Remember the failure that was The Monday Night Wars: Part Deux?
Well, if only Impact Wrestling had known that a scant 9 years later, they'd finally be toppling Monday Night Raw in the ratings if they could duplicate those numbers.
To clarify: no, last week's post-Thanksgiving Impact didn't end up anywhere near WWE's historic low-and-dropping television ratings. But the company's first foray into Monday Nights, on January 4th, 2010 - featuring Hulk Hogan and the debuts of Ric Flair, Sean Morley, and (ugh, I can't believe I'm typing this, even for a 2010 show) the Nasty Boys - did end up with 2.2 million viewers, with 2.5 million viewers in the first hour which ran unopposed. The 2.5 million viewers in the first hour was more viewers than any of the three hours of RAW this past Monday night or SmackDown on Tuesday.
It was an all-time high for TNA's IMPACT!, and enough to inspire a move to Monday nights that March.
And that same evening, Monday Night Raw (buoyed by a returning Bret Hart, making his first live appearance on RAW since the infamous Montreal Screwjob), averaged 5.6 million viewers - essentially doubling what a Hogan/Bischoff-led TNA was capable of.
Meanwhile, here in 2018? WWE ratings are at historic lows.
IMPACT WRESTLING can't find a permanent television home.
It's funny because back at the end of 2009, the perception was that pro wrestling was in a "down period." That two wrestling shows then combined to average almost 8 million viewers on a Monday night in January quickly spiked a "pro wrestling is alive again" movement (a movement that was back to where it was by June).
So if you were to launch a Monday Night wrestling show today, complete with the same talent caliber, high production values, and major television network promotion, then drawing 2.2 million fans against RAW would be huge... no, it wouldn't mean WWE is about to go out-of-business (keep in mind the company is currently trading at just above 70 buck a share, and has more revenue streams than Chris Jericho has character reinventions). But it wouldn't be too far off the numbers Vince McMahon, Stephanie, and Triple H recently carried to FOX to earn a record-breaking $1 billion TV contract.
As we all know, TNA's decision to run against RAW long-term ended up being hugely unsuccessful. By the time the company made the move permanent in March of that year, in peak-WWE season, viewership had already waned to 1.4 million (picking up another 1.0 on the Thursday night replay). A week later, IMPACT! hit historic lows, averaging only 1.1 million viewers and dropping nearly 22% from the week prior. Spike TV tried unsuccessfully to stem the bleeding by moving up an hour to 8pm, but it was clear only a few weeks after WrestleMania that TNA's Monday Night Wars experiment was a bust, with the show eventually bottoming out at around a 0.5 rating.
It also ended up being one of the last great stands for Dixie Carter's company. IMPACT! was back on Thursday nights by May of 2010, a move both Spike TV's Senior VP of Sports and Dixie Carter herself positioned as a win/win for the company; unfortunately, the product saw steady decline over the next few years, rarely averaging above a 1.0 rating thereafter, and eventually getting bounced between different networks, different nights, and different time slots.
Still, a Dixie Carter-led wrestling promotion scored better ratings back in 2010 than Vince McMahon's SmackDown has been averaging lately. That's pretty impressive... or sub par, depending on how you look at it.