More TV wrestling on the way
By GREG OLIVER -- SLAM!
A publicity shot from Between The Ropes shows Mike Vantastic putting the camel clutch on Hardcore Chris Tidwell as Gentleman X watches.
If Medium Entertainment has its way, wrestling fans will be adding another 30 minutes a week to their TV diet.
This fall, the Toronto production company is launching Between The Ropes, an Entertainment Tonight-type newsmagazine show aimed at fans of the squared circle.
It will be syndicated across North America, and feature worldwide news, opinion and interviews, both from an average fan and insider perspective. (For the uninitiated, syndicated means that individual stations buy the show for broadcast on their station. Therefore it might not be on in your area, and it will air at different times across the continent.)
The show will feature three hosts:
-- Mike Vantastic, an independent wrestler from southern Ontario's ICW promotion
-- Hardcore Chris Tidwell, who was one of the co-hosts of The Law internet radio show
-- Gentleman X, a mysterious masked man from parts unknown
Tidwell, who attended AWA Las Vegas shows weekly growing up, explained his role to SLAM! Wrestling.
"I'm the blue-collar common guy," he said. "And a smart-ass know it all."
For the secretive Gentleman X, the show will be the fulfilment of a "lifelong dream."
"I've always wanted to wear a mask on TV," he admitted.
Tidwell, 28, sees it a little differently, and warned that Gentleman X is "probably the ugliest man on the face of the earth."
Vantastic, 24, told SLAM! Wrestling that he brings "experience" to the show, as the "other two guys are just fans ... they've never done it [gotten in the ring]"
He thinks that the show has tremendous potential and that "it's going to be the biggest thing on TV as far as wrestling goes" because it can appeal to all fans.
Mike Wixson, co-owner of Medium Entertainment and an executive producer on the show, has targeted Canada for the first leg of syndication, and promised that "it will grow into America."
WCW and ECW are both very supportive of the venture, and Wixson believes that the WWF will be on board soon too.
"I know it's a viable business opportunity," he said, "It's just never been done."
Wixson believes the show will be on the air "as early as the fall, no later than January 1999."
Until the show hits the TV dial, fans in the Orangeville, Ontario area can satisfy their curiousity by listening to Between The Ropes on the radio -- 88.7 The Voice, Sundays from 3-4 pm.
Besides Between The Ropes, Medium Entertainment also has a deal in place to produce five, one-hour comedy specials, called the RIOT Squad, from Canada's Wonderland for The New VR in the Toronto area.
For more information on Between The Ropes and Medium Entertainment, email Jeff Marek, the creative director for the show, at firstname.lastname@example.org