Welcome everybody to a special Tuesday edition of ThinkSoJoE’s Thoughts. This column usually comes to you on Saturdays, but it’s a special occasion. Last night was the night – TNA finally tried to battle RAW with a head to head live show. Both shows had their high points – but in my opinion, WWE won the battle.
Eric Bischoff knows television. Eric Bischoff will tell you that’s his business. He’ll tell you that he was the one who put Nitro on three minutes earlier than RAW and he was the one who knew enough to beat RAW back from commercial breaks to get the viewers watching and hooked. It didn’t quite work out for TNA last night, and here’s why. TNA aired the first hour unopposed by WWE, and in the first 30 minutes had Jeff Hardy, Shannon Moore, and Ric Flair pop up on their program – but they also had a match that is unique to TNA and it’s X-Division end in a no-contest and fan chants of “This-Is-Bull-Shit.” Tara and ODB managed to change the word “bullshit” to “awesome” before Scott Hall and Sean Waltman showed up and TNA aired nearly 10 minutes in commercials. Credit to TNA where it’s due – they did what any of us would’ve done and had Hulk Hogan debut at 9:57 EST.
Many of us didn’t care and switched to RAW anyway, knowing full well that Bret Hart would kick off the show. Those who continued to watch TNA got to hear Hall, Waltman, Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Bischoff repeat themselves for 10 minutes. The moment TNA went to commercial – which would likely be the moment that fans changed the channel to see what was going on over on RAW, Bret Hart shook Shawn Michaels’ hand, and the duo hugged. This is the point for me when WWE won the battle – hands down.
TNA’s show continued to put on good wrestling matches in between the myriad of talk segments, including an awesome match for the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championships in which Hamada and Awesome Kong defeated Taylor Wilde and Sarita for the titles, and a short but good match between Pope D’Angelo Dinero and Desmond Wolfe. RAW had an excellent tag title match pitting DX against JeriShow, and the WWE Champion Sheamus in action against “Little Evan Bourne.”
WWE’s main match of the night pit Randy Orton against recent rival Kofi Kingston, but anybody who didn’t tune in to iMPACT for the TNA Championship match featuring the Champion, The Phenomenal AJ Styles, defending his title against Kurt Angle missed an early Match of the Year candidate. Throughout this match, fan chants ranged from the usual “Let’s Go AJ/Let’s Go Angle” to “This Is Epic” and the hilarious considering Earl Hebner was the referee “Who needs Bret?” Styles won this match, which was so amazing that Ric Flair watched from the top of the aisle and Hulk Hogan came out to commend the duo after the match. iMPACT ended with an old school nWo beat down as Hall, Nash, and Waltman beat down Mick Foley, much to the apparent surprise of Hulk Hogan.
As soon as the show went off the air, the Chairman made his way to the ring. With the knowledge that Bret Hart was on the show, fans probably knew, no matter which show they watched, that a confrontation was eminent. Indeed, Hart confronted McMahon, the duo seemingly made up, and McMahon kicked Hart square in the grapefruits to end the show.
I haven’t seen the ratings. Given that they were the number 3 Trending Topic on Twitter for most of the night, TNA likely popped a higher rating than normal. Going head to head with WWE on a historic night for the company, however, probably didn’t allow them to maintain it. Time will tell if last night was good or bad for TNA, but for the first time in nearly nine years, it was just awesome to be a wrestling fan on Monday nights.
Before I take off, I’d like to take a moment to thank chjpacheco for his iMPACT coverage and Legend Killer for stepping in to cover RAW so that I could sit back and be a fan rather than a critic on this spectacular night.
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