Sometimes, I'll be sitting on my couch when the idea of the day hits me. Other times, I'll be sound asleep and I'll HAVE to get up and jot it down, before it oozes out and into oblivion. Today, it just hit me even as I write this....the war begins before the year ends. WWE vs. TNA.....
I never could have called it, but when Ric Flair came out, welcomed by John Cena back to RAW, it became clear that WWE was calling out TNA. With TLC a day in retrospect, an award episode of Monday Night RAW brought one subject of TNA's lawsuit with WWE into the limelight. And when The Shield and CM Punk, opposed by Team Hell No, brawled in the arena thereafter, I could see the battle lines being drawn. The biggest problem with this battle is that WWE is starting at a disadvantage in TWO areas.
FIRST, RAW has no intention of dropping their newly acquired hour of programming picked up over the summer. This means that 3 hour long episodes of RAW will continue for the foreseeable future. It wouldn't be such a concern if it didn't happen that ratings have been in decline nearly every week for something like 20 weeks. In fact, only last week did ratings stop declining and actually gain any sort of rise in numbers. But ratings only account for so much, as I've said so many times before. So how is THIS a problem? THAT, folks leads me into point number two.
WWE has Monday Night RAW, Main Event, Saturday Morning SLAM, NXT, A.M RAW, and Smackdown......this makes 11 hours of first run programming EVERY WEEK! This drowns the casual fan with a diluted product and will ultimately do more harm than good in the long run. If you count a PPV per month, that makes nearly 48 hours of WWE programming each month! Let that sink in a moment.....
While TNA has been trying to find ways to expand and have gotten a fair amount of social exposure for the size of their brand, they've been virtually ignored by media outlets in the mainstream wrestling press, which is appalling to me, as one who loathes the idea of a wrestling monopoly with WWE at the helm of the wrestling boat, as it were. I, for one, am hopeful that the slimming and streamlining of the TNA product will bring about more success for the future of the brand.
As of this post, TNA has cut 3 PPVs from their schedule on the year, creating a possibility for TNA Creative to bring about good storytelling, development of younger talents into the upper echelons of the hierarchy, and a better use of more of their roster with the possibility of more hours of first run programming to do just that. With the fun and high quality of their live events from nearly every person I've chatted with, TNA is VERY good at being the more personable of the two wrestling entities in business today. I believe THAT is one thing TNA needs to keep intact as they reach for every gold ring ahead of them because losing that means the loss of a bit of their life blood....connection to the fans.
Truth be told, even with the small scale expanse of this blog, TNA is gaining ground, and that is profoundly encouraging. People are beginning to understand that the WWE machine has no intention of re-evaluating their drawing strategy, making their turnaround something of a slower process, whereas TNA's evaluation is underway even as this post finds its way across the web. The WWE Alternative Movement is gaining momentum and, as I've stated before, TNA HAS to make the next couple of months count as they move into the New Year and start it all off with a bang, which the promos for 1/3/13 lead me to believe they understand as well.