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The Red & Yellow, SD! Rating, 
Who Controls Excess?, Benoit, More...
April 5, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


-  It's gonna be a short column today... there just isn't a whole lot that's news-worthy going on.  And that's even taking into account my penchant for editorializing about whatever IS newsworthy...

We'll start with last night's SmackDown!, which seemed actually did seem like a totally different product than the "RAW brand."  But not necessarily in a good way.  The whole "re-do" of the WWF Title scenario (which now involves Hulk Hogan getting the shot instead of the Undertaker) made it seem like SD! was booked by a different set of monkeys than those that did RAW.  And the monkeys aren't talking to each other; they're too busy just throwing stuff at the wall to see what'll stick.

Is Hogan/HHH a better PPV main event?  More marketable, maybe, but I'd have taken HHH/Taker any day as the better WRESTLING match.  Plus, I'm torn on the issue of whether the Fed is simply striking while the iron is hot (with regard to Hogan) or if they are actually over-exposing Hogan and running the risk that fans will tire of him sooner rather than later.

The return of the Red and the Yellow was another inevitability that I thought should have been held off till a substantially later date, too.  Unless Hogan's farewell match is like at SummerSlam or something (and it's not).  Trying to push old school Hulk-a-mania on the fans will backfire after about six months.  Trust me on this:  I may have been wrong about the shelf life of "What?", but the Red and Yellow will grow passe before the end of the year.

I guess it could be that the Fed knows this and will use it to RE-turn Hogan to heel status (it'd be along the early Kurt Angle vibe; the deluded old guy is talking about prayers and vitamins, but gets booed), but I'll believe that when I see it...

If it were me, and the return of Hulk-a-mania was something that was to be sustained over the long haul, I would have kept Hogan primarily in black, and kept the old catchphrases to a minimum.  Maybe instead of black and white/silver, he can start accenting the black with yellow/gold to bring back a bit of the old Hulk-a-mania flava...  but that'd have been about it.

Or then again, if anyone of you remember the pre-WrestleLine OO, it could just be that I'm a fan of the black/gold/red motif!

Let's see...  the rest of SD!...

Kidman/Tajiri was, of course, too short to tell much of a story, but was outstanding while it lasted.  The fact that more cruisers were promised and that the "unique style" of the division was hyped are reasons to hope that finally we'll be getting this action on a regular basis.  Bring on the rematch, and make sure it's on PPV!  I don't know if a guy who kicks as much ass as Tajiri will be able to get over as a heel, but the Cruiser division is gonna need SOMEbody to be evil, and I guess they're starting with him.  

Rock/Jericho was easily the match of the night.  Those two have their act down to a science, and they actually got the 8-10 minutes to work with that you need to have the kind of match that qualifies as something other than just a  collection of spots.  Time will tell if the experiment to elevate Edge to top level status by involving him in a feud with three other proven main eventers will work...  but I salute the attempt in any case.

Actually, the Edge/Angle match was solid, too.  And their pre-match skit was a rare case of the silly backstage vignette actually making me laugh pretty hard.  I think it struck a chord with my Inner Beavis, or something...

Overall, an entertaining show.  My concerns over Hogan aren't the sort of thing that ate at my while I was watching...  they're more the smarky-type concerns that only occur to you when you're preparing to write a column.  I guess Week One of the Brand Extension Era can officially be labeled a success.  I enjoyed it, anyway.

For further details from last night's show, keep an eye out for the Immolator's SD! Recap...

-  The overnight rating for SmackDown! was a 5.5, or roughly on par with the overnight numbers the show's been averaging lately.  Despite consistent overnight numbers, the final rating has fluctuated fairly significantly in recent week, though, so we'll have to wait and see how that works out.

Keep an eye on the Ticker over the weekend for the final number...

-  The WWF has settled the issue of the Saturday night "Excess" show...  it will be split evenly between the RAW and the SmackDown! "brands," and will be exclusively a recap show.

One hour will feature the highlights of the RAW roster's week, and will be hosted by Raven and Jonathan Coachman.  The other hour will be a SD! roster recap hosted by Mark Lloyd and Michael Cole.

That means the final arrangement is this... WWF-R controls RAW and Heat, and gets half of Excess for recapping.  WWF-SD controls SmackDown! and Metal/Jakked, and also gets half of Excess for recapping.

-  It's also pretty much been decided that the WWF won't be adding additional PPVs during this calendar year, but is interested in doing so once they've established the two roster system as viable.

In the interim, both rosters will split each PPV, but with minimal cross-promotional matches.  Under the scenario that was explained to me, the next time you see a WWF-R guy facing a WWF-SD guy could be in the King of the Ring finals.

-  Speaking of KotR, it's now official:  the PPV will be held in Columbus, OH, as we first talked about over a month ago.  I doubt it's on purpose, but it's sorta neat that for the 10th installment of the King of the Ring PPV, they're holding the show just an hour east of the first KotR PPV (which was here in Dayton).

Tickets won't go on sale for a few weeks...

Also:  July's PPV returns to the "Fully Loaded" label after a one year hiatus, and has been announced as taking place in Detroit, MI.

-  More good news for Ohio rasslin' fans:  Chris Benoit's gonna be hitting all the HWA shows for the next month or so.  He won't be wrestling, necessarily, but will be making appearances on all shows to cut promos or do a bit of refereeing.  This includes the big HWA event in Dayton (at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds) on April 10.

BTW, a big "BOO" goes out to the HWA for scheduling their Dayton show on a night when I'm already busy.  This is the FOURTH CONSECUTIVE MONTH this has happened.  You'd think they'd check for conflicts with the City of Dayton's pre-eminent fan before booking the building, wouldn't you?

Benoit's also already hit an OVW TV taping, too, and may continue making appearances for them, too.  

-  Kevin Nash has updated his website with a brief commentary, confirming that he's back home in Atlanta after under-going surgery on Tuesday to repair a ruptured biceps tendon.  He does not state when he expects to be back, but it'll probably be a few weeks before he's even back on TV, and then longer before he can resume an active in-ring role.

As discussed here Wednesday, inserting an existing member of the RAW roster in Nash's open nWo slot remains a very real possibility as a way of keeping the group viable in his absence.  I've seen tons of people bring up the Undertaker's name, and that would certainly seem do-able.  We'll see...

-  Weak rumors have Albert's heel turn last night setting the stage for a reunion of "Too Cool," as Brian "Grandmaster Sexay" Lawler could be coming back to the WWF.  Personally, I don't put total stock in this rumor just now, and see Scotty as a very valuable singles wrestler as the Cruiserweight division takes hold on SD...

-  Eddie Guerrero remains a part of promotional materials for the WWA's upcoming Australia tour, but he has signed a WWF contract and will not be a part of that tour.

-  I think that's about it for today...  thanks to everybody who actually did try to find CRZ's "heinous error" when I mentioned it on Wednesday, and then actually went so far as bug CRZ about it!  I love annoying Z!  [Hint:  the error was in his Star Trek recap paragraph.]

Me, I'm gonna get on with the business of spending the weekend washing away the last traces of Monday's Sports Anguish by taking in some live baseball.  Reds game tonight (Schedule Magnet Night at Cinergy, gotta get a couple of those!), and then my first Dayton Dragons game of the season on Sunday.  Whooo!

I hope you enjoy your weekend, too, and I'll see you again on Monday...


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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