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RAW Rating/Thoughts, Kane News,
and Other Midweek News
April 17, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


-  Put me in with the folks who weren't quite as entertained by this week's RAW as the last few efforts...  however, while I try not to let one segment color my opinion of a whole show, I'll openly grant that this was made VERY difficult this week, as the Fed took about 20 minutes to kick RAW off with a promo that essentially could have been boiled down to 5 or 10.

The kicker (which made it even more frustrating):  this wasted time came AFTER Ric Flair made some offhand comment about not wanting to waste our time with gum-flapping promos.  Oh, the irony.  Oh, the pain.

Triple H's later in-ring promo also seemed to be a bit superfluous.  Obviously, the vibe they are going for is a more heelish one for HHH, but wouldn't this sort of thing be better served as taking place on SD!, where HHH's PPV opponent works?  Just a thought...

There was also now show-stealing match the caliber of RVD/Taker like the week before, though for the most part, the in-ring action was good while it lasted.  Even Molly and Trish are having decent little women's matches.  And if something did stink (or was boring), it was kept extraordinarily short (Big Show/Stasiak and Jackie/Crash, I'm looking at you).

Between CRZ -- who does the detailed transcribing of every single minute detail from RAW, except when his cable goes out and he has to get one of the Slash Disciples to fill in -- and SCJ -- who's stream of consciousness rambling provides a more opinionated counterpoint -- I think there's little more that I can say here about RAW that hasn't already been said here on OO by one of the trusty three-letter initial guys.

So I'll shut up and give you links to the detailed RAW Recap and the Squared Circle Jerk for you further reading pleasure...

-  Monday's RAW rating was a 4.8, which is exactly what its drawn the past two weeks.  Difference this week:  the second hour was rated slightly lower than hour one, meaning that the audience didn't grow steadily like last week.  People were tuning in, and then tuning out, throughout the show.

Ratings may be down a bit from the highs of a month or so ago, but they remain over the averages that the WWF was seeing during late 2001...  and it's definitely too early to judge whether the current ratings trend has anything to do with fan sentiment towards the roster split.

-  Big injury news, as Kane was scratched from his role on RAW and planned PPV tag match (with Bradshaw, against X-Pac and Scott Hall) at Backlash after he suffered an arm injury at house shows over the weekend.  

Oddly enough, the initial prognosis is that it's a torn biceps, which is the same injury that's put Kevin Nash on the sidelines.  Surgery will be required this week to repair the injury, I gather, and at best, you can look for Kane's recovery time to match Nash's 4-6 weeks on the shelf.  

The timing couldn't be worse, as Kane was right in the middle of re-inventing himself as a Charismatic Freak.  Or maybe it's a blessing that this happened when it did, rather than a week or two later;  this way, X-Pac can prance around with Kane's mask, building up heat and interest for Kane's eventual return...

-  Another injury note, this one of significantly less interest and immediate impact to wrestling fans:  Bill Goldberg, participating in a celebrity car race over the weekend in California, suffered hand and/or arm injuries.  No, he didn't wreck his car...  the car stalled out, and Goldberg got so upset that he started pounding on the interior of the vehicle, injuring himself in the process.

Injuries were reported as "two broken bones" on ESPN radio, but other sources say no bones were broken, although he did do enough "soft tissue damage" to his wrist to warrant a hospital trip.

Ahh, that wacky Goldberg...

-  I'm not sure where the rumor about Chris Benoit returning at last night's SmackDown! tapings to set up a PPV match against Chris Jericho got started...  but I'll presume it was from some fans mis-reading some site's speculation and then turning around and presenting it as fact.  In any case, those particular rumors have already been proven false.

[For proof -- in case you somehow missed them -- you can check out the SD Spoilers, which are right here.]

In truth, Benoit will not even know until tomorrow if he'll be cleared to resume in-ring work next week.  And after that, the most reliable indications are that Benoit will do his initial ringwork in the HWA, so he can get back in "ring shape."

IF Benoit's doctor's appointment goes well tomorrow, then I'd say Benoit fans MIGHT start hoping for a return match at May's PPV, at the earliest.  

As always, the possibility also remains that Benoit could return to TV in a non-wrestling role before he's 100% ready to step back into the squared circle.  If that happens to take the form of some verbal sparring against Jericho, and happens to be in the very near future, that's cool...  but penciling in a Benoit vs. Jericho match for this Sunday was way premature.

-  There were also rumors circulating that Jamie Knoble and Shannon Moore would be the next Cruiserweights to debut on SmackDown! (again with some speculating it could happen as soon as this week)...

I can tell you that it sounds to me as if you should probably expect to see Rey Misterio Jr. pop up as the next Cruiser debut, though Knoble and Moore are high on the depth chart as far as new faces that the Fed wants to integrate into the Cruiserweight picture.

-  The Rock's Mainstream Onslaught continued on Tuesday, culminating with an appearance on the Tonight Show...  not being a fan of Jay, I found the banter relatively vapid, but my CBS affiliate wasn't coming in for some reason, and the late night Seinfeld was one I'd seen a billion times, so I watched.

Rock reprised the same basic material he's been doing everywhere in support of the new movie:  doing his Ah-nold impersonation when asked about comparisons to Schwarzenegger, telling the story about how he really did knock out Michael Clarke Duncan on the set of "The Scorpion King," and so on.

Probably entertaining enough if you haven't seen/heard the same thing already in the last week (or if you're a huge Rock fan)... but to me, it was kind of the mainstream equivalent to "turn that sumbitch sideways and stick it up your candy ass":  an example of the Rock leaning on a crutch instead of coming up with fresh material.

Then again, from my understanding of things, these press junkets are hell, and it's probably relying on the same material that's keeping the Rock sane as he talks to however many hundreds of interviewers he's gotta talk to this week.

-  More generally upbeat reviews for "The Scorpion King" are coming in... an associate of mine was able to attend a sneak peak held down in Cincinnati, and basically said that it was a decent action movie.  He stopped short of calling it a good movie, but said it'll be the type of movie that it's really hard to get bored while watching.  The Rock looked good, and the effects are good (although the comparison was only to the ultra-shitty CGI version of the Rock in the last Mummy movie), and the action is non-stop; the story and characters are a bit thin and occasionally hokey, but these aren't the sorts of things that they give you enough time to really get annoyed with.

Of note:  Chris Benoit was spotted at the same preview showing.

-  Last thing for today...

OO Reader and intrepid explorer William Quinn pointed me in the direction of an odd page hidden in the current WWF Backlash website...  the placeholder page for the Backlash main event was originally located at:  www.wwfbacklash.com/matches/wwftitle/, and as has been standard practice in the last few months, they just tossed some nonsense up there to keep the page warm until an official main event could be named. [For instance, I think last month, the joke was that Stephanie McMahon was in the title match?  Something like that...]

So anyway, after William brought the hidden page to my attention, I figured I'd check it out and see what this month's joke was.  What I found appeared to my (relatively untrained) eye to be four big ass paragraphs worth of Latin.

Now, it's no secret that I'm not exactly the brightest bulb in the drawer... but hey, I have smart friends!  And I have been assured that the four paragraphs are comprised of very sloppy and poorly conjugated Latin that would be difficult to translate exactly.  Of note:  the sentence that ends with a few words of English is PROBABLY along the lines of "It's really hard and painful, and there's no money to be had, so it really makes you wonder who'd ever read this stuff."  

So presumably, it's a taunt directed towards fans who go looking for the secret pages on the WWF's websites.  That'd be my guess, anyway.  [If you're also fluent in Latin and want to waste your time doing what I couldn't bring myself to ask my friends to do, feel free to struggle with the puzzle and supply me with a more complete translation...  I assure you, I'm desperate enough for material that I'll probably include it in a column!]

Here's my plea to the dot-com crew:  get your Latin right so that we can properly understand your taunts!  Or just do it in English... hell, I think we all know we're dorks for giving a damn about a secret placeholder page that'll never see the light of day, so just let fly, already!  We're all comfortable with that.  

What us smarty-pants types AREN'T comfortable with are intellectual cretins who slaughter the fine Latin tongue!

-  Alright, enough...  I'm not sure what, but look for something to get posted on Thursday here at OO.  Myself, I'm off the clock until Friday, when I'll supply you with the only WWF Backlash Preview you could possibly need, in a brand new, full-length Online Onslaught.

Till then...  


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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