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Stay Between The Ropes: Will TNA Beat WWE?

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The Internet Wrestling Community is known for micro-analyzing ratings down to the minute. I believe this is a leftover from the Monday Night Wars, when commentators would look to see whether or not Nitro beat Raw, and what segment was the deciding factor.

I want to turn our focus this week to wrestling commentators. My goal is to encourage my fellow authors to stop using ratings as the primary factor when comparing professional wrestling companies and products, mainly TNA and WWE.

Since both Spike and USA air on cable, not every household will be able to view the shows. Yes, there are still people in this country without USA or Spike. It’s less frequent now than ten years ago, but there are people out there without those channels. Furthermore, you have to consider the number of people who may have these channels blocked with a V-Chip. While not really a problem for USA, this is a huge problem for Spike because of programming like The Shield. I love The Shield, but you better believe that show will be blocked in homes with a V-Chip, and you could also argue the number of homes who avoid programming they can’t view, may also avoid the channel altogether.

The Nielsen ratings is the most popular tool to gauge who watches what. But the ratings are based on the viewing habits of a select group of people who have meters attached to their television, and those who write in a diary to log what channels they watch. The ratings do not include college dorm rooms, and this is a major share of the professional wrestling audience. The ratings can be manipulated by some dishonest people who take it upon themselves to misreport what they’re viewing instead of logging what they actually saw, in an effort to influence what shows are picked up, and what shows are axed.

However, Nielsen remains the most popular system for advertisers to choose what program to support. The shows with the advertising dollars are the shows the networks want to keep around. WWE scores between a 2 and a 4.0 these days with their programming. TNA barely gets above a 1.0. But before we get into whether that makes WWE a better product, consider this: The top rated show for the week of July 31 on cable was Hannah Montana, which pulled in a 7, according to USA Today’s Nielsen section, and there are many shows that fall well below the ratings for TNA.

You should also consider the amount of promotion WWE Raw gets compared to TNA Impact! I have never seen an advertisement for Impact! on Spike. I’m not saying there aren’t any, I did see the promo for Rhyno’s ECW segment online, but I have yet to see one on TV. WWE Raw gets featured in all major USA Network packages when they highlight their shows, and there is an ad featuring Triple H and Anthony Michael Hall from The Dead Zone that runs during its own episodes. I also saw ads for Raw at random times during the day on USA.

WWE is a global entertainment company yielding millions of dollars a year in revenue, some of which doesn’t come from actual wrestling events. TNA is filmed in Orlando – tourist hell hole of the United States – and does not charge for tickets nor report their operating budget. WWE has to report because they are a publicly traded company.

TNA is a limited liability corporation formed by the Jarretts and Panda Energy (the LLC’s investors). WWE Raw airs during prime time on Monday nights, TNA airs at 11pm on Thursdays when most people are getting ready for work the next day. WWE has been in operation for many years, TNA just turned four years old, and this is the first year they started to move away from the NWA, just like WWF and WCW did before they got big.

It is easy to make snide comments and totally discount a product like TNA because it draws a 1.0 or a 0.2. But look at it like this: Spike and other Viacom channels are hard on which to promote anything. Just look at the graveyard of shows left behind by Spike, MTV, and Comedy Central. When you consider the poor time slot, and the lack of promotion, you have to consider what kind of shot TNA really has when it is competing with Raw.

TNA’s Internet presence is very strong. WWE is very strict when it comes to the Internet. I’m convinced they only have a website because Vince McMahon is not allowed near the new media department. TNA is everywhere. If you go to YouTube, you can watch free TNA videos. You go to Myspace and they have a major profile for the company, and tons of official profiles for the wrestlers. The number of new fans exposed to TNA wrestling, based on their YouTube and Myspace presence alone, is enormous.

Today, networks do more than buy television shows to sell advertising. They buy brands they can market and exploit on a variety of levels. Ratings are no longer the only factor in a show’s success. In a hostile economy, Spike took a risk on a professional wrestling show, which are often viewed unfavorably by ignorant television critics and advertisers. Spike did this during a time of rebranding their station to appeal to everyone, not just men. There have also been (unconfirmed) reports of Spike’s involvement with the business operations of TNA, specifically in terms of which wrestlers are being signed. I believe there is evidence to show a commitment on their part to make TNA successful.

TNA will succeed. I’m not saying the show is perfect – I need to see Jeff Jarrett dominating the world title scene like I need a head wound – but an emerging product in the shadow of a successful corporation such as WWE needs time and fair reporting.

I grew up watching WCW World Wide on CBS at midnight (and sometimes later). I never thought WCW was going to challenge WWE for the top spot in sports entertainment. Did you?

During the time WCW developed, plenty of people bashed them and said they would never make it. Not only did they make it, they changed the wrestling business. They just needed time.

If you went by WCW World Wide’s ratings, some may have never thought they would get so far.

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About Brandon J. Mendelson

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Matt Paprocki

    TNA’s problems aren’t caused by the network. Lets face it. Most wrestling fans watch wrestling no matter what channel it’s on, or what fed it is. I’m one of ‘em.

    Their biggest problem is the constant Jerrett title runs (which thankfully isn’t happening now), no (or exceedingly rare) live shows outside of Florida, short matches, and only a one hour show. The latter two go together. It’s hard to get involved with a match when they cut to a commerical right after a big spot, the exact moment when things pick up.

    I think they’re a hard sell too because they simply clean up other feds waste. A mainstream crowd sees Sting and thinks “That’s the best they can do?” Don’t get me wrong, Sting is still great in the ring to this day, but the guys they’re pushing are not really homegrown stars. Samoa Joe and AJ aside, they have little known stars of their own outside of fan circles. It makes them feel like a cheap knock off.

    And how do they make their money with no admission?

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    I pretty much have to concur with what Matt says about TNA. The overall quality of the in-ring product (the actual wrestling aspect) is miles ahead of the WWE product. The problem again lies within the storylines. To continually position the promotion around Jeff Jarrett is something nobody wants to see. Those boos you hear for Jarrett…thats not “heel heat”, thats genuine “we think this guy sucks and want him off our television” heat.

    I understand that Jarrett himself has an owner’s stake here and can book anyone he wants as champion…including himself. Hell, why do you think HHH married into the McMahon family, right?

    But TNA has tons of potential stars who, if pushed correctly, could really give fans a legitimate alternative to WWE. A.J. Styles, Christopher Daniels, Sonjay Dutt…and absolutely Samoa Joe…these are all guys with the potential to be the stars of tommorrow.

    Jeff Jarrett? Most people still think of him as the mid-card hack with the goofy “Double J” country singer gimmick.

    -Glen

  • http://blogcritics.org/archives/2006/08/05/014839.php Kevin Taylor

    I gave TNA a try and only grew to hate it more after Rhino’s controversial promo where he brings up everything going on in his life including being offered to join the new ECW. Now I don’t even watch it anymore, where I used to catch once every few monthes just to see if anything exciting happened yet. Impact is stale and boring at the beginning I had hoped Team 3-D would win the tag team titles but now they are suddenly going nowhere. I loved the original ECW as much as I love the new ECW and so they can bash it and talk about how they were the heart and soul of ECW, burn its titles, and rip contracts to its One Night Stand Pay Per View that proved it was never dead in the minds and hearts of its fans. What I don’t understand is why TNA Rhino and TNA 3-D can go on trying to get into Vince McMahon’s head while their show’s ratings are below their competition’s. All they have done is piss off the alternative fans with their lame speeches and statements. That’s why there was F***TNA chants at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York last Tuesday night. It shows how sick and tired hardcore ECW fans are of TNA taking advanage of their favorite promotion’s fall in order to try to replicate its success.

    I can see Samoa Joe as a UFC fighter going up against Ken Shamrock and maybe on ECW. He looks like a fat mouse though.

  • http://www.alarilla.com joey alarilla

    hi brandon, i’m not really a fan of tna but then again wwe is mostly crap nowadays.

    it would really be good if tna could give wwe a run for its money and maybe force vince to improve wwe.

    i’m curious: who do you think has been worse for their respective companies in terms of hogging the world title scene and controlling storylines — jeff jarrett or triple h?

  • Martin Panter

    TNA has come a long way in the last four years but are still no where near defeating wwe (even if there storylines are terrible at the mo)I mean the boogey man!!Come on. i find myself watching more TNA thean WWE nowadays but thats mainly because im a uk fan and everything tna is free over here including ppv! But also because i love the fresh talent TNA deliver (samoa joe, AJ, Abyss etc) as apposed to the yearly comebacks of hogan we have witnessed in wwe over the past few years.

  • http://blogcritics.org/archives/2006/08/05/014839.php Vince Russo

    TNA is nowhere near as developed as WWE, and airing its shows at its headquarters at Universal Studios in Orlando has already limited its growth. I think it makes a great addition for Universal Studios. But if TNA wants to be taken seriously as competition it needs to get out and travel more. And maybe get Joe and Steve Burns in an angle with Abyss where he’d go on the show Blue’s Clues and viciously beat them up, leaving Blue in the hunt for who did it. They’d show up on TNA Impact to face Abyss in a handicap with Blue as their valet. LOL this would be great!

  • Rykland

    TNA’s problem is competting with WWE. WWE never mention them(which I’m waiting for them to do).I think they should befriended WWE like ECW did. How much better One Night Stand would have been if TNA was able to show up. Or that wed. head-to-head was between WWE, ECW, & TNA. Vince doesn’t mine helping smaller companies but he also doesn’t mine crushing them .( I personally think Eric Bischoff/WCW would have crushed them by now)

  • http://blogcritics.org/archives/2006/08/05/014839.php Steve Colosi

    TNA is nowhere near as developed as WWE, and airing their shows at its headquarters in Universal Studios Orlando has already limited its growth. I think it makes a great addition for Universal Studios Orlando. But if TNA wants to be taken seriously as competition it needs to get out and travel more. Right now their show, Impact comes more across as a glorified circus with some good wrestling matches but nothing too exciting that would get me to watch the show over and over again. When ex-ECW wrestlers on TNA want to do shoots on Vince McMahon and say they were the heart and soul of ECW it turns me off. Spike Dudley ripping up an WWE contract for the One Night Stand PPV, and Rhino burning an ECW title in a red velvet bag inside some trash can outside at the theme park during his promo on Vince McMahon, kills their alternative audience if they even had one.
    When you work for an underdog promotion with low cable ratings and carry very little buzz, no cares for what you have to say or whine about. The largest and most popular promotion in the world has more power to bring us something worth watching than its weaker competitor which was founded by Jerry Jarrett, who is a good friend of Vince’s. NBC Universal has TNA shooting their shows at its theme park in Orlando and airs WWE shows on two of its cable stations. Does this ruin their credibility as competition? I think so. TNA cannot grow without the support of fans and if they can’t get more fans, they will not last much longer. WWE has the zag-minded extreme evil genius, Paul Heyman and the zig-minded powerful evil genius, Vince McMahon. Being a big fan of both, I don’t even put TNA into consideration of being competition.

  • http://url cj

    I really dont agree with tou guys but in away i do.because well to me TNA is realy not that bad of a roster. I mean come on WHO do YOU guys really think have the better wrestling TNA OR WWE.But your also right because im also tired of seeing jeff jerret with the title like he’s trying to be trple h.But in a way TNA could beat the wwe if they travel alittle and get more fans to toon into it and more peaple would find TNA more exciting than the wwe.I also think TNA is a mix between ECW and WCW because TNA has some former WCW stars but its style is like ECW.IF you think about it TNA does have the style of ECW.FOR example when the fans like something they always chant TNA but when they do its always for something stupid.Atleast in ecw they had something to chant about.But tna does beat the wwe at ppv’s.cause the wwe ppv’s have not been that exciting to me but TNA’s PPV’S are krazy like lockdown,hardjustice etc.BUT the one thing im still wayting for is the wwe to mention TNA cause tna has done that alot.Also I Think if tna airs two hours they will be on top and may be able to beat the wwe.And i hope tna will go head to head witt wwe or that boring comback of ECW I really think that sucks but I believe that tna wiil come to the top in the future and i plan on being a wrestler my self cause i love to get extream.

  • http://raw-sd-ecw-wwe.bloggerspot.com terminator

    very bad article

  • LEE

    FIRST THINGS FIRST IF I READ ONE MORE ARTICLE THAT TNA HAS BETTER STARS THAN WWE I AM GONNA GO INSANE… WHAT DO YOU CALL RANDY ORTON WHO WOULD BEAT EVERY SO CALLED STAR ON TNA ANYDAY OF THE WEEK TWICE ON SUNDAY…EDGE,CARLITO,CM PUNK,BATISTA,CENA,UNDERTAKER,KANE,MR KENNEDY NAME ANYONE OF THOSE LEMONS U HAVE ON TNA THAT COULD COMPETE IN THE RING OR EVEN CUT A PROMO LIKE THESE GUYS…..

  • PAt

    The fact is TNA hires Wrestlers that no one cares about anymore, hence Sting/The Stieners.

    WWE does need to step it up a notch, i am sick of super Cena.

    And the difference between HHH and Jarrett is HHH is a believable champion.

    Oh and WWE will never mention TNA, TNA is trying to get them too in hopes of WWE fans watching their show, but vince isnt stupid

  • bobby mitchell

    tna sucks theres no way they can beat wwe not when undertaker,kane,bigshow,umaga,batista,hhh,hbk,cena,and mickie waiting for them.oh, and also a newsflash for you tna kevin nash is coming back to wwe

  • Anthony126517GT

    Come on People WWE is the Best.

    They Took out WCW,NWA and the old ECW They have proved them self.

    Also Now these days they have 3brands Raw,Smackdown and ECW There No way in HEll TNA Could beat WWE

  • slnt_cry

    I’m totally fade-up with Triple H & Cena as Champions (also Edge- he never deserved 8 times as Champ) that WWE have more focus on Triple H & Cena to make them champions again and again- there’re many wrestlers that are far better than these both to become Champion. WWE has hired many junk of newcomers cody, MVP, S.Benjimin and some other crap…

    There’s only one wrestler is left in WWE- that must be called the spirit of WWE and that’s THE UNDERTAKER….
    He’s marvelous everytime I saw him on screen- his entire span over WWE is a hall mark in WWE history- there’s no match with this guy, he’s truly amazing. THE UNDERTAKER deserves the same championships like Triple H posses.

    I wish that Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Goldberg & Brock Lesnar could come and join WWE, but WWE have to precise their storylines- specially the stupid story lines like Vikcy , Edge, Big Show & Cena etc…

  • fchg

    if the wwe and tna combine together we will have very great matches and all the people entertain very wll

  • Kathid

    TNA really should stand for TERRIBLY NEGLECTED and AGED! For anyone to say that they will EVER become bigger and better than WWE, those people need to do some MAJOR reevaluating! Sting had his better days, Steiner, Nash, Samoa Joe, and with Hulk Hogan joining the “so-called ranks”, it’s only gonna bring down that program that much farther! Oh my GOSH….I was watching the “Hulkster” in the 80’s for goodness sake! Next Ric Flair will be joining them! NOOOO…I take that back! I really think Ric has a lot more class in his pinky finger than most of them do in their whole worn out bodies! They try to give them selves names like “The Big Sexy, and Big Papa Punk”, as if that changes things! GIVE IT UP, ALREADY! That show is a JOKE! And, those so-called Diva’s, like Angelina Love, and Awesome Kong, and last, but not least OBD….what does that stand for…One Breastjob Disaster? She pushes on them, like…”look at what I got, when in all actuality, even if you put a bag on that bulldog face, her breasts would not draw enough attention to condone all that pushup crap! I say to TNA….STOP WASTING GOOD TV TIME, and get off the AIR!! If we wanna watch goofballs, we’ll watch Disney! I despise TNA! WWE is the BEST!

  • zubair muhanned

    I think tna is doing good but i don’t think they will beat wwe. I watch wwe and tna but if hogan coming and other top superstar i sure they will beat wwe in 2012.

  • Lisa Michelle

    Will TNA beat WWE? Hmmm..

    All I have to say is: HOPEFULLY.

  • Lisa Michelle

    Will TNA beat WWE? Hmmm..

    All I have to say is: HOPEFULLY.

  • James Pitcher

    I can’t blame TNA for trying these ambitious and frankly ridiculous storylines, after all it has definately worked with the undertaker’s stories in wwe. But it’s just too ridiculous for many of us to enjoy. OK, so WWE screws up sometimes (e.g. boogeyman) but TNA use these screwy ideas in so many of their stories it’s just going to bury them.

    Hulk hogan will be interesting to watch, and the quality in TNA’s wrestling is fantastic today, just as good as the wwe. Although hulk is a legend, the fact is that hogan is a very old person who of late has had many physical issues. While he will make fans happy and will forever be a legend, he CANNOT perform at the stars of TNA’s standards. If it isnt his plan to wrestle anyway, then frankly, he isn’t going to attract that big of an audience to match the ratings of wwe.

    If TNA makes success of it then good for them, i’ll enjoy watching them rise. If they fall, then serves them f**king right for being up their own asses always trying to compete with WWE (even mentioning them in their storylines when WWE don’t have 1 mentioing of them) and bringing in these big stars who frankly won’t make the differences they believe (or at least hope)

    even if they do succeed, the chances of them becoming the dominant wrestling industry are very very very slim

  • Jordan Adkins

    WWE RULES TNA SUCKS CENA RULE Jeff Hardty shaould be on WWE so should Rick Flair!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!

  • Jordan Adkins

    Ohhhhhhhh come on people I mean John cena could beat everyone on TNA twice and Hulk Hogan.I know TNA is pulling everything out they can to try to make all WWE fans to watch they’re show and I hope they keep tring because it is’nt working!!! TNA SUCKS!!!!!!

  • Jordan Adkins

    All I know is that WWE is the supreme company thats worth its money,,,and who would want to pay to see idiots tryin to act all tough and mess up moves that they are tryin to steal from WWE.and really they think they are gunna steal WWE superstars like jeff hardy,please all TNA is,is a load of crap!!!!!!

  • joe

    wwe rules ,tna sucks

  • kerwin

    come on guys, tna is a good show. but wwe always makes history. wwe has the biggist superstars ever. man i love wrestling

  • George

    Ok im sick and tired of people sayin stuff like wwe is better than tna, they have no talent, they hire old wrestlers and stuff like that. You know i can 100% garantee u that if time warner would’ve left things as they were WCW would still be alive and it wouldve been the wwe that would have to sell out. Come on guys die hard wrestling fans dont want to see celebrities taking up time on the show. We just want to see good wrestling . Tna has alot of extreme matches that keep me on the edge of my seat , especially the ppv’s . Then people say they got no talent what about Aj styles , samoa joe, Jeff hardy , RVD, the motorcity machine guns,the pope, desmond wolfe,beer money,eric young, hernandez, matt morgan, abyss, the beautiful people , and more made it to televised pro wrestling . Thats like saying that the guys on the bench of a on the NBA have no talent. Well they made it and thats a pro making it . And if u people think otherwise y dont u get in the ring and tell them they have no talent , im more than positive they would whoop ur ass easy.
    So TNA im pullin for u to beat the wwe, they have the potential they just need the push to do it. Heres perfect proof WCW beat the wwe in ratings for 84 straight weeks in a row .

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    wwe is better than tna