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Steiner News, SmackDown!, WMX8,
and More...
February 1, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


-  Scott Steiner has been sending out mixed signals over the past few days regarding his possible return to US television...

Although he is included in advertising for February's World Wrestling All-stars PPV, he denied any ties to the group early in the week.  This wouldn't be unprecedented, as initial WWA advertising included Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, even though both eventually decided to sign with the WWF, instead.

In a message published in an official newsletter, Steiner said that he was on vacation when he was supposedly signed to appear at the WWA event, and that "I will not be seen in the U.S. until I am 100 percent ready to dominate at the highest level... and that is not far away."  That even led people to e-mail me asking if that meant Steiner would be making his return in the WWF, because of the "highest level" comment.

Well, such speculation has to be tabled for now, since word is now that Steiner IS officially attached to the 2/24 WWA PPV.  He joins Randy Savage and Jeff Jarrett as the biggest names who have agreed to perform on the show.  The group still wants to get Sting, if possible.

Steiner, recovering from a foot injury, has not been seen by US audiences since the final Nitro on 3/26/01, though he did participate in a WWA tour of the UK in December.

-  Last night's SmackDown! wound up doing a final broadcast rating of 3.9, which is down three-tenths from last week's final number, but still strong enough to out-perform RAW in terms of total viewers.

The show was a pretty good one last night, too...  the stuff between Vince and Flair was spot-on after the ludicrous over-acting of the past week, with Flair's farewell coming off especially well.  I just hope that we get some explanation for why Austin stopped Flair from signing over his shares, other than his on-going hatred for Vince.  Perhaps he's thinking that if Vince can bring back the nWo, then Flair can re-create the Four Horsemen to combat them, or something like that?

One thing that's starting to grate on me:  when talking about the nWo, announcers always qualify their comments with something like "If this is who we think it is...".  Why not just come out and drop some names on us?  I mean, they were already seen in that "Road of Faith" video, afterall.  And it's not like Vince is going through all this trouble to bring us Horace Hogan, Virgil, and Scott Norton!  [Although that would be pretty funny.]

A weird observation from last night' rerun of that video:  Sable's tits are OK for UPN, but Austin's middle fingers get blurred out?  That's odd...

On the wrestling side, the Rock/HHH vs. Angle/Undertaker main event was another outstanding TV match.  Lots of action and drama.  And something that struck me while watching the match is how off-base people are when they say the Undertaker is such a flagrant non-seller that it hurts his work.  Last night, he was making Rock and HHH's offense look like a million bucks, to the extent that I even made a mental note of it.

Check out Eitan's recap for full details on the show.

-  By the way, if you read spoilers and then noticed something missing from the final broadcast, it's because -- as Mark noted in his spoiler report -- the show ran long and needed to be cut down.  So the WWF edited out a Chuck/Billy vs. Torrie/Trish "posedown."

The segment wasn't particularly well-reviewed, anyway.  They'll probably do a re-tooled version of the segment on Monday's RAW.

-  The new month means another batch of advance PPV hype is being distributed.  This month, it means we're starting to get some info on WrestleMania...

For starters, the show will be four hours long, as it has been the last two years.  It'll retail for $40, or $10 more than the other monthly PPVs.  [Although starting in April, WWF PPVs will go up in price to $35.]

And the initial artwork given to PPV distributors includes Chris Jericho and Stephanie McMahon in prominent positions, which supports Jericho vs. Triple H as the show's main event.  Of course, looking at the image over on PPV.com, it looked more like a "placeholder" type thing than the final artwork for the show, so you never know.

In other WrestleMania news, the Fed recently announced that the show is already the highest-grossing event in WWF history, and that's with more tickets likely to be released once the building's configuration is finalized (and with some luxury boxes still available).  There have been tickets sold to fans from 15 countries, 47 US states, and 10 Canadian provinces.

There will also be a four-day "Axxess" fan fest, starting on the Thursday before the event.  Tickets for the fan fest go on sale next weekend.

-  The second WWF edition of "The Weakest Link" will be taped next week during the WWF's west coast run.  Steve Austin and Debra will be among the participants.  The show won't air on NBC until early March.

-  Raven, Justin Credible, and X-Pac are among the WWF workers who'll be spending a week or so in the Cincinnati-based HWA.  X-Pac will be working a few matches just to knock off the ring rust after being out of action with a neck injury.  Not sure why the other two are reporting there, since they've remained active on WWF house shows even though they haven't been on TV since the demise of the Alliance.

The WWF will also be sending talent scouts to the HWA in a couple weeks, trying to assess both the WWF developmental talents and the HWA workers who aren't under WWF contracts.  Since there are serious rumors about a cruiserweight division getting pushed as a key element of one of the Fed's shows after the company splits, it seems like maybe they want to get a handle on which of the smaller guys are ready for the big show.

-  The WWF's website has a new live events schedule for March posted, which indicates that there will be a live SmackDown! in San Antonio, TX, on March 7.  After a live RAW in Austin, TX, the crew will apparently sit tight for two days before the live SD! on Thursday.

The reasons for scheduling a live SD! instead of just taping the show on Tuesday are unknown (the Fed does return to a normal schedule the next week).  Of course, San Antonio is Shawn Michaels' hometown, so I guess that's one reasonable area of speculation...

Also of note:  the WWF does not have any additional split-crew shows scheduled.  The last weekend of the A/B team house shows is next weekend (Feb. 9-10).  

-  The XWF has announced that Rey Misterio Jr. and Konnan will be reprising "The Filthy Animals" gimmick when the XWF returns to house shows later this month in Texas (2/22-2/24).  Also part of the three-date tour will be Terry Funk taking on Greg Valentine in a "Legends Match."

-  That's about it for this week...  I'll see you again on Monday with RAW preview and other news!



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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