NEWS ANALYSIS: EC3-Hardy TNA Title match leads to ratings rebound, Gail and Austin on NXT women, USA touts Raw, WWF vs. WCW

-TNA has got to feel a sense of relief today that Impact rose above 400,000 viewers. James Caldwell broke it all down very well in his detailed story (Ad-Free VIP Link / Free Site Link). They drew 453,000 viewers total (counting both airings), up from an ominous 362,000 last week. I’m happy that an advertised World Title match can still pop a rating, assuming that was responsible. Matt Hardy has real name value still, and the stip of Jeff Hardy having to become EC3’s “personal assistant” was an added hook for Jeff Hardy fans.

The TNA/Dixie Carter vs. GFW/Jeff Jarrett feud isn’t my type of thing, as I’ve just seen too many feuds between authority figures (none of which have drawn the last 15 years) to care anymore, although hopefully it’s leading somewhere with a good payoff. I expect TNA Impact to air Wednesday nights on Destination America until the end of the 2015, along with ROH, but after that, all bets are off. If TNA can gain some ratings momentum between now and then, it will certainly help Destination America stick with the brand and invest in it longer term.

-Speaking of ratings and pro wrestling and cable networks, USA Network was the no. 1 cable network this summer, touting so in a press release earlier today, also covered at by James Caldwell. USA noted that Raw is a top ten rated TV show that averaged 4.22 million viewers (counting live airing and DVR viewership). It’s not always a given that a network will tout that a pro wrestling show is a big part of its success, so it’s a good sign that USA Network isn’t ashamed that Raw is a driving force in it’s continued ranking among the very very top rated cable networks. They called Raw “the most-watched, regularly scheduled, year-round program on cable, airing a live three-hour block every Monday night, 52 weeks a year.”

-Gail Kim recognizes the great strides the women in NXT have made compared to what WWE Divas have done in recent years. I remember talking to TNA wrestlers when Kim got a low-ball offer from TNA and jumped to WWE who said that it took the heart out of the women’s locker room when Kim left. She wasn’t just a really good worker in the ring, she set the tone for that division. When asked about the NXT women, she said they remind her of the TNA Knockouts, which is the right thing for her to say since she’s part of TNA now. “I just love what they’ve been doing. It’s so funny I saw a match I thought, ‘That’s so like TNA Knockouts style.’ They are bringing it to another level, and I love it. I the saw Sasha (Banks) and Bayley match. I just loved the psychology and the crowd was into it. It was great,” Gail told reporter Scott Fishman in an interview for Channel Guide Magazine.

By the way, Steve Austin gushed about that Sasha Banks vs. Bailey match with me on the new Steve Austin Unleashed episode that dropped today. I had encouraged him off-air to watch it before we recorded our shows this week. He watched it and called me to thank me for pushing him to watch it because he said he was jumping out of his seat at near falls and just absolutely loved what they put together. I hope Sasha and Bailey hear that, because that’s high praise that Austin doesn’t give out insincerely.

-If you’re a PWTorch VIP member, “The Fix with Todd Martin” is now posted so check it out. It was the first Mailbag edition of the show (although we talked about Raw first), and we got into the supposed lost opportunity that the WWF never fully monetized the WCW brand with a real “Invasion Angle” after the WCW buyout. It’s been an ongoing debate about Torch staff over the years how much of an opportunity was really lost, and I got into some of the factors I was told by WWE personnel why Vince McMahon was justified in not going further to try to revive WCW. It’s an interesting discussion, and yet another example of why Todd Martin has been such a tremendous addition to the PWTorch staff since May.

-Former WWE Creative Team member (2011-2012) Matt McCarthy joined me for over 90 minutes on the PWTorch Livecast earlier today. We took a lot of calls and hit a lot of subjects, with a lot of talk about scenarios for Sting headed into Night of Champions plus his frustrations with how Dolph Ziggler is treated (although some quotes I read from him on air might be insight into why WWE doesn’t push him the way he wishes they would).  McCarthy provided insights into frustrations he and wrestlers experience behind the scenes in WWE based on certain policies and preferences among management. It’s always great to have Matt on the show as he’s such a huge wrestling fan today and is able to provide a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes operations in WWE. Check out the show here: PWTorch LIvecast: Wade Keller with Matt McCarthy.

-Follow me on Twitter @thewadekeller.

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