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RAW Thoughts, DDP Update, More...
May 1, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Mid-week news updates and opinionated ranting follows:
  • RAW on Monday started off really strong...  then it got dragged way down in a few spots...  and then, despite the fact that it was a cheap, non-match ending, I thought the concluding angle was done really well.  Or maybe it's just that seeing Hogan doing something substantially more than the typical sympathy blade job was all it took for me to be sold....  
    Let's go in chronological order.
    You give Eddie and Jeff 7-8 minutes to start the show, and I'm never gonna complain about that.  A quality TV match, and a promising way to get things underway.
    The Austin/Flair promo was way long, but it gave the fans in Buffalo the chance to "What" their little hearts out... and plus, the way they really over-hinted the "Flair is turning heel" scenario (especially Lawler) gave everything a sense of uncertainty, which I like.  Afterall, if they were going to shock us with a heel turn, they wouldn't telegraph it that clearly, would they?  Maybe, maybe not...  maybe this time around, the swerve will be that it's not a swerve at all.
    Booker/RVD was OK, but not nearly as good (or as long) as a match they had a few weeks back.  It was more an excuse to start the angle between Booker and Goldust in earnest (and since I've been saying for a long while that Booker's due for a face turn, that's cool with me).
    Brock Lesnar beating up on Shawn Stasiak was what it was.  They need to keep feeding Lesnar easy wins, and Stasiak (with "Planet Stasiak" seemingly doomed to become Shawn's Failed Gimmick #84) is as good a lamb as any.
    Things momentarily picked back up for the Austin/Bradshaw vs. nWo match, mostly because with Flair as referee, you were sitting there waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Action was solid enough, too, but the big payoff was Flair going ahead and counting three FOR Austin, this time, despite his opponent, X-Pac, having his foot on the ropes.  No heel turn, and in fact, it was a moment of bona fide poetic justice.
    Undertaker put the show back on its downward spiral, taking what felt like half an hour to convey about 45 seconds worth of content.  I'm not saying Taker shouldn't take his time and do what he can to enhance his gimmick when given a chance... but as a veteran, he should have recognized the crowd turning on the entire segment much earlier (I mean, if *I* heard the "BORING" shouts, then he MUST have, right?), and gone to the out.  Once Hogan made his appearance, and Taker called Hogan a bitch, things picked up a bit, but not enough to save this whole segment...
    Dancin' Bubba vs. Jazz for the Hardcore Title didn't do much to right the Hardcore ship, what with being played almost entirely for comic relief.  Until Stevie Richards came in and set things straight.  El Kabong with the guitar, and all of a sudden, Stevie Richards is for real, and we've got a reason for Bubba to quit dancing and start kicking ass.
    William Regal's Hulkamania promo was, hands down, my favorite part of the night.  And that comes from a guy who normally pretends to like like the workrate so that the Disciples of Benoit will keep coming back to my website.  Regal just might be my new favorite wrestler.
    Spike vs. Goldust?  See my comments for Booker/RVD, and you'll get the basic idea...  except that in this case, it was like beating a dead horse, since we'd already gotten the basic idea earlier in the broadcast.
    The main event was a Nitro-caliber non-match, yes...  and Hogan's indefensible display during Regal's High Tea made little sense from a man who is supposed to be a babyface.  But once Taker made his way down and Hogan bled like a stuck pig, there can be little doubt that this schmozz served its purpose.  The Old Man really made the Slightly Less Old Man look like a bad-ass there...
    The good parts book-ending the parts that weren't so good were enough to save this from being a total throw-away of a RAW...  but not enough to motivate me to have much in the way of glowingly positive compliments, either.
    Check out CRZ and SCJ for a detailed recap and an off-the-cuff opinionated piece about the show, respectively.
  • Monday's rating for RAW came in at a 4.4 cable rating, which marks the first time in about a month that the WWF has drawn something other than a 4.8 for RAW.
    The near-half-point drop cannot be a good thing, especially given the recent ratings losses suffered by SmackDown!...  looks like maybe Hogan was good for about 2 months of ratings?  Are we in another funk until The Rock makes his next victorious return?
  • Unless I missed something (and with a fast-forward thumb made of lead, that is possible), there was not even on mention of Lou Thesz passing away on RAW.  Not even when Austin busted out the Thesz Press in his match...
    I know the guy wasn't the biggest fan of the WWF and the concept of "sports entertainment," but totally ignoring the death of a man who had so much to do with getting the business to where it was when the WWF was having its own genesis seems pretty bush league to me.
    Then again, maybe there wasn't time to squeeze a mention of Thesz in, what with the important business of doing a piece imploring fans to watch Lita break her neck on "Dark Angel" this week.  Gotta bang a big rating for FOX, right?
    Boo, WWF, boo.
  • If you somehow missed them, full spoilers for Heat, Jakked/Metal, and SmackDown! have been posted.  They are right here.
  • Dallas Page's back injury, originally categorized as "possibly career shortening" by Jim Ross, may now be getting re-categorized as "career ending."
    The original diagnosis of fluid blockages and bone spurs along DDP's spine was confirmed, and DDP also received a second opinion that he should hang up the tights rather than risk permanent injury or paralysis.  
    An item on WWF.com indicates Page will undergo a few weeks of extensive therapy before being re-examined.  While noting that Page got his start in the business as a commentator and could return to that role in the WWF, it also quoted DDP as saying that he did not consider his career over, and that he wanted to get back in the ring for one last run.
    Best of luck to DDP in his quest to (safely!) resume his in-ring career.
  • Well, inDemand PPV has finally officially added "TBA Weekly Wrestling Series" to its advance schedule.  Episode 1 on June 19 and Episode 2 on June 26 are both on the books, and I can only assume this is Jerry Jarrett's promotion that will run tapings every two weeks, so that one week is live on PPV, and the next is taped.
    No pricing information is available from inDemand at this point, but last I heard, the idea was to charge $9.95 per week...
    Of note:  although there is an assumption going around that Jarrett's promotion would somehow forge a cooperative agreement with the WWA, the inDemand shorthand being used to designate the weekly shows is "NWA."  Of course, the NWA name remains alive in a few territories still around today, but I didn't know Jarrett had attached the name to his latest project...
    Again, I remain skeptical that this will work where other attempts to fill the national wrestling void have all failed...  but with my belief that competition is good and that fans having choices is even better, I hope that I am wrong.
  • Long-time OO Reader Rein Reed passed along a recap of the WWF-SD house show in Erie, PA, that went head-to-head with RAW...  it was notable because it was the first WWF show in Erie in years, due to an exclusivity agreement that WCW had forged with the Erie Civic Center at the height of its popularity.
    The Fed's return was a good one, too...  Rein notes that Tajiri vs. Kidman was stiff as hell and a show-stealing match (Tajiri won to retain the Cruiserweight Title), and also gets on my good side by noting that Ivory looked every bit as tasty as Stacy and Torrie in the "SmackDown! Swimsuit Challenge" (won by Torrie, via fan applause).
    Other results:  Chavo Guerrero beat Sho Funaki...  Bob Holly beat Randy Orton...  D-Von Dudley beat Tazz (using the ropes for leverage)...  Faarooq beat Test...  in the Randomly Generated Six Man Tag Match:  Mark Henry, Val Venis, and the Hurricane beat Lance Storm, Christian, and Albert (Henry pinned Storm)...  Billy and Chuck beat Al Snow and Maven (thanks to Rico) to retain the tag belts...  Chris Jericho beat Rikishi via nefarious means, but got a Stinkface afterwards...  in the main event, Edge got Kurt Angle to tap out to that SharpShooter/Texas Cloverleaf Hybrid thing he's been using lately.
  • Can't think of anything else of major import at this point...  so I guess I'll wrap it up for today.
    Before I come back with a full column on Friday, be sure to check back here tomorrow for a new Hulk Hogan-Centric Edition of "By the Numbers" and more!
    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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