It’s not every day you describe someone who stands 6 feet 7 inches and weighs in excess of 300 pounds as a prototype, but that’s how WWE’s Gary Davis views Hillbilly Jim, the former wrestling great who is being groomed to pitch WWE’s new VOD service WWE 24/7 (granted, it’s also not every day you put the words "groomed" and "Hillbilly Jim" in the same sentence, but we digress). Nevertheless, WWE cleverly has tapped a previously unused marketing resource: retired wrestlers. The retirees, grouped under WWE’s "Legends" initiative, generally have more time to make public appearances than active grapplers. In addition, since much of WWE 24/7’s slate includes classic matches of yesteryear, having former wrestlers talk it up is natural. Add to that the recently launched line of Legends DVDs, action figures and clothing and you can see why WWE is eager to have Hillbilly Jim make more than a few trips outside his native dog patch. One place Hillbilly won’t be visiting this week is Philadelphia, where he and two other wrestlers had hoped to attend CTAM’s Summit as registered participants. "I need to know about how we can help cable sell the 24/7 product…and what cable is looking to do in the future," he said. The wrestlers were going to learn about how they could cross-promote WWE’s products to help operators sell high-speed access and digital cable. But in a decision that some thought a bit hard, CTAM urged WWE not to bring the trio, lest they disrupt the event’s educational nature. Bloodied but unbowed, WWE agreed. But it vowed to instruct Hillbilly and his cadre internally on the ways of cable. Our suggestion: Hey, SCTE, invite them to Cable-Tec Expo.

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