Professional wrestling has been a television staple since the beginning. It came as no surprise to anyone that World Wrestling Entertainment would eventually launch a television network of their own.
The company unveiled the streaming WWE Network at the Consumer Electronics Expo in Las Vegas on January 8.
Between their own immense tape library and the footage they have acquired, the WWE has no shortage of material for the WWE Network. That said, here are some forgotten classics that fans would love to get a chance to see again.
Hulk Hogan's Rock 'N' Wrestling
Professional wrestling gets described as being like a real life cartoon, so it was only appropriate for there to be an actual cartoon featuring wrestlers! The series ran from 1985 through 1987 on CBS, featuring the top stars of the day like Hulk Hogan and Junkyard Dog getting into wacky misadventures that pit them against the more villainous grapplers "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and the Iron Sheik. Although none of the wrestlers voiced their animated versions, several well known actors contributed their talents to the show, including Everybody Loves Raymond's Brad Garrett and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air's James Avery, who respectively voiced Hogan and Junkyard Dog. Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory creator Chuck Lorre even served as a writer for the series.
In 1991 the company attempted to bring spectacle and entertainment to professional bodybuilding with the launch of the World Bodybuilding Federation brand and its subsequent WBF BodyStars television program. Unfortunately competitive bodybuilding--even with all the pageantry usually reserved for an event like WrestleMania--didn't connect with a mainstream audience and was cancelled by summer 1992.
Tuesday Night Titans
Part of professional wrestling's popularity has always been due to its silly nature and general campiness. This was taken to a new level with 1984's Tuesday Night Titans program which had WWE mastermind Vince McMahon hosting a late-night style talk show filled with whacky interviews and skits featuring the wrestling stars of the day. Whether it featured Piper's recreation of A Christmas Carol or hillbillies answering their fan mail, Tuesday Night Titans was like something so bizarre that it had to be good. The series lasted for four years.
Smoky Mountain Wrestling
Although the WWE didn't operate this wrestling promotion, Smoky Mountain Wrestling ran events and produced television shows in the 1990s that was vastly different all of it's competitors. Instead it created a product that was more in tune with the more realistic style of yesteryear. The characters weren't as cartoonish as the ones featured in the WWE and WCW, nor was the programming as violent and bloody as ECW. The storylines were very straight forward, with clear-cut heroes and villains. To make the company all the more mysterious, it was even secretly bankrolled by music producer and Def Jam Records co-founder Rick Rubin. The four years of programming the company created are still very highly regarded by wrestling fans of the day, leading to the WWE acquiring their television tapes.
Shotgun Saturday Night
In the late 1990s, the WWE produced a syndicated television show called Shotgun Saturday Night which attempted to portray wrestling in a more gritty and edgy fashion. It wasn't filmed in traditional venues; instead it was filmed in bars and nightclubs in the New York City area. The most memorable location was the February 8, 1997 episode which was filmed in Penn Station. If you think that place is rough during rush hour, it must've been a nightmare with the Undertaker and Triple H brawling through the station.
In 2000 the WWE teamed up with NBC to run a new professional football league called the XFL. With eight teams, scantily clad cheerleaders and a ruleset designed to create more exciting gameplay, the league had its only season in 2001 which ended with the Los Angeles XTreme winning the championship at the Million Dollar Game. Although five former XFLers went on to win at the NFL's Super Bowl, the most memorable player in the league was Rod Smart, thanks to his Las Vegas Outlaws jersey that sported the phrase "HE HATE ME" instead of his surname.
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