Pro wrestling fans won’t have to wait long for another exciting Monday night. Reports have confirmed that the second edition of the 2010 Monday Night Wrestling Wars between TNA Wrestling and the World Wrestling Entertainment will take place in March. Spike TV will air TNA Impact live on Monday night March 1, which will go head-to-head with WWE RAW for the second time this year.
This is huge news and a real positive sign for TNA Wrestling and its fans. Regardless of whether you are a TNA fan or not, there is no denying the success they had on January 04 when they went live against WWE RAW. TNA Wrestling exceeded even the most positive expectations by grabbing 2.9 million TNA Impact viewers that night. TNA broke its own record with a 1.88 rating for the 9PM segment featuring Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, and the reunited N.W.O. As a matter of a fact, TNA even beat UFC’s ratings one week later in the same spot. The quick turnaround for a second Monday night special is a big sign of confidence that Spike TV has in its pro wrestling brand.
As for the show itself, Impact was a bit of a mixed bag that night. If you liked surprises, the show was full of surprises from Ric Flair to Jeff Hardy. If you are a longtime TNA Wrestling fan, you were probably a bit disappointed that the show featured very few TNA regulars. Obviously in the end it was a success if you judge success on ratings. Keep in mind that this was on a night that featured the 12-year WWE RAW return of Bret Hart.
There are conflicting reports that indicate that this may be a permanent move. Reportedly, TNA will move TNA Impact to Monday nights permanently beginning in March. Nothing has been officially confirmed as of yet, but the betting dollar looks to be moving in that direction. Reports also indicate that the show would air live every other week.
[adinserter name=”366 left”]While TNA did have a successful night on January 04, I have to question the logic of these Monday night specials. Sure, it is always exciting for wrestling fans to sit back and watch a Monday night war. But, what kind of business sense does it make for TNA to try and compete with the WWE? That would be like me taking my blog and boasting about competing with Sports Illustrated. It just doesn’t make sense. Unless I am missing the big business picture, this seems to be about nothing more than satisfying the egos of Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan rather than it does expanding TNA Wrestling and drawing more money.
It would be unfair of me to criticize the show two months out. Yet, I don’t know what TNA has left to go head-to-head with the WWE? They have already blown their load with Hogan, Bischoff, the N.W.O., Ric Flair, Ken Anderson, and Jeff Hardy. There aren’t any other attainable pro wrestling free agents available at this time that could give them a pool of surprise guests to spread throughout a two-hour show.
The only possible yet likely impossible free agent at this point would be Bill Goldberg. Even if TNA Wrestling were to grab Goldberg, that would only be one segment of a two-hour show. I have no idea who else they could drop in throughout the show to keep viewership or even take some fans away from WWE RAW.
Brock Lesnar could be an intriguing name if Spike TV gets involved and facilitates a deal between TNA and the UFC. Lesnar is rumored to be fighting in March, which would make the promotional appearance timely. Even then, you only have two names as opposed to the handful you had back on January 04.
[adinserter name=”366 right”]The timing is also something that is high risk/high reward for TNA. TNA will be going up against WWE RAW right smack in the middle of their WrestleMania push. Generally, this is the largest audience of the year for the WWE. The WWE has already announced Cheech and Chong as special Guest Hosts for the night. I think there is some big time crossover appeal in that one.
Reportedly The Rock is already in the mix to Guest Host or make an appearance during this time. The positive is that you will have a larger than usual audience on March 01 to pool viewers from. While Cheech and Chong are scheduled, the WWE could always pull an audible or get The Rock involved on top of Cheech and Chong. The downside about going head-to-head at this time of the year is that if the WWE can create compelling WrestleMania storylines, nobody is going anywhere. On top of that, if The Rock just happens to be available March 01 than it is game over for TNA Wrestling.
Nonetheless, it is a very gutsy move for TNA Wrestling to air live on Monday March 01. At the same time, I do question the motives here of Bischoff and Hogan when it isn’t their money or their butts at the end of the day that would be accountable for a failure. I think a better idea would have been for TNA to wait until after WrestleMania to go live against WWE RAW or just concentrate on branding Thursday nights as their own. Hopefully they have a big gun in the holster, because if not, than this thing could get ugly real fast for Dixie and company.
UPDATE – Since the publishing of this blog, TNA announced that they will permanently move to Monday nights starting March 8 and go live every other week. The move will delay the start of the Monday Night Wars another week, yet give the WWE an opportunity at grabbing a bigtime Guest Host for WWE RAW.
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