Last night was Monday Night RAW. WWE heralded the return of The Rock. They hyped Rock vs. Punk at the Royal Rumble. This isn't criticism, people, because I won't break my word and turn this into some kind of anti-WWE rant. I would, however, like to make one small point.....
After nearly two hours of actual footage, having cut all commercials out, CM Punk sauntered from backstage to the ring, removed the WWE logo from the microphone, and began his promo. With no further commercial interruptions, the final segment bringing back Rocky lasted over 20 minutes. I want to make something clear, I never watched the show. I found the show online and fast forwarded to the last segment and watched all I wanted to see......the confrontation. SO, for over 20 minutes, Punk and Rock exchanged words and there was even a bit of physical interaction.
The breakdown of the show other than this segment isn't what this column is about, because THIS is what TNA is up against....The Rock vs. Punk. Genesis is up against one of WWE's big four this month, as always. The question of what can be done to compete is unimportant because the establishment of such a high profile PPV is 26 years old. What IS important in determining is the quality of the card. Is TNA putting their best foot forward? Let's look at the card so far.....
Sting vs. DOC
Daniels vs. James Storm
RVD vs. ???
Tara vs. ???
Christian York vs. ???
Ryan/Morgan vs. Chavo/Hernandez
Roode vs. Aries vs. Hardy
There are two glaring omissions I can see right now....AJ Styles and Mr. Anderson. My prediction is that AJ Styles will make his return at Genesis and that Anderson WON'T be carrying out his mission, AJ will. Anderson will remain face and AJ will be doing what's right for number 1.
SO....is this the best TNA can muster? If you look at the current storylines, yes. This isn't a knock against TNA, because they have been building up to this point and have done a fine job at establishing what would make the card. In another year or two, if the current declining trend for WWE continues, we may have a contest, but for now, let's just assume TNA will make a respectable showing. Despite my OWN feelings for WWE's product at the moment AND the marathon segment last night, I still don't see fans turning from their product to something newer.
On TNA's side of things, however, the two-three hour tapings featuring the X Division and Tag Team Division, respectively, promise to deliver a HUGE boost IF they decide to air them as specials to replace the next two empty slots in the PPV schedule OR if they decide to give Impact a break for two weeks, which also is an option. No matter how you look at it, the fans win out ultimately.