WWE's DVD projects are not good.
WWE as a company is an amazing story. The way the McMahons changed the business and made a lot of money in the process is impressive. Of course, anyone who is in business for as long as WWE has is going to have some successful ventures and some failures. Well, their venture to be in the movie business is a failure.
The only hope WWE has to make a positive mark in the world of film is to launch their own division of adult films.
I had former WWE star Chyna in studio live on the radio a few months ago, and it was there she revealed for the first time that a new adult film she is working on with Vivid Entertainment is a parody of WWE. It's her in a wrestling ring and in an arena with a Titantron, as a Royal Rumble begins to take place. I'll let you figure the details out after that, but they aren't trying to toss each other over the top rope.
Chyna has gone on several Twitter rants over the past few months directed at Vince McMahon and WWE. Vince should respond by beating her at her own game. Surely, seeing some of the WWE Divas in an adult film would draw attention.
They would have to make some roster changes—the current Divas they have now seem to be more self-respecting and have a passion for wrestling. If they go back and find some of the girls that didn't stick around too long because they were merely in it to become the next Playboy cover girl, then this project may just work out.
Then again, money talks. If Natalya is being forced to go along with the stupid farting gimmick, who knows what she would be willing to sign up for to get out of that?
However, the commitment to more family-friendly entertainment tells me we likely won't be seeing that anytime soon, so WWE needs to close the lens cap on their movie ambitions. Vince loves mainstream; he loves being a brand of entertainment, and not a “wrestling” company. They are only known as WWE, and no longer as World Wrestling Entertainment.
I understand, from a business standpoint, that having a diverse brand of products and services can be more profitable than just pro wrestling. The WWE films have only been punch-line material for critics and fans alike.
Even those in the company take jabs at them. CM Punk used “The Chaperone” on Triple H when they were feuding this past fall. John Cena took a verbal shot on Monday Night Raw a few weeks ago at his own film, 12 Rounds.
Former WWE creative writer Seth Mates had some interesting things to say on Twitter a few weeks back. He was chiming in on all of the reported heat The Rock has taken from the current superstars. Mates said it's all out of jealousy and that if Vince could have made it in Hollywood, he would have left WWE to Triple H and Stephanie a long time ago.
It's difficult for me to argue that. It seems like there has always been a part of McMahon that has looked for an out from wrestling. I want to say part of him is ashamed to be in wrestling, but that might not be accurate. He certainly has always had the ambition for movies, though.
Go back and watch the 1999 documentary Beyond The Mat. They have some rare one-on-one interview segments with McMahon. He talked about the WWE's characters, telling stories and, ultimately, branching out and letting people know what they're really about—making movies. He then takes a swig of his water with a smirk on his face, as if he just made some earth-shattering revelation to the world.
Ambitions are great, but this is not going to work. Straight-to-DVD, no matter how much you cross-promote with Walmart or K-Mart, just isn't going to make a profit in the long run.
I said earlier that adult films are the only chance for WWE to make a mark on the big screen. Well, there actually is another way: do it right. Spend money to make money. Spend big money, if you want to make it in Hollywood.
If you don't have enough money to continue the operating costs it takes for your weekly wrestling shows and go all out on the script, production and cast, then don't go it at all. Leave the movies alone.
If you want to give yourself half a chance, put the movie out in theaters everywhere. Not select theaters, and not just one in Hollywood for a publicity-stunt screening—put it in every major market. Don't try and make a mid-card wrestler look good in it. Let them wrestle and the actors act.
Continuing to try and make big impressions in the movie business with straight-to-DVD releases is like swinging at the ball after a strike has already been called—wasted motion and a sure sign you need to get off the field.