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Hogan meets Hart: Can TNA topple WWE?

By Osama Rahman

When TNA announced plans to broadcast at the same time as RAW, people wondered if the flames of Monday Night War were being fanned. News that Hulk Hogan would appear at Impact and the famous Bret Hart would re-debut on the same day on RAW, confirmed such beliefs. The Great Hulk Hogan, The Icon, bracing the Hexagon whilst Bret Hart's music blares out in the WWE Arena after 12 years, would both combine to produce the biggest wrestling news of, possibly, the decade. However, question remains whether TNA can really put up a decent competition, considering that its rival WWE, can itself be considered the Sports Entertainment Industry.

When TNA began, it was fresh, exciting and inviting. AJ Styles and Angel himself were created from dust. The crowd loved the great fights and taboo piledivers on display. With the addition of Sting, Kevin Nash, Jeff Hardy and other renowned wrestlers, word spread and the ratings proved TNA's ascent. On the other side of the coin stood the WWE, who had more share of their disenchanted fans then they knew what to do with. WWE's drab and used-to-death wrestling matches and storylines didn't help either. The only thing exciting for them was the rejuvenation of D-Generation X but everyone could tell that DX were now 20 years too late. John Cena had been too long a goody-two shoes and not too many new wrestlers were worth being marketed. So at that time, many believed that WWE's aura of Invincibility, that they had for so long, was about to be challenged. So, what is the opinion after the conclusion and repercussions of January 4th?

Well, for one, it is obvious that TNA are using the wrong approach. The fact that Eric and Hogan came in to discard the six-sided ring in favor of the more conventional one, admist boos, was evidence enough of what is to come. It seems Dixie Carter, the owner, has finally taken that one much-too costly mistake. Bringing on Hogan to counter Hitman was a really bad idea. Bret 'The Hitman' Heart had the fans on their seats, waiting on him, for 12 years. His return to the ring was the least imminent thing, least of all because of his physical condition. No one imagined this confrontation between the best there is and Vince Mcmahon. No one even thought that Vince would betray Hart once more in the ring. Bret Hart's return was 12 years in the making with the Montreal Screwjob still freshly imprinted on anyone who ever saw that match. This was the stuff legends are made of. On the other-hand we had Hogan's switch to TNA. Where is the history, drama and romance here? What does Bischoff have to do with TNA? Nothing at all. The fact that these two were even on the ring together and then were joined by Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, reminded people of the nWo, WCW and eventually WWE. If all that wasn't enough, Hogan actually spent valuable TNA moments speaking of Vince Mcmahon (yep, used his name, twice) and the WWE, gathering free publicity for them. Eric Bischoff was no better.

Whereas TNA should've focused more on developing their young talents, they have rather resigned to promote has-beens or those that never cut the mustard in WWE or did cut the mustard, but 1400 years back. What is Dusty Rhodes still doing in the ring? And who cares about The Nasty Boys anymore? TNA is clearly going in the wrong direction and to hand Hulk Hogan the mic, just proves that. Face facts, Bret The Hitman Heart replaced Hogan at the top. Hitman is more attuned to the present generation of viewers than Hogan. Hulkmaniacs did exist, but most of them are dead or retired now. Is that TNA's target market really? And Monday Night's Impact had storylines of the year all pushed together to form one awesome show, but without any chance of building on anything, since there were no new storylines. The 'Screwjob' angle on Kurt Angle was ridiculous and only garnered memories of Hitman Hart. Top TNA stars were almost absent. RAW, on the other hand was okay as usual, except for Bret Hart's appearance, and that was all the boost RAW needed.

This year, WWE has Wrestlemania to counter whatever TNA puts forth and this will happen every year. And from the end of February till the end of Wrestlemania and the month after that, WWE will remain untouchable. TNA had its chance and so far it seems like that they are blowing it. Though TNA are still fresh and exciting, the fact is they cannot compete with the Universe that WWE claims to be. Compare the roster and forget the dull story lines. Watching HHH, Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton and Sheamus in action beats watching a fast paced match anyday. Heck, the above wrestlers make wrestling worth watching. Remember Wrestlemania 25, when Shawn took on 'Taker? Compare that with AJ Styles pulling a trick on Jeff Jarret. Elijah Burke himself gathers more ratings than TNA will in the coming months.

TNA will find it impossible to fight WWE on Vince's terms. TNA should stick to being different, because no one wants to see something which already has a better substitute, showing the same thing but with more flash. TNA still has years of development left and shunning ancient antiques is the way forward. Practical record speaks for itself: TNA managed 1.9 million viewers for its January 4th episode compared to RAW's 5.5 million viewers. As the biggest fan of Hitman Hart, this writer is quite sure that, at least till Wrestlemania or as long as WWE has Bret Hart, TNA really stands 'no chance in hell.'



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