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RAW Thoughts/Ratings, nWo 
Timetable, More...
January 30, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


-  I admit it, I absolutely hate it when the WWF wastes my time with pointless music videos.

But after Monday, I also have to admit this:

That video set to Kid Rock's "Road of Faith" was awesome.

It was a good Kid Rock video (and I say that as a guy who likes Kid Rock lots better than the other hip-hop/metal fusion crap out there, such as -- oh, I don't know -- Limp Bizkit...  it's just that his videos all tend to evoke the same mood, what with the strippers and the live performance vibe)...  and from the wrestling side, it served a purpose.

I mean, I watched it, and then I re-wound the tape and watched it again.  I felt like my entire 17 years as a wrestling fan was encapsulated in those four minutes.  When I stopped and tried to think back on what memorable or important performer was left out, I think the best I came up with is Kane (hey, he WAS a WWF Champion for a day)...  and hell, he might even have been in there for a split second and I just missed it.

I loved the little "theme segments," too...  diva to diva to diva through the years...  champ to champ to champ through the years...  even high flying to high flying to high flying through the years.  A wonderfully put together piece that fit into the nWo/WWF storyline as an integral element, rather than as a piece of fluffery obviously designed to justify accepting the payola from Kid Rock's people.

My one thought after seeing it twice:  I would have loved it more only if they'd set it to the Foo Fighters' "February Stars."  The tone (both lyrically and dynamically) of that song is PERFECT for what they were trying to convey, and I gotta admit that I like it way more than a mediocre Kid Rock ballad.

And luckily, a four minute music video isn't the only thing to rave about from Monday's show.  The Austin/Angle main event was every bit as good as you could have hoped:  maybe a notch or two less spectacular than you'd get on a PPV, but still about as damned entertaining and dramatic as you can be in a 10 minute TV match.

I may not be sold on Stephanie McMahon's over-acting any more than I am on her old man's, but like I said in awarding her "Second of the Year" in the OO Year in Review, she's mastered the art of being obnoxious, which is vital to being a heel.  I have a feeling there is no guy in America who doesn't totally sympathize with Triple H at this point, which should make their on-going marital troubles a more palatable storyline than most over-wrought relationship-based angles.

And speaking of Vince's own over-acting, the one thing I think needs to be added to this whole nWo ordeal is a bit of cold, rational explanation from Vince, instead of wacky faces that seem more like comic relief than anything else.  Don't just tell us that the nWo are going to kill the WWF;  tell us HOW and WHY.  A lot of fans don't get the inference, so use real history as your blackboard.  Tell us that the nWo tore apart WCW's lockerroom, tell us about how WCW was on top of the world, kicking the WWF's ass in 1996-7, only to lose half its audience as the nWo became too powerful.  You could even get testimonials from guys like Jericho and Benoit who were there and who left because the nWo wouldn't give 'em a fair shake.  

Stuff like that would go a lot further to painting a picture (especially for casual fans who don't understand anything about the nWo and its backstage role) about how the nWo = Poison than the current storytelling is.

Littler stuff worked well on Monday night, too...  I think William Regal is being booked perfectly; he won't necessarily get to hold the IC title for a year and a half, but in today's fast-forward world, he'll manage to obtain the infamous "Honkey Tonk Man Heat" if he just retains it until WM.  At that point, either Edge or RVD would be worshipped as heroes for taking Regal down.  And Chuck and Billy, damn me, are continuing to be good for a few guilty snickers:  the stretching, the disgust at having to be proximate to Trish, the whole thing.  If Ace and Gary comprise the Ambiguously Gay Duo, perhaps Chuck and Billy could be the Curiously Bisexual Tandem...  except if that were accurate, Chuck wouldn't have minded Trish sitting on his face anymore than he minded Billy mounting him back in the locker room, now would he?  Oh well, back to the drawing board with that one...

Pretty solid RAW all around, I think.  As always, I encourage you to get the full details from CRZ in his latest RAW Recap, if you haven't already.

-  RAW's rating for Monday night is a 4.6 over the two hours, which is identical to last week's rating.  I'm guessing the WWF probably was hoping for a bit of a boost, what with the return of the nWo and the promising Austin/Angle main event, but they cannot be displeased with retaining the entire post-Rumble RAW audience, either.  For the past several months, the Fed has lost a few tenths of a point off all post-PPV RAW ratings the following week.

-  There's a lot of talk about an nWo vignette taped last weekend while Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall were all in Stamford, CT...  initial rumors that it was to be included on RAW turned out to be pre-mature, as the WWF went with the angle that had Vince giving Flair a few days to decide the fate of the company (if there were ever any plans to go faster with the storyline than that, I don't know).

The taped segment(s) should now show up on next week's TV, with the trio expected to appear live and in the arena at a later date.  The No Way Out (NWO, get it?) PPV would be the latest you can expect Hogan, Hall, and Nash to return to the WWF in a live capacity (and part of me hopes/expects they will milk it out this long, since the nWo are sort of more fun "in theory" than "in the ring"...  promos and teases are cool; it'll be a crapshoot whether their matches will live up to them).

-  The Rock was back from LA for last night's SmackDown! tapings, and at this time, there is still no solid word on whether he might also miss next Monday's RAW.  The hope is that he won't, but re-shoots for "The Scorpion King" are quite extensive, and may require his presence yet again.

I've heard that February 10 is the drop-dead wrap date for shooting on the movie (which then has less than 2 months for final post-production before its release), and that the Rock is back on a full-time WWF schedule starting with the Feb. 11 RAW.

By the way, if you somehow missed them, Mark Coale sent in a first-hand report from SmackDown! tapings.  You can get your full spoilers right here.

-  The February 24 World Wrestling All-stars PPV is perhaps not going to be the major league production originally hoped for, but word of the group's demise has been greatly exaggerated.

The WWA has, in fact, decided to move the PPV from the MGM Grand in Vegas to the smaller Aladdin Hotel.  With some of the group's hoped-for big stars signing with the WWF, and with others still in the negotiation phase, management was unsure if they could fill the 15,000 seat MGM to make it look good on TV.

Randy Savage and Jeff Jarrett are the big names already locked in for the WWA PPV, and the group is seriously pursuing both Scott Steiner and Sting.  Guys like Sabu, Road Dogg, and others populate the mid-card.  

The WWA have a very good chance of presenting a strong show, wrestling-wise.  But without the right influx of star power, they might not thrive as well on domestic PPV as they have with overseas tours.

-  Tonight in LA, the NHL's All Star Weekend kicks off.  Of note to wrestling fans is the fact that Chris Jericho will be skating for one of the teams in the Celebrity Challenge game.  Jericho's dad, Ted Irvine, played several season in the NHL, and Jericho himself has participated in a bunch of these types of events.

What's REALLY interesting, though, is something pointed out to me by a couple alert readers (who, for reasons that shall remain their own, were scanning NHL.com).  Bill Goldberg is listed as one of the celebrity coaches for the event.  No word on whether Goldberg is coaching Jericho's team or not, but it would be REALLY interesting to see how the two would interact.  Goldberg (albeit reportedly on the advice of others) nixed a mini-feud with Jericho while both were in WCW, on the grounds that Jericho was too small and "below him."

Today, Jericho's on top of the wrestling world, and the hope would be that both could have a laugh at the miscue of a few years ago.  But you never know.

Again, the event takes place tonight (Wednesday) in LA, and highlights of the game are scheduled to air as a two hour special throughout this coming weekend on the E! Network.

-  A few fans wrote in to clear up my confusion about Joanie "Chyna" Lauer being featured on a recent edition of TNN's Robot Wars, even though the network had just recently announced that Mick Foley was returning for another season as the show's host.

The deal is this:  Foley hosts a fully Americanized version of the show, which originally existed as a UK production.  But TNN has also got the rights for some of the produced-for-the-UK episodes, and what they did was edit out the British host of the show and spliced in Chyna.  Makes sense...  in so far as shows about fightin' robots makes any sense to me at all.

-  I guess if fightin' robots can make this column, than I can digress even further and include results from a recent show in Toronto that comes up a full two letters short of the WWF.  Why use three letters, when you can be simply known as the "D"?

Here's OO Reader CC's full report from the big show:

I was lucky enough to get tickets to see Tenacious D at the Kool Haus in Toronto Thursday night in their first international show.  Between WrestleMania 18 and the D, 2002 is a big year for T.O.

Here is a brief run down of the results:

KG jobbed to Poops McGee when he took a bullet for JB.

JB used karate to kick the ass of audience members when they messed up a game of Simon says.

The cover version of the Spiderman theme song ended in a non finish when Spiderman did a run in and took out JB, KG and a stage hand.

JB turned heel half way through the concert causing Kyle to quit the band for 45 seconds.
JB cut a promo on System of a Down and Puddle of Mudd while putting over Bryan Adams.

It should also be noted that throughout the night the D did a good job of elevating new talent like Lee and Sasquatch while burying veteran talent like Ronnie James Dio.

Finally, the Devil did the job for Tenacious D after they played the best song in the world.

Now THAT is some funny shit.  Even funnier than me getting bored during the re-goddamn-diculous standing ovations during last night's State of the Union and wondering if it'd be any cooler if the assembled Congress started chanting "What?" after President Bush's every pause, instead.

-  Alright...  I think I'm officially out of material when I resort to using concert reviews and referencing the State of the Union address, so I'll just quit now.  I've got columns that'll be going up over the next two days -- and I'll be updating the Ticker, too -- but I'll see you next in this long-form on Friday, with a fresh OO.

Till then....


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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