Friday, 7 May 2010

Blame TNA not Spike TV by Shaun Nichols

On Monday 3rd May TNA broadcasted the final episode of Impact before they will disappear from Mondays and back to the relative safety of Thursdays. I do agree with Stuart that wrestling fans are not concerned with TV ratings but rather the quality of the product that they are watching. Is the show entertaining? The episode a couple of weeks ago where RVD beat both Jeff Hardy and in the main event AJ Styles to become the new champion was a good show, it had more good segments than bad. There as been a reduction in the number of skits which were thrown at the audience, which is a blessing. However in any episode of Impact there are always a number of things which are either plain terrible, don't make any sense or they put things on TV for no reason and with no explanation.

To put things into context you have to go back to the arrival of Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff and what TNA and the Carters thought would happen in the months to come. With the imminent arrival of the would be saviours, there was a feeling that this could be end of Vince Russo as chief booker. The realisation for Hogan & Bischoff was that if they insisted on Russo being fired, somebody else would need to write the TV. Worse they might have to do it, they certainly did not have the desire or the inclination to write the show themselves and so Russo survived. The feeling within TNA at that stage was that if they could get TV on Monday nghts, they now had Hogan, Bischoff, Flair then they would increase their TV ratings. Hogan went on TV interviews and stated with a straight face that they would get a 3.0 rating when they went head to head with the WWE on January 4th. All the talk of ratings was coming from TNA, it was TNA that wanted the move to Mondays and claimed that Thursdays were an awful night for Impact to be shown. That's really doubtful as Smackdown ratings are well down since they moved from Thursdays to Fridays and why the WWE have made the decision not to move back to Thursdays when they move to Syfy later this year is one defies logic.

A lot happened on the Impact show on January 4th, infact way too much occured it was like three or four weeks TV in one show. It wasn't a dull or boring show but a lot of it didn't make sense. Vince Russo came out and said that he was incredibly proud of the show and also that it took him three months of hard work to write one episode of Impact. The idea that it takes even a couple of weeks to write a show is completely bizarre nevermind about twelve weeks. Another classic example of why fans get frustrated with TNA was the initial booking of RVD, typically TNA did not promote his debut the week before or even at the start of the show. Instead we had Taz asking Mike Tenay what he was doing at 4:20? Subtlety, it's such a wondeful thing!! When he did finally make his debut he pinned Sting in less than 60 seconds in what came across as a complete fluke. Sting then beat him up with a baseball bat for about 5 minutes as he waited for Hogan to come out at the top of the hour. Why did TNA not want Hogan to come out until the start of the next hour? For ratings, the segment dragged and fans switched off/over. RVD's debut was ruined as he looked like a complete idiot as he didn't even vow revenge later on in the show, infact he wasn't seen until the following week where he apparently drove Hogan to the show.
Other classic examples of TNA making it clear either through the announcers or the wrestlers themselves of them chasing ratings on Impact feature the Knockout division. Typically the womens division as been the highest rated sections especially when Awesome Kong & Gail Kim were the focal of the Knockouts. The first example was the Beautiful People in a mud wrestling match and the second and the most recent example was the ridiculous Lovebox 8 women match which ended with Angelina Love winning the title by opening a box. Now as this concept was being explained by Christie Hemme, they then went to a promo by then champion Tara who complained about the match (and who wouldn't?) and then said the only reason this match was taking place was because TNA were chasing ratings.

We've seen TNA go head to head at 9-11pm with Raw, finally realising they may have a better chance going unopposed in the first hour and go 8-10. Dixie telling her followers on Twitter that they were scrapping the replays on Thursdays so that if the fans wanted to see Impact they had to see the live show. What happened? Spike showed the replay and more fans actually watched the replay. The following week the replay was scrapped and then re-instated the week after that. Why people are blaming Spike for moving TNA back to Thursday is beyond me. TNA have stated all along that if they had Monday nights, Hogan, Flair and Bischoff they would be a bigger success. TV ratings have fallen, PPV buyrates haven't changed significantly and yet TNA have yet to realise that they are not WCW in 1996. They insist on pushing Hogan and Flair above all others and remember that didn't work in WCW back in 1999 and 2000. Hogan only signed a one year contract back in October, I don't see any reason why once the contract has expired that Hogan will not walk off into the sunset. Every reason that Dixie and TNA in general gave to say that they are breaking through as made absolutely no difference. They are failing because they are too stupid and stubborn to bite the bullet to accept why they are going backwards and while they stay on their current course it will end in disaster.

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