The battle for pro-wrestling dominance began this evening as TNA Wrestling kicked off at 9pm to go head-to-head versus the WWE Universe.
I took the mindset of judging the success of each program this evening by which one held my attention longest and how often I switched channels. For this night, the edge goes to TNA Impact…not by much though. TNA seemed rushed to cram as much as possible into their 2 hour slot while WWE provided a more focused program.
What kept me flipping from WWE was any interaction with guest general manager Chris Angel ‘Mind Freak’. It’s not Angel’s fault though as for the most part this new GM each week angle has been a disaster. Some positives on Raw were the Shawn Michaels/Undertaker showdown off the top and a quality matchup involving the disolving Legacy faction.
My attention was kept on Impact for more then half of the 2 hours mainly because everybody and their uncle knew surprise appearances would be plentiful. The debut of Rob Van Dam was well done as he quickly pinned Sting (who made his long awaited return in an attack earlier in the show on Hogan and Abyss). The Pope vs. Desmond Wolfe match was cancelled (probably due to the painful amount of time Scott Hall and Syxx Pac ate up) so instead they made a run in for the second part of the main event. Negatives were Brooke Hogan’s acting as she begged her Daddy not to fight anymore tonight.
The Flair/Styles vs. Hogan/Abyss headliner began Impact with Sting interrupting and Hulk demanding it be redone in the main event. Hogan and Nature Boy’s in-ring time were kept to a minimum (a definite positive), while Abyss grabbed the pinfall on world champion AJ Styles to build towards their pay-per-view battle. Surprisingly there was no Hulkamania leg drop and thumbs up to the Hulkster for letting Abyss get the rub in victory.
However, the end of the main event resulted in what looked like the writers trying to pile as many faces into the ring as possible during the final few minutes. After Wolfe and Pope ran down, Jeff Hardy sprinted to assist Hulk, Abyss, and Pope.
Raw’s main event on the other hand had Vince McMahon change the rules of his contest with John Cena to a handicap gauntlet match and then made it no DQ part way through. Thanks to Batista, Mr. McMahon was able to get a 1-2-3 over Cena.
Just like in Impact’s Monday test run earlier this year, ratings will be the story. Were Hogan and Flair enough to draw? Did Bischoff, Hulk, and the TNA brain trust make a big enough bang to make wrestling fans take notice? No matter what the number the ratings turn out to be, TNA better keep their work boots on for a long slow climb to establish themselves as true players with WWE.
Andy McNamara has been a SLAM! Wrestling writer since 2005. He is a Play-by-Play Sportscaster for hockey, baseball, basketball, football, and volleyball on Rogers TV, TV Cogeco, and internet radio.