What Would Your Final Wrestling Grade Be?: Here's Why I'd Give Both Shows a B-
It's been about three or four years since I really have sat down to watch a professional wrestling program. I'm a hockey fan as you might see by the other articles I've written on this site.
But when I heard the news in random circles that both Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart would be back, I made Monday night January 4, 2010 one to mark on my calendar.
I'm not going to knock wrestling, because I'm still a fan, but I won't be changing my schedule to keep up with either show after what each respective company produced.
I eagerly awaited TNA to see a few faces that I hadn't seen in a long time. They didn't disappoint. With the return of Hogan, Bischoff, Hall, Waltman, the Nasty Boys, Orlando Jordan, Flair, and most surprisingly Jeff Hardy, there were quite a few wow moments to speak of.
The problem was that none of it came together well enough to provide any real momentum going into maybe the next one or two episodes. This is especially true for a fan like myself who hasn't really watched much TNA.
After what I saw on Monday, I was simply confused. Perhaps that was the intent of the show, but somehow I doubt it.
Are Hall, Waltman, and Nash siding with Hogan? Are they simply trying to earn their right to party in TNA as the start of the show would suggest? For crying out loud, are Nash, Hall, and Waltman even on the same side?
Exactly what is their beef with Foley? (remember, I don't watch much TNA, if a background to that feud exists)
The end of that show left me confused. Wasn't Hogan there to save TNA after telling us for three hours he was? But if that was the case, where was the swerve? I hope what we did see wasn't it.
This show should have hooked a whole new crop of viewers. I'm not sure it accomplished that task. Outside of maybe the A.J. Styles and Kurt Angle match, which was fantastic, TNA hasn't given a reason to change the station.
And while the match was great, what exactly is the main event for the PPV? With an ending like the Angle/Styles match had, there really isn't a set-up for any kind of rematch other than to showcase great wrestling. With the amount of surprises on Mondays broadcast, I'm not sure that's the focus of TNA right now.
In the defense of TNA, my guess is that putting on a three hour show with obvious last minute additions doesn't always come together as well as it does on paper.
Jeff Hardy was last minute, and you could tell with the sheer mess that was the opening match. That match had potential to really showcase something WWE lacks. Instead it was a mess.
The Nasty Boys, Orlando Jordan, and Val Venis all seem like odd choices and were randomly popped in the program with no real guide or direction.
Ric Flair might have been last minute because while his appearance was cool, it didn't really go anywhere. Hogan discussed a feud on a radio show that morning, but it wasn't addressed. Perhaps it will be, but what is the end result? One more match between Flair and Hogan? We don't even know if Hogan plans to wrestle.
This is especially odd considering Jarrett, Foley, and Flair have a beef. Dumb move if there isn't intention to put Hogan in the ring.
When a show leaves a lot of unanswered questions, they should make certain I tune in to see the answers. After Monday, I'm not sure I care.
Unless I'm wrong, Thursdays TNA airing is a re-run of Mondays show. What sense does that make? Follow it up strong with answers to these questions and maybe, keep someone like me coming back on Thursdays, which is still the true night for TNA.
Overall, it feels as though TNA seems to have picked up where the now defunct WCW left off, and that can't bode well for any real future plans. WCW died because the stories got stale. Why do more of the same?
Where does TNA expect an NWO reunion, a Sting in the rafters, and a possible old timers match between Hogan and Flair to go? Assuming that's what they are even planning. If so, I've seen that before and don't really care to see it again.
I suppose I sound like I'm being harsh on TNA. I'm not trying, but let me tell you, the WWE didn't fare much better.
In what I thought was the more logical of the two shows, the WWE missed a real opportunity to snag viewers at the start of the broadcast and keep them there.
When Bret Hart called out Shawn Michaels at the start of the night, I hadn't planned to switch it until WWE gave me a reason. From the first two minutes, RAW had the potential to be the much better show.
While the "bury the hatchet" segment was nice (and I think deeply painful inside for Bret Hart who at times had the look on his face like it truly made him cringe to be sucking it up), it gave me all the reason I needed to merely flip back and forth to see if Hart and McMahon would do what Michaels and Hart didn't.
Even the final segment of the show left me interested but confused about Hart's future with the WWE.
What now? McMahon's kick in the groin was nothing more than what McMahon might describe as fair return for a 12-year-old sucker punch.
Are we to expect now that a Bret Hart who legitimately (at least according to Hart's script on the show) wanted to put it all behind him is now all of sudden livid because McMahon did what Hart did? That a simple and very tiny kick to Bret Hart may lead to a showdown or confrontation at Wrestlemania?
To me, a more decisive stance would have made more sense. I didn't expect it with Michaels, because I'm still of the opinion Hart doesn't really want to work with Shawn; but if there was ever a time for face vs heel in today's wrestling scene, this was it.
Hart vs McMahon could be huge. The type of feud that has lots of options and wouldn't lose steam if it spanned three months to come to a conclusion.
For me, this choice was far too subtle. If I didn't know Hart was signed on a short-term deal, the end of this show would have left me questioning if Hart would even be back next week.
Maybe I put too much hype in my own mind regarding what might come of both shows. Yet in both cases, I was left wanting more. And when I say more, I don't mean the type of more than will have me tuning back in to wrestling on a more regular basis.
I will PVR Raw though just to see what Bret Hart's reaction is.
And for the regular readers on this site who tune in to read your favorite articles from your favorite wrestling columnists, my apologies for putting my two cents in. I thought it might be neat to read the perspective of a former wrestling fan who still enjoys the show but doesn't watch it nearly as much as he used to.
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