If there’s one thing that is guaranteed to leave long time wrestling fans with a sense of impending doom, it’s an announcement by WWE of a new project that doesn’t involve their main business of promoting live wrestling events. You’re a moron of biblical proportions if you ignore the fact that NO ONE has promoted professional wrestling more successfully than Vince McMahon and WWE. However, as the past has shown, whenever they venture outside that core business the proverbial inevitably hits the fan and Vince McMahon is left with a ‘tens of millions of dollars’ sized hole in his wallet.
It seems to me that these days McMahon is fuelled by a need to prove he can successfully promote something other than professional wrestling. Personally I don’t understand the need to prove yourself in a different area of work when you’re already head and shoulders above all your contemporaries in your chosen field. I’d sit back and bask in the glory of what I’d achieved, not chase my tail trying to prove I’m something other than what I’m known for.
I doubt many top brain surgeons decide at the age of 60 to become a lawyer, just to prove to those other lawyers that brain surgeons are just as smart as them. Then again perhaps that lack of ambition to do something exceptional outside of my chosen field of work is why I am where I am in life! Who knows, but it’s fun to speculate.
The history of failure every time WWE tries to branch out beyond the squared circle makes pretty impressive reading. If you’re a fan of lists of failed business ventures it’s even more exciting, check this lot out; WBF, XFL, WWE New York, WWE Music, WWE Films, Linda McMahon’s run for Senate - all launched with huge fanfare and millions of dollars of money WWE earned through promoting professional wrestling and all dead within a couple of years (I doubt WWE Films in its current incarnation will survive much longer given the losses it makes).
Plus it’s time to admit Linda McMahon will never be a politician, or everyone’s worst nightmare - President. I hope. Please, for the love of God America, even you wouldn’t vote her in, right? Can you imagine Vince as the first husband of the USA? Actually that sounds pretty awesome! The press conferences alone would be a million buys!
With the WWE network believed to be going live on 1st April 2012 I’m sure I’m not alone in wondering if this new and exciting project is going to go the way of the XFL. Or perhaps because it’s so closely linked to WWE’s main area of expertise that it could be one of the greatest things to ever happen to a wrestling fan. I don’t know about you but a 24 hour wrestling network sounds like the kind of thing I’d ask for with my 1st wish of 3 when I find that magic lamp and the camp Genie inside voiced by Robin Williams.
The first question I asked after hearing about his project a few years back was a simple one – what the hell are they going to do to fill all that air time? They can’t just show re-runs of old shows (although that will no doubt make up over 50% of the content) because that’s just WWE Classics on Demand. They already do that.
Of course I want to see classic shows from wrestling’s past that WWE owns. It’d be great to have a regular weekly dose of the best of Crockett or ECW. Getting to relive the shows from the golden ages in St Louis, Memphis or Texas would be fantastic. There’s so much rich history at WWE’s finger tips that they don’t have to worry about the WRESTLING they’ll show on the network. But if the WWE Network is going to compete with already established huge TV networks, there’s one thing WWE need to do and that’s create original programming.
So, Tough Enough 24/7 sound good to everyone? I didn’t think so. They need something much more than that. Plus the network is launching in about 5 months! Do you have any idea how much pressure the WWE staff who are dealing with the launch of the network are under? Their daily life must be more distressing than a visit to an anal trauma ward with a magnifying glass (credit to the excellent writer Charlie Brooker for that horribly hilarious image).
So I’ve decided to do some of the leg work for them. Call it my personal Christmas present to WWE. It’s the season of goodwill and there’s too many stressed out people there these days, we should all try to help out sometimes. So here are my suggestions for new, original and ratings grabbing original programming on the WWE network:
Tuesday 9pm – ‘Good Old JR’ Jim Ross Hosts: Hunt and Kill Michael Cole.
This show is inspired by the late, great, iconic and legendary comedian Bill Hicks and is an update on his original idea from in the early 90s, “Hunt and Kill Billy Ray Cyrus.” In this version JR leads a group of five WWE fans, sick to death of listening to that little shitbag Cole ruin their shows, on a safari where the only prey is the most lame and annoying of all – Michael Cole.
The show format is simple – the first person to shoot and kill Michael Cole wins. Although tracking down Cole won’t be easy as Vince McMahon, in an attempt to protect his favourite pet, will be dropping in fan favourite WWE personalities disguised as Michael Cole throughout the show. Take the wrong shot and you might blow Zak Ryder’s head off and then what would everyone do with YouTube?
There’s huge guns, lots of tension and we can all be safe in the knowledge that Michael Cole won’t be back on WWE TV after the season ends. Expect constant Twitter updates throughout.
Plus, coming soon...Season 2, “Hunt and Kill John Laurinaitis” presented by Stephanie McMahon.
Monday 2am – WWE Legends Drunken Promo Roundtable.
If there’s one thing WWE is sorely lacking these days, it’s great promos. I’m talking the kind of unscripted, intense and believable promos that the past masters used to cut. This show does away with scripted promos and instead is a 30 minute ad-libbed verbal battle between two former WWE stars on a subject chosen at random via Twitter.
The debate is chaired by Roddy Piper who decides which WWE star has cut the most entertaining promo after cutting 12 of his own on various random subjects that landed in his brain during the course of the show. The snorting of cocaine and drinking of alcohol is mandatory. The first two WWE Legends to take part have been confirmed as The Iron Sheik and The Ultimate Warrior. Yes, we have the lawyers on speed dial.
Sunday 8am – WWE’s Educate the Nation with Dusty Rhodes.
Instead of the usual Sunday morning cartoons the WWE network brings to you three hours of Dusty Rhodes teaching children nursery rhythms and other educational songs and stories. It’s a kind of one man Sesame Street only with less focus on education and more on explaining the finer points of Dusty’s amazing vocabulary. The objective of the show is to encourage all children in America to talk like Dusty Rhodes. Why? Cause it’s frigging hilarious that’s why!
Thursday 9am - Aerobics HHH Style.
You’ve all seen Aerobics Oz Style, right? The show where hot Australian women in tiny swim suits do aerobics for an hour on TV. If you haven’t, then you really are missing out on one of the true TV wonders of our time. The WWE network presents it’s own version of this show where HHH shouts at FCW students for an hour about how important going to the gym is. He then leads them in a brutal work out where many students are left broken and injured, lying in pools of their own vomit and shattered dreams while HHH screams in their faces about their lack of commitment to the business.
Each week a student is eliminated by sledgehammer shot to the groin. The last man standing gets the honour of being named HHH’s official bag carrier and work out partner. As an added bonus they will also receive a short run as WWE Champion which no one in WWE really gets behind and in the end sets their career back around 18 months. First season winner Sheamus will provide guest commentary.
Thursday 3pm – Toilets of the World with Vince McMahon.
If there’s one thing Vince McMahon knows and loves it’s toilets. Vince has always been unable to walk past a toilet without laughing uproariously. This show follows Vince as he visits some of the most famous toilets in the world, including; the toilet Elvis died on, Hitler’s official toilet, Glasgow, Scotland and Dixie Carter’s TNA office.
Of course no trip would be complete without Vince dropping a turd and laughing about it, making his assistant on this life changing journey, Kevin Dunn, as uncomfortable as possible. Vince is only satisfied his work is complete when Dunn is sobbing uncontrollably like Jim Cornette just made fun of his buck teeth. If you’re a fan of an old aged pensioner laughing uncontrollable as he craps on Dixie Carter’s desk, then this show is for you. Adult themes throughout.
Sunday 8pm - Who Wants To Marry A Ric Flair?
A question I’m sure we’ve all asked ourselves once in our lives, now the WWE network brings you the answer. Turns out it’s just about any woman on the planet, hence the less than stellar line up of “female” contestants including Cher’s daughter/son, Perez Hilton and Lindsay Lohan’s mum.
Each week the contestants try to convince Ric to marry them by performing the famous “woooo” mating call, reciting Flair’s most famous promos and perfecting their Flair flop onto his face. The first contestant that can convince Ric to marry them without signing any kind of prenuptial agreement wins the season. She then joins the ranks of woman across American currently living the high life off the back of poor Ric and his terrible decision making. We promise even Ric Flair can’t find an excuse to blade during this.
Sunday 10:30pm – WWE Writer Roulette.
Just like Russian roulette this is a game not for the feint hearted and one that you probably only want to play once in your life. It’s the night before Raw and six WWE writers nervously wait for Vince McMahon’s opinion on the show they have written. They are then called into Vince’s office where each writer has to explain why he or she is so damn stupid and can’t book the wrestling Vince likes.
The writer who doesn’t immediately blame everything on ‘the marks’ or ‘the internet’ is fired by Vince…literally - from a huge cannon in his office which is aimed out the window, directly onto the giant billboard of ‘Wrestling Matters’ that TNA installed in Stamford when they still cared about that gimmick. Yes, it’s basically The Apprentice starring Vince McMahon and ending with someone being fired from a cannon. You’re welcome America.
Saturday 9pm - Police, Cameras, Hardys!
What better vehicle (get it) for the return of the Hardy Boys to WWE TV than this thrilling new show? Matt, Jeff and their pet monkey Archibald awake after another huge week long bender in Las Vegas. They are miles from home and have to race against time to get back to North Carolina to attend their next Court hearing. A hybrid of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and those never ending Police car chase shows. The entire show is filmed on Matt and Jeff’s phones. Cringe inducing cut scenes available on You Tube. Pills not included.
Saturday 11pm - The Cranky Vince hour.
In acknowledgement of the greatest Twitter account in existence today - @CrankyVince the WWE network brings to you an hour of all the best tweets from one of the most hilarious things linked to WWE since the last time John Cena threw a punch. For those of you not following @CrankyVince you know the drill by now – stop reading, go follow him, thank me later.
Tuesday 8:00pm - John Laurinaitis stars in Future Endeavours.
Everyone’s favourite charisma black hole stars in this thrilling rip off of classic 80s TV show Quantum Leap. John leaps back and forth in time into the bodies of wrestlers previously fired by WWE for reasons no one can understand. Each week The Dynamic Douche must do everything in his power to avoid being fired by WWE to save another’s career and get his next leap..and hope that his next leap…will be his leap home. Co-starring Shane Douglas as Al and the Anonymous Raw General Manager as Ziggy. Scenes of a skateboarding nature from the outset.
So there you have it. Just a few examples of the kind of quality original programming we can expect from the WWE Network next year. If they read this and steal my ideas that is. Remember, you heard it here first people!
In all seriousness I hope the WWE Network is a huge success. I hope they use it as a platform to showcase the rich history of professional wrestling to a whole new generation of fans. There’s a chance for WWE to get on board with different producers, writers, people who know how to produce good television and really revamp their standing as a media force – something Vince is no doubt desperate to achieve.
It could be the dawn of a whole new way wrestling is present on TV. Could they hook up with indy feds to help them to allow the stars of tomorrow to hone their craft before coming to WWE? The power of the WWE Network could have a huge effect on all of wrestling. Plus with the added media spotlight on them maybe now is the time that WWE look at that whole independent contractor bullshit.
Then again, history isn’t kind to WWE and Vince McMahon when it comes to big new projects. This one though, this one feels different because it’s so closely rooted in what WWE does better than anyone else. It’s actually a damn exciting time, a bit like in the summer when Punk dropped that first pipe bomb on Raw. Let’s just hope WWE strike while the iron is hot and really come out with a new network that redefines what they do and sets the foundations for a great future for professional wrestling.
Plus there’s the whole question of what the WWE Network means for the future of wrestling on PPV and indeed if it could have a negative effect on the wrestling industry as a whole. If you want to read more about that subject, check out a much better blog than this by ROH’s lead announcer Kevin Kelly here: http://www.wrestlezone.com/editorials/246481-wwe-network-the-death-of-pay-per-view So many possibilities and so much to look forward to as the WWE Network takes shape next year.
Well folks this is my final post before Christmas seeing as I’ll be busy as hell all next week enduring the nightmare that is Christmas in the 21st century. I hope you guys have enjoyed my posts here at Wrestling’s Last Hope over the last few months, it’s been a lot of fun. I want to give a huge note of thanks to Stu for giving me the chance to write here and begin what I hope will be a fun journey to one day getting paid for this shit!
I wish you guys a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, keep supporting indy wrestling and search for The Indy Corner on facebook and please LIKE the page and don’t forget you can follow me on twitter @WLHDuckman. Thanks for reading!
Until next time...