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RAW Fall-out, Steamboat Returns Home,
And More....
June 5, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


How 'bout we let fly with the mid-week tradition?  RAW thoughts/rating, and whatever other news is actually worthy of your attention...  here goes:
  • Monday's RAW is EXACTLY the kind of show that gets me ultra-pissed-off at the WWE creative team.  You get so much good, so many reasons to be excited, and then they botch it up by tossing in some things that are so memorably bad that you have to simply shake your head in wonder.
    Two really good wrestling matches (Bubba/RVD vs. Eddie/Lesnar and Flair vs. Austin) are a great start.  The return of Shawn Michaels is awfully delicious icing on the cake.  But who in the blue fuck was actually entertained by urine- and vomit-based angles?  And more to the point:  who thought they were good enough ideas to present on national TV to begin with?
    See, it's stuff like that that makes my friends who don't follow wrestling look at me funny when they're lurking about while I watch RAW on Monday nights.  There may be a "whoa, that was nice" after a particularly cool spot in a match, but then they see Tommy Dreamer with a bucket of "vomit," and all I hear is, "God, this shit is retarded."  Now, normally, I don't care what other people think...  but in this case, they are right: I have no comeback, I have no defensible position, and I don't like it.
    At best, Tommy Dreamer was attempting an homage to Henry Godwinn and Steve Austin should visit a doctor about that piss of his that looked more like a shade of X-Treme Gatorade or something.  And trust me, if that's the best we can cull from this, then it just flat out ain't good.
    I mean, is this supposed to be shocking or "envelope-pushing"?  If so, it fails, simply because of the broad range of crudity and stupidity available elsewhere on cable TV these days.  Is it supposed to be funny?  I hope not, because it sure as hell failed on that level (as does most scatological humor, IMODO).  I just don't get it.  
    I think mostly I can't believe that a group of intelligent people were able to sit around, put together a mostly very-entertaining show, and NOT look at those two bits and immediately say, "You know, we've got a good show here, so let's not ruin it with this crap."  How can you not do that?
    Arrrgghhh...  forget I mentioned it.  It's frustrating, and I'll never get a satisfactory answer, so let's just try to talk about the positive things for a bit, OK?
    The return of Shawn Michaels was actually handled perfectly.  Just bring him out, do some posing to recall the good old days of 1995, and let it rest.  Don't rush Michaels into his "mission statement" return speech, I say.  Let the interest (and hopefully viewership) build over a week or two before you really get deep into the story of HBK's return.  Very smart, and very calculating.  
    It helps out that I'm not entirely sure I know where this is going just yet...  on one hand, you've got the "Clique" side of the story with Michaels rejoining Nash and Waltman.  But on the other, you've got the perversely entertaining sideshow that is Booker T and Goldust.  I don't know if the two weave together, if one disappears, or what, but I'll gladly stay tuned to find out.
    The way the Lesnar/Bubba and Eddie/RVD feuds were melded together for that tag match was cool, too.  I half expected to see Lesnar get the pin on RVD to set up THAT as our IC Title feud, but instead it was Eddie over Van Dam.  We'll see where that goes...  it might have just been a way to keep Eddie's credibility up as he chases Austin.
    I didn't care about the trucks you could drive through the holes in Ric Flair's motivations for the match he had with Austin, either.  The basic storyline of Flair, Eddie, and Benoit being out to get Austin is cool and has tons of possibilities, and the then the match Austin and Flair had was pretty good, too.  Granted, they took out Austin's old reliable right hand, and just replaced it with a chop, but still, it was a bit different vibe than usual.
    They weren't totally clear on the final brackets or anything, but it was nice to get the King of the Ring tourney underway, too, with a pair of qualifying matches.  X-Pac and Booker T being the ones to advance also ties in to the aforementioned nWo angle...
    In any case, my ranting and raving is never a substitute for the show itself.  But I do have something that IS a substitute:  CRZ's RAW Recap, which features more lovingly transcribed detail than any recap anywhere!
  • RAW's rating bumped up to a 4.1 this week, a gain of nearly a half point from the previous week.  There's no telling if that's a gain attributable to good word of mouth from the week before (which was actually the stronger of the two shows), or if there were other elements at work here.
    Not that it really matters...  I'm sure the muckity-mucks are just happy to have that number back up to a relatively respectable level.
  • Jerry Jarrett's NWA: Total Nonstop Action continues to add as many of the available "name brands" as it can get its hands on to its debut show.
    On Monday, we talked about Scott Hall being added to the big "guantlet" style match for the vacant NWA Title... and now, the group has added another legend in a non-wrestling capacity.
    Ricky Steamboat will be present, representing the class of Former NWA Champions who will be on hand for the first PPV crowning on a new NWA Champion in about a decade.  Harley Race and Dory Funk will also be there as honored guests.
    The debut show takes place on June 19 on PPV.  NWA-TNA's financial model calls for them to generate almost all their revenue from PPV, which is good...  apparently, live ticket sales for the show (in Huntsville, Alabama) are going slowly, and already talk is that they'll have to paper the building to get a respectable-looking crowd for the televised event.
  • About Shawn Michaels' return:  the word right now is that he is back in a non-wrestling capacity.  But given the swerve-a-rooni the Fed put on us with HBK's (suspicious) comments on "Confidential" about not wanting to come back, I wouldn't put a ton of stock in "word on the street" just about now.
    I don't doubt that Michaels' days as a full-time touring wrestler are over, but I also know that the general consensus is that he's as physically ready-to-go as he's been since 1997.  And my own gut instinct is that the Fed would not just pop Michaels into this nWo storyline for a one- or two-week ratings boost (as they've used HBK for in the past).  Therefore, some sort of in-the-ring payoff seems likely to me.
    BTW, about "Confidential":  the show sounded great the first two weeks, but with it having been obviously used to plant seeds of mis-direction about Michaels, I know have my doubts.  Those doubts are amplified when I see that the big story for this coming week's show is the "Tough Enough 2 controversy."  To me, it's really just a manufactured controversy, which when you think about it is synonymous with "wrestling angle."  
    How about this for a byline:  "Confidential...  bringing the Internet's 'new work' to Television!".
  • Following up on the Retro Rico slant from the past few columns...
    OO Reader Bob Tocco (the guy who provided the mulletastic screen capture of Rico from his American Gladiator days) did some more research on TNN's AG replays...  the show the featured Rico on Monday was his first-round victory, and TNN's got the next round of that season's replays slated to start on June 10, which should be the next time Rico's on.  
    Should be June 10 at 2pm, if you're interested.  If Rico's not on that day, keep an eye open the next few days, and you should catch him, if not in that quarterfinal round, than in one of his later appearances.
    No, I'm not including this because I think Rico's past is particularly news-worthy to most fans today.  I'm including it because I think late 80's haircuts are funny!
  • Last thing today is a bit of site-specific news...  starting today, OO has it's first Affiliate.  Will Parrish -- who's "By the Numbers" was a regular feature here on OO -- is bringing his entire "AltWrestling" site under the OO banner.
    You can access AW at aw.onlineonslaught.com.
    Will came to me with the idea about a month ago, and I was more than impressed with the content he had been producing on his site.  I didn't want to see it gone forever.  So we've reached this agreement.  
    The newest OO Affiliate updates will always be posted on the OO main page, though you're also more than welcome to simply bookmark AW and make it a daily stop, as well!
    You won't be disappointed.
  • I'm outta here till the weekend...  it's looking like a dreary couple of days here (the same weather that knocked out Lee Filas' power and prevented a SCJ this week is now hovering over Dayton), but rest assured, I'll marshal my strength and be back here on Friday with a full length OO column.
    And here's something to perk up your spirits and get you coming back here tomorrow:  on Thursday, we've got the latest installment of Scott Keith's World Hero Federation in the can and ready for your enjoyment.  'Bout damn time!


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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