TNA is often regarded as WCW 2.0, but why?
Being a wrestling fan during the Monday Night Wars (or just the mid to late nineties in general) was fantastic, it truly was a second golden age that catered to nearly every fans taste. It was during this period that I became a fan of the business and my favourite promotion was WCW. Partially due to it having my three favourite wrestlers of all time on it’s roster (Bret Hart, Sting and Raven) and partially due to it being the easiest and most convenient to watch wrestling show over here in the UK. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the WWF/E and in particular became a big fan of Mick Foley but never fell in love with the product, possibly not helped either by the football-esque rivalry been the two companies fans. I was also aware of ECW and it’s wrestlers and I remember being really annoyed learning about Raven and Foley’s storied careers there but being unable to see it. This was pre-Internet and back when tape trading was the prevalent source of watching wrestling outside the big two. Alas, I was not lucky and never owned any ECW tapes.
When both WCW and ECW folded, I stopped watching wrestling due to a lack of interest in the WWE product. It wasn’t till around 2004/2005 when I discovered TNA for the first time that I became a fan again. Back then the perception of the company was that it was “indy” and yet original and exciting. Fast forward five years and that perception has changed into simply “WCW 2.0″. Before Hogan and Bischoff joined TNA, there was similarities, just not at face value and as noticeable. Big name WCW legends have often been in TNA, whether long term (Jeff Jarrett, Sting, Booker T, Kevin Nash) or short (Randy Savage, Vader, Dusty Rhodes, The Road Warriors) and I can see the similarities between the X-Division and the Crusierweight Division, particularly when TNA was high up on bringing in international stars.
Since Hogan and Bischoff’s arrival, the resemblance is uncanny. we’ve seen an influx of WCW veterans, two separate factions that are alike to the nWo (And that’s not even counting the actual nWo reunion in TNA or “The Band” as they were known due to legal reasons. It was a terrible name and you should only be allowed to use it if you back Bob Dylan) and even a modern day Four Horsemen in Fortune! Who would have guessed after that final Nitro bout between Sting and Flair would happen one more time ten years down the line? Even scrapping the six sided ring and the re-branding into Impact Wrestling has made it look like WCW. I could have easily believed back in 2001 that the current Impact production and set up was WCW in the future.
The IWC almost always use the term as an insult, something I can’t really understand. Is it because like WCW, TNA also relies on established names and veterans from WWE and is perceived as a retirement home? Maybe. Perhaps more so for illogical and bad booking that will lead to the company’s demise? Sadly, people always seem to focus on the negative side of WCW, the finger poke of doom, David Arquette etc and I agree, they were terrible decisions. Even the nWo is rarely recognized for being great without adding “until they milked it to death” or something similar. Fans can often tear WCW apart while blindly praising the “WWF Attitude Era” to the hilt, but the truth is both shows had their fair share of greatness and groan inducing awfulness.
If TNA can avoid the pitfalls and demise of WCW and still retain most of it’s identity then maybe it can very much become WCW 2.0 and rival the WWE. After all, WCW must of done something right to dominate the ratings for 84 straight weeks.