Wrestling News, Analysis and Commentary

News  -/-  Recaps  -/-  Columns  -/-  Features  -/-  Reference  -/-  Archives  -/-  Interact  -/-  Site Info

Donate to Online Onslaught!
     Daily Onslaught
     Obtuse Angle
     RAW Satire
     The Broad

     Inside the Ropes
     OOld Tyme
         Rasslin' Revue
     Title Wave
Crashing the

     Smarky Awards
     Big in Japan
     Guest Columnists
     2 Out of 3 Falls
     Devil's Due
     The Ring
     The Little Things
SK Rants
The Mac Files
     Sq'd Circle Jerk
     RAW vs. SD!:
         Brand Battle
     Cheap Heat 
     Year in Review
     Monday Wars
     Road to WM 

     Title Histories
     Real Names
     PPV Results
     Smart Glossary
     Message Boards
     Live Chat 
     OO History

If you attend a live show, or have any other news for us, just send an e-mail to this address!  We'd also love to hear from you if you've got suggestions or complaints about the site...  let us have it!

Austin, RAW Fall-Out, And Lots More...
June 12, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


If ever there were an opposite to the "slow news day," this is it.  Well, maybe yesterday was it, but you get the idea...  so let's quit dilly-dallying around and get started:
  • Monday's RAW was the rare show that was just as notable for what DIDN'T happen as for what did happen...
    The absence of Steve Austin was not harped on by WWE during the show, which almost immediately raised red flags.  Before the program was over, rumors about Austin's where-abouts had already begun to circulate, with the predominant one being that Austin -- upset with being booked into a RAW main event against Brock Lesnar -- flew home on Monday afternoon in protest.
    Two opposing subplots have arisen since then, as it is unclear whether Austin was upset with being asked to job to relative newcomer Lesnar, or whether he may have gotten frustrated with the creative teams decision to give away a "PPV-quality" match on free TV.  Though the latter story is the one being accepted as the "more reasonable" explanation for Austin's actions, I actually could not disagree more.  WWE has given away those caliber matches for the past few weeks, and Austin never said boo about it then.  On top of that, Austin/Lesnar wouldn't have really struck me as much of a draw at all:  there was no storyline, there was no reason to think of it as "PPV-caliber."  It's no more PPV-ready than Undertaker/RVD from a few weeks ago was:  a really promising upper-mid-carder taking on an established main eventer.
    So in any case, I find the whole scenario perplexing.  I guess you can't dismiss the possibility that Austin's simply behaving irrationally, there's also the ever-vigilant cynic in me that won't go away.  I mean, consider:  we're tipped off to a "tidal wave of change" coming soon (by Vince McMahon himself, on Byte This) and Austin, for his part, worked weekend house shows with absolutely no problems; and then on Monday, in Austin's absence, the Fed goes forward with a GIANT angle (Vince regaining full control of the company) that you kind of have to doubt they would jump into on the spur of the moment.  The evidence for this being a carefully worked angle does exist, circumstantial though it may be. 
    But in the Third District Court of the Smart Mark, circumstantial evidence is enough to at least start a healthy debate.
  • As for the RAW without Austin, it was a good and memorable show that stood on its own merits, without having to depend on its backstage drama to be worthwhile.
    As a "last second" storyline, the Vince/Flair stuff worked perfectly, no doubt assisted by the fact that Atlanta is bound to provide a Flair-friendly audience.  The "Flair's great as a wrestler, but sucks as an owner" thing is a solid way to go, and echoes some of my own ideas from my recent OOpinion piece about the Split.  I wish they could have let is simmer more, to play up the roster-wide lack of faith in Flair's leadership, but hey, they had to move fast in this case.
    The insertion of Brock Lesnar into a top spot is interesting, not just because of Brock himself, but because he brings Paul Heyman with him.  Heyman's cryptic comments towards Vince, at this point, hold way more potential intrigue than any Lesnar match could.  Vince owes Heyman, now, and the possibilities are endless.  It could be as simple as Lesnar getting preferential treatment en route to the KotR crown.  But what if Vince installed Heyman as his "deputy in charge of the RAW brand" or something like that?  The ramifications of something like that could be huge.
    The Shawn Michaels promo was another real highlight.  He delivered it perfectly, starting by playing off the cheers before turning them into boos.  His timeline was a little bit off, I think, but I doubt most fans are scurrying to their video archives to determine whether DX and "Attitude" pre-dated Michaels' departure from the ring or not.  In general, it was a convincing mission statement from HBK.  It also gave him a great new shtick:  he promised never to wrestle for those ungrateful fans again.  By not doing what he did best, he's SURE to piss off fans (it's a classic ploy, just like Mick Foley not wrestling the hardcore style in his last months in ECW, or Ivory refusing to dress slutty when she was in the RTC)...  of course, then the pay-off will HAVE to involve him wrestling a match or two, so that's also promising.
    The booting of Booker T from the nWo in that same segment wasn't quite as deftly handled... or rather, it was handled about as well as it could have been, but it did just seem to be a bit obvious.  I guess the Fed decided to go for the "build Booker up obviously as a baby before doing the full-fledged turn," instead of doing the turn sooner (before it was as obvious to everybody that Booker was turning) or by keeping Booker more heelish throughout this interim period (so people begin to doubt if the turn is coming afterall).  Odd that Booker is probably just about the only major guy who never got a shot in the nWo back in WCW, and now, in WWE, he finally got his chance, and it lasted about a month.  D'oh.
    Let's see, what else?
    RVD/Eddie never quite seemed to get on track the way their past matches have, but Brock/Bubba was their best effort yet despite its shortness (with Heyman's Heenan-caliber antics as a side-show, to boot)...  I've been thinking for months that Molly Holly would be perfect for a "Six Mix-a-Lot's favorite wrestler" gimmick, but somehow, the way they played the "big butt" card on Monday, it wasn't nearly as fun as I'd pictured it...  whee, so Harvard Chris (a TE loser) is the next big WWE Superstar?  At least they got the right gimmick for him, even if his mere presence furthers my thesis about TE being meaningless tripe...  I don't know what to think about the Taker/Hardys bit, other than I guess it gives Taker something to do on RAW while his real nemesis (HHH) is over on SD...
    Good show overall, though, one that didn't feel as thrown-together as you might expect given the backstage situation, at least.  You can get the complete details in the CRZ RAW Recap.
  • The show drew a 4.4 cable rating, up another tenth of a point from last week, and once again well above the upper-threes the show had sunk to a few weeks back.  If the Fed can maintain it, this isn't a bad place to be...  though I'm sure they'd prefer to be back to the 5-ish range they'd gotten up to earlier this year.
  • FYI:  the roster split concept will remain in place despite Vince McMahon's sole-ownership of both brands.  The split was enforced at SD! tapings last night, and will remain strictly enforced at least through the PPV.
    There is some talk that minor cross-overs will eventually leak in (at the very least, it'd be nice to see the tag titles moving back and forth between shows), but there are no plans to completely scrap the two distinct roster set-up in the near future.
  • A possible big loser in this whole scenario:  Chris Benoit.  He was shifted over to the RAW brand for the sole purpose of getting to feud with Steve Austin when he was healthy.  Now, Austin's MIA, and any real reason for a big storyline to boost Benoit's value through a "trade" is gone.  
  • Some comments in last Friday's WWE.com Ross Report take on added significance after Monday's Austin antics...  what had seemed like an abbreviated injury-update-only edition of JR's column included such comments as: 
    - Fans demanding concepts and talents who can "suspend the disbelief of even the most die-hard fan"
    - "Creative challenges will not be fixed over night, but they will be solved in time."
    - "If you put yourself in our shoes, especially the creative team, it becomes very challenging to stay positive and attempt to come up with the next big idea.  However, that is the lay of the land, and those who cannot take the heat need to exit the kitchen."
    And perhaps most tellingly:
    "If we spend the summer establishing new talents, creating fresh rivalries, and not overexposing older, more limited talents, I feel we will be much more prepared to compete [...] come the new fall season."
    Does everything that's happened with Austin STILL seem like such a shock, now?  I won't answer that... but I will say that JR's comments no longer seem like just a way to flesh out a second page of an otherwise thin edition of his web column.
  • Lost in all this:  Dave Meltzer (of the Wrestling Observer) reports that Dallas Page decided last night to officially retire from wrestling.  Following meetings with a series of doctors, Page has had to face the reality that he is seriously injured, and would only be another year older when/if cleared to wrestle again.
    WWE has yet to make an official announcement about this, but reportedly Vince McMahon has met directly with Page about the decision.
    If DDP has, in fact, decided to hang it up for good, he gets a big ol' "thanks for the memories" as one of the true highlights of WCW's golden era.  He also gets some sort of award for being a rare guy to accomplish just about everything he did in this business after his 40th birthday.  
    It's just a shame he never really got a big chance to add to that resume in the WWF/WWE.
    More on Page whenever an official announcement is forthcoming.
  • NWA-TNA has decided to make Nashville, TN, its official home for PPV tapings in the future.  Tickets sales for their debut show in Huntsville, AL, are not going so well, thus the decision to move things to that Jarretts home base in Tennessee.
    NWA-TNA will be taping two weeks worth of PPVs at each taping.   They start every other Wednesday in Nashville starting on July 3.  The June 19 debut taping will supply not only the live debut PPV, but also June 26 taped, second show.
  • Scott Steiner could show up at just about any time in WWE... his comments a week or so back indicated he was in talks with the Fed and very interested in working there.  Now, with Austin's situation up in the air, his star power just might be something WWE could use.
    Steiner in his radio interview sounded motivated to get back to work... and now the Fed might be motivated to get him under contract.  Sounds like a case of strengthening mutual interest to me...
  • One last bit about Austin:  in promotional art work released for July's Vengeance PPV, Steve Austin is the sole focus of the posters.  Those things are devised months ahead of time, thought, and in the end, often have little to do with the actual focal point of a PPV.  So I don't think there's a whole lot you can glean from this particular anomaly other than the fact that at some point a month or so ago, somebody thought Steve Austin's face would look good on a poster.
  • The folks at Lycos have been tracking searches for "WWE" vs. searches for "WWF" for the last month or so since the name change announcement.  
    For the first week after the change, almost 90% of people were still searching for "WWF."  That has slowly changed, though, and as off the week ended June 8, "WWF" has only the slimmest of margins over "WWE" (52% to 48%).
    Wow.  Five weeks in, and ALMOST half the fans out there have accepted the new name.  [I honestly don't know if I'm being sarcastic here or not...]
  • I am gonna wrap it up, now...  and this might be it for me for the entire week.
    I'm heading out of town on Friday to be in a wedding this weekend, and doubt that I'll have time to update things before I go.  Depending on if something big happens, that might change, though.
    If nothing else, I've got some good stuff lined up for Thursday's update, including the return of "Timeline" and lots more...
    See you whenever!


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.

SMACKDOWN RECAP: Bonding Exercises
RAW RECAP: The New Guy Blows It
PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
RAW RECAP: The Show Must Go On
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Boot Gets the Boot
RAW RECAP: Heyman Lands an Expansion Franchise
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Losing is the new Winning
RAW RECAP: Say My Name
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Deja Vu All Over Again
RAW RECAP: Dignity Before Gold?
PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
RAW RECAP: Bigger IS Better
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Hitting with Two Strikes
RAW RECAP: Heel, or Tweener?
RAW RECAP: CM Punk is Not a Fan of Dwayne
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Returnening
RAW RECAP: Countdown to 1000
PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Friday Night ZackDown
RAW RECAP: Closure's a Bitch
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Five Surprising MitB Deposits
RAW RECAP: Weeeellll, It's a Big MitB
RAW RECAP: Johnny B. Gone
PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
RAW RECAP: Crazy Go Nuts
RAW RECAP: Be a Star, My Ass
RAW RECAP: You Can't See Him
RAW RECAP: Big Johnny Still in Charge
PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: One Gullible Fella
RAW RECAP: Anvil, or Red Herring?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Everybody Hates Berto
RAW RECAP: Look Who's Back
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Care to go Best of Five?
RAW RECAP: An Ace Up His Sleeve
PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Sh-Sh-Sheamus and the nOObs
RAW RECAP: Edge, the Motivational Speaker?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: AJ is Angry, Jilted
RAW RECAP: Maybe Cena DOES Suck?
RAW RECAP: Brock's a Jerk
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28




All contents are Copyright 1995-2014 by OOWrestling.com.  All rights reserved.
This website is not affiliated with WWE or any other professional wrestling organization.  Privacy Statement.