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RAW Thoughts/Ratings, WWF vs. WWF,
and Lots More...
February 27, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


-  Well, I think I've made just about enough of the "cinder block" from RAW on Monday, don't you?  And I did it without even writing a single real column!  I just made my feelings known in the introductory blurbs for Lee and CRZ...  now THAT is a seasoned veteran showing off his craftiness.  I get my potshots in, but nothing that's gonna wind up on the record!

And plus, in the end, it won't matter.  It's a minor detail, a speedbump in the Austin/Hall feud.  It's not like they overplayed it a la the Rock in the ambulance.  Austin isn't gonna miss any TV or anything like that.  He just won't be able to run around for a week or so.

With that out of the way, what I really want to talk about is the Jericho vs. Angle match from RAW.  Now, don't get me wrong:  those two busted ass and had what would have looked like a VERY good little TV match.  If only you had the sound down.  But heel vs. heel is NOT a good way to get the fans into a match.  There's just no incentive to care who wins.  At the very, very end, it seemed like there was a bit of pro-Angle sentiment, but it was way too little and most decidedly too late.

What's especially frustrating is that there ARE ways that that match could have been a bit more intriguing to the average fan.  The announcers sort of played it up, but in terms of the action in the arena, the concept of Steph just walking off with whoever won the match was barely touched on (it was just an aside comment by Angle, really).  By playing that up and emphasizing that Angle and Jericho were really just both pawns in Stephanie's anti-HHH plot, you wouldn't necessarily have made either Angle or Jericho a true babyface over the other, but you would have made both more sympathetic so that fans cared about BOTH of them, instead of neither of them.  Maybe just a bit more time in the in-ring promo, or a skit or two backstage would have been enough to solidify that concept.  Then you do the same finish, and Jericho winds up right back with Steph, as strong a heel as ever, while Angle continues his feud as a heel against Kane.  Voila!

Kudos, at least, to Jim Ross for giving a bit of otherwise-nonexistent depth to the Jericho/Steph partnership.  I've recently taken to calling the premise of their pairing "flimsy," and JR explains that by saying that they really both still hate each other, but will pretend to get along as long as it furthers their agendas.  Again, nothing to illustrate that has really happened in the ring or in skits, but having the announcers present that storyline is better than nothing.

For my money, the highlight of the night was finally putting some sizzle into the Undertaker/Ric Flair feud.  I don't want to say it was "great" to see Arn Anderson brutalized and bloodied, since I actually like the guy and might argue he deserves better.  But it WAS great to see Arn involved in something important, to see him not just go down like a two bit chump (the last bit where he got up and kept on challenging Taker was fantastic).  It also gives fans like me a reason to finally care about the on-going attempts by Taker to get Flair to agree to a match.  Now, next on MY wishlist:  destroy David Flair! That's gotta be the next step.

Other notes to my self:

Booker T's "Japanese shampoo commercial" thing made no sense on its own, and is obviously leading to something else (hopefully with Tajiri?)...

RVD emerged as the top challenger to Regal's IC Title, which is a good thing.  I think fans are getting itchier and itchier to see Regal lose the strap, and RVD is as good a choice as anyone to unseat him.  And talk about the fun we can have wondering about THIS clash of styles!

Doing ambiguously gay shtick in the ring is what will get and keep Billy and Chuck "over" with the fans (with "over" being relative only to what they are now); they sort of skipped that on Monday in the win over the Hardys, and replaced it by attacking the APA during Men in Drag night at the Friendly Tap (which is a logical offshoot of their ambiguously gay-ness, but isn't as effective in terms of getting fans to give two shits).

Speaking of the weak tag division:  I think we saw a new team birthed on Monday...  Dallas Page and Christian could click, I think.  I hope they manage their own thing, and don't just slid into an Edge/Christian 2 comedy shtick.

Replay footage of a serious injury and make fun of it?  No big deal.  But start making little dick jokes?  Triple H won't stand for it...  I'm not sure if banter back and forth about genitalia sends the right message about the seriousness of this feud.  Especially when it's time that could have been better spent setting up the aforementioned "Steph is using Angle and Jericho as pawns" story.

In any case, CRZ has complete details of the entire show (including all the penis and vagina jokes fully transcribed!) in his RAW Recap, which you can check out if you need further info about the show.

-  RAW on Monday did a 4.7 rating, which is almost identical to last week's post-PPV, nWo-powered rating.  It still represents significantly fewer viewers than what SmackDown! drew last week, but the fact that the Fed held onto just about every extra eyeball that tuned in out of curiousity last week is definitely a Good Thing.

-  But not all news is good for the WWF...  according to a newswire item from London, the Fed lost its appeal of a 2001 court decision to restrict the World Wrestling's Federation's use of the "WWF" initials.  Last year, the court ruled that the wrestling WWF's use violated the intellectual property of the Worldwide Fund for Nature  (which until recently had been called the World Wildlife Fund, or WWF).

The ruling last year seemed to indicate that the WWF was in danger of losing its claim to the WWF initials (reports even said that WWF.com was in danger of being shut down due to the ruling), though the appeals process slowed that down.  In the 9 months since the original ruling, subtle changes have crept in, though.  Instead of using the initials "WWF" in print or on screen, the Fed has exclusively used its scribbled logo (which is kind of cool when it's on somebody's chyron, listing them as a champion, but which gets damned annoying when it's included twice per paragraph in a magazine).  In speech, "World Wrestling Federation" has become a much more prevalent way of naming the company, as well, with the "WWF" shortcut taking a beating.

Now, there is an international element to this case that I'm not clear on:  the World Wrestling Federation's use of "WWF" in overseas markets was going to be affected differently by this ruling than their use of it here in the States, I believe.  With this case having been heard in London, I guess that shouldn't be a surprise.  I'm just not sure what the differences are at this point.

By the way, in case you weren't reading last summer when I first did my spiel about this, I think the World Wildlife Fund are being a bunch of jerk-offs about this.  It's called the Reasonable Man Principle, and I think it's a damn fine heuristic to live by.  Think about it:  somebody's looking to save some pandas (or whatever), and they stumble across "Suck It 3:16's Stone Cold Whoop-Ass Page."  The Reasonable Man figures, "D'oh, this isn't what I'm looking for," and tries again.  He does not wonder "Why does the World Wildlife Fund swear a lot and have pictures of women in thongs on their site?  I think I will cease to support the WWF and will immediately take their cute little sticker of my Volvo".  It just doesn't happen that way.  But if there IS actually  somebody out there who's looking to donate to the rain forests, then finds a wrestling page instead, and is actually confused by this for more than 0.08 nanoseconds, he deserves to be put out of his misery immediately, anyway.  The moron's obit should also read "Donations to the WWF, in lieu of flowers," so that his moron friends can help pay Hulk Hogan's salary!

When I said that nine months ago, I got a bunch of people mailing in to say, "Yeah, your ideas might be noble and all, but the LAW says the World Wrestling Federation is in the wrong."  To which I say, "Yeah, well, there is a difference between what the law says and what is actually RIGHT and SENSIBLE."  And this is an example of that.  Laws aren't always right, folks.

Just my own damned opinion.  And trust me, it'd be the same even neither party had anything to do with wrestling.  But I'll stop before I digress any further into some sort of moral, socio-political tirade about the ills of mankind.

- Some final fall-out from Sunday's WWA PPV, which has received (at the very best) mixed reviews.  I still haven't seen it, so I will reserve judgment.  Some folks did seem to enjoy the PPV substantially more than WWA's first pre-taped event, but for the most part, that's tantamount to enjoying a can of sardines more than a can of dog food, from what other reviewers are saying.

What hurt the show most was the absence of advertised main eventer, Randy Savage.  Savage was holding out for a big annual salary to work for the company exclusively.  The WWA countered with an ownership position for Savage (in which he'd still be paid well, but would make more if WWA succeeded).  It had seemed that Savage was amenable to this, and so the decision to include Savage in advertising for the show was made.  However, early in February, talks about the exact nature of Savage's ownership position fell apart, and instead, Savage's representatives decided to demand a single, gigantic pay-day for a one-night appearance.  The thought was that they'd finally agree on a price for the one-night deal, but by late last week, the best the WWA would offer was about half of what Savage was looking for.

And so, Savage did not appear.  Equal blame is being place on Savage for balking at the apparently acceptable ownership deal and on WWA management for hyping Savage before having ink on a contract.  All I know is that it's stuff like this that keeps any challenger to the WWF's throne from being taken seriously as a "new #2" by fans.  The first company to follow through on its hype might actually have a shot!

Also:  Jerry Lynn did appear on the PPV because he was released by the WWF.  Why the Fed would retain Lynn for almost his entire recovery for injury, only to release him when it was FINALLY coming up on time to start pushing the Cruiserweights after the split, is beyond me.  Unless [cue conspiratorial music] the Cruiserweights aren't really gonna be pushed and JR is just yanking our chain again.

Then again, Lynn can always be re-signed at a moment's notice, if the division does take off.

-  Promotional artwork just released for April's WWF Backlash PPV includes nothing but a somber-looking picture of Triple H.  Doesn't tell us a whole lot about anything, now does it?  Is HHH the one lashing back?  Or is he the victim of the backlash?

Eh, let's just get to WrestleMania, first, and worry about this later...

-  I'd thought the "World's Strongest Man" competition that Mark Henry had taken time off to compete in was the REAL World's Strongest Man thing that gets all the play on ESPN2 and all...  winning the "Arnold Classic" is good and all, but it's gonna give the returning Henry even less cache than the real ESPN2 deal would have.

The real question now is, when Henry returns in a month's time, will he be the same in-improved-shape "Sexual Chocolate" that he was when I saw him last year, or did training for a strongman competition cause a reversion back to his own mass-over-quickness body-type?

I guess I won't care, just as long as the return of all these guys from down in the developmentals includes the return of one Mr. D'Lo Brown.

-  I'm sure you didn't miss them, but just in case:  SmackDown! spoilers from last night in Boston are right here.

-  My final thought for today:  a couple non-wrestling news items caught my eye and gave me a chuckle, and I thought I'd share...

Did you see the one about the report that says "25% of all alcohol consumed in the US is consumed by underage drinkers"?  Now, after just glancing over the claims in the report, I'm thinking their numbers must be audited by Arthur Anderson...  but even if there's a shred of truth in there, then I call upon YOU, my fellow 20-somethings, to step it up and join me in drinking these teenage law-breakers under the table!  Twenty-five percent, my ass...

And then there was the one about the Pentagon shutting the "Office of Strategic Influence."  You know, the department that was in charge of distributing fake news stories so that people worldwide could be tricked into embracing and loving the American government.  It sort of struck me as EXACTLY the sort of news item that might originate from -- oh, I don't know -- an Office of Strategic Influence!

Alright, enough of me reading the news...

-  Check the Ticker for all the details about why OO was offline for about 16 hours on Monday and into Tuesday...  again, my apologies for any inconvenience.  I'll be working to limit future outages as much as my budget permits.  

I'd originally told myself that I'd try to limit myself to two "pledge drives" per year (kinda like PBS), and it's only been three months since I did that first one.  But still, I feel compelled to mention that you can help keep OO as a free site (mostly) devoid of obtrusive pop-up ads by making a donation to my Amazon Honor System account.  

I don't want anyone whose already donated to feel compelled to do so again.  The hundreds of you who've already helped have my thanks, and have gotten us to where we are today.  It's the thousands and thousands of others (and more every day) who I implore to help us KEEP UP with a growing audience and bandwidth requirements.  

Thanks in advance for your help, and I'll be back again with a fresh column on Friday! 


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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PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
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RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Five Surprising MitB Deposits
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RAW RECAP: Johnny B. Gone
PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
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PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: One Gullible Fella
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SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28




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