By Rick Morris
For years, WWE has been making preparations for a full-fledged TV network of their own. Their 24/7 On-Demand service, launched a few years ago, was the first thrust in their campaign.
They’ve been snarfing up tape libraries for a decade now, ever since getting the second-biggest one in the form of the WCW one (that also included footage from the Georgia and Mid-Atlantic predecessor territories). Aside from a few notable exceptions (UWF/Mid-South, Memphis, the old NWF, international promotions and of course, TNA), Vinny Mac has it all, way more than enough to stock a TV network with outstanding content.
So then the logical question arises: what’s the best way to utilize the overwhelming resources and tape libraries owned and housed by WWE? What follows below is a proposed seven-day-a-week schedule for the channel. Weekday daytime schedules would carry the same shows, with the exception of Monday (although it would also have programming in common with the rest of the week until noon). The show titles below are admittedly generic, but at least accurately capture the thrust of the individual programs for these purposes.
All times EDT
Midnight to 3 AM – Classic PPV – Rerun of a pay-per-view, alternating from among WWE, WCW, ECW and AWA.
3 AM to 6 AM – Classic Moment in Time – Rerun of a segment from the previous weekday afternoon (on Mondays, the WWE one from the previous week would be rebroadcast, explained below).
6 AM to 8 AM – Excerpts of Monday Night Wars – Rerun of a piece of that week’s Monday Night Wars block (explained below).
8 AM to 9 AM – Classic WCW – A program from the WCW archives, with Mid-Atlantic and Georgia programming also used in this block. Programs would be presented as they were initially broadcast whenever available, with additional post-production and commentary overlaid when needed.
9 AM to 10 AM – Classic WWE – A program from the WWE archives. Programs would be presented as they were initially broadcast whenever available, with additional post-production and commentary overlaid when needed.
10 AM to Noon – Documentaries – Broadcast from the WWE Home Video archives.
Noon to 8 PM – Monday Night Wars – Each eight-hour block would be from a different month during the Monday Night Wars era (September 1995 to March 2001). It would feature all of the most notable moments in that month, bouncing back and forth liberally (but sequentially) between Raw and Nitro. Each two-hour sub-block of the show would be rebroadcast during the 6-8 AM timeslot listed above. A poll on WWE.com would be taken each weekend to determine the best of the four sub-blocks from that week, with the winner being rebroadcast during the 6-8 AM Monday morning slot.
8 PM to 8:30 – Classic Interviews and Promos – This would be along the lines of a bloopers show, but with notable interviews and promos used instead of actual bloopers. Each show would intersperse segments from different eras and promotions. This daily show would be broadcast all other weekdays from 7 to 7:30 PM.
8:30 to 9 PM – WWE Livewire – This old studio talkshow would be revived as a daily WWE magazine show (broadcast all other weekdays from 7:30 to 8 PM). The Monday (pre-Raw) and Friday (pre-Smackdown) editions would focus largely as preview shows for that night’s programming (and there would be a one-hour special Sunday Livewire that would serve as pre-PPV programming on the nights of such events). The Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday ones would be more in the classic magazine-style format, with out-of-the-ring features on WWE wrestlers, at least one interview each day with a wrestler, some general updates on storylines and a “This Day in WWE History” feature.
9 PM to Midnight – WWE Interactive – Essentially, this would be a complementary experience to the live Raw show (with similar versions for Smackdown and PPVs). In many ways, it would be similar to the NFL Sunday Ticket Player Tracker that provides up-to-the-minute player updates. A live chat with WWE personalities that would appear on WWE.com would stream here, along with pertinent commentary and interaction from Facebook and Twitter. During commercial breaks, the commercials would be simulcast here on half the screen to assuage any concerns by advertisers at having people flip over and miss their ads. After every event, the program would run until the top of the next hour.
Noon to 3 PM – Classic Moment in Time – This would be a three-hour block of footage from a concentrated period of time in rotating promotions (Tuesdays-WWE, Wednesdays-WCW, Thursdays-AWA, Fridays-ECW).
3 PM to 6 PM – Classic Live Events – These would be rebroadcasts of old house shows that exist on tape. Inasmuch as the majority of the ones on file are probably WWWF/WWF/WWE ones, they might make up the majority, but ones that exist from other promotions would be interspersed as well.
6 PM to 7 PM -- Classic WWE – A program from the WWE archives. Programs would be presented as they were initially broadcast whenever available, with additional post-production and commentary overlaid when needed. This would be a different program than the one broadcast earlier in the day.
7 to 7:30 PM – Classic Interviews and Promos (see above).
7:30 to 8 PM – WWE Livewire (see above).
8 PM to 9 PM – JR’s Legends Interview – This would be a one-hour shoot interview conducted by Jim Ross with a legend of the past.
9 PM to 10 PM – Behind The Match – Classic matches would be shown, along with commentary from those involved about everything that went into them.
10 PM to Midnight – Legends Roundtables – These would be the ones used on the WWE 24/7 service and some new ones would be shot also. For those not familiar with the format, different legends were assembled for roundtables on different wrestlers, eras and other topics.
8 PM to Midnight – Superstar Compilations – There would be four one-hour segments, each devoted to a different wrestler with some of the best matches of his career.
8 PM to 9 PM – NXT – This would be a broadcast of the NXT program.
9 PM to 10 PM – Superstars – This would be a broadcast of the Superstars program.
10 PM to Midnight – Best Stipulation Matches – This would be a compilation of different stipulation matches over time, from cage matches to strap matches to multiple falls to everything in between. It would cover different promotions and eras.
8 PM to 11 PM – WWE Interactive (see above).
11 PM to Midnight – This Week in WWE – This would be a recap show for the week in the entire promotion, with clips interspersed from Raw, Smackdown and a PPV (if applicable).
Saturday and Sunday
NOTE: From midnight to 10 AM both days, the “Territory Block” will bring programs from the old wrestling territories. None of the promotions that are broadcast during the weekday archives are involved.
Midnight to 1 AM – Ohio Valley
1 AM to 2 AM – Ultimate Pro Wrestling
2 AM to 3 AM – Central States
3 AM to 4 AM – Stampede
4 AM to 5 AM – Smoky Mountain
5 AM to 6 AM – Florida
6 AM to 7 AM – Maple Leaf
7 AM to 8 AM – St. Louis
8 AM to 9 AM – AWA
9 AM to 10 AM – World Class
10 AM to 11 AM – This Week in WWE (rerun from Friday night).
11 AM to Noon – Behind The Match (replay from Tuesday night).
Noon to 2 PM – Legends Roundtables (replay from Tuesday night).
2 PM to 3 PM – Superstar Compilations (replay from Wednesday night, with a poll on WWE.com determining which of the four was the best and should get a replay).
3 PM to 6 PM – Classic Moment in Time: Territories – This would be a version of the weekday Classic Moment in Time show that focuses on major promotions. This one would rotate from among the more notable territories (Stampede, Smoky Mountain, Florida, Maple Leaf, St. Louis), delivering three hours of footage from a concentrated period in the promotion’s history.
6 PM to 8 PM – WCW Saturday Night – This would be a rebroadcast of old Saturday night footage, as it was originally shown whenever possible, with post-production and added commentary as needed.
8 PM to Midnight – Classic MSG – This would be a revival of the program previously on the MSG network that rebroadcast classic Madison Square Garden house shows.
Sunday (non-PPV day)
11 AM to Noon – JR’s Legends Interview (replay from Tuesday night).
Noon to Midnight – Classic PPV (see above).
Sunday (PPV day)
Noon to 6 PM – Classic Clash of the Champions and Saturday Night’s Main Events – This would be similar to the format of PPV rebroadcasts.
6 PM to 7 PM – Best of Tuesday Night Titans – This would be a rebroadcast of old Tuesday Night Titans footage.
7 PM to 8 PM – WWE Livewire (see above).
8 PM to Midnight – WWE Interactive (see above).
This would be programming with a strong dose of variety, using the old footage in several different manners and augmenting the existing Raw, Smackdown and PPV shows as well. There are other features that could be added to the schedule from time to time, such as broadcasting live from WrestleMania Axxess and SummerSlam Axxess in the lead-up to those events.
So there it is. Now that we’ve planned it all out for you, Vince, get the consulting check on the way!