Monday night, January 4th, 2010… TNA Impact, 7 o’clock to 10 o’clock! WWE Raw, 8 o’clock to 10:05ish! Bret “Hitman” Hart! The Immortal Hulk Hogan! Vince MacMahon! Eric Bischoff! Was it historic? Was it a competition? Was it the beginning of a new Monday Night War? Is the wrestling industry on the verge of a new boom that all of us who lived through the first Monday night war has been anxiously awaiting, even yearning for? With soothsayer accuracy the action speaks for itself… allow me to translate.
Monday night, January 4th, 2010… TNA Impact, 7 o’clock to 10 o’clock! WWE Raw, 8 o’clock to 10:05ish! Bret “Hitman” Hart! The Immortal Hulk Hogan! Vince MacMahon! Eric Bischoff! Was it historic? Was it a competition? Was it the beginning of a new Monday Night War? Is the wrestling industry on the verge of a new boom that all of us who lived through the first Monday night war has been anxiously awaiting, even yearning for? With soothsayer accuracy the action speaks for itself… allow me to translate..
25 minutes Impact: 35 minutes
Okay so Impact wins the numbers. Raw had 5 matches over 2 hours and Impact had 7 over 3. However considering that both shows average just over 20 minutes usually, TNA’s 10 extra is still average for 3 hours. I expected a little more what with this being their “shot” at Monday night competition.
Raw Nominee: WWE Undisputed Tag Team Championship Match
Degeneration X vs. Jerishow
At 9 ˝ minutes (not counting commercial
breaks) this could have easily been a payperview match. Triple
H, Shawn Michaels, Jericho and even Big Show are pros and veterans and
proved it in this match. The story was great the action was well
put together and the ending was exciting! After several phoned
in performances these four finally showed why they occupy the spots
they do in this match.
Impact Nominee: TNA Championship Match
AJ Styles © vs. Kurt Angle
I’m reluctant to nominate this match
because there was a run-in in the first 2 minutes and then at the end
Ric Flair stole attention for no reason by just walking out to watch
for a few minutes. However I can’t ignore the work AJ and Kurt
did or the fact that no other match on Impact was even a viable contender
for MOTN. The action was a bit over the top as all TNA main events
tend to be. Just because a match is a main event doesn’t mean
that it needs a dozen finishers kicked out of, there are other ways
to tell the story of “to the limit”. But the end result was
still that I was entertained.
MOTN: It’s nice to see the top matches featuring the top stars in each company for once! I actually get to award MOTN to a good match for good work rather than an equation of effort against what they were given. Raw takes it because they let the match speak for itself, the Hornswaggle run-in was used way better than either TNA’s masked man run-in or the Flair appearance. Congrats to DX and Jerishow!
Raw Nominee: Maryse vs. Brie Bella
What total crap. Neither woman
is a good wrestler, Maryse can almost look competent when she’s in
there with a Diva who knows what she’s doing but this match was just
a waste of time.
Impact Nominee: X Division Championship Steel Asylum match
Okay, lets take a second to first comment
on the fact that TNA chose to open the biggest show of the company history
with a match you couldn’t see through that stupid cage and with too
many people in it to make heads or tales of what was happening.
Then it didn’t end. Homicide pulled out a weapon and beat everybody
up and the referee stopped the match. The crowd was as unhappy
as I was and started chanting “this is bullsh*t”. So if you
were a first time viewer, checking out TNA to see what Hulk Hogan is
up to, you’re first impression is “what’s going on here, who are
all these guys, and why does the crowd hate it?”
WMOTN: Steel asylum match! Aside from the terrible placement and booking problems the match was crap! Too many guys in that cage doing nothing because you have to stay out of the center of the ring and wait for your turn to do a high spot.
Divas: I guess Melina’s hurt
so there’s going to be a tournament that no one, either backstage
or in the crowd, could possibly care about and the one Diva’s match
on Raw was almost worst match of the Night.
Knockouts: ODB and Tara had a decent match for the Knockouts championship but it was too short to really get into. Sarita & Wylde lost the tag championships to Hamada & Kong in a very well worked match. Knockout matches were the 2nd and 3rd matches on the card of the biggest night in company history so that has to say something. So that makes the knockouts the 2nd impression new viewers got of TNA. Also they were the very next segment after Hogan’s appearance. I have mixed feelings; first I think its good to put the hard working women in a prominent spot, but I also think it’s a business mistake, women aren’t your company’s drawing point.
Oh yeah, and the Beautiful People played
strip poker with Val Venis for no reason.
As usual, through simple relevance the Knockouts could beat the Divas, but they also win on talent and effort as well. The Divas are just so blatantly superfluous and get booked like nobody is paying attention. Which is probably pretty accurate. Maryse: “what am I doing on Raw tonight?” Bruce Prichard: “I don’t know, who cares, go wrestle Brie or something… Now run along the men are talking.”
Raw: spoon feeding
Here’s the main problem with Raw.
They spoon feed us the angles. If I get on TNA for redundance
and too much hype I have to start getting on WWE for recaps and replays.
How many times did we see Orton kick Vince in the head, minimum of 3
times a show during that 6 month storyline. There is always at
least 1 almost full length recap in the second hour of something that
happened in the first hour. They opened Raw with a Bret Hart video
package heavily featuring the Montreal Screw job and then later showed
a video package of the Montreal screw job. There was a recap of
the whole Cena/Shaemus feud. It’s as if the highest rated show
on Monday nights is worried that no one is paying attention. Like
a high school jock, starting quarterback type who is terribly insecure
inside so he wont shut up about how great he is and what he did at the
game Friday night and no one will call him on it because they want to
make sure he does it again the coming Friday… come to think of it
that’s a pretty accurate simile for the WWE.
Impact: false promises
Am I the only one who noticed that every time Hogan talked about “everyone having to prove themselves” or “giving the young guys a chance to shine” it was immediately followed by a segment where those young guys (Motorcity Machine Guns or Beer Money) were beaten down and consequently off TV for the night without even seeing their faces? Not to mention that was usually followed by a Nasty Boys segment or a Mick Foley segment… When Jarrett came out to a very warm, even excited reception by the crowd, Hogan came on the tron and told him “enough of gaga” (in perhaps the pinnacle of hypocrisy), this got Hogan a chorus of boos, Hogan ended the segment by saying “it’s time the young guys get a shot”… cut to backstage where Chris Daniels is about to cut a promo when JB runs up with Mick Foley on a cell phone and Daniels practically disappears. Doesn’t this strike anyone else as an immediate and blatant remission of this “new guys get a shot” that Hogan has touted all night? Here is the main problem. Everybody knows that it’s a show and that Hogan and Bischoff are booking, so when you make claims and then immediately break them, we as wrestling fans know that it is bullsh*t!
I’m not going to say that Raw was perfect
but they knew exactly what they were doing and how to handle TNA.
Every segment and moment of this Monday’s Raw was designed to discourage
channel flipping. The matches were longer and everyone in them
was relevant, and there was ZERO fluff. It started right away
with Bret Hart calling out HBK… who would want to change the channel
at that moment to see a Hogan promo? Vince may not have been worried
about Impact but he certainly made sure Raw gave no reasons (except
the Divas) to go and check out Impact.
Impact: surprise appearances
No Hulk Hogan did not elevate Impact as a show or the TNA product in general. I guess surprise appearances like Jeff Hardy and Ric Flair made me wonder who else would show up, but not in a good way! Not that glued to my TV in anticipation kind of way but in that half amused, half sad, patronizingly is-this-really-what-we’ve-come-to kind of way. Jeff Hardy is an indicted felon who is probably on his way to prison whether 14 year old girls love him or not. Ric Flair is wasting away before our very eyes and he’s slowly, painfully murdering his legacy along the way. Nobody has cared about the Nasty Boys since the early 90’s, except to laugh about what a fat idiot Nobbs is on Hogan knows best and now I’m supposed to care about him and Saggs (who I would’ve sworn was dead) starting a feud with Team 3D?? uh uh, not going to happen. Oh yeah and Sting is back in the rafters. So I guess the surprise appearances elevated Impact by kind of being a point of interest but they missed the mark entirely in my opinion.
Raw Average Rating:
3.6 Impact Average Rating: 1.5
First let me point out that Raw’s rating was the same as last week, so a Monday night time slot, all those surprise appearances, Bischoff and most of all Hulk Hogan meant absolutely nothing! They advertised, hyped and promoted it, devoted a sizable share of their weekly TV time to hyping it and did not even dent the WWE ratings.
However, 1.5 is a respectable rating. Probably respectable enough to land TNA a Monday night time slot if they push for it.
Also it is easily a ratings all time record for TNA, so to say the hype and Hogan “meant absolutely nothing” is a gross understatement…or overstatement depending on your perspective.
Monday Night Impact was absolutely atrocious. Anyone who tuned in to see their child hood hero return to wrestling was probably disappointed because instead of the immortal Hulk Hogan they were given an ambiguously bland version of Hollywood Hulk Hogan. Anyone tuning in to see their beloved TNA was probably disappointed because that’s not what was on. Daniels, Beer Money, the Motorcity Machine Guns, Rhyno, are all extablished names in TNA and rising stars in the industry and TNA cut them all out of Impact. And the X Division, which has always carried TNA on its back as the discerning feature, was confined to a confusing, clustered steel cage match with no ending. Instead of anything they built or anything they promise TNA presented a episode of WCW Monday Nitro circa 99-2000, you know after the n.w.o. had run its course and gotten stale, and all the young draws (i.e. Jericho, Benoit and Guerrero) had moved to the greener pastures of the WWE. How can you breath new life into a rising promotion with an angle that was overexposed and worn out 10 years ago or featuring performers who are 20 years or more past their prime?? If TNA stays on this route they will sink and most of them will drown with or without a Monday night time slot (which I think would only sink them faster btw). Its my prediction that within 5 years WWE will release a 3 dvd collection called “The Laughable Legacy of Total Nonstop Action”.
Though the Monday Night Conflict conjured images of the 90’s boom period it delivered more like a 90’s Mike Tyson fight. Months of hype and intrigue only to end in an embarrassing 30 second knockout. TNA has only proven that even with the biggest name in pro wrestling history at their side they are not competition for the WWE.