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By Mike Johnson on 2017-10-19 18:40:00

The long-discussed and planned WWE UK series that would be produced and broadcast by the company is not just being conceptualized as simply a WWE Network exclusive, has learned.

A source close to the situation has told that the company has been ramping up pitches to several different UK broadcasters.  The pitch revolves around the idea of carrying a WWE UK-centric property that would be produced in Great Britain featuring an all British cast of characters. 

The current title for the series, we are told, is WWE King of The Ring.  Obviously, that is a repurposing of the title of a tournament that has been around since the late 1980s, initially as an annual special event in the Boston market before graduating into its own PPV event in 1993.  The King of the Ring PPV was halted in 2006 but was brought back from time to time as an attraction used to elevate talents to the next level.  It was last used in 2015 with Bad News Barrett winning the tournament. has also been told that one of the broadcasters WWE is pitching is ITV, which is interesting on a number of levels.   

WWE had, over the last several years, attempted to purchase the pro wrestling-related material from old ITV World of Sport library for their own use, without success.   World of Sport was a sports anthology series that ran for 20 years on ITV and regularly featured pro wrestling personalities and matches from Europe.  When the decision was made in 1985 to cancel the series, it crippled homegrown pro wrestling in that region for several decades until the current rebirth headed by PROGRESS, ICW and IPW-UK, among other promotions.

In 2013, John Chapman licensed and filmed a World of Sport TV pilot that ITV opted not to pick up.  The online attention to that pilot led to WWE reaching out to ITV in 2014 to open communications about purchasing the library.  The acquisition never went down, but those two events may have led to ITV opting to launch their own pilot taping in 2016.

That pilot aired as a two hour special on New Years Eve 2016 with Jim Ross as one of the lead announcers and producing behind the scenes. The special was designed as a pilot for a potential World of Sport series revival.  The special and the potential series revival led to a lot of mainstream media attention in Great Britain.

Anthem Media and Jeff Jarrett came on board after ITV decided to move forward with a ten episode series.  Jim Ross left the project and eventually planned tapings earlier this year were canceled due to what was described at the time as logistical issues.  Several talents that were scheduled for the World of Sport tapings have since placed the blame on the fact that Jarrett and Anthem were pushing for an ongoing weekly series, while the Network wanted to try out the concept with a 10 episode series, that would be closer in vein to the UK's TV scene, which features much shorter seasons of television series in comparison with the United States.  Over seven months later, there has been no movement on the project.  If WWE is pitching ITV, the broadcaster is obviously willing to move on from their original plans.

The irony is ITV's original plans to move forward with a series led to WWE speeding up their own plans to launch their own WWE UK-centric brand.  That brand kicked off with   two day live tournament broadcast on the WWE Network in January 2017 and the signing of former ROH champion Nigel McGuinness as an announcer.  Those WWE UK Championship broadcasts introduced WWE fans to a plethora of UK-centric wrestlers, including Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate, Trent Seven and Wolfgang, among others.  Since those specials, those talents have appeared on WWE European tour dates as well as WWE NXT TV tapings and Takeover specials.  

Talks of the UK brand launching as a series had quieted down in recent months, especially after WWE signed deals with PROGRESS Wrestling and ICW to bring those promotions to the planned (but still yet to launch) WWE Network tiered-system.   Those plans and talks, however, are obviously still continuing.

If, when and where WWE King of the Ring launches still remains to be seen.

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