Opinion: Was TNA ever better than WWE?
Back in the 90's, WCW Monday Night Nitro beat WWE RAW in the ratings for 84 weeks in a row. If you ask anyone in WWE at the time, it was because of the appeal of the Hulk Hogan as a heel and forming the NWO with Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and others later on, but that is not true. The real reason why was simply because Nitro was a far better show for most of the time.
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WWE took the lead in ratings and entertainment quality back in 1998, and wouldn't see a superior wrestling show again, for a few years. TNA, or Impact Wrestling, has been in existence for 16 years now. Although Ring of Honor started first, they were an independent company at first, and thus TNA became the first new wrestling company in the States since WCW and ECW went out of business in 2001.
NWA: TNA and later TNA Impact was a pretty entertaining show for their first few years, but nowhere near the same level as WWE. But one year it all changed, for a little while at least, and that was 2006. The year was a turning point for TNA, and a near failure for WWE, which looking back over both, made TNA a far more entertaining company.
Much of 2006 for WWE was like a failed throwback to the 90's. We had the reunion of Shawn Michaels and Triple H as D-Generation X, which was nowhere near as entertaining as their first run 9 years earlier. Back in 1997, DX was groundbreaking, pushing the envelope as far as possible. The two 20 something-year-olds were highly entertaining in their 18 TV rating antics, while in 2006, they were two 40 something-year-olds making toilet jokes, and they weren't very funny.
We also had the revival of ECW as a third brand. It started off promising with a dozen new hires of ECW originals, a solid ECW One Night Stand event, topped off with Rob Van Dam finally becoming WWE Champion. It seemed like WWE were really interested in what could happen. Soon, RVD lost the title and push due to an arrest, ECW originals became glorified jobbers to the like of the Big Show, Test and new comers who couldn't get over, and the matches all had WWE style rules. It was a failure.
And at one point, Luke Gallows was even wandering around dressed up as Kane in the 90's and participated in the worst angle of the year with the real Kane. WWE was having other on-screen problems to, Rey Mysterio was booked as the worst World Champion in history, the late great Eddie Guerrero's name was being used in storylines and Vince McMahon defeated 'God' in a match. The year 2006 wasn't the worst in WWE history but was far from the best.
TNA, on the other hand, was on fire. Impact was generally an entertaining show every week, the 'Icon' Sting had come out of retirement and joined the company, the previously most underused star in WWE, Christian, was a major main event player, and the company managed to sign Kurt Angle after he parted ways with WWE. The TNA roster also consisted of such other talent as AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Jeff Jarrett, the Dudley Boyz, Eric Young, Bobby Roode, Raven, Rhyno, Gail Kim, Alex Shelly, Chris Sabin, Jay Lethal, LAX, America's Most Wanted and many more. Even legends like Kevin Nash and Scott Steiner were contributing the company in very positive ways.
Impact Wrestling, although only an hour long show every week, usually managed to be very entertaining, and TNA pay-per-views were generally solid offerings. Angles and storylines such as L.A.X, Jeff Jarrett vs. Sting, Kurt Angle's arrival and feud with Samoa Joe, Paparazzi Productions, and the rise of Christian Cage were all far superior to what WWE had to offer. Almost everything TNA did in 2006 was far better than what WWE was putting out. I think you could argue which company was better in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010, but 2006 belonged to TNA and should have been their launch to be WWE's equal.
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