WWE | Pro Wrestling

Monday Night Wars II – The Seniors Tour

Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahonHere we are in 2010 just hours away from the second Monday Night War of the year, or as I like to call it, the Seniors Tour. Instead of separating themselves from the WWE, TNA Wrestling will unload Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan in its main-event. The World Wrestling Entertainment will counter with Vince McMahon wrestling in its main-event. What’s next, Sgt. Slaughter vs. the Iron Sheik?

I have to say as someone that watched the original Monday Night Wars, the start of this war looks more like a bad Civil War reenactment. Both TNA and especially the WWE should really be embarrassed promoting the over sixty club in 2010. You know you have problems when Hulk Hogan is the second youngest wrestler out of the Big Four (John Cena, Vince McMahon, Ric Flair, and the Hulkster) headlining the Monday Night Wars.

Neither pro wrestling company has done a good job of creating superstars. In the last several years, the WWE has really only produced three new superstars in Batista, John Cena, and Randy Orton. One could argue that Cena is the only real superstar due to his drawing power among young fans and women as opposed to anyone in the WWE. Think about how pathetic that is for a second. Over the last several years, the WWE has had five-six hours a week of television and yet they have only been able to produce one real superstar attraction. As much as people like to call Vince McMahon a genius, I have a feeling that any intelligent pro wrestling fan could have replicated that same accomplishment by accident.

TNA Wrestling is arguably more disgraceful when it comes to the creation of new stars. Over the last eight years, TNA has had a slight advantage in that the only place they could go is up. If the WWE spends too much time pushing guys that aren’t connecting, people will notice immediately. For TNA, they had the luxury of taking their time and developing stars over the last eight years. TNA also had a chance to differentiate its brand from the WWE and cater to a different kind of pro wrestling fan. Instead, TNA has the accomplishment of establishing one borderline star in A.J. Styles who has yet to remain a consistent headliner, and hasn’t translated into a ratings or pay-per-view draw. Great job!

Monday night is an opportunity for both pro wrestling companies to showcase their best, knowing there will be an added pro wrestling audience tuning in to the shows. Instead, we are subjected to a bad replay of an edition of the 1998 Monday Night Wars. Hey, Ric Flair was my favorite wrestler growing up. Randall Cunningham was also my favorite Philadelphia Eagle, but I don’t want to see him under center in 2010. Hulk Hogan can barely move and is so banged up, he can’t even do the trademark leg drop anymore without suffering excruciating pain. Vince McMahon is a fun character, but I don’t think anyone is running to their television sets to see him actually wrestle. If this is the best these companies they have to start this weekly war off, than we are all in trouble.

So why has it been so hard for these pro wrestling companies to create superstars? I mean, pro wrestling companies were able to develop new superstars practically monthly for four decades. I think it is complex, but I think it comes down to how the WWE and TNA view success in 2010. Thanks to the first Monday Night Wars, Vince McMahon and now TNA judge success by ratings. I never understood the accomplishment of drawing a big crowd to watch your free show. Instead of having the patience to develop a new superstar, both companies pull the panic trigger immediately once they see a bad rating in the wrestler’s timeslot, and the experiment is over. For the WWE, they will see a high rating point by a Triple H, Randy Orton, or John Cena and play it safe. However, they forget that those three as well as everyone else from Batista to the Undertaker needed time to get their character over before fans watched in droves.

The thinking in TNA Wrestling is more backwards than the WWE. TNA had a proven draw in Samoa Joe. Joe consistently drew the biggest pay-per-view numbers in the company when he headlined. Yet for whatever reason, Samoa Joe is barely even part of the equation today. That likely had to do with a poor rating, whereas his drawing power was completely taken out of the equation. Looking at the numbers, there is no way that anyone in TNA can explain with a straight face why this guy isn’t headlining every show. Instead, TNA panic and bring in familiar faces that quite honestly aren’t going to draw new fans in 2010. If fans wanted to see bad WWE wrestling, they are going to buy or watch WWE and not TNA. TNA really has nobody to blame but themselves for the company’s lack of young star power.

So while some pro wrestling fans are excited about the return of a weekly Monday Night War, I am one of the few who are disappointed. Now, both companies will become obsessed with ratings points and the chances are even less that either company will put the television time into developing a new superstar. Instead of getting blown away by new feuds and angles, be prepared for the usual suspects from both companies. I hope that one of these companies prove me wrong, but there is nothing at this point that indicates that will happen.

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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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