ECW Originals could spike numbers, interest, media and attendance in TNA; Rob Van Dam, Sabu, Taz, Shane Douglas, Tommy Dreamer, Cactus Jack, Terry Funk; Paul E aka Paul Heyman as mastermind, by Greg Tingle
Wrestling fans and media commentators the world over, from the U.S to Europe, down under to Australia, are interested to see the reformation of the ECW Original's (in TNA Wrestling!).
Living legend Hulk Hogan is listening to both wresting fans and the network powers that be.
Hogan claims TNA isn't to the point yet of having a Monday night timeslot locked in with Spike TV, but he feels their "positive energy" every day that tells him they're getting closer to working out a deal.
Many insiders say Hogan is doing what's best for the business and really does want to give back to the industry that made him a mega star.
"We're pushing hard for Mondays, trying to get there, a lot of variables, but it looks like it's much better than it did yesterday," Hogan said on the Monday Night Mayhem radio show yesterday. "I'm just starting to figure this crap out right now dealing with networks, ad sales, cross-overs, going to the top of the hours, quarter-hours."
Hogan said they've been "getting good news" for the last week as they push hard for Monday nights, but now he's shifting the heat to the "smart marks" - his scapegoat term the past week - for pushing for Monday nights.
"There's stuff that's already been scheduled, there's budgeting issues, there's shows for the new season, so it's not like 'Okay, let's go live on Monday nights.' Nothing is that easy. A lot of the fans, a lot of the 'smart marks' are saying 'we should go live Monday nights.' They have no idea what it entails, I'm just now having people sit me down after 30 years of wrestling and go 'Guy, you know what it's all about to work the match and be on the road.' Now you're dealing with the economy, the network, and the way the audience flips and changes the channel," Hogan said. "Right when you think you have it figured out what attracts the right demo, it starts to mold, and manipulate, and shape."
Hogan did admit TNA can't just "plug in the old NWO" and do the same storylines again like they did in WCW. He said they're learning from their mistakes a month into running TNA and figuring out how to present the product.
"It's not a cookie-cutter thing...you just lock down like you did when you ran against Vince (McMahon) with Ted Turner (in WCW). I thought that would work just to work it in and make a crack, but things are different than they two-three months ago because of the economy," Hogan said. "When you figure in the networks and the head of Viacom, and they're watching the minute by minute numbers for 18-34 (year olds), it's not like you could just plug in the old NWO and do it like we did when we punked Vince out. It's ever-changing moving parts, so we did learn from our mistakes; like when you get successful sometimes, you can get too full of yourself."
Hogan also gave a nod to the ratings dip this past Thursday on Impact when they lost approximately 350,000 viewers after the all-time ratings peak on Thursday nights on January 28.
"We have learned from our mistakes, and we are learning, almost like on the job training, because some of the stuff that worked two weeks ago, didn't work last week, so we're digging in and have our ears and eyes to the ground," he said.
Hard core fans and insiders, the type that subscribe to "sheets" like the famed Wrestling Observer Newsletter and Pro Wrestling Torch generally agree that TNA needs more technically gifted, big name wrestlers..."total package" type wrestlers like Kurt Angle and fans are urging Hogan to bring in Rob Van Dam and to reform the ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling) Original's.
Australian based Media Man, the media and publicity company advised that if Hogan brings in Rob Van Dam and at least some ECW Original's it will boost numbers across the board and would be money well spent.
TNA already have the foundations and some strong name value in Hogan, Ric Flair, Kurt Angle and some solid financial backing, so its time to turn it up a few notches and make the most of the golden opportunities that present.
Insiders agree that TNA needs to do more to improve and that the ECW and Rob Van Dam factor could be just want the wrestling promotions needs at the moment. TNA has also been exploring some of the elements that made the UFC a mega success. Former amateur
wrestler and WWE superstar, Brock Lesnar, is credited with helping UFC get to the next level. A bit of history...in 2002 WWE credited Lesnar for injuring Hulk Hogan's back and preventing The Hulkster from being on the WWE wrestling tour "down under". It was a worked angle. Hogan touched on this history with News Limited in his recent Hulkamania Let The Battle Begin Tour of Australia where he drew decent crowds and massive media attention sharing the spotlight with "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair. Flair remains keen to get back in the ring with TNA. In past weeks Flair has been mentoring the TNA stable and his guidance to A.J Styles have been played out in storylies, to a mixed reaction from fans and co-workers.
Wrestling fans in the meantime continue to enjoy the battle between TNA and WWE. As Hogan says, "The fans win".
References: Media Man, Pro Wrestling Observer, Pro Wrestling Torch, TNA Wrestling, World Wrestling Entertainment, Rob Van Dam official website, Heyman Hustle.
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