How The WWE Can Truly Take the Network Over the Top

This is the 100th day since the WWE Network has launched. Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com wrote these suggestions today on how to make the network even better and I thought they were interesting:    

*WCW Programming on Saturdays at 6:05 PM! I know that WCW fans are waiting for the Monday Night Wars and Monday Nitro episodes to begin airing, but the true crown jewel of that library that is left for the truly old school fans is the series that was THE original destination pro wrestling programming – the 6:05 pro wrestling series that eventually became known as WCW Saturday Night. WWE would be wise to begin preparing those episodes and airing them once a week – in their old time slot (6:05-8:05 Eastern on Saturdays) so that fans who want to re-live and fans who want to experience the truly classic days of Jim Crockett Promotions in the 1980s and beyond can do so in “real time.” (with a VOD offering a short time later).  

*ECW Home Video. While it’s hard for me to personally get over the necessary musical changes needed for ECW presentations, WWE has done an amazing job cleaning up the visuals of the ECW footage and trying to present the original spirit of the ECW TV series. Similar to adding the WCW Clash of Champions and WWE’s Saturday Night’s Main Event episodes, ECW Home Video presented some of the biggest ECW events and were the lifeblood that kept ECW alive. There’s no better way to showcase what the true ECW experience was (I only feel one PPV truly captured that – Heatwave 98) and it would allow hours of new material.  

*Pro Wrestling This Week. In the 1980s., Gordon Solie and Joe Pedicino hosted a wonderful syndicated series looking at the world in and around pro wrestling. While obviously that series was sent tape every week from different territories, so that wouldn’t work here, the template of that old studio show with two hosts (Renee Young and Paul Heyman are my suggestions) discussing the topics of the WWE week would be entertaining and fun, similar to how Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan handled the old days of Prime Time Wrestling.  

*Where Are They Now? – One of the most popular articles on the WWE website is there “Where Are They Now” pieces catching fans up on where former WWE, WCW and ECW personalities are today. Imagine a one hour weekly show showcasing them in their new “real lives” as well as classic clips and interviews from family members and others in the industry. It could be a cheap and easy way to create a new series.  

*AWA. WWE hasn’t mined any of the AWA’s old material yet. Get Gene Okerlund to film some wrap-arounds and present the best of different AWA stars. It can be great wrestling and a history lesson all at once.  

*Saturday Night Fights. I already discussed the idea of giving WCW a two hour timeslot on Saturdays. What better way to showcase some classic action by mining all of the great old house show footage (dubbed WWE Old School on the Network) once a week. You can even add an interactive element by having fans vote all week for which card they want to see spotlighted.  

*Take Us Inside Titan Tower and inside WWE. Let’s face it, the WWE HQ holds as much mystique as anywhere. Do live cut-ins and wrap-arounds inside WWE HQ, the video library, in the production trucks, backstage, everywhere. Imagine Vince McMahon, in his office, introducing an episode of Wrestlemania Rewind. Imagine Triple H, backstage at Raw, explaining why fans should want to watch this classic Ric Flair match. Tour the WWE warehouse. Fans who watch the Network love and are obsessed with WWE, make this their haven to whet that appetite.  

*Network hosts. If WWE wants to truly be over the top, they need to make the relationship between the viewer and the Network as personal as possible. WWE should study all the early days of MTV and create their own version of VJs (Colt Cabana, Cliff Compton and The Bellas would be awesome at this) to bring us in and out of programming and provide fun, witty banter. Hell, Joey Styles is probably leaping out of chair willing to do this right now.

Obviously, these are just a few ideas but I’ve got many more…and sooner or later, I’ll provide even more suggestions. Until then: come on WWE, truly take us Over the Top!

If you disagree with these or can add more, what ideas would you add to make the network even better?