Posted on Wednesday, August 24th, 2011 by Germain Lussier
Real wrestling fans know anyone hoping to make a television show based on the professional wrestling boom of the 1980s will be hard pressed to beat Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling. The Saturday morning cartoon series featured Hogan and some of the World Wrestling Federation’s other good guys battling Rowdy Roddy Piper and a team of bad guys. And while it might seem like I’m joking, it was the first thing I – and many other wrestling fans – will think of when they hear the news that super-prodcuer Jerry Bruckheimer has teamed up with former wrestling superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to produce a pilot based on professional wrestling in the 1980s for NBC. The series will be a drama and explore the golden age of wrestling where the sport went from a regional attraction to world wide sensation. Read more after the jump.
Deadline broke the news of this deal, which – for now – has NBC only committing to making a pilot for the show. It’ll be written by Brent Fletcher and Seamus Kevin Fahey (Spartacus: Gods of the Arena).
There’s no word on the direction the series would take, but, it doesn’t take a genius to figure it out. Only an old-school wrestling fan like myself. How’s this for a back drop? In the late ’70s/early ’80s, Vincent K. McMahon took over his father’s company, the World Wrestling Federation, and began to acquire the best talent from other competing companies across the country. Others he just took over completely. He signed a television deal and in no time, he had a monopoly on the entire sport, which he called “sports entertainment” referring to the fact that all the action was fake, but was presented as being real. The WWF grew with leaps and bounds because of its television exposure as well as stars like Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan. Then, when McMahon created his very own wrestling Super Bowl called Wrestlemania, it went stratospheric. McMahon, nor the company, has looked back since.
Just from that very brief summary of the early arc of professional wrestling, you see a hell of a dramatic storyline. Add in the steroids, drug addiction, locker room drama (and friendships), months and months on the road without seeing your family, injuries and more and the whole thing kind of writes itself. Think The Wrestler or Beyond the Mat, but as a TV show. However, to do a show like this justice, NBC would be smart to put it on cable and not on their network. It has to be dark and scary. It can’t be Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling.
Of course, this is all purely speculative. I’m just going off the fact that the show will be based on “the world of wrestling in the ’80s.”
If the show does try to mirror that very interesting story, I’ll be curious to see how the real people – especially McMahon and World Wrestling Entertainment – react to this. It surely won’t show the sport in the best light but, it’s being produced by one of the biggest stars to ever come out of that world, The Rock, who still has strong ties to the company and will even headline Wrestlemania in 2012. Maybe he already has their blessing to do a dramatic reinterpretation.
Do you think the WWE will be a part of this show? Will it ever make it to air? And who would be a good actor to play a young Vince McMahon character?