The Monday Night Wars of professional wrestling have returned, but instead of feeling the competitive heat of Ted Turner's WCW, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon is squaring off with a new enemy—TNA Wrestling. The seven-year-old company, backed by the hefty wallet of Panda Energy International, will air their first Monday night program on Jan. 4 after years of being exclusive to Thursdays on Spike TV. Not only will TNA intrude on WWE's prized timeslot, they'll be led by WWE's prized icon—Hulk Hogan.
Multiple rumors have TNA trying vehemently to sign Ric Flair and Jeff Hardy prior to the Jan. 4 show as well. McMahon appears to be taking note of TNA's aggressive maneuvering, as he's signed a real-life rival to guest host WWE's Jan. 4 edition of Monday Night Raw in Bret "The Hitman" Hart.
Hart was last employed by McMahon in late 1997. He was the company's champion right up until his final match, when McMahon infamously altered the plan of having Hart leave the company as champion without Hart's knowledge. Shawn Michaels, another real-life rival of Hart's, wound up defeating Hart in front of his Canadian countrymen.
Hart, now 52 years of age, spent the next two years wrestling in WCW before suffering a career-ending injury in the ring. He has since made some appearances involving WWE, most notably during his induction into their Hall of Fame in 2006. But Monday night will mark the first time he has appeared on live, episodic WWE programming since November of 2007.
USA Network has given McMahon an extra hour for this Monday's show, meaning it will start at 8 p.m., the same time TNA's Impact program takes to the airways on Spike TV. However, Raw will run until 11:05 p.m., while Impact signs off at 10 p.m.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!