Everyone is asking me via Facebook, Twitter, ESPN Radio, text messaging and carrier pigeon about January 4th 2010.
That is the day that Total Non-Stop Action will oppose WWE Monday Night Raw. TNA will have a 3 hour live program from Orlando, Florida beginning at 7 p.m. cdt and Raw will be in it’s usual 2 hour, 8:00 p.m. CDT time slot.
From TNA’s standpoint I think it’s a win-win situation. There has been a lot of conjecture on line about the rating TNA will draw with this live 3 hour show on Spike TV. I don’t think it matters. This is an opportunity to fire a shot at WWE and make wrestling fans think about the option of 2 wrestling shows on at the same time from 8-10pm in the future.
I have never been a huge fan of Hulk Hogan as a talent until he came to the New World Order in WCW. His character was different and it really ignited the Monday Night wars. Now Hogan is in TNA and may be the face of TNA and that is a problem-unless his character/advice is compelling enough to make viewers watch Impact every week.
Dixie Carter, TNA president did an interview with the Sun in the UK and said the following about Hogan’s involvement:
“Yes, he is involved with everything from looking at new talent to how we are shooting the show. The two of us, over the past several months, have literally ripped apart every single aspect of the company. I wanted a fresh set of eyes on it, and what better eyes than the greatest wrestler in the history of this business.
We’re looking at what we can do better, what we can do differently and what we can try.
I’m not adverse to trying things or to taking risks, because without that you won’t have great success.
We’ve had really wonderful success over the last seven years, but it has been a slow steady climb.
Now we want to put some rocket fuel in that process and achieve even bigger things.”
Radio and television are very similar. If I can provide a topic on my radio shows that can make you want to listen for several segments, that’s good for my show and the station. The same for television. TNA must have segments that have meaning and can escalate interest throughout the night.
I dare TNA to make me stay glued to the television.
The keys to TNA’s success on Monday night is the following:
* Do what you do best. Wrestle. TNA without question have the best matches in wrestling today. I expect great matches and the announcers Mike Tenay and Taz to talk to me and the rest of the audience like we have never seen these wrestlers before. It’s an entire new audience, sell the product. The wrestlers in TNA are impressive starting with TNA champion AJ Styles.
* Introduce viewers to your product.
TNA shouldn’t assume that everyone knows who they are.There is a reason why TNA doesn’t publish their buy-rate and numbers for pay-per-views…the numbers are small.
First, show the fans who AJ Styles is. He is deserving of wearing the championship and he has had some wonderful matches with Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels, Kurt Angle and others. TNA buries Styles and instead of being a proud, smiling, lovable character like John Cena, they make him more paranoid and frustrated. Styles as the head of the company shouldn’t be put on the back burner.
* More violence, less comedy. If TNA attempts entertain the audience laugh with some lame comedy bit, it will show that writers Ed Ferrara and Vince Russo haven’t grown from their previous failed experience in WCW. WWE has cornered the market on really horrible skits that would make the ‘Fuji Vice’ segments blush (Google it, young people) ( i.e. The Little People’s Court).
If TNA has to be an edgy, physical product on January 4th, that will be a moral victory. That would be something else that would separate TNA from the WWE.
* Make me want to tune in next week. There has been a lot of speculation about Hogan bringing some of his buddies from the past into TNA. I’m hoping that isn’t the case. Brutus Beefcake, the Nasty Boys and other names from the distant past wouldn’t be good on January 4th…especially if they are on the show the following week. Or actually wrestling on the show.
My prediction is TNA will draw a 1.4 rating. That’s a far cry from Hogan’s prediction of a 3.0 on January 4th.
My advice to TNA is that they have one chance to impress the audience, it’s an opportunity to really make an impact on a wrestling audience that has been fed the same dog food every Monday for many years from the WWE.
I will be watching live and I hope I’m impressed.
* (By the way, there will be a re broadcast of TNA Impact from January 4th in it’s usual time slot on Thursday January 7th. That’s a big mistake because you want the fans to have the option of taping the show on DVR or watching it live. Some could utilize the third option of waiting until Thursday to watch the show and that isn’t a good idea for TNA. They should have a taped Impact to show on Thursday to carry over the momentum of Monday night…growing pains of a young company without a ton of money.)