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RAW, WWA/XPW/ROH, Steiner,
Lynn, Grimes, More...
February 25, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


-  The Rock will once again be absent from TV again tonight -- selling the ambulance attack from last week in storylines, and just getting his batteries recharged after a hectic schedule to start his 2002 in real life -- but that doesn't mean the WWF doesn't have plenty to do in terms of setting the plate for WrestleMania.

Steve Austin and Scott Hall spent last week trading the advantage in their series of guerrilla attacks.  Both were beaten, tagged, and left for dead.  Now, I'd presume we've gotten to the point where they agree to a match at WrestleMania.  Expect Kevin Nash to stay involved in this feud, too, rather than being shunted off into something of his own.

In fact, with so little direct opposition for the nWo (Austin and the absent Rock is about it), continued random attacks by the nWo seems a likely proposition.  It's either that or have them earn their money by doing nothing but cutting promos (and the lame "Hogan and Nash on the Scent" skits from SD! make me think they should stay away from that)...

Number 2 on the list of things that can fill up tonight's show is the new business partnership of Chris Jericho and Stephanie McMahon.  However flimsy the premise is for their reconciliation, the fact is they are two of the more effective heels on the roster and should ramp up the intensity of Jericho's impending WWF Title defense against Triple H.

The third item that needs tending to is the Undertaker's quest to get Ric Flair in the ring at WrestleMania.  If simply walking out of matches is all Taker's got in his "Piss off Flair" Arsenal, then count me out...  but if this is gonna go somewhere interesting, well, let's just say I will not be as quick to toss this in the "Clash of Styles Between Two Used Up Old Men" Pile as many are.  Sure, Flair may be past the point of five star WRESTLING matches, but if he can work a fun Sports Entertainment Segment against Vince McMahon, I'm betting he can do even better with the Taker.

Other matches that now seem to be simmering for WM:  Kane vs. Kurt Angle (which deserves to be more than an afterthought, but probably won't be)...  the APA vs. Billy/Chuck...  and possibly Hardys/Lita vs. Dudleys/Stacey...  Edge, RVD, and William Regal are probably all in the IC Title chase, too.

With the short break before Mania this year, tonight's probably going to give us some clearer ideas about the WM card.  There's only three weeks to go before the big show, so the Fed doesn't have time to waste!

Come on back to OO after the show tonight and then throughout the day on Monday for our usual full-blanket coverage of RAW...

-  As we outlined Friday, this was a big weekend for "alternative" wrestling promotions.  Heading the list was the World Wrestling All-Stars, who presented their first live PPV on domestic turf on Sunday night.

The show was hurt by the absences of Randy Savage (who wound up making late demands that promoters couldn't meet) and Road Dogg (who was tending to personal business), but the WWA did its level best to still deliver a few surprises for fans.

Complete match-by-match results are available right now on The Ticker.  However, here, we'll talk about the night's two more news-worthy happenings.

First, Jerry Lynn made a surprise appearance, confronting Eddy Guerrero after Eddy won the WWA Cruiserweight.  The inference was that they would face each other at the next WWA PPV in April (assuming, of course, that there is a next PPV...  WWA had fewer than 1000 paid at the show; and just talk to WOW about hyping a sequel PPV that never actually happens!).  Lynn was thought to still be under WWF contract (while recovering from an injury), at first, though now late indications are that he may have been released by the WWF after one of those infamous 90 day roll-overs.

Even as of Monday afternoon, I've gotten no clear word on what the deal is with Lynn.  Many also thought that Alan "the Funkster" Funk (a/k/a "Kwee Wee") was a WWF developmental talent, as he was one of the original WCW guys kept on by the WWF.  Funk also still continues to work the WWF developmental territories (as recently as two weeks ago), but may be doing so as a non-developmental worker, now.  I don't know...  I guess it's also possible that the WWF doesn't mind these guys taking outside dates:  I know outside indie shows are permissible, but I thought they always drew the line firmly at appearing on TV for another company.  We'll see.

The other big news to talk about is Scott Steiner, who appeared in a 10 minute segment on the PPV.  Fans who were able to see the show said he looked like a million bucks until he started to move around.  At that point, it was clear he was rusty and/or still limited by injury.  Steiner was limited to beating up on some midgets, and then brawling briefly with Disco Inferno.  He did not work an actual match, as had been anticipated.  Anticipation -- which reached a fevered pitch after Steiner reported passed a WWF physical earlier this month -- has quieted a bit in terms of Steiner's expected WWF return; most folks are back to thinking his return to the ring is still months away.

I'm not sure, but hopefully, Scott will have a full PPV Rant to fill in the (many) blanks that I've left...

-  With the XWF promoting its first house shows in a while over the weekend, the OTHER "X" promotion wound up being the one that got headlines...  XPW -- which fashioned itself as a crude replica of ECW, and even "invaded" an ECW PPV out in Los Angeles -- held an event this weekend that was abruptly shut down after a frightening-looking dive taken by Vic Grimes.

As outlined earlier on The Ticker, Grimes was hip-tossed from a 20-30 foot scaffold by New Jack, but almost completely missed his target (a stack of tables).  The building was immediately cleared, and EMT workers started tending to Grimes before taking him to the hospital.  The exact condition of Grimes at this point is unclear, but two first hand reports confirm that he was conscious and able to move his extremities even immediately after the fall seem to jibe with a more current report that Grimes will be essentially OK following the fall, and has already been discharged from the hospital.

While I hope that's the case, it bears mentioning that this is not exactly Grimes' first brush with disaster.  At ECW's Living Dangerously PPV in early 2000, Grimes (again facing New Jack) participated in another scary spot:  he and New Jack laboriously ascended a 25 foot scaffold, and then wound up trading a few blows until the fell off together.  Again, Grimes almost completely missed his target tables.  That time two years ago, Grimes had New Jack to land on, however.  Grimes walked away from that incident, but New Jack was hospitalized.

At the time of that first bump-gone-wrong, Vic Grimes was a WWF developmental talent who many thought might be "the next Mick Foley" and who had been optioned to ECW for his final seasoning.  A few months after the bump, Tom Pritchard called the incident "insane" during an interview I did with him at the Pillman Memorial event, and it wasn't long after that that Grimes was released from his developmental deal.  

I have no idea who inter-linked the two things may be, but as much as I respect Vic Grimes (and anyone else who does these crazy stunts) for wanting to entertain a paying crowd, there is a limit to what fans want to see you attempt.  If the first near miss didn't teach the lesson, then I hope this second one underscores just where to place that line.

-  The other notable non-WWF action from this weekend was the debut show of "Ring of Honor" Wrestling in Philadelphia.  A spin-off of the RF Video brand name, ROH tries to target that same niche audience as RF Video:  hardcore wrestling fans who want tons of in-ring action.

To achieve that, ROH didn't cart out a lot of particularly widely-known stars to populate its debut show.  Instead, the show featured little-known indie stars who still have name value to hardcore fans who pay attention to which up-and-coming performers are stealing the show for various regional groups.

The main event was a fine example of that, as Lo Ki emerged victorious over Christopher Daniels and American Dragon in what was celebrated as a possible "Match of the Year" by fans, but which would have left casual fans cold.  Lo Ki and Daniels are probably only known  -- if they are known at all by average fans -- as TV jobbers, and I don't believe Dragon has any national TV exposure on his resume.  But whatever was lacking in box office appear was more than made up for by the fact that these are three of the more under-appreciated workers on the continent.  They busted ass, the fans appreciated it, and when ROH returns next month, they will again be featured:  this time in a three-match round robin tournament.

The semi-main event was ROH's closest brush with top level stars, as Super Crazy topped Eddy Guerrero for the IWA InterContinental Title in another good match.  Hats off to Eddy for being a cross-continental road warrior this weekend, working both the ROH and WWA shows!  He split his two matches...  Lo Ki did the same thing, winning at ROH, but losing at the WWA PPV in the opening six-way match.

-  All this is not to say that the WWF didn't experience some notable events this weekend...  in fact, house shows this weekend saw the return of Scott Hall to in-ring action.  He was said to look a bit (understandably) rusty, but passably good in losses to Steve Austin.

Kevin Nash was originally said to also be working matches on the shows, but instead just seconded Hall.  After a ref bumps, Nash briefly brawled with Austin on the shows, but that was about it.  With Nash not currently expected to have a match on the WM card, getting his ring rust knocked off now seems to be a lower priority, I guess.

-  Also on the "WM Test Run" topic...  Ric Flair and the Undertaker will have matches on (at least) a pair of WWF house shows before WM, which pretty much confirms that they'll be working together at the PPV.  The house show dry runs allow them to get used to working with each other, and also to see what will work in terms of getting the fans involved.

-  If you missed the news on the Ticker, last week's SmackDown! wound up doing a final rating of 4.5, which is up a full half-point from recent averages despite tough competition from the Winter Olympics' crown jewel, women's figure skating.

It'll be interesting to see if the WWF can sustain that momentum through to WM, or if it was more of a one-time thing as fans tuned in to see the nWo on broadcast TV.

-  Friday's Ross Report on WWF.com was most noteworthy for the appraisals of developmental talent the WWF crew has done down in Cincinnati over the past week and a half.

Of non-developmental workers who may receive contracts, Matt Stryker, Race Steele, and Chad Collyer were singled out by JR for praise.  Having seen Stryker actually work as a trainer at the past two Mark Curtis Fantasy Camps, I can attest to the fact that he absolutely knows his stuff in the ring and would be a good guy to have on the roster if the WWF is ever serious about pushing cruiserweights.

Of the talents already under developmental deals, Steve Bradley, Victoria (the former Ho), and the Island Boyz were mentioned as being ready for call-ups sooner, rather than later.  D'Lo Brown, Mark Henry, and Bull Buchanan should all be back on TV after WrestleMania (well, one out of three...).  The Prototype, Rob Conway, Nick Dinsmore, and the Machine also got notably positive reviews.  But then again, by the end of the Ross Report, I started to get the feeling JR was just trying to squeeze in everybody's name so they wouldn't feel left out, so maybe it doesn't mean anything...

The only other news from JR is unfortunate injury news:  RC Haas, the HWA Champ who had to deal with the death of his brother late last year, tore his ACL and will be out for at least three months following surgery.

-  Before RAW tonight, you can check out the WWF edition of Fear Factor on NBC.  Or, if you want, you can skip it and find out what happens just by hitting the OO Archives and reading last Monday's column (where I had spoilers).

-  Speaking of Spoilers, this is the part of the column where I segue into my Goodbye, and ask anyone attending tomorrow night's SmackDown! tapings to pass along a report so that we can get Thursday's spoilers published just as soon as possible.  Thanks in advance!

Also, I've noted that the OO website seems to be acting up a bit in terms of accessibility (and noted your e-mails on the subject, too).  It's a simply matter of capacity, and it's as annoying to me to unable to access the site to update it as it is for you to be unable to read it...  I'll try to do what I can within my budget, but ask you to stick with me as we continue to grow.  You can also avoid a lot of those problems by visiting here during "off peak" hours (i.e. not Monday or Tuesday afternoon).

See you with Spoilers and more on 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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