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Inside The Wheelhouse: Monday Night War II review from Day 1

Hulk Hogan vs. Ric FlairI realize that as I write this there is probably thousands of blogs floating around the World Wide Web regarding their own personal thoughts on last night’s first official shot to the restart of the Monday Night Wars in the world of wrestling. For what it’s worth it really wasn’t anything extremely special unless you don’t read any internet reports or even camelclutchblog.com as Rob Van Dam showed up on TNA Impact. Besides that it was very little bang in both shows that made us go “the Monday Night Wars are back!”

Taking a look first at TNA Impact where I have been pretty critical on the product lately in my blogs and on “The Still Real to us show.” I’ve been pretty critical of the product lately because of the things Hogan & Bischoff have done with the organization since they took over as it continues to look like a Hulk & friends expo more then anything. The main event they had setup for their first official Monday night show wasn’t all that appealing either.

TNA heavily promoted the “first five minutes” of their show were a “must see.” They didn’t tell us why they just told us to be there. Well if you went to TNA first you got the main event match in the first 5 minutes. You saw the return of Flair and Hogan in the ring. The match itself was dreadful and both legends are showing their age in the ring. The return of Sting was cool but a heel turn never works for Sting because no matter what he does the fans love him. I find it strange that in recent months Hogan & Bischoff have buried/re-packaged guys like Jarrett, Sting and Foley, three guys that were focal points for the organization in the last year.

For some reason TNA creative thought they would pull on the ol’ heart strings if Brooke Hogan cried and pleaded with her father not to wrestle. It did nothing for me. If they want to make me feel sad for Brooke Hogan make me listen to her album from front to back then I will feel a drop of sadness for Brooke Hogan.

Unsurprisingly Rob Van Dam closes his open door relationship with WWE to sign with TNA as was reported all last week within all the smart marks of wrestling. How do they debut Rob Van Dam? They give us a dream match in less then thirty seconds with Sting vs. RVD. When you heard RVD’s music come on as Sting awaited his opponent fans were popping in the living rooms as they finally got a match that they have waited to see on free TV.

Then the amazing booking of Vince Russo kicked in and we got a kick to the head, a rolling thunder and a three count. I was more pissed then anything else because it was a waste of time and a throw away match for two legendary wrestlers people want to see actually wrestle. The beat down of RVD left me scratching my head as there was no mention of RVD’s beat down for the rest of the show. Nice to see RVD was a pawn in a Hogan angle.

One of the only good things I saw out of Impact was the way they made Eric Young look last night. The fire and fight they made him have when he took on Sean Waltman was pretty awesome. Despite not being on the show for a whole lot of time I would give Eric Young the MVP, along with the X-Division match for last nights show as he showed the fire the TNA locker room once had.

One random thought from last night’s show was how many commercial breaks and promos they had. I understand ad revenue but damn it was pretty boring and hard to watch. The Nash/Young stuff with Waltman/Hall was dragging for too long. By the way who see Nash turning on Young or even vice versa to give Waltman & Hall contracts? Props to the TNA Impact zone fans for chanting “Hall is wasted.” Chant of the night.

Then to finish the show we get the Main Event again with Earl Hebner as referee for no reason what’s as ever as they brought him back after another “screw job” from a few weeks ago. Also don’t make me feel bad for the Hulkster when he’s taking to Bubba the Love Sponge. The guy doesn’t belong in wrestling and it’s sad that TNA sided with him after the years of service Awesome Kong gave the company.

Flair and Hogan showed their age yet again in this match. They look much slower then they did in their recent WWE runs and it was sad to see. But what do you expect out of a 60 year old and a man in his late 50s. Abyss/Hogan win and Abyss gets a title shot. Ok.

On the other side of the wrestling spectrum, the WWE and Raw has been fun to watch in recent weeks as they have really done a good job building toward Wrestlemania 26. Last night’s show may have been one of their least entertaining shows in weeks but still got a lot done to further expand their storylines which TNA did not do a good job of. Like Doug Williams vs. Shannon Moore for the X-Division Championship, ok why? Because Jeff Hardy signed that is Shannon Moore’s bonus?

The Undertaker/HBK stuff has been great in recent weeks with little physical confrontation to set up this match. They made sure the match at Wrestlemania 26 will not end in Disqualification and someone actually has to win the match. I have my suspicious on how it will end but either way Undertaker/HBK at Wrestlemania 26 is huge and the booking has made it feel that way.

I don’t like when the WWE gives away PPV matches on free TV, I don’t like it even more when it’s a Wrestlemania 26 match. The tag team match did nothing for me. I understand that they need to start building this match and it was nice to see they added it on Raw instead of just focusing it on Smackdown but the match itself did nothing for me.

As we have talked about a lot of “The Still Real to us show,” Eric Gargiulo and I have no idea where the Randy Orton/Legacy thing is going as we get closer to Wrestlemania 26. Is Orton a face? Is he a tweener character now? I have no idea and I feel that way even more from watching Raw. The fans cheered for him so the face ball is in his court. I’m hoping creative will have a good ending to this confusing build towards Wrestlemania.

Sheamus vs. Triple H is official for Wrestlemania 26 and I’m actually looking forward to this match. I think this will give Sheamus the opportunity to move in the step forward of being taken seriously as a main eventer in the fans eyes. I was also happy with Evan Bourne being the final participant for the “Money in the Bank” ladder match as Eric Gargiulo was right on the money (no pun intended) with his prediction for the last spot in the match.

As for the Main Event match it was “eh.” McMahon being in the main event was funny as it was definitely counter programming to TNA’s main event with the battle of the senior citizens. I didn’t really expect anything out of this match; the stuff with the gauntlet was interesting and made sense for wrestlers face or heel to do it because Vince McMahon is the boss. I hope something comes out of this for Mark Henry or Kofi Kingston as they were the only two to stand up to Vince McMahon.

This was probably the lowest of all the great stuff Cena & Batista have been doing lately in their build for the main event match for Wrestlemania 26. Batista lays out Cena again and continues to make Cena look like the guy that won’t “give up.” I have a feeling things will change next week with Steve Austin in charge of Raw.

With that being said next week’s Raw looks great with Stone Cold Steve Austin as the guest host. I love the “Wrestlemania rewind” stuff that WWE has done the past couple of years on Raw and this coming Monday should be fun to watch. Already three huge matches have been announced as Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho (possibly for the last time ever), Triple H vs. Randy Orton and John Cena vs. Big Show. Add the Bret Hart/Vince McMahon contract signing with Steve Austin overseeing it and we have a jammed packed show for next week’s Raw.

As for TNA they will be taped as they will be taping their next Monday show on Tuesday March 9th. That will take away from the rating for the show as some fans will read the spoilers and rather watch the action packed live Raw for next week. That will hurt the numbers at least for the second week of the Monday Night Wars.

As for both shows overall I really didn’t feel like there was a winner or a loser. Both shows were just kind of “eh.” I lean more to the WWE side because I don’t like what Hogan & Bischoff have done with TNA already as I have stated on past blogs and during “The Still Real to us show.” The ratings will obviously raise the hand of one winner but I don’t think the TNA rating for this past Monday will match or be better then the one from January 4th. TNA still clearly has some work to do before they reach the same level as WWE.

If you have any questions or comments for Eric Gargiulo and I for this week’s “The Still Real to us Show” please e-mail us at [email protected]

Jeff Peck is the producer for the “Wheelhouse Radio” program that airs every Sunday – Thursday @ 8pm ET/5pm PT at www.blogtalkradio.com/thewheelhouse and at www.errorfm.com @ 2am ET/11pm PT

Jeff also co-hosts “The Still Real to us show” with Eric Gargiulo which can be available at www.wheelhouseradio.com and can be downloaded in the “Real Guy Radio” section of the site. There you can also download many different shows including “The Wheelhouse”, “24 on 24” and “Lost: Smoke Monsters and You.”

If you would like to subscribe to “The Wheelhouse” on iTunes simply subscribe for free at iTunes by typing in “Wheelhouse Radio!”

You can follow “The Champ” Jeff Peck on twitter by going to www.twitter.com/therealjeffpeck or you can follow Wheelhouse Radio! on Twitter by visiting their page @ www.twitter.com/thewheelhouse. You can also e-mail them @ [email protected]

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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