The new year just struck, and out comes Hogan and Bischoff. Wait, what?! They're not in a WWE ring, but with TNA/Impact!
On January 4th 2010 both of them would debut onTNA TV as a part of what they claim to be a new era of TNA wrestling as we know it.
Recently on an episode of his podcast, Bischoff would speak about the time he pitched the idea to have TNA go head to head against RAW.
Below is the quote, and thanks to WrestlingInc for the transcript of this podcast episode.
"I was very much involved in that. I was very supportive of it, if you go back and look at the context and the timing of what was going on at that point, TNA bringing Hulk Hogan in was a move that got a lot of publicity. It wasn't unlike the strategy or tactics that I used early on in WCW to get WCW on the map. To force or encourage viewers to sample the product which is why we went head to head. We knew if we went head to head we would create enough noise and encourage if not force viewers to at least sample us. We knew that we would still get enough free publicity within the wrestling community, there would be an interest to see how this was going to work. It was our way of putting TNA on the map.
TNA made a big move by bringing in Hulk Hogan, by bringing Ric Flair in, Ken Anderson in, Jeff Hardy. With all the new names that were coming in and all the established names that were coming back, we thought going head to head was a great way, not necessarily to recreate the Monday Night Wars, that was a false narrative, the intent was to put as many eyeballs on the TNA brand as possible to build an audience. We knew going in that there was a good chance we were going to move back to Thursday nights relatively quickly, it was a fall back position we knew we had. We wanted to ride that Monday Night head to head competition and suck as much publicity out of it and brand awareness we possibly could. We delivered, in that January episode where Hulk and I first showed up, an excess of 2 million viewers. That's a Monday Night Raw rating folks, that's how many people are watching Raw and Smackdown now."
Bischoff stated it was TNA's goal for the Monday Night Battle to become a buzz and even try and get some fans to sample TNA's product at the time.
"It's not a strategy that we created, its competition. It's a way to get people to sample the product. How do we maximize the addition of Hulk Hogan to the TNA brand? How do we exploit that to the maximum potential, how do we do it? We thought going head to head would do it. We knew that the peripheral wrestling audience, the dirt sheets, would be buzzing about it, either ripping it apart or putting it over. One or the other, didn't matter. As long as they were talking about it, they were encouraging people to at least sample it out. To either validate the criticism or validate the choice to do it, to make a big move.
TNA needed to make a big move, they were quite successful as a small niche product in certain segments in the country. They had some of the same problems that WCW had early on in that they weren't really popular on the west coast, they didn't have a lot of upper midwest success, they were popular in certain parts of the country, but for the most part in a national brand they were pretty niche. Bringing Hogan and Flair in was a way to change that perception. That's all that 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 then make a big move and go slap the giant in the face and see what happens."
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