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Some Weekend Newsbites...  plus:
"I Call Him...  Mini-Rick"
May 31, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


As usual, news is slow heading into a weekend, so I'm left grappling with how to gimmick up this column enough to make it interesting to all you fine folks.  So here's what I got...
Part one will be a quick serving of the anemic rasslin' news.  Part two will be a sort-of return of "The Rick Says..."  You'll see when you get down there...
  • I screwed up when setting the VCR for SmackDown! last night...  for some reason, I was in "RAW mode" and started the timer at 9pm, so I only got to see the latter half of the show.  What I saw seemed good enough, though.  The Angle/Edge cage match main event was super, and in any other week would have been match of the week...  the cruiserweight tag match was tight, too, and the Hurricane/arch-nemesis storyline seems poised to be sprung next week, now.
    What else did I see...  um, oh yeah, HHH/Test was good, too, even if it was just an excuse for the interference and other shennanigans.  Actually, that was 3 good matches in the 60 minutes of SD I did manage to see...  somebody's got a finger on the pulse of Rick Scaia, and they know he likes the WRESTLING.
    Since I didn't see the whole show, I'll refrain from trying to make any grand proclamations about it.  I'll try to do better in my VCR setting in the future, and instead, leave you in the capable hands of the venerable CRZ, who is this week's Guest SmackDown! Recapper.

  • The overnight rating for last night's SD! was a 4.5.  That's down one tenth of one point from last week's overnight, so it seems SD! viewership is still holding steady.  A final number will be available over the weekend, and I'll be sure to include it in my Monday column.
  • Speaking of holding steady, RAW's rating from Monday (which was delayed by the holiday weekend) was a 3.7, which is identical to the previous week's number.  In RAW's case, the ratings are holding steady at a near 4-year low, so that's not a good thing.
  • The Tough Enough 2 winners were announced last night, and the Fed pulled something of a swerve on us.  The TE concept is that a bunch of men and women are competing for 2 developmental contracts, with the assumption being that it's one contract for the guys and one for the ladies.
    Well, you know what they say happens when you assume:  you make and "ass" out of "u" and "me".  Or something stupid like that.
    Last night, WWE awarded the two TE contracts to the two female finalists, Linda and Jackie.  The two dudes got nothing.  Having seen all of about 90 seconds of TE2 myself, I have no idea if this is a good move or not (i.e. if the two new divas-in-training can actually wrestle).  From a purely eye-candy perspective, I can't fault the WWE decision making, though.  Put more babes on TV that I can ogle, instead of filling up time with hulking man-beasts who make me feel insecure about my own manhood!!!  Yeah!
    Good luck to both Linda and Jackie.  They'll need it if they are to be the next Maven...  instead of the next Nidia (who?).
  • NWA Total Nonstop Action (the PPV-only wrestling series being promoted by Jerry Jarrett) is continuing to take shape...  the group has announced that their first PPV on June 19 will include a gauntlet-style match to crown a new NWA champion.
    Dan Severn -- the reigning NWA champ -- has been stripped of the title, I gather, since he cannot make the NWA commitment on that date (he's booked elsewhere), thus the NWA title is presently vacant.
    No participants have been officially announced, but they should be soon.  If Jeff Jarrett's not involved, I'll sacrifice an organ.  [My appendix...]
    NWA-TNA has also announced that Joel Gertner will be involved in the group in a managerial capacity.
  • I admit to being surprised with the speed with which Hulk Hogan's rise to babyface-dom happened...  I didn't think the Fed would have to contend with that until the first time Hogan returned to Madison Square Garden (where he won his first WWF Title, and where he headlined the first WM).  Instead, his turn got jump-started at WrestleMania 18 this year, and hasn't slowed down since.
    Well, that means that Hogan's return to MSG is probably a bit less meaningful...  but it'll still be a special night, I think, when Hogan steps into the ring in NYC.  And that night will be Saturday, June 29, as Hogan (for reasons as yet unexplored) will be appearing as part of the RAW Roster house show at MSG on that date.
    Presently, the main event is slated to be the first ever teaming of Hogan with Steve Austin, as they take on Ric Flair and Eddie Guerrero.  Kind of a neat idea for a match, I gotta admit...
  • Last bit o' news...  remember to run a VCR this Saturday night for the new "Confidential" show.  Another sit-down with Shawn Michaels promises to be interesting, and the Fed is also promising a nice look back on the career of Davey Boy Smith.  I sorta dismissed the show last week, but based on the very positive reviews, I'll be running a tape this time 'round.


No, it's not the full-fledged return of "The Rick Says"...  but I've been getting a bunch of questions asked with some frequency in my mail box the last couple of weeks, so I thought I'd unleash a mini-version of the old Q&A column.
No long, drawn out answers...  but not necessarily just a quick "Five Short Answers to Five Simple Questions," either.  Enjoy.

QUESTION 1:  I think you should bring back "The Rick Says"....

The Rick Says....

That is not a question.  No soup for you!

Seriously, though:  I appreciate the sentiment, and it's obvious that column was a favorite of many.  But it was not a favorite of mine.  Since I'm not getting paid for this anymore, I'm not gonna do things that aren't fun.  Maybe I'll start re-running old ones here...  but that'd be about it.

Hell, if you want to check out the Rick's archives, SportsLine is still maintaining them at this super-secret address: ww1.wrestleline.com/opinion/columns/therick/.  Check it out!

QUESTION 2:  Rico looks familiar...  was he an American Gladiator or something back 10 years ago?

The Rick Says....

You're right on the money.  Rico wasn't an actual "Gladiator" with a cool name like "Pyro" or "Nitro" or "Meathead," but he was the super-duper grand champion contestant for one of the show's first two seasons.  Rico Constantino is a name that sticks in your head, and I definitely remembered it when I heard it was the name of a guy in the WWE's developmental territories.

And if you're thinking to yourself the guy must be kinda old if he was on AG back 10-12 years ago, you'd be right...  Rico's taking DDP's "oldest rookie" gimmick to all new extremes.  I think somebody mentioned to me that he's like the first guy to make a national TV wrestling debut after he turned 40.

QUESTION 3:  Do you know you misspelled "hors d'oeuvres" in your Wednesday column?

The Rick Says....

I do, now.  I had no idea I had so many readers who were fluent in the wussiest language on Earth!

QUESTION 4:  Is there any reason why WWE put two really awesome PPV-type matches on TV this week, and why they did the same thing back last May, too?

The Rick Says...

The simple, cynical answer to that is:  they did it for ratings.  

I hadn't noticed the connection back to last May's free-TV renaissance, but that is an odd parallel.  Last May, it was probably a flat-out Sweeps Month stunt.  This year, the Fed didn't turn up the heat until the last week of May, so that's not a possibility.

So there's probably more meat to the simple, cynical answer than I'd have thought.  The braintrust sees ratings going down, and they just try to pull out all the stops to get us watching again.

I am not complaining.

QUESTION 5:  If Benoit's back on RAW, how about a Benoit/Booker best of seven series, just like back in the old WCW days?

The Rick Says....

You honestly think I'd say anything to that other than, "Aw, hell yeah!"?

QUESTION 6:  Can I be the new OO SmackDown! recapper?

The Rick Says....

Maybe.  But probably not.  Three dozen inquiries combined with only one actual recapping spot does not yield really promising odds...

But I'm thinking that I might give a few people a bona fide shot at the spot...  I'll take the people who've asked about it, whittle the field down to maybe 6 or so finalists, and then give each recapper a one week "try-out".  Each week, you, the Home Viewer, will be asked to rate the recapper's work, on a scale of 1-10...  at the end of 2 months, I'll come up with some convoluted way of selecting one final winner.  Like our very own Tough Enough!

Maybe if you folks don't vote for somebody who's work I really liked, I'll even retain the right to still sign a runner-up to a "developmental deal" (recapping "Confidential" or something like that)?

In any case, until I decide for sure how this is gonna pan out, CRZ is the temporary SD! recapper here.  Except for the Sacramento Kings propaganda, I don't think anyone will complain much about that!

QUESTION 7:  Where is the next "World Hero Federation" episode, dammit?

The Rick Says...

You should probably ask Scott Keith that.  Cuz I don't know.  But I'm like you:  I'm loving the WHF.

QUESTION 8:  Why is WWE dragging its feet on putting guys like Rey Misterio, Nova, Shannon Moore, and Jamie Knoble on TV?  They're already proven TV talents...

The Rick Says...

Just because you saw them on WCW or ECW TV does not mean WWE considers them ready for the "big time."  What you'll hear CONSTANTLY (especially about these cruiserweights) is that the Fed has spent this develpmental time getting them to slow down.  Instead of non-stop high-spots, they're all being trained to set those spots up so they mean more.  It's the "WWE Style," and though I'm sure there are a lot of fans of the non-stop indie-style match (do every move you have in the aresenal in as short a time as possible so you get noticed), it's a style that generally results in more cohesive matches (and longer careers for the talents).

There is also, I'm sure, an element of trying to get those guys used to WWE rings (which are noticeably different to work in than the old WCW or ECW rings).

QUESTION 9:  Your beloved Reds can't possibly keep this up all year, Scaia!

The Rick Says...

Again, not a question!

But thanks for noticing my periodic Reds propaganda and responding appropriately.  I gather most of you are pitable Cubs fans who foresee the Reds choking like so many Chicago teams in the past, or Cards fans who are confident that the cream will eventually rise to the top.

In either case, I'm loving the Reds' ride while it lasts.  And even if the Reds do falter, remember:  I'm still a Yankees fan, too!  BWHAHAHA!

QUESTION 10:  So how's your band going, Rick?

The Rick Says...

OK, so I made this one up.  But I needed something to make this a nice round 10 questions, and some self-serving hype never hurt anyone.

The National Drink is going gangbusters.  If you're in or around Dayton, OH, we've got a couple of June dates lined up.  First is an outdoor "block party" downtown at 5th and Jefferson on Saturday June 8.  You get a cover band or two starting things off at 4pm, and from there, I think it's us, Mondolux, and the Igniters doing an original rock set.  And there's a Bikini Contest wedged in there somewhere, too.  Should be a good time.

June 25, we're opening up for the Cherry Valence (which is a huge honor, since they've wormed their way into my top 10 most favorite current bands since they passed through town last year) at the National Drink's official home base:  Elbo's.  Again, it should be a good time, and you're more than invited!

I think we're also in Cincinnati at Sudsy's in July, but I wasn't in charge of setting that one up, so I don't know the details.  And since we're actually getting paid for these things, we're hoping to spend that money getting some songs recorded so that we can give them away for free on the internet.  Yeah, we're suckers.  But someday, I'd like for you to actually hear how we sound so you can decide if you like my rocking as much as my writing!

OK, so that sounded even more pretentious than usual (even for me!)...  it was all the talking about myself in the third person, that's all!  Honest!  I haven't done that in six months, and I just wasn't ready for it....

In any case, I'll step aside, now, before I can do any further damage.  Enjoy the weekend, and I'll see you again on Monday.


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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