The first step of any 12 step program is admitting defeat. And so if that is any guideline, TNA’s announcement last night that Impact would return to its usual Thursday night timeslot may turn out to be a landmark moment in TNA’s ultimate success.
It would be easy – and perhaps well deserved – to kick TNA while it's down right now. Indeed, the new “Monday Night War” that it declared about two months ago turned out not even to be a skirmish. And after drawing ratings so dismal in its Monday night slot that its previous ratings on Thursday looked gigantic in comparison, TNA and Spike TV effectively tapped out last night, and announced Impact would return to Thursday night.
I’ve heard a lot of talk today about TNA management retreating with their proverbial tails tucked between their legs. And that is certainly accurate. Dixie Carter, Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, and Vince Russo have themselves largely to blame for TNA’s ultimate failure on Monday nights.
It’s true that putting a dent in the ratings juggernaut that is WWE Monday Night Raw would have been tough for even a finely tuned wrestling promotion. But, by any standards, TNA’s performance on Monday nights was a major disappointment. And that had everything to do with not giving fans what they want, and giving them far too much of what they don’t want.
But now may not be the time to look back. After months of bold moves by TNA, the boldest may have come last night. Returning to Thursday nights – and in the process admitting defeat – is a wise and brave move, and one TNA should be commended – not disparaged – for.
The company has taken other important steps in that direction as of late, as well. The coronation of Ron Van Dam as the new TNA champion, the attempt to create a fair ranking system and the re-introduction of Samoa Joe as a back-to-basics butt kicker are all important building blocks for TNA.
Rather than continue wasting time and money fighting a losing battle against WWE, TNA is smart to concentrate on building its own brand, on its own night.
- Al Castle
Pro Wrestling Illustrated Senior Writer