WWF Livewire (partially found professional wrestling recap and talk show; 1996-2001)
WWF Livewire (sometimes referred to as WWF LiveWire) is a professional wrestling recap and talk show. Produced by the World Wresting Federation (WWF, now WWE), it aired from 1996 to 2001 on USA Network and later TNN. Primarily a weekly summary show by February 1997, the original format of the show is famous for its interactivity, and is considered the most uncensored show in WWE's history.
Background[edit | edit source]
WWF Livewire was a unique show for professional wrestling when it debuted on 5th October, 1996 on Saturday mornings. In an attempt to transition away from the outlandish-based New Generation era to a more reality-based format, the show became a platform where the WWF's audience could interact with its wrestling personalities. Fans were able to call the show and ask questions, send faxes regarding their thoughts concerning WWF programming at the time, and even join a chat room to discuss WWF with other fans.
Hosted primarily by Todd Pettengill and with the support of wrestlers and other personalities including Sunny and Jim Cornette, the first few months of the show brought about various hard-hitting questions from fans and notable incidents. The show's interactions were seldom screened, resulting in the show being surprisingly uncensored for a WWF program, especially back in the 1990s. This allowed open discussion about the wrestling industry, to the extent that WWE itself has labelled WWF Livewire "The most uncensored show in WWE history". By February 1997, Livewire reverted to a typical wrestling recap show, and remained as such before it was discontinued on 18th August 2001.
Notable Highlights[edit | edit source]
One highlight concerned a fan directly asking WWF owner Vince McMahon regarding WCW and Ted Turner in an October 1996 edition of the show. Back then, the WWF rarely referenced other wrestling shows, and McMahon's status as WWF chairman was still not widely known, as he primarily was a commentator and had yet to transition into a heel boss persona during his famous feud with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. McMahon nevertheless candidly answered the question, discussing how the Black Saturday incident, where the WWF's attempt to take over Georgia Championship Wrestling's time slot on Turner's Superstation WTBS in 1984 ended in disaster, led to his long-standing feud with Turner.
McMahon also received a call from an individual referred to as "Bruce from Connecticut", who accused the WWF of stealing ideas from Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW). It was not long before most realised that "Bruce" was actually ECW owner Paul Heyman, who used Livewire to not only berate the WWF, but also to promote his company. "Bruce" would be cut off after verbal tirade was deemed too vulgar for Saturday morning television.
The show also marked the on-screen debut of Vince Russo, most notable for being the head writer for the WWF in the late-1990s, and later WCW from 1999-2000. Given the persona of "Vic Venom", Venom would make himself infamous in a single Livewire show. In it, he confronted WWF broadcaster Dok Hendrix, before in a breaking of Kayfabe, revealed that Hendrix was Michael Hayes of the Fabulous Freebirds. Additionally, Venom would turn his attentions to Cornette, with the two ending up bickering. This is the only known instance of Russo and Cornette together on-screen, with Cornette famously being known for expressing his hatred of Russo in various shoot interviews over the years.
Availability[edit | edit source]
WWF Livewire has yet to be fully included on the WWE Network, which when combined with the show's lower viewership due to the lack of professional wrestling matches, has resulted in much of the show becoming lost media. Nevertheless, the WWE Network does contain nine highlights from the show.
In February 2021, eight 1996 episodes of WWF Livewire would be uploaded to YouTube by Lee Gareth. A further seven were known to have been uploaded based on a WWF Livewire playlist, but have since become unavailable. The 1997-2001 recap version of WWF Livewire is mostly missing, although the full 19th December 1998 episode, as well as a few segments, have since publicly resurfaced.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
See Also[edit | edit source]
- Braden Walker's "Knock Knock" promo (lost original pre-tapes of WWE backstage segment; 2008)
- Bret Hart-Hulk Hogan photoshoot (lost professional wrestling promotional photos; 1993)
- Bret Hart vs Tom Magee (found untelevised professional wrestling match; 1986)
- Catch-As-Catch-Can Wrestling (lost early BBC televised professional wrestling matches; 1938-1939; 1946-1947)
- Celebrity Wrestling (partially found ITV professional wrestling reality show; 2005)
- ECW Anarchy Rulz (lost build of cancelled Nintendo 64 port of professional wrestling game; existence unconfirmed; 2000)
- ECW Hardcore TV final episodes (lost episodes of Professional Wrestling Show; 2001)
- The Game (partially found Disturbed cover of professional wrestling theme song; mid 2000s)
- GFW Amped (partially found unaired professional wrestling show; 2015)
- Girls Gone Wild: Live from Spring Break (found WWE/Girls Gone Wild crossover special; 2003)
- GLOW (lost unfinished final season of Netflix comedy-drama series; 2019-2020)
- Gotch-Hackenschmidt Match Film (lost world championship match; 1908)
- Gotch-Hackenschmidt Match Film (lost world championship match; 1911)
- Jake "The Snake" Roberts DDTs Hulk Hogan (lost Snake Pit segment; 1986)
- The Last Battle of Atlanta (found untelevised professional wrestling steel cage match; 1983)
- "Plane Ride From Hell" (lost photographs of drunk wrestler incidents; 2002)
- Screwed: The Bret Hart Story (lost unfinished wrestling documentary film; 2005)
- Sex University (lost WWE webshow; 2006)
- Shin Nihon Pro Wrestling Gekitou Densetsu (lost build of unreleased Virtual Boy wrestling game; 1995)
- Strange Kentucky People (lost recording of Chris Jericho "tribute"; 1994)
- TNA Impact! 2 (lost build of unfinished professional wrestling game; 2009)
- WCW 2000 (lost work on unfinished PlayStation 2 game; 2000)
- WCW All Nighter (partially lost professional wrestling compilation show; 1994-1995)
- WCW Classics (partially found professional wrestling compilation show; 2000-2001)
- WCW Internet-only Special Events and PPVs (lost audio streams; 1997-1998)
- WCW/nWo Live (lost build of cancelled PlayStation professional wrestling game; 1998)
- WWE Brawl (lost build of cancelled fighting game based on professional wrestling; 2012)
- WWE SmackDown vs Raw Online (lost build of cancelled online professional wrestling PC game; 2010-2011)
- WWF Backlash (non-existent unfinished Nintendo 64 professional wrestling game; 2001)
- WWF In Your House 8: Beware Of Dog (partially found untelevised professional wrestling matches; 1996)
- WWF No Mercy (lost Game Boy Color games based on Nintendo 64 wrestling game; 2000)
- WWF Shotgun (partially found July to December season of syndicated wrestling show; 1997)
- WWF Xperience (found pay-per-view event footage; 1996)
External Links[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Ring the Damn Bell detailing WWF Livewire's initial premise and discussing a few highlights from the show. Retrieved 19 Dec '21
- WWE discussing WWF Livewire and detailing highlights of the show. Retrieved 19 Dec '21
- WWE Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to World Wrestling Entertainment summarising WWF Livewire. Retrieved 19 Dec '21
- Vulture Hound detailing the Austin-McMahon feud. Retrieved 19 Dec '21
- The Sportster detailing Black Saturday. Retrieved 19 Dec '21
- The Sportster detailing "Bruce" confronting McMahon. Retrieved 19 Dec '21
- Wrestling Recaps detailing Vic Venom's confrontations of Hendrix and Cornette. Retrieved 19 Dec '21
- ITR Wrestling detailing the Cornette-Russo feud. Retrieved 19 Dec '21
- WWE Network search revealing nine WWF Livewire highlights. Retrieved 19 Dec '21