Make sure to etch this date permanently into your head. On Mar. 9, 2010, for the first time ever, Ashley Morris penned a short piece for Bleacher Report.
“Gasp!” **cue the dramatic music**
While perusing my usual wrestling sites today, I couldn’t help but to run into fans’ comments about last night’s skirmish between TNA and the WWE.
In case you’ve been living under a rock or in Quinn Gammon’s basement for the past few weeks, the “Monday Night Wars” that fans have been clamoring for have finally returned, as TNA’s iMPACT went live and head to head with the WWE’s live RAW .
Be it far from me to judge anyone for their own personal opinions, as I’ve littered this web site with my own since late last year. But for the life of me I cannot come to terms with the idea that TNA is “better” than the WWE.
I could write a scathing diatribe as to why I believe so, but I already promised that this would be a short piece.
Last night’s iMPACT was by far a better outing for TNA than the debacle they showcased on Jan. 4, but it was no where near being the ratings killer or “better than RAW ” product that some expected it to be.
Here are just a few reasons as to why one would even play with the notion that last night’s iMPACT was better than RAW .
Reason No. 1 —It Wasn’t WWE RAW
Now friends, let’s be completely honest with each other. One of the only reasons why most folks enjoyed last night’s iMPACT was because it wasn’t on the USA Network and it didn’t have a little squiggly "W" etched in the corner or the screen.
When reading the comments, most of the TNA supporters started off by mentioning that “RAW was boring,” with the “same old crap” and the “lame guest hosts” and the “stale writing” that made up the majority of the show.
So wait, off the cuff there are people that open their arguments for TNA by being against the WWE? That’s like saying you’d rather have a dog poop on your coffee table instead of your Aunt Gertie...IT’S STILL POOP!
It is your own personal preference to sit through two hours of guest host blandness or WCW Light, but at least talk constructively about one without bashing the other. If you’re unable to do so, then you can’t really take yourself seriously when you call someone else a mark.
It takes one to know one, you know?
So in that sense, let’s set the record straight: The Mar. 8 episode of iMPACT was a decent show because it was a decent show. Period.
Even though a part of me died to say that, the show was actually pretty good. There was nothing in the show to write home to mom and dad about, but it wasn’t as terrible as...let’s say...a match between The Nasty Boys and Team 3D.
Reason No. 2 —“Surprise” Signings
“Mr. Monday Night” Rob Van Dam made his TNA debut last night by defeating the returning Sting in an amazing nine second match. The crowd popped mega hard just to witness a flying kick and a Rolling Thunder for a three count.
Afterwards, Sting proceeded to beat RVD senseless for at least 15 minutes with his bat. Sting also beat Hulk Hogan, two referees, and a couple of security guards in that same time span.
The funny part was that the security chose to keep Hogan away from Sting rather than subdue the maniac that was attacking people with a bat.
God bless America.
Also, Jeff Hardy made yet another botched return to TNA by rescuing Abyss and Hulk Hogan from the thrashing they received from A.J. Styles, Ric Flair, and Desmond Wolfe. “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero tried to help out, but after getting kicked in his injured ankle, I forgot he was even in the ring.
Jeff Hardy’s return was highlighted by a Swanton Bomb that the millions of fans watching at home never got to see. Spike TV only allowed TNA eight extra minutes past their 11:00 PM curfew, and Hardy started climbing the ropes at 11:08:57.
Maybe I’m just being overly sarcastic, but all of that isn’t anything to get overly excited about.
RVD’s return to active competition was exciting, and I’m looking forward to his matches in TNA and the X-Division, but that momentum was zapped as soon as Sting welcomed him to the company by beating him silly for 15 minutes.
You do realize that his beat down by Sting lasted longer than his match with Sting, right?
Welcome to TNA, Rob.
Don’t even get me started on Jeff Hardy. So far, his return to TNA is comparable to masturbating on your front porch in broad daylight. I’ll let you figure that metaphor out for yourself.
And by the way, Shannon Moore is the new number one contender for the X-Division title and will face Doug Williams at Destination X on Mar. 21. Watch or read the recaps to see exactly how Shannon Moore was awarded this without (a) wrestling a match, and (b) defeating the previous No. 1 contender, Frankie Kazarian, in a match.
Fans have already sworn up and down that this episode was great because of the aforementioned developments and acquisitions, but do you really believe that to be true?
Seriously, you think that?
Don’t forget that TNA also hyped their product by signing The Nasty Boys, Orlando Jordan, Sean Morley, and Jimmy Hart.
Where is Scott Steiner and his hilarious promos when you need them?
Reason No. 3 —It Was an Old Show on a Different Night
I predict that last night’s episode of iMPACT will bring at least a 1.6 in the ratings. It may do better than that, but I don’t expect it to break 2.0.
While I don’t want to knock the ratings system, it must be taken into consideration that TNA spent a good amount of time and effort promoting their permanent move to Monday nights (albeit not as much as they did for their Jan. 4 show, which ironically was also touted as being the “most important night in the company’s history,” but I digress).
If you don’t believe me, just check the ratings for their Jan. 4 show (1.45) and then the ratings for the following iMPACTs (1.26). Remember that the iMPACT that aired on Jan. 7 was a repeat of the January 4 show, but the iMPACT on January 14 was brand new.
By comparison, the same thing happened with the debut and subsequent episode of WWE NXT . The debut show brought in a 1.3, where as the final episode of ECW brought in a 1.14. Last week’s episode of NXT , however, brought in a 1.24.
So while we’re all ecstatic about last night’s iMPACT and how much better it was than RAW , the real proof will come with next week’s rating and will ultimately show whether or not TNA is capable of consistently providing a quality product on Monday nights.
And that’s the real deal; if last night’s show was so great, then next week’s show should equal it or beat it flat out. If TNA is really better than the WWE and their lame guest hosts, then the ratings will be proof of that for both companies.
At this point in the new Monday Night Wars, however, I’m willing to bet Ivan Blanco’s B/R status on the fact that most people watched TNA last night because it was on last night . We’d do the same thing if it came on Sunday morning after Church, or Friday night before the kegger.
Hell, if it came on right now we’d be watching it. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the show is worth a damn. You’d drink Sprite if it came in a shiny red box with a straw the size of your head, but it’s still Sprite.
Okay, I lied. This piece wasn’t short at all.
But the bottom line is that TNA put on a very good show last night, and they deserve credit. But was it better than RAW ? I can’t personally say, because I didn’t see RAW.
My main point is that even if you were able to see both shows, at least consider these few points before making a final judgment. At the minimum, we should be able to talk about the quality of iMPACT without dogging out RAW .
Consdering that iMPACT last night was actually good, let's talk about what made the show good that instead of taking cheap shots at the WWE. Eric Bischoff doesn't need our help to do that.
And please believe me, if last night’s RAW was that terrible, you can expect a piece about it to follow soon.