On September 21st, 1996 the World Wrestling Federation debuted a live, phone-in (“interactive”), wrestling show on the USA Network. It was hosted and produced right within the Titan Towers in Stamford, Connecticut. Not only could viewers call in with questions, but they could also submit them via fax and their then WWF AOL chatroom. Promotional videos aired weeks prior to the debut on Raw promising to “change sports entertainment forever.”
Livewire had succeded “WWF Mania” – a recap show that ran from 1993 to 1996 that would also occasionally host viewer phone calls, and towards it’s later years, also take a more “reality” based arch in its approach. This was more or less a trial period for the company as it would start to become aware that a lot of what had been featured over the past few years was becoming stale and stagnant to viewers.
WCW had already begun using more advanced storylines giving fans more credit for being aware of behind the scenes working of the companies, it’s staff and performers. ECW had used this same approach almost since it’s debut, but especially post 1994 as it broke it’s ties from the National Wrestling Aliance in a “shoot” based storyline featuring Shane Douglas that had drawn a lot of attention to the promotion within wrestling circles as being unique and innovative. With the landscape changing in United States pro-wrestling, the WWF’s “Livewire” show was a major step towards the “Attitude-era” that would soon come to fruition.