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WWE TV News, SD! Stuff, More...
May 10, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Things are finally settling down 'round here...  it's almost like a regular old Friday, where I say "Well, it's a slow news weekend" before moving on to a handful of newsbites!  To wit:
  • Last night's SmackDown! was way more entertaining than Monday's RAW...  I'll stop short of pointing to any inequity in the balance between the rosters, but will note that this is becoming something of a trend.
    Kurt Angle just might be the overall most entertaining character on TV these days.  His promos run the gamut between hilarious and convincing, and last night, he did great work with Hulk Hogan during the "in defense of baldness" promo.  Edge's later Hulkster impersonation, and then their tag match main event were both quality, too.
    Of course, the big story is the one going down between Triple H and Chris Jericho.  HHH getting punked out by Vince McMahon's B-Squad before Jericho joined in was a bit of a bizarre moment, but once Jericho was there and the Hell in the Cell announcement was made, everything came together perfectly.
    The later HHH/D-Von match and HHH's run in during the main event were also both very effective in terms of putting HHH over as a man who'd do anything to get his hands on Jericho.  And then when Jericho laid him out with a chair to close the show?  Well, let's just say I'm on record with loving it when the heels get the last word during the build up to big matches...
    Tajiri/Hurricane was the usual:  short but good.  But best of all, the storylines that came out of the match were very promising...  Tajiri and Torrie's split now seems imminent.  And the "I know who you are" note left for the Hurricane is surely signalling the TV debut of Shannon Moore, don't you think?  More cruiserweights means more action!
    About the only point in the night were I zoned out briefly was during the re-hash of the Hogan/Taker thing from RAW.  First off, even properly edited so that the embarrassing technical difficulties were masked, this was still really silly and stupid.  And second, what the hell happened to having two distinct brands?
    The top two RAW matches for the PPV (Taker/Hogan and Austin vs. Flair/Big Show) are gonna get blown out of the water by Jericho/HHH and Edge/Angle, both provided by SD!...  but taking about Judgment Day will be my business next Friday.  Not now.
    For now, I'll just say to keep an eye out for the Immolator's SD! Recap, sure to be surfacing here soon, if you want to get caught up on further details about last night's show.
  • The overnight number for SD! was a 4.5 broadcast rating.  That's exactly the same as last week, when the show wound up doing a series-low 2.9 final rating.  This bodes ill for the Fed.
    Look for a final rating to be posted to the Ticker over the weekend, or to appear in my Monday column.
  • Oh, and while I'm still thinking of SD!, here's an FYI:  The guy who debuted as "Deacon Bautista" is the man formerly known as "Leviathan" in OVW.  So the influx of developmental talent continues!  [Even in OVW, Leviathan rarely spoke, so that's part of his game that apparently still needs work; thus his role as D-Von's silent enforcer.  The steel chain was also part of his OVW gimmick that has apparently been retained.  His in-ring style is apparently comparable to someone like Kane's, but I'm not sure he's big enough at 6'6" to pull off the "monster" routine on the much-larger WWE roster.]
    Other than Lesnar on RAW, it seems like all the new guys are ending up on SD!, doesn't it?  The cruisers will all be coming up on SD!, since that's where the CW Title is... and even when the Island Boyz are ready (just waiting on a leg injury, by all accounts), it'd be silly to put them anywhere but on SD! (where the tag titles reside, and where they could interact with Rikishi).
    I'd guess when David Flair is deemed ready, he'd obviously end up on RAW, though...
  • WWE announced a "new line-up" for their TV shows that goes into effect on Memorial Day Weekend.  I put "new line-up" in quotes, because really, it's the same line-up with an extra syndicated show added into the mix.
    Here's the deal...
    The RAW brand's flagship show is (duh) RAW on Monday nights on TNN.  It also controls Heat (Sunday's on MTV) and "Bottom Line" (syndicated).
    In support of SmackDown (Thursdays on UPN) will be "Velocity" (Saturday nights on TNN, in what was formerly hour one of "Excess") and "After Burn" (syndicated).
    What used to be the second hour of Excess on TNN will now be known as "Confidential" and will be a magazine style show that does behind-the-scenes type stuff and will cover both brands.
    So I guess that answers CRZ's nagging question about what the hell "Velocity," "After Burn," "Bottom Line," and "Confidential" are, eh?
  • Horace Hogan has signed a WWE developmental deal, and will be working out in the HWA.  First Big Show gets a big push as a new nWo member...  now this.
    Can the return of Brutus "the Barber" Beefcake be too far off?
  • It's official:  Jerry Jarrett's new PPV-only wrestling company is reviving the NWA name on a national scale.  The weekly Wednesday night series will be dubbed "NWA: Total Non-stop Action" and will debut on June 19.
    A press release says that they are "repositioning" the NWA brand -- the oldest sanctioning body in wrestling -- for the 21st Century.  The line-up of stars for these shows includes:  Jeff Jarrett, Ken Shamrock, AJ Styles, and Puppet (one of WWA's hardcore midgets).  Dory Funk and Harley Race are legends who'll appear on initial broadcasts.  We are also promised a phalanx of "TNA Girls."  Ha ha, "TNA," get it?
    NWA TNA will be available on inDemand PPV.  Each week's two-hour broadcast is being hyped as "pay-per-view caliber," and will be available at an as-yet-unannounced "affordable" price.  What else do you expect them to say in their official press release?
    In addition to the weekly debut at 8pm on Wednesday night, the show will re-air on inDemand on Sunday afternoons.
  • The WWE name change was mentioned on ESPN a few times, I guess.  The only I saw myself was on yesterday's PTI, where -- during a "Good Cop/Bad Cop" segment -- Kornheiser it's still the same crap with a different name, while Wilbon opined that any man (i.e. Vince) who can build up a $750 million empire will not be toppled by a name change.
    From e-mail, I gather other mentions were more heavily slanted towards the negative...
  • Although I'm on record as thinking that online petitions are silly and usually ineffective, I guess (given my own public stance on the issue) that I'd be remiss if I didn't tell you that there is a petition to Bring Back the F.
    You can add your name to the virtual petition by visiting www.ipetitions.com/campaigns/bringbackthef/...  and also:  OO Reader Dev promises that www.BringBacktheF.com will be up and running sometime this weekend.
    Good luck with all that, I say...  the law has spoken, but you never know what might happen.  Maybe if Vince realizes that people aren't buying the new name, he could make sure that the almighty dollar speaks louder than the law, and reach some sort of agreement to use "WWF" again.  I've never known a non-profit organization to turn down a large cash donation!
    By the way, isn't it funny how fast the Fed's public stance has changed.  On Monday, it was all "This name change gives us a chance to emphasize what we do best:  Entertainment."  Then last night on SmackDown!, Michael Cole said something along the lines of, "We didn't WANT to change our name, but the jerks at the World Wildlife Fund made us."
    I'm not so sure that casting the Fund as bad guys is a good way for the Fed to go if they want public sympathy (leave that to guys like ME, who don't need sympathy), but it was good to hear them at least being honest about it, instead of glossing over the issue like it was a bona fide marketing initiative.
    But even being honest about it still doesn't alter the fact that, even if the pricks at the wildlife fund took your name away, YOU still picked a weak-ass new name, WWE.
  • Caught parts of The Best Damn Sports Show Period yesterday...  it was a notable show because the guests included Antonio Inoki and Joanie "Chyna" Laurer.
    They were there talking up New Japan's big show from last week, where Joanie became the first woman ever to appear as a NJ performer (or so they said).  They had highlights of her mixing it up in her role as guest ref for the Steiners match on the show.
    Most of the discussion centered on Joanie:  how Tom Arnold has a huge hard-on for her, new nicknames for her since she can't use "Chyna," and other very high-brow stuff.  Inoki was speaking through an interpreter, so obviously, they didn't have a whole lot to say to him, though they did run through a cool highlights package that had footage of Inoki facing Flair, Hogan, Andre, Sting, and even Muhammad Ali.
    Later in the show, Arnold and Joanie "wrestled," which turned out about how you'd expect it to.  Still, all in all, it was pretty neat to see New Japan Pro Wrestling get some publicity (and positive, respectful publicity from the hosts) here in the States.
  • I do believe that about does it for me today...  enjoy your weekend, and be sure to spend some of it perusing some of the very cool new stuff recently posted here at OO (Denny's exclusive interview with the F, and Scott's new World Hero Federation feature are both very cool!).
    Then Monday, I'm back in the saddle with RAW preview and other news...  plus our recappers will have the full weekend's worth of action from ByteThis, Heat, and Jakked/Metal, too!
    Auf wiedersehen....


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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