Bring on the TNA
By Rennie Detore
Sunday, July 24, 2005
The demise of WCW in 2001 signaled WWE's victory over its adversary,
and the end of the Monday night ratings war between the two companies.
But the biggest casualty of the battle turned out to be competition.
The presence of Ted Turner's WCW fueled Vince McMahon's vision.
McMahon channeled his anger and frustration of being No. 2 behind WCW
into some of the more enjoyable storylines and characters in the
history of professional wrestling.
Led by superstars such as Steve Austin and The Rock, McMahon embraced
the "WWE Attitude" mentality and quickly overtook the cookie-cutter
and haphazardly run WCW.
In four years since WCW folded, WWE has experienced a decline in
creativity and overall interest for a variety of reasons.
WWE no longer has anything to be compared to on a national level.
McMahon and his band of writers are mired in a creative lull, without
a competing organization pushing WWE to be better -- until now.
Spike TV and TNA (Total Nonstop Action) signed a deal last week that
will bring TNA to the network beginning this fall. TNA will air its
weekly television show, "Impact," at 11 p.m. Saturday night as part of
Spike TV's "Slammin Saturday Night" lineup.
Spike TV is attempting to fill its wrestling void after WWE signed a
contract with USA Network. WWE debuts on USA on Oct. 3.
The union of TNA and Spike TV affords the promotion the opportunity
for national exposure on a network that already has set a wrestling
precedent. Fox Sports Net aired "Impact" at 3 p.m. on Friday
afternoons this past year, but didn't rally behind the program as a
The 11 p.m. Saturday night timeslot for "Impact" on Spike TV doesn't
suggest full-fledged competition between TNA and WWE, which will air
"Raw" on USA at its usual 9 p.m., Monday night position.
TNA, however, stands to capitalize on the majority of WWE fans who are
looking for a legitimate alternative to what McMahon is offering.
TNA's pact with Spike TV provides the company with instant legitimacy
and a more secure, national platform to sell its pay-per-views and
characters, including recognizable talent such as Rhyno, Jeff Jarrett,
Raven and Jeff Hardy.
TNA also features the competitive "X-Division," which consistently
delivers four-star matches on both television and pay-per-views. TNA's
propensity for constantly pushing athleticism might sway disgruntled
WWE fans that are exhausted from terrible gimmicks (Boogeyman is
coming, remember?) and athletically challenged characters (Viscera)
permeating McMahon's programming.
WWE is taking notice in subtle ways, including instructing security
guards to tear up pro-TNA signs at live events. WWE also isn't
wavering on the 90-day clause on recently released wrestlers such as
Charlie Haas. WWE told Haas and other wrestlers who were cut that they
could work anywhere except TNA before the three-month waiting period
That behavior almost sounds like WWE is worried.
TNA might not have the immediate resources to compete with WWE, but
what TNA does have is the same motivating factor that helped WWE
topple WCW: anger and frustration. Jerry Jarrett, owner of TNA, along
with his son, Jeff, truly believe that their company is superior in
certain facets when compared to WWE.
The deal between TNA and Spike TV could be the catalyst TNA needs to
boost its confidence and visibility, and create an aura of pending
competition that stands to benefit TNA, WWE and especially fans.
WWE is reportedly discontinuing the Muhammad Hassan character at the
request of UPN network and as a result of weeks of negative publicity.
This decision by the network is in reaction to a terrorist-themed
angle July 7 featuring Hassan and a group of masked men ***ing The
Undertaker on the same day terrorists attacked London subways.
Hassan is scheduled to wrestle The Undertaker tonight at the "Great
American Bash" in what is expected be the Hassan character's final