Chris Jericho recently had Dave Meltzer of F4WOnline on his Talk is Jericho podcast, and a discussion topic that came up was when Impact Wrestling, then known as TNA, tried to revive the Monday Night Wars and go head-to-head with WWE. As a result of TNA gaining some momentum by having Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff creatively at the helm, the decision was made on January 4, 2010 to air Impact Wrestling in direct competition with Raw. For most of 2009, Impact stayed neck-and-neck with the ECW brand, typically staying in the 1.0-1.3 range as far as ratings. In fact, the yearly average in 2009 for ECW was 1.15, while Impact was 1.14. Raw, however, had an average of 3.57, but Impact executives still felt as if they could compete with WWE on Monday Nights.
Impact's 1/4/10 episode saw Hogan debuting, as well as Jeff Hardy making a return. There were also appearances from Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Sean Waltman, Val Venis, Mick Foley, and Ric Flair, a Bobby Lashley walk-out, as well as an impressive main event with AJ Styles retaining his TNA World Heavyweight Championship by defeating Kurt Angle. Overall, this show drew a 1.45, which was a number that Impact did not see at all in 2009, as well as many years prior. Despite a show that the company would deem successful compared to their previous numbers, they were facing some steep competition, as Raw was built around the reconciliation of Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart, which was over 12 years in the making. This episode for WWE drew a 3.6, over two and a half times more than Impact.
Jericho discussed Vince McMahon's reaction when it was decided by Impact to air on Monday Nights.
"[Vince] said, 'take me out of the equation. You can't compete with WWE at this point,'" said Jericho. "'It's too much of a machine, it's too much of a brand, it's just the way it is.' And he's right. You're not gonna [beat] the WWE. You can compete, carve out your own niche, yes. But I also believe that [WWE] has now become entrenched in Americana, pop culture, and the world. It's not gonna go anywhere."
Jericho believes that New Japan Pro Wrestling is a great alternative to provide compelling wrestling content, but WWE has such a strong international presence that they are far above the rest. Both Jericho and Meltzer agreed that one of the biggest flaws of Impact going head-to-head with WWE was that they were trying to be too much like WWE instead of creating an identity of their own. Although Don Callis and Scott D'Amore have created a better Impact brand, Impact "dug a deep hole" to the point of still having an uncertain future.
Two months after the 1/4/10 head-to-head show, Impact resumed airing back on Monday Nights to compete against Raw on March 8. However, this lasted only two months, as Raw was ranging from 3.0-3.7, while Impact did not even reach a 1.0 rating. Impact ended their run on Monday nights on May 3, receiving a 0.8 rating compared to Raw's 3.05.
Source: Talk Is Jericho