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WWE conference call news: Survivor Series name retired, WWE Network due in Summer 2011, & more

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This morning, WWE held an investors' conference call to discuss the earnings report for the fourth quarter of 2009.  ProWrestling.net has a good summary of what happened.  Most notably:

- Survivor Series is dead.  When one investor asked about the disappointing numbers for this past November's show, Vince McMahon said this:

We think that Survivor Series is obsolete, as far as that title is concerned.  It was something that worked many, many years ago, in terms of a creative standpoint, various teams competing.  That really is not advantageous as the consumer now looks as what actually they are buying.  And it's such a broad...Survivor Series yes, many years ago, was one of the original four pay-per-views, but it's outlasted its usage and it is one of the things in terms of rebranding, this year and going forward, that will be rebranded.  No longer will we have that title, Survivor Series.

Survivor Series was the second regular, annual PPV event added to the WWE schedule.  The first was obviously Wrestlemania.  Survivor Series was added in November of 1987 so they could run opposition to Jim Crockett Promotions' Starrcade, which was making its PPV debut.  Crockett decided to move his show to the afternoon and at first, the cable companies were thrilled.  Wanting Crockett squeezed out, McMahon came up with an ultimatum: Carry JUST Survivor Series or you won't get Wrestlemania.  Coming off the record-setting Wrestlemania III, all but five cable companies agreed.  Most were in the southeast, but one in San Jose, California decided that they had to keep their promise to Crockett.  All of the hold-outs got Wrestlemania IV, anyway.

As far as the rest of the "Big Four" PPVs, the Royal Rumble was introduced as a TV special as opposition to Crockett's 2nd PPV (The Bunkhouse Stampede Finals) and it became a PPV event the following year.  Summerslam was introduced in 1988, giving them a PPV approximately every quarter.  The long-retired King of the Ring was added in 1993 to make a "Big Five" for the better part of a decade, and then the monthly shows filling the gap were introduced as "In Your House" discount events in 1995, eventually becoming full priced 3 hour shows in 1997.

In what may be a related bit of news, WWE has a survey up asking fans what type of themed PPVs they'd like to see, including Wargames.

- The WWE Network should be launched in about 18 months.  They're in the due diligence process at this point and Vince thinks that the full-fledged TV network will be a "really big game changer."  They definitely own enough footage to pull it off.  McMahon also noted that they hope to keep Raw on USA and Smackdown on MyNetworkTV or a network of similar strength if they have to move.  In related news, he believes that the company's new TV production facility, which had been delayed for economic reasons, is needed "sooner rather than later."

- Basil DeVito was unanimously elected to the company's board of directors.