Hello folks, back again with another column looking at TNA Wrestling, the “New Wrestling Alternative”, if you will. Anyway, in this week’s column I’ll be looking at the all the latest TNA news and rumours, plus a look at TNA‘s Bound for Glory PPV.
– And the ratings are in!
As most of you reading this will be aware, TNA scored a 0.8 rating for their debut show on Spike TV, with the second week scoring a little higher 0.82 rating, and their third show getting another 0.8. Now, I know people will look at these ratings and not be impressed at all, I mean WWE RAW pulls in a rating in the 4.0 region right, so 0.82 rating is not impressive at all , well that’s not exactly true.
TNA’s timeslot is 11pm on a Saturday night; this is hardly prime time, especially on a Saturday night, a night in which many wrestling fans will not be watching TV, as they’ll be out. TNA is also a new product, which many people will have never seen before. Although its been in existence for over 3 years, only a selected audience has seen TNA, really only the core of the wrestling world will have seen it, not the wider casual audience, so unlike the WWE, the TNA brand name, carries little or no weight in attracting fans at present.
As I said earlier, the 11pm timeslot isn’t great for TNA, I don’t think it’s as bad the as the old FSN 3pm Friday afternoon timeslot, but 11pm still isn’t great. WWE Velocity once occupied this timeslot on Spike and their ratings ranged from their highest of a 1.2 to a 0.3, which they have been receiving more recently, so TNA did well to beat Velocity’s most recent rating. But, it has to be a little disappointing that TNA never broke the 1.0 rating for their first show.
Anyway, after their initial rating, many were expecting to see the rating fall for their second show, but that never happened, and in fact, TNA scored a 0.82 rating, which is a 5% rise. Now, many people will say, that going from a 0.8 to a 0.82 rating is no big deal, well they are wrong. TV shows usually score a lower rating for their second show than they do their first, so the very fact that TNA has broken the normal pattern is encouraging.
As well as the Saturday night slot, TNA also has a Monday night replay at Midnight, which for the last 3 weeks has scored a 0.5 rating, which again is encouraging for TNA that they have held the same rating.
One of the most promising pieces of TNA rating news is that they were pretty successful in the 18 – 49 demographic range, which is good for TNA because this demographic is what WCW used to be successful in. At the peak of the Monday Night Wars between WWE & WCW, they were over 10 million wrestling fans watching TV each week, and when WCW was bought out by WWE many fans turned away from the product, many of them could be in the 18 – 49 demographic range. So if TNA can attract some of these viewers that stopped watching wrestling when WCW closed its door, TNA could be successful, but only time will tell, the big test will come in 2 months time to see if TNA are still getting solid ratings.
– PPV Time!
It’s PPV time for TNA this coming weekend, October 23rd to exact as TNA present “Bound for Glory”, their 3 and a half hour PPV spectacular. This is the latest card for the PPV;
NWA World Heavyweight Title Match – Special Guest Referee Tito Ortiz
Jeff Jarrett vs. Kevin Nash – I can hear the “smarks” shudder at this one, buts its not going to be the “smarks” who make TNA succeed or not, its going to be the casuals fans, and that’s the very reason Nash & Jarrett are in this spot. Whether you like Nash or not, he is a big name in the wrestling world, and should help attract some buys to the PPV. The last time Nash & Jarrett squared off with one another was at the February PPV, and the match was surprisingly good, although it did have a lot of trademark Dusty Rhodes booking features, including lots of interference. For this match I’m expecting much of the same, including some sort of Team 3D and America’s Most Wanted involvement, plus some interaction with Tito Ortiz. Whether the match will be good or not, I don’t know, I expect it to be ok, but nothing great. As for the winner, I suspect Jarrett will retain the belt.
X Division Championship Ironman Match
“The Phenomenal” AJ Styles (c) Vs. “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels – AJ Styles, Chris Daniels, 30 Min Iron Man Match, need I say more? I don’t think so, but I will. These two have to be considered two of the best workers in the US today, and both have fantastic chemistry with each other. At “Against All Odds”, these two squared off in an Iron Man Match that was very good, I expect much of the same, only this time I sense that they will try and out do that match. It will also be interesting to see how this match compares to the match HBK & Kurt Angle had on WWE Homecoming, I sense it maybe as good, but we will see. Winner will probably be AJ Styles.
The Ultimate X Returns – Winner Becomes The X Division #1 Contender
Matt Bentley Vs. Chris Sabin Vs. Petey Williams – I’m not a fan of these matches, just too gimmicky, don’t get me wrong, they have their place on the TNA PPV card, but it’s not my cup of tea. I think it will certainly be a good match, and think the winner will be Matt Bentley, he seems to be getting a push since he returned to TNA and I’m pleased, but then again I’d be happy to see any man in this match win.
Monster’s Ball 2
Abyss With James Mitchell Vs. Jeff Hardy Vs. Rhino Vs. Sabu – TNA have done an excellent job building up to this match on TV, it has to be the best built up match on the card. The actual match should be very brutal, Abyss, Sabu, Hardy and Rhino all have a track record of taking some wacky “bumps” in their career, and I expect one in this match. I’m looking forward to see this match, and the winner will certainly have a feather in their cap, and should be pushed into the Main Event picture in the next few months. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Raven make an appearance in this match, maybe to continue his feud with Rhino, or maybe target someone else, but I certainly see some Raven involvement in this match.
Samoa Joe Vs. Jushin “Thunder” Liger – This one looks to have “Match of the Night” stamped all over it. Samoa Joe is really an awesome wrestler and TNA seem to really be pushing him well, better than I think the WWE would have. Now, I’m no expert of Japanese wrestling, nor of the workers in Japan, but one thing I do know, is the legacy and reputation Jushin “Thunder” Liger. He is one of the pioneers of light heavyweight wrestling, and is regarded as one of the best workers of all time, so it will come as no surprise to many that this match will be awesome. The tricky part is predicting the outcome, on one hand it would be good to let Liger win with him being the “International Superstar” but then again it would be a shame to not have Joe win, as it will really boost his push in TNA. I guess the biggest question if whether Liger will be able to work the 2 TV tapings after the PPV, I think at the moment he won’t be able to due to other wrestling commitments, but if he would it would be great to see a rematch on Spike TV.
X Division Four Way:
“The Original Playa From The Himalaya” Sonjay Dutt vs. Austin Aries vs. Alex Shelley vs. Roderick Strong – WOW, that’s my initial thought looking at this match, its another “Match of the Night” candidate. I caught Aires vs. Strong from TNA’s last PPV, and really liked the match, plus Shelly seems to be doing really well in TNA, possibly one of the best technical wrestlers in the world today, and of course, Dutt is a very good worker as well. The winner could be any of the four men really, I wouldn’t say there is an obvious winner, although TNA would probably be wise to push Dutt. TNA has a huge popularity in India, so it would make sense to push Dutt to help maintain that popularity in India, on his recent tour of India with Shark Boy & Simon Diamond, the TNA fans in India loved him, so there is certainly a following for Dutt.
Lance Hoyt vs. “The Alpha Male” Monty Brown – Not the match I would have liked to see Monty Brown in, but it’s better than not being on the PPV at all. Hoyt has quite the following in TNA, and his push seems to be coming along quite nicely but I suspect he may not win this one. It has to be Brown who wins, for the last few months he’s been meandering in the mid card ranks with Kip James, but a win at Bound for Glory could put him back on track to win the NWA Heavyweight Championship belt. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kip James involved in this match, to set up a Kip James vs. Monty Brown showdown at some point.
The Diamonds In The Rough (Diamond, Primetime, Young) vs. Apolo, Sonny Siaki and Shark Boy – I’m liking the “The Diamonds In The Rough” team, seems to be making use of guys who other wise may have just floundered around in TNA without a purpose. This should be a solid opening match, with hopefully Elix, Young & Diamond winning the match.
That’s your PPV line up folks, may be they’ll be one or two more matches added before the show starts, but either way, it’s a packed line up, and TNA have certainly gone out of their way to offer their own “Wrestlemania”, hopefully this will be the first on many.
– Prime Time !
Well TNA have done it, they have gained their first national prime time TV slot on Spike TV. Due to a UFC special on 5th November TNA “iMPACT!” was moved to Thursday 3rd November, but due to TNA’s Saturday Night ratings being better than Spike TV had projected they have decided to give TNA a 2 hour primetime slot from 9pm – 11pm on the 3rd November in what has to be considered a great achievement for TNA.
Various sites are reporting that the show will be much like the old WCW “Clash of the Champions” events on TBS. Its expected that the show will feature an NWA Championship match, an X Division match, and possibly a NWA Tag Team Championship match. I’d love to see Monty Brown vs. Jeff Jarrett as the main event of this PPV, very much inspired by the Ric Flair vs. Sting match from the “Clash of the Champions”, the match that made Sting. Monty Brown and Jarrett have had good chemistry in matches before, and I think it would be great to push Monty to the next level, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Other matches on the event should involve AJ Styles, Team 3D, Chris Daniels, Raven, Abyss, Rhino and the rest of the TNA crew. If Jushin “Thunder” Liger is still in the country and is able to work for TNA then he must be on the show, but I think that all depends on his commitments.
This is TNA’s chance to show the world they are big time, if they can get a decent enough rating this could lead to many things, maybe a Saturday Night prime time slot? Maybe a Thursday prime time slot, or even a Monday Night prime time slot? – Which at this point in time I think would be suicide for TNA, but that’s another story.
– TNA End of Year Awards
Keep the coming in folks , I’ve already had plenty of suggestions for “Wrestler of the Year”, “Tag Team of the Year” and “You Gotta be kidd’in Me!” moment of the year, send any suggestions to [Dan@Wrestling101.com] .
– TNA on The Wrestling Channel
A quick note to UK TNA fans, The Wrestling Channel in the UK will air TNA “Unbreakable” again Sunday 23rd October at 8pm UK Time, the repeat is due to the technical faults from last week. TWC has also confirmed that it will air “Bound for Glory” on Sunday 27th November. For all your TNA TV information from the UK, USA and Canada check out Wrestling101’s TNA TV Guide.
That’s it folks, thanks for reading, I’ll try to be back soon with a more frequent column.