The Monday Night Wars are back! Hulk Hogan announced on the UFC TUF finale that TNA Wrestling will go live head-to-head with WWE RAW on January 4, 2010. This will be the first live head-to-head Monday night wrestling in over eight years. It is now or never for TNA Wrestling and they have fired the first shot in a true war with the WWE.
Up until now, I don’t feel that the WWE ever felt threatened by TNA Wrestling. In the last seven years, TNA has made its strides but has never been able to get over the proverbial hump. Even with over one million viewers, TNA Wrestling has been a blip amongst casual wrestling fans. That was until the company came to an agreement with Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff. The company is all in and is looking to make a huge splash in 2010.
[adinserter block=”1″]As a wrestling fan, I cannot wait to see how the WWE reacts. During the height of the WCW vs. WWE Monday Night Wars, the company would put on their hottest shows and segments trying to outdo one another. Over the last eight years, the WWE and Vince McMahon had zero pressure in producing WWE RAW. The WWE has slipped into an average rating in the mid 3’s, generates a few million viewers a week, and sells hundreds of thousands of pay-per-views. It becomes a whole new ballgame when pro wrestling fans have another alternative to watching a segment where Shawn Michaels and Triple H are hauled into a court with little people.
The biggest problem that the WWE had over the last several years is complacency. The WWE continues a very mundane WWE RAW formula. The switch to Celebrity Guest Hosts has been mildly successful, yet has produced some of the worst television in WWE history. The WWE has continued to shove the same rotations of main-event wrestlers down their fan’s throats know matter how much they are rejected because they knew the fans would watch no matter what. The writing has been uninviting to pro wrestling fans who don’t find third-grade humor or C-List celebrities entertaining in the least. This could be the kick in the backside that the WWE has needed to revamp the brand and give their fans the WWE RAW product we have missed in the last three-four years.
For TNA Wrestling, it doesn’t get any bigger than this. This could be the make-or-break year for the company. TNA has kept its core audience, but the majority of wrestling fans have been turned off to their poor booking and star selection. A lot of fans see TNA as a bad WWE show (that says a lot), with old stars and nonsense storylines. Hulk Hogan has promised major changes since he was signed last month. No matter what they are, the company needs something. When a company has over four-five million fans viewing their television show between pay-per-views and yet only 40,000 are inclined to buy, they have problems. The formula isn’t working and for a company seven years into the game, they are long overdue to take some big growing steps.
I just don’t know if the timing is right in one sense. Hulk Hogan has publicly said that TNA head writer Vince Russo is done once he gets on board. Dixie Carter is obviously well behind Hogan, so it looks like Russo is done. The problem here is that Russo is still writing television. He is like a lame duck football coach, whereas everyone knows he is out the door yet he is still there. If this is true, than I would imagine the entire TNA product would be blown up like WCW used to do with their numerous booking turnovers. I think it may have been more prudent for TNA to install the new writers, layout a direction, and then make the move. I think it is a real bad idea to just blow everything up and start from scratch on the most important show in the history of the company.
[adinserter block=”2″]Vince McMahon’s reaction can either make or break this war. It is very likely Vince remains steadfast in his belief that TNA isn’t competition and does nothing. If that is the case, TNA has a tremendous chance to make a huge impact with its Monday night debut. At the same time, Vince has a few secret weapons in the holster that could blow this plan up in TNA’s face. The Rock is scheduled to come back in January to host WWE RAW. If Vince can pull this off for January 4, TNA Wrestling’s show is just another blip on the dial. If Vince really goes all out and can bring back The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin for one night, this one will be way over before it gets started.
Let the wrestling games commence!
Order The Monday Night War – WWE Raw vs. WCW Nitro DVD by clicking here.
Order Hulk Hogan’s Unreleased Collector’s Series DVD by clicking here.