January 18, 2006
The Harsh Reality: AWE PPV tonight
By GREG OLIVER - Producer, SLAM! Wrestling
The harsh reality for Action Wrestling Entertainment is that they are trying to compete in a crowded pay-per-view market. Yet, with tonight's Harsh Reality PPV, the promotion hopes it is making steps towards a bigger market share.
It's the first PPV for the Winnipeg-based company since its half-hour program, Overload, starting airing on The Fight Network in Canada.
Mike Davidson, the AWE's Director of Wrestling Operations, believes the fact that the TV show is on the air -- and available online for viewing at www.AWEheat.com -- will make a difference.
"It's a culmination of angles that were fed off of the TV, so hopefully it will mean more," he told SLAM! Wrestling. "Our first two specials (Larger Than Life I & II) were pilots for this project, and we've now gone about investing more resources into the production end."
It's a seven-match show Wednesday night:
Davidson shared his recollections on the card, taped in early December. "There were a couple of matches that stood out to me, first Johnny Devine and Shawn Houston versus Kenny Omega and Ryan Wood. We call our Junior Heavyweight Division the Action Division and it's for good reason. For 20 minutes these guys put on a thriller. Omega, recently signed with WWE, so this is one of his last matches for the company. Devine fresh out of TNA has something to prove, and they gelled really well, it was an amazing match."
The other bout that stood out for him was April Hunter versus Sexy Samantha (Slides) of Monster Pro Wrestling in Edmonton. "This was not your typical WWE Diva match," he said.
The PPV and TV tapings in December was April Hunter's first trip to Canada, and she is pleased with the new bookings on her calendar.
"I really enjoyed working with them," Hunter said of the AWE. "I really enjoyed working with Samantha Slides, my opponent, and I really enjoyed working with Sara Stock. I had a good time with them. I guess I'm doing a new gimmick with them; I'm going to manage one of the guys too, so that will work out really cool to do both."
The December taping was newsworthy before the cameras even started rolling, as Lex Luger was detained and arrested at the border, foiling his planned appearance on the show.
"There have been some challenges that we did not expect," admitted Davidson. "Luger not getting into the country, Kidman not appearing, but those are incidents more than challenges. Our production company works hard to get the episodes ready to air on time, but they seem to have a grasp on that. I expect our biggest challenge will be expanding into other markets which we intend to do in April."
The Harsh Reality PPV is available across Canada through the usual outlets for $12.99. It is not available in the U.S.
The next AWE TV / PPV taping is entitled Full Throttle, and goes down Friday, February 10 at 7:30 p.m. from Winnipeg's Investors Group Athletic Centre on The University of Manitoba Campus. Scheduled for the show are Scott Steiner, Buff Bagwell, April Hunter, "American Dragon" Bryan Danielson and Jimmy Yang.
Greg Oliver founded SLAM! Wrestling with John Powell way back in 1996, and has been writing about pro wrestling since 1985. His recently-published book, The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Tag Teams (with Steven Johnson) is the second in a series, following The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Canadians. Order them both from the SLAM! Wrestling Store. He can be emailed at email@example.com.