In July 1996 at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, FL during the main event of World Championship Wrestling’s Bash at the Beach pay-per view, fans saw the unthinkable; the all American Hero, Hulk Hogan turning heel and joining up with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash to form the New World Order. After the match was over, as Mean Gene Okerlund attempted to conduct his interview with Hogan, endless amounts of trash was thrown into the ring by angry and disgusted fans.
[adinserter block=”2″]On Sunday October 10, 2010, Over 14 years later, at the very same arena, Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling repeated history and re-wrote the same story at their Bound For Glory pay-per view, this time not only with Eric Bischoff, Jeff Jarrett and Hulk Hogan again turning heel, but surprisingly Jeff Hardy who also was crowned the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion. Just like in 1996, angry fans tossed trash into the ring to display their disgust for what went down as Bischoff announced Hardy as the company’s new champion.
It was the NWO storyline that changed the landscape of professional wrestling in the mid 1990’s, which created enough buzz within the industry to bring WCW to break rating records for 88 straight weeks, and almost put Vince McMahon and his company, World Wrestling Entertainment out of business.
What has lacked in the industry for many years is the element of surprise and unpredictability. With continued low ratings, and very low pay-per view buys, TNA did well on Sunday with the unexpected factor, which did create that buzz among wrestling fans following the event. With TNA taping their Impact show each for Spike TV, TNA has a challenge to keep the wrestling fan hooked by watching the show and not tuning out because they have the spoilers on the internet.
[adinserter block=”1″]Back in 1996, WCW took a big gamble with Hogan turning heel. TNA has done the same with Jeff Hardy who sold huge amounts of merchandise when he was in the WWE and continues to do so in TNA. Dixie Carter and Jeff Jarrett have taken that same gamble.
Several questions remain, will the average fan who remembered and watched Nitro every Monday Nitro live each week back in 1996 choose to tune in each week to watch a recycled storyline this time being used in TNA? And what about those fans that were not even born during the NWO invasion angle, will they decide to watch their hero Jeff Hardy as a heel? The ratings will tell the true story.
Check out Jermome’s blog for more of his writings at http://prowrestlingringside.blogspot.com.
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