Spike: It's Nickelodeon...All Grown Up

Ron JohnsonSenior Writer IMarch 31, 2009

So, here's what happened. I was checking my emails, and Rory Brown sent me something about best game shows about no-namers unleashing their inner athletes. When I saw this one, I started to froth at the mouth...a lot.

The reason? Because one show immediately came to mind when I thought about this.

A few years ago, we were graced with the arrival of a new network that was built for men, by men. This small network was known as SpikeTV, and with shows like MXC and Disorderly Conduct, there was the possibility that this network could either make some noise or go down in flames.

That was a few years ago...imagine how they are now!

TNN (The Nashville/National Network) was losing business due in large part to their failure to renew their contract with WWE to keep RAW on the network. After the departure of TNN, they became known as SpikeTV and brought on Total Nonstop Action Wrestling in the process. Along with TNA, SpikeTV also brought in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

So with MXC (Most Extreme Elimination Challenge), The Ultimate Fighter, and TNA iMPACT, SpikeTV began to mature just a little when they brought us a couple of more interesting shows: MANswers and a little physical battle called Pros Vs. Joes.

MANswers is basically a show dedicated to answering age old questions...from a man's perspective.

As for Pros Vs. Joes, well...

This took American Gladiators to an entirely different level. This was Double Dare for grownups. The premise of this show was simple: What would happen if normal, everyday, Average Joes took on arguably the biggest, baddest, meanest and well decorated athletes in the history of professional sports.

From boxing to football, basketball to hockey, baseball to wrestling, Pro Vs. Joes took the nice way of settling differences and kicked it in the balls!

That's must see TV right?

And the show didn't discriminate. In fact, on the debut of the show, it had such talents as Jerry Rice and Olympic Wrestling Champion Kurt Angle. The show even brought back some old favorites like Bo Jackson, Cal Ripken, Jr., Rocket Ismail, Rob Dibble, and Derrick Coleman.

With a former USC standout halfback as the host, Petros Papadakis, the show was bound for greatness.

But SpikeTV wasn't done yet.

After dropping the TV from its moniker, Spike raised the stakes with the debuts of Toughest Cowboy, UFC Fight Night and Deadliest Warrior. Everytime someone thinks that the network can't get any better, they continue to push the envelope.

From cagefighting to rodeos to professional wrestling all the way to watching Japanese competitions added to American comedy, Spike looks to be around for quite a long time.

So what does the future hold for Spike? The newest season of The Ultimate Fighter (United States vs. United Kingdom), UFC Fight Night Live (as well as certain UFC Pay Per Views, exclusive only to Spike), the arrival of TNA iMPACT to mainstream status.

And of course, Pros Vs. Joes is holding auditions as we speak for their newest season.

Not bad for a network that used to be all about the Country Music feel.

So Nickelodeon was dishing out some good sports game shows back in the day when we were all kids wishing to be on the shows. But we're all grown up now, and we have plenty of shows that make us froth at the mouth now...and they're not on Nickelodeon.

So someone should send the memo to Nickelodeon that Spike is what it used to be. Spike has plenty sports game shows to keep us happy for many years to come.

But above all else Nickelodeon, Spike is you...grown up.