|Launched||November 2, 2004|
|Closed||January 31, 2014|
|Replaced by||WWE Network|
|Former names||WWE 24/7 On Demand (2004–2008)|
WWE 24/7 Classics On Demand (2008–2009)
WWE Classics On Demand was an American subscription video on demand television service provided by WWE. It featured footage from WWE's vast archive of wrestling footage, including classic WWE, World Championship Wrestling (WCW), Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) and more. It offered around 40 hours of rotating programming per month, arranged into four (previously six) "programming buckets", often centered on a specific theme. It was originally called WWE 24/7 On Demand. In September 2008, it was changed to WWE 24/7 Classics on Demand. In April 2009, it was changed again to WWE Classics On Demand.
WWE Classics was presented only on digital cable. Among the services carrying it were Comcast, AT&T U-Verse (discontinued in 2012), Verizon FiOS, Mediacom, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, Rogers Cable, EastLink, Seaside Communications, Cogeco, Armstrong, Cablevision, Sky Italia and not long ago, Astro. Some of its programming was packaged as Madison Square Garden Classics and began airing on MSG Network in the summer of 2006. In November 2007, the service had around 115,000 subscribers.
The service closed on January 31, 2014 to make way for their new video-streaming and subscription service WWE Network.
The programming buckets and the programs which usually or occasionally appear on them:
When the service debuted it did so with six, more specialized, buckets. Around April 4, 2007 they were combined and pruned into a more broad set of four. This was done, according to the free "Month Preview" show hosted by Jack Korpela to make things easier for Classics viewers.
The original six buckets and their programming were:
Over time the "ECW" bucket was expanded to "Territories - ECW" and began to incorporate shows from the "territorial days" of the business. Later still the name was changed to its current "TV Classics" when it started housing the programming found in the "Prime Time" bucket, which was removed altogether. The "Old School" and "Big Ones" buckets were combined, keeping the "Big Ones" name, and becoming a bucket for any and all larger shows. "Hall of Fame" was renamed to the less restrictive "WWE Legends" and began to house material from the "Specials" bucket, which was also removed.
Legends of Wrestling is an original series made specifically for the Classics service. The program features various "legends" of the business, for their work in and out of the ring, having a roundtable discussion about specific topics, persons, or occurrences in the history of wrestling. The show was originally hosted by WWE commentator Jim Ross–with former interviewer Gene Okerlund filling in for him on a few occasions–until Okerlund took over hosting duties completely with the shows fourth panel.
The series was divided into unofficial "seasons" of hour-long episodes (each with a short intermission) featuring the same panels.
In January 2009, a DVD box set of three episodes: Sgt. Slaughter/Ric Flair, Jerry Lawler/the Junkyard Dog, and "Heatseekers"—about wrestlers who have a reputation of "causing trouble" backstage—along with bonus matches involving the stars. Best Buy exclusives episodes Bob Backlund/Hulk Hogan, The Iron Sheik/André the Giant, and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper/Terry Funk were also released. The episodes come from the first season, with the exception of "Heatseekers", which is a second-season episode.
Main article: WWE Video Library
The WWE Video Library is the largest professional wrestling tape library anywhere in the world, with well over 100,000 hours of content. It not only consists of World Wrestling Entertainment footage (dating back to 1970), but WWE has aggressively purchased regional and national competitors, through time amassing a gargantuan library of television programs, pay-per-view recordings, video productions, and recordings of wrestling matches dating back to the 1950s and representing a very significant portion of the visual history of modern professional wrestling and sports entertainment.
Since World Wrestling Entertainment is no longer allowed to use the "WWF" initialism or their 1998–2002 logo except for "specified circumstances", instances of both were edited and/or removed from pertinent programming. In late July 2012, WWE reached a settlement with the World Wide Fund for Nature which once again allows them to use the "WWF" initials and scratch logo on archive footage. Unedited footage first appeared on the 1000th episode of Monday Night Raw and since then has appeared in full length matches shown on the WWE website and on Classics on Demand. In addition, previously licensed music to which the rights have expired are removed or replaced with alternate songs. Additionally, some formerly live events are censored for language and/or nudity. Ring announcer Michael Buffer is also edited out of any programming due to his trademarked phrase, "Let's Get Ready to Rumble".
In the wake of the Chris Benoit double murder-suicide a number of wrestling websites reported that the likeness of and references to both Chris and Nancy Benoit were being removed from pertinent programming. Eventually Nancy's image was allowed to return to programming, though over six years later Benoit's continued to be excised. Most notably both his wrestling and mention of his name was removed from episodes of Monday Night Wars airings of WCW Monday Nitro, as well as match segments from other shows, though he is occasionally mentioned and shown in brief non-wrestling roles. His image eventually returned in a wrestling role during a rebroadcast of World War 3 from 1997. In early January 2014, WWE issued a memo stating that footage involving Chris Benoit would air on the WWE Network with the following advisory: "The following program is presented in its original form. It may contain some content that does not reflect WWE's corporate views and may not be suitable for all viewers. WWE characters are fictitious and do not reflect the personal lives of the actors portraying them. Viewer discretion is advised." [unreliable source]