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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
RAW Preview, the Return of WCW,
and More...
June 10, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

Ah, Monday...  five whole days of crap laid out before us before we get to play again.  Hopefully, a little dose of rasslin' talk will spruce things up a bit for you.  I know it usually works for me:
  • Tonight's RAW is probably best sold using just two words:  Shawn Michaels.
     
    Michaels, who has not been active in wrestling since early 1997 (and who hasn't even been on TV in a meaningful capacity in over a year), joined the nWo last week.  This week, we are guaranteed to hear Michaels speak about his return.  Shawn certainly looked good last week in his 5 minute posedown, but this week will determine if he's still got his edge when it comes to cutting a promo.
     
    We'll also get to learn more about Michaels' agenda:  why did he join the nWo?  And what timetable -- if any -- exists for a return to in-ring action? 
     
    We do know that the cutting-edge Shawn Michaels who helped forge the Attitude Era is gone... and in his place is a more mature (and born-again) man who has already said he'll stay away from the profanity and lewd gesturing that made Degeneration X such a hit 5 years ago.  There's really no reason why that should impact his work as a performer, but it's worthy noting even if only to discount fan speculation that DX and its crotch chops of cries of "Suck it" could somehow return out this storyline.
     
    Also tonight:  Ric Flair will be subservient to Steve Austin after losing last week's main event match.  As Austin's "personal assistant," Flair will be forced to do whatever Austin asks of him.  Hopefully, this will take the form of advancing storylines by having matches signed (like against Eddie Guerrero for KotR) or forcing Flair to somehow negotiate the purchase of Chris Benoit's contract from the SD! brand.  Something to use Flair's rub to focus on the more pressing Austin/Eddie and Austin/Benoit stories.  Just no more third-grade toilet humor.  Please, I'm begging you.  
     
    King of the Ring tournament matches will continue, as well.  Booker T and X-Pac have already advanced, and tonight, the RAW brand will add two more men to the Field of 8.  There haven't been any official announcements, but it wouldn't shock me if Bubba Ray Dudley and Brock Lesnar were right there in the mix.  They gotta come up with something for IC Champ Rob Van Dam, too.
     
    Plenty of potential for a home run of a show exists...  we'll know later tonight if the Fed's able to knock the ball out of the park.  And then tomorrow, we'll have full coverage of the show, including CRZ's detailed recap and Lee's SCJ.
     
  • World Championship Wrestling is back.  Sort of.  Maybe.  For at least one show.
     
    A Friday night, July 12, show in Lakeland, FL, is listed by Ticketmaster as "WCW: World Championship Wrestling."  It is part of "WWE's Tour of Defiance" (said tour actually kicked off with house shows this weekend, I believe).
     
    The WWE website makes no mention of the WCW name in conjunction with the July 12 show, simply listing it as a RAW brand house show.  Additionally, Ticketmaster's listing for the next night's Florida house show once again refers to the product as "WWE: World Wrestling Entertainment."
     
    Given the infrastructures in place, I doubt this is something as simple as a typo or foul-up on the part of WWE or Ticketmaster...  but that does raise the question of why a July house show in Florida is being singled out in such a fashion.  If memory serves, Lakeland was a stronghold for the old WCW, and this peculiar bit of branding could be an attempt to capitalize on that...  the one-night-only thing suggests it's SOMEthing along those lines, anyway, and not really a full-fledged attempt to revive the Invasion, or anything like that.
     
    Definitely a curiosity at this point...  but time will tell if it becomes more important than that.
     
  • The final rating for last week's SD! was a 3.3, the same rating as the show scored the week before.  In the case of last Thursday, reasonable possibilities for the lower rating include the President's Address during the first hour (which did pre-empt SD in some markets, and in others might have siphoned off some more current-events-savvy viewers) and the MTV Movie Awards in the second hour (which was a heavily-viewed special last week, especially among WWE's primary demographic).
     
  • Last Friday's Byte This was a good one.  Though my cynicism over the way these "smarter" shows are trying to more subtly work the fans remains, it's still interesting to hear Vince McMahon talk relatively openly about the state of his company.
     
    From hinting at upcoming major developments (both in terms of shaking up the creative direction of the WWE TV brands and in terms of business-side opportunities related to a new motion picture division) to talking about the noticeable divergence in quality between RAW and SmackDown! to discussing the difficulties involved in producing an 11-segment show twice a week, Vince had a bunch of little sneak peeks for fans who wanted that genuine insider perspective on issues they've been shooting their mouths off about for months.
     
    Good ol' EC has got your Byte This Recap for those of you who missed the webcast (and who are too lazy to sit through a full hour or so replay of Vince's fat jokes at Kevin Kelly's expense to get to the good stuff).
     
  • Steve Austin's luggage was lost this weekend, forcing the superstar to wrestle a main event against Eddie Guerrero in his street clothes at a show in Lexington, KY.  The match was very brief, with Austin winning in under 5 minutes.
     
    Speaking of the Fed's stop in Lexington...  the Lexington Herald-Leader had a big write-up on WWE-related stuff over the weekend.  You can check out Scott Sloan's primary piece -- mainly about the recent radical re-alignment of the national wrestling scene and how it has affected competing with WWE and trying to break into the business -- at www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky/news/3426251.htm
     
    Note:  if you happen to find a quote from your favorite wrestling webmaster in the column, but think it's borderline stating-the-obvious instead of extraordinarily-insightful, I apologize and would point out that I probably had about 15 minutes worth of more interesting observations during my talk with Scott, but that most of it probably fell outside the realm of what he was actually writing about.  Plus, wouldn't you rather hear from Dory Funk, anyway?
     
  • The Rock, Triple H, Vince McMahon, and a few others were all present in Memphis, TN, this weekend for Mike Tyson's fight with Lennox Lewis.  I know the Rock was there in conjunction with some sort of pre-fight banquet, but don't know why the other WWE personalities were on hand, other than as fans.
     
    I know Tyson lost, but isn't it telling that I (and just about everyone else I know) was still referring to Saturday night as "the Tyson fight."  Not "the Lewis fight."  Something like that is not to be lost on Vince McMahon, who has gone out of his way to put over how professional Tyson was during his handful of appearances with WWE back in 1998.  
     
  • Speaking of the Rock, his little vacation is soon to come to an end...  He will be joining the WWE crew for the already-sold-out house show taking place in Honolulu, Hawaii, this weekend, and shortly thereafter will begin principle filming for "Helldorado."
     
    Rumors that the Rock will be back from his movie in time for SummerSlam are pre-mature, to say the least.  By sometime early this fall, however, the Rock should be back on WWE TV.  Attempts to advise him to turn his back on wrestling have fallen on deaf ears, and Rock does intend to return to the Fed in a semi-regular capacity.
     
  • OO Reader Kody Kiser is looking for anyone with a copy of last week's (June 3's) RAW.  A self-described "anal retentive archivist," Kody needs a copy for his own collection, and will gladly arrange to make sure any benefactor is duly compensated.
     
    Drop him a line at kodykiser@hotmail.com if you are ready and willing to help an OO brother out!  
     
  • Another reader-inspired little bullet, here:  OO Reader Wesley Mosher had another take on Nidia and Jamie Knoble from last week's SD!...  while I thought they gave off kind of an over-the-top trailer-park/SNL-charicature sort of vibe, he was reminded more of Mickey and Mallory from "Natural Born Killers."
     
    I consider myself rebuked, because that really is the better comparison.  But regardless of what label you put on it, I do re-assert my opinion that it's a sort of characterization that could work really well.
     
  • And I do believe that is all for today...  remember my weekly plea:  if you attend TV tapings, drop me a line so that I can get spoilers for Heat, Velocity, and SmackDown! posted in a timely manner on Wednesday.
     
    If you're not lucky enough to attend the tapings, well, just come on back here and read all about them.  It's the least you can do, dammit!
     
    Anyway, it's RAW coverage tomorrow, spoilers and news on Wednesday, and then lord knows what else the rest of the week before I get to go out of town for a wedding (and probably short change you fine folks a Friday update in the process).

 

E-MAIL RICK SCAIA
BROWSE THE OO ARCHIVES

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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