World Wrestling Entertainment and NBC Universal are extending their relationship, bringing the resurrected Extreme Championship Wrestling to the Sci Fi Channel for a summertime run.
Because when you think of pro wrestling, you think of the Sci Fi Channel.
ECW, which had a cult following in the 1990s but was bought by WWE following a bankruptcy filing several years ago, will make its Sci Fi debut on Tuesday, June 13. That's two days after a pay-per-view event called "One Night Stand" that will serve as a sort of resurrection of the brand, though it's occasionally popped up in WWE stories in recent years.
Sci Fi insists that ECW, which has a reputation as a more "hardcore" promotion than the WWE (sort of like the "independent" arms of major movie studios), is "an alternative brand of wrestling suited to fit the Sci Fi Channel's commitment to fuel the imagination."
"Research tells us that there's a healthy appetite for wrestling among Sci Fi viewers," says Bonnie Hammer, president of Sci Fi and the USA Network, which airs "WWE Raw" to strong ratings. "With ECW, we're able to deliver to those fans unique action with a twist that's perfect for Sci Fi."
Fan reaction, not surprisingly, has been largely negative, with some message boards devolving into jocks-vs.-geeks name-calling between science-fiction and wrestling fans.
"This is truly frightening," reads a typical post on SciFi.com. "I know its [sic] fiction, but why is wrestling science fiction? Calculate the rate of descent?"
Sci Fi says ECW will be a "summer series," but the network hasn't said how long it will run.