G4 and WWE recently announced they would be partnering up for a new show hosted by none other than Austin Creed (aka Xavier Woods), and it seems like a match made in heaven. Details are still coming regarding the new project, though we do know it's a competition show that will have Creed right in the middle of epic matchups involving talent across the gaming world and the world of WWE. More details will hopefully be revealed during UpUpDownDown's WrestleMania special later today (at 10 AM EST), but before that happens ComicBook.com had the chance to talk to G4's VP of Programming & Creative Strategy Brian Terwilliger all about the partnership, the new show, how tabletop fits into the new G4, and even the possibility of G4's own Championship title.
First though we wanted to know about the partnership with WWE and how that came about. "It was always the intent with bringing Xavier Woods AKA Austin Creed, over as our first announced talent," Terwilliger said. "You said it, he and G4 belong together. That was, without a doubt, something that just had to happen. It didn't take long for the community to see that, just once that initial G4 teaser kind of made its way out at San Diego Comic-Con, and then Creed for G4, that was just a beautiful moment in time and it wasn't even of any effort of our own. It just happened, it willed itself into existence."
"And with the partnership with WWE, not only signing Xavier Woods as our first formal host, having the show development was also always something that we were super keen on, because look, you said it through your excitement, as a former employee of WWE, and also as a gaming and a wrestling fan of decades, gamers and wrestling belong together, period," Terwilliger said. "They are the same type of narrative within the games themselves, storytelling, hype. These are circles that completely overlap one another. And so, bringing Austin here as a formal talent, giving him a platform, it was beyond a no-brainer and really bringing him to the G4 stage. He's going to be let loose. He's going to get to bring a degree of competitive entertainment. It's the best of sports entertainment and competitive entertainment in one. There's no one on the planet that I would see doing this other than him."
As for the new show itself, details are scarce, but we asked if it it was aiming for something like UpUpDownDown, a more tournament-style show, or something else entirely.
"So at the end of the day, the show is going to entertain. Period. In terms of the nuances of the format and how it's coming together, that's all still coming together, quite frankly, but also part of the excitement of having Xavier as a part of this is tapping into his brainchild. You see the nonsense that he's bringing on UpUpDownDown, combine that not only with the legacy of G4, but also imagine taking the rules and the hype of WWE, but placing it within the heart of gaming," Terwilliger said. "You get the opportunity, what does the LeftRightLeftRight of the game first look like, or of Esports talent or of G4 talent. So, this is the ultimate mashup of your favorite personalities, competing through games with an X-factor of, terrible puns, of Xavier. He is the ultimate, I don't want to say ultimate opportunity to set the Edge, so I can't use that. We're going to be living and dying by his role through this show, and what you can expect is, the unexpected and it will be pure nonsense, but at the end of the day, people are going to have fun and they're going to be entertained."
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Having G4 and WWE combining opens up some promising opportunities, so does that means we could see some UpUpDownDown crossovers? The answer could be yes, and if it happens, it would continue the MCU-style universe Creed always wanted to make, spinning into the G4-verse and making something completely new.
"So, it's interesting. I'll tell you from the origin of UpUpDownDown, Austin always thought of it, and when we were putting the building blocks together, this is our MCU. Okay like, Kofi Kingston, you'll be Mr. 24/7 and you're going to be a heel. Who do you want to be? He's like, I'm going to be the biggest crybaby. They're characters. They're getting to be the different extensions of themselves, and what does it do? At the end of the day it allows them to tell a different story and really expand," Terwilliger said. "So, will there be crossover opportunities? Absolutely. I can't wait. It won't be exclusive either. We're carving our own universe over here, with the G4-verse. So, you look at a talent like DA Party, how are they going to come and cross over into what the G4 WWE movie universe looks like? I don't know, but we're absolutely thinking about that, of course. And you look at who from the WWE side has touched UpUpDownDown, and how they've taken characters and story and expanded it. That's going to continue, they're going to continue to succeed and LeftRightLeftRight. They've got so many facets now I can't even keep track, but they're going to continue to expand this as a new opportunity."
"We're going to showcase some of that power and that crossover potential this Saturday, during the UpUpDownDown live stream, where they have their title defense, we have another big announcement that's being dropped in there," Terwilliger said. "I won't say too much more, but you talked about crossover and being able to bridge the worlds together. This is artists crafting our MCU. We've got this here, we've got this here, a little dotted line here, something big here. So, I can't urge you enough to tune in to UpUpDownDown, see what we have in store, and that's not the end. That's just the beginning with another significant domino dropping and then from there, you'll see what we're cooking. Another Rock pun, I'm sorry. It's inherently ingrained in me for 15 years, I can't help it."
Speaking of DA Party, their antics playing UNO have made me look at stars like Cesaro and Adam Cole a completely different way, and Terwilliger feels the same way.
"I would watch them just dress up and play other characters. That's a show. That's 100% a show," Terwilliger said.
Terwilliger was part of the original Attack of the Show before heading to WWE, and now he's back to relaunch not only G4 but a new partnership with WWE, making him perfectly suited to the task, so we asked him how his time at AOTS informed his work with WWE and how his time with WWE is now influencing the new G4.
"That is such an amazing question and you caught me. When I joined the UpUpDownDown team, 100% we wanted to turn it into Attack of the Show!, 100%. We wanted to turn it into G4, where things were over the top, things were nonsensical, it was a different flavor of humor, it needed to have heart," Terwilliger said. "And that all stems from Creed. Creed being the proper embodiment and he was able to hear that influence and hear that drive and breathe life into an idea that was completely secondary. And then through his own passion and will, and the proper team-up, if you will, with the office, to really craft and give this project guidance, then him literally carrying the channel on his back. Without that, it doesn't happen. But what did I take from G4?"
"It was 100% our content should be nonsensical," Terwilliger said. "And of course, Xavier Woods is the perfect person to take that and run with it, like do you want nonsense? That was a no-brainer. On the flip side, now coming to G4, other than Hey, Xavier Woods, you need to come over and be a part of this. When it comes to character building, storytelling, I don't have to tell you, WWE is second to none. And especially with what they do within UpUpDownDown and the faction split between LeftRightLeftRight, it takes gaming and it really provides additional lenses for all of us, fans of entertainment, fans of gaming, to experience content in a completely new way. Like you said, you now look at Cesaro through a new light because of how he plays UNO."
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"Say that sentence out loud, how someone plays UNO. They created a fandom. UNO's not looking at their content in that way and yet it's because of those characters, that talent, and how they're able to really tell those stories," Terwilliger said. "They were able to create something new. 100% at the core of G4 and the core of our roster, we're putting together a diverse, inclusive cast, which not only represents what gaming looks like in 2021, but also we're here to have fun and to bring multiple worlds together. That's something the old G4 really struggled with. People didn't believe in gaming. It wasn't there yet, it was still a little too soon. It's now, again, here's another, our time is now. The alignment couldn't be more perfect. Everything in life is a wrestling catchphrase, can you tell? You can't avoid it any other way."
Since the original G4 came to a close gaming has continued to grow and expand, especially in the realm of tabletop. Tabletop gaming has only become more popular, even despite a year of the pandemic limiting things to remote play. UpUpDownDown has its own popular roleplaying series Rollout, so we wanted to know if the new G4 and this new series would also embrace this growing side of gaming.
"I don't know how else to better put this other than, yes. Emphatically. At the end of the day on the wrestling side, and Xavier will tell you this, he's a professional larper. That's his job. Someone is his DM, okay, what's the end scenario going to be? He goes out to smash, is that rolling dice? Am I going through the motions? And he's got his costume and attributes and whatnot. When it comes to the new G4, not only are we huge fans of tabletop games, but also TTRPGs," Terwilliger said. "You talk about story and character work, all of that folds in Rollout was amazing and really showed the strength of taking wrestlers who do that for a living, like the professional larper, that's a one-to-one."
"Some of the best moments that have come out of that show are because of the inherent improv and the ability to think on your feet and live in the moment," Terwilliger said. "We not only believe so much in that area of gaming, but I think, not to tease a tease, but I think over the next couple of weeks, you will find perhaps another announcement in this area which will absolutely super-serve this part of gaming and the geek universe."
Now, part of the fun of UpUpDownDown (and LeftRightLeftRight) is the competition for two amazing-looking Championship titles. So, will this new show and G4 in general be getting a title of their own?
"I would love nothing more to take the best parts of that universe and see four or five of them. So, if we have our way, 1000%. You got the title and then you get the other one, you got the undisputed thing going on, come on," Terwilliger said. "And we need a proper gaming Champion throughout the gaming world, though Kind of Funny has their title. There'd be UpUpDownDown and LeftRightLeftRight, and let's unify and really decide who the centralized governing body of gaming Champions is. I think Xavier was the perfect person to command that and time will tell."0comments
Here's hoping it happens, and we can't wait to see what this partnership comes up with next. You can see the first of many new announcements during UpUpDownDown's WrestleMania special later today at 11 AM EST which will have Mia Yim taking on Tyler Breeze for the LeftRightLeftRight title!
What do you want to see from the WWE G4 partnership? Let us know in the comments and as always you can talk all things WWE and gaming with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!