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This is a Day That Will Live
in Infamy
December 7, 2001

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Alright...  so Sunday is the WWF PPV Vengeance.  And guess who won't be able to see it?

Yeah, that's right: me.

The dickheads at Time Warner Cable decided that today, December 7, is the day when they are going to upgrade my neighborhood from good ol' analog cable to that fancy-ass digital cable.  That means all the channels get shuffled around, and you need to have a new, different cable box if you want to be able to see PPV.

Of course, they notified me of this yesterday, December 6.  And can I have a new digital box by Sunday?  Of course not...  they won't be able to get those in place until next week at the earliest!  And when I DO get the new box, I need to sign up for a more expensive level of service just to have the privilege of being ALLOWED to pay them another $30 per month for pay-per-views.  Assholes.

And they take away my ESPNews in exchange for the fucking GOLF CHANNEL?  What monkey invented this channel line-up?

I've never wanted to be able to steal cable more in my life than I do right now.  Any help?

But on the upside, I'll be standing in line to fork over an extra $50 a month to Time Warner (hey, maybe in some small way I can finance Ernest Miller's severance package?) so I can get Road Runner.  I have been looking forward to that for years, now, and the digital upgrade means I can finally get it.  When that's in place, I might actually CONSIDER getting the WWF.com webcast of a PPV, but till then...

If this isn't the very definition of having the customer by the balls, I don't know what is.  You screw them over, and they STILL can't wait to put more money in your pocket.  Time Warner:  completely ignorant of the concept of "customer service" since 1998!

But enough about me.  YOU still get to watch Vengeance on Sunday (unless you're one of those schmucks stuck with DirecTV), so let's make sure you know what you're getting...

It's actually one of the WWF's better efforts following a short three-week break between PPVs.  With the debut of the Flair/co-owner concept and the decision to unify the two big titles, they've got a huge, legitimately history-making storyline in place.  Things like that are generally reserved for your SummerSlams and WrestleManias, and here, we've got it on this rushed, short-break PPV.

With the "split" scheduled for January, I have to wonder for how long we'll have just one, unified champion...  but for now, it's an appealing concept.  It's certainly the lynchpin of an otherwise mixed-bag PPV card.

Let's review the eight officially announced matches for Sunday's big show...


For the third time this year, Austin/Angle is a key match on a WWF PPV...  but for the first time, both Austin and Angle are in the roles that are best suited to them:  Austin as the beer-swilling babyface, and Angle as the whiny heel.

While some are portraying these latest turns as a last-ditch effort to re-create the Austin-fueled popularity that wrestling enjoyed about two years ago, the fact is I think you have to tip your cap to the WWF for just listening to what the fans were responding to, and crafting a viable story to give them what they wanted.  Angle the hero was tanking; Austin the heel was getting cheers; thus, the whole "Angle saves the WWF" storyline that ingratiated Angle to Vince McMahon at exactly the same time that Vince went into nutso heel mode.

In two previous PPV main events, these two have delivered the goods...  here, they'll be going on mid-show, and probably holding back a bit so that the eventual unification match doesn't have its thunder stolen.  Still, the electricity when Austin and Angle have faced off recently (whether it's in the ring, or on the mic) is undeniable.  Fans are still digging the "What?" chant, at the very least!

When they first announced the title unification concept, I figured it'd be a cakewalk for Austin...  but now, after a few weeks of TV, I'm thinking Angle is the spoiler.  He's got the Vince connection (even though that COULD fall apart if Vince is sufficiently upset about the whole ass-kissing thing from SmackDown), and he's proven himself before as a heel champion.  I do think the winner of this match will be the eventual undisputed, unified champion...  I'm just finding it harder than I thought it would be to make a prediction.

My prediction:  hell, I'll stick with my instincts and say it'll be Austin that wins here.  


This is another match that's been featured on PPV already, though again, this is the first time it's taken place with Jericho as an honest-to-goodness heel.

Even with Jericho in the tweener role, though, the hostility between him and the Rock dates back months, so no radical re-alignment was needed to set up this match.  Unlike Austin/Angle, this is essentially the same feud it was back in October (when Jericho actually upset the Rock to win the then-WCW Title).

However, since that big win for Jericho, it's been a bit downhill.  He lost the title back to the Rock, and despite getting massive TV time en route to this full-fledged heel turn, he's not won another "big one" since.  The key to the successful creation of a main event heel is winning.  And lots of it.  Just look at Triple H:  by constantly winning, he even had the smarks hating him there for a while!

It'll be interesting to see if the crowd reacts in a strongly anti-Jericho fashion on Sunday.  He's definitely been getting more and more negative reactions, though he hasn't really had that one, defining break-out heel performance, yet.  You'll know he's made it when "Jericho Sucks" chants are a vital part of his every match.

He won't ever have as good an opportunity to break through than against a babyface as strong as the Rock, so let's hope it all falls into place on Sunday.

My prediction:  every signal seems to be pointing to a Rock/Austin showdown.  The Fed would almost run the risk of disappointing a lot of casual fans if they gave them anything but in the Vengeance main event.  So I gotta go with Rock over Jericho as the common sense pick, even though I think a Jericho win would actually be the wiser move at this point.

AUSTIN/ANGLE vs. ROCK/JERICHO (Title Unification)

By my logic, it'll be the widely anticipated Austin vs. Rock rematch from WrestleMania...  and it's good logic.  I mean, they had a house show run against each other, so they're back in synch.  They've both cut promos saying that Austin/Rock is the only sensible way to unify the titles.  And certainly the crowds would react strongest to an Austin/Rock showdown...

Yes, all signs points to Austin vs. Rock.

On top of that, by running high profile matches like the two "qualifiers" early in the show, you're definitely gonna drain the crowd's batteries.  The only way to get them fired back up again is to give them a huge main event.  And as much as I like the booking logic of Austin vs. Jericho for the main event, it's not got as much panache as Austin/Rock.

Maybe I'm just a sucker for anything that DOESN'T involve Kurt Angle, and thus has a Vince Factor of zero.  In fact, if it's Austin/Rock, that's your best chance for a straight-up, no interference match with a decisive finish.  Afterall, I don't think they'd run Booker T out there to continue his bizzaro mini-feud with Austin in a match of this importance...

Even if it's some other iteration of the Austin/Rock/Angle/Jericho foursome, there's little chance of this main event being anything other than good.  They'll hold back in the qualifiers, and even if this doesn't get 45 minutes, like the WrestleMania main event, it'll still be the night's undeniable high point.  The unification of the two biggest titles in wrestling doesn't deserve anything less.

My prediction:  gotta go with Austin.  The Fed's presenting this as a milestone in the wrestling business, and you don't hand milestones out to relative rookies (like Angle) or to unproven commodities (like Jericho).  Between Austin and the Rock, Austin is the cagey, seasoned vet who deserves an honor like this.  Plus, the Austin character thrives on having the belt, while the Rock is always "The People's Champ" no matter what.

EDGE vs. WILLIAM REGAL (InterContinental Title)

Edge really ought to stop talking on the cell phone so damn much...  he's so distracted backstage that he's walked right into a couple of ass-beatings lately.  One of the more prolific ass-beaters:  William Regal.

Ol' Chapstick Willie is enjoying a minor push these days, after having smooched the bare bottom of Vince McMahon three weeks ago.  I guess being firmly in the good graces of the boss has its bonuses.  In this case, one of them is an IC Title shot.

It's a recurring mantra when trying to preview Regal's matches, but once again, the phrase "Clash of Styles" comes to mind.  Regal's stiff, methodical, mat-based style only really meshes well against somebody like a Chris Benoit or Kurt Angle, who has the same skill set and can emphasize it when competing against Regal.

Edge, as one of the more kinetic "new generation" style of workers, will either be able to show us something new (if he adapts well to working against Regal), or will go down as another guy who just never quite clicked while working against Sir William (see:  Tajiri, last month).

My Prediction:  heels gotta take something here, and since I'm calling for an all-babyface title unification match, let's start giving 'em their due here.  Regal, especially as an associate of Vince McMahon, is a more than viable IC Champ, so I think we just might see the upset.  Edge still has the killer entrance theme, so he doesn't need the strap!

DUDLEYS vs. KANE/BIG SHOW (Tag Team Titles)

I'm only about the five billionth person to note this, but seriously:  what in the Sam Hill has happened to the WWF tag division?  Once overflowing with talented teams who were all over with the fans, we're reduced to sending in a make-shift squad as the challengers to the belts.

And on the horizon?  The APA vs. the Duds has been done to death, so we're left with what?  Albert/Scotty?  Palumbo/Gunn?  This ain't exactly buttering my biscuit, folks...  somebody send for the Island Boyz, pronto!

No real story here, either...  Kane and Show were just slapped together without explanation, and won a #1 Contenders match against the imploding Hardys.   I guess Vince McMahon just waved his wand and invoked the over-used spell, Marriagio Convenioso.

Yeah, that's right:  I'm so stoked about this match that I'm resorting to using half-assed Harry Potter allusions to stretch this preview out to the requisite four paragraphs!  There's no real storyline, and the prospects for first-class in ring action are limited, since Kane and Show can't play the "big man" card against a team as big as the Duds, so I don't think I'm being overly pessimistic. Am I?

My prediction:  it'll definitely lack heat, except for the bits where Stacey Keibler gets involved.  And it'll probably be a bit on the slow side, especially when Show gets involved.  Oh, and I think the Dudleys are gonna win, just because I think we've already seen enough makeshift teams get the belts this year.

ROB VAN DAM vs. UNDERTAKER (Hardcore Title)

This is right up there with Regal/Edge on the Clash of Styles Continuum.  Then again, the Hardcore Rules gimmick is a great equalizer.  Taker may not jump off the ropes or flip around like a gymnast, and RVD may not have an ounce of "Monster Heel" in him, but they can both brawl and use garbage cans.

Actually, I think it'll probably work out really well:  most of RVD's highspots don't need a particular type of opponent...  he just needs a prop, and he'll do all the necessary jumping around.  And Taker will be most effective when he's kicking lots of ass:  selling somebody else's offense is one of RVD's specialties.  Yeah, this could be alright.

RVD is Taker's first object lesson in respect since his heel turn two weeks ago.  Storyline-wise, it's as good an excuse as any for this odd pairing.  RVD's a guy who seems too laid back and confident to respect much of anything, and he probably thinks he's better than the Undertaker, to boot.  That's a surefire way to get the big man pissed off!

With Taker jumping to the heel side just recently, I'd say this was a must-win situation for him, regardless of RVD's massive popularity.  Except for one thing:  the hardcore title isn't exactly up Taker's ally, and in fact, the rules leave the door wide open for any kind of fluke-y finish that would allow RVD to win without hurting Taker's rep.

My Prediction:  Taker ain't gonna languish in the Hardcore Division, so look for RVD to use his foreign object expertise to score the win.

MATT HARDY vs. JEFF HARDY (Special Referee:  Lita)

Whose the better Hardy?  Online assholes such as ourselves have generally decided that Jeff is the Hardy you go to for crazy stunts, but that Matt is probably the one with a better grasp on how to build a good match from the ground up.

The result is that they were perfect as a team.  As opponents, they've only had a few chances to show us anything, and it generally wasn't all that impressive...  that will probably change on Sunday.

On the PPV stage, and with this as the first time one brother (in this case, Matt) has genuinely shown a heel edge, this'll be the chance for both guys to stake their claim to future singles stardom.  Toss in Lita as the special ref, and you've got some quality drama on the side, too.

I mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: the story here is actually an inversion of the usual brother vs. brother deal.  In the past the jealous younger brother goes heel more often than not...  here, it's manipulative asshole older brother that's alienating both his brother and his girl.  

My prediction:  Lita will Jeff win the match, after Matt shoves her or something.  It's a toss-up whether there is a post-match make-up, or if Matt just goes all-out heel and destroys both Jeff and Lita after he loses.

TRISH STRATUS vs. JACKIE (Women's Title)

God bless Trish, she's trying really hard...  the in-ring improvement is noticeable, but her forte is still just looking damned good.  That's what makes this match so perplexing.

A straight-up women's wrestling match has been deemed "PPV worthy," which I welcome in concept.  But it features a champion who is probably better known for displays of T&A than for her wrestling.  As Fonzo noted yesterday, it's a big time case of mixed signals.

Is there a story here?  Not really...  this is just the match we had been promised a week back on SmackDown, but didn't get to see because Vince came out and tried to induct Trish into the Kiss My Ass Club.  As if we were standing in line clammoring for the Fed to make good on that promise...

And how do they build up Jackie as a challenger?  By having her wrestle and lose to Crash Holly last night, of course...  didn't make much sense to me, either.

My prediction:  Jackie's as good a worker as there is in the women's division, so I'm sure this'll be a passable match.  But alas, this division is not decided on skill, so it'll still be Trish who walks out the champ when all is said and done.

Those eight matches are more than enough to populate the three-hour PPV card, though there are tons of talents sitting on the sideline.  They'll probably get called into service for the live Heat preceeding the PPV.  Christian, Test, Scotty/Albert, the APA, Tajiri, Spike...  plenty of guys to slap together a match or two.

Even though there are some spots on this card that I'm suspicious of (the tag title match leaps to mind), this is a show that -- what with the four guys involved in the big title unification arc -- I'd be pretty excited to watch.  If only that were possible.

Actually, I probably overstate the point.  I'm sure I'll wind up going to a friend's house or a bar or something to watch Vengeance on Sunday.  I'm just pissed about it right now.

My inconvenience will affect you, as well.  My usual immediate post-PPV recaps will be delayed until midnight or later, since I'll have to do the whole thing from scratch once I get back from where ever I end up watching the show.  Also, my plan to do near-real-time match-by-match updates on The Ticker as part of the New OO is in the toilet.

Oh well...  just come on back after midnight Sunday for Vengeance results, and then on Monday, we'll add Scott's PPV Rant and other fall-out from the show, too!


Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.


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