Thoughts on WWE vs. TNA on Monday January 4/2010
The big news coming out last night during Spike TV's Ultimate Fighter finale was Hulk Hogan saying that TNA would have a three hour edition of Impact on Monday, January 4th to go head to head with WWE's Raw. It's going to air from 8-11pmET. It's a one time thing. It won't be weekly, at least not yet. Maybe if it does well we'll see it again, but for now it's a one time thing. I think it's smart to wait until January because they won't have Monday Night Football to compete against and with all the hype they can do over the next month they should generate some interest. The strong rumor is that WWE will also have a three hour show. What's interesting is that WWE was hoping to have The Rock in as the guest host that week, but due to his movie schedule it's probably not going to happen. They're more likely to get him in March.Now, the question is what does it mean for TNA, for WWE and for us as fans? Let's break it down.<!--more-->TNA: I think it's great for TNA. Yes, Impact's ratings hover around the 1.0 mark every week while Raw gets about a 3.5 most weeks, but this is on a different level. The Monday night wrestling crowd is bigger than what there's even been on a Thursday (for Smackdown or Thunder back in the day), Friday or Saturday. For over fifteen years now wrestling fans have been conditioned to watch wrestling on Monday nights. From that period from about 1996 to 2000 there were 8 million or more fans in the US alone watching wrestling on Monday nights. If the products are good the wrestling fans will come. Regarding Hogan, I've never been a huge fan of his in terms of his in ring work. He bored me twenty years ago. He bored me ten years ago. And he'll bore me today when he is in a ring. However, the guy is the biggest name in the history of the business. Casual fans know him. The casual fan probably hasn't heard of TNA. Because of him, they might be willing to watch TNA to see some of the great talents they have there like Styles, Angle, Wolfe, Samoa Joe and all the rest.The big question is does this change the face of TNA to the point that instead of a match like Styles vs. Daniels in the main event are we going to get something like Hogan vs. Nash? I don't want to see that. I want to see Hogan in there putting people over at least verbally. The problem is it's Hulk Hogan. He's not prone to doing that. He can talk about how the only reason they got head to head with Raw for one night is because of him and honestly he's right in that thought. It's the truth. That novelty will wear off pretty fast, though. They need to be able to keep the viewers by showcasing the great talent they have in the company. Is Hogan familiar with the talent? Did he even watch Impact before he realized he needed to make money after his divorce took a lot of his cash from him? What are his motives? To me, Hogan's in TNA because Vince didn't want him in WWE again. That's what I think. Maybe I'm wrong, I don't know. Hogan's always been a sly kind of individual. He's like a politician. He'll say one thing publicly and mean something else totally. I hope he's going to put business before himself, but as we saw in WCW you never know with him.I'm happy for TNA. They've got a lot of hardworking people there (wrestlers as well as the non-wrestlers) who have busted their ass for seven long years. This is their chance to reach some new fans. I hope they don't blow it. I want them to succeed big time. It's not a case of rooting for WWE or against TNA for me. It's about the business for me. The more wrestlers that can have full time work in the US the better. I wish them nothing but he best.WWE: My hope is that going head to head with TNA will light a fire under the creative team and lead to something big happening on that night. Considering that it's the first show of the year they should have plenty of time to book something that works creatively. The question is, what? Would they be foolish enough to do a "dream match" like Undertaker vs. Cena on that show considering that's what the plan is for Mania (unless they can somehow lure The Rock for Mania)? Do they call in Steve Austin and see if he can be the guest host for the night even though he's trying to distance himself from WWE to concentrate on his acting career? It's hard to know what we're going get that night.You know what I think they should do? Michaels vs. Undertaker. If it's not happening at WrestleMania 26 (the plan right now is Cena vs. Undertaker) then go with a rematch of the 2009 match of the year in Michaels vs. Undertaker. Why not? Play video packages highlighting the greatness of their previous match. Have them cut a face to face promo on the last Raw to end the year. Some kind of face to face thing. I'm not a huge fan of doing big matches for free on TV, but in this case with TNA going live against them why not try to put on one of the best matches you possibly can? I'm not sure what they will do, though. That's just an idea. I'm sure over the next month we'll read more and rumors will fly about other possibilities as well. This is only just the beginning.Honestly, this kind of makes me want to try fantasy booking that January 4th edition of Raw. I might. We'll see.Fans: I think it's great for us. I love the pro wrestling business (the column I posted a couple of days ago gave you plenty of reasons why) and I want to see it succeed. If this pushes WWE to be better then I'm all for it especially with the run to WrestleMania coming. We all know that WWE's product has been pretty stagnant the last couple of years. The main event scene hasn't changed much and there's a good chance the same six to eight guys are going to be involved in the top three matches at WrestleMania again. However, this is going to push them in a way that nothing else really could. Don't get me wrong, TNA in the big picture is hard to compare with WWE. They're only seven years old while WWE has been around for generations now. They've got more money, more television and more viewers. They've also had no real reason to get better because they haven't felt a push from a competitor for eight years. Now they have that. And it's going to benefit us more than anybody.I don't know about you, but I'm excited for January 4th. What will TNA do and how will WWE counter it? I'm actually excited about a Monday night of wrestling for a change. Maybe I'm too optimistic. We'll see.As for me, I'll write The Raw Deal on that Tuesday like I always do. Nothing changes for me. There's no NFL game and 24 won't start for a couple of weeks, so I'll be flipping back and forth most likely. I'll watch Raw live and use the DVR for Impact most likely.Regarding this week's Impact, I thought it was an awful show. I like Mick Foley as much as the next guy, but there were way too many segments with him. Yes, Hogan's coming in and I understand the idea is to have Hogan lead a group (probably as babyfaces) while Foley leads the other group (probably as heels), but it was too much. The show was segment after segment. The matches weren't very good either. Can you believe they interrupted a Daniels/Abyss match with a video where the Beautiful People (suggested for by the heel Daniels) attacked Abyss' "girlfriend" Lauren the interviewer? This is how this company puts over the number one contender to the World Title. What the fuck? I really like the Angle/Wolfe feud, but we really didn't see anything new or different again. Wolfe attacking him from behind has been done plenty. They'll have the PPV match and Angle will win again. It's not bad. It's just too repetitive.What do you think? Throw a comment in down below, on my Facebook page or email at email@example.com if you want. Are you excited about Monday January 4th like me or am I losing it? Let me know.I'll have more tonight maybe. I'm so behind on replying to emails and shit, but obviously this is the biggest story in the business right now. I wanted to get some thoughts out there while I had a bit of time on this Sunday morning.