RAW vs. Impact

March 9, 2010

Last night was the restart of the big Monday Night Wars, or at least that is what TNA would like us all to believe. I’m all for the competition and a return to the Monday Night Wars atmosphere, but I just don’t see that happening. The analogy I like best is looking at this Monday Night situation as: Canada declaring war on the USA, with Canada deciding to lead the charge with mainly veteran soldiers from WWII, because none of the current soldiers in the Military have big war experience.

All of that being said I do have a lot of strong opinions of both RAW and Impact from this week as I managed to sit down and watch both shows in their entirety last night. Let me also state that there is no way I will ever watch all 4 hours of wrestling programming Monday nights ever again. I only managed it last night because I knew I was doing the “Insider” segment on the Fight Show (on Sirius Hardcore Sports Radio) today with my friend Mauro Ranallo.

Let me do RAW first because I think that will be the shorter rant. On the whole I liked RAW. That being said it was far from an exciting show and didn’t produce much in the way of good wrestling; but it did, for the most part, built toward WrestleMania in a logical manner. I’m not going to go segment by segment but I do want to point out a few key segments.

HBK-Taker promo: I loved this segment. This is the kind of angle that IMO sells tickets. You had 2 top stars cutting very serious heavy promos about how each one needs to and intends to beat the other. It doesn’t get any more basic than this and that is all these two needed. No gimmicks, no physicality, no bullshit. When you have STARS this is all you need.

Chris Angle: Let me just lump all these segments together and say I hated them. The celebrity guest host stuff is awful, and on a show where wrestlers constantly “work” fans, magic tricks don’t work. All these segments were horrible and the only stuff I hated on the show. Dreadful!

Show-Miz – Morrison & Truth: A non match, which I could see people complaining about but I thought it served a purpose. Truth and Morrison are a thrown together tag team with NO Tag Team credibility, so they needed to give them something. This segment not only got the challengers some momentum it got them and this feud on RAW (WWE’s biggest audience).

Orton vs. Legacy: This segment confuses me, because I have no idea where they are going. The match itself was fine and the finish made sense, but I don’t know where this leads. Perhaps when I find out what the match at Mania is it will make sense but for now it was just some solid pro-wrestling that left me unattached.

HHH-Sheamus: I was not over whelmed by this segment, but to be honest I can’t come up with anything better. I think HHH’s promo did about as good a job as it could have in creating some interest in this match. I didn’t like HHH saying Sheamus hadn’t done anything until he won at WrestleMania, considering the guy was WWE CHAMP, but on the whole the promo made sense. To be honest Sheamus has only won a couple big matches and its logical to say he hasn’t really proven himself as a legit long term top player yet.

VKM – Cena: Okay this was a load of crap but this too may serve a great purpose. I know there will be people that think I am just anti TNA for tolerating and maybe even putting this segment over considering how badly I am going to slam Impact but hear me out. Yes this match was stupid and the rules made absolutely no sense, and because of that it was complete bullshit, but at the end of the show, Big Dave stood over John Cena and I had more desire to see Cena get his revenge than I had to start the show. Further more I think the complete bullshit match structure could serve a great purpose going into next week. This match illustrated the kind of bullshit Vince will likely try with Bret at Mania, and Steve Austin is guest host next week on RAW for the Bret –Vince contract signing. I suspect that Austin will appoint himself Guest Referee for the match at Mania to ensure none of this bullshit will happen again and Bret gets his fair shake. If that is what they do, this was a HOME RUN segment, because it gives reason to add Austin to this match and Mania, which should increase PPV business.

Over all RAW was an unexciting show but it pushed well towards Mania which of course was the point. Also a note to TNA: Steve Austin is a big star and will be on RAW next week, so WWE is TELLING fans this so he might draw ratings.

IMPACT:

My god I hated this show. I actually watched it first. I DVR’d both shows and with kids, I had to watch them in order of which DVR I had access to first and TNA won out. TNA did have way more happening on their show than RAW did but IMO most of it made little sense. Like RAW let me take a look at a few key segments.

Hogan & Abyss – Flair & AJ: I am so sick of the swerve for the sake of the swerve. Russo books this kind of thing all the time and its complete bullshit. The Sting turn was wrong on so many different levels I don’t even know where to start. WHY did Sting do what he did, it made no sense. I can hear the argument now, “Oh wait, why Sting turned heel will be revealed in time”, but that of course is complete bullshit and anyone who understand BOOKING knows it’s complete bullshit. This isn’t even about Sting’s motivation to turn heel, it’s about his actions on the show and the fact that they made no sense and ultimately made no impact. Before Sting came out the heels had the faces down and were stomping on them. Sting then ran down and stopped them, allowing the faces to get back to their feet. He then hits the faces he just saved with the bat, knocking them down and then he leaves. The heels then proceed to stomp on the baby faces again. The scene was EXACTY the same after Sting left as it was before he came out. Net result = 0; so what did it mean? The answer is nothing. Stings attacked resulted in NOTHING. If Sting wanted the faces to get beat up he could have just stayed in the back and did nothing and got the same result. I don’t even want to get into the fact that Russo has tried to turn Sting heel at least twice before and it has never worked. Fans like this guy, why swim up stream and try to get them to boo him?

Hogan backstage segments: Like the Chris Angle segments I want to lump these together because I hated them all. Although at least the Chris Angle stuff was just pointless, these segments were detrimental to the show. The thought of hyping a main event match by constantly promoting the fact that the top Hero in the match is too old and washed up to compete anymore is just beyond me. The bulk of these segments established that no one thought Hogan had anything left to offer and Hogan agreed with them. Then Hogan and Bischoff tell us that Hogan is the ONLY chance this company has and without him TNA is dead and not worth a damn. That’s one hell of a sales pitch. Better yet Earl Hebner; remember him? Earl was fired by Hulk Hogan for taking money from Ric and AJ to screw over Kurt Angle in a match Hogan booked. So Hogan not only hires him back but makes him the ref of his own match against Ric and AJ. (WTF?) It gets better, Hogan goes on to make Earl promise that if things get tough out there and it looks bad for him, PLEASE STOP THE MATCH. Unless the goal was to ensure Hogan can never draw a dime ever again, I have no idea what the point of this was.

Williams-Daniels-Kaz: Best match of the night on either show (ROH excluded, I don’t get HD Net, which makes me very sad). Wow three guys going out there and producing the best segment on Impact with no angles or bullshit at all. Good hard fought exciting match. Please give me more of this!!!!!

Sting – RVD: This was the worst thing on either show by far. To start I can’t believe they signed RVD and wanted to keep it secret. TNA needs ratings, to get those you have to get people who don’t watch your show to start. Rob is a big deal, fans LOVE this guy, so you need to let them know he will be on your show. That being said they did such a horrible job with RVD they should be glad if none of his fans saw this. Fans got to cheer RVD for about 10 second. He got a fluke (jumped him from behind) win over Sting, that meant nothing, and then proceeded to get the hell beat out of him for what felt like 10 minutes. This was a complete burial because the focus of this endless beat down wasn’t heat between RVD and Sting; it was between Sting and Hogan. RVD was left as nothing more than an after thought because the focus at the close of the segment was Sting laying out Hulk Hogan, again. Rob was not mentioned again, he was forgotten. What a waste. They wasted Rob Van Dam’s debut in order to get over Sting hitting Hogan with a bat... something that had already been done earlier in the show.

Beer Money – JJ: I just have to clarify one point here. Beer Money turned heel tonight because (according to the announcers) they hadn’t been on TV much lately and were trying to get noticed. For the record last week on Impact Beer Money pinned the World Tag Team Champions, and were scheduled to get a Title shot at the PPV. Remind me again how Vince Russo is a great story teller.

Main Event: If the show would have ended at the finish of this match I might have been able to give this a thumbs up since Abyss is challenging AJ at the next PPV and he pinned him here to build toward that match. Unfortunately the show didn’t end there and TNA decided to dilute all that with a bunch of run ins. Pope and Nigel have pretty much nothing to do with this and the show closed with Jeff Hardy laying out AJ Styles, despite AJ facing Abyss on this PPV and Pope on the next one.

In closing, the ratings just came in and the WAR may be over already. RAW got a 3.4 and Impact got 0.98. Yes the biggest night in TNA History Live on Monday night produced a ratings drop from the 1.1 they pulled the last 2 weeks doing taped shows on Thursdays and those 1.1’s were considered bad. If you look at the quarter hours, things look even worse. Impact opened and closed the show with their TOP angle: Hogan & Abyss vs. Flair and AJ. This was the match that was supposed to pull the ratings and the opening and closing segments of the show were the lowest rated. Excluding the over run, the last quarter hour rating for the show was a 0.76 (the lowest rated segment on the show). WWE’s last quarter hour on the other hand was a 3.6 (the highest rated segment on the show).

What more can be said,
Lance