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Vengeance PPV Preview and 
A Few NewsBites...
July 19, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


With a pay-per-view this Sunday, we'll do the once-a-month tradition:  a column in two parts.  First, a run down of WWE Vengeance, and then a smattering of news...


More than anything, this Sunday's Vengeance strikes me as a transition PPV...  we're easing into this "General Manager Era" (where one presumes RAW and SmackDown! become hostile towards one another).  We're trying to make new superstars (like Brock Lesnar, RVD, and Booker T) viable at the main event level.  It's a show that seems less ready to pay-off on long-standing issues than it is ready to set the Fed on its course for the rest of the year.

In some ways, that's an exciting prospect.  And since WWE is backing it up with some very promising in-ring matches,  I won't let myself get too bogged down in the fact that -- storyline-wise -- what we're in store for on Sunday isn't that much more cataclysmic than what we might see on a good edition of RAW or SD.  Because at least we know the matches will get 10, 15 minutes, or even more.

And the card, as it stands on Friday morning, has got the right guys in the ring to take advantage of that time.  Here's a quick run-down of what to expect on the show... 

(Undisputed Title Match)

The Rock was ringside for Taker's title defense last month against Triple H, and wound up getting involved... as a result, Taker got pissed, and we originally had us a Taker/Rock title match set for Sunday.

Then Kurt Angle went and started tossing his Olympic skill set around, making Hulk Hogan and the Undertaker tap out inside the same week.  When a one-on-one match against Taker ended in a draw, Angle was added to the PPV mix.  Since Taker has, in the last month, gone from a pure heel role to more of a tweener/babyface role, Angle's purely boo-able status is a necessary addition to the contest.

The fact that he also immediately brings the company's best in-ring worker into the mix doesn't hurt either.  Since the three-way psychology often involves one guy powdering out to get his breath back while the other two do a few spots.  In this case, Angle's the lynch-pin:  as the key heel, he'll probably get the fewest breaks.  He's the right guy to have carrying the load as far as I'm concerned.

My Prediction:  the winner goes on to SummerSlam to face Brock Lesnar...  and as interesting as a Battle of the Amateur Champions (between Lesnar and Angle) would be, I don't see the Fed pulling the trigger on turning either one babyface just yet.  I put my money on the Rock to win the strap, and to then move on to do his part in Project Lesnar.

(IC Title Match)

Speaking of Lesnar...  he's looking to add IC gold to his resume before he even gets to SummerSlam.  The story here has RVD and Lesnar starting to cross paths some two months ago in tag matches and other situations.  Then, last month, Lesnar beat RVD in the King of the Ring finals; the next night on RAW, Lesnar was DQ'ed in a rematch against Van Dam, but looked dominant enough to keep the feud rolling.

Now, we're back to a PPV contest between the two, and Van Dam comes in basically carrying an 0-for-lifetime record.  Sure, he's stolen a DQ decision, but he hasn't ever BEATEN Lesnar...  they haven't quite built it up to Dreamer/Raven status, but if they're smart, they'll play up that angle.

Action-wise, I think we're all hoping to see something more like their RAW match, rather than the abbreviated PPV contest.  And I think that hope will be realized.  These two have had an extra month of working together, and should have the act down pat.

My Prediction:  the IC Title, and additional momentum, goes to Lesnar.  And Van Dam unable-to-beat-Lesnar streak continues... (and wouldn't it be sweet if RVD finally snapped that streak sometime next year in an Undisputed Title Match?)

(Tag Team Title Match)

Hogan and Edge were thrown together for now readily apparent reason two weeks ago, and overmatched Billy and Chuck to win the tag titles.  Sickened by Hogan's flamboyant Americanism, Storm and Christian quickly emerged as the top contenders to those belts.

Storywise, the big thing everybody's noticed here is that Edge is, well, a Canadian.  But he seems to have had no problems so far teaming with Hogan.  Might that come to an end, as Edge turns evil and becomes the cornerstone of the Canadian forces?  Personally, I'm not so sure the timing is right for Edge -- just 8 months into what's becoming a very successful singles run -- to turn... but in the short term, you gotta admit, it'd have some people talking.

Actionwise, well, unless Edge is a turncoat in hiding, he's gotta be the guy who carries a big load for his team.  He'll definitely do the Ricky Morton role, and in doing so, should guarantee us a really solid wrestling match.  By saving Hogan up for his big spots and not much else, these four could end up going from "solid" to "very good," actually.

My Prediction:  the Canadians are gonna have to go over, since I see Hogan and Edge as Division Killers.  Interference from Test is too obvious, and likely would be ineffectual.  I honestly don't think they'll turn Edge heel just now.  But I do think we could see Chris Jericho (not currently booked in any capacity on the PPV) turn out to be the deciding factor here...  he's another Canuck, AND he's got an issue with Edge.


It ain't a match, but it will be a big part of the PPV, I'm sure...

The story:  Vince McMahon has thrown open the doors for talent from either to decide to jump ship.  Eric Bischoff (RAW) has made it obvious he's in "acquisition mode."  Stephanie McMahon (SD) has said "hell no" and is intent on preserving her roster of talent.  Triple H is the first guy in the cross-hairs.  And there's a secondary thing to consider:  HHH's decision will likely influence fan opinion of him, and sway him towards being a heel.

If HHH does business with the smarmy Bischoff, he's almost gotta be a heel, right?  But then there's Steph...  who was trying really hard (the straight, non-evil hair, the business-suity look that prevented "slut" chants, the anti-Bischoff stance) to play more of a babyface.  But I'm not so sure it's gonna work.  Like Vince, I think Stephanie is just innately a better heel.

But it almost doesn't matter:  if HHH goes back to her, he's either a heel for being such a pussy that he'll work for his estranged wife, or he's a heel because he and Steph are back in cahoots after a brief separation.  Eh, whatever...  I suspect that more guys besides HHH will be switching rosters, so although this one move will have some pretty interesting implications, it's nothing to get too worked up about.

My Prediction:  Scott Keith doesn't rate battle royals, and I don't do predictions for promos.

BOOKER T vs. BIG SHOW (No DQ, No Count Out)

When Big Show was part of the now-defunct nWo, Booker T was one of their major targets.  Show was sent in on two occasions to take Booker out, and both times, he failed.  Once, Show was counted out.  The other time, he was DQ'ed.

So it's a nice bit of connect-the-dots booking that ended with us having this particular stipulation match.  It will go to a pinfall or a submission, plain and simple.  I fear it will also go too long... no matter how entertaining Booker is, Show's (euphemism alert!) More Methodical Style is sure to keep the pace of the match on the slower side.

My Prediction:  It seems like this should be the PPV match that finally puts Booker over the top and into the promised land as a top babyface.  But the No DQ stip almost always favors the heel, who is sure to have some dirty trick up his sleeve (a former nWo buddy?  something involving Bischoff?)... so in my mind, it's a toss up.  So I'll just pick Booker since I like him better.


For a last second, thrown-together match, you couldn't ask for much more.  The original Dudley Boyz were masters of the table match, and I'm sure li'l Spike is more than up to speed on the concept.  Benoit and Guerrero aren't usually known for taking it to the Extreme, but they're highly adaptable (as both have shown in past TLC and ladder matches).

This all started with singles matches between Eddie and first Bubba and then Spike.  Benoit got added to the mix, and the two teams even had a regular rules tag match a few weeks back.  Even after the nWo, Booker T and Goldust all got involved in the issue, this still wound up boiling down to these four men.  Should be a good one...

My Prediction:  the Duds have gotten most of the wins in this feud so far, it seems... so even though it's Bubba's gimmick, this table match is gonna go to the Benoit/Eddie team.

JAMIE KNOBLE vs. BILLY KIDMAN (Cruiserweight Title Match)

On a show already loaded with great talent, the cruisers are rapidly becoming one of SmackDown's weekly highlights.  The matches presented on free TV are generally a bit shorter than you'd want, but they're always fast-paced and exciting.

These two have been going back and forth for weeks, sometimes in tag matches (with Tajiri and Hurricane), sometimes in the form of post-match attacks...  but the end result, in a PPV setting, should be a damned good 10-15 minute match.

My Prediction:  Knoble holds on to the title (probably with Nidia's help).  That'll give Rey Misterio something to shoot for when he debuts next week.

As always, whenever you look at a PPV card and see just six matches (and one promo) scheduled, you gotta think that more will be added... there's no Diva action scheduled, which is one possibility.  It certainly seemed like Jeff Hardy vs. William Regal could be added very easily after last Monday, too.  Or maybe something with the Hardcore Title? Or better yet, some sort of "extreme" exhibition for Tommy Dreamer? Ric Flair and Chris Jericho are the biggest names who are not booked to appear, though I'm not sure what you could do to get either a match in such a short time...

Check out the PPV, and then, minutes after the show goes off the air, OO will have full coverage for you.  The immediately post-PPV recap should be up in the 11pm (eastern) hour on Sunday night! 


  • Since we didn't have a full NWA-TNA recap this week, I definitely wanted to pass along a cool tidbit here today:  Sabu made his TNA debut, and won a titleshot against Ken Shamrock.  Sabu replaced Jeff Jarrett (who was ejected for brawling with Scott Hall) in a #1 Contenders ladder match against Malice.
    In fact, Sabu's title shot comes next week on TNA's PPV, and it will be a ladder match (Sabu's gimmick) in which submissions also count (Shamrock's gimmick).  Sounds cool...
    Brian Lawler and Scott Hall worked the PPV main event match, with Hall getting the win, despite attempted interference from K-Krush.  After the match, Jeff Jarrett (disguised as a paramedic) attacked Hall to keep their feud alive.
    By all accounts, another strong showing from NWA-TNA this past Wednesday...
  • The overnight rating for last night's SmackDown! was a 4.4.  That's actually down from last week's overnight number (a 4.6)... of course, the correlation between overnights and final numbers is seemingly random, so we'll just wait until we get a final number on Monday before we start our ramblings.
  • SD! was a pretty strong show, actually, with two cruiserweight matches and a very solid Rock/Angle main event.  I'm not 100% behind Steph as GM (for reasons I feel like I outlined a dozen times already this week), but we'll see how it goes.
    If you missed the show, or just need a quick rundown of pertinent happenings, we've got a recap from Jeb Lund...  you'll remember Jeb from his "Whither, Stone Cold?" piece a month ago.  I remember him as the guy who was willing to sit in on ultra-short notice when I realized I probably wouldn't have had a SD recap for this week, otherwise!
  • I heard about a report on 1Wrestling.com that Cincinnati's Heartland Wrestling Association was dropped as a WWE developmental territory...  and a quick check down there confirms that that is the word going around.
    Although the Fed had released HWA talents Ron Waterman and Chad Collyer earlier this week, the move to drop the whole territory was a surprise.  HWA had existed as a WCW developmental grounds in WCW later days, and almost as soon as WWF bought out the promotion, HWA had become aligned with the new owners.
    HWA had been producing weekly TV and had been doing shows all over the tri-state area, mostly on the strength of a roster augmented by developmental talent.  Some of the WWE developmental talents assigned to HWA are probably going to be released, but others expect to be re-assigned to OVW. 
    Tough break for Les Thatcher and his crew, though there's every reasons to expect that they'll continue to operate, training students and promoting shows, just as they did for a long time before either WCW or WWE was officially working with them.
  • Saturday night's edition of "Confidential" might be worth checking out... it's going to feature an interview of Eric Bischoff, and no doubt will go into some detail of his actions during the course of the Monday Night Wars.  Set a tape, if for no other reason than to see whether Bischoff again subtly rearranges history for his own purposes!
    By the way, due to popular request (OK, due to about 8 people asking about it), here' s a link to the Final Edition of my big ass Monday Night Wars feature.  Shhhh, don't tell SportsLine! 
  • Last piece of business for today is for those of you who are interested in Fantasy Football...  OO Reader Matt Hellens contacted me, and wants to run an all-OO League!
    He's set it up on Yahoo, and welcomes all OO Readers to join in.  It's gonna be totally on a first-come, first-served basis, and I expect that the additional slots will be filling up fast.
    Go to http://football.fantasysports.yahoo.com/f1, and choose to sign up for an existing private league.  When prompted, enter the league ID# (37311), and the password (iluvxpac).  Then you'll be in business...
  • Remember, OO's coverage of Vengeance kicks off at about 11pm on Sunday night, with my quick recap of the show.  I'm sure Scott will follow with a Rant on Monday, and others may share their thoughts, too.
    Till then....


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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