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War 2.0: Tale of the Tapening, 04/19/10
April 19, 2010

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OOWrestling.com


So... this new "Monday Night Rasslin' War" has been raging for the better part of two months, now. And yet, tonight they'll find a way to make the whole thing fresh and new all over again.
Why? Because tonight'll be the first time that TNA's Impact will do battle against WWE's Monday Night SmackDown.


Yes: SmackDown. WWE went head-to-head against that volcano in Iceland, and the volcano won. With their entire roster touring Europe last week, WWE was first forced to cancel the final few shows for each brand, and made a mad dash to try to get all their talents home in time for this week's TV.
It didn't quite work out. The SmackDown half of the roster were able to charter a private flight out of mainland Europe (Spain, to be precise) on Friday night/Saturday morning, but the RAW half of the roster were in Ireland, where the UK had a total airspace shut-down in place through till Monday evening. There was simply no way for WWE to (legally) get those guys (and gals) home in time for tonight's live show.
Which should make for a hell of an interesting time tonight. I've long since held that WWE's Hollywood Writer Monkeys take what should be a fairly straighforward job, and turn it into something unnecessarily complicated. During much of WWE's hey-day, two men wrote four hours of TV every week; today, WWE's ham-fisted, over-written dreck is churned out by nearly a dozen liberal-arts-degree-having diptards split between two brands. It's just too many cooks in the kitchen, and on top of that, I'm still not entirely sure how many of them are competent to be preparing the food. 
Tonight'll be a little different. Oh, sure, it's the same too-many-cooks trying to prove their simple little job is way more complex and difficult than it really is, but they simply HAVEN'T HAD THE TIME to really stink up this meal. They've basically only had 48 hours to figure things out. And I'm kinda hoping that means that -- in lieu of a fully-ruined attempt at chicken cordon bleu -- they'll settle for just tossing a couple fool-proof ham-and-cheese Hot Pockets in the oven, and let us enjoy those. Hot Pockets ain't fine cuisine, but they can sure be tasty. Especially in a pinch. Or if you're a total moron who never learned how to cook.
So here's hoping for tonight's bizzaro universe edition of RAW is the Hot Pockets Edition of RAW! HOT POCKETS~! And here's the standard look back to last week's ratings data, and look ahead to each of tonight's two big shows...


WWE RAW Rating: 3.2 (I think it was 3.0 and 3.3, with an overrun of 3.6-ish, but don't quote me on that; I forgot to write those numnbers down last week, I guess)
TNA Impact Rating: 0.8 (hours of 0.8 and 0.7, overrun of 1.0)
Analysis: Nothing much to see here. Both shows pretty much held their ground from the week before, albeit at levels that neither company can exactly be thrilled with. WWE, in particular, is having trouble maintaining fringe/marginal/casual fans in an environment where CBS has top rated comedies, FOX has top rated dramas, and ABC has Dancing With The Mother-Fucking Buzz-Aldrin-Raping Stars (the most-watched show on all of TV, having recently supplanted American Idol). TNA seems to have a very real problem with pre-taped week's coming in a little lower than live weeks, but if they're looking for a silver lining: with the return of a Thursday replay, their combined viewership is probably the strongest it's ever been (they're basically matching their Monday rating on Thursdays, and even if there are some wacko fans watching BOTH times, you still gotta think the "real" audience for Impact is somewhere around a 1.3 rating, which is what they managed to score in the immediate aftermath of the Hogan take-over earlier this year). That Thursday replay seems to be doing more for TNA's exposure than the move to 8pm (and hour earlier than RAW) is.
TNA IMPACT (SpikeTV, 8pm)
What's Been Promised: We know there will be a women's tag title match pitting the Beautiful People against Daffney and a Mystery Partner... and Eric Bischoff (after an apparent "face turn" last night on PPV) is hinting he will have a major surprise for fans tonight.
What Other Stuff's Expected: Coming off a PPV, it's basically a reset night, so lots of different things could break a lot of different ways... on top, AJ Styles is still your heel TNA Champ (having pretty easily disposed of the over-pushed Pope Dinero), and should be looking for fresh challengers.... which should be easy because the other big match at the PPV last night saw the babyface Team Hogan win over Team Flair; as a fan, I'd be fine with either RVD or Jeff Hardy stepping up from Team Hogan to challenge Styles next; but just you watch the TNA braintrust decide to give the #1 Contender spot to Abyss, instead. Ugh... the only other thing I'm intrigued by is how Ken "Kennedy" Anderson bounces back: he and Kurt Angle had the only real stand-out Match of the Night, which Angle won, and then Angle announced he's taking a little vacation, which means, ummmm, they just threw Anderson under the bus? I dunno... way I'd do it is probably just send Kennedy out there to boast about how he sent Angle packing, and try to gloss over the fact that he, ummm, lost the match in question; a pretty nice heelish dick move that could take care of things nicely.
The Verdict: A genuinely worthwhile "surprise" from Bischoff may certainly change things, but as it stands, this just feels like a standard post-PPV reset show. And there's nothing inherently wrong with that, it's just that -- frankly -- if there's a chance for a wacky-ass volcano-inspired trainwreck over on the other channel, TNA serving up business-as-usual just isn't gonna be my top priority. I'm into schadenfreude like that.
WWE Monday Night RAW (USA, 9pm)
What's Been Promised: A lot of things had been promised for the final go-home show before the Extreme Rules PPV, and now, not a one of them will happen. At least: not in their originally planned forms... WWE has scrambled and promised a few other things over the course of the day, however... since Triple H is nursing a few nagging injuries and getting ready to star in a new WWE Films project, he was not in Europe, and is the only "real RAW" guy who'll be able to appear tonight, which WWE is promising he will... supporting HHH will be the entire cast of SmackDown, with a special announcement that the Undertaker will return to TV tonight (for the first time since his post-WM tip-of-the-cap to HBK). Other than that? Like I said above, they're really flying by the seats fo their pants tonight, and it'll be fun to see what they serve up and how they serve it up (do they just take pre-written bits for Tuesday's SD tapings and do them tonight on RAW, and then re-write SD accordingly? or will tonight be all-spontaneous material, and then SD tapings will still go off as originally-scripted?)... fascinating...
What Other Stuff's Expected: Although HHH and Taker will both be there, neither really has much to do other than just appear and eat up time; HHH's PPV opponent is trapped in Ireland, and Taker has no current storyline... so for productive material, it'll be up to other guys to fill the void... here's hoping that Jericho, Edge, Punk, and Rey get called upon to do the lion's share of that work; Swagger and the Hart Dynasty would be a very dandy next line of defense, too... there are conflicting reports as to whether Bret Hart is here, stateside, or not; he'd been touring with the SD guys (as an enforcer ref for Edge/Jericho main events), but I got a note today that said he'd switched over to appear on the last few RAW shows in the UK and may be stuck with them... either way, it doesn't look like Miz will be getting his precious "proclamation" from Bret about ShowMiz being the best tag team ever; heh heh, his indignation should be delicious~!... although I guess they COULD do something, as rumors are that WWE has also secured some studio and satellite time so that they can insert bits and pieces of RAW guys cutting promos and whatnot from the UK; put Miz and Bret in the same room -- even if it's not in front of the live arena audience -- and you could still have some fun with it... mostly, though: no matter what, I think you can expect tonight's RAW to be a RAW unlike any other you've ever seen. 
The Verdict: It could have been a standard go-home pre-PPV hype show, and instead, the volcano has spoken and turned tonight into almost must-see viewing for any fans who want to see how WWE deals with the unexpected... it's the ultimate chance for WWE to take lemons and make lemonade, whle remaining an all-too-easy opportunity for WWE to take said lemons and just squirt the juice in our eyes so that they burn... tonight WILL be a singularly unique viewing experience: for better or for worse, it'll be a something we've never seen before. Makes it worth tuning in for, if you ask me...

As always, hope this latest Tale of the Tape has informed your channel-flipping finger, and that you'll use this info wisely as you sit in front of the tube tonight. And no matter what viewing decisions you make with your Monday Night, you know you can come back to OO on Tuesday for full coverage of both shows, courtesy of Danny and Pyro. See you back here then, kids...

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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