Twilling's Blog: Are we stuck in a wrestling rut similar to the mid-90s?
By Rich Twilling
Wednesday, MAY 5 - 4:18 P.M. (CT)
-Whether it is trends, fashion, music, or even wrestling, many things in life are cyclical. What's old always seems to find a way to be new again. Many people were hoping this to be the case when TNA Wrestling and Spike TV decided to move Impact to Monday nights.
Everyone was touting the return of the Monday Night Wars. It was an exciting time in wrestling. Bret Hart returned to WWE. Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair returned to weekly television. There were three wrestling shows on Monday nights and the two major companies were going head to head again.
In an episode of the Dot Net Weekly audio show sometime after the announcement TNA would move to Monday nights, I asked the question of whether or not Impact would air on Monday nights at the same time in 2011. Well, the answer will be no. Impact has officially moved back to Thursday nights.
The new Monday Night Wars never materialized. Did it ever really have a chance? Back in the mid-90s, WCW Monday Nitro came onto the scene and that show was not an overnight success. It took them time and a lot of big names to overtake the then WWF, despite the emergence of Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, and Steve Austin as stars.
I'm not sure if TNA had the same strategy on purpose, but oddly enough, they tried to go head to head with a down (and PG) WWE product, and they used a lot of the same names the WCW used. Unfortunately, this is 2010 and not 1996. Those names are important, but don't hold the same prestige they once did.
The 2010 WWE is comparable to the mid-90s WWE because both products are/were in a down swing. We don't have the stupid "two career" characters we had back then and the in ring work is much better now, but this is not the mid to late 80s or the late 90s.
TNA took their shot and although they don't have Ted Turner's money to play with, they seem to be able to bring in just about anybody they want. What went wrong? Did they make the right decision to move back to Thursday? Is wrestling lacking that big, breakthrough star right now?
In the 80s, it was Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair. They remained strong into the 90s, and the WWE came through with Austin and The Rock. John Cena is the biggest star in wrestling today and he has some mainstream appeal, but he has not led wrestling to its next big era.
TNA moving to Monday nights with some all time greats also did not lead to the next big era in wrestling. Even Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon at WrestleMania ended up being a disappointment. What is it going to take? Will TNA ever recover from this? Will they ever become anything more than a distant number two? I hope so.
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