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The Katz Files
WWE-TNA War Preview
The Kingfish Arnie Katz breaks out the crystal ball and the analytical microscope on pro wrestling’s biggest promotional war since WCW went down the tubes.

A Note from the Kingfish: I’ve postponed the announcement of the 2010 Arnie Awards until Monday, January 11. While my picks for the best of 2009 are, hopefully, interesting, every story in the wrestling world pales beside the coming Clash of Promotions that begins with the head-to-head (1/4) showdown between Raw and iMPACT.

It could be the biggest wrestling headline in a generation. It could also be a dud that flames out before WrestleMania 26, because anything can happen in this zany business.

The first possibility is a lot more likely than the second, though. What’s at stake is market share in the lucrative big-time pro wrestling business. Even though professional wrestling is nowhere near as popular as it was a decade ago, it’s still a billion-dollar business with a world-wide reach.

WWE has controlled the top end of the business in North America for some time and, when it triumphed over WCW, pretty much had it to itself. Now another company wants to siphon off some of the wrestling market, and all that implies. With economic times tight and the overall audience for pro wrestling growing only outside the US, WWE will defend its domain fiercely.

For the last seven years. TNA has struggled to gain a foothold. Although the ratings have stagnated and the PPV buy-rate is anemic, TNA has most of the needed building blocks to get much bigger and more successful. That’s why Hulk Hogan is so optimistic in his predictions.

The WWE=TNA War begins tonight (1/4/10) with the head-to-head clash between RAW and iMPACT.

If this is the quality of Hogan and Bischoff’s thinking, TNA may find itself the victim of a first-round knockdown.

The timing could not be worse. I don’t see how iMPACT can possibly redeem Hogan’s boast of a rating higher than 3.0 – and RAW is likely to have one of its lowest ratings of all time.

Why? Because both TNA and WWE will be competing against the Boise Stare=TCU football game and the season premiere of Heroes! Most viewers can watch one and record another, but that could still leave either or both wrestling shows unwatched. Even assuming that most pro wrestling fans will elect to watch RAW or IMPACT, , it maybe very hard to get them to skip the bowl games or the Heroes premiere in favor of another wrestling program.

The first match in the WWETNA War could well come down to one being on its back, but the other too weak to make the pinning cover.

And how sad would it be if Vince and Dixie threw a war and nobody came?

The only surefire prediction is that I’ll be watching both shows – and reporting on them to you for the next several days.

That’s all for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with my TNA Notebook containing my analysis of the ¼ iMPACTI hope you’ll join me then and, please, bring your friends.

— Arnie Katz
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