Dixie Carter and Hulk Hogan have reportedly met with Kevin Kay in Los Angeles, according to a report at ForceofWrestling.com. For those who don’t know, Kevin Kay is the president of Spike TV.
On Dixie’s Twitter page, she posted that they “had very exciting talks” and left open the suggestion of a programming announcement coming soon.
The most obvious, and not confirmed, result of that conversation with Spike TV would be moving iMPACT to Monday night. Kevin Kay had said in an interview prior to the January 4 live iMPACT that he would be open to moving iMPACT to Monday if the show was successful.
In the eyes of Spike TV, virtually every measure to evaluate the January 4 show translates into the fact that the night was successful. This fits Kay’s criteria in relation to moving the show to Monday.
If this move were to happen, it’s not likely that iMPACT would be live every Monday night. There are costs associated with flying talent in to Orlando every week that TNA may not want to swallow. Their current arrangement of taping two to three shows in a week is more cost-efficient.
They could revert to the pattern used in the early 90’s by the WWE, where they would tape two or three Raw episodes at a time. That ultimately is a step back for TNA, so you would likely see regular Monday night specials.
But here’s what TNA really needs to be concerned about. Can they build an audience and retain viewership without all the “first time ever” hype? Can they continue to pull a good rating on Monday night without the benefit of huge surprises?
For what it’s worth, iMPACT on this past Thursday night (January 14) pulled a 1.3 cable rating. This is not as high as the Monday live edition, but up from their normal number. Spike TV executives should be happy.
The show was not loaded with big surprises and I suspect many tuned in simply for the aftermath of the January 4 episode.
Any TNA fan has to be honest and say that the surge in ratings right now is directly related to all the surprises and first-time hype. We have seen some positive things such as the debut of Generation Me (formerly the Young Bucks) that are not directly Hogan-related.
Much of the buzz to this point though has been about Hogan and who he has brought along with him. That resulting buzz around TNA has drawn attention, without question.
But when the buzz is gone, Hogan-Hype alone will not ultimately carry the long term product forward.
Vince Russo said once that it’s impossible to book two straight hours of wrestling. That may be true; however, fans want to see more in ring action than a token 30 to 40 minutes in a broadcast. That alone would give them an edge over WWE’s product and retain viewership.
TNA’s roster has a quality cross-section of original talent. They have also made some good veteran acquisitions in Brian Kendrick and Ken Anderson. Of course they have some “not so good” acquisitions hanging around as well, but those aside, they have the wrestling talent that can compete with WWE.
But what about those "not so good acquisitions" like Scott Hall, Sean Waltman, and The Nasty Boys? The consensus is that they cannot go in the ring anymore. Will they truly do any good for TNA viewership?
Hogan said in an IGN interview that he wants to have the older guys around for the “rub” factor for the younger guys. He clearly wants to focus on the future. Hogan even went so far as to say he should be “done and gone” and replaced by now.
That statement, on first review, is genius. The future of any wrestling promotion is in its young talent, with a healthy mix of veterans on the roster to help them along. Hogan recognizes that and deserves credit for it.
The problem is that he went on in that interview to say that he didn’t want wrestlers standing around and talking like they did in the WCW era. He felt people in that day got “too full of themselves” and that wrestling is a 24/7 job where one must remain plugged in.
Think back to this past Thursday’s iMPACT. What have some of these established names been doing? They have been doing exactly what Hogan claims he doesn’t want them doing.
We were treated to some pretty horrible television with the Nasty Boys trashing and hanging out in Team 3D’s locker room on the heels of a fantastic opening bout between Motor City Machine Guns and Generation Me.
Hall and Waltman have been more interested in getting the band back together than anything else. We have seen nothing from these two except for some sketchy promo work until tonight’s pay per view (Hall did not wrestle in his scheduled tag match, citing injury).
If properly booked in order to get the most mileage out of the veterans, it can work. Saving them for a huge pay per view match, or a much-anticipated iMPACT showdown could make for great television.
Hogan has a challenge as an executive to reconcile these remarks, especially if he wants to go to Mondays and take on WWE. He cannot have it both ways. If he tries to, that 1.3 rating iMPACT received on January 14 will begin to plummet.
In the end, it will make the move to Monday night all the less appealing for fans and TV executives.