Extreme Hardcore Reunion Homecoming of One Night Justice

This month’s (and tonight’s) TNA pay-per-view, Hardcore Justice, is of course going to be an ECW reunion show. I have many thoughts about this matter, such as, “Will anyone besides WWE’s lawyers actually care enough to order it?”

In its time, the original ECW was a great product. But its time ended in 2001, and almost an entire decade has passed since then. We even had one mostly good reunion show half a decade ago, in 2005. After hearing Tommy Dreamer’s promo on the July 22nd Impact!, it’s hard to protest the idea, but TNA really needs to worry about TNA. What is a nostalgia trip going to do for their product and business overall? If the shows sells well, it would be great for that particular show, but what will it do for future shows? People would be spending all that money on pseudo-ECW, not TNA. It’s been well established that this is only for “one night,” so what incentive do the people buying into the nostalgia have to watch or buy any other TNA shows? The ratings have spiked (pun not intended) since the show’s announcement, but what reason is there to believe that any of those new viewers will stick around for plain old TNA again?

And, even though TV viewership is up, what if the nostalgia isn’t strong enough to sell Hardcore Justice itself? As rabid as ECW fans might have been back in the day, I think it’s safe to say that Hulkamania undoubtedly eclipses ECW, and yet his name didn’t exactly do much for TNA. Furthermore, what if TNA loyalists are put off by the fact that they’re focusing on another, long dead promotion and ignoring the dozens of talent who are actually contracted to TNA? It’s basically a slap in the face to them to say, “Forget about Jay Lethal for a few weeks and look at Balls Mahoney!” I guess it’s nice for the loyal fans that they’ll be doing an Impact! episode with what would have been the TNA-only August pay-per-view, but it still doesn’t make much sense from a business standpoint. They might get great ratings this Thursday, but they’re still giving something big away for free, and they certainly can’t sustain that kind of lineup every week.

However, I don’t doubt that this could be a great show. The biggest problems with WWE’s ECW revivals were Vince McMahon’s ego. He wouldn’t allow anyone else complete creative control over one of his products, which had a relatively minor effect on the pay-per-views, but it killed the TV series before it even had a chance. If they’re really going to allow the likes of Tommy Dreamer to run the show unhindered, this could definitely turn out to be a much more authentic reunion. And if so, it would be a great reward for ECW fans and talent. I was personally looking forward to another Rob Van Dam vs Jerry Lynn, but that’s sadly out of the question now. (Not that I’m even capable of watching it live, because TNA apparently doesn’t want to sell me webcasts.)

WWE could afford to do this kind of stunt, and they at least used it as a vehicle for a vaguely related TV series. But really, what’s in it for TNA?

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Categories: Contemplation, Pro Wrestling

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