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STATE OF THE 'E: When The WWF Changed

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This was a headline put out by Newswire on September 20th, 2000:

“NEW YORK, Sept. 20 /PRNewswire/ --

WWF RAW IS WAR, the highest rated weekly entertainment series on cable television, will switch from USA Network to the newly named TNN (The National Network) on Monday, September 25 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT). TNN will run a total of four hours of WWF programming each week including WWF RAW IS WAR on Mondays (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT), WWF LIVEWIRE on Saturday mornings (10:00-11:00 AM, ET/PT), and WWF SUPERSTARS on Sunday mornings …”

From 2000 – 2003 the WWF went into a LOT of transitions. This was one of the first things to happen. USA Network lost the WWF in a war of bidding. Realistically, USA Network didn’t want wrestling on their station anymore even though they were bringing in #1 ratings all across the board. This led to a lot of doubt and worriment on behalf of the WWF crew.

They were going to a smaller network without a ton of exposure that got its start as a County Music Video channel, TNN: “The Nashville Network”… they were in a middle of re-branding their network as well. They were becoming more of an “all around” network. TNN now stood for “The National Network” and they couldn’t WAIT to get the WWF on their schedule. After airing ECW for a year and killing the company, Paul Heyman eventually sold everything to VKM and thus, in 2001… a lot of interesting things occurred. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.[/FONT]

See, when the WWF went to TNN, they became even more “Out There” in a sense that the “Crash TV” style of “The Attitude Era” was becoming more over the top and even more unstable… if that were actually possible. These three years saw many things… and the first was technically the purchase of ECW. Within this VKM got the rights to everything he technically didn’t own already. It’s a little known fact that everyone should know by now but don’t, VKM was funding ECW for the last couple years of the company and in all honesty, even longer than that.[/FONT]

Heyman and VKM had worked out a deal a couple years previous that if ECW died, VKM would take them in. And that’s what happened when TNN kicked off ECW and bled the company officially dry just a couple weeks before WWF took over at the end of September. We started to slowly see ECW talents come in around this time, not many of course due to the crap still going on in the legal wars between Heyman and TNN. This led to January of 2001 and faces were becoming heels and the regulars were slowly going away or not feeling it anymore.[/FONT]

The ‘E was solidly winning the wars due to WCW being in a stalemate of death. Officially the company died in March of 2001 and infamously VKM appeared in a simulcast on TNN and TNT. The show led to an influx of talent going into WrestleMania XVII and creative trying to figure out what to do. There was WCW matches, WWF matches, that WrestleMania was a huge success and flop at the same time. The MAIN highlight of the evening? The second WrestleMania match to have The Rock and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin as the main event… in that event Austin turned heel and sided with VKM and he formed the “Two Man Power Trip” with Haitch, who tore his quad and was expected to never wrestle again… expected.[/FONT]

Later on in April we saw kind a “resurrection” of WCW with the ring being changed in mid-show to represent this new era of whatever the hell we were in. Shane and VKM were battling it out on TV through the rival/same companies and Stephanie took over the reigns of ECW. 2001 was a blast and a tragedy at the same time. The “InVasion” angle should have and could have been one of the greatest angles in wrestling history. It was convoluted and weird at best. It ended with Austin turning heel and siding with ECW while Kurt Angle was the main force of WWF. UnderTaker and DDP were in a weird ass stalker feud and the talents were just going back and forth.[/FONT]

Finally there was a PPV by the name of “InVasion” that served as the ending of the feud of inter-company… companies. Yup. WWF won out and this led us into 2002… and damn we started it off with a bang… January 7th, 2002 Triple H made his triumphant return to the WWF and started laying waste immediately. Kurt Angle got in his way and was knocked out… Haitch won the Rumble and was going on to WrestleMania XVIII! During this time period, VKM felt that his company was dying from a cancer left from the whole “InVasion” angle. So, he was gonna kill it with POISON![/FONT]

The now made their triumphant return to the WWF the next month in February at the aptly titled “No Way Out” PPV. This was “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. During this period, even more staples within the old WWF were leaving and we started to see an influx of new stars come into play. John Cena made his way on the scene in a couple months but, I’m getting ahead of myself again.[/FONT]

See… WrestleMania XVIII was significant due to one major thing. Austin quit. This effectively ended “The Attitude Era” in many people’s eyes. And also, lets not forget the ICONIC showdown of Hulk Hogan VS. The Rock. Now, the reason Austin quit was due to creative flopping him around. I mean, he had a match with Hall in the mid-card for godsakes. And therewas the retarded angle surrounding the match… how does a cinder block disintegrate again? Ugh.[/FONT]

This time is also significant because as “The Attitude Era” ended, the “Ruthless Aggression Era” began. This was in no small task either. We have the budding stars as mentioned earlier in John Cena being aboard now, the WWF was becoming way over crowded with talent and, they were being sued by… the WWF? Yup. World Wildlife Fund effectively sued the WWF for breaking contractual obligations about the use of the “WWF” banner. There was a pact in place for a long time that allowed the two to co-exist but when the Internet came along and more stipulations came along this caused a war. And eventually it ended with the WWF turning into WWE… World Wrestling Entertainment. Eewww.[/FONT]

And thus, “Get The F Out” happened and we were full force into our “Ruthless Aggression Era” and it got even loopier after that. Union Underground made “Across The Nation” a household staple on Monday Nights, Katie Vick happened and towards the end of the year. And in 2003 we were treated to Austin and Flair struggling for power, not to mention ERIC BISCHOFF coming into the fold, Stephanie running Smackdown! And the WWE DRAFT. Things got interesting for sure. And then Evolution became a mystery. And the whole landscape changed again.[/FONT]

At this point the WWE was nearing the end of their contract with TNN and a bidding war ensued again. The USA Network was re-branding themselves yet one more time and they WANTED professional wrestling back. And damnit, they got it in spades. The WWE returned and garnered amazing ratings and led a rebirth of sorts but, that didn’t last long. But alas, that’s another story for another time.[/FONT]

People remember WWE on TNN as a highly experimental and entertaining period. This was one of the biggest influxes of creativity and also of criticism. 2000-2003 will go down in infamy of WWE lore.[/FONT]

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Updated 12-09-2011 at 03:45 PM by Frank



  1. CM_SUXX_NOT's Avatar
    Why is every paragraph followed by the word font in parentheses?
  2. DonzelDomination's Avatar
    Wwe on tnn was my favorite time in wrestling
  3. Wrestling Realist's Avatar
    it was on TNN/the new TNN/spike till sept 2005
  4. Rated_R(ob)KO's Avatar
    it was on TNN/the new TNN/spike till sept 2005
    When you're right, you're right. I goofed lol. I meant for the blog to be two parts and shortened it without making sure I double checked everything. MY BAD!
  5. LoGik's Avatar
    Great blog as always man. We all make mistakes especially with dates. It was a good time in wrestling looking back. lol At the stalker angle. Didn't DDP have video from recording inside their garage or something? lol I vaguely remember it.

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