As expected, the newest incarnation of the Monday Night War started up with the number two promotion looking to make as many big splashes as possible. TNA began and ended the show with both Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair in the ring, crowned new Knockout tag team champions and mixed in numerous returns and debuts.
Most notably, “Mr. Monday Night” Rob Van Dam found himself back on TV on Mondays. However, RVD fans don’t seem to be as happy as you’d expect.
Despite coming in and getting a quick win over Sting, RVD’s TNA debut was best known for getting beat down after the match by the bat-wielding Icon. Then, to make matters worse, Sting turned his rage toward Hogan, who was trying to make his way to ringside. RVD was an afterthought by that point. Or, as the guys over at PWInsider.com called him, “a plot device in Hogan vs. Sting.”
At first, I had just assumed the RVD beatdown would lead to a match between the two at the next pay-per-view. Even though Sting began the show by turning on Hogan and Abyss, I still don’t expect Hogan to be a regular part of the in-ring story lines. And yet, with Hogan’s appearance overshadowing the Sting-RVD confrontation, I’m not sure what they’re building toward.
But, regardless, as the biggest “free agent” on the market right now, RVD deserved a little more attention during his debut segment than he actually got. Take that for what it’s worth, though, coming from a guy who’s a much bigger RVD fan than he is of Hogan.
As for the Raw vs. Impact aspect of Monday night, I actually did prefer Impact to Raw, mainly due to the fact that it did come across as something different. Even though I was hardly surprised to see RVD debut and the returns of Sting and Jeff Hardy, the show still had an element of surprise to it, which is definitely lacking on Raw.
I don’t expect any kind of comparable ratings between the two shows quite yet, though, but, for now, Impact has positioned itself a lot better than what I saw back on their last live Monday night edition on Jan. 4.