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More Nash News, Hardys/Lita,
SmackDown!, and More...
January 4, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


-  Has he or hasn't he?  That's the big question about Kevin Nash these days...

Multiple reports have him signed, sealed, and delivered to the WWF at this point.  Nash, himself, says that's not true.  So who do you believe?  Second and third hand rumors, or Nash's own official website?

Well, call me a cynical asshole, but I've got a hard time believing Nash's official denial is anything more than semantics...  it's entirely possible that he hasn't put the actual ink to paper, yet.  But anyone who's got anything to say on the topic agrees that Nash has, at the very least, agreed in principle to return to the WWF.

Nash is presently the wrestling version of an Unrestricted Free Agent.  He is free and clear from his Turner/Time Warner contract, and could conceivably start for the WWF on Monday at the big MSG RAW.  Logically, his return could be tied to the return of Triple H, though there is a school of thought that says Nash may not be rushed back to TV.  Spacing out the surprises and twists over the next few weeks leading up to the Royal Rumble might be a desirable alternative.

Regardless, Nash should compete in his first WWF match since 1996 no later than the Rumble PPV.  It'd be a fitting place for him to return... in many ways, Nash's breakthrough performance came in the Rumble match in 1994.  Prior to that, Nash was a joke in WCW for several years (doing the "Oz" and "Vinnie Vegas" gimmicks that are still good for a few chucks today) before starting as a glorified bodyguard for Shawn Michaels in the WWF during the summer of 1993.  After a half year spent as a lackey (even doing jobs to the 1-2-3 Kid at times), Nash was expected to be an also-ran in the '94 Rumble.  Instead, as "Diesel" he got the crowd chanting for him following a series of eliminations that firmly established him as a bad-ass.

The Fed kept him as a heel as long as they could, but by November  of '94, Diesel finally split from Michaels, turned babyface, and then won the WWF Title (at an MSG house show) during a single memorable week.  Though the watered-down babyface Diesel never quite lived up to the potential that the "anti-hero" bad-ass heel Diesel seemed to display, Nash stayed on top of the WWF for a full year.  Then, months after dropping the title, he decided to leave the WWF to work for the suddenly-competitive WCW.

As a major player in the NWO gimmick, Nash actually became an even bigger star in WCW.  After a five year WCW run that included tons of titles and main events, and even some time spent as a booker, Nash is now poised to return to the company that made him a national superstar in the first place.  He'll be a big man in a company that has had the most success lately pushing smaller, more mobile workers; he'll be a 40-something guy in a company with few top players much past their early 30's; but he'll also be an established top-name draw in a company that's been experiencing sagging ratings in the last year.

How will Kevin Nash fit into the WWF of 2002?  I'm not exactly sure, yet, but contrary to Nash's vocal denials, I have a feeling we'll all get to find out very soon.

-  Last night, the WWF returned from a lengthy vacation with a live edition of SmackDown!...  though it was good to have fresh material on TV for the first time in a while, it was a show that ultimately seemed to be more about hyping Monday's big RAW than anything else.

Then again, it's good to have that focus on keeping fans coming back, instead of just emphasizing instant gratification.  Not every show can be a super-huge one, and if the Fed really does have one planned for Monday, I'm all for trying to build as much interest in it as possible.

The big Rock/Coach/Barry Manilow promo was a fine microcosm of the entire night:  entertaining, but ultimately meaningless.  It made you laugh, but you won't really remember it ever happened a week from now.  The Rock/Booker main event could have counted as being substantial on its own, except that the finish was a given (who'd pay to see Booker vs. Jericho on PPV?) and was cheapened even further when it became a flat-out set-up for what I'm SURE will be RAW's main event:  Rock/Austin vs. Booker/Bossman.  

Not a bad show by any stretch, but just one that seemed more about treading water than about making serious forward progress.  For more details about the show, check out Lee's Squared Circle Jerk...  it's his last time on SD! duty.  Eitan's back next week.

-  SD! performed pretty decently in overnight ratings.  The show drew a 4.9 overnight, which is a few notches above what the show usually scores.  The final number will probably drop down to right around 4.0 in the end.

-  People continue to read way too much into the Hardys and Lita's absence from TV and into the soap opera speculation that people are doing about the absences...  put everything else aside, and just know this:  there is no "six week suspension" or anything else that nefarious going on.  

The Hardys will be back on TV later this month, hopefully with fully recharged batteries and a fresh creative direction.  I'd be shocked if they weren't all back in time for the Rumble PPV...  and I promise you, the Fed will not be holding Lita off TV when she's slated to be featured in Rolling Stone in the next few weeks.

-  Just call Monday Triple H Day...  in addition to making his big TV return at the "World's Most Famous Arena" on a live RAW that night, he'll be all over TV and NYC that morning, too.  Triple H will be on Howard Stern's radio show and also on "Regis and Not-Kathie-Lee" on Monday morning...  as the saying goes, check your local listings for availability in your area.

Also, HHH gets back into the ring for the first time tonight in Binghamton, NY...  he's working a tag match (with Kane against Jericho/Angle), according to current word.  We'll have a show report from Denny Burkholder posted on Saturday, so come on back for exclusive word on HHH's big (non-televised) return.

-  One thing that won't be happening on Monday's big RAW is the split of the WWF into two distinct promotions...  though some sources had pegged January 7 as the day that split would begin, the Fed is on a different time table.  

Now with Ric Flair and Vince McMahon facing each other at the Royal Rumble, you can expect the split to take place after the PPV, and as a function of some kind of stipulation to be added to the Rumble match.

Once Flair and McMahon are each running their own "company" with their own roster, each will have control over one of the WWF's two prime time shows.  One will control RAW, the other SmackDown!...  though the hope is for each group to run its own PPV events, I have no idea how soon that'll be taking place (if ever), so PPVs might remain the one place where the rosters cross-polinate.

Certainly, I'd expect that the WWF would want to be able to work with the maximum amount of possible talent when putting together WrestleMania, which is now just a few months away.

-  The XWF held its first slew of house shows last weekend in the upper mid-west...  a few readers did attend the events, and said they were far cries from the big-time feel of a WWF show, but that there was also plenty of potential for the group.  

Shows were attended by about 3000 fans each, which is easily on par with crowds WCW was drawing by the end of its run.  No word, however, on whether the XWF may have filled up the houses with freebies.

The shows biggest highlights were Roddy Piper and Rena Mero (who, in non-wrestling capacities, got big pops) and the work of Vampiro and Curt Hennig (who did some of the best work of the recognizable names on the show).

As well as the first weekend's shows did, the XWF has decided to cancel this weekend's house shows, scheduled for Michigan and northern Ohio...  the reason given is that a debate over use of footage taped at Universal Studios is preventing them from running the infomercials they used to hype shows last weekend.  Rather than risk playing to empty buildings, the XWF has rescheduled the three-city run for the last weekend of March.

-  Quick!  Close your eyes and skip to the next bullet point if you don't want the results of Sunday's Heat spoiled for you....

Taped last night at SD!:  Billy Gunn beat Scotty 2 Hotty, the Hurricane beat Lance Storm, Christian beat Crash Holly, and Chuck Palumbo beat Albert.

-  OK, no more spoilers...  Monday's three hour "Best of 2001" edition of RAW did a 2.4 composite rating.  That's actually not too horrible, considering it was New Year's Eve.

For whatever it's worth, I gather the WWF announced the HHH/Austin Best of Three Falls match from No Way Out as the fan-voted Match of the Year.  Though I question whether the fix might have been in, it's a Match of the Year I certainly agree with!

-  Some sad news to close out...  1Wrestling.com is reporting that Bobby Heenan is being treated for throat cancer.  Heenan's one of the best ever color commentators, and our hopes for a full and speedy recovery go out to him.

-  Remember, we'll have updates over the weekend (including the report from HHH's return, and a new edition of TimeLine), so between those and the opening of the OO Forums, there's plenty to do here on the weekends!

Of course, if you only care about this column (you ignorant slut!), then yeah, don't come back till Monday.  That's when I'll be back with RAW preview and more.  And maybe even with the first part of the Big Ass OO Year in Review.




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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