Saturday night on Spike TV, UFC had a three hour Ultimate Fighter finale. Hulk Hogan, Dixie Carter, and Eric Bischoff were in attendance. At the end of the first hour, UFC color commentator, Joe Rogan, interviewed Hulk Hogan.
Hogan announced that on January 4, 2010, that he and TNA are going head to head, going to war with the WWE on Monday nights. This is interesting for so many reasons. Obviously TNA stepping up and challenging WWE sticks out, but I am more interested in TNA, who also is on Spike TV, using a heavily hyped UFC event as a promotional partner.
Is TNA going head to head with WWE a minor domestic disturbance with a little smack talk, or is this opening shots of a new war?
There has been a link with UFC and the WWE in conversations since the UFC began in 1993. First it was because it was seen as some type of alternative to the product of pro wrestling, and then it was former UFC fighters like Ken Shamrock and others who got involved in WWE and WCW. Brock Lesnar who is a former WWE champ, is now the UFC champ.
UFC markets itself of being “as real as it gets” which obviously has a jab at wrestling for not being real and capturing fight fans who use to watch pro wrestling when it was filled with attitude.
So now TNA has one of the biggest names ever is going to go face to face with WWE, just used UFC, another company who is real fighting, but still gets meshed in as a similar genre with professional wrestling. Both appear on the same network, Spike TV. It surely seems like TNA is trying build up the arsenal. I'm sure Spike TV executives were happy or instructed for the announcement to take place on UFC's programming. I'd be curious to see if a partnership between the two could add some riders to Dixie Carters red and yellow bandwagon.
Oh and let us not forget the bad terms that there is between Spike and the WWE. Just think back to the last episode of RAW on Spike before they moved back to USA. Remember the audio being cut off throughout the night as RAW tried to promote themselves going back to USA?
I don't know if this is going to wok for TNA in terms of them being able to seriously compete with the WWE. Hell, I often wonder if their new big fish, Hulk Hogan, can he even name 10 guys on the TNA roster?!
Hogan may not do anything significant for TNA, but until we find out, he still is a big name who is once again standing across the fence from Vince McMahon and declaring war. So until this new direction TNA is going in fails (if it does), than the all this hype of going head to head is worth something. I think all wrestling fans would like to see another wrestling war. Time will tell if TNA can gather enough ammo to go face to face with WWE.
Rumor has it that the January 4, 2010 edition of RAW taking place in Dayton, Ohio, will feature the special guest host, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. If this is true, it should be an exciting night of television to see what each company brings to the screen.
Again, I am not sure if TNA is going to ever be able make us seriously think that another Monday night war like we experienced in the 90's is going to happen, but I will say without a doubt, 365 days from now, TNA will not be the same. They will either be riding some strong momentum becoming a serious player in the professional wrestling world, or will be close to extinction.
Interested to hear what you think of January 4th, plus where TNA will be in a year. I will post a few of the best responses in my next column.
Listen live on Sunday night December 6, 2009, I will be appearing on wrestling talk show “The Beatdown” on 1340 WBGN, a Fox Sports Radio affiliate. If you are not in the Bowling Green, Kentucky area, you can listen live at www.wbgnbeatdown.com or www.1340wbgn.com from 10-12 pm eastern time.