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Jeff Katz grapples with Web

Exec starts 'Wrestling Revolution' online

What started out as frustration has evolved into a business.

Jeff Katz, a former Fox and New Line exec who worked on "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" and "Freddy vs. Jason," will start lensing "Wrestling Revolution," a 13-episode wrestling series that Image Entertainment has come aboard to distribute via e-tailers like Apple, Amazon, Hulu and Netflix before packaging it as a DVD in North America.

After growing increasingly disgruntled with the plotlines of WWE's TV shows, Katz reached out to wrestling fans on Twitter to gauge whether they'd be willing to help raise $100,000 to fund "WR." Katz hit the mark June 22, receiving coin from 182 contributors after starting to seek pledges May 6 through Kickstarter.com.

Production on the series begins in October in Los Angeles.

Katz says skein will revolve around a group of 22 wrestlers in a storyline with a three-act structure -- something he said has been impossible for WWE to do with its two weekly series, "Monday Night Raw" on USA Network and "Friday Night SmackDown" on Syfy, given that the shows air 52 weeks a year without breaks.

"The actual storytelling and production structure of wrestling today doesn't lend itself to telling complete stories," he said. "People who are willing to sample ("WR") will get something that, at the very minimum, that will have a complete storyline, like a comicbook," said Katz, who has also created graphic novels including "Booster Gold" at DC Comics.

Katz has enlisted music composer Brian Tyler ("Fast Five," "The Expendables") to provide the soundtrack for "Wrestling Revolution," Gary Frutkof ("Shoot Em Up," "Hawaii Five-0," "Prison Break") to handle production design, and Colin Strause, co-founder of f/x shop Hydraulx ("Battle: Los Angeles," "Iron Man 2"), to assist with the visuals.

Project was born "out of my rants on Twitter," Katz said. "I realized that as a longtime wrestling fan, I was watching (WWE's shows) out of force of habit for the past several years."

With a small budget, Katz sees "WR" as more of an indie film than a TV show. The way it will be distribbed will also take advantage of newer digital methods.

"I'll never compete with WWE in terms of their cash reserves, their history or scale," Katz said. "The only way I can do this is by doing something that's creatively different," which has meant "using the tricks that I learned from 12 years in Hollywood."

"I'm not claiming I won't screw it up, but at the minimum it does offer something different from what we get 90% of the time on television."

Katz started his career at Ted Turner's World Championship Wrestling, which WWE later purchased, so "anyone who knows me probably will not be surprised that I'm doing this," he said. "I owe my career to wrestling. I'm the guy that had the big Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan belt hanging next to movie posters in my office."

Katz thinks he already has an audience for "WR."

"Wrestling fans are a unique group in that they're hard to get to watch shows before or after wrestling. But if it's wrestling stuff, they're hardcore."

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  • 3 months later...

Репортаж от записите на първия сезон на WRP:

This report contains Storyline spoilers and details of the events that took place during the Wrestling Revolution Project.

Tapings – Day One

I’m sorry, but I’m not going to spoil much for you guys. Combination of a) matches are shot out of sequence so I have no clue what match has relevancy to what, b) we didn’t see any backstage segments or interviews, nor will we, so we won’t know what the stories are, and c) Katz was a very cool guy and I don’t want to fuck this up for him. However, I’ll give you a list of info after I start with a MEGA BAD NEWS but follow up with SUPER GOOD NEWS.


Prince Devitt couldn't be there.


Katz felt terrible about the scenario, offered all who were at the show that donated a refund. No one took him up on the offer because we all felt for his scenario. However, since Devitt couldn’t come, he was able to bring in two other guys.

A guy he called “Concrete”:

And some dude named “Chris Hyde.”

Here’s the meat and potatoes of the show:

- There were a bunch of fans mixed in with extras, who essentially followed the fans’ lead when it came to chants. Many of them actually got into the show.

- There were a few PWG regular attendees at the tapings.

- Willie Mack was in the crowd with us.

- We were allowed to chant for whomever we wanted, face or heel, jobber or regular talent. Katz really wanted authenticity.

- We shot in a sound stage with really cool cameras, with matches out of sequence. The lighting is such that it benefits the home viewer and it should be one of the best shot wrestling shows you’ll see.

- We were seated either in rows of chairs outside the ring or on a platform with tables and drinks. There were chandeliers above the ring.

- The ring announcing and voice over work will be done by character actor Keith David (They Live, The Cape, Spawn: The Animated Series), which is really cool.

- All the music for wrestlers and the show itself will be done by the guy that does music for Terra Nova and other network TV scores.

- As mentioned, Lance Storm and Tommy Dreamer are producers but were joined by Christopher Daniels.

- Katz told us that in this world, there is no WWE, no TNA. It’s just this underground wrestling club open to a select few that participate in illegal gambling. Think “Def Jam: Vendetta” but with more class, less hip-hop.

- There are no title belts to vie for. Just a tag team tournament for a big cash prize and a singles tournament, in Katz’s words “like G1 Climax,” for a trophy and big prize money. This way, if there is a season two, he can always start each season fresh with different talent without needing a champion to defend a championship. Also, if there is only one season, the story starts and ends here.

- We had one extra tweak his knee by jumping and slipping through a gap on the platform and one of the enhancement guys got his bell rung by a kick, but otherwise no problems or injuries.

- Today was filled with primarily squash matches with the featured talent going over various NWA Hollywood guys and other locals.

- The few featured bouts taped today were pretty good, WWE style matches.

- Any botched spots were re-shot.

Notes on the talent:

Most of the guys are doing their indy shtick but with a different name. Pearce is still an old school shit-heel but named Ridgeway, Rollins is still a psychopath but is named Murder, Shawn Daivari is still Daivari but named Ferris Gotch, etc. The different characteristics for talent are as follows:

- Colt Cabana’s character is a HEEL. A cocky, failed stand-up comedian known as Punchline. It’s different but good stuff from Colt.

- Babyface Joey Ryan has the pleasure of having Trisha LaFache as his valet. Joey is more interesting as Chase Walker than he is as Joey Ryan.

- Amazing Red wrestles in a mask.

- Kevin Matthews is a Hollywood Douchebag that texts while he wrestles.

- Emil Sitoci is a German Nihilist.

- Dr. Luther is a pseudo-Satanic priest (think Mordecai from WWE, but better performed).

- There is an evil stock market investor tag team known as “Satanic and Profitable” aka “S&P” consisting of Sami Callihan and Alex Zikos.

- There is a tag team consisting of Shaun Ricker and Brian Cage-Taylor known as the John-turage (Entourage with two guys named John) that is accompanied by their bodyguard BRICK SHITHOUSE.

- BRICK SHITHOUSE got more chants than anybody except for enhancement talent Dave the Bruiser.

That’s pretty much all from Day One. I’ll let you guys know of anything cool to look forward to after Day Two.

Tapings – Day Two

Today was full of featured or main event matches, including ones in the championship tournament. Don’t expect PWG level matches or ROH styled matches, but all of them have an old school WWE/NWA feel to them with contemporary chants and movesets.

Here are some of the non-spoilery highlights:

- Kenny Omega (known as Scott “Cornerstone” Carpenter) was the major workhorse with the two most exciting matches shot today against Concrete (Masters) and an unplanned chandelier glass explosion with Killshot (Karl Anderson).

- Hyde (Hero) also had some great matches.

- Concrete (Masters) was one of the most over guys there.

- The crowd was loud and proud in all the matches, which really amped up the action.

- MVP dressed and wrestled like Masahiro Chono, but was known as “The Lord of War.” He also uses a great looking STF variation as a finisher.

- We taped a giant battle royal.

There is one storyline spoiler that I’ve been given permission to reveal: Chase Walker (Joey Ryan), the only wrestler with a valet… is gay. He is outed by two heels and will give a promo about it at tomorrow’s tapings. Yeah, on the surface level, it sounds cheap and exploitive. However, the differences are as follows:

1. Walker is the same, never-say-die babyface. He just happens to be gay.

2. He’s not going to wrestle like Goldust or Rico or Billy/Chuck or Adrian Street or wear garish outfits/prance around like a comedy wrestler.

3. Katz’s words, “I want people to know and I want WWE to steal it because I don’t they’ll ever do it right.” Katz just wanted to answer the question “What if Randy Orton/Steve Austin/John Cena were outed as gay?” His view? They’d say, “Yep, I am, so what of it? I can still kick your ass!” So far, none of it feels forced. It actually works.

Bottom line, we’re getting colorful characters, decent matches, and storylines/characters that aren’t total tired archetypes (i.e. Ryan’s gay character, Daivari being a non-Sheik, non-terrorist, just a guy from Detroit Middle Eastern-American). I’m looking forward to tomorrow to see how it all wraps up.

Tapings – Day Three

- I should have been more specific, but Keith David is going to do the ring announcing/voice over but it will be taped later. So he’ll have multiple takes so he won’t be able to screw it up.

- Random celebrity walk-ins for the crowd today included Clarke Duke (Hot Tub Time Machine) and the boy from Spy Kids (all grown up).

- We had a giant multi-man Survivor Series style elimination tag match featuring the majority of the roster.

- Notable bouts before the taping of the finale included Chris Hyde (Hero) vs. Lord of War (MVP), Hyde vs. Killshot (Karl Anderson), and Cornerstone (Omega) vs. Johnny 99 (Gallows).

- The most over guys on the roster were Concrete (Masters), Hyde (Hero), Walker (Ryan), Cornerstone (Omega), Murder (Mike Rollins) and Muncie Magee (Pat Buck).

- We taped the entire final episode in order and it’s structured like a PPV. Lots of quality matches.

- We had to stop taping one match because Omega’s scrotum popped out of his tights.

- Joey Ryan’s follow-up promo after his character’s coming out is probably the best performance of his career.

- Jeff Katz can run the ropes better than Kelly Kelly. I am an eye witness.

- If anything, these tapings are forcing to look into Youtube videos of Mike Rollins and Pat Buck.

Personally, I really hope there is a Season 2. Like I have mentioned, the style of wrestling isn’t like PWG or ROH or etc. It feels like… well, it looks and wrestles like what WWE should be. There is a bit of Americanized puro in Hero, Anderson, and MVP matches but the rest is like going to a great WWE show in regards to in-ring action. All backstage segments are going to be recorded tomorrow, so this is all I can tell you. I had a great time, my voice is destroyed after three days of yelling, and I’m looking forward to the final product.

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  • 2 months later...

Снимки на roster-a:

Първи ред: B.B.C., Bobby Hollywood, Brick Shithouse, Chase Walker & Aphrodite

Втори ред: Chris Hyde, Concrete, Das Nihilist, Dios Dorado

Трети ред: Faris Gotch, Father Dante, Johnny 99, Johntourage

Четвърти ред: Killshot, Knox (referee), Lord of War, Master Murder

Пети ред: Muncie McGee, Punchline, Stan Shooter, The Cornerstone

Шести ред: The Illuminati, The Satanic & Profitable, Tommy Lee Ridgeway

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