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Big Daddy's Deal, Taped Show Thoughts
and Ratings, plus Lots More...
December 28, 2001

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


-  The holidays are a time for lots of things:  Celebration.  Reflection.  Family.  Friends.  Giving.  Receiving.  Boozing.

But if you're Kevin Nash, they are also a time for contemplating your next big career move.  Not very festive, Big Kev, but hey, a man's gotta look before he leaps.

By all accounts, negotiations between the WWF and Nash had stalled out about a month ago.  The main sticking point was Nash's desire to work fewer dates than the WWF was going to require (which on most weeks only allows for Wednesday and Thursday at home).  Prior to that roadblock, all signs were that Nash would be starting with the WWF as soon as possible.

"As soon as possible" in this case is January 1, 2002.  That's when Nash's Time Warner/AOL contract is done, and when he is legally free and clear to work for someone else.  And just in time for that deadline, talks between Nash and the WWF are ramping back up.

There is no word at this point as to whether Nash is capitulating on his lighter schedule demands, or if the WWF is going to give in and give Nash an one-weekend-off-per-month clause like the one that the WWF's other elder statesman, the Undertaker, enjoys.  But the fact that the two are talking again, and are in fact, closer than ever to solidifying a deal, is evidence that something gave in the last few weeks.

Nothing is solid at present, and it should be noted that it won't be until January 1.  In that time, lots can change.  For instance, right now, Scott Hall represents a huge X-Factor.  Nash could conceivably try to position himself and his buddy Hall as a "package deal," which would probably affect the WWF's thought process.  Hall, to them, is not a "must have" acquisition at this point.  [Note:  Hall and Nash do have a one-night-only deal to work together as a tag team in Japan on January 4...  that appearance should have no bearing on any on-going negotiations with the WWF.]

Another outside factor to consider are the evolutions of two other "ready-for-TV" companies:  the World Wrestling All-stars (which promote successful international tours and are set to deliver as many as four domestic PPVs in 2002) and the XWF (which kicks off its first weekend of house shows tonight, and which enjoyed the participation of Hulk Hogan during its first batch of TV tapings).  Both groups could offer Nash that light work schedule he craves, simply because they don't promote as many shows.  However, money and prestige could be issues.

About the only thing that I have on this story that will be unique from stuff you could have culled from other sites is that I can tell you that there is a feeling that Kevin Nash wants to leave this business the right way.  Not necessarily "on top," but with a company that he's proud to work for.  That element of personal pride is likely to lead him to the WWF, where he knows he'll be on a highly rated weekly TV show, working in front of full houses, and able to put his final stamp on wrestling history.  Plus, only the WWF can offer any kind of long-term financial package, another thing Nash is no doubt looking for.

Some might argue that a "driven" Kevin Nash is still just a "driven" big stiff like the Undertaker.  But considering that those two big men have delivered some of the best, most dramatic "big man" matches of the 90s, you'd be preaching to the wrong guy if you brought that argument to me.  I'd prefer to take this as a sign that we just might steal a few more '95-caliber matches out of Nash, rather than a sign that the WWF is on the verge of acquiring the mostly-undermotivated '97-'00 model Nash.

The time-table is also a big question mark at this juncture.  The easy and obvious thing to do at this point would be to rush to secure Nash's services, and then involve him in what is sure to be a major angle on January 7's RAW.  That night'll include the return of Triple H, and it takes place at Madison Square Garden, which would be a fitting location for ANY reunion of former Clique members (who made their infamous farewell there some five and a half years ago).  As mentioned previously, there could even be very remote, outside possibilities that Scott Hall and/or Shawn Michaels (who has, admittedly, been thrust back into the public eye by his recent appearance on Excess) could also be involved in the angle.  Sean "X-Pac" Waltman is also on the WWF's active roster and could participate, though he was not a part of the Clique Farewell at MSG in 1996.

Though I readily admit that, as a fan, this is something I'd love to see, there is that smart side to me that wonders if letting this simmer a bit wouldn't be a better idea.  Triple H's return alone is enough to carry a show.  Then we've got this whole promotional split thing on the brink of taking place.  It could be storyline overload if you throw Nash into the mix right away.  It's a genuine concern...  but I really have to wonder how many of us would complain if we were overwhelmed with too much good stuff on TV the week of January 7?

Now it's just up to Kevin Nash and the WWF to decide whether or not there will be stuff that good to offer up when the time comes....

-  On Christmas Eve, RAW did a surprising 3.2 composite rating for two hours.  That represents less than a point drop-off from the prior week.  With all TV ratings about a point lower than where they were a year ago, it's also worth noting that RAW on Christmas Eve only performed about a HALF point below the rating that 2000's Christmas Night RAW achieved.

I was honestly expecting RAW's first sub-3 rating in about 5 years... but now I guess I'll have to wait till next week.  Surely a taped "best of" RAW will do the job to New Year's Eve?

-  Overnight ratings for last night's SmackDown! have the show pegged at a 4.7, which is just about equal to last week's overnight score.  Expect the final ratings, when available, to dip below 4.0 once again.

-  Some quick thoughts on this week's WWF TV....

I actually kinda wish I hadn't had to write up the Spoilers, especially for RAW.  I'm not gonna say this was the greatest wrestling show ever, but as a holiday gimmick show, it was harmless fun that culminated with an actually solid main event wrestling match.

Beats the hell out of, say, that "Very Wookie Christmas" special (or whatever they called it) that the Star Wars folks did in the late 70's, right?

Some of the backstage stuff had that bogus, over-produced feel to it, but they needed that to get the holiday flavor in.  Somehow, it worked a bit better than that infamous magical camera moving into the confessional a few weeks back!

Between the dueling backstage parties, the eggnog match, and the Santa vs. Santa match, there was plenty of fun.  And then you toss in solid WRESTLING efforts from RVD/Storm and Rock/Jericho/Angle, and you've got yourself a decent little show.  The kind of show you can only do once a year, granted, but a fun one, nonetheless.  And I say that pretty secure in the knowledge that my judgment was not impaired:  by the time I got to watch a tape of Monday's RAW, I think my holiday buzz had worn off!

SmackDown! was certainly not as memorable, but that's only because you can't celebrate Christmas two times in one week (well, I guess you can, but it probably involves coming from a broken home, and wouldn't be worth the trouble)...  but any show that includes a promo as good and as intense as the one Ric Flair delivered on Vince McMahon is going to get a Thumbs Up from me.  I'm not necessarily sure that I should be excited to see two guys in their mid-fifties trying to have a wrestling match...  but for some reason, I am.  Flair was that convincing.

I can't quite say the same about the upcoming battle between 7-footers...  Undertaker's been entertaining to watch while he dominates the Cruiserweights, but I don't expect that to translate to a particularly successful match against the Big Show.

Are Billy Gunn and Chuck Palumbo so self-centered that all they care about is their own prettiness?  Or are they focused on hair care products (and not Stacey Keibler's ass) because of a latent homosexuality?  I have a feeling I know which direction wrestling's low-brow fans are going to go on this issue in the coming weeks...  but all I care about is that this is about as entertaining as Billy Gunn's ever been.

Again, the longest wrestling match on SD! was the main event... about which all I can say is that I tend to think the Big Bossman and "main event" should be kept in entirely different sentences (if not entirely different paragraphs), but this match worked well.  Good drama and excitement to accompany the action, and I never think it hurts to see the heels go over.

For RAW, you can get the full report from CRZ if you missed it (and looked at my visitor logs, it looks like lots of you are just started to straggle back here as of yesterday!)...  for SmackDown, unfortunately, you're stuck with my three paragraphs.  No recap for you!

-  With Kevin Nash now leaning towards joining the WWF, it looks like the Fed's quest for Scott Steiner may be ending prematurely.  Word is that Big Poppa Pump was not as fully recovered from injuries as he'd hoped during his international tour with the WWA last month, and that he's now likelier to agree to a deal with the WWA, where his work schedule would be lighter and less likely to produce undue wear and tear on his body.

Sting is also another guy likely to fall in to the WWA fold in time for the group's February PPV from Las Vegas.  Those two guys would nicely round out a roster that already includes Randy Savage, Jeff Jarrett, and others.

-  That's about all I've got for you today....  I'm outta town early on Saturday, so don't look for any updates over the weekend.  However, it's my sincere hope to get the finishing touches on my own "Best of" column in time to be posted early Monday morning before I head out of Dayton again for New Year's Eve.  

Come on back for that -- and plenty of other fine columns, too -- early next week, and then sit back and enjoy our return to a regular update schedule starting next Wednesday!


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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