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Goldberg, SD! Thoughts, Europe 
Tour, and More...
May 3, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Here we go with a slew of weekend newsbite....
  • I got about a dozen e-mails all bursting at the seams to reveal a major development...
    Bill Goldberg was recently on the radio announcing that he has signed a contract buy-out from AOL/Time Warner, making him a free agent.
    Goldberg has been publicly very cold to the idea of working for the WWF.  But at the same time, one has to wonder why Goldberg would choose now to accept a pennies-on-the-dollar buy-out from Time Warner...  he has turned down similar overtures during the past year, and still (I think) had a year or more left on his Time Warner contract during which he could have sat at home and collected money for doing nothing.
    One possible explanation could be that Time Warner offered a more lucrative buy-out deal than in the past, as they seek to get their wrestling company off the books.  Certainly, they've gotten plenty of bad press in the financial community for their recent announcement of major losses.  Getting Goldberg to agree to a buy-out might amount to the proverbial spitting into the ocean, considering the company's multi-billion dollar losses, but it's a start.
    At the very least, that's the interpretation I'd put forward at this point.  Since the only other one involves Goldberg accepting a buy-out so that he can start wrestling (presumably for the WWF, the only company in existence that could probably afford him...  domestically, anyway), I'll definitely suggest the more conservative interpretation every time.
    Even assuming a best case scenario (for fans), that being that Goldberg and the WWF could work out a deal, the reality of the situation is that Goldberg is months away from being able to work in the ring.  If you recall, he injured his wrist/arm after pounding his car when it failed him in a recent celebrity/pro-am racing event. 
    If you asked me to go on the record right now, my guess would be that Goldberg and Time Warner worked out the buy-out strictly due to AOL/TW's financial woes, and that you'll see Goldberg eventually agreeing to sporadic appearances, quite possibly overseas, before he'd come to terms with the WWF.
    Even though there are any number of big money feuds for Goldberg in the WWF (one with Austin being the obvious no-brainer), and even though hell does have a way of undergoing cold spells with greater regularity in the wrestling world than anywhere else, I just can't look at this situation as being one conducive to Goldberg and the Fed sweeping apparent major philosophical differences aside to work together.
    I mean, it's a thousand times more likely that we'll see Goldberg in the WWF than a victorious return of Bret Hart...  but it's still something that I'd caution against holding your breath for.
  • Last night's SmackDown! on UPN drew a 4.5 overnight rating, only good enough for fifth place out of the six broadcast networks.
    Hopefully that overnight number won't drop much further than the upper 3's when final ratings become available...  as you recall, last week's final rating was down in the mid-3's, and was the show's lowest rating in a while.
    Last night, possible explanations for the lower rating included stronger-than-usual ratings performances for ABC (which had an "America's Funniest Home Videos" special) and FOX (which aired "Return of the Jedi)...  and though I am only one man, and not one who lives in a Nielsen household, I must also admit to doing copious flipping away from SD! to watch portions of the Pacers/Nets game.  Damn you, New Jersey!
  • Some quick thoughts about last night's show...
    I thought Angle/Storm vs. Edge/Venis was easily the week's best wrestling match, which shouldn't be a surprise given the participants.  I hope it's the start of more in-ring time for Storm (and Val, too, I guess).  The addition of the hair vs. hair stip for the Angle/Edge rematch at the next PPV was a solid way of adding some mustard to that proverbial hot dog, too.
    Sadly, even thought the "You Suck" t-shirt made its second consecutive appearance on SD!, it was not yet available for purchase from the WWF (at least, not when I finally got around to making up my birthday list yesterday).  Maybe I'll just get one of those iron-on-transfer kits for my printer and make it my own damn self!
    What might have shocked me most about last night's show was the fact that Hulk Hogan worked what was probably his best, most convincing in-ring match since his WWF return.  Against Chris Jericho, there apparently wasn't as much of an option to work "old school style" as there has been against the Rock, HHH, and others.  Hogan had to sell an entirely different set of offensive moves for Jericho, and Jericho was able to make Hogan's stuff look pretty good, too.  Instead of looking like a guy wrestling the 80's style at about half-speed, Hogan looked like a guy doing a fairly competent rendition of the 21st Century style of sports entertainment.  
    Even something as simple as the spot where Jericho reversed Hogan's attempted leg drop o' doom into a Walls of Jericho was a nice touch and a move away from the ultra-formulaic Hogan spots that we've been subjected to in the last three months.  It's a step in the right direction.
    However, besides those two items of note, everything else seemed pretty forgettable.  Well, Kidman/Tajiri was, of course, very good despite being very abbreviated...  but other than that, nothing really sticks in my mind.  Unless you count the too-creepy-for-words tryst between Vince and Stacy; I don't know if it's cuz the guy's pushing sixty or just because his on-screen performance style doesn't lend itself towards being a romantic lead, but it's just really off-putting anytime Vince winds up in one of these situations.
    Oh, and kudos to the Fed for the brief piece honoring the memories of Lou Thesz and Wahoo McDaniel.  Better late than never...
    If you're in the market for a more detailed run-down of the events of SmackDown!, just take a gander at the Immolator's SD! Recap, which is sure to put my quick outline to shame.
  • The WWF's second Europe show, in Glasgow, Scotland, took place in front of a sold-out crowd last night...
    In the main event, Ric Flair was tapped to work, and teamed with Triple H to defeat the Undertaker and William Regal in what was deemed a very entertaining affair in both reports I received from the show.  
    Other major results:  Eddie Guerrero beat Jeff Hardy to retain the IC Title...  Steve Austin beat the Big Show...  Rob Van Dam beat X-Pac...  Scott Hall beat Bradshaw...  Brock Lesnar beat Matt Hardy...  Tommy Dreamer and Spike Dudley beat Booker T and Goldust...  Jazz beat Trish Stratus to retain the women's title...  and Jerry Lawler/Jackie beat Mr. Perfect/Molly.
    Also on the show was a giant Hardcore Schmozz that saw six title changes.  Defending champ Steven Richards lost the belt for the first time when Shawn Stasiak pinned Crash Holly in the multi-way affair.  Then Stasiak lost it to Justin Credible, who lost it to Crash, who lost it back to Richards, who lost it back to Stasiak, who finally dropped it back to Steven Richards (who then scurried away from the ring before any further shennanigans could take place).
    The Fed moves on to England, now, for two shows -- including Saturday night's Europe-only PPV "Insurrextion" in London -- following up on the events in Germany and Scotland.
  • Thanks to the handful of folks who forwarded me the link to a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about Bruno Sammartino...
    Apparently, Bruno has turned down the opportunity to attend his own induction ceremony into a new pro wrestling Hall of Fame based in Schenectady, NY, this weekend.  Bruno's reasoning:  the HoF originally sought to get assistance from the WWF, during which time, they didn't contact Bruno at all (because Bruno suspects he's been black-listed by Vince), and only decided to induct Bruno after talks with the WWF fell through.
    I'll leave the debate over who'd win the "most bitter ex-wrestler" award between Bruno and Bret Hart up to you fine readers, and simply supply you with a link to the Post-Gazette article so you can read up on Bruno's resume.
  • Oh joy of joys...  MTV has picked up "Tough Enough" for another season.  Despite slumping ratings (which are down about 0.5, on average, from last season) for TE2, casting for TE3 is now underway.  Information is available at WWFToughEnough.com for any of you who are interested.
  • Speaking of MTV, they once again commandeered the top spot in the cable ratings.  For the third consecutive week, RAW's two hours jobbed in the ratings to The Osbournes, which beat RAW by almost a full ratings point (so it's a sound thrashing, not just a small victory).
    Was there a more surreal moment on TV this week than watching Ozzy singing the Chili's "I want my babyback, babyback, babyback" ribs song?  I think not...
    And I swear Ozzy is everywhere, now...  VH-1 has shown the "Behind the Music" about a half dozen times this week, and E! is doing an all-Ozzy week on the Howard Stern show.  As an aside, it's kind of funny to see how Ozzy's kids have transformed from the well-behaved, well-adjusted paragons of virtue that they were on Stern, isn't it?
  • Well, the Rock is going to lose his stranglehold on the #1 spot at the box office this weekend...  "Spider-man" is looking like a stone cold cinch to take over as the Summer Blockbuster season gets fully underway.
    However, it's worth noting that this weekend WILL mark the third consecutive weekend in which a pro wrestler is featured in the #1 movie.  As you'll recall, "Macho Man" Randy Savage plays the role of "Bonesaw" McGraw in "Spider-man."  A wrestler in the top movie for 3 straight weeks?  That's NEVER happened...  unless maybe Rocky III was #1 for 3 weeks.
  • Finally, the HWA is doing a March of Dimes benefit show up here in Dayton tomorrow (Saturday) at the Chili's near the Dayton Mall.  The big draw is Chris Benoit, who's making an appearance as a guest ref in the Jamie Knoble vs. Race Steele HWA Title main event.
    Sadly, the HWA has once again managed to select a date and time not conducive to me attending their show...  unless rain affects the baseball games I'm scheduled to umpire and allows me to switch my band's practice to a different time, I'm pretty much booked up.
  • Oh wait, that reminds me:  The National Drink (the aforementioned "my band") is playing Sunday night at Elbo's (downtown, at Fifth and Jefferson, across from the bus station).  We're opening up for The Slackers, so it should be a good show...  the rock starts at 9pm.  Come on and visit, if you can.  [Our lead singer and Fashion Expert has ordered me to wear my Kaientai "Evil" t-shirt, and I'll probably end up capitulating even though I think it's kind of silly, so you oughta be able to spot me and come up and say "hi".]
    Otherwise, I'll see y'all again on Monday with RAW preview, Insurrextion results, and whatever other news is worth reporting upon.  Later....


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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