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Will RAW Rebound?  And Other
Monday News...
July 15, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


It's a new week, and like the old song says... it's time to get back in the saddle again:
  • With even Jim Ross getting online to call last week's RAW "bowling shoe ugly," I guess the consensus is that the show's got a lot of improving to do this week... but seriously, outside of the mixed tag and the unfortunate injury to Nash, what was so egregiously awful about last week?  It was just more of the same old blandly palatable stuff, just with a hot Heyman/Dreamer/Lesnar/RVD angle tossed in.
    But enough about last week...
    Tonight's RAW shapes up as a potentially defining night for the nWo:  is there enough left in the tank to keep this concept moving forward?  Or is the nWo's continued existence predicated solely on Triple H joining the group?  I'll say this:  Shawn Michaels is surely a good guy to have on your team as a spokesman, but if it comes down to only having Big Show and X-Pac available to take care of business in the ring, I don't see a lot of fans spending money to support the nWo.
    I'm sure tonight Michaels will have things to say about both Nash and HHH that will help to further illuminate exactly what the plans are for the nWo.  And from an in-ring perspective, I'd guess that Show and X-Pac will probably be involved in some capacity with Bubba and Spike Dudley, Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero, and Booker T and Goldust.  Or some combination there of... those four teams all seemed quite intertwined after last week's show.  Though I don't know what it says about the Fed's booking when the most compelling tag team action is happening on the show that doesn't have the tag titles...
    Brock Lesnar and Rob Van Dam comprise the RAW brand's other sellable feud...  given the way last week's main event sneak attack by Lesnar seemed to come with an assist from the nWo, we might instead see something like a Booker/Goldust/RVD vs. Show/X-Pac/Lesnar as a match tonight?  Either way, the Fed's gonna be coming up with some sort of way to get RVD and Lesnar involved with each other without giving away this Sunday's one-on-one PPV match.
    You know what?  I'm not exactly sure if Bradshaw vs. Chris Nowinski is ready for PPV, but fer chrissakes, I can't hardly think of any other standing issues on the RAW brand...  you've got the nWo courting HHH, you've got those four tag teams all meshed together, and you've got Lesnar/RVD.  And after that, hell Bradshaw and Nowinski have been going back and forth for three weeks, now.  That's a damned eternity by today's standards.  Either we get some closure tonight, or else I'm guessing we WILL have to sit through those two going at it on the PPV...
    Without knowing how that tag team logjam is gonna sort out, RAW could be in trouble in terms of coming up with compelling matches to throw together for Sunday's Vengeance.  It's strange when you compare it to the situation on SmackDown!, where they are actually having to dismiss scheduled PPV matches (like Jericho/Edge) to capitalize on other opportunities. But RAW does have on ace up its sleeve:  Ric Flair remains underutilized, basically floating around with nothing to do.  And while he might not be the world title contender of old, he's still gonna make anything he's involved in a lot more interesting.
    To see if RAW rebounds, check out the show tonight when it airs live... or else, just come on back to OO on Tuesday for full coverage, including CRZ's detailed recap.

  • The final rating for last Thursday's SmackDown! was a 3.3.  Though drastically improved from the July 4 rating (which was a 2.0), that number is only equal to what the show drew 2 weeks ago.  And two weeks ago did not have the benefit of a highly hyped Return of the Rock to help it out.
    So either the Rock's comeback had only a negligible effect on fans, or his return was only enough to help the Fed tread water in terms of maintaining viewers.
  • In addition to his harsh words about the quality of last week's RAW, Jim Ross had some other enlightening comments in his WWE.com column this week...
    First is confirmation that Kevin Nash has absolutely no plans to retire with Monday's 10 man tag as his last match ever.  He's going to work hard and try to be back in about 6 months.
    Some other injury updates:  Triple H, Kane, and Maven are apparently in the "3-4 weeks away" category, as all will resume in-ring activity in August...  Jazz should be back sometime in September or October... Rhyno could resume light work-outs in the next month or so, with a planned return coming in November...
    Both Chad Collyer and Ron Waterman have been released from WWE's developmental program.  Collyer was a promising cruiserweight, and Waterman is the guy you might have heard about wrestling dark matches at WWE shows who looked a lot like Scott Steiner.  JR did, however, say that the door was open to either of them returning in the future, after they gained additional experience.
    Bubba Ray Dudley had another death in the family, and missed 2 house shows this weekend.  He'll be at RAW tonight, though.
    The Fed will get back to using vignettes and video packages to introduce and promote new stars before they appear on TV, I guess on the grounds that it seems to be working well for Rey Misterio Jr.
    JR also has some dissenting opinion for some online experts.  First, he admits that business is down, but says that no matter how many people predict doom or how many others profess to know exactly what's wrong and how to fix it, the experts are only professing an opinion.  Meanwhile, the Fed will continue to put in the long hours to find the new equation for entertaining the fans.  And secondly, Ross says he is delegating more power in the talent relations division, especially to John "Johnny Ace" Laurinaitis, but that internet rumors that JR is retiring or disappearing from the scene are totally false.
  • The XFL lives!  In ignominy, anyway.
    First, FOX baseball commentators made a snide remark about the logo for the upcoming Vin Diesel movie "XXX" (which sponsored the blimp at last Tuesday's All Star Game), which does closely resemble the old XFL logo.
    And then, this weekend, TV Guide named the XFL as the fourth worst TV show in the history of the universe.  If you're interested, "Jerry Springer" was #1 on that list. 
  • Leon "Vader" White has a court date set for July 25 in Boulder, CO, with charges including driving under the influence, and obstruction of a police officer.  This all stems from the July 2 incident that has been previously covered here on OO... 
    In the meantime, Vader is out of jail on bail, and has actually left the country to fulfill wrestling commitments in Japan.  I didn't think that was legal....
  • Last night, Randy Orton was apparently injured during a SD! brand house show in Nova Scotia, Canada.  In a match against Batista, Orton was seemingly KO'ed after a clothesline.  Batista rapidly went for the pinfall, and then left ringside so that paramedics could check on Orton.
    It took several minutes, but eventually, Orton was revived and was able to leave the ring under his own power, according to e-mail reports.  At this point, there's no word on the severity of Orton's injury or how it might limit his work in the coming days and weeks, though as with any situation that appears to be a head injury, I'm sure caution will be exercised.
  • Jerry Lawler was recently a radio guest, and he also broached the subject of Monday's RAW and how it was a show where everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.
    Of note, however, is that Lawler seemed to avoid placing too much blame on Jackie Gayda for the mixed tag match fiasco...  instead, he said that she is still very new to the business, and should probably be working in the developmental territories, or at most, working on WWE shows that are taped (so that flubs can be re-done).  She simply shouldn't have been put in that position last Monday.
    I mention it only because that sounds a lot like the sane and well-reasoned opinion put forth by a certain online pundit.  
    See, I may not be the one who can call up Jerry Lawler and get an interview, but The Rick knows what he's talking about!
  • And finally, Jesse Ventura was released from the hospital over the weekend.  He responded well to blood thinners, and the clots in his lung have apparently dissolved.  Since this is obviously a recurring problem, Jesse will continue to be monitored closely, but he should be just fine.
  • As always, I close a Monday column by letting you all know that reports from TV tapings are always appreciated.  Getting the spoilers for Heat, Velocity, and SmackDown! out there is a big part of the mid-week routine, so pass along a recap, and I'll be forever in your debt.  With tapings once again taking place in the WWE (and OO) stronghold in the northeast, we should be covered, but hey, every little bit helps!
    See you Wednesday....


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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