By Vince Russo
The minute the news broke that WWE SMACKDOWN was moving to Tuesday Nights and going LIVE on the USA NETWORK, I knew well before the first episode would ever air that POPTV would indeed move TNA IMPACT from Tuesday nights to another day of the week.
How did I know? The answer is simple---I spent almost a decade of my life working for Dixie Carter at TNA, and I know and understand the TNA way better than Kim Kardashian knows her way around a selfie. But, to look at this from the perspective of both TNA and POPTV, they had no other choice but to make this decision. Averaging anywhere between 300-350K viewers a week since the two companies formed a partnership, neither side is in a position to take the risk of those numbers decreasing even more, in a Tuesday night head-to-head war with the WWE. Had their numbers shown some growth since their venture began---there may have been some reward to their risk, however, at this stage in the game---they just can't afford the gamble.
Had IMPACT remained on Tuesday nights, there is the possibility that they would have indeed gained new viewers rather then lose old ones. I have been saying it for weeks on my daily PodcastOne show, IMPACT WRESTLING is far and away a better wrestling show than WWE RAW these days, and had some viewers turned off the McMahon snooze fest due to sheer boredom, the chances are that they would have probably checked out the wrestling show on the other channel and perhaps even stayed. Unfortunately, we will never know if that would have been the case.
So on the surface ---the move seems to have made sense. It's indeed logical being that TNA/POPTV chose Thursday nights because both Lucha Underground and NXT air on Wednesday night, thus, this would give them a FOURTH night of wrestling all to themselves---which, in my opinion, creates the dilemma. Outside of the niche market of wrestling marks who watch wrestling, and wrestling only, are the casuals going to want to watch a FOURTH night of wrestling, let alone a second---or, even a third? Personally I believe that come Thursday Nights, if there was anybody out there who survived three nights of straight wrestling---by the fourth they'd probably want to watch Golden Girls reruns than another fake fight with very little, or no selling . . . or characters . . .or, storylines.
But even with all that, that's not the real problem that I see lying ahead for TNA/POPTV. Did anyone from either side realize that the NFL starts airing on Thursday Nights on September 15th? After three straight days of wrestling, even the die hards are going to be ready for some FOOTBALL!!!
Well, maybe I'm wrong . . . but, I doubt it. It's just too much. It would even be too much if the product today was actually good . . . which it's far from.