January 4th 2010 has now come and gone and in its aftermath has left us with many more questions than answers really. Will TNA run Monday nights? What will WWE do to counter? Is the 1.5 rating an aberration or a sign of great things to come? These are just some of the questions. I think after watching both shows and seeing the ratings and the breakdowns I can only come to the conclusion that it’s just a matter of time that TNA will be running on Monday night. So without further ado I give to you the good, the bad and the truly ugly of Monday Night War part 2?you?re reading “Wrestling Rumblings.”
As I said previously it is going to happen. If you ask me I think smart money says TNA will wait until after Wrestlemania and try to run Mondays then so as not to have to go head to head with WWE during what should be the best Raws of the year and after that all bets are off. There are many fans that would ask ?Well what’s good about that TNA is going to lose this ratings war and split the audience? I would say not necessarily, I know I wrote in a previous column that TNA would more than likely split the audience and if this past Monday was any indication I was wrong. It would appear according to the quarter hour breakdowns that there are TNA fans and there are WWE fans and then there are just fans who would like to have competition in general. The truth of the matter is nearly 8 million households were tuned into Raw and Impact this past Monday. When you factor in that during the height of the battle with WCW that wrestling would average about 10 million viewers that 8 million is a very encouraging number. If either WWE or TNA was to gain any more casual interest as a result of this ratings battle we could be right back at those numbers again and that would be great for wrestling.
What else is good about this? Well we saw multiple debuts for TNA this past week and while many of those debuts were people that many wrestling fans would prefer not to see it is an indication that there is money being spent. The fact that TNA or Spike TV is willing to spend money means that there are more lucrative opportunities for wrestlers involved in WWE and TNA and well that is great for the wrestlers involved. We have heard for quite a while that many of the athletes that some fans feel would have been perfect for wrestling have foregone it for MMA and one would only think that with the potential for more mainstream celebrity and money in wrestling that this trend would change which would really give professional wrestling a shot in the arm.
In my humble opinion Impact this week was OK but nothing to write home about. If the purpose of the show was to just get people’s attention on Monday than it succeeded but running a company is so much more than that. It’s about furthering angles and storylines and Impact did a really poor job of that as they were just trying to create a buzz around its show which to its credit it did. With all that being said Raw only did a 3.6 rating with Bret Hart which is a bit of a disappointment considering all the effort that went into building him up. If I am WWE the way I see it is maybe TNA has a separate audience but at the end of the day the whole audience is made up of wrestling fans and there were 2.2 million people that chose to watch Impact over Raw. This means that every week there is 1.5 to 2 million people who just watch other programming. I?d step up my game and try to get those people back because it shows that they want to watch wrestling, just not the product that WWE has given them in recent years. If anything even a TNA Impact show that gets slaughtered weekly by WWE might give WWE incentive to do a lot of things creatively to improve the product and if by some chance Impact manages to overtake Raw in the ratings for a prolonged period of time WWE still has one major trump card it could play and that’s end the brand extension and who wouldn?t want to see that?
OK that’s some good and unfortunately there are some potentially bad situations that could happen in this next upcoming Monday Night War. Let’s be honest as much as today’s fans like to bury WCW it was a thousand times more watchable and stable a company than TNA and it was definitely infinitely richer with deeper resources. TNA doesn?t have these and truth of the matter TNA could have every star that it thinks it needs and without a creative person/team that knows what they are doing would still run that company in the ground. It’s not the size of the army that will win this war but the strategy plan that will ultimately win things out. TNA hasn?t shown that it has that winning plan yet. This is a David and Goliath battle only TNA would rather play the role of Goliath than David and that will not get them to the Promised Land. Wrestling has a lot to gain from a Monday Night War but it has a lot to lose also. WCW with all its money was only able to go against WWE on Mondays for about 5 years and that ultimately led to a Vince McMahon monopoly that is still being felt in the business today. The truth of this is while it may not happen tomorrow both companies cannot and will not be able to stay in business running head to head on Mondays forever and when the time does come for one to close its doors where will that leave wrestling?
We have had the good, we have had the bad and now that leaves us the ugly and believe me the fallout from this Monday Night War could be very ugly if your name is Cary Silken and you?re the head of a company named Ring of Honor. I don?t have numbers in front of me but I am willing to bet that ROH on HD Net took a big ratings hit this past week. I know it was a best of 2009 special but I am not sure it would have did much better with fresh run programming and if TNA was to run 8 to 10 instead of 9 to 11 where would that leave ROH on HD Net? Sure there is always the remote possibility that Mark Cuban will see wrestling as hot again and try to pump money into the company to ignite a three way Monday Night War so to speak but ROH going against TNA and WWE right now is like bringing a knife into a gun fight. It can be argued that ECW was the first real casualty of the original Monday Night War as WCW in gearing up for their assault took Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero, Konann, Rey Misterio, Chris Jericho and others before Nitro ever started. When you think about how during the duration ECW would go onto lose Sandman, Raven, Taz, Team 3D, Sabu, Perry Saturn, Public Enemy and others it became pretty evident that ECW had no chance of gaining any steam without a WWE or WCW coup. Sure it may have got some of those names back at times but it was apparent that ECW was at the bottom of the pecking order. ROH much in the same way that TNA is not the financial giant that WCW was is not the financial equal of ECW and where ECW was picking up steam before the Monday Night Wars began ROH was really losing some of its shine last year. There are some that will say ROH is currently on life support as we speak (I currently disagree with that assessment) this could be the nail in the proverbial coffin and then where will TNA or WWE pick up talent from?
So there you have it folks, it’s going to happen and the best we can do is enjoy the ride because when all is said and done and this ?war? is truly over the wrestling world may never be the same again. On that note I am going to wrap up this week’s column by telling you that if you have anything you want to add to this, questions you want to ask me or just general ideas you can write me as always at firstname.lastname@example.org next week I will be back and will of course try to do better, and until then I am out.