WWE Monday Night Raw: Why the Flagship Show Will Never Have Serious Competition
The WWE is closing on 1,000 episodes of Raw. Even with its ups and downs, the long-running wrestling and entertainment show should charge towards 2,000 episodes with no serious competition.
The WWE has too much of a head start, both financially and in terms of audience loyalty, to ever see a repeat of the Monday Night Wars.
Raw's first year was 1993. The WWE roamed free on the Monday scene until World Championship Wrestling began running Monday Nitro in direct competition with it in September of '95.
Having to fight for ratings among wrestling fans forced both companies to up their games. They were both putting on their best possible products in order to survive.
Nitro, of course, is no longer around.
As much as it may look like it with Hulk Hogan, Sting and Vince Russo involved, Total Nonstop Action is not WCW.
WCW was already a well-established company before scoring the services of the megastar Hogan. However, even with Hogan's star power at their command, it took the nWo storyline to shift the power balance.
Often described as today's Hogan, John Cena would be the only wrestler who could have a similar affect on ratings. Having said that, TNA or any other wrestling company not run by Vince McMahon cannot afford Cena.
WCW couldn't afford Hogan when they brought him over, either.
Overpaying their top guys was a big part of what did them in. Even with Hogan in tow, with the Outsiders and Goldberg and an incredible cruiserweight division, WCW eventually lost to the juggernaut that is the WWE.
And the WWE is even bigger now.
Any company looking to battle McMahon head-on would be at a serious disadvantage. Not only does the WWE have superior financial resources, their show has a growing history and a devoted following.
As bad as Raw can get at times, with the Muppets or Jeremy Piven getting in the way, it is the major wrestling show on television.
If another upstart company were to revive the Monday Night Wars, it would have two decades of history to catch up with. And who'd be wrestling for them?
The WWE has a stranglehold on the majority of wrestling talent in the United States. They continue to sign the newest young talent.
TNA is struggling in part because it relies too much on WWE cast-offs.
WCW had Ric Flair and Sting to build upon before Hogan came. As talented as Austin Aries, AJ Styles and Samoa Joe are, they don't have the impact on the market that Flair did.
Unfortunately for fans who could choose between WCW and the WWE, Nitro and Raw, the current Monday night landscape is much different. A monopoly like the WWE has can only breed apathy and lazy writing.
What is there to drive them if they get people to watch regardless of the quality of the product?
As Raw heads into its third and fourth decade, it will likely not be facing competition from a wrestling company, but be fighting for ratings with Monday Night Football.
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