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Weekend News
April 12, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


-  Last night's SmackDown! came in at a 4.7 overnight rating, which is down substantially from recent overnight numbers.  I don't know if that might be attributable to pre-emptions due to baseball, the fact that a lot of the eastern US was enjoying nice weather combined with the first week of daylight saving time, or something else entirely...

I do know this:  it's probably best to hold back on any panicky justifications for a low rating until we actually get the final number in.  It'll be posted to the Ticker over the weekend, so keep an eye out.

-  The show was another solid effort, too.  A highlight had to be the way the feud between the dueling HHH's (Hogan and Helmsley) developed over the two hours, with Hogan establishing himself as a babyface by aiding Edge against the Jericho/Angle tandem, and then HHH refusing Hogan's later offer to "watch his back" to set up a confrontational vibe.  Jericho's interruption of Hogan's promo -- and accusations towards HHH -- was also a really cool way to add depth to the feud.

I would sound a cautionary note if anyone thinks that Hogan could actually be used to turn HHH heel...  fans are still groovin' on the nostalgia vibe that Hogan's got working, but they'll never choose him over an in-his-prime HHH.  Not in the long run.  Still, it's nice to see the hints and the misdirection in the mean time.

The cruiserweight division is shaping up nicely, and the announcement of a Tajiri/Kidman rematch at the PPV was a welcome one.  Keeping Torrie Wilson in the mix should ensure that casual fans are as intrigued as the workrate freaks, too...  if more good-but-short matches like Tajiri/Hurricane precede the PPV match, all the better.

Of course, the HHH/Angle main event got lots of time to develop and was the night's best.  Angle may have seemed a bit too comfortable with his bare ass hanging out for a minute or two, there, and I have no idea what benefit was derived from HHH's smacking it...  but I guess you gotta have something for the ladies in the audience, right?

Somehow, I'm thinking that Angle's rump may have been karmic retribution for the earlier Stacy Keibler table dance, which was suitably Miss Hancock-ian for my tastes...  just bring back the glasses, and the transition will be complete!  [By the way, you don't care about this, but the lone male applicant for Vince's personal assistant job is a good friend of my brother's who is a contributor to the WWF writing staff.]

I have no idea where they're going with "born again" D-Von Dudley, nor do I think I care...  crusading against sin didn't get the RTC anywhere, and bible thumping landed the post-Goldust-era Dustin Rhodes on the WWF scrap heap.  There isn't a whole lot of precedent for gimmicks like this working.  D-Von will somehow have to emulate the old Brother Love vibe if he's to be an exception.

But mostly, SD! got the job done, so no major complaints...  I'd suggest you check out the SD! recap for further details of the show, except that the Immolator's gone off to Japan for a few weeks.  So if you missed it, the best I can offer in terms of complete SD! results is a link to the Spoilers I posted on Wednesday...

-  Vince, Stacy, and Mark Henry were in Melbourne, Australia, for a press conference to launch hype for an August 10 event to be held there at the 50,000-plus seat Colonial Stadium...

OO Reader "VanMan" was there for the press conference, and passed along a few items of interest:  Vince said he had "high hopes" of filling up the stadium, and did say that if this show went well, future Australia tours were a very real possibility...  Triple H was confirmed as appearing on the show, along with all the WWF-SD! roster members (including Hulk Hogan); "VanMan" did not know whether or not to take this as a spoiler that HHH would still be champ in August...  the event -- dubbed "Global Warning" -- will not be televised in the US, but will be taped for possible video release later in the year...  the WWF trio closed out the session by donning the jerseys of the local Australian Rules Football franchise (Henry even kicked a few balls around)...

Tickets for the event go on sale May 20.

-  While Australia's on my mind, a quick reminder:  the finale of the WWA's current Aussie tour airs on PPV this weekend.  Sunday night will be "WWA: The Eruption," an event that will be taped Saturday night in Melbourne.

Scott Steiner headlines the show, challenging Australia's own Nathan Jones for the WWA Title.  Jeff Jarrett, Brian "Grandmaster Sexay" Christopher, Sabu, Ernest Miller, Jerry Lynn, and Devon "Crowbar" Storm will all be wrestling on the show, too.  Sid Vicious will be present in a non-wrestling role (probably taking over Bret Hart's commissioner-type role).

I'll have full results in Monday's column...

-  Scott Steiner has also committed to appear on New Japan's big 30th Anniversary show, slated for May 2 (I believe at the Tokyo Dome).  He'll be teaming with brother Rick to face Kensuke Sasaki (who was briefly a part of WCW in 1996-7-ish) and Hiroshi Tanahashi.  

-  An interesting item from Lance Storm's latest commentary (available in its entirety over at StormWrestling.com)...  at tapings this week, Storm was booked to beat Sho Funaki in a match taped for Jakked/Metal, but stated that the finish got screwed up, and Storm wound up not kicking out of a pinning combination in time.  The ref counted three and gave the win to Funaki.


-  Plans to call the Island Boyz up from the HWA have been put on hold...  Ekmo has suffered an injury that will keep him on the shelf for at least a month.  The timing is unfortunate, since apparently, the Island Boyz were really close to getting the call-up, but it shouldn't ultimately matter much...  having seen these guys a few times in person and on the HWA TV show, I can assure you that they'll make a big impact no matter when they debut on WWF TV.

-  A bunch of UK readers have mailed in with an update on the situation for Backlash...  the show WILL now be available in the UK, but fans will now have to pay for the privilege of tuning in (rather than getting the show as part of a sports cable package, which has been the case most often in the past).  The cost will be 14 British Pounds (and isn't it awkward to see "British Pounds" spelled out like that... I blame the fact that I'm too lazy to try to figure out how to make that fancy curvy "L" thing).

-  Also following up on my lack of certainty over the direction the new Charismatic Kane is going...  reader "Todd EP" put his finger on something I had missed about Kane's RAW promo:  Kane seemed to be mimicking a lot of Mick Foley mannerisms.

Hey, if the guy's gonna be embracing his Inner Freak, why not start by duplicating the man who brought us "Mankind"?

-  I do believe that about wraps it up for this week...  enjoy your weekend, and I'll be back in full voice again on Monday.  Till then, keep an eye on the Ticker, or browse the Message Boards, or browse the archives and wonder to yourself "Whatever happened to Timeline?  Or By the Books?  Or The Mac Files?"...  there's literally tens of ways to kill time here at OnlineOnslaught.com!  


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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