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Hogan News, SD! Ratings, More...
December 14, 2001

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


-  During a radio appearance Thursday morning, Hulk Hogan declined Randy Savage's challenge to a charity match.

Savage had issued the public challenge on 1Wrestling.com, and per his announcement, he will now make a $10,000 donation to the All Children's Hospital Fund in the name of the "Hulk Hogan Coward Club." 

Many -- myself included -- had assumed that the "open challenge" was just a publicity stunt, and that Hogan and Savage had already agreed in principle to work a match early next year.  That's not the case, though...

Though he did not say so, Hogan's reasons for declining to wrestle Savage could have something to do with his intentions to return to active competition for either the XWF or the WWF in the new year.

-  SmackDown!'s overnight rating came in a 5.0, which is a drop of about a half point from last week's overnight number.  We'll be in better position to form irrational judgments after the final numbers are posted...  SD! has earned a 4.2 final rating each of the last two weeks.

By the way, SD! wasn't the greatest of efforts, in my own damned opinion...  but the ultra-hot Bakersfield crowd went a ways to making be believe that it maybe wasn't as silly as I'd thought.  The Austin-as-Fireman bit and then the grocery store romp gave me serious cases of deja vu, at the very least...  though if you can't steal from yourself, who can you steal from?

One thing that definitely worked:  the main event tag match.  Good action, and the crowd was so into it that we actually got TWO hot tags inside a 10 minute contest.  Plus, the finish with Rob Van Dam pinning Chris Jericho sets up myriad interesting storylines.  They could either toss us a couple RVD/Y2J title matches on free TV, or actually build it up as a PPV feud for the undisputed title.

Check out Eitan's SD! Recap for complete show results...

-  Rikishi got a bit hot under the collar at a Wednesday HWA show here in Dayton...  according to reader Chris Hicks, Rikishi dropped to the mat after a stiff punch to his eye from recently-released Russ McCullough.

Rikishi stayed on the mat, getting his bearings back, for a few minutes, and then went off.  He grabbed a steel chair and laced into McCullough with a couple wicked shots.  Rikishi wouldn't lay off, and finally the ref just stopped the match.  McCullough scuttled back to the dressing room, while Rikishi swore a blue streak at him.  The ring announcer told the fans "Good night" and urged them to leave promptly.

Rikishi's behavior is not being considered appropriate, but the word is that sloppy work like this is part of the reason why McCullough was released in the first place.  Russ remains on the HWA roster until next Wednesday, and he and Rikishi will both appear on one more show.

-  With two weeks to go before its first weekend slate of house shows, the XWF is starting to promote the events in Chicago, Milwaukee, and Green Bay with a 30 minute infomercial that will air in several markets in the upper-mid-west.  

There is also word going around that the XWF hopes to continue a three-day-a-week schedule into the new year, though only three additional dates have been confirmed (for the weekend of Jan. 4-6):  Port Huron, MI (1/4), Toledo, OH (1/5), and Battle Creek, MI (1/6).

The infomercial will be airing in the Chicago, Milwaukee, Green Bay, Detroit, and Toledo markets, so keep your eyes open for it.

-  With the XWF ramping up, and with the success of the World Wrestling All-stars international tours, there may actually be a shortage of top name free agents soon.  The WWA is expected to run several more tours in 2002, and if the XWF does continue a three-shows-a-week schedule, the cross-pollination between the two rosters will have to end.

Expect each group to start trying, in earnest, to sign its wrestlers to contracts that will bind them to one company or the other.  Since these are not necessarily full-time jobs, they might not be "exclusive" contracts, but they would dictate a set number of dates, and would have the effect of preventing a guy from working both the XWF domestically, and the WWA internationally.

This can only be a good thing, in my opinion.  More jobs for wrestlers means more options for wrestlers.  Which means that workers will be able to negotiate for their fair market value rather than just taking what the WWF is offering.

It also means that the WWF is probably not going to be as trigger happy with releasing wrestlers as many expected a few weeks back.  Some developmental talents did get the axe, but rumors that WCW guys who were off TV or WWF guys slumming it in the developmentals could be let go are dissipating (if they ever had any real teeth to begin with).

-  I guess I might as well address the whole ribbing/hazing thing that everybody else is talking about.  Thank you very much, Billy Silverman!

The deal is this:  Silverman quit the WWF after a rib that involved him dealing with getting a large amount of booze across the border and into Canada.  After that, he essentially played bartender for a day, serving up drinks to the boys.  This was pulled on Silverman because he broke an "unwritten rule" by upgrading his plane ticket to first class.

Silverman talked about all this about a week ago on the radio, and since, the internet's been buzzing about the appropriateness of such "hazing."  I, of course, get to be fashionably late to the debate because my ethic is that I try not to stray too much from happenings that affect what we, as fans, see in the product.  That's why things like backstage hazing or every little misstep by Scott Hall or Tammy Sytch are often ignored in these pages.

So even though my first instinct is to say the ribbing thing is just none of our business, I guess I'll actually say my piece.

First off, whenever I hear the phrase "unwritten rule," I immediately become suspicious.  In theory, I think such things are ludicrous...  remember the guy who bunted his way on base, breaking up a no-hitter earlier this year?  According to some he broke an "unwritten rule" by doing that...  according to me, he didn't do anything wrong, and even if such a rule existed, it'd be a stupid one.  Not a fan of the Unwritten Rule am I.

Now, this really only applies in Silverman's case...  his was a victimless offense.  Who is REALLY affected by somebody upgrading a plane ticket?  No one.  If someone's actions do not affect another person, I don't see how you can justify a retaliatory rib.  There's nothing to retaliate for.

So yeah, I think Silverman got a raw deal, being ribbed for something that could not possibly have mattered one way or another to anyone but him...  but I also think quitting a good job just because you had to deal with customs and play bartender is pretty lame.

Are there ribs that are appropriately retaliatory?  I'd wager there are...  and as such, I think some gentle hazing is probably just part of life on the road with a bunch of guys all looking for a bit of fun wherever they can find it.  Nothing wrong with having a little laugh at the expense of someone who has genuinely wronged you or your company.  Beats just going up to them and punching 'em in the face, at least.

But ribbing a guy for breaking an "unwritten rule" or just for being new or anything like that?  It's sophomoric and silly.

There...  now you know what I think about this issue, so I can go back to ignoring it!

-  I think that's about it for today...  remember, Shawn Michaels is on Excess tomorrow night for those of you with time to kill.  We'll either have a full show recap, or highlights from the appearance, posted here on Sunday.  So be sure to stop on back...



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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