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RAW Stuff, Nash Out, and More...
April 3, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


-  CRZ said it best about Monday's RAW...  "There was so much more done right tonight than we've had for quite a while.  It just makes you wonder why they didn't do some of it SOONER?" 

That sentiment perfectly conveys my own feelings about a show that wasn't necessarily a rocket buster (whatever the hell that is), but which avoided some of the all-too-common pitfalls that we've been seeing lately and provided some quality entertainment along the way.

Whether it was a pair of really good wrestling matches (I liked RVD/Booker and the Raven/Bubba brawl a lot), a well-done surprise return (Eddie right back in the IC Title mix, instead of being shunted down to the Cruisers is a GREAT move!), a guilty pleasure or two (paddle on a pole match?), and even some quality promo-style storytelling (Taker and HHH had a good, intense vibe to their confrontation, while Austin/Flair/Vince was example of a case where just doing the obvious can still entertain and pop a crowd), this was a RAW that got shit done.

Since I've already said that CRZ said it best, I'd be contradicting myself if I rambled on much further.  So I'll take that "out" and tell you that if you want to read more about RAW, you can just read CRZ's Own Damned Recap, if you haven't already...  [A fun game you can play:  see if you can spot the heinous error that I saw and offered to fix before publication...  Z says no one else has called him on it, yet!]

-  RAW's rating was down from the past two weeks...  the show scored a 4.8 cable rating, a slide of over a half ratings point from recent post-WrestleMania highs. 

In this case, the decided drop can probably be attributable to the NCAA Championship game over on CBS, which crushed all competition on Monday night, and performed particularly well in the WWF's key young adult male demographic.

We'll have to see if the Fed regains its half-point right away next week, or if they'll have to wait for the next PPV to once again get its momentum back...

-  Well, I didn't mean to be prophetic, but my Monday April Fools column will apparently end up getting one bit of info SORTA right...

Kevin Nash will be off TV for a while.  His injured biceps, thought to be just bruised, will require surgery to repair a tear.  This was explained to me as a less-serious version of the injury that kept the Undertaker out of action for about 9-10 months, but one that will still require months of recovery time before Nash can resume in-ring activity. [To be accurate, the Taker's situation involved an injury and then a RE-injury when he tried to rush back into a heavy training regimen too soon.]

To keep the nWo concept viable, the Fed might move to have Nash back on TV (even if in a non-wrestling role) as quickly as possible, which could mean a disappearance of only a few weeks.  [Another scenario presented to me is that the WWF may consider utilizing either a returning or heel-turning star to flesh out the nWo roster in Nash's absence.]

Why am I guessing that for every one fan out there who's bummed that the nWo is taking a major hit here, there are three who are ecstatic that they will not be subjected to Nash's "wrestling" matches?  And probably FIVE who are smugly smiling to themselves, muttering, "That what Vince gets for hiring these jerk-offs"?

-  If you've not been paying attention to the Ticker and Spoiler reports, you might have missed this...

Sunday Night Heat is now a Flair-controlled WWF-R show; tapings for that program were held prior to Monday's RAW tapings (and are covered on the Ticker).

The syndicated Jakked/Metal shows are now under Vince's WWF-SD banner, and those tapings were held prior to last night's SD! tapings (and are covered in the Spoiler report).

That leaves only Saturday night's Excess on UPN as an "unassigned" show...  it may well be that the poorly-rated (and poorly time-slotted, if you ask me) show will just remain a recap show that covers BOTH rosters.

-  And that sort of raises another issue, too:  pay-per-view events.  There have been multiple rumors going around about this matter, everything from the WWF adding another 6 PPVs per year so that each roster can have its own PPVs every 6-8 weeks or so, with a couple of "cross over" shows like Royal Rumble and WrestleMania where you can actually do roster vs. roster...  to each PPV being split down the middle, and each roster supplying 4 matches or something like that. 

At this point, nothing has been made clear about who TRULY controls Backlash.  Maybe the PPV should have been picked as part of the Draft?  I won't say anything that could be construed as a SD! spoiler, but suffice to say that Thursday night's show only further muddies the water in terms of who gets to promote this upcoming PPV.  

It's probably too soon to start adding PPVs to the schedule so that each roster can have its own 8 exclusive events per year (to go along with the joint PPVs)...  but that'd be an agreeable solution as far as I'm concerned AFTER they've proven they can keep two separate rosters interesting and marketable.  Until then, maybe we do just split every PPV down the middle?

We'll see...

-  On the issue of further incoming stars....

Dawn Marie could be on TV as soon as next week.  As outlined on Monday, I suspect she'd be part of the WWF-SD roster, since that would allow for the natural reunion of her and Lance Storm.

And also likely heading to the WWF-SD roster is Rey Mysterio Jr., who will be debuting no later than mid-month as part of an expanding Cruiserweight division.

-  Going back up a few bullet points and getting back on an injury-related topic...  at TV tapings last week, Perry Saturn injured his knee.  The severity of the injury was unknown until earlier this week.  Saturn will require surgery on the knee (the same one that kept him on the shelf for a few months back in 1997), and will be out a few months.

-  The racial discrimination suit against the old Turner-owned WCW -- pending for about two years now -- is likely to expand to include Turner Broadcasting as a defendant in the case.  Sonny Onoo, Hardbody Harrison, and others contend that WCW was an unfriendly working environment for Asian and African American employees, and could seek damages totaling $2 million (each).

Turner Broadcasting is being added to the case because the plaintiffs feel TBS should be accountable for WCW operations.  I'm not sure exactly what the legal precedent here is, but it wouldn't shock me if it were something along the lines of "more defendants equals more money".  But I'm an asshole and a cynic, so what do I know?

-  Last thing for today...  call it a Catharsis for The Rick.

In the past six months, I have suffered unspeakable pain.  Pain unique to the male.  Something that I think Dave Barry called "Sports Anguish."  And I got slapped with it again on Monday night.

Thanks to my constant harping, everybody knows I am a Dayton Flyer by choice.  But I am an Indiana Hoosier by birth, and when it comes to college hoops, they are my #2 team.  And they got my hopes up.  There were actually the only #5 seed to win in the first round.  Then they beat Duke.  Then they avenged last year's loss against Kent State.  Then they made it to the Finals.

Then they actually had a second half lead.  And then, of course, they got beat.  AAARRRRRRRRGGGGGHH!  [I also lost money because of this, so make that AAARRRRRRRGGGGGGHH^2!]  

This comes on the heels of my Yankees leading late in Game 7 of the World Series before blowing that opportunity last fall.  I am truly cursed!

[Hell, if you want to go back even further, the Giants are the closest thing I've got to an NFL affiliation, and the Pacers are my NBA team...  look at the Super Bowl in 2001 and the 2000 NBA Finals for more instances of my still-beating heart being ripped out of my chest!]

Of course, in this state, I actually think it's made WORSE by the fact that my team made it to the championship final before losing.  They gave me hope (and in all four cases, you could argue that they were massive underdogs who didn't even belong there, which only served to make me MORE fanatical in my following of the team).  And then they lost.  Is it better to have had your team contending for championships?  Or is it less painful to be resigned to also-ran status, year after year, without even a hope of winning a title?  Your thoughts?

I know I'm simply taking solace in the fact that it's baseball season again, and that means live ballgames, sucking down beer on the porch listening to the Reds games I don't go to on the radio, and most of all, looking forward to my Yanks taking the World Series back come October.  You D-Backs pissed off George, and he ain't gonna lose again this year!  Yee haw!

See you again 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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