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A quick look at WWE's other non-wrestling ventures over the years

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Hehateme_medium

In light of the news that WWE will now be financing their WWE Studios films without any outside assistance...

- Evel Knievel's jump at Snake River Canyon (1972) [Pre-WWF, but Vincent K. McMahon was a silent partner]: Knievel's previous jumps had been the focus the most successful episodes of ABC's Wide World of Sports, but his asking price for this stunt was too high for them.  Instead of being aired on TV, it would be broadcast to movie theaters via closed circuit TV by Bob Arum's Top Rank Productions.  As one might expect, people didn't flock to pay for to see Knievel cheat death after seeing it for free for so long, so it was a massive flop.

- Sugar Ray Leonard vs Donny Lalonde (1988): Titan Sports (now WWE) tries to promote boxing on PPV.  Way too much of the first Summerslam was spent promoting this.  Lalonde fought at a lighter weight than usual for financial reasons, he lost, nobody cared, and it flopped.

- No Holds Barred (1989): This film is to "The Wizard" as the WWF is to Nintendo, this was co-produced by the "Shane Productions" (its counterpart is "Stephanie Music")  arm of Titan Sports.  Hulk Hogan plays a character ("Rip") who's essentially himself.   The wrestling shows featuring him do big ratings so Brell, the lead executive at a competing network (Kurt Fuller in pretty much the same role he eventually played in "Wayne's World") wants to bring him over to launch a wrestling promotion around him.  Rip won't sell out, so Brell starts a competing show called "Battle of the Tough Guys" made up of toughman contests in a makeshift ring if wrestling was the focus instead of boxing.  Enter Tiny Lister as ZEUS, who destroys the competition, eventually leading to a Rip-Zeus fight to the death.  As legend has it, Hogan and McMahon re-wrote the movie while holed up in a hotel room for 48 hours, leading to memorable scenes where Stan Hansen makes fun of David Paymer's small penis in front of a trough urinal and a scared lackey filling his pants with "dookie" when threatened by Rip.  Zeus, openly acknowledged as a character from a film, came to the WWF to feud with Hogan to help promote the film, culminating in a cage match (also involving Randy Savage and Brutus Beefcake) that was paired with the movie's PPV debut.  In the end, the film flopped, grossing $16 million in four weeks.  Eventually,  producer and distributor New Line Cinema ended up as part of the Turner family, so a film largely built on pimping the WWF while making fun of WCW, Ted Turner, and the south was aired for years on TBS during the wrestling wars.

- Bodybuilding Lifestyles, The World Bodybuilding Federation, Bodystars, and Ico-Pro (1990-1993): You're better off just reading this.

- Sugar Ray Leonard vs Hector Camacho (1997): They went to the well again with a washed up, 40 year-old Leonard...and it worked.  Somehow, this fight was pretty successful on PPV.  Exception proves the rule, I guess.

- The XFL (2001): Do I have to explain this?  At all?