|[Photo credit: Magelet on Flickr]|
In the past few weeks I've been seeing more and more plugs for WWE shows on local TV channels. Don't look now, but I think we're on the cusp of something unprecedented in Philippine free TV history.
Between Studio 23 (which carries Raw, NXT, and Superstars, and soon, Tough Enough and the various pay-per-view events) and AKTV on IBC 13 (which will soon air SmackDown and Bottom Line), WWE's wrestli—sorry, sports entertainment programs will be on free TV six days a week. Add cable channel Fox Philippines, which has SmackDown, Vintage Collection, Bottom Line, and After Burn, and Filipinos could conceivably watch a WWE show everyday.
(That those channels might trim and compress the two-hour-or-more-long flagship programs Raw and SmackDown as well as the pay-per-views, or they might not be airing the latest-in-the-US episodes, are altogether separate issues that I won't go into now.)
As late as February 2012 the majority of those shows were aired on cable channels Jack TV and Solar Sports; I can only assume that the ratings were good enough that the ABS-CBN and ABC groups had to acquire their Philippine airing rights. The change also means at least one other thing: I am not alone in my WWE fandom. We are legion, and our number will continue to grow, ha ha!
If I'm not mistaken, WWE will soon have more airing days per week on free TV than basketball, boxing, mixed martial arts, football, or volleyball—established sports all that have no shortage of followers in the country. Who woulda thunk it? The fans who lived through the '80s and had to content themselves with Pinoy Wrestling and renting Betamax or VHS wrestling tapes must be pleased. I know I am.