COMMENTARY | RVD returned to the WWE on July 14, 2013 at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view. This event took place in Philadelphia and as one of ECW's greatest alums, RVD received a huge pop from the WWE crowd. The following night on WWE Raw, the Brooklyn crowd chanted, "You've still got it" as he and Chris Jericho delivered an instant pro wrestling classic. But what does RVD's triumphant return to the WWE have to do with TNA?
RVD in TNA
In early 2010, RVD signed with TNA. Shortly after his debut, RVD became World Heavyweight Champion. Over the next few years, he would also go on to win the X Division Championship. During his three years there, RVD was unquestionably one of the promotion's most popular wrestlers. Whenever he'd wrestle, he'd always receive loud applause from the crowd. It was certainly a setback for TNA when RVD left in early 2013.
My point is that despite being one of the most popular wrestlers in the world, RVD's presence did not help TNA Impact Wrestling improve its low 1.0 ratings. In fact, the same can be said of other WWE wrestling legends who have worked there, such as Kurt Angle, Booker T, Ric Flair, Jeff Hardy, The Dudleys, and Scott Steiner. Although these stars helped make the WWE the top wrestling promotion in the world, they have worked no such magic in TNA.
In the interest of full disclosure, I actually enjoy TNA's product. At first glance, it may appear as though I am criticizing TNA. In fact, the opposite is true. Certainly, TNA has struck out on some of its storylines over the years. But so has every promotion. In addition to RVD and the others just mentioned, TNA also has good young wrestlers such as Austin Aries, Bobby Roode, and AJ Styles. But regardless of who works there, most wrestling fans ignore TNA.
RVD in WWE
Presumably, most of the old ECW fans in Philadelphia and the WWE fans in Brooklyn who have been cheering RVD this week weren't tuning in to see him in TNA. And most of the millions of WWE wrestling fans who bought the pay-per-view, watched Raw on Monday, and helped RVD trend on Twitter were busy doing something else when he was in TNA. If popular wrestlers like RVD can't help TNA break through, I'm not sure anything can.
The naysayers will argue that RVD didn't have matches like the WWE Money in the Bank briefcase match and 22-minute wrestling classics versus Jericho in TNA. While that may be true, the fact is that RVD got a huge crowd reaction on both nights in the WWE before he even stepped into the ring. And the buzz leading up to his WWE return was electric. The only buzz surrounding the end of RVD's TNA tenure came from crickets.
Clearly, whatever is keeping TNA from increasing in popularity among wrestling fans is more than even RVD could fix.
Patrick Michael lives in New Orleans and has always been a big fan of pro wrestling. Patrick's favorite wrestling promotion was Mid-South Wrestling back in the 1980s. Patrick's favorite wrestling angle of all-time was the NWO and his favorite wrestler is Roddy Piper. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
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