A full ring of wrestling organizations got a new challenger as Mark Anthony Prods. quietly cleared new grappling federation “WXO” in major markets across the country and is set to tussle in syndication today.
The one-hour sports entertainment show has already signed on to WNYW in New York, KTLA in Los Angeles and WCIU in Chicago, among others, as the federation readies to take on the big boys of the World Wrestling Federation, Turner’s World Championship Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling. All three have their own clearances in syndication as well and cable and/or network deals.
“Nobody knows how much is too much,” said Tony Intlisano, president of Mark Anthony Entertainment, which is distributing the program. “The ratings keep going up and advertisers are accepting the mainstream popularity of the sport. This is a great opportunity for us.”
The organization just worked a deal with Universal Studios in Orlando as a taping location and deals are already in place for homevideo distribution, video games, pay-per-views and other merchandising outlets. Longtime wrestling figure Rene Goulet is backing the upstart federation.
Among the talents already locked into deals are former WWF star Ted DiBiase, who is CEO of the company, and Ultimate Fighting star Dan Severn. Intlisano said that although the show will be edgy, the company will avoid the advertising pitfalls that have troubled the WWF, by keeping storylines free of foul language and sexual innuendo.
“Stations stressed that we not follow that route, and we gave them our assurance that we won’t,” Intlisano said. “After that we got a great response and the stations lined up to broadcast the program.”