Text by RD Reynolds
Well, TNA, congratulations. Dixie Carter, come on up and claim your prize. It took eight years to finally snag it, but you did it.
The Gooker is finally yours.
In a lot of ways, this day was inevitable. I mean, for how many years have folks been lambasting this company for putting on horrible shows, nonsensical angles, and flat out wasting everyone’s time? They’ve given us barbed wire Christmas trees, fights in fish markets, baffling love triangles, and and Pac-Man Jones: Pro Wrestler.
Looking at that list, it somehow seems wrong that they finally broke through to the Gooker by way of trying to reinvigorate the business.
But as I write that, I want you to know that I am not arguing with your decision, fellow Crappers. In a lot of ways, I look at it the same as the infamous InVasion angle of 2001 – this was a chance for wrestling to come alive, to make us fall in love with it all over again.
And just like the InVasion, it fell flat on its big, ugly, stupid face.
It all started out promising enough. The Carters had decided to go for broke and started bringing in big name talent. Hogan. Flair. Hardy. Van Dam. Knobbs.
Yes, not only was TNA going out and getting the biggest current names they could find (Mr. Kennedy), they were picking up those who were big names fifteen years ago (Scott Hall); those who were kinda big names ten years ago (Val Venis); those who were really never big names (Orlando Jordan); and finally, those who were never in wrestling at all but were pals with Hulk Hogan (Bubba the Love Sponge).
And yes, we got both Brian Knobbs and Jerry Saggs showing up as well.
Apparently, this is how TNA thought they would not only wage war with WWE, but how they would win said war. While I could rant and rave about the stupidity of such a plan, let’s instead take a look at the highlights of each week in the war. We’ll do so by giving a breakdown of what TNA presented, how WWE countered, the ratings, and finally and most importantly, Dixie Carter’s reaction.
Please note I am NOT going to go through every week in step by step detail. If I did, I’d be writing this induction until 2047. And I’d go completely insane over those next 36 years. I wouldn’t want that, and I’d like to think you wouldn’t want that either.
Without any further adieu…
Week one of the war was basically TNA’s warning shot to WWE, a one-off program to see how they’d do in the timeslot against their much larger and more well-known foe. Spike had promised the company that if they did well, they could get a live Monday night time slot moving forward, so they threw everything they possibly could against the wall to keep their viewership.
And how did WWE counter?
And the result? Impact pulled a 1.5 rating, their best rating ever. Sure, they got pummeled by Raw’s 3.6, but it was an encouraging start, one strong enough to convince Spike to give them that weekly Monday night show.
Indeed, come March 8, the war was to be well and truly back on.
And so we fast forward about two months and we get…
And how did WWE counter?
But should he have been?
No, not really. Final tally of the first official night of the new wars saw Raw with a 3.4 andImpact with a 0.98.
Well, there’s always next week, right?
Why yes there is next week, and here it is! I bet TNA has figured out that if they put on some ***** action, people will tune in in droves!
So anyway, how did WWE tackle such a mammoth show?
Nor should I have. Scoreboard reads: Raw 3.7, Impact 0.8.
Hey, those TNA numbers are going down. That’s no good!
So with things falling off a cliff, I bet the crew down in Orlando came up with a humdinger of an opening segment to grab viewers by the short and curlies.
Survey says: Raw 3.2, Impact 0.9.
The TNA number is UP! Maybe that Magic Ring angle will do the trick!
Momentum is key in the wrestling business, and with a 10% upswing in the ratings, no doubt TNA was ready to pounce.
How on earth could WWE counter program Orlando Jordan?
Raw 3.7, Impact 0.6.
That 0.6 had to have scared TNA. But when the going gets tough, the tough get going (anybody else remember that Saturday Night’s Main Event with that music video?)
WWE, your response please!
Raw 3.0, Impact 0.85.
Isn’t this thing over yet?
Better get him before Vince does!
Raw 3.2, Impact 0.79.
If we could have just combined these two shows and had KITT run over Abyss, I bet the combined rating would have been a 14.7!
Hang in there, RD…just three more weeks to go!
Sigh…I bet it’s going to take an act of God for this war to somehow turn around.
Eh, whatever, Impact still got creamed in the ratings.
Steph, whatcha got for us?
Raw 3.06. Told you that it USED to mean something, doesn’t now.
ZERO POINT FIVE.
This is the end…my only friend, the end…
Vince, what nail you gonna use for this here coffin?
Impact did a 0.8 in its final chance on Monday night.
That was the end of the new Monday Night Wars, and the end of any chance that there will ever be another one.
And when I write the Death of TNA, rest assured, that thought will keep plenty of poison in my pen.