The year was 1995 and the PPV was SummerSlam. The PPV was dubbed "Face the Heat". Little did Vince McMahon and company know that was exactly what they were fixing to do. This event would prove to be the last for Lex Luger on a now WWE PPV.
September 4, 1995 signaled the beginning of the Monday Night Wars as Lex Luger announced to the world he was now in WCW to "Be Where the Big Boys Play." Luger's appearance on Nitro was like Union soldiers outflanking Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army at Gettysburg. It was the ultimate kick in the groin of any McMahon family member.
After 83 consecutive weeks of winning the coveted ratings war, Monday Night Raw overtook Nitro for the first time and this would signal the beginning of the end for WCW and Ted Turner, McMahon's major competitor at the time.
WCW continued to spiral and on March 26, 2001, the unthinkable occurred. Shane McMahon appeared on Nitro to announce that a McMahon had purchased WCW. It was the ultimate coup for the McMahon family and essentially eliminated their only serious competitor at the time.
Le us fast forward to 2009 where the WWE is now the standard for professional wrestling and in a move to create more interest, it has branded into Raw, Smackdown, and ECW.
Some changes have been made in management this year and it has shaken up the company from a corporate standpoint.
Vince's wife, Linda, stepped down earlier this year as CEO of the organization to make a run for the US Senate from the state of Connecticut. Soon after, it was announced that Vince's son, Shane, was leaving his post to explore his own avenues in business. One of these avenues appears to be talks with UFC in the realm of MMA.
With creative at an impasse about how to keep storylines fresh for TV and Vince's family leaving to explore their own options in business and politics, the sharks must have sensed some blood in the water.
On January 4th, 2010, Monday Night Raw will go head to head with a wrestling show for the first time since Nitro ended back in 2001. TNA, or Total Nonstop Action, has announced that they will do a live show to match up against Raw and then the following week, MMA giant UFC will do a show opposite Raw on Spike TV. The funny part about the UFC announcement is their current talks with Vince's son, Shane.
While one cannot be sure as to the effect these two companies will have on the direction of the WWE, one thing is quite sure. Vince McMahon will again rise to the occasion and will come out on top if TNA and UFC mount a serious challenge to Raw.
While the UFC is a different animal than the WWE, it has a realness not seen in testerone induced storylines that the McMahons come up with. This appeal will need to be brought to the forefront if the UFC mounts a challenge.
TNA is quite the opposite of WWE as it is perceived as more hokey if you will with their multi-sided ring and horrible announcing team. They will need to toughen up their image to produce better storylines to compete with WWE.
In closing and answering the question on Round 2 of the Monday Night Wars, one thing should stand out. Vince McMahon and the WWE have stay power unseen on any television network today. USA Network has done an outstanding job of helping the company obtain more mainstream publicity and this is where they should win the war the second time around. Between the network pushing the product and the incredible record the WWE has on cable, do not look for Vince to back down anytime soon.
So, to summarize for Dixie Carter and Dana White, you need to focus on your own branding and leave the WWE machine to run on its own. Ever see a bear backed into a corner? It comes out fighting and it is the same comparison I make with Vince and his beloved company. You mess with the bull and you get the horns buddy.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!