Former WWE Smackdown Executive Director Eric Bischoff recently commented on the ‘Monday Night War’ that saw TNA head to Monday nights back in 2010. On March 8th 2010, TNA would air on Monday nights head to head with WWE’s flagship RAW program. The experiment would only last until late April, when the company would move back to their Thursday night slot after losing a hefty chunk of their audience against WWE.
Eric Bischoff would claim on his 83 Weeks podcast that the move to Monday was never permanent. In fact, it was designed to give TNA a ‘kick start’ and market the product and get the wrestling audience to potentially ‘sample’ something they hadn’t seen previously.
Eric Bischoff on Competition
“It’s another strategy that we created” Eric Bischoff began. “It’s competition, it’s a way to get people to sample your product and that’s all it was. How do we make the biggest impact? How do we maximise the addition of Hulk Hogan to the TNA brand? Can we exploit that to the maximum potential? How do we do it?”
Bischoff would then describe how the ‘peripheral’ wrestling media would be instrumental to the ‘sampling.’
“We thought going head to head because we knew it would make noise. We knew that the ‘peripheral’ wrestling audiences or ‘peripheral wrestling industry’ would be buzzing about it. They’d either be ripping it apart or they’d be putting it over, one or the other. It did not matter, as long as they were talking about it, they would be encouraging people one way or the other to at least sample it out. Either to validate the criticism for going head to head or to validate the choice to do it.”
Small, Niche Product
Although some fans would argue that the pre-Hogan era of TNA was working, Eric Bischoff would comment on how the company needed to make a ‘big move.’ “TNA needed to make a big move. They were quite successful as a small niche product is in a certain segments of the country, right? TNA had some of the same problems that WCW had early on, in that they weren’t real popular on the West Coast. They didn’t have a lot of Upper Midwest kind of success. They were very popular in certain pockets of the country.”
“But for the most part it wasn’t a national kind of brand. They were pretty niche. And bringing Hulk Hogan in with Ric Flair was a way to change that perception, and that’s all going head to head was. It was ‘let’s let the world know we’re here, and we’re here to put on a good show.’ And there’s no better way to do it, in terms of getting an audience and attracting curiosity; if nothing else, it was to make a big move and go slap the giant [WWE] in the face and see what happens.”
As mentioned, TNA would eventually move back to Thursday nights on Spike TV as the experiment had failed. Or had it? Do you think that TNA were right to take the gamble? Let us know in the comments
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