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herbie747

Wrestling Channel Miscellany

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TWC began around the same time as the Feinstein scandal. Did you have any troubles with all the fart on that was happening with ROH at the time (there was a huge question whether they'd be still in business and who owned then and what not). Who did you initially talk to when it came to acquiring the ROH footage and did the deal change following the Feinstein scandal?

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In 2005, TWC were thinking of starting a promotion in the UK, with the idea of weekly TV and a taping once per month. The plan was to use all the best guys & gals in the UK, in addition to 2 US mainstays - Cabana & Danielson. Proper production, and proper storylines with a regular roster. On board was myself heading production, TWC head office as backers, John Lister & Kenny McBride as writers, Jon Ritchie handling talent, Sanjay Bagga as promoter, and Steve Lytton as MC. A few other people were involved too, but it didn't get past 1 meeting...

 

Really good collection of guys there. I admire you giving it a good go, and interesting to see the origins of the "Spirit League" logo which went on to be used in LDN.

 

Two questions:

 

What was your opinion of the various UK promotions you featured? And if you were to do it again, what would you do differently?

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TWC began around the same time as the Feinstein scandal. Did you have any troubles with all the fart on that was happening with ROH at the time (there was a huge question whether they'd be still in business and who owned then and what not). Who did you initially talk to when it came to acquiring the ROH footage and did the deal change following the Feinstein scandal?

 

It was Feinstein from the beginning - since initial contact in 2002 - but then when the scandal broke in early 2004 (around the time we launched!), it was Doug (his sidekick) & Ross (the merch guy). But they had sent us months of stuff in advance already.

 

We had Feinstein on The Bagpipe Report a few months later:

 

From 2005 onwards, it was always Syd Eick.

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In 2005, TWC were thinking of starting a promotion in the UK, with the idea of weekly TV and a taping once per month. The plan was to use all the best guys & gals in the UK, in addition to 2 US mainstays - Cabana & Danielson. Proper production, and proper storylines with a regular roster. On board was myself heading production, TWC head office as backers, John Lister & Kenny McBride as writers, Jon Ritchie handling talent, Sanjay Bagga as promoter, and Steve Lytton as MC. A few other people were involved too, but it didn't get past 1 meeting...

 

Really good collection of guys there. I admire you giving it a good go, and interesting to see the origins of the "Spirit League" logo which went on to be used in LDN.

 

Two questions:

 

What was your opinion of the various UK promotions you featured? And if you were to do it again, what would you do differently?

 

 

 

It did indeed end up being the Spirit league - after it was a no-goer, Bagga asked if he could use the logo. And the "Summit" name had actually already been used by Nick Aldis when running some small UK shows, so it was changed to Spirit.

 

Will answer the others tomorrow!  :)

Edited by herbie747

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I loved The Wrestling Channel at the start, one of the main reasons being that I got to see fairly recent CMLL in perfect quality. Things were different back then regarding Lucha TV; CMLL coverage was crap with only one hour per week, all us fans had to anxiously wait for Alfredo's quarterly (or longer) listings to even find out what made air. Then there was the cost of getting a hold of it. TWC changed lthat, and it was awesome. Sadly it only lasted about 3 months, but I guess no one was really into it, so you can't argue with that. 

 

It started at a cool time also, when CMLL was quite hot, with the Park/Shocker vs Guerreros feud and title match, as well as a few undercard matches being picked for airing over the main or semi, sometimes involving the Volador/Safari/Felino trio and their Mexican National trios titles. There was a decent little Tarzan Boy v Atlantis singles match on one of the earlier episodes too I remember, Perrito was battling the Capos, the Guapos were feuding and Super Crazy was having one of his frequent spells there. Unfortunately, so was Vampiro.

 

As that's just a pointless reminisce, I guess I should ask a question; the shows were practically the same as what aired on Televisa in Mexico, so how did I end up seeing at least one show which i'm almost certain never aired over there? I definitely remember a Coliseo opener with The junior Brazos (now La Mascara and Psycho Clown) against Ramstein and Reyes Veloz, as well as a Pierroth v Universo 2000 Hair match. I think there was another match with Volador (an undercarder at the time) teaming alongside more established guys like Rayo de Jalisco or Atlantis (which wasn't too common)

 

I've always wondered what was up with that, as exclusive CMLL content was always pretty exciting to us back then, no matter if it was good or not, because there was so much being missed every week. Only 2 matches (and maybe highlights of a third) were shown per week when there were two whole shows (10-12 matches) being recorded, so we always lived in hope that archives were being kept of the stuff that didn;t air. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be, other than a series, 'Sin Limite', which emerged on some local LA channel the following year showing an extra few matches (and which, coincidentally were recorded from around the same timeframe as TWC), 

Edited by Reznor

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What was the deal with the airing of unedited footage before the watershed? I seem to recall seeing unedited CZW Cage of Death footage one afternoon but might be making that up. Was that a case of reading the guidelines and assuming that was okay or had you been told it was? Did that stop due to complaints? Were there serious repercussions?

 

Without naming names (unless you wanted to) were there any mental stories when dealing with promotions? Did Zandig send you the CZW tapes wrapped in barbed wire or something of lesser, equal or greater madness?

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Sad playout question. Which company handled the playout, and were the shows watched before the insertion of the breaks? They used to crash in and out at some terrible times. And would that have been a problem on your end, or the playout (Red Bee) or whoever fucking up?

 

Also, other than WoS and TNA, was any footage particularly profitable for ads and that? I remember you saying WoS being successful. Also, where did you source the late night softcore? Tha British Made stuff under TWC Hot or whatever.

Edited by PowerButchi

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Ooh, just dug out the dummy format sheet for the Summit/Spirit TV show:

 

Segment 1 of 8: 13 mins

 

0:00-1:00 Opening credits

1:00-3:00 ED previews show

3:00-5:00 Intros for match 1

 

Match 1: (Tomorrow Trophy, 1 fall, 10 minute limit) Ken Barlow © (6'2”, 12st 5lbs, Middleweight, Luton, 2-0) vs Mike Baldwin (6'0”, 11st 4lbs, Welterweight, York, 0-0)

 

5:00-11:00 Match 1

 

Outline: Fast-paced match, Baldwin outmoves him with greater speed, Barlow comes back with superior strength, Baldwin misses somersault splash and Barlow follows up with cradle for win.

 

Result: Barlow pins Baldwin (approx 6 mins)

 

Key commentary points:

 

·       Barlow has been working in the gym to build up strength

·       Baldwin is not used to fighting a larger opponent, so needs to make best use of his speed

·       Baldwin going to the top rope is a high-risk move, which doesn't pay off.

 

11:00-13:00 Buffer time for end of match, announcement of winner, action replay

 

 

 

 

 

Segment 2 of 8: 11mins30

 

0:00-3:00 Interview with Norris Cole.

 

Key points:

 

·       Cole will face Fred Elliot in the main event today.

·       Cole has wrestled overseas but fans there always ask him when Elliot is coming over.

·       Cole is bitter about this, and a win today will prove he is the rightful ambassador for British wrestling.

 

3:00-5:00 Intros for match 2

 

Match 2: (6 x 3mins) Martin Platt (5'9”, 11st 2lbs, Welterweight, Birmingham, 3-1-1) vs Les Battersby (5'9”, 10st 6lbs, Lightweight, Diss, 2-1)

 

5:00-8:00 Round 1 (no score)

8:00-8:30 Break

8:30-11:30 Round 2 (no score)

 

(Match continues in segment 3)

 

Outline: Traditional mat-based match.

 

Result: 1-1 draw.

 

Key commentary points:

 

·       This is the classic British lightweight style, but at a faster pace because of the shorter time limits.

·       Platt is looking to unveil a new submission hold.

·       With Battersby 1-0 down going into the 5th, he has to choose between going for a pin or submission for the draw, or a knockout to win. With his size and style, a knockout is unlikely.

·       (After the result) A draw is a fair result but both men will look for the win next time.
 

Segment 3 of 8: 10 mins

 

Match 2 continues

 

0:00-3:00 Round 3 (Platt gets a submission with his new hold)

3:00-3:30 Break

3:30-6:30 Round 4 (no score)

6:30-7:00 Break

7:00-10:00 Round 5 (no score)

 

(match continues in segment 4)
Segment 4 of 8: 12 mins

 

(Match 2 continues)

 

0:00-3:00 Round 6 (Battersby scores a pin)

3:00-4:00 Announcement and action replay

4:00-7:00 Interview with Fred Elliott

 

Key points:

 

·       Elliott arrogantly claims Cole is a disgrace and brings shame on British wrestlers.

·       Elliott says Cole's poor performances lead to all British wrestlers earning less when they go globetrotting.

·       This has cost Elliott money, and he will take it out of Cole's hide tonight.

 

7:00-9:00 Intros for match 3

 

Match 3: (6 x 3 mins) Dev Alahan (5'11”, 14st 8lbs, Mid-Heavyweight, Bury, 3-2) vs Alf Roberts (6'2”, 16st 2lbs, Heavyweight, Cardiff, 5-1)

 

Outline: Hard-hitting match, both men stick to the rules, needle develops, Roberts gets warning for resorting to blatant punches, then disqualification.

 

Result: Alahan wins by disqualification.

 

Key commentary points:

 

·       Both men are known for their no-nonsense approach.

·       The early attacks show how much damage you can do within the rules of wrestling.

·       TV doesn't do justice to how hard-hitting this is – plug the live tapings.

·       Roberts' frustration leads him to get a warning, costing him 50% of his pay.

·       Roberts DQ means he goes home with an empty wallet.

 

9:00-12:00: Round 1 (no finish)

 

(Match continues in segment 5)
Segment 5 of 8: 14 mins

 

(Match 3 continues)

 

0:00-3:00 Round 2 (no score)

3:00-3:30 Break

3:30-6:30 Round 3 (no score)

6:30-7:00 Break

7:00-10:00 Round 4 (no score, Roberts gets warning)

10:30-11:00 Break

11:00-14:00 Round 5 (Roberts gets quick DQ) plus announcement

 

 

Segment 6 of 8: 11 mins 30sec

 

0:00-3:00 Interview with Kevin McDonald

 

Key points:

 

·       McDonald will debut on next week's show.

·       His father and grandfather were avid fans of World of Sport, and came to shows at this venue every week for years.

·       It's an honour to wrestle here and he hopes his training in the traditional British style will pay off.

 

3:00-5:30 Intros for match 4

 

Match 4: (6x3mins) Fred Elliott (5'10”, 13st9lbs, Light-heavyweight, Glasgow, 3-0) vs Norris Cole (5'11”, 14st, Light-heavyweight, Dunstable, 2-0)

 

Outline: Main event style match bringing together matwork, stand-up and aerial moves. Pace picks up as match goes on. Aim is to produce a 'classic' match to show what Summit stands for.

 

Key commentary points:

 

·       Both men are in heated competition with each other, but Summit's format and styles is translating that into a classic match.

·       Though both men want to win, they'll have learned from Roberts' fate and will keep it clean.

·       There is a clear pattern of the pace picking up after an early feeling-out process.

 

Result: 2-1 win for Cole.

 

5:00-8:00 Round 1 (no score)

8:00-8:30 Break

8:30-11:30 Round 2 (no score)

 

(Match continues in segment 7)
Segment 7 of 8: 10 mins

 

(Match 4 continues)

 

0:00-3:00 Round 3 (Cole scores pin)

3:00-3:30 Break

3:30-6:30 Round 4 (Elliott scores pin)

6:30-7:00 Break

7:00-10:00 Round 5 (No score)

 

(Match continues in segment 8)
Segment 8 of 8: 8mins 30 secs

 

(Match 6 continues)

 

0:00-3:00 Round 6 (no score)

3:00-4:00 Announcement and replay

4:00-6:00 Interview with Cole

 

Key points:

 

·       Cole is delighted to have won the match.

·       He looks forward to seeing McDonald debut next week and would be interested in wrestling him once he is established.

 

6:00-7:00 Commentator previews next week's show

7:00-8:30 Elliott appears unscheduled at commentary desk and complains Cole is looking past him. Cole comes out and says he will give him a rematch any time. The pair are being held apart as the show goes off air.

 

 

Obviously nothing went beyond ideas on paper (and none of these guys were even approached), but I had the line-ups for the first 17 shows sketched out. The main things would have been building up a headline feud between Conscience (NWA UK/Hammerlock guy) and Stu Sanders (some 6'6" guy with legit shoot training who you may now know as Wade Barratt); Jon Ritchie doing a series of open challenges to members of the audience which would eventually lead to Amit Rambojam (actually one of Ritchie's trainees) scoring the upset and starting a feud; and a build-up to a Robbie Brookside/Johnny Moss vs James Mason/Majik match. 

 

Also on the plan was some 18 year old kid called Pac who'd only debuted a year earlier. That might have worked out well...

 

I don't remember the idea of involving Cabana and Danielson. I suspect that may have changed the plans! I think the original idea was going to be mainly NWA UK and Dropkixx guys, plus a couple of bigger name guys like Brookside and Mason who could work a WOS-like style.

 

Also just found a note from me to Kenny:

 

 

 

As an overall product, Sean and I were discussing it with a description along the lines of 'World of Sport with an attitude'. So while it's produced and covered in the same way as a legit sport, you do get rivalries that turn violent  and people who cheat. There's dozens of angles you can run that are still based around the general concept that people want to win matches and move up the  ladder.

 

And an idea of having a standalone 'World of Sport' title/division that would be the legends spot and only people who'd appeared on ITV could compete for:

 

 

 

For the world of sport title, I was thinking of only having one match every month or so. For people still active or semi-active from the World of Sport era you have: Sanders, Kidd, Brookside, Jones, Grey, McDonald, Murphy, Dave Taylor, Kilby, Blondie Barrett, John Ritchie, Jimmy Ocean,  (and you can have some fun with him taunting Ricky Knight for not being eligible). Factor in title changes and rematches and you probably only need about six to eight of those to get a year's worth of stuff. And when you get to the point where you run out of stuff to do, you stick the title on Brookside and he smashes it up, refusing to be written off as an old-timer, at which point you drop it.
Edited by JNLister

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My money's on Mike Baldwin there.

 

With Summit being very Mountevans in rounds and stuff, and British wrestling in rounds being the way it is like the old days, does that men Tags were to be a super rarity like the old days?

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Not sure if that's a point we got as far as addressing, though as far as that rough draft for the first few months goes, I only had one tag match listed.

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It's a little thing I know JN Lister, but as someone who has done a fair bit of commentary in his time, I like the commentary notes you included in that above document. It's nice to get a little bit of guidance to aid the psychology of match. *Thumbs up.*

 

I'm gutted this promotion never landed now!

 

Stu Sanders (some 6'6" guy with legit shoot training who you may now know as Wade Barratt)...

 

 

Ai I remember Sanjay was looking to bring him into LDN for our TV too. Unfortunately I left LDN shortly after and it didn't materialise due to him being picked up by WWE. 

 

Mind you I think he got the better end of the deal.

Edited by andrew "the ref" coyne

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