By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE issued the following press release to announce their partnership with A&E Network to produce documentaries on WWE legends Randy Savage, Roddy Piper, Booker T, Steve Austin, and Shawn Michaels.
A&E Network is partnering with WWE Studios to produce five original two-hour documentaries under the award-winning “Biography” banner showcasing some of the most iconic WWE Superstars of all time, including “Macho Man” Randy Savage®, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper™, Booker T®, Stone Cold Steve Austin® and Shawn Michaels®. Through these in-depth films helmed by some of the industry’s top directors and storytellers, “Biography” continues its focus on meaningful events and personalities as well as their impact on our culture. Through new and archival interviews and never-before-seen footage, each feature length film will give fans an in-depth look at the early lives, rise to fame and careers of some of the most influential stars in WWE history.
“We are thrilled for the tremendous opportunity to partner with WWE Studios to produce these special films that honor some of the most impactful personalities who have left a lasting imprint on pop culture,” said Elaine Frontain Bryant, Executive Vice President and Head of Programming, A&E Network.
“We are thrilled to partner with A&E, and be in business with award-winning directors Billy Corben, Joe Lavine and George Roy, as we bring these documentaries to life,” said Susan Levison, Senior Vice President & Head of WWE Studios. “This project further solidifies WWE Studios’ commitment to deliver new programming across genres and platforms.”
The first three films, currently in pre-production and slated to air in Spring 2020, include:
Biography: “Macho Man” Randy Savage – Directed by Billy Corben (“Cocaine Cowboys,” “Screwball,” “The U”), this film will tell the larger-than-life story of one of the most colorful and charismatic Superstars to ever step foot inside the ring. With two WWE Championships, four WCW® World Championships and a 14-month reign as Intercontinental Champion, Savage became known for his famous catch phrases, larger-than-life personality and the enormous, flashy robes he wore into the ring. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2015.
Biography: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper – Directed by Emmy and Peabody Award winner Joe Lavine (ESPN 30 for 30 “Playing for the Mob,” HBO “Namath”)this film focuses on “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, who is universally considered one of WWE’s greatest villains. During his Hall of Fame career, he played the role of the antagonist against a who’s who of WWE greats, while amassing more than 30 championships.
Biography: Booker T – Directed by Emmy and Peabody Award winner George Roy (“The Curse of the Bambino”, “Mayweather”), this film showcases one of the greatest Superstars in sports entertainment history. Booker T is an 11-time WCW Tag Team Champion, a six-time World Champion, winner of the 2006 King of the Ring Tournament, and a two-time (2013 and 2019) inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame. In addition to his Hall of Fame career in the ring, Booker T also went on to become a color commentator for WWE’s weekly programming.
Directors for Biography: Stone Cold Steve Austin and Biography: Shawn Michaels will be announced at a later date. These films are slated to air in 2021.
The celebrated ‘Biography’ brand continues to highlight newsworthy personalities and events with compelling and surprising points-of-view and remains the defining source for true stories from some of the most accomplished non-fiction storytellers of our time. Extensive on-air and branded digital content, including short form, will roll-out on all platforms, including Biography.com, the home to hundreds of profiles of notable cultural figures and influencers.
The WWE “Biography” documentaries are produced by WWE Studios for A&E Network. Executive producers for WWE Studios are Kevin Dunn, Chris Kaiser and Richard Lowell. Executive producers for A&E Network are Elaine Frontain Bryant and Brad Abramson.
Powell’s POV: The involvement of WWE means the producers should have great footage, but it usually means that WWE has some say in terms of what makes the final cut. The two-hour length of the documentaries is encouraging, as it seems to suggest that they will be more than a quick gloss over the career highlights of the wrestlers.
Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest John Thorne, who discusses promoting the AIW Slumber Party Massacre on the Thursday of WrestleMania weekend (available live and via VOD on FITE TV), being a small fish in the big WrestleMania weekend pond, his long history with Johnny Gargano, and much more.