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After six long years of staying on the pause screen, G4 is set to hit “play” on its network relaunch this summer, giving gamers and plugged-in pop culture savants a 2021 jolt of the madcap mix of comedy and digital culture that old-school fans never stopped missing. Now the network is ready to reveal an all-new series to sit alongside previously-announced returns of X-Play and Attack of the Show! — and this one might just be a body slam.
Tapping the star power of wrestling star Xavier Woods (aka Austin Creed), G4 is getting in the ring for an official content partnership with WWE. Woods will preside over a game show crossover set to pit competitors one on one in a comedic struggle to settle their beef the old-fashioned way: in head-to-head video game battles.
Woods, whom G4 revealed last year as one of the fresh-but-familiar faces we’ll be seeing a lot of for the relaunch, will emcee over the slapstick proceedings with a WWE flair that Brian Terwilliger, G4’s VP of Programming and Creative Strategy, says will probably escalate the grudge gaming stakes as much as it contains them.
The series aims to wrest a ton of comedy from squaring personalities against one another under Woods’ watchful eye. Matches “could be [between] two celebrities who are relatively endemic to the gaming sphere. It could be between a WWE personality and one of our own G4 hosts,” Terwilliger, who played an integral part in creating Woods’ hugely popular UpUpDownDown web gaming series, told SYFY WIRE.
“Who knows?” he teased. “Xavier Woods might have to take off the host’s jacket and put on the gloves himself to get involved.”
WWE fans, as well as anyone who’s followed Woods on UpUpDownDown, instinctively grasp the idea of mixing the spectacle of wrestling with the more dialed-in world of competitive gaming. Terwilliger says it’s a crossover that may sound wild, at least to some, on paper — but it’ll make a believer of anyone, once they see what Woods and G4 have in mind.
“Why WWE and G4? Quite honestly, it just makes too much damn sense,” he said. “…When we let Xavier Woods run loose and bring that sense of character and hype and unpredictability, and apply that with G4’s place in gaming….this is gonna be the embodiment and defining instinct of competitive entertainment. Let’s take the best parts of gaming head to head, and apply personality, and a little sizzle, and whole lot of nonsense and fun — that’s the stew that we’re cooking.”
As supervising producer of G4’s original Attack of the Show!, Terwilliger had a ringside creative seat for the older series’ razor’s-edge mix of tech news, pop culture, go-anywhere comedy, and — most of all — personality. AOTS! was a hugely character-driven variety series, and that same DNA suffuses the new network revival, as well as the spirit behind Woods’ new gaming show, he explained.
“When G4 went to announce its first host, Xavier Woods — there was no other option. It had to be him,” he said. “When it comes to identifying what gaming looks like in 2021 and what we want G4 to represent, he embodies everything — from who is as a human being, to his interests, to his passion, to his love for the community. He’s in this for all the right reasons, and that’s why G4’s coming back: to be that clubhouse; to be inclusive; to be the center and the heartbeat of gaming that it needs.
“We’re gonna show you how dynamic these performers are, and the sense of showmanship and presentation and hype that can be applied to the world of gaming — because wrestling fans and gamers are one and the same,” he added. “When you take that sense of performance and bring it to a competition series, you get competitive entertainment that only G4 can harbor, and the partnership of G4 and WWE coming together? There’s gonna be nothing else like it.”
The network isn’t ready to reveal the title for Woods’ new show, but when it comes, we’re guessing it’ll happen with a suitably dramatic (and funny) WWE-style flourish. G4 is also keeping specifics about the series — the length of episodes, whether it’ll take place in front of an audience — close to the vest for now, though Terwilliger admits with a laugh: “We want to do it all.”
In the meantime, head online to tap the reality-shaping power of B4G4, the network’s pre-launch social campaign that lets fans have a say in new content, and keep a watchful eye on G4’s Twitter feed for the latest updates on the full network relaunch coming this summer.
(G4 and SYFY are both owned by NBCUniversal.)