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The nWo is Back, and More...
January 25, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


-  Well, well, well...  it looks like, whether you want it or not, the nWo is coming back.  Vince McMahon's final segment on last night's SmackDown! removed any doubt that that would be the gimmick used by returnees Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Hulk Hogan.

All three are scheduled to meet with WWF officials in Stamford, CT, this weekend to discuss creative directions for the angle, and in Hogan's case, to finalize contract issues.  It is POSSIBLE that all three (or any combination of the three) could start on TV as soon as this Monday, though it's also possible the WWF will milk the tease for as long as they can leading into the No Way Out (NWO?) PPV.

As a sidebar to Hogan's on-going negotiations, 1Wrestling.com has a unique slant on things:  apparently Jimmy Hart may be joining Hogan in returning to the WWF.  This would be yet another huge blow to the XWF, which has already lost Jerry Lawler and Curt Hennig to the WWF, and which was leaning heavily on Hart to help them get up and running.

More on the returning nWo as it develops...

-  Going back to last night's SmackDown! for a moment...

The show featured strong wrestling in the two "qualifying" matches, and did a good job of building interest in Monday's RAW.  Other stuff, like RVD's easy win over Regal and the tension between Steph and Triple H, was well done and leaves a lot possibilities open for the future.

But obviously, the real news of the night was Vince's revelation of the nWo as his "lethal poison" to kill the WWF.  And while the final announcement was probably a mark-out moment for many, the whole build up was exactly the sort of ultra-lame, unrealistic Hollywood-style vignette that I HATE.  Vince talking to himself in a mirror is just silly.  Better to have him venting to somebody like the Stooges (or even to Jericho or another current ally), before finally dropping the nWo bomb (maybe the logo on top of a sheet of papers, tossed willy-nilly onto a table at the end of the show, rather than the bizarre choice Vince made to paint the logo on his chair).

It would also have had the bonus effect of reducing the amount of ridiculous over-acting Vince would have to do to sell the segment.  "It's starting to feel good"?  Lawler said, "This is weird."  I said, "This is stupid."  

But the nWo won't succede or fail because of the awful way in which the group's name was re-introduced to TV...  it'll succeed or fail because of how well Hall, Nash, and Hogan perform when they hit TV.  Thursday' night's poorness was a necessary way to forward the story, since it would have been just about impossible for the WWF to surprise anybody due to word of the trio's negotiations being so widely circulated.

You can get the full scoop on last night's show by reading Eitan's SD! Recap.

-  The overnight rating for SD! came in as a damned impressive 5.7; that's almost a full point better than recent overnight estimates, and the final number could settle in the mid-to-upper 4's once final ratings are in, which would be a significant gain over the high three's the show has been averaging.  

Check the Ticker over the weekend for the final number.

-  About the XWF:  the group had a major presence at this week's NAPTE convention (which is an annual showcase for syndicated TV shows), one that some said even dwarfed the WWF's.  Unfortunately, the XWF is no closer to securing a national syndication deal than they were before the convention.

It's doubtful that syndicators would know or care about the XWF's difficulty retaining talent (as outlined above), but more likely that nobody really wants to take a flyer on wrestling at a time when the genre's popularity seems to have bottomed out.  Also, attendence at the NAPTE convention was way down from past years, as the event has apparently lost a lot of the prestige/importance that it once had.  That could not have helped matters any.

Even if it is only to provide token competition to the WWF, I hope that this week's wasted time and money at the NAPTE convention don't stop the XWF from forging ahead as best they can...

-  The WWF remains on target to execute their long-awaited roster split sometime after WrestleMania...  plans remain for one half of the Fed to be featured on RAW, while the other appears exclusively on SmackDown!.

The split will also be in force for house show dates.  A proposed plan calls for each group to run four house shows per week, with Tuesday as the "overlap" night.  Faction "A" would run house shows on Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday, and also do a live RAW on Mondays.  Faction "Z" would start its week with SmackDown! TV tapings on Tuesday, and then run house shows on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Another plan under consideration is to go with a LIVE SmackDown! every week.  In this case, Faction A's week would include Fri/Sat/Sun house shows and then Monday's live RAW as its capper.  Faction Z would start its week with a live Thursday SD! before also running Fri/Sat/Sun house shows.

In the end, the logistics of how the Fed handles the split aren't of much significance to us fans...  however, I do have to say I like the second plan I outlined.  Just the idea of having two lives shows per week is enough to sell me, but it also works from another perspective, since it's the one way that you won't have a live "Faction Z" even going up against a taped SD!...

-  Alright, so I mentioned a little group by the name of Women's Extreme Wrestling on Wednesday...  they apparently want to do a PPV in February, though there is currently nothing on distributors' schedules to indicate that they are going to follow through.

I mentioned that the company's press release said that they had a "21 and up" product, though I didn't know why (given that "extreme" could have two connotations in this context).  Well, turns out it's the more lurid connotation.  A few readers said they found the WEW website (wextremew.com), and it looks like the group is selling thinly veiled porn, with the wrestling as window dressing.  

It's probably nothing that'll end up being reviewed or further mentioned on many wrestling sites...

-  Here's a funny little heads-up...  TheSmokingGun.com is a cool website that scrounges up "secret" documents and scans them and publishes them on the web.  I love the section where they have all the riders from music acts making their dressing room demands!

Anyway, the site just posted a nefarious bit of Booker T's past...  back in 1988, a 22-year-old Booker was arrested for robbing a Wendy's.  They've got his mugshot and all the of the arrest reports.  You can check it out at www.thesmokinggun.com/doc_o_day/booker1.shtml

Come for the Booker T mugshot...  but stay to read about what a pampered little twit Luciano Pavarotti is!

-  A few readers have mailed in with questions about the WWF and DirecTV, as the situation once again changed with last weekend's Royal Rumble.

DTV had retained distribution rights for WWF shows, but only for non-residential customers (i.e. sports bars).  So there was still a channel on DTV systems where the PPV was being broadcast, it just could not be ordered by the home viewer.  Some folks apparently had those illegal boxes that descrambled EVERY channel, though, so they were still able to get free WWF PPVs on DTV.

Not anymore.  The deal for DTV to distribute PPVs to sports bars expired at year's end, so there is no longer ANY channel, scrambled or otherwise, on DTV systems with the WWF product.  Any bars that had been depending on DTV for PPVs are also out of luck, and more than a few readers were upset when they found out they would not be able to see the Rumble at a traditional venue.

My understanding is that unless a bar has a standard cable hook-up or one of the HUGE satellite dishes, they won't have access to WWF PPVs at all.

And my condolences to those who lost the free pirated PPVs, too...  I had actually been thinking about finding an unsavory individual to hook my house up with free DTV just to fuck with the assholes at Time Warner who now insist that I sign up for digital cable if I want the privilege of ordering PPVs.  Probably not worth it anymore...

-  Mick Foley fans will once again be able to find him on TNN's Robot Wars when the show starts with new episodes again this Spring...  I actually saw Joanie "Chyna" Lauer hosting an episode of the show recently.  I wonder what's up with that?

-  Two more months of the OO Year in Review have been posted, taking us through November...  December and the final touches (including the best of and summary pages) will be posted on Monday, making this the longest it has ever taken me to complete a YiR!  Hell, we'll be one-twelfth of the way to 2003!

Give October and November a look over the weekend, and then I'll see you Monday with RAW preview and more in another fresh OO...



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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