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Everything but the Bisch...
July 17, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


What a slow, boring news week, huh?  Let's see if I can scrap together anything worthwhile for you here today:
  • First thing:  if you want to read about Eric Bischoff -- including news about his status in WWE and opinion about how this whole thing might shake out -- then you need to click here to go back to yesterday's special edition of OO.
    If you've had enough Bischoff, then read on, because this just might be the column for you.  I'll try to keep Sleazy E talk to a minimum.
  • Of course, Bischoff was the big news out of Monday's RAW, but he was far from the only thing worth talking about on the show...
    How about the death of the nWo?  I gotta admit, not a big shock in one way, since I was openly calling for it... but in another, it was a surprise to see the Fed make the right call and pull the plug in mid-storyline.  Despite all the real-life issues, I thought for sure they'd try to keep pushing forward for as long as possible.  I'm glad they chose otherwise.  Still, how dead is "dead," do you think?  When Nash is better, when Bischoff is ready to reveal his true colors, do you think that the group is gonna stay out of commission?
    Then we go on to the six man elimination tag match, about which I have nothing bad to say.  Great action that was allowed to build up over 15 minutes (or maybe even more).  Personalities that fans care about and responded to.  A finish that added some sizzle to upcoming PPV matches (both Spike/Bubba vs. Benoit/Eddie and, I'd presume, Jeff vs. Regal).  This is what good pro wrestling is all about.
    I've got no problems with Dreamer and Richards bringing a little bit of Extreme flavor to the show, either.  Richards is at his best playing over-the-top caricatures (RTC, the bWo... and by the way, if you want a comedy side show, bringing in the bWo at this time would be a pretty funny idead!), it seems, but Tommy Dreamer, on the other hand... well, let's just say I really prefer him as a resilient hard-ass (the "Innovator of Violence") than I do as a goofy jack-ass.  Hell of a crimson mask on Dreamer, hell of an intense match (the superkick of the top and the final caneshot both looked brutal).  This is something I could stand to see more of; screw the comedy and the gimmickry of the "Texas Hardcore Title," and build a division around contests like this.
    Then there was the whole Bischoff thing.  Been there, done that.
    Molly Holly's tainted win over Trish Stratus wasn't a five star classic, but it was a solidly entertaining women's match that goes a long way to easing the pain following last week's....  unpleasantness.
    If the show had a low point, I'd peg it as Booker T vs. Big Show.  Maybe Show will -- via an allegience with his old boss, Bischoff -- recapture some of that main event aura he once had.  But for now, I'm not enthralled.  Which is too bad, because I do dig Booker T, sucka.
    Things started inching upward with the whole Bradshaw, Nowinski, Johnny the Bull hardcore schmozz.  Again, this division is too gimmicky for my tastes, but the bit served a purpose as far as introducing Johnny to RAW and getting Bradshaw some face time with Bischoff, I guess.  [And that vicious clotheline on Johnny didn't hurt...  I'm assuming it's shots like that that cause guys to get KO'ed at house shows, if you know what I mean.]
    The main event featured one of Ric Flair's most impressive performances since his WWE return...  for the match's most extended segment, Flair did a very impressive Ricky Morton, getting his ass kicked soundly by both Taker and Lesnar, before finally hot tagging to RVD.  RVD rallied strongly, but after a really nice closing sequence (in which the parties involved actually remembered to use the legal men in the ring), Van Dam was pinned by Taker following the Last Ride.  Lesnar turning on Taker after the match was icing on the cake; it further puts Taker into a tweener-leaing-to-babyface role for the PPV, and it raises the possibility in fans' eyes that Lesnar/Taker just MIGHT be a viable SummerSlam main event (whereas previously, most fans had probably written Taker off as a possible winner on Sunday).
    In the absence of a pure recap of the show, I tried to hit all the main segments, albeit pretty briefly.  It was a good one, and not just because of the "Holy Shit" factor that Bischoff brought to the table.  They also did a nice job delivering bona fide in-ring action in both the six-man and the main event, and successfully did some hype for the upcoming PPV.  That's what you want to see on your free TV shows.
  • The rating for Monday's RAW was a 3.8, which is up another tick over the previous week.  The progress is slow, but if it keeps up, it won't necessarily be that long before pundits start deeming the ratings healthy again. 
    A good sign:  viewership increased significantly and steadily throughout the show.  Again, as in past weeks, I think it's a positive that the Fed is starting with a certain core audience, and then roping in and KEEPING additional viewers as the show progresses.
    Which I guess means that CRZ is not a Nielsen household.  Har har.
  • The other big thing that had a ton of people talking (or more specifically, TYPING) in the last day or so is word that Triple H dominated a RAW brand "pep talk" on Monday afternoon.
    WWE.com reported on the pep talk, including a ton of HHH's quotes.  You can read about that here.
    But among the smark underground, the thing took on a life of its own.  Rumors started up that some of the boys were not happy about being talked down to by HHH, especially when it was supposed to be the agents and officials running the meeting (not talent, like HHH).  And then, the backlash started:  fans everywhere had an opinion on this, and most of them think HHH is resuming his role as a backstage politician, throwing his weight around just because he's practically a McMahon-in-law.
    Whoa, nelly...  you'd think it was early 2000 all over again!
    And then that got me thinking:  if HHH is gonna go heel again in the near future, what better way to get things started than to try to recreate the same vibe that existing among core fans back when HHH was at his heelish best?  But I'm probably over-thinking, right?  I mean, this whole thing started with a report on WWE.com, and everything they tell us is the straight poop with no spin, right?
    I swear, sometimes, even I can't tell when I'm trying to be sarcastic....
    Anyway, if wrestlers really are a bit miffed at HHH, that's one thing, and to be honest, it wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, if it inspired them to try to prove Hunter wrong.  Some of the things attributed to HHH make a lot of sense, actually... the biggest one I remember of the top of my head was the one where he got on guys who think they deserve a push just because they've been around the longest.  Newsflash for the Billy Gunns and the Bob Hollys of the world (though that's a bad example, since they're both on the SD roster):  find some reason to make us care about you first, THEN you get pushed to the moon.
    But this whole other thing, with fans getting pissed off about HHH pulling the high and mighty act?  Well, I love getting e-mails with diverse opinions and all, but I think in this case, getting upset with HHH is just as retarded now, and for all the same reasons, as it was 2 years ago when the anti-HHH thing really picked up steam on the 'net.
    But hey, if they wind up turning HHH heel, and this makes it easier for you to boo him... well, knock yerself out, Potsie.
  • I know a lot of you have expressed concern over the apparent exodus of OO writers that Bischoff's return has caused... as far as that goes, I suggest just sitting back and waiting to see how this all pans out.
    But in the short term I do still want to have shows recapped.  So look for the start of something new (and hopefully exciting) effective with the recap of next Monday's RAW.  Ooooh, the drama!  
  • If Bischoff's return drove a few people away from OO, it's being widely speculated that it could attract at least one key personality to WWE.  Bill Goldberg has openly stated that he'll be back in a wrestling ring by the end of 2002, but has not said where.
    Japan seemed like the most obvious choice for Goldberg, but his solid relationship with Bischoff has many thinking that WWE's chances of landing the one-time mega-star just went up substantially.
    I still think a match or two in Japan to re-prove himself and knock off some of the rust wouldn't be a bad idea, but hey, if Billionaire Vince wants to bankroll Eric Bischoff's spending sprees, that ain't none of my business.
  • Tough Enough 3 has found a new home in the Los Angeles suburb of Topanga, CA, and will begin shooting within the month.  The show is scheduled to be a part of MTV's fall line-up, and needs to jump-start production....
  • The Rock's next movie is now slated to begin filming in September, which means the Rock will be around through SummerSlam, and then that'll be about it until the Royal Rumble.  But the film, called "Helldorado," got a boost this week, as the frequently-entertaining Christopher Walken signed on to play the movie's main bad guy.  That could be cool...
  • A correction: the house show where Randy Orton got KO'ed by a Batista clothesline was in Newfoundland.  Not Nova Scotia.  Hey, it's Canadian place that starts with an "N," so I say I should get at least PARTIAL credit.
    Then again, the first Canuck who mixed up "Alaska" and "Arkansas" would probably get a sound mocking from me, so who the hell am I kidding?  Thank you, Canada, may I have another?
  • Last thing is a bit of preview for tonight's NWA-TNA PPV...  just $10 from your local cable operator!
    Last week's show was very well-received, and this week's line-up looks poised to build on those successes.
    The main event will be a ladder match between Jeff Jarrett and Malice (managed by the former "Sinister Minister" Jim Mitchell), with the winner gaining a shot at the NWA Title currently held by Ken Shamrock.  Should be good, given the participants.
    Then in the more "old school" category, you've got Brian Lawler -- now a full-fledged anti-Jerry Lawler heel -- taking on Scott Hall.  Probably nothing fancy here, but the crowd should be into it, and these two oughta be able to tell a story.
    Then, the "X Division" will provide two matches.  First is the division's champ AJ Styles defending against Low Ki.  And second, there will be tag action, with the Flying Elvises taking on Christopher Daniels and Elix Skipper.
    Check out the show if you're so inclined... a lot of people are saying a lot of good things!
  • And with that, I'm outta here.  Friday will feature a big Vengeance PPV preview, along with some newsbites from Yours Truly.  But you definitely don't want to miss Thursday's new content, either, including a new "Smarkies," a fresh rant from Scott Keith, and more.


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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