Bautista came back from Hollywood for his final match, the rise of Becky Lynch and countless (unfortunately) specials about how wrestlers battle back from injury.
If you've noticed that I've mentioned injuries a lot, take it as more proof that this isn't "fake." Much like in basketball and football, these shows feature athletes pushing their bodies to the limit, and things can (and do) go wrong.
Wrestling is still a weird and wild soap opera
But don't worry if that all sounds too brutal or serious. If you enjoy the oddities of pop culture, look out for what's going on between "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton and Alexa Bliss. Right now, the trio are embroiled in a seriously spooky story where The Fiend is a masked creep with supernatural powers that Orton lit on fire in the middle of the ring — and Ms. Bliss is trying to bring her friend Bray back from the dead.
The storyline has recently involved Orton belching up a black oily liquid and Bliss drawing pentagrams on the floor and videos, which veers into the comically absurd territory that you have to laugh at.
Elsewhere, there's a weird romance going on between Smackdown superstar Nia Jax and Reginald the wrestling sommelier (get you a man who can do both). But the best story in town is found with Roman Reigns, who has taken his craft to the next level as the biggest bad guy in WWE. As the self-appointed Head of The Table and Tribal Chief, the Samoan super-athlete has bullied his cousin Jey into being his right-hand man, and demands that his foes "acknowledge" his dominance.
It can be a bit corny, but in the age of reality TV — where much of the drama is more planned than scripted — you might find yourself becoming a fan before you realize it.
You should try TakeOvers
But while Raw and Smackdown are the established big-brands of WWE, there's a third leg of the table: NXT. And its TakeOver live events are without a doubt some the best stuff that WWE has been putting out over the past five years. Each TakeOver puts quality ahead of quantity, with no more than 6 matches per show, a relatively short limit.
NXT's also got the deepest and arguably best women's division in all of pro wrestling, with current champ Io Shirai in a long reign of entertaining matches. It used to be that wrestlers would spend time in NXT to get good enough for the main roster, but these days it's not a shock to think that Shirai could spend a large portion of her career making NXT shows must-see.
Unlike the other shows, NXT seems to have better long-term storytelling. Raw's biggest flaw is how it can be a bit inconsistent with motivation or developments. But that doesn't matter as much for NXT TakeOvers, or PPVs overall, because the WWE's video team explains the stories building up to the live events so well.
Jump right in
Prospective viewers might skip Fastlane 2021 or WrestleMania 37 because they haven't seen the shows leading up to it, but don't worry.
WWE's going to explain everything for you. These video packages are so good that one friend of mine doesn't even watch NXT's TV episodes, but just its TakeOvers. And he has no problem understanding what's going on. The same will be true for all of WWE's live events. The company may not do everything right (fans have tons of gripes), but contextualizing what you're seeing on screen is never tough.