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War 2.0: Ratings Review/Monday Preview for 03/29/10
March 29, 2010

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OOWrestling.com


On one hand, I could fabricate drama for tonight's TV rasslin' by pointing out that it's the fourth week of the New Monday Night War... or on the other, I could point out that WrestleMania traditionally seems to be the end of the "booking year," so this might be more of the FIRST week of the 2010-11 Wrestling Year.
It's all in how you look at it, really. And since I think I'm now down past the ad box, I can stop pretending that I give a shit which way you look at it, and just get on with the business of reviewing last Monday's ratings data, and previewing tonight's new shows:


RAW Rating: 3.2 (on hours of 3.0 and 3.4, with a 3.7 overrun)
Impact Rating: 0.9 (on hours of 0.8 and 0.9, with a 0.8 overrun)
Analysis: nothing for either brand to write home about, here. Impact returned to being a live show (after a pre-taped week), but did not regain it's initial live show audience (or the same audience that had been watching on Thursdays, when they had been trending around a 1.1-ish rating). Also: there was no Thursday replay (Spike has decided that two weeks of over-lapping the show is enough for the audience to "get it" and follow Impact to Mondays), so this time, the 0.9 number you see is what you get... and WWE can't be happy that their lowest number in a while happened to come on the final hype show leading into WrestleMania. Although interest in Mania itself seems extremely high, regardless, it's gotta be problematic that fans were looking forward to that big show without giving a shit about enduring the week-to-week poop-a-thon that WWE often supplies. Some perspective: that was the least-watched pre-WM edition of RAW since 1997 (when WWE was building up to WM13, widely regarded as just about the crappiest WM ever). 
I just need somebody to tell me that the overall decline in wrestling viewership (combined 5.0 on 3/04, now a combined 4.0 on 3/22, down a VERY statistically significant 20%) isn't due to the return of "Dancing with the Stars" (which returned last Monday to huge ratings). I do not want to live in a world where people who watch wrestling (of whom I'm a subset) intersect with people who watch THAT tripe (a subset whom I'd like to sterilize for the betterment of all mankind), and consider the two things to be equally viable Replacement Parts in your TV viewing habits. Wrestling vs. Ballroom Mincing is an Either/Or Proposition; nobody should be capable of interest in both! NOBODY~!
Then again, I'm fully aware that I already live in a world where True American Hero Buzz Aldrin has been reduced to prancing around for nickels, like a lowly trick monkey, on Monday nights, only on ABC. Viva la Dancing with the Stars~! Way to crush my last vestiges of Pride In America and Faith in Humankind....
I digress. Bottom line: combined wrestling viewing down 20% in three weeks is Not Good.
TNA IMPACT (SpikeTV, 9pm)
What's Been Promised: Again, taking my lead from TNA and their advertising for tonight's pre-taped show, I will avoid true "spoilers," but still reveal anything that THEY have revealed... thus:
The night's main event will be a six-man steel cage match, pitting the newly-reconstituted "Band" (Nash/Hall/Waltman, since you can't say "Wolfpac") up against the trio of Jeff Hardy, Rob Van Dam, and Eric Young (the former two having formed a tenuous alliance since defecting to TNA, and the latter one joining them because he got dicked over by Nash). Putting some of those high flyers in a cage seems like it might make for some fun (though reports are the main event was a bit flat until the end, and only the second-best match of the show).
Also hyped: further developments as "Team Hogan" and "Team Flair" take shape heading into next month's Lethal Lockdown match... Pope Dinero will address the fans as he is now officially the #1 Contender to AJ Styles TNA Title at the Lockdown PPV... and Tara (formerly Victoria) and Daffney will compete in a "First Blood" match, because CLEARLY when I rant about how lame the new G-Rated WWE is, it means that what I (and the rest of the grown-ups in the audience) REALLY want to see on our wrestling is girls cutting themselves with razor blades for our amusement.
[Ugh. Seriously, I'm as Equal-Opportunity as anyone when it comes to my women's wrestling, and the girls who take it seriously and are good at their jobs should be TAKEN seriously, too, and allowed to do the same stuff as the guys. Unlike the WNBA, this *is* entertainment, not true sport, and I see no reason why women's wrestling HAS to be inherently less-watchable than men's. In keeping with that, I don't mind a nice, intense, physical bit of girl-on-girl violence that simulates what the boys do. And we've seen matches with busted noses or bloodied lips here and there, and whatchya gonna do about it? It comes with the territory, and it's not off-putting at all. But actually putting two women in a match that's predicated on one of them blading? Please tell me I'm not crazy for thinking that's just wrong. And gross. And messed up. And uncomfortable-to-watch. Cuz where I come from, girls-who-cut-themselves are not exactly cool and fun to be around. Sick and wrong, TNA. Sick and wrong. And I don't care if Daffney ENJOYS being Sick and Wrong just to provoke a reaction or get noticed, I still just don't want that shit in my life. End rant.]
What Could Surprise: if they actually air the Orlando Jordan thing that they taped, you, uh, will be surprised. I'll leave it at that... it might also surprise you to find out that an AJ Styles/Jeff Jarrett non-title match was widely praised as the Match of the Night.
What Could Disappoint: if they actually air the Orlando Jordan thing that they taped, you, uh, will be disappointed. I'll leave it at that.... Bubba the Sperm Receptacle still has a job (even though Awesome Kong now doesn't, and yes, the two are inter-related) and will be front and center, showcasing his all-around awfulness once again tonight... Kurt Angle and Ken "Kennedy" Anderson will continue their feud, which so far has been the very definition of "disappointment," considering I'd have expected so much more than lame-ass one-dimensional caricature work from two guys that capable...
The Verdict: Two pretty promising sounding matches, plus a chance to see if TNA's gamble on Pope Dinero (KOFI LITE~!) pays off (after months as a fringe player, he gets the stick for the night's featured promo, and has a spot in a PPV main event to hype; are fans gonna be buying it?)... that's certainly more than enough to keep an eye on, though TNA's M.O. always seems to be garnishing their killer with plenty of filler to the point of making their show even more time-shift/FF-worthy than RAW.
WWE Monday Night RAW (USA, 9pm)
What's Been Promised: Not much. You couldn't exactly promise anything considering that WrestleMania was, you know?, last night and all. All roads led to WM, and now, we start fresh. We DO know that a few guys from "Hot Tub Time Machine" will be the Guest GMs tonight... Rob Corrdrey alone should be worth the price of admission if they let him be his usual funny self; I don't know which other co-stars are supposed to be with him, but it was supposed to be either 2 or 3 of them, in total (Darryl from "The Office" would be interesting to see on RAW).
What Could Surprise: I'm guessing "Not much," again... WM was so good that I'm sure they'll spend more time on reflecting upon last night's success than on delivering any kind of blow-away new content. It'd be impossible to top Mania, so why not lean back, relax, fire up a post-coital cigarette, and bask in that warm fuzzy feeling... just get on with the business of re-shuffling the deck for the Extreme Rules PPV, and start the four week process of building up to that. This will probably entail Batista getting his WWE Title rematch against new champ John Cena, so that's one thing to look for tonight... I want no part of extending either the HHH/Sheamus or Orton/Legacy stories, so hopefully we'll do something with those guys; however, it's getting awfully crowded with Cena as a babyface champ and HHH and Orton as the next 2 guys in the RAW pecking order, both also as faces; and it's really only Batista supplying even an IOTA of heel gravitas on the entire brand.... unless they keep putting Vince out there, that is. Which I hope they don't. Although Bret Hart *is* sticking around WWE for a little bit, so who knows?
Swagger is the heel winner of MitB but needs to simmer for a bit before he pulls the trigger on that (he's got MONTHS of lost time to make up for after the Writer Monkeys screwed him over after his initial impactful switch over to RAW)... maybe the heel US Champ Miz can lend a hand as one of the straws that stirs a new drink? If you've been reading the Forums, you know there are a lot of folks (myself included) who'd like to see Miz's NXT storyline with Dan Bryan blossom a bit more than just on Tuesday nights... have that develop as Miz's Monday gig, and then have him and Big Show as Unified Tag Champs spend their Fridays as a team, dealing with the almost-certain-to-be-pushed-after-last-night Hart Dynasty.
What Could Disappoint: It's not "disappointing," per se, but you're sure to be "sad" when they spend a lot of time reflecting on the awesome Taker/HBK match from last night, and the fact that -- at least for the time being -- Shawn Michaels is retired. Don't know if they'll actually have Shawn show up tonight for a farewell or not, but no matter what, you'll be a little down in the dumps pondering a WWE without the Showstopper in it to help it suck a little bit less... I will be genuinely "disappointed" if WWE doesn't do some of the stuff I talked about above in terms of shaking up storylines, and instead acts like they want us to keep caring about Orton/Legacy and HHH/Sheamus...
The Verdict: it's the night after the biggest night of the year. If you watched WrestleMania, you know it was pretty awesome, and you'll want to be reminded of that fact and see how WWE recycles that awesomeness for Monday consumption. And if you skipped WM, I'm here TELLING you it was pretty awesome, and you should be interested in seeing WWE portion out bits and pieces of that awesomeness for you in various packages and follow-up angles/promos. Getting some fresh material in terms of new storylines would be nice, but frankly: just basking in the afterglow of WrestleMania should be more than enough to render tonight's show worth-watching.

That's all I got for today, kids. Come on back to OO on Tuesday, cuz Danny and Pyro will have full coverage and recaps of Impact and RAW, respectively. Till next *I* dust off the typing fingers for your amusement, let me just say: GO FLYERS~! I don't care if it's the NIT... still having a season right now makes us one of 8 teams playing hoops; that's pretty neat. And even if it is just the NIT: winning is also more fun than losing. So yeah: I care. I care about the NIT. Kill me.... errrrr, I mean: DEAL WITH IT, THE NIT RULES~!
Later on...

SMACKDOWN RECAP: Bonding Exercises
RAW RECAP: The New Guy Blows It
PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
RAW RECAP: The Show Must Go On
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Boot Gets the Boot
RAW RECAP: Heyman Lands an Expansion Franchise
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Losing is the new Winning
RAW RECAP: Say My Name
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Deja Vu All Over Again
RAW RECAP: Dignity Before Gold?
PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
RAW RECAP: Bigger IS Better
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Hitting with Two Strikes
RAW RECAP: Heel, or Tweener?
RAW RECAP: CM Punk is Not a Fan of Dwayne
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Returnening
RAW RECAP: Countdown to 1000
PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Friday Night ZackDown
RAW RECAP: Closure's a Bitch
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Five Surprising MitB Deposits
RAW RECAP: Weeeellll, It's a Big MitB
RAW RECAP: Johnny B. Gone
PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
RAW RECAP: Crazy Go Nuts
RAW RECAP: Be a Star, My Ass
RAW RECAP: You Can't See Him
RAW RECAP: Big Johnny Still in Charge
PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: One Gullible Fella
RAW RECAP: Anvil, or Red Herring?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Everybody Hates Berto
RAW RECAP: Look Who's Back
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Care to go Best of Five?
RAW RECAP: An Ace Up His Sleeve
PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Sh-Sh-Sheamus and the nOObs
RAW RECAP: Edge, the Motivational Speaker?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: AJ is Angry, Jilted
RAW RECAP: Maybe Cena DOES Suck?
RAW RECAP: Brock's a Jerk
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28



Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.



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