Feature: Steve Anderson on TNA’s Recent Impact/WWE Commercial


Okay, so Iâ<80><99>m watching TNA Impact the other night.

Decent show, but an even better commercial for WWE.

Sadly, this is the effects of a â<80><9c>wrestling war.â<80> WWE enjoyed a short time being the only show in town after the demise/purchase of WCW. Now, TNA is growing in exposure, revenues and popularity. While not on a level of their counterpart in the northeast, they are coming into their own.

But constant mentions to WWE wrestlers and the company owner will not help their growth. Frankly, it makes them look â<80><9c>small time.â<80>

Donâ<80><99>t get me wrong. I want TNA to succeed in the long run. Early success has resulted in big name signings, the latest being Mick Foley. Video game deals. Action figures. Mainstream publicity. Good for them. They have become a viable option to wrestling fans and those WWE workers who feel downright trapped.

Youâ<80><99>re entering the big time, TNA. Itâ<80><99>s time to cease making references to WWE. Last Thursdayâ<80><99>s show was excruciating with the references. Mick Foley ran down the name of practically the entire roster and his former boss while Kurt Angle was taunted by Jeff Jarrett about how much he loved and hated Vince McMahon.

If thatâ<80><99>s a strategy, it has a history of failing and even turning the tide against the promotion hell-bent in making the references.

The best example of how this strategy can go wrong is none other than WCW and Eric Bischoff. Ironically, his charge, Tony Schiavone, invoked the name of Mick Foley winning the WWE championship back in a Monday Night Raw broadcast taped on December 29, 1998, but airing on January 4, 1999.

â<80><9c>Thatâ<80><99>ll put butts in seats,â<80> a smarmy Schiavone remarked in a now quotable quote.

What happened? WCW fans changed the channel in droves to Raw. The dig turned into hype. It was one of the many turning points in the â<80><9c>Wrestling Wars.â<80>

Speaking of quotable quotes, how about this one?

â<80><9c>How about it, Vinnie? But I want to warn you people right now. If you think Vince McMahon has got the guts to show up, don’t buy this PPV, because I guarantee you he’s not man enough to step into the ring with moi. But I’ll be there, Vinnie Mac. I’ll be waiting for you. And I’m going to knock you out. See you there!â<80>

Thatâ<80><99> was Eric Bischoff shooting off his mouth on a Monday Nitro broadcast on May 11, 1998. He challenged Vince McMahon to a match at the upcoming Slamboree on the 17th.

The angle automatically made McMahon the babyface. Bischoff was the evil heel boss. If Vince had shown up, he would have cleaned Bischoffâ<80><99>s clock (assuming the match would be a shoot) with the fans cheering his name.

Vince didnâ<80><99>t show, but he did pick up a few viewers on that Monday night, overly curious as to his response.

Vinceâ<80><99>s response, for the record, was consistent. He didnâ<80><99>t respond then and he wonâ<80><99>t respond now.

The oft-misquoted saying by George Santayana that says â<80><9c>Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat itâ<80> applies here. I realize that TNA is directly competing against WWE in their programming, but there could be converts who change their Thursday wrestling watching habit to Monday.

The references to WWE are senseless. TNA has practically made it into the big time. Yes, the ratings and buy rates arenâ<80><99>t there yet. Their company acronym doesnâ<80><99>t trip off the tongue of your casual mainstream fan. But give it time. Quit hyping the promotion. Quit telling people what you are not and let them know what you are.

And remember the past.

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