Monday Night Wars… Part No

I wanted to wait a while until the ratings were released and the shows really sank in. Raw ended up with a 3.6, which was identical to the week before. This means they gained as much for Bret Hart as they lost to TNA. Speaking of whom, Impact! did a 1.5, which was its highest rating ever. Just based on those numbers, it’s difficult to say who “won,” because Raw was obviously still much higher, but Impact! was the one who broke records.

But I’d say that neither of them really won anything.


As I mentioned in my preview thoughts, I got to see Raw live and in person, and it was a lot of fun, except for when a family of three in front of me held up side-by-side signs to block off my entire view of the ring, or when a woman to my bottom-left held a toddler on her shoulders to completely block my view of the entrance ramp. I didn’t have many good picture opportunities for these reasons, but the few I did take came out crappy, since my camera does indeed suck. (That’s probably the best one.)

Anyway, onto the show itself. I cannot say enough about how amazing it was to see Bret Hart again, or the big moment with him hugging Shawn Michaels. The moment with Vince McMahon was good, but definitely subpar in comparison, and the outcome was way too predictable.

As for the rest of the show? We had a crappy women’s match (although Maryse’s character was great), a fun four-way to determine the #1 contender for the US title, an awesome pay-per-view-caliber tag team match between DX and Jerishow, a squash match to reminds us that “lol evan bourne”, and another awesome match in the main event with Kingston and Orton. For the most part, I’d say that the in-ring action was perhaps a step up from usual, but unfortunately, that’s not all there is to pro wrestling.

Writing-wise, the Miz/Maryse stuff is still boring. The Jericho/Hart bit was awesome, and I’m glad it was the only host skit. I still want Hornswoggle to go away forever. The McMahon/Orton bit was great, since it showed both continuity and logic, yet it came from out of nowhere. I liked that the Legacy thing teased that they might finally split, until it didn’t happen. I also liked that they teased that Sheamus could face someone besides Cena at the Royal Rumble, and that Evan Bourne could actually get a push, but then I felt like an idiot for thinking either were actually possible. Both of those last two bits were hints that things might actually change, and that new feuds and pushes might start, but both failed to come true, proving that change is likely not on the horizon for Raw, at least for the near future.

So overall, there were some great moments with Bret Hart, and better-than-usual action, but the writing had at least as many negatives as positives. I’d say it was a better show than it has been lately, but not nearly as good as it could or should be. I was hoping this would be the start of a makeover for Raw, but it wasn’t, sadly.


TNA certainly loaded their show with some great matches. Everything was either solid at worst, or incredible at best. The Steel Asylum was fun until the bizarre finish, both women’s matches were amazing, Big Guys vs Goth Guys was decent for how short it was, Wolfe vs Dinero was good, as was Joe vs Abyss, and Angle vs Styles was, well, phenomenal. I already knew these people could put on great matches, but for attracting newcomers, I guess this was a smart way of showing off the positives in their current roster. But despite all the “THIS IS WRESTLING” chants, the matches were only half the show, if that, and they only showed off half of the pre-Hogan roster, if that.

The other half of the show was filled with skits that made me feel like I was watching WCW again. 2000 WCW, not peak WCW. To start, they attempted to save the goofy finish to the X-Division match with a random appearance from Jeff Hardy. Jeff Hardy, who was actually indicted that very day, when he had previously just been scheduled for a probable cause hearing. And they really did sign him to some sort of contract, but I haven’t heard how long it lasts. Good job, TNA. You’ve finally topped the way you handled Kurt Angle’s arrest. At least it made them the #1 trending topic on Twitter for a few minutes.

After that, the first hour was filled with other “big” guest stars. Shannon Moore: could be a good asset to the X-Division, if said division ever gets decent air time again; Ric Flair: awesome if they use him properly and don’t let him wrestle…much; Scott Hall: he’s great, but not exactly reliable; Sean “X-Pac” Waltman: nobody has cared about him in at least ten years, and for good reason; Sean “Val Venis” Morley: I don’t think anyone has cared about him in ten years either, but I think he may have been decent in the ring at some point; Nasty Boys: I’m not sure anyone has ever cared about them; Orlando Jordan: I barely even remember who he is. Ric Flair is awesome, Jeff Hardy would be if he doesn’t go to prison, and Scott Hall would be if he doesn’t vanish. But otherwise, we have a lot of barely relevant guys who became famous in other companies taking up time that could have been devoted to showing off more of the TNA originals. People who didn’t even have matches, like Christopher Daniels, Beer Money, British Invasion, Eric Young, etc.

On that note, I’ll nitpick the big angles. So we have a stable of big names that want to take over the company by collecting paychecks for little to no work. More Russo pseudo-realism? A big “joke” aimed at Hogan’s critics? Or just a rerun of the Main Event Mafia? Probably all of the above, but no matter what, it’s just bad. I also don’t understand the need to trash Mick Foley and Jeff Jarrett, unless they’re flat out creating another WCW vs nWo type of storyline as well. Did they even solve the mystery of all the originals getting laid out, or am I supposed to assume that the Foley beat down was the answer to that? Fweh.

Also bad is the fact that they rehired Angelina Love, one of their best female wrestlers, and workers in general, but instead of using her, they have the other Beautiful People playing strip poker with Val Venis. Playing strip poker with Val Venis. What the shit. The Bobby Lashley thing was also pointless, unless they really are going to fire him, which certainly wouldn’t be a bad idea. And I really had no interest in seeing fat slobs trash the locker room of two of TNA’s best veteran workers.

So my thoughts have been very negative, but I think they’re well-deserved. This was one of the most important shows in TNA’s history, a show that was supposed to rock the foundation of modern pro wrestling and give Vince McMahon a run for his money, but the writing was awful. Sure, the in-ring action was great, and better than Raw for it on the whole, but that wasn’t the part that needed change. And it was eclipsed by the stupid writing. As I said before, it gave me vibes of WCW when it was on its deathbed, rather than WCW when it was thriving. I’ll still give them the benefit of the doubt, because
change and improvement don’t happen overnight, but this is hardly a promising start.


If you think I’m being harder on Impact! than Raw, then think about this: all WWE hyped about Raw was the return of Bret Hart and two awesome matches, and they delivered exactly that. It could have been better, but it was at least a bit better than usual. Meanwhile, TNA promised major change and improvement, but what they delivered is not change I can believe in.

Raw continues down the same path of mediocrity, while Impact! appears to be headed down the drain. I’d certainly love for both shows (and companies) to change for the better, but I’m not seeing it in either case.

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