wrestling / Columns

Csonka: 6 Ideas For Extra WWE Programming on The Fox Networks

August 6, 2018 | Posted by Larry Csonka

WELCOME back to column time with Larry! Today, I am going to discuss the one thing that everyone wants more than anything, MORE HOURS OF WWE PROGRAMMING! You see, it was recently reported that there has been a lot of talk in terms of Fox adding a lot of shoulder programming from WWE to FS1 & FS2. This is because they are losing so many hours of UFC content, which has been carrying the networks. With the UFC deal ending, all of the live events, as well as the thousands of hours of UFC related replays are gone. So today, I will discuss some possible WWE programming that could be added in order to fill this need from Fox. Feel free to make your picks in the comment section. Thanks for reading! It’s wrestling, we love it and will disagree. The only rules are to “have a take, be respectful, and don’t be a dick.”

6. Talking Smack: It’s funny, because when Talking Smack was first announced, many fans groaned as they assumed it was a way to try and sneakily make Smackdown three hours like Raw. But a funny thing happened, people started to really like the show. They loved the chemistry between Renee Young & Daniel Bryan, they loved that it gave promo time to many who didn’t get it on the main show, and that they made the most of it. Talking Smack was a show that gave the wrestlers some more opportunities, and on Smackdown, that’s needed at times since they don’t have the advantage of that third hour. It would help the angles develop, give those wrestlers left out of Smackdown get TV time, and would please a big segment of the WWE fanbase that really enjoyed the show.

5. A specialized series of rotating shows like Mixed Match Challenge that’s exclusive to FS1/FS2: Since Fox is paying WWE a metric fuckton of money, maybe some original programming is in order. WWE has such a huge roster overall that it would be easy to make extra programming for Fox similar to the Mixed Match Challenge show. You could easily do all of these, doing one at a time throughout the year to fill a weekly quota. I even have some options for them to consider…

* Mixed Match Challenge: Bring back the show that previously existed and that some already know about. If Facebook or someone else won’t pay for the second season, bring it over to Fox and let it ride again.

* 305 Live: We have 205 live for the little lads, so lets make 305 Live, a showcase for the hosses. This would be an occasional showcase that you can attach a prize to (a title shot of the winner’s choice) after a tournament like format.

* Ladies Night: With the women’s evolution/revolution and whatever the fuck they want to call it, a series of one-hour women’s only shows I think would work well. It’s different; it features the women and is of course extra programming.

* UK Invasion: Similar to the women, this could be a series of one-hour shows featuring the WWE UK Stars as occasional programming.

* Tag Team Turmoil: This could be a series of one-hour shows featuring the tag teams of WWE, in some sort of tournament format, where the winning team is proclaimed the best tag team in WWE.

4. WWE Superstars Rises Again: The latest edition of WWE Superstars was canceled in late 2016 to make way for WWE 205 Live. The last version of the show ran from 2009 to 2016, with a couple seasons on WGN before being shifted to an online entity. With FOX bringing on Smackdown, and Main Event formerly being an all Raw show (and mostly focusing on it still), bringing back WWE Superstars for FS1 or FS2 wouldn’t be the worst idea. If they bring back Superstars back, WWE Main Event can again become a pure Raw shoulder program. That would allow WWE Superstars to be a pure Smackdown program, running weekly, and featuring Smackdown stars and matches, which also plays into Smackdown’s move to Fox.

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3. The Best of “Insert PPV/Superstar” Here: Another easy answer is the best of a certain PPV or superstar series. For example, as I write this we’re on the road to Summerslam. You could easily be running a multiple–part best of Summerslam series, and with rumors of Brock Lesnar’s upcoming departure, a best of Lesnar at Summerslam would also work with ease. The best thing about shows like this is that WWE already has a bunch of it done for DVD or the Network, so there is little to no cost involved in putting it together. On top of that, you have so many specialized PPVs these days that you have a ton of content to roll with. Not only does it fill hours of programming, but it can be used to build to the WWE PPV of the month.

2. Quarterly 205 Live Specials: 205 Live was a great idea coming out of the Cruiserweight Classic, but it got off to a rough start with Vince McMahon at the helm, making it “Raw for little fellas,” and exactly the opposite of the CWC fans fell in love with. It then transitioned to the Enzo Era, overrun by the Zo Train, and became an absolute shit show. And then the allegations against Enzo happened, he was released, and quite honestly, it was the best for 205 Live. Enzo was gone, Vince gave control to Triple H, and 205 live was reborn. Along with NXT, 205 Live has become consistent and good TV, and well worth the watch. Part of the show’s recovery & rise has been that it’s become an isolated product, the guys don’t appear on Raw, the Gulak vs. Alexander Summerslam match is the first 202 Live “PPV” match since the Greatest Royal Rumble. I have pushed for 205 live specials on the Network, but they haven’t happened. There is no room for them on the Takeovers, so I think if Fox wants more WWE that quarterly 205 Live specials could fit the bill. They could easily build to a title match and two undercard matches, and if need be, fill out the card with an NXT and NXT UK match to get to 5. Keep the show to 2-2.5 hours like a Takeover and there is no reason that it couldn’t succeed.

1. Derby City NXT… NX-B?: If you haven’t noticed, WWE is a huge company that makes a lot of money and has A LOT of talent under contract. With Fox reportedly wanting more WWE content, everyone calls for NXT to be moved, but WWE reportedly wants no part of that. But what if we were to split NXT? You may think that this sounds insane, but please allow me to explain. With all of the signings over the last year there have been many calls for NXT TV to go to 90-minutes or even two hours, but I have a better plan. You see, when Ohio Valley Wrestling was a WWE developmental territory, there was an unofficial “developmental to developmental,” named Derby City Wrestling. Derby City Wrestling had local TV and was populated by OVW trainees that weren’t under WWE contract, but guys like JTG would put in extra work in Derby City Wrestling when they weren’t being used by OVW. Since WWE doesn’t want to move NXT proper from the Network, and I don’t blame him, why not make a secondary NXT brand specifically for Fox. WWE has a ton of talent to populate a secondary NXT brand, it will give them experience learning to work on TV, the UK guys can make occasional appearances, and it would be a perfect place for main roster guys with a lot of experience to pop up and make appearances, adding some star power as they teach the next wave of talent. Like Tyler Breeze appearing at recent NXT live events, stars coming back from injury to work off rust (like they used to do in OVW), and a place for guys like Goldust (who have so much to offer the next generation and get very little TV time).

From there, you have to give them something to fight for. And for that, I go to an old favorite of mine, WMAC MASTERS! That’s right, my guilty pleasure of 1996 could in some ways be a model for the show. For those that never saw this gem, it was actually a lot of fun. This was a scripted martial arts show, basically pro wrestling. You had a champion, the holder of the Dragon Star. The Dragon Star was an eight-sided star, and the point stood for Discipline, Courage, Forgiveness, Compassion, Honor, Wisdom, Loyalty and Respect. Each fighter is on a journey to face the holder of the Dragon Star. Each man had a belt, and once they defeated a fighter in the final match on the show (in the Battledome), they get that fighter’s symbol and add it to their belt. Once the belt is full with 10-different symbols, they get to challenge for the Dragon Star. If they beat the Dragon Star Champion, they get the Dragon Star and Master Status, if they lose, they lose all symbols on the title and have to start over. During the show, you would often see the various fighters working out at the WMAC gym, their interaction away from fighting. They made an effort to create heels and faces during the two seasons of the show, and it provided a nice break in the action. There were relationships, young up and comers, the old warhorse looking for one more chance, the full cast of characters. Basically, you could set a number, 5, 7, or 10, and once an “NX-B” performer wins that amount of matches without losing, their reward is “graduating” to NXT proper. You could have one for the men and one for the women. Here is a look at the developmental stars that are under contract, that are barely used or almost never used on NXT TV, it’s right around 40 people…


Kassius Ohno
Adrian Jaoude
Amanpreet Singh
Babatunde Aiyegbusi
Brennan Williams
Cezar Bononi
Jaxson Ryker
Dominik Dijakovic
Dan Matha
Eric Bugenhagen
Fabian Aichner
Raul Mendoza
Jeet Rama
Kona Reeves
Marcel Barthel
Nasser Alruwayeh
Rinku Singh
Saurav Gurjar
Riddick Moss
Tino Sabbatelli
Steve Cutler
Tian Bing
Wesley Blake


Taynara Conti
Tegan Nox
Jessamyn Duke
Jessica Elaban
Kacy Katanzaro
Kavita Devi
Marina Shafir
Reina González
Rhea Ripley
Shadia Bseiso
Vanessa Bourne
Xia Li

– End Scene.

– Thanks for reading.

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“Byyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyye Felicia!”