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RAW Ratings Sink, More on
Bulldog, and Indie News...
May 22, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Let's get on with the usual mid-week round up of news and views, including RAW fall-out and more:
  • SERIOUSLY!  You want to go to the Indy 500, and you want sweet seats practically on the track and right near the start/finish line?  I can help!
    I've got a pair (Paddock Box 16, Row C, Seats 1 and 2)...  face value $85 each.  Let's say $150 nets you the pair.  There's still time to arrange a FedEx exchange, if you respond promptly.  Or you can simply pass through Dayton (you practically have to if you're coming from any points east) on your way to Indy this weekend, and we can do an exchange in person. 
    E-Mail me if interested!

  • Well, since it's not my place to do spoilers here, our best place to start today is by going back to Monday's RAW...
    And for the overflowing excess of enthusiasm I have for something like an Eddie Guerrero/Steve Austin feud, I just had this terrible sinking feeling watching it play out through skits that MIGHT have been slightly entertaining if they'd been only a third as long as they were.  As aired, the segments were something that made you want to change the channel.
    Those bits were a microcosm of the whole show:  Monday's RAW had me at war with myself more than once.  It was one part, "Hey, that's a good idea," countered by "Oh, no, that's not how you do that."  Like Bubba vs. Brock:  good idea, but if it's predicated on Paul Heyman doing an "I'm a creepy letch" routine (a la Vince McMahon), then I'm out.  
    The one thing that did work, that I'll praise without reservation:  everything between Undertaker and Rob Van Dam.  By injecting some fresh blood (i.e. RVD's) into the equation, the Fed even made Taker's opening promo about respect more interesting than it'd have been if he'd just gone out there cold to deliver it.  They should have left a bit more time for the main event match, but unlike others, I have absolutely no qualms about the finish.  The teased title change woke people up, and hopefully, it'll be a boost to Van Dam's career.  Certainly the Fed uses the "Dusty finish" sparingly enough that I don't think any fans were alienated by the reverse decision.  Seriously, have they used it since the time when Jericho thought he'd beaten HHH a few years back?  
    I definitely liked the idea of carting out Kevin Nash to rejuvenate the nWo, and by acknowledging that the group is not what it once was, Nash's words rang that much more true.  But the pacing on that whole bit seemed off, somehow, and having Goldust around for as long as he was was -- well -- bizarre.  Putting a commercial break where they did took some of the oomph out of things, as by the time the big pay-off came (with the "in or out?" ultimatum to Booker), fans didn't seem to really care one way or the other.  D'oh.
    OK, I think I liked Raven/Lawler, too.  Not just the entertainment value of the match, but also the verbal sparring before hand.  Realistically, I'd rather listen to Raven do commentary a thousand times more than listen to Lawler, so maybe that's why his shtick played particularly well with me.  Still funny either way, though...
    Check out CRZ's RAW Recap for full details from Monday night's broadcast.
  • I'm not the only one who had problems with RAW... even with the added benefit of being a post-PPV show, RAW only mustered a 3.7 rating, which is about as low a number as I can remember.  It's a drop of another two-tenths of a point from the week before, which itself was a drop of over half a point from the week prior to that.
    It will once again be interesting to see how SD! performs in light of RAW's continued hemorrhaging of viewers.  As I watched RAW, I must admit to coming to the realization that I was LOTS more interested in seeing the fall-out from SD's PPV matches than RAW's, so maybe all is not lost...
  • If you're wondering where Lee Filas' Squared Circle Jerk was this week, wonder no more:  the guy had the flu, but he'll be back next week.
  • Following Raven's outburst on RAW, it looks like he's on his way out of the announce position and back into being a full-time in-ring performer.  It was nice having his insights for the past 2 months, I guess, and I just hope he finds as useful a niche in the ring...
  • Some more about Davey Boy Smith...
    The possibility that was left unstated in my Monday retrospective has since been stated a few times by the friends and relatives of the late British Bulldog:  that Smith's drug use likely played a role in his death.
    Otherwise healthy men just don't die at age 39.
    Andrea Hart is quoted in the Calgary Sun as attributing Smith's death to prescription painkiller abuse.  He was taking the drugs to numb the pain caused by his rigorous work-outs that he'd undertaken in an attempt to stage a final comeback.  As reported Monday, it is believed Smith had a meeting scheduled in the near future with WWE officials (possibly even with Vince McMahon).
    Smith had also, in the past, used performance/appearance enhancing drugs, which raises the possibility that those may also have played a part in his untimely death.  A few years ago, Rick Rude passed away in a similar fashion, and it was revealed that performance enhancing drugs he was taking as he trained for a WWF comeback may have been responsible.
    Despite the quotes from friends and family, no official report has been released about Smith's death.  This remains (educated) speculation...  and we'll have more here when it becomes available.
  • According to 1Wrestling.com, Vince Russo is preparing to publish a "tell-all" book about his time working in the WWF.  He hopes to call the book, "Welcome to Bizzaro Land."
    Russo, who now considers himself permanently retired from all things Sports Entertainment, says the book will focus almost exclusively on his WWF tenure (where he started as a magazine writer before graduating to the head of the creative team prior to his departure).
    If I know Russo, he'll manage to make this as perversely engrossing as Missy Hyatt's book was...  but hell, if he doesn't want anything more to do with the business, why not burn some bridges?
  • Then again, not all retirements stick....
    If we turn to the indie wrestling world, you'll be surprised to know that a few guys who wanted out of the business are popping back up in the near future.
    Major League Wrestling has a show scheduled in mid-June at the Viking Bingo Hall (a/k/a ECW Arena).  Already agreed to wrestle that night is Steve Corino, who openly talked about quitting the in-ring game within the last half-year.  He'll be a part of a one night tournament that will also include Shane Douglas, Jerry Lynn, Bam Bam Bigelow, and La Parka.
    And the "Voice of MLW"?  Well, it's Joey Styles...  he who had turned down a WWF job and countless other appearances to maintain his retirement (there's GOTTA be a 900-hotline/1Wrestling joke in there somewhere, but I don't feel like figuring it out) will be the commentator for all MLW video releases.  
  • Some other indie news....
    Jerry Lynn is also the centerpiece of a tourney being run by Ring of Honor in June...  Chris Daniels joins him as the only two men involved in both the upstart MLW and ROH's tourneys.
    One has to wonder if the current funk the Fed is in means this is a bad time to try to succeed at the indie level, or if it represents an opportunity to get a foot in the door with fans who've given up on the national product...  
    ROH seems to be succeeding (insofar as a once-a-month company can "succeed"), and now you've got MLW starting up with apparently big plans and CHIKARA (as outlined by Mark Coale) getting going. 
    Right now, it seems the only indies to be supporting themselves with regular weekly house shows and TV outlets are the ones sponsored by WWE...  time will tell if these others can make it to that level.
  • Final indie note:  Nova beat Jerry Lynn in the main event of a recent Phoenix Championship Wrestling show...  it was billed as Nova's "farewell match," as he is now set to report to either OVW or the HWA for preparation as a WWE developmental wrestler.
  • Not that catching up with the indies isn't fun sometimes, but I think three indie bullets in a row probably means it's time I wrap things up for today.
    I'll be back Friday, hopefully with more Big One-oriented news... and if nothing else, we'll have SmackDown! to talk about.
    See you 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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