Thursday, 25 March 2010

News Spot: Monday Night Wars 2!

If the WWE/WCW Monday night wars seem long distant that's because they are! It has been nearly a decade since the last WCW Monday Nitro aired and the company disappeared from our screens. However, a new contender has emerged and is poised to once again grapple for dominance for your viewing pleasure.

I was always a fan of world Championship Wrestling over World Wrestling Entertainment and like a toppled wrestler I have never really recovered from the defeat. When I was a kid I would always look forward to Friday nights (We got our coverage late in the UK on TNT) for my three hour Nitro hit, followed later by WCW Thunder. And while WCW did indeed suffer from a decline in quality near the end, it was still a huge blow to my sixteen year old self to see the company go under.

The decline of WCW (and ECW) are both well documented, far too well documented to be recapped here, but what is only just emerging is challenge being laid down by new comers TNA wrestling. Total Nonstop Action wrestling may have been founded way back in 2002 but it is only now poised to seriously contend with WWE on the fabled Monday night slot. Perhaps many long time wrestling fans will comment that this is essentially suicide on the part of TNA, after all, WWE are the name in professional wrestling these days after seeing off determined competition. But is this really the case anymore? For close to ten years now TNA was worked hard to innovate, push new talent and earn a loyal fan base while it could be argued that WWE has largely rested on it's laurels.

Perhaps I'm being unfair, after all WWE has big recognizable names, a lot of airtime and even it's own film devision. And let's not forget that Vince just canned ECW after bringing it back. According to rumors on the 'net ECW was pulling ratings similar to TNA. Forum talk also mentions TNA using WWE castoffs, with Mr Kennedy's (Anderson) name being banded around rather a lot. However, I don't see it like that.

When I think of WWE I think of only four or perhaps five big names that the company revolves around. These guys are the stars and will have title reigns that last years with little or no competition. Mid-carders? There aren't any! The most extreme thing in WWE is the leap between top player and everybody else. It's just dull, where as in TNA almost anyone can have a shot at the top prize. Suddenly here's a promotion where everyone matters and every match could feasibly be the best you have ever seen because everyone is on a level stage. There is no one too big or important to be pinned. This does not mean that the cast of TNA are dull, far from it, it means that TNA has found how to best use it stars by allowing them to do what you would expect in a wrestling promotion; wrestle.

Also consider the aforementioned Mr Anderson, I could not have cared less about his Mr Kennedy angle in WWE because despite his incredible mike skills and charisma, his wrestling skill was not pushed and he became yet another foot note in WWE matches. However, in TNA I would pay good money to see his matches and promos because they are well written into the show and give a full example of good professional wrestling; athleticism, charisma and drama. It's more fun then watching the same mountain of a man stomp around grunting monosyllabic promos every week. Anyone remember Brock Lesnar? Thought not.*

These are just the fundamentals I'm talking about here, the stuff you see on TV. I haven't even begun to mention TNA's acquisition of talent like Eric Bischoff and the legendary Hulk Hogan as creative partners in the company. TNA has moved to the Monday night slot because it believes it can survive and I think it can. Sure the likes of Hogan, Flair and Sting...let me say that again Hogan, Flair and Sting, are old school and perhaps not at their a-game, but the likes of A.J. Styles, Samoa Joe and D'angelo Dinero (The Pope!!!) most certainly are, giving TNA star power old and new. Also, TNA does not have to stick to a PG rating which means it a can do things and cater to audiences that WWE cannot. I even read news that WWE where banning chair shots in the run up to Linda McMahon's Senate run. I mean what the hell Vince? Did you take one too many chair shots? Seriously, the chair shot is as old as professional wrestling!

I know, I know I sound like a wounded fan with an opportunity to flame the company that sunk my favorite promotion. Well, I am! So what? I have always being one the other side when it comes to WWE but that does not mean I think they have always had a bad product. Far from it. So with regards to the new Monday night wars I'll look at it like this, WWE has become comfortable while TNA is still finding it's way. That's the most simple way of looking at it, however in classic Bischoff style TNA's current expansion has been ruthless and explosive while we all know McMahon's ability to weather a storm. So what we finally have is a situation where both companies need to raise their game and I sincerely hope that neither sinks the other resulting in another stagnant period in wrestling, because like the in ring antics of these promotions, what is needed to flourish is healthy, on going competition.

Bring it on!


*Just though I should mention that I had to Google this guy to remember his name...

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