Monday Night Clone Wars

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Monday Night Clone Wars
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

People are talking about the Monday Night War, who won, who didn't? This can't be resolved in one night no matter what type of star power you have.  It's about endurance. How long can TNA keep up this shock-jock programming? And honestly how much longer can the WWE do the same with RAW?

I started so very excited about the prospect, The Monday night wars were back!! I told myself now is when it starts to get done right again. But when you actually look back and try and determine what it was that made that time so exciting everyone forgets the main component.

It revolved around featuring things that weren't on the other show and not repeating what was done before. The anticipation of witnessing the actions of the NWO wouldn't have held viewers for hours if it was all NWO all the time. What really put the WCW over was a wide variety of solid wrestling.   I’m talking cruiserweights, luchadors and great workers.

This past Monday I saw an oddly mirrored show that reminded me of Two-Face's double headed coin. It was two shows running the same basic format.  One was a little darker and more intense but still the same. It's a misguided idea to try and out WWE the WWE. 

My thought is that TNA would be better suited doing what they do that the WWE won't which is feature a different type of wrestler and present legitimate women's competition.Which were some the highlights of the night when they focused on it. But they just couldn't resist cutting out for those other segments.

RAW felt like it always feels to me. Removed.  Meaning that there is a show going on and it doesn't really ask you to participate, it allows you to participate.  There are stand outs on that roster that really have the ability to bring you in and entertain you, but that is hit and miss and it has never really been an in ring work focused show.

IMPACT! is a show that makes it very apparent that they need you to participate.  Something about watching an IMPACT! show, Hogan or not, feels like home.  It feels like what wrestling used to be, wrestlers and rabid fans. But it was always too rough. I enjoy a polished product as well as the next person but wrestling is just as bad overly polished as it is too rough. We're not trying to win Oscars here, we're participating in what I've heard referred to as "the savage ballet". The bulk of the entertainment shouldn't happen behind the scenes on a closed set, it should happen in the ring during a match. 

There was a time when performers could tell a story without picking up a mic and crowd reaction was everything.  In the old days the crowds told the stories, the performers lived them in the ring. This past Monday we watched two of the best face off on opposing channels with microphones in hand, the crowd a backdrop for the drama unfolding in the ring. After a scant amount of matches between the two shows, lots of backstage, in ring, background leading in and shameless advertising I felt painfully empty.

The only real difference was that the TNA matches were overall better than the WWE matches.  The X-Division match, ok could've been better but for me it was totally made up for by the other matches, especially the women's title matches. The only one on RAW that was really competitive was the outstanding match with Orton and Kingston, with an honorable mention for the Tag Title match between DX, Jericho and Show. 

I'm not a heartless wretch, I was greatly moved by Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart, it was an amazing moment that was nearly completely undone by the WWE's need for instant gratification by having McMahon attack Bret. It wasn't shocking or intriguing it was misguided and badly placed.   The lead in felt too long and the culmination like a false start. This was mirrored by the NWOesque Mick Foley beatdown on IMPACT!.  I had just watched AJ Styles do what he does, which is be PHENOMENAL with the under rated Kurt Angle and this was the end of these wrestling shows?

I think America based wrestling has gotten lazy without true competition. People like me love wrestling because of the glimpses we see of what it used to be, not because of the product that we currently have. Considering the current condition of 'reality' saturated television, there is very little worth watching.

Attending professional wrestling events is cheaper than attending professional sporting events.  And I’m not sure how many professional wrestling fans see the good time of going to live performing arts events like I do so it seems natural that especially on a Monday night ratings would be high if Monday Night Football is the only true televised competition.

Wrestling is in large part a product of the fans. So I have to ask the fans, is this where we want to be? I think wrestling and all parties involved deserve more than two shows that are trying to figure out the best way to mimic each other.  They deserve an actual choice.  Wrestling can be the ultimate chameleon.

Every big shift in wrestling has usually involved one thing, changing the truth about itself right before our watching eyes.  Here's to hoping that this results in one of these entities figuring it out one more time.

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