I love rhetorical questions. They make us think “what if.” Like “what if man never landed on the moon,” “what if John F. Kennedy was never assassinated,” and “what if Vince McMahon never gave us the Katie Vick storyline.”
They are usually questions that involve the changing of time and history. How current events would look if something didn’t happen and something else took its place. In the sense of wrestling history I ask us today, “what if the Monday Night Wars II were successful?”
Many people may take that question and turn it around to ask “what if TNA was successful?” While they are true in their standing, I do not want to fully bash Total Nonstop Action wrestling just yet. I want to look at this Monday Night Wars II from a different approach.
January 4th, 2010 marked an instrumental day in the history of wrestling as for the first time in nearly ten years the WWE had wrestling competition on Monday Night in the name of TNA wrestling. TNA would debut Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, Ric Flair, Scott Hall, Sean Waltman and a roster filled with retreads from the 90s & 80s in an attempt to knock the big dog that is the WWE off its throne atop the wrestling world. It was a historic day that grew the excitement of wrestling fans across the world in hopes we would once get what we got in the late-90s when WWE went up against the now defunct WCW.
But as history and fate would have it, we did not get what many wrestling fans including myself wanted. We did not get an actual battle or a ratings war between the two wrestling companies. Instead we got TNA going back to Thursday nights and bashing their own move to Monday nights, a move that has since affected their ratings for the entire year.
But “what if” TNA was successful enough to have a ratings war with the wrestling giant that is WWE? “What if” WWE’s programming was inferior to that of TNA during the Monday Night Wars II? Would the landscape of wrestling as we know it be changed forever?
It took WCW till their debut show to fire the first strike at the then-WWF in 1995 as they had Lex Lugar debut, unexpectedly on their first Nitro program. Would TNA be pulling the same stuff months later if they were able to be on Monday night programming? Would we see wrestlers in the WWE whose contracts were expired jump over to the competition?
Go back to the later part of the spring 2010 when Batista left the WWE after being on one of his greatest heel pushes in his entire run with the company. He was at the top of his game and gaining respect from the marks that bashed him for years. Would he have made the move to TNA if the price was right and the competition was high? One will never know now.
The wrestling world is a buzz right now with Chris Jericho and his contract with the WWE running out. His last scheduled match with the WWE was pre-recorded edition of Monday Night Raw on September 27th, 2010. Maybe if the cards in the MNW II were just right we’d see TNA make a drastic move and have Chris Jericho appear on a live Impact that was going head-to-head with that week’s pre-recorded Raw.
While we cannot go back in time and change history as we know it, we can at least ponder and wonder “what if.” If only Dixie Carter and company could only get their act together. Competition is what wrestling fans are screaming for right now, as when there is competition the biggest winners in the war are the wrestling fans.
Who knows if we will ever see WWE vs. TNA on Monday nights ever again? I certainly wouldn’t put my next paycheck on it.
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