Hogan & Russo on Impact, Why a Monday Night War Won’t Work
A quick update regarding Monday’s TNA Impact. Yesterday morning, Hulk Hogan was a guest on the Bubba The Love Sponge radio show. He had a few comments to make about Impact, the first related to that abomination of a match that was called Steel Asylum. Apparently, during Sunday’s production meeting, Hogan was told that there was a door on the cage. There wasn’t. And then they found that none of the wrestlers could climb out of the damned thing, hence the DQ. Here’s my first question; if the match was physically impossible to win, why run with it? The X Division can sell itself without the silly gimmick matches. If you really needed 10 guys in the ring at the same time, make it a tag or a battle royal. Don’t put it in a cage that the cameras can’t see through and that the wrestlers can’t escape from! Then there was the lacklustre Jeff Hardy run in, which was totally ruined by the crowds reaction to the bullshit finish they had just witnessed. Perhaps if that run in had occurred in the Main Event they could have made Jeff look like the star he became in WWE and saved us a conclusion to the match for the PPV. But perhaps that makes too much sense. Considering Hardy had a verbal agreement to return to WWE, he was arguably the biggest surprise TNA entrant of the night. Or should have been, at least.
Hogan also talked about Jim Cornette – specifically his podcast rant about Monday Night. I’ve not listened to Cornette’s speech yet, but I hear it’s pretty ruthless. Hogan said he didn’t understand why Jim was so bitter and, to an extent, neither do I. He’s not been happy with the wrestling product for years, that’s no secret. So I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised by this tirade, especially considering his swift departure from TNA.
Another interesting point is that Hogan feels TNA may have dropped the ball by taping Thursday’s show the following day. He plans on telling Dixie Carter and the Spike executives that they should be running live Monday Night shows from now on. I’m not sure that’s the smartest move at this stage. Hogan believes you need to spend money to make money, but how much money has TNA actually made so far in its lifetime? Monday was a huge success in terms of putting on a one-off spectacular that drew interest, but as a sustainable format? I think they may have come up a little short. They can’t throw so much at people each week. It’s just impossible without pockets as deep as Billionaire Ted. That’s the only reason why Hogan and Bischoff could piss money away on Nitro week in and week out. Here’s an idea; instead of jumping straight to head to head battles with Raw, why didn’t they simply advertise next weeks Thursday Night show? I don’t recall hearing Mike Tenay mention the words ‘next week’ at all. I’d be interested to hear from American readers whether or not Spike advertised the regular Impact timeslot during the broadcast. I am aware they advertised their current episode during Raw, but not sure whether they drew new viewers attention to where they can be found on a regular week. I wonder how many people will expect them on Monday night?
Hogan didn’t stop there. He’s also pushing for a larger venue. Big mistake, I think. The cameras heavily disguise how small a venue the Impact Zone is, I can say that from experience of attending myself. But they do struggle to get people out of the Universal Theme Park and in to the TV taping. People also start to drop out after the second taping (three shows in one taping is far too long). The place looked full and exciting on Monday. A smaller venue allows that. Whenever a PPV comes from a different arena, the atmosphere suffers. Look at the atmosphere on Raw in comparison or even the atmosphere at the old TNA Asylum. Unfortunately, Hogan appears to have sold Bob Carter on the idea…
Another of TNA’s top dogs was commenting yesterday. Vince Russo wrote a blog thanking fans for the great response on Monday night. He said “Without your support, Vince Russo does not do what I know I was born to do.” I could make a joke about that, but it would be far too easy. He argues that Vince McMahon must think very little of TNA to put on such a standard episode of Raw. On that, I agree with him. Vince does think very little of them. In fact, he’s far more worried about next Monday’s clash with UFC, when Raw goes head to head with UFC Fight Night. In fact, such is Vince’s knee-jerk reaction, that they’ve drafted Mike Tyson in as Raw’s guest host. This could be a potential train wreck, but it’s must see I guess.
Russo praises Hogan’s leadership in the locker room during and following the show. “Hulk sat in on production meetings, Hulk was a leader in the back–Hulk was the last to leave. You have to respect that regardless of what happened 10 years ago.” It sure didn’t look that way when Russo appeared at the post Impact Press Conference (see my last article). Worryingly, he talks about how McMahon’s lacklustre edition of Raw would never have happened during the 90’s. “Again–going back to the 90’s–that NEVER, would have happened if Eric, or I were in Vince’s shoes–NEVER.” What TNA need to be aware of is that it’s not the 90’s any more. A Monday night war will never work ever, ever again. And there’s two huge reasons why;
- Tivo. Viewers don’t need to flick between shows any more. They can watch both. Or neither. During the Monday night wars, I used to videotape Raw and watch Nitro at a friends. Then we’d head back to my house and catch Raw. There’s no need for two VCRs any more.
- The Internet. The biggest killer of any Monday night war. How many people watched live streams simultaneously on Monday? There are plenty of screenshots on forums of people doing just that. And there are surely those amongst us who simply downloaded each show and watched at their leisure.
There is no way at present to accurately measure the viewership of these shows. The viewing figures may have been 3.4 and 1.5, but how many people recorded each show? Which was ranked higher on torrent search engines? Which stream crashed with an overload of viewers? These methods of viewing the show may be illegal (and I’m not endorsing them), but they’re viewing figures and statistics that are valuable to either promotion, surely?
Until next time…