WWE's 'ECW' ends run on Syfy Reality show 'NXT' to replace series 'Extreme Championship Wrestling' By MARC GRASER
Syfy's 'Extreme Championship Wrestling' is exiting after tonight.
After struggling in the ratings, "ECW" will end its run on Syfy today with World Wrestling Entertainment replacing the series with a reality show that revolves around the company's newest roster of grapplers.
The new hour-long show, appropriately titled "NXT," bows Feb. 23, and will pair up eight of WWE's current stars with rookies that come from Florida Championship Wrestling, the company's talent development camp in Tampa, Florida.
As of late last week, McMahon had narrowed down the teams to 12, but wouldn't disclose names. Eight will ultimately be chosen for the first season. The series had also yet to start filming.
"NXT" will be a first for WWE, essentially lifting the veil of how the company operates.
WWE has long kept that a secret from fans, opting to produce shows that turn its athletes into colorful characters involved in over-the-top storylines.
But "NXT" will have pros mentoring rookies, with egos often getting in the way, as they learn the ropes of competing in the ring in front of live audiences, creating characters and speaking on camera.
"This is an opportunity to show another side you've never seen," Vince McMahon, WWE's colorful chairman and CEO told Daily Variety.
Given that WWE's shows air 52-weeks of the year, "NXT" will be broken up into two or three seasons, where talent graduates to one of WWE's other series. The reality show concept will also enable the pairs of mentors and rookies to crossover to WWE's top shows, "Monday Night Raw" on USA Network and "Friday Night SmackDown" on MyNetworkTV.
"These kids crash and burn a lot," McMahon said. "By putting them into this environment we'll find out if they can make it. There's no better way to develop skills than being in front of an audience. And that makes for good television."
"NXT" won't be WWE's first reality show, however. The company produced three seasons of "Tough Enough" with MTV from 2001-2004. But that show was more of a competition that ended with one wrestler being recruited to join the WWE.
WWE needed to come up with a replacement for "ECW."
"'ECW' feels old, it feels tired," McMahon said. "Sometimes our brands need freshening up. You have to continue to reinvent yourself.
The show has been struggling to catch on with audiences lately. Its format of matches between an exclusive lineup of wrestlers each week was considered too similar to WWE's two stronger shows, but with lesser-known athletes.
WWE bought the "ECW" brand, which stands for "Extreme Championship Wrestling," and its video library in 2003, and after finding success with pay-per-view fights and merchandise, launched the series with 13 episodes on Sci-Fi in 2006. At the time, the show generated a 2.79 rating, but it's currently generating a little more than a 1 rating.
In the past, "ECW" had been able to stand out with edgier bouts like barbed-wire matches and fans throwing chairs into the ring for wrestlers to use on their opponents. But now that WWE has gone PG, that kind of action doesn't fit in well with its lineup of series.
"As we introduce this brand new franchise exclusively on Syfy, 'NXT' will have a completely different look and feel from our other WWE television programming," McMahon said.
Syfy didn't object to the change. The network has been reinventing itself with a new name, tagline and lineup of shows to boost ratings.
"Syfy is excited to continue our partnership with WWE, Vince and his team with this innovative live event-reality show," said Syfy president Dave Howe. "The 'NXT' rookies take the challenge of our new tagline 'Imagine Greater' to heart as they embark on their ultimate dream quest to be the next generation of revered heroes and champions in the fantastic arena of the WWE."
They did mention in the article that it's not a competition like "Tough Enough" was.
I wonder how long it takes to record a series. Are the current stars that are involved going to be away from other television while NXT is recording, or are they going to have to add this onto their already busy schedule?
I roster I could give two shits about and a TV concept that failed the last time it was on as Tough Enough. I am sure this will last forever due to Vince's ego or longer then ECW. ECW wouldn't be old and tired if you actually booked like ECW instead of OVW.
I don't see the point in having guys like Drew McIntyre or Trent Barretta on the main roster, while Daniel Bryan and Kaval have to proof themselves first, but the roster and even the concept for this show sounds at least interesting! I'll damn sure give it a try! And yes: ECW (as a brand, not the matches they've had lately) indeed is old! It died almost ten years ago! Let it rest, finally!
Yes, I'm back! I know, I said I would never ever watch that crap again, but ... I just can't live without it, I guess.
ECW was a decent wrestling show. They had nice in-ring matches with sensible storylines and generally paid those off. As a wrestling fan, that's why I watch. I even enjoyed the developmental aspect of it. I likened watching ECW to watching AAA or AA baseball. You'd get some future stars and maybe a quality veteran who was rehabbing an injury or working on some weakness.
If Vince wants to clean up something that's stale, he can trash the guest-host concept on RAW.
Originally posted by Mr. Boffo I wonder how long it takes to record a series. Are the current stars that are involved going to be away from other television while NXT is recording, or are they going to have to add this onto their already busy schedule?
Well, with ECW being canceled there is a whole roster available. They could either use ECW guys to be the trainers or use Raw/Smackdown guys and replace them on their shows with ECW guys. I would totally mark out for Rhodes training somebody and teaching them to be Goldust 2.0. Regal would be good too, so would Christian.
Originally posted by Tyler DurdenI don't see the point in having guys like Drew McIntyre or Trent Barretta on the main roster, while Daniel Bryan and Kaval have to proof themselves first, but the roster and even the concept for this show sounds at least interesting!
Yeah, I would love to see Danielson and Low Ki on a regular show but if this is the only way I can watch them I'll probably watch it.
I wonder if in future seasons (if there are future seasons) if they will reach out to even more wrestlers' sons in order to get familiar names on the show. I'm not sure how many other second and third generation wrestlers are out there though.
I like the idea of this as a vehicle for Bryanson and Low Ki. The only way they were probably going to succeed to begin with was if they started in ECW and got to grow there like Punk did and like Miz and Morrison did after they'd bottomed out. Without ECW, it would've been really hard but now an actual series that focuses on them breaking in is even better.
Originally posted by lotjxI roster I could give two shits about
Some may call that the entire point.
a TV concept that failed the last time it was on as Tough Enough.
Tough Enough never failed as a TV concept. The three real seasons were all successful.
I'd be very interested to know which wrestlers are mentors, because for me, if its somebody I would not want to watch wrestle, I doubt I'd want to watch them mentoring somebody I don't know.
That being said, somebody like Golddust would be a great mentor I believe. he has 20 years experience (or more) and has been at the top, the bottom, and in the middle, plus gone through enough gimmicks to be able to tell a youngster how to handle a questionable storyline.
Until now, I had not idea that NXT wasn't just a regular third brand, but built around only new talent.
Can they really produce 52 weeks a year of this? To me, that seems to be the fatal flaw here. If they do put it on every single week, it will get old. But wrestling fans are creatures of habit, and if they do a season and then go off for a while, I suspect that once fans start seeing Caprica reruns or whatever on Tuesday nights, they'll stop tuning in and won't come back for the second or third season.
Tough Enough was great as a one-time thing, but didn't have legs. I suspect this may be similar.
Tough Enough was great as a one-time thing, but didn't have legs.
As Justin pointed out, Tough Enough did good numbers. It wasn't canceled because of ratings, it was dropped because WWE decision makers (HHH often cited) felt it demystified the business too much.
UFC's Ultimate Fighter is the closest comparison, and they've managed 11 seasons. The success of their show has depended on the personalities of the people involved (which would seem a problem if Bryan and Kaval are the lead guys.)
These shows are usually filmed months in advance, and heavily edited to create story arcs - hundreds of hours of film paired down to about 15 hour long episodes. NXT starts filming next week, and maybe they've just started filming. That's a lot of work to do in a short time, but maybe it indicates either a high percentage of time will still be spent on wrestling matches, and the show won't be as much reality as a simulation of reality.
Originally posted by CubsThe success of their show has depended on the personalities of the people involved (which would seem a problem if Bryan and Kaval are the lead guys.)
They might not be Teddy Hart or Darryl (smelly Darryl), but I bet those two could be interesting in a reality show/talking head testimonial kinda way if not a pro wrestling one. Danielson being quirky and Low Ki being annoyingly serious.
I hope Vince knows what he doing. A good purpose that ECW served was that people who would normally get lost on the roster shuffle on either Smackdown or Raw would have a chance to shine on ECW and later become relevant if they went to either Smackdown or Raw.
The concept sounds promising so hopefully the ratings will be too.
I don't see how shoving a bunch of newbies is going to be a hit. One of SyFy's problems with the show was it lacked star power, but they are ok with this? Unless they are going to get stars to be the trainers like HHH or HBK, I don't see how this gets ratings or makes sense. So, the new reason Tough Enough failed wasn't the ratings it was de-mystifying the business. So we are going to spend close to 52 weeks a year instead of the 8-10 Tough Enough had watching them learn the ropes, yeah that makes sense.
Don't give the WWE too many ideas. They may capitalize on the "hometown rub" idea, put Albert over Edge at Armageddon, and decide that Angle v Albert for the WWE title is a good idea for the Rumble. God I just scared myself.