Powered by i.TV
October 25, 2014

Wrestling: The Monday Night War Is Back

by David Hofstede, posted Jan 5th 2010 11:30AM
Hulk HoganWrestling fans still have a nostalgic enthusiasm for the 1990s, when every Monday night brought five hours of choke slams and sleeper holds courtesy of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW).

Back when WWE's 'Monday Night Raw' aired opposite WCW's 'Nitro,' both companies created new superstars, crafted envelope-pushing stories and even unleashed a few dirty tricks, like WCW revealing match results from WWE's pre-taped episodes, all in a battle for ratings supremacy.

The war ended when WWE purchased WCW in 2001. 'Raw' has aired unopposed ever since -- until tonight.Hulk HoganWrestling fans still have a nostalgic enthusiasm for the 1990s, when every Monday night brought five hours of choke slams and sleeper holds courtesy of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW).

Back when WWE's 'Monday Night Raw' aired opposite WCW's 'Nitro,' both companies created new superstars, crafted envelope-pushing stories and even unleashed a few dirty tricks, like WCW revealing match results from WWE's pre-taped episodes, all in a battle for ratings supremacy.

The war ended when WWE purchased WCW in 2001. 'Raw' has aired unopposed ever since -- until tonight.

The Total Nonstop Action (TNA) promotion has stepped up to challenge the mighty Vince McMahon and WWE with a special three-hour, Monday night edition of its 'TNA Impact' show.

TNA used the Monday platform to introduce Hulk Hogan, arguably the most famous wrestler in history and the top draw at WWE for most of its history; World Wrestling Entertainment countered with the return of Bret "the Hitman" Hart, who hasn't stepped into a WWE ring in 12 years, following a highly-publicized falling-out with McMahon.

The Bret Hart return was the bigger story. After the death of his brother Owen in a WWE ring, and the now legendary "Montreal screwjob," in which Bret lost the WWE title to Shawn Michaels without realizing he was scheduled to do so, fans believed they would never again see the five-time World Heavyweight Champion at a WWE event.

After an opening montage of clips from Hart's career, including his title victories and the 1997 Montreal incident, the wrestler known as "The Excellence of Execution" entered the arena to a tumultuous ovation.

"Well, I guess hell froze over," Hart said, showing no visible effects from the stroke he suffered in 2002. He thanked the fans for their continued support, and then invited longtime nemesis Shawn Michaels to join him in the ring.

Michaels, a fan favorite, played the crowd to perfection. After telling Bret that he deserved what happened to him in Montreal, he expressed his respect and admiration for the Hitman, and they agreed to put past differences aside. Since Hart is signed with WWE through March's Wrestlemania pay-per-view, their reconciliation doesn't figure to be permanent.

The other confrontation fans anticipated, between Hart and Vince McMahon, would be held until the end of the show. After a somewhat rambling conversation, during which McMahon announced that Hart's father Stu Hart would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, Vince kicked Bret in the gut, leaving him doubled over in the ring.

Over on TNA, the debut of Hulk Hogan was held until after an eight-man cage match, followed by the debut of another former WWE superstar, Jeff Hardy. When a white limo arrived outside the arena, viewers expecting to see Hogan were surprised to discover that it was another legendary wrestler, Ric Flair, who emerged from inside.

At 56, Hogan can still fire up a crowd just by stepping into a ring. He addressed TNA fans about his bold plans for the future with undiminished charisma, but the segment went on too long and lost momentum, despite appearances from Hogan's former partners Scott Hall, Sean Waltman and Eric Bischoff.

What do you think, wrestling fans? Did WWE win the night, or will the new TNA make good on its promise to become the world's top wrestling promotion?

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

Follow Us

From Our Partners