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WRESTLING COLUMNS

The New "Monday Night" War
July 25, 2005 by William Young


Yes, that's right, I did not stutter. A NEW war for ultimate wrestling promotion supremacy between two rival promotions is on the horizon. And once again, a well-known independent promotion is once again trying to become a contender amidst the chaos. But the wrestling world is not unfamiliar to such a thing, for it seems that history repeats itself, even wrestling history. Back in the year span of 1997 to 2001, the promotions named the World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling were engaged in their own war for supremacy, and such a war would be dubbed "The Monday Night War" (because both brands' flagship programs ran on Monday nights at the same time). And also at that time, a popular independent promotion struggled to compete with the two among the chaos the war left upon the wrestling world, and that promotion was know as Extreme Championship Wrestling.

Now, of course, this war left lasting effects on the wrestling world for years to come, but it would seem that the winner (Mr. Vince McMahon & his WWF, now WWE) may have to test his mettle once again, for a new promotion has figuratively challenged McMahon to a new battle, and another independent promotion is making waves once again, and hopes to reach the level the WWE is at right now. Ladies & gentlemen, the new Monday Night War (but for sensibility's sake, we'll call it "The New War"):

Vince McMahon (WWE) vs. Jerry Jarrett (TNA) vs. Gabe Sapolsky (ROH)

But, if you're a smart wrestling fan/ wrestling fan that has Internet access, you may have already figured this one for yourselves. But the questions are: How will the war play out" When will it truly begin" And who will win" Below, I have my predictions for all three of said questions for the three promotions, and my thoughts on each brands' current state.

The WWE is, and may always be, the dominant brand in sports-entertainment (wrestling). Back in the days of WCW & ECW, Vince ran into some pretty stiff competition from the former, while secretly helping out the latter financially. This time, Vince faces a growing company (TNA) which seems to offer everything the WWE does not, wrestling-wise (technical wrestling, less storylines) and that alone could spell doom for Vince at some point, even though TNA does not have the budget the WWE has. And when it comes to ROH, Vince doesn't see them as a threat, which was much the same attitude he had for ECW. In fact, WWE made a deal with ROH so that on the official Ring Of Honor website, they can sell WWE merchandise so ROH can make a little more profit, which once again may spell trouble for Mr. McMahon, so long as Gabe Sapolsky doesn't make the same mistakes Paul Heyman did in the running of ECW. For now, the WWE must be careful fiscally and in terms of their product because they are ultimately pleasing the fans, not themselves, and if those fans want something more, Vince may be in deeper trouble than he bargained for.

The Jarrett family's upstart Nashville promotion has begun to make serious waves in the wrestling community for its different approach to its product presentation. It presents a more balanced product in terms of wrestling matches, and offers more good/great wrestling in exchange for less storylines. TNA's best move to date would be their recent acquisition of the 11 PM time-slot on Saturday nights, which is WWE program Velocity's slot. This is their start towards possible fame, and what's even more admirable was that they did it without Ted Turner and Eric Bischoff (but with Vince Russo, unfortunately). What TNA must do now is keep gathering a fan-base and spread the word; much like ECW did to get onto TV. They must make the absolute most of their new time-spot, and continue to offer the balanced programming their fans know them best for. Who knows" There could be an upset of Mikey Whipwreck proportions...

And finally, we come to the one independent promotion that has drawn a cult following not seen since the days of Heyman & Gordon's Philadelphia promotion. Ring Of Honor is almost freakishly similar to ECW in terms of their status amongst wrestling fans. Both ROH & ECW offer to a similar, albeit different, minority, both present a product that both "mainstream brands" do not offer, and both seem to go on full force 24/7. While it may seem generous to liken ROH to ECW, ROH still can & MUST do better to survive. As of now, ROH survives on online T-shirt, DVD & VHS sales as well as overall ticket sales to fiscally survive, but this can not go on forever.

There is only such a long time a company can survive on these kinds of sales before they must choose to move ahead or die (ask ECW). ROH must, once again like ECW, attempt to gain some sort of mainstream exposure in the form of either a television deal or public pay-per-view deal. This move may save the company, and perhaps make it a dominant force among the wrestling world, for there are fans out there (my Canadian self included) who seek & crave Ring Of Honor's product of excellent technical wrestling, shoot interviews, and hard-hitting rivalries that make it a (independent) smash. Keep on trucking ROH, you'll make it one day, I swear it.

While it is impossible to tell the beginning & end of the New War, some things can be said: It will be fierce. It will not be swift. And at the end, there will be only one brand standing. Nevertheless, I believe it will be a great event in wrestling history, and it will be remembered for years to come.

Thank you for reading my very first article, please drop me a line at wizardwill25@hotmail.com or at the comment board below. Goodbye for now, and good wrestling!

by William Young ..


C.N. wrote:
The possibility is reality. Yet TNA must make sure that they hold onto their stars such as AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels. If by some chance some of the big names in TNA start making their way over to WWE, TNA is done before it really gets going. Ring of Honor intrigues me. I can honestly say that I have only gained knowledge via the internet but the alumni out of that federation are most impressive. If TNA wants to start striking fear into the WWE start working inter-promotional events with strong indies such as ROH or travel to Japan. Reintroduce America to stars such as Jushin Liger and The Great Muta. TNA won't be able to do it alone because of the small budget but with a little bit of help at the right times, WWE may be in for a "Rude Awakening"....
TC "Chaos the Clown" wrote:
I would like to start off by complimenting William Young on his great, in my oppinion, first article about "The New War". I am looking forward to this "New War" and I can only hope that TNA and ROH will rise up to the level, or above the level, of the WWE. This was a great article to inform the fans and wrestling community about what is going on behind the scenes.
Anthony "Nitro" Fabio wrote:
I agree with a majority of the statements made in this column. Although I must disagree on a few. Comparing ROH to ECW may not be the right idea. It seems that ROH may stay at a top indy federation level. They produce talent that gets sent to either TNA or WWE. To put them in a category with ECW would be somewhat ridiculous considering ECW wasnt just an idepent fderation. Ecw had ppvs and got TV air time. WWE cannot afford to lose ROH. It can be used as a breeding ground for talent for them. Developmental talent that wouldn't need a WWE developmental contract. ROH could live just as long as WWE. As for TNA they are a huge threat to WWE. They are the new ECW. They always have something new and special to put on display. Wether it be a six sided ring, a whole ppv in a cage, an ultimate x match, or a king of the mountain match they always have something special. They are a newer more wealthy version of ECW. They also have big names that are ECW alumni. These wrestlers would be Raven, Rhino, and Sabu. They may even get the Dudleys. I don't see why the Dudleys wouldn't they want to secure a spot as the greatest tag team ever and the NWA tag titles aren't on their resume yet. TNA will have its down falls with the six sided ring and talent nobody has ever heard of but WWE will also have its share of downfalls. ROH may have nothing to lose. It seems this war may only be between WWE and TNA with ROH in the middle producing what they will need for the future.
Ai2392 wrote:
Wow very good first article Will. The only bad thing is the title, considering only the WWE is on Monday. I believe TNA will rise to the occasion and be a threat to the WWE. It is like ECW, with their fresh talent, all for the fans, and sometimes hardcore style. Raven becoming NWA champion may be one of there greatest moves. (Other than having the 11 o'clock spot.) barely anybody wants to see Jarrett wrestle. He isn't very entertaining, and isn't the best wrestler. People want to see Raven with the belt. In his matches you will see 100% of himself, and brutality. They've already got Rhyno who will contend with Raven for the NWA championship. If they sign the Dudley's they could actually have a good tag team division. I'd like them to have a two show week. (Even though it will cost more, it will open more to people and will be worth watching every night.) I also think the move to Spike was a grand idea, it was awesome. More people watch Spike, than FSN. I'll tell you. The first time I saw TNA, was the last day of 7th grade. I came home from school, and turned on the TV I was just switching around, and got to channel 38 fsn. I saw Team Mexico vs Team Japan, and it was something I never saw before. It was amazing the things that they were doing. I than fell in love with TNA, and have to admit, it's better than WWE. If it wasn't for Jericho and RVD in my opinion, they would have already lost. (RVD and Jericho are my favorite wrestlers.)
Jeremy Nutting wrote:
I loved the article. What you said there has been in the wrestloing portion of my head for weeks, months maybe. What I would really like to point out about this is that, you mentioned something about RoH and TNA being more wrestling based, and not angle reliant, unlike WWE. Well when you think about it, WWF was like that too, look at the mid-late 80s. It was much more based on wrestling than story.

WWF /E new they needed to broaden their horizon a lot in order to survive by appealing to the 'non-wrestling' crowd that still wanted to see what happened. Sooner or later TNA and (unless they stays true) RoH will do that aswell, to appeal to a larger market that will attract more people.

Nonetheless, great article, hopefully you will come up with a new topic :)
Aaron Harwood wrote:
After Reading the Article, on the New Wrestling War, I have this to say; First of all, the War was from 1995- 2001, not 1997, even though that's when it began to get interesting. But Vince started sweating long before '97, hence the Billionaire Ted skits in '96. As far as the comments about ROH. They're smart, because like Heyman, they know they will never defeat the giant, so they co-operate with them. This helps the Matt Hardy angle get over better, as he's competing in ROH, until they eventually bring him back to WWE. As far as TNA. I heard they want to change the name of the promotion, as TNA sounds too sexual, well you might as well call it "Home of WWE Rejects" because that's what it is. Jeff Jarrett, Billy Gunn, the Outsiders, Jeff Hardy (for now), and the list goes on, and on and on. WCW didn't get WWF rejects (well not all of them) They paid big bucks for a lot of the top WWF talent to switch sides. TNA don't have the big bucks so they sit at the back door, like starving dogs to see what the WWE throws out. I'm not saying People won't watch TNA over WWE for a while, but eventually they'll win out. Even Hogan, who had no problem jumping from the AWA to WWF in '84, and jumping from WWF to WCW in '94, decided to skip that 10 year itch he seems to have, and not jump to TNA, realizing even the Big dog himself should jump on the bandwagon, get inducted into the WWE hall of fame, and enjoy casual combacks now and then. Had he gone to TNA, Vince may have forsaken Hogan and his Hall of fame chances once and for all. I'm not saying TNA shouldn't go to Spike, and compete with the WWE, but for all you idiots who wrote tons of letters from '95-'01 saying how Nitro was going to run Raw off the air, and are just waiting for TNA to do what WCW couldn't.... don't hold your breath.
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