Monday Night Raw Move to USA Network Prompts Changes to WWE Programming
Monday Night RAW will be heading back home to USA Network next Monday, on Oct. 3, with a historic three-hour RAW set to start at 7:55 p.m. (ET). In keeping with USA’s “Characters Welcome” brand, there will be plenty of old faces and newer faces to be seen on RAW’s October 3 USA debut.
In addition to Stone Cold Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, Mick Foley and Triple H, fans will see WWE legends including The Iron Sheik, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Fabulous Moolah, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, Chief Jay Strongbow on the RAW USA Network homecoming on October 3. Matches for that evening include John Cena defending the WWE Championship against RAW General Manager Eric Bischoff and Edge facing Matt Hardy in a Loser Leaves RAW, Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Mick Foley will be "Rowdy" Roddy Piper's guest on Piper's Pit.
The move is the catalyst from a number of changes with WWE programming, starting this weekend.
RAW Goes Interactive
Starting with Monday’s premiere on USA Network, RAW will go interactive to find new ways to engage fans. Expect to see WWE Superstars involved in community chats during programming, as well as the use of an exclusive webcam to hear from the Superstars during commercial breaks directly on the action taking place.
Fans also can expect web polls during October as they are encouraged to vote for matches and match stipulations that will be involved in Taboo Tuesday, WWE’s second annual interactive Pay-Per-View on November 1.
Note: WWE.com has established itself as the most popular web site in the world for male teens, and is among the top 20 entertainment sites on the web. Over the first six months of 2005, WWE.com saw its monthly unique visitors increase by 36 percent, and is now close to 10 million unique visitors each month. The site currently serves approximately 26 million video streams per month
RAW on Telemundo and Mun 2
As part of the agreement to move WWE programming to NBC-Universal networks, RAW will also air in replays on Telemundo and mun2. Telemundo will air a Spanish-language version of RAW on Sundays at 1 p.m. (ET). mun2 will air a Spanish-language version of RAW on Sundays at 4 p.m. (ET). Both telecasts will debut on October 9. mun2 will air an English-language version of RAW on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. (ET), starting on October 5.
Programming, Specials on USA
Prior to the October 3 homecoming, USA will air its first WWE special, WWE RAW Exposed: The RAW Top 10, on Sunday, October 2, at 10 p.m. (ET). The one-hour special takes viewers inside WWE’s most revolutionary program with a behind the scenes breakdown of the show’s top 10 moments ever. The special will be preceded by the movie 2Fast 2Furious, hosted by WWE Champion John Cena. Replays of the special will occur on Monday, October 3, at 11:05 p.m. (ET) and on Friday, October 7, at 10 p.m. (ET).
In addition to Monday Night RAW, USA is broadcasting a new one-hour program on Saturday mornings. The new program, WWE A.M. RAW, will premiere on October 8, at 9 a.m. (ET).
Heat and Velocity Move to WWE.com This Weekend
Monday Night RAW isn't the only WWE show that is moving. Starting this weekend, a revamped WWE HEAT and WWE Velocity will now be available to watch on WWE.com. The VOD-style programs will be available to residents of the United States. Both shows still feature original matches. However, in addition, each show will also have unique content never before seen on the programs.
The inaugural edition of HEAT will debut on WWE.com this Friday afternoon . Velocity will debut on Saturday morning, starting at 10 a.m. (ET).
WWE HEAT features Superstars from Monday Night RAW, and WWE Velocity features Superstars from Friday Night SmackDown on UPN.
Massive Marketing Plan in Home Stretch
To get the word out on RAW’s move and the new programming, USA and WWE have teamed up on an intense, coordinated and integrated multimedia marketing campaign with nationwide impact.
USA Network has unleashed a flurry of promotional activity around WWE's return to USA that includes leveraging all of its NBC Universal assets including:
-A live-action, scripted campaign in which RAW Superstars pay tribute to a typical family's moving day starring WWE Chairman Vince McMahon(tm), along with Superstars Triple H, John Cena, Torrie Wilson, Carlito, Kurt Angle and Rowdy Roddy Piper. Spots are being featured on USA, across all NBCU networks and other male-targeted cable channels
-A stylized print campaign featuring Superstars "away from the ring" shot by famed- photographer Martin Schoeller, whose work has graced the covers of Rolling Stone Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, as well as other high-profile national magazines.
-Over 5,450 movie screens across the country are airing 30-second trailers.
-Universal Studio's City Walk in Orlando and Hollywood will host viewing parties for the October 3 launch.
-NBC Experience Store will display signage, sell WWE memorabilia and host an autograph session with WWE Champion John Cena.
-Today Show appearance by John Cena on Friday, Sept. 30.
-Pizza lovers are receiving nearly 500,000 branded pizza boxes from selected pizzerias across the country depicting some of the WWE's most famous Superstars.
-Street Teams are canvassing the urban landscape by distributing more than 500,000 WWE trading cards with Superstar tattoos.
WWE.com is also heavily promoting the move to USA with news announcements and a special feature providing daily video updates on classic RAW moments on USA from the 1990’s. WWE.com also features a link to television schedules on the USA Network so viewers know what other programming is on USA.
USA Network’s website, usanetwork.com, has developed a comprehensive subsection devoted to Monday Night RAW that includes photo galleries and bios on several of the RAW Superstars. There is also a message board and video promos. The USA site is linked to WWE.com to keep viewers up-to-date on breaking news. Click here to check it out.