RAW vs Impact

January 7, 2009

I am a very opinionated person, which I know at times annoys people, but in my defense I’m often right with my opinions and when I’m not, I’m willing to admit it. So with that said, I predicted Impact would pull a 0.6 – 0.8 rating Monday night going head to head with RAW and boy was I WRONG. TNA managed to double my predicted rating and had what has to be considered a very successful night; congratulations TNA, I am very pleased you proved me wrong.

I’m not completely hanging my head in shame, because back in October when news of the Hogan/Bischoff/TNA deal was announced, I was one of the few people that said this was likely going to be a positive for the company. There are still a lot of unanswered questions and who really knows if they can sustain the boosted interest in Impact but so far they are 1 for 1. They wanted to create buzz and pull a decent rating Monday night and the got tons of buzz, and the highest rating (by a considerable margin) in company history with a big episode of RAW on the other channel. That has to be considered a HUGE success.

I don’t want to look at the show too in depth, because that would take too bloody long so I will just make a few comments on things that stuck out in my mind after watching.

- That opening cage match was a debacle of epic proportion. That was the worst finish in wrestling history. A DQ in a cage match that for some reason came after Homicide hit the second guy with the baton, are you kidding me? DQ in a cage match that meant nothing, is bad enough, but why after the second hit and not the first? Then the poor bastard couldn’t get out of the cage. Fans chanting “Bullshit” 10 minutes into the show is just a total disaster.

- All of the surprise appearances were great in that they made for a newsworthy show that created a lot of buzz, but looking long term I have absolutely zero interest in seeing the vast majority of these guys wrestle on the program in the future.

- AJ and Kurt were awesome. What a great match. I would have loved to see Beer Money – MCMG get this kind of time on the show too, but maybe I’m being greedy.

- Eric Bischoff is such a great on screen character. With the possible exception of Vince I don’t thing anyone plays the authority figure/man in charge better. Of all the characters debuted (including Jeff Hardy) Bischoff is the one I think could be the biggest draw, and is definitely the one I have most interest in as a viewer. On the flip side Dixie Carter might surpass Linda McMahon at the other end of the spectrum.

As for the RAW rating I pretty much hit the nail on the head with my prediction, pegging RAW between a 3.6 – 3.8 which it did. Some might want to say RAW won the night because they more than doubled the Impact rating but I don’t think that’s really fair. If you really believe they are at war, then yes, WWE had the bigger audience and is the number 1 company by a significant margin so yes they won, but when you look at it more in perspective, TNA had the more successful night. RAW while drawing a slightly better that average rating likely didn’t meet company expectations, while TNA set a record rating and greatly exceeded company expectation. TNA is still number two and well behind the leader, but they did take the bigger step forward.

That being said as a program I preferred RAW. I was way more interested in seeing Bret’s return than anything Impact had to offer. Monday night I watched the first hour of Impact and then turned to RAW and did not flip back even once (I DVR’d Impact). Like Impact I’ll just offer comments on what stands out in my mind from RAW.

- I thought Bret looked great. I have always been a big Bret Hart fan. When I first started watching wrestling Bret was one of the guys that made me watch and want to get into this business (Sorry Bret I know that dates you). In high school a few buddies and I would occasionally make the 3 hour drive to Toronto for WWE house shows and the 3 names we looked for on the card to determine if we would go were, The British Bulldogs, Randy Savage, and Bret Hart. If at least 1 of those three weren’t on the show we wouldn’t go. As a career long fan of Bret’s and someone who has since got to know him, I was glued to my set Monday night. I thought the Vince thing ended a bit flat but the segment with Shawn Michaels was incredible. Hopefully they have a good follow up with Bret and Vince in the reasonably near future.

- I thought the DX vs. Jeri-Show match was very good but I don’t believe for a second Jericho is gone from RAW, which is very annoying. I hate when they do stips they don’t even intend to stick to.

- No offense to Evan Bourne (I’m a big fan of his work) but when he hit the stage to answer Shamus’s challenge the first thought threw my head was, people are switching to Impact.

- I loved the finish to the Kofi – Orton match. Blocking the kick and even selling the impact to his arms was great, what a great finish.