Powell's Blog: The hype for Bret Hart's return to WWE kicks in tonight, but will it include DX? Plus, the reasons why TNA's timing for the live show on January 4 couldn't be worse
Monday, December 28 – 3:22 P.M. (CT)
-The hype for Bret Hart's return to television on next week's WWE Raw show kicks in tonight, as Vince McMahon will address the rumors on Raw. I'll be watching this segment closely while hoping for some indication that Triple H and Shawn Michaels will be involved.
If Bret and the DX duo haven't made peace to the extent that they can work together, then I fear that WWE will shoot their wad early and run out of interesting storyline ideas for Vince and Bret long before their expected match at WrestleMania 26. Sure, there's history there, but it will be tough for WWE to hook viewers in for the long haul if the creative team has to essentially ignore the more intriguing story of Bret and Shawn.
Ideally, the program would conclude with a Bret vs. Shawn match at WrestleMania 26, but I'll settle for the two of them appearing on camera together and a storyline that features Bret using The Hart Dynasty to get his revenge on Hunter and Shawn.
There is money in DX vs. The Harts with Bret involved, but the tricky part is that one side would have to be the heels in this scenario. If you're Vince, do you turn one of your top merchandise selling acts heel just for a four-month program with Hart? Is Bret willing to come in and revive his pro-Canada heel character to go against DX?
As bored as I am with DX as the babyface corny kings of comedy, I'd rather see Bret lead a Canadian faction. Perhaps he could be the guy who unites The Hart Dynasty with Chris Jericho despite the friction they showed on Smackdown. It could all start with Bret using his guest host power to execute a trade that would bring the threesome to Raw next week.
Bret was a good babyface, but he was a much more entertaining character when he played the role of the anti-American hero to the rest of the world. I'm sure WWE is tempted to bring him back as a hero to all, but I don't know if that character is conducive to four months of entertaining television. I want bitter Bret who is back for revenge and don't care what the fans think. Oh, and here's hoping the first thing he does is put Hornswoggle out of commission so that this angle doesn't have to be bogged down with campiness.
-The timing of TNA's decision to go head-to-head with WWE Raw on January 4 couldn't be worse. Forget about Bret returning to Raw that night, I'm more concerned with the fact that TNA didn't have a show on Christmas Eve and will likely play to a smaller audience than usual on New Year's Eve.
TNA's marketing plan appears to consist of ads on Spike TV, the Times Square billboard, and additional ads that will air in select markets during WWE programming. I hope there's more to it than that, but this is all we've seen from the company so far. Throw in the holiday schedule changes and it's easy to see why there are rumblings that Hulk Hogan's camp is frustrated by the lack of marketing.
Meanwhile, I've pointed out for the last couple of weeks in Dot Net Audio that there will be 10 days between the January 4 event and the next first-run edition of Impact. If the company gains any momentum on Monday, they could very well lose it by the time the next show airs. Granted, TNA will replay the live special on January 7, but why not come right back with a first-run show that night with the hope that the Monday show will be strong enough that people will come right back on Thursday to see the followup?
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