Pitching Some Original WWE Network Programming!
Happy Friday TJRWrestling Faithful! I hope you’ve all had a happy and productive week, lord knows I’ve had myself a busy couple weeks. So has the WWE apparently. Besides putting on an Old School Raw that featured the return of Jake “The Snake” Roberts (among several others) to WWE TV, turning the New Age Outlaws heel, pulling the plug on Daniel Wyatt, and strapping a rocket to Roman Reigns’ muscular back, the WWE also announced the launch of the WWE Network last week.
Despite living in Canada, and likely being unable to use the WWE Network until 2015, I’m pretty excited about the announcement. I would definitely subscribe to the network, for all the content it will provide, including every PPV including Wrestlemania. It’s a bit of a risk on WWE’s part, but one that will likely pay off for them.
That being said, I can’t help but think of what will be on the Network. For the first year I assume mostly Raw, Smackdown, Main Event, NXT, PPVs, and hours and hours of archived footage and shows that examine archived footage. This makes sense for the first year or so, when you’re trying to keep overhead low, but once the Network has found it’s footing, I would expect to see more Original WWE Network Programming. What kind of original programming? It just so happens that I have a few pitches. Let’s Do This!
But I’m Chris Jericho
Yes this technically isn’t my idea, but with the WWE Network’s debut impending, I see “But I’m Chris Jericho” as a perfect candidate for the Network’s original scripted programming for two reasons. Firstly, it is a funny concept that can be produced pretty cheaply. With good writing, a sitcom level extension to it’s current webisode running time, and a little better production value than the show is currently getting, I could see “But I’m Chris Jericho” being a tamer, but not less funny, wrestling based version of “Eastbound and Down”.
Secondly it would bring Chris Jericho back into the WWE fold. Chris is a favorite among the WWE Universe, and having him involved in some shape or form with the company is good for them and us. Now who knows if Chris Jericho can or even wants to move his web show to the WWE Network? Maybe he’d like to keep his outside ventures just that, outside the WWE. That being said if I work at the WWE, at some point I make a play to get this show and Chris Jericho on the network because as far as I’m concerned it’d be a mutually beneficial endeavor once the WWE Network really gets off the ground.
Great Khali & Hornswoggle Travel The Globe
You might be surprised how many people who own TVs like to watch Travel shows. Fans of that kind of programming like to see what goes on in cities, countries, and continents that they don’t live in. They are interested in food, tourist attractions, interesting facts about the places, and the different customs and cultures than their own. With the WWE being the largest and most profitable traveling circus, it wouldn’t take much effort to produce 16-20 episode seasons of a traveling show that follows the tallest and the smallest guys on their roster.
Imagine an approximately half-hour travel show following Hornswoggle and The Great Khali as they travel with the WWE to different cities and countries around the globe. They visit restaurants, museums, tourist hotspots, and get into funny shenanigans largely based on their disproportionate size. For instance, the car rental company gets their rentals mixed up and Hornswoggle is given a Hummer SUV, while Khali has to squeeze into Prius, or Volkswagen Bug. The idea is to have these two performers who are almost entirely useless on Raw or Smackdown, have something to do, and having them be traveling buddies and teaching viewers about the cities the WWE visits is a great way to utilize Khali, Hornswoggle, and the cities the WWE visits year round.
Slapstick Santino Show
I don’t know how many people agree with me, but I think that Santino can be downright hilarious at times. He’s a very funny guy, and I think that the WWE Network would be the perfect place to allow Santino to showcase his comedy. The question is what kind of show do you do with Santino? There are several directions to go in. You could have him host a talk show, but that would be too similar to what the WWE does on Raw and Smackdown. You could have him host a prank show like Punk’d which could be funny, but that doesn’t seem like the best way to showcase Santino’s brand of comedy. To me there’s only one direction to go in to make a classic Santino comedy series, and that’s to have Santino do classic situational and slapstick comedy, a la Mr. Bean.
That style of comedy would work so well with Santino. I would laugh at Santino naively getting himself into awkward and sticky situations, and hilariously trying to remedy his mistakes, only to make matters worse. Santino does very well with physical comedy and this format would allow for many instances where Santino could show-off his physical comedy chops. I think this show could be a success on the network and it would provide Santino with more time to do what he does best, which is make us laugh.
Animated Undertaker Origin Series
One of my favorite shows from my childhood was Batman: The Animated Series. Despite being a cartoon, there was a dark and gritty vibe to it that made it stand out amongst a lot of the other animated shows at the time (a lot, but not all). The WWE could try to capture the magic that that series delivered by producing an animated series depicting the fictional and fantastic origin of The Undertaker.
I know there was talk of doing an Undertaker Origin film as a Western some time ago, but I feel broadcasting it as a series on the WWE Network is a much better way to go. It would provide the fans a program where they could get their Undertaker fix year round and not just for a month leading up to Wrestlemania. Also doing it as an animated series allows for a more imaginative and fantastic origin for The Deadman. I really like the idea of it being a western and it could feature The Undertaker doing battle with Demons, Grave Robbers, and the walking dead. At the end of the day, if this is animated series is produced well, it could become the most must-see WWE Original Program on the WWE Network.
WWE Presents What If…
This show might be the weirdest one I’m pitching today, but also a lot of fun to watch. Part Documentary, part Creative endeavor, “WWE Presents What If…” takes a look at pivotal moments in WWE’s history and hypothesizes how things would have changed had outcomes been different or different decisions been made. For instance, one episode could look at how things might have shaken out had “WCW” never invaded the WWE after Shane “acquired” the wrestling promotion. Another episode could as “What If The Rock Never Left The WWE?” or “What If The Nexus Wasn’t Derailed At Summerslam?” You can also use the show to look at fantasy matchups like "What If John Cena took on Hulk Hogan?" and hypothesize about what would happen.
There are several pivotal moments in WWE history that could be examined as far as their impact on the product is concerned. Combining that historical aspect with a creative aspect of attempting to imagine how history would have changed is a fun endeavor. The What If scenarios can be presented as animations with Wrestlers involved in the aftermath verbally hypothesizing how an alternate ending or decision would have changed things. The fact is that unless the final note of each show was to paint the original decision as the best one to make, it is likely an endeavor that the WWE wouldn’t want to partake in. That said, I’d definitely watch a series like this, and furthermore, I’d love to work on it.
There you have it, but as always I want to know what you think! Do you like any of my pitches for Original WWE Network Programming? Which ones if any? Could you see any of my ideas working for the WWE? And what are some shows you’d like to see on The Network?
Until next time folks, I’m Matty J. Douglas saying I’ll be taking the weekend to catch up on the Oscar Nominated Films (I only need to see Inside Llewyn Davis and Philomena). Have a great weekend everybody!