WWE | Pro Wrestling

The War Is Over! TNA Wrestling Waives The White Flag

Dixie Carter and Hulk HoganIn just a day shy of two months, the Monday Night Wrestling Wars have officially ended. TNA Wrestling has waived the white flag and will move first-run episodes of TNA Impact to Thursday nights. Is this the fix TNA Wrestling needs or is it too late to turn TNA back around?

The news comes a week after the lowest rated TNA Impact episode in the history of the company. Even some of the terrible TNA Impact shows that have aired on Thursdays over the last several years drew better ratings than last Monday’s TNA Impact. A week after what was praised as the best TNA Impact since the Monday move, the show tanked hardcore. It was so bad that the Thursday replay of TNA Impact outdrew the Monday first airing. Once news broke of the higher Thursday rating, the move was simply inevitable.

The move back to Thursday nights is a lot more complicated than a simple switch of the day. This is the final Ace in the hole for TNA Wrestling. It was always assumed that if the Monday move failed that TNA could just fall back to Thursday nights. Now that TNA has executed its B-plan, the well is dry and there are no other moves for the company to make if things don’t turn around. TNA Wrestling needs to count on old fans coming back to watch first-run shows on Thursdays. The problem is if those fans don’t come back, this is likely the end of the line for Dixie Carter and TNA Wrestling.

As much as I bash TNA Wrestling, the failure is a huge disappointment. A competitive Monday Night Wrestling War could have meant huge things for the wrestling world (and lots of visits to CamelClutchBlog.com). The irony here is that the interest was there. Millions of fans tuned in to watch pro wrestling on the first Monday night head-to-head war on January 4. Both WWE RAW and TNA Impact saw an increase in their audiences. A lot of those fans were old fans that used to watch the original Monday Night Wars and were excited about a second coming. TNA Wrestling even drew better ratings on that night than a live UFC Fight Night the following Monday. I think it is fair to assume that most of those fans hated what they saw because once they tuned in, they never came back.

Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff helped convince Dixie Carter, Bob Carter, and Spike TV that the time was right to make the move to Monday night. Most critics never understood the move, other than personal reasons from Bischoff and Hogan. TNA Impact wasn’t exactly doing gangbuster ratings on Thursdays that would lead anyone to believe they had outgrown the night. Yet, everyone jumped on board, started trash talking on their Twitter accounts, and quickly realized they were showing up to a gun fight with a bunch of baboons in charge.

I don’t think it takes a genius to figure out why this didn’t work. TNA Impact is terrible. I try and I try every week to watch, but it continues to be some of the worst television that I have ever seen. Between endless predictable turns, nonsensical angles, too many old faces, and a lack of understanding in their top storylines, TNA Impact just flat out sucks. Don’t just take my opinion. Ask the hundreds of thousands of people that have stopped watching from week to week over the last two months. This week’s show a lone between Eric Young’s 90th turn, a horrendous Orlando Jordan segment, and countless interference told the entire story.

It isn’t even just the bad TNA Impact shows in the ring that are to blame. I have never seen a wrestling company more mismanaged outside of the ring in my life. Instead of using their television show and reaching millions of people, TNA Wrestling has opted to drop teases and angles on Dixie Carter’s Twitter, You Tube, and their Facebook account. Even the week before the first permanent Monday night show, TNA opted to build up an angle on You Tube which was viewed by 9,000 people rather than use their television show reached a million. Even this past week, Dixie Carter tweeted breaking news throughout the week between Rob Van Dam defending the TNA title on TNA Impact to the huge announcement. Instead of plugging this information on your television show for 750,000, TNA shot for the 16,000 Dixie Carter Twitter followers. Unless TNA has invested in Twitter, Dixie Carter’s obsession with using Twitter as the primary source of promotion is simply mind boggling.

Hey, I am the first person to champion the age of social media. I spend countless hours of my days promoting my various blogs and online ventures through social media. But at the end of the day, everything leads back to my websites where I hope to make a little change through advertising, affiliate sales, etc. Not only does TNA Wrestling not use their television show as a promotional vehicle, they don’t even use their own website where maybe they can make some money off of some click through ads or merchandise sales. Their ignorance in using their website as a business is simply unexplainable. But hey, I guess it is fun to play pro wrestling promoter and tease surprises on Twitter.

The mistakes made are countless, and Eric Bischoff, Hulk Hogan, and Dixie Carter can defend TNA Wrestling all that they want, but the numbers don’t lie. The Hogan/Bischoff TNA Wrestling era will go down as one of the biggest disasters in pro wrestling since Herb Abrams tried to take UWF national on the Sports Network. I think that the management in TNA Wrestling is so far out of touch that there may be no end to the bleeding.

The big problem with moving back to Thursdays will be the finances. TNA Wrestling went on a spending spree in preparation for the move to Mondays. The company knew they needed some star power, but they spent like drunken sailors most likely banking on bigger ratings and bigger ad dollars to compensate their increased payroll. Now that TNA is moving to Thursdays, how can they justify the big contracts of Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, Rob Van Dam, Ric Flair, Ken Anderson, and Jeff Hardy to name just a few. I am going to presume that if hundreds of thousands of people are tuning out of the free TV show, that their pay per view buys have significantly dropped. How are they going to pay for all of this? Spike TV is in business to make money and if the ratings don’t turn around, they will lose ad dollars, and they will pull the plug on TNA Impact all together.

As far as I am concerned, TNA Wrestling is in serious crisis mode. Someone once said you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. TNA can move TNA Impact to Thursdays, but it’s still TNA Impact. If TNA Impact ratings continue to be  below a 1.0 and are unable to rebound, they are done. I think they have done so much damage and alienated far too much of their loyal fan base to get them back. Wrestling fans will tune in to watch good wrestling whether it is on Monday or Thursday nights. Wrestling fans won’t tune in to watch garbage on television whether it is on Tuesdays, Saturdays, or Sundays. It’s the wrestling stupid and until TNA management can come to grips with that, this company will be treading on life support.

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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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