Not since the inception of the New World Order in World Championship Wrestling and the edgy attitude era of then the World Wrestling Federation (WWE) headlined by DeGeneration-X have we seen any major storylines or angles in pro wrestling that has really grabbed the attention of viewers and made people talk again and tune in for long periods of time.
[adinserter name=”366 left”]Ever since WCW was purchased by WWE in 2002, Monday Nights have been basically un-eventful and exciting to watch. Sure we had a brief period of time a few years back when Total Non-Stop Action (TNA) Wrestling attempted to ensue another Monday Night War with its Impact show starting an hour earlier than Raw, just like Nitro did back in the mid 1990’s. However, Dixie and company got spanked in the ratings enough over a short period of time, Spike TV quickly moved the show back to Thursday nights in its original timeslot citing that TNA fans expected to see the show on Thursday’s rather than Monday’s.
Let’s say for a moment, that Monday night of March 8, 2010 TNA did something crazy and big enough just before Raw when on the air live, would we still have a new Monday Night War today? Hard to say, however, never say never, right? The question remains.
Because Vince McMahon doesn’t really have any competition on Monday Nights, his product has been more of the same old same old rather than new an innovative. Yes, after years of a stale attitude era, Vince made the right move by shifting back to a PG format. However, he still needs to do that next big thing that will get people talking if the company wants to see ratings increase above the 4-5 million (sometimes less) on Monday Nights’.
Raw is supposed to be the flagship show, but now with Main Event, which is showing signs of improvement from when it first debuted last October on ION Television, Superstars, SmackDown and now Saturday Morning Slam, the creative team has to be exhausted from writing what seems to be an over-abundance of WWE television. As much as l have enjoyed and not enjoyed Main Event, WWE should stick with Raw and SmackDown and focus more on innovative angles and storylines that will get people talking again.
When TNA debuted in 2002, it was promoted as an alternative to WWE, a place where talent could go after the demise of WCW. Since TNA’s debut they have struggled to really find their own identity. When they first began, they looked like what many referred to as a lighter version of the WWF Attitude Era, then shifted to family friendly, then back to the more adult oriented format, which to me is worn.
Now don’t get me wrong, TNA has great potential. I have been to three house shows in my market, and if it’s one thing TNA does well beside put on a great fan friendly atmosphere is an action packed house show. The problem is TNA is too busy trying to worry about what is going on in WWE. Eric Bischoff was smart in the beginning before Nitro. He focused on improving the product in great detail and being different from WWE before introducing a new show that almost put Vince out of business.
TNA really isn’t doing anything different. Yes, they have former WWE and WCW talent, some have come and gone (Christian, Booker T, Scott Steiner), but really aren’t making waves other than going on the road live every other week, which was a great move for the company.
The more reality based format that touted at the next big thing in TNA was interesting at first but with no increase in ratings, that format quickly was erased and forgotten about. While their television production looks great in one aspect, for the most part, they still have that look and feel of WCW 1999. I don’t know how much longer Spike TV will put up with a 1.2 average before telling TNA they can find a new network.
[adinserter name=”366 right”]Until something huge happens in both companies that doesn’t include trying re-create big angles and storylines with imitation like NWO factions that have proved to be failures such as Nexus, The Core, such Main Event Mafia, Aces and Eights, and possibly The Shield, no matter how big of talent you have, until you do something different that will get people talking again, the return of the wrestling boom will be a memory re-lived on DVD from many years ago.
By Jerome Wilen (www.prowrestlingringside.blogspot.com)
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