Well, the Monday night war has begun again…right? Not exactly and if you actually watched Impact this past Monday then you know why “the war” might not exactly be starting again. Let’s take a look at the opening segments of both shows, Raw had The Undertaker/Shawn Michaels interview to continue to push the Undertaker/HBK match at Wrestlemania, which might actually be the most anticipated match on the card of the biggest PPV of the year. Obviously, this was a good counter for TNA’s “official” Monday night debut. TNA opened the show with their two biggest historical names, Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan. Within minutes it was obvious that Vince Russo’s finger prints were all over the episode of Impact because while Undertaker was taking on the mic on Raw, Hogan and Abyss were already bleeding on Impact. I’m not going to compare each segment of the show because other than the Undertaker/HBK interview and Cena vs. McMahon, it was an average episode of Raw. I want to attempt to discuss Impact that was really all over the place in terms of booking and in some ways, the show lacked logic in some spots. Okay, so they start with a main event match…and then the same match is a main event match…is there really no other match they could book for a solid opener to the show? If Hogan and Abyss were beat down and bleeding, doesn’t the beat down lose all the steam it had if both of them are ready for another match an hour later? I mean how beat down are they if they can still wrestle another match on the same show? Yes, obviously there’s a script for them to follow here, but Russo, TNA, anybody, why waste the TNA time to have a beat down at the start of the show if it means nothing by the end of the show? More on the main event…the second time later.
The second thing I need to mention is Sting’s return. It was a great surprise for Sting to show up after there were rumors he might leave the company and the heel turn added a lot of intrigue to the situation. It will be interesting to see exactly what they do with Sting as a heel, but in typical TNA fashion, they found a way to shoot themselves in the foot. Hogan leaked that Rob Van Dam would be debuting with the company so it was no surprise that RVD was the mystery opponent for Sting after Sting turned heel, but the way the “match” was booked was ridiculous. RVD pins Sting in literally ten seconds and then Sting attacks RVD with a bat while Hogan tries to get to the ring so TNA makes Sting look weak by having him get pinned in ten seconds and they make RVD seem irrelevant because the focus of the segment was Hogan and Sting instead of the wrestler that just signed with the company. How does the segment showcase the return of Sting or the debut of RVD?
Moving on, why does Eric Bischoff get more air time than anyone? I mean is it REALLY necessary for him to be on TV as often as he was this past week on Impact? Speaking of which, another thing you have to wonder is why are Hogan’s friends and family getting more TV time than some of the wrestlers? Who let Bubba back in the building? Wasn’t he fired after Awesome Kong knocked him out? Regardless, Bubba is an idiot and should NOT be on TV. He contributes NOTHING to the show and should be fired again. Along with that, Brooke Hogan and another random Hogan supporter shown in the crowd and backstage. Is this how TNA plans to compete with the WWE? Are people really going to tune in to Spike TV to see Brooke Hogan’s reaction to Hulk getting beat up? If Brutus Beefcake is the next to show up then Spike TV should just do the right thing for wrestling and cancel Impact.
It was all terrible Hogan related booking on Impact though because you had the three way dance for the X Division title with a promo before the match to give some background to the X Division, which was a good decision if they plan to actually feature the division as a whole on Impact. The match was a really good fast paced match and judging from a few of the things TNA announced, such as an X Division show next week before Impact and also the Destination X PPV this month, it looks like TNA might actually invest the time to try to push the division, which is a good decision considering how much underutilized talent there is in the X Division.
Okay, back to take two of the tag team main event and even the second time through, I still don’t understand what TNA was trying to do with the match. Flair, who asked “what is TNA?” on an episode of WWE 24/7 Legends of Wrestling before he asked for his release from the WWE, looked completely desperate in the ring on Impact after watching the tag match, he should have stayed retired. More specifically, the tag match didn’t showcase AJ and Abyss, which would have been the logical situation in my opinion, but rather featured Hogan and Flair, while AJ and Abyss were in the secondary spots of the match. It’s also funny that TNA announced it would “stay with the match until the conclusion” but just as Jeff Hardy was climbing to the top rope for his signature swanton bomb, the show ended and the TV audience didn’t get to see the move. As far as Jeff Hardy goes, he is awaiting trail on felony charges and TNA is going to give him TV time, but what if Hardy gets convicted of the charges and is sent to jail? Isn’t it basically a waste of time to feature him on TV until it’s known weather or not he will be convicted during the trail? Besides that, it’s also been reported that Hardy has not signed an official deal with TNA so why are they giving TV time that isn’t officially signed with the company?
In conclusion, I’m not trying to bury TNA here and with the all talent that they have it would be cool if they could book a good alternative to the WWE, but it just didn’t happen this past Monday. Despite all the changes, to the ring, the roster, and the arena, it seems like nothing has really changed with TNA because you still have great matches and terrible booking, which has been TNA’s problem for five years. From what was reported, the Impact rating was a 1.0, which isn’t terrible considering they were going head to head with Raw, but at the same time they certainly didn’t get anyone to change the channel from Raw to Impact so it doesn’t seem like the move to Monday is anything to major in terms of more viewers for TNA.