Monday Night Wars II?

The mid-90’s was a wonderful time to be a wrestling fan.  Millions of people around the world fondly look back on the World Wrestling Federation vs World Championship Wrestling ‘Monday Night Wars’ that took place between roughly 1995 and 2001, escalating to dizzying heights in mid-1996 with the formation of the nWo faction in WCW and really hitting its peak with the arrival of the WWF’s (WWE these days) ‘Attitude Era’ in early 1998.  The original Monday Night Wars was the pinnacle of not only wrestling but television in general, the amount of technology used just to give us, the viewers, a top quality broadcast paved the way for others to follow suit and for a time the production quality of both WCW and WWF was light years ahead of anything else we’ve seen.  Hell, some NFL broadcasts are still struggling to catch up even today.

As memorable as the Monday Night Wars were it all went sour come the turn of the Millennium.  WCW gradually went belly up as a result of what the wrestling business calls ‘politics,’ to be more specific the members of the nWo (primarily Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash, two of the founding members) essentially killed the promotion from the inside as a direct result of running the show, putting themselves on top and totally ignoring anyone who wasn’t affiliated with the nWo franchise – not to mention being best buddies with head honcho Eric Bischoff, who was the mastermind behind the very creation of the nWo and literally wanted to see it last forever.  That didn’t happen and Vince McMahon, owner of the WWF, ultimately bought his direct competition for something like $3 million once the plug was pulled on WCW, pocket change to a self-made billionaire as he was at the time.  He also bought out the much smaller Extreme Championship Wrestling at about the same time, monopolising the entire wrestling industry.

Fast forward only a couple of short years and due to the WWE (the name changed around this time due to a copyright claim from the World Wildlife Fund) having absolutely no major competition the product… sucked, quite frankly.  Storylines were uninteresting, wrestlers didn’t put on great matches anymore and nobody in the company really seemed to give a damn.  A small group of people including former WWF nobody and later (for some God unknown reason) multiple WCW World Champion Jeff Jarrett decided to form Total Nonstop Action Wrestling in 2002 in an attempt to provide an alternative to the WWE.  Of course there were smaller companies around but these only really catered for die-hard fans, it was virtually impossible to keep up with what was going on unless one attended each and every live event and TNA was more of the same at first, but it did gradually generate some interest once it got a television deal with a combination of interesting storylines, good match concepts and most importantly of all a lot of hard work from the wrestlers. They even managed to eventually sign some big name guys including Booker T and Kurt Angle among many others, so the signs were there that TNA was all but destined for great things by about 2007.

Sadly, that never happened. Seven years have passes since their inception and basically nothing has happened – yes, they’re recognised as the second biggest wrestling promotion in North America but that isn’t exactly anything to get excited about. Despite all the initial promise and big name signings TNA still hasn’t really got going as a legitimate threat to the WWE, so enter the man known as The Immortal Hulk Hogan.

Everyone over the age of about 10 should have heard of Hulk Hogan, wrestling fan or not. He passed his prime nearly 20 years ago but is somehow still one of the bigger names in wrestling today, so when the news broke out that he along with Eric Bischoff had signed for TNA it was quite a surprise. My first thought when I read about it was simple – the demise of WCW part II. As it happens Hogan quickly announced that he would be more or less running the show once the turn of the decade had taken place, and with Bischoff by his side that could only mean bad things. He then went on the state he was starting a ‘new’ Monday Night War which is a very bold statement considering the fact that he wants to do it was a lot of the old WCW guys. I mean ‘old’ literally as well, rumour has it he wants a 57 year old Randy Savage on board as well as the injury prone 49 year old Sid Vicious among others. Add to that guys like Sting and Scott Steiner who are already employed by TNA and we have all the makings of a ‘reborn’ Monday Night War rather than a new one.

The big problem here is that while a lot of fans were willing to see guys like Savage and Vicious in the late 90’s they probably won’t be so interested now, I don’t watch TNA much but it seemed to me like the people currently in charge along with the fans wanted younger faces like AJ Styles to lead the company into the future rather than relying on wrestlers of old (there was recently a well planed ‘passing of the torch’ match between Sting and AJ which illustrated this), so leave it to Hogan to potentially mess up any plans they originally had. Granted it probably won’t get them any closer to being Americas number one wrestling promotion but it won’t do them any harm either, seeing two older wrestlers potentially main event a big TNA even despite being 20 years past their prime can’t be good for the company in the long term. Chances are Hogan will slap the World Title on himself before too long as well, meaning the slight progress TNA has made over the years will likely all be undone. I don’t think Hogan and Bischoff will make the same mistake as they did with WCW nearly ten years ago, but I can’t see them guiding their new brainchild to better things either. I simply can’t picture a new Monday Night Wars scenario between TNA and WWE with the current roster TNA possess along with a potential influx of over-the-hill wrestlers, it seems like company suicide to me. I can honestly say it’ll turn out to be WCW Self Destruction II before it becomes the Monday Night Wars II, but it will be interesting to see what happens all the same.

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Posted on December 13, 2009, in Sport and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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