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PPV Thoughts, HHH on RAW, 
and Other NewsBites...
July 22, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Sorry about the tardiness of getting Vengeance results and today's update posted...  internet connectivity difficulties have been plaguing me, and you, the Home Viewer, have paid the price.  But better late than never, right?  Here goes:
  • Seems like there's nothing but very positive feedback coming from last night's Vengeance PPV.  I know me and the crew I watched with enjoyed it thoroughly, and my in-box is chock full of messages from people who shared that opinion.
    If I had to point to a problem area, then I'd have to admit that I hated the (non-)finish to the RVD/Lesnar match.  Those two wrestled a hell of a match, and then to serve up that finish was a disservice.  I can't think of any reason why you don't have Lesnar do a monster kick out after the Five Star and rally to win (relatively) cleanly.  This is, afterall, the guy you are sending to next month's PPV main event, and he could use all the momentum he can get.  
    Even Booker T vs. Big Show was a solid match, and that was one I was a bit concerned about.  They kept it moving, and having Booker bust out the Harlem Hangover to finish the match gave it a big-time "break out" feel for Booker.  The scissors kick from one table through the other was also a sweet-ass spot.
    Let me try to jot down a few match-by-match thoughts...
    The Dudleys vs. Benoit/Eddie tables match was a superb opener, with great wrestling action leading up to the inevitable table spots; Benoit and Eddie taking the loss isn't necessarily the way I'd go, but hey, great match...  the cruiserweights did basically a slightly-extended version of the types of matches we've been seeing on SD!; not quite a blow-away show-stealer you might want from the smaller guys, but very serviceable (and the finish, with Knoble retaining, is the right move to give Rey Misterio something to shoot for when he debuts)...  Hardy vs. Regal was a late add-on, and felt more like a RAW match than anything else on the show; I'm not sure where they're going with Regal's character (losing and then crying about it), but I hope this isn't all there is to it...  John Cena beat Chris Jericho cleanly via pinfall in a really pleasant surprise addition; Jericho fans may not be happy that he's gone from Undisputed Champ to jobbing to rookies, but I'm just happy to see two guys go out there and put together a hell of a match...  Lesnar's DQ loss to RVD was discussed above:  their best match to date, but a lame finish...  Booker T's win over Big Show was the opposite: an OK match, but with a huge finish that totally made the match...  HHH's decision to go to RAW played out nicely, with some humor, teases each way, and then a healthy dose of HBK; I assume HHH's last words were supposed to be "Suck It" to Steph, but somehow got garbled along the way...  Jericho helping the Canadians win the tag titles from Edge and Hogan was exactly the right way to play that; the tag titles are off the "division killers," the Canadians might have found a leader for their faction, and Jericho can spend the next month building up a feud against Hogan...  Rock's win in the main event title match was a nice capper on the night:  great action throughout, and the fans were way into Rocky's seventh title win.
    I'd probably label the main event as the Match of the Night, with the opening tables match coming close.  RVD/Lesnar would have been in contention, too, if not for the frustrating non-finish.
    By the way, although my technical difficulties kept me from doing an immediate post-show recap, I was lucky enough to get a full report from BrewGuy (one of CRZ's old workhorses from SlashWrestling), which you can read right here.  It's got all the details that I glossed over because I'm lazy.
  • That brings us to tonight's RAW, which will be loaded with star power... HHH joined the RAW roster last night, and the Rock -- as the new champ -- will also be a RAW regular now.
    In the Rock's case, he's got to jump start a feud with Brock Lesnar, now that the two are on a collision course at SummerSlam.  With Heyman's ability to run on at the mouth, it shouldn't be too difficult to get this one on track... 
    For Triple H, the situation is a big cloudier.  He's obviously in cahoots with Shawn Michaels.  But what sort of antics are they gonna get up to?  Is this a return of DX (which a ton of fans seemingly wanted)?  If so, who else is a part of it?  And are they going to screw with Bischoff and be babyfaces, or is this somehow part of a plan to use them as heels?  Lots of interesting possibilities here...
    Since RVD escaped the PPV with his IC Title, and since his nemesis, Brock, has his hands full with the Undisputed Title chase, Van Dam's gonna be looking to start fresh.  The Fed has already announced RVD vs. Jeff Hardy in a ladder match for the IC Belt to take place tonight on RAW...  I'm not sure how that fits in, storyline-wise, but I'm damned sure gonna sit back and keep my mouth shut if it means getting these two in a PPV-caliber match.
    Undertaker should revert back to his status as a RAW performer, too, and he'll need something new to do.  He's been testing the babyface waters in recent weeks, but RAW's starting to look a bit light on the heel side...
    Last week's TV was really good, and last night's PPV was very strong...  hopefully the Fed's poised to keep that momentum rolling.  Check out RAW tonight to find out.  
    And come on back to OO on Tuesday for a full, detailed recap from The Cubs Fan.  And also to find out if Lee Filas really stays retired.
  • The final rating for last Thursday's SmackDown! was a 3.4, which is up one-tenth from the week before.  Baby steps...
  • Jim Ross had further details about the end of WWE's developmental relationship with Cincinnati's HWA in his Friday column...
    The move was made the make the talent relations department more cost-effective.  The focus of the developmental efforts will be in OVW, now, which is slated for an upgrade in terms of facilities.  The Fed anticipates keeping about 20 developmental talents on the OVW roster.
    As part of the paring-down of the developmental division, a bunch of the HWA developmental talents were released.  The big names on the list, from my perspective, are Mike Sanders and Steve Bradley.  Sanders was gold on the mic, but apparently, his in-ring work was not developing as hoped; and Bradley had been talked about as being "thisclose" to breaking through to the WWF roster for over 2 years, now, so I don't know how he was suddenly deemed expendable.
    Also released:  Race Steele, EZ Money, Jason Sugarman, Kim Nielsen, and Jon Heidenreich.  Shannon Moore and the Island Boyz are slated to join the WWE's main roster very soon; other HWA developmental talents are being re-assigned to OVW.
    Other notes from JR:
    Chris Kanyon and Mike Awesome both return to a regular schedule working WWE shows effective immediately; whether they are immediately put back on TV is probably a function of whether the creative team has something for them or not.  Neither guy was drafted, so they are "free agents."
    Molly Holly, John Cena, Batista, and all four Tough Enough alums agreed to new deals with WWE, though JR did not disclose any terms.
    Kevin Nash will be "pulling a HHH":  he's staying in Birmingham, AL, as he rehabs his surgically repaired quad.
  • Conspicuously absent during Shawn Michaels comments at the PPV last night was any mention of X-Pac (a founding member of the Clique, and a key component of DX's post-HBK era)...  that's because X-Pac has been put on leave by management.
    Some tried to downplay the move, saying that creative just didn't have anything for X-Pac after the dissolution of the nWo, and thus, he was unbooked from shows starting with last Monday's RAW.  Others said the move was long over-due because of X-Pac's backstage attitude, and that they didn't anticipate seeing him back anytime soon.
    In any case, Michaels had any number of chances to logically work X-Pac's name into his promo last night, and didn't...  you do the math.
  • Despite drawing rave reviews for their last two weeks worth of shows, NWA-TNA is not exactly meeting expectations, box office-wise.
    The group already re-located it's TV tapings to Nashville, TN, hoping to be able to draw a large weekly crowd, and is now relocating again, to a smaller venue in Nashville.  At the same time, ticket prices for the weekly tapings are going to be going up.  They'll also be trying to curb expenses by being more careful about how frequently they have to fly in the name brand talent.
    Jerry Jarrett recently revealed that TNA's break-even point is 50,000 PPV buys per week.  The group is not meeting that mark, therefore, they're forced to make these types of moves.
  • The Rock's got about 6 weeks left before he disappears from WWE TV to film "Helldorado," and on top of that, there's been talk about him starring in a movie about a Hawaiian king and in a "Scorpion King" sequel.
    And today, it's been reported that the Rock is attached to star in a movie based on the video game "Spy Hunter."  Universal hopes that the popular game might turn into a movie franchise for them.
    I suppose this is as good a time as any to point out that just because the Rock is "attached" to a project or a script doesn't necessarily guarantee that the movie will actually be made... but in the case of "Spy Hunter," I think that the sell-a-bility of having a popular videogame franchise behind the film will definitely push this one through.
    Rocky's dance card's starting to look awfully crowded...
  • Lastly for today:  OO Reader Stephen Davidson passed along a bit of obscure trivia from last night's PPV...  apparently, the Rock's title win marked the first time EVER that the WWWF/WWF/WWE Title has changed hands in July.
    That struck me as kinda odd... but then I thought about it, and it made some sense:  since the start of the PPV era (when the title actually started changing hands more often than once every 3 years), there's been a summer "lull" in terms of business and storylines.  A champion would be in place, and could expect to stay there until things started picking up again with SummerSlam.
  • And with that, I'm gonna check out.  Remember, if you attend TV tapings tonight or tomorrow, please pass along a report so that I can get spoilers out there bright and early on Wednesday!
    And the rest of you who aren't going to TV tapings, well, just come on back on Wednesday and you can be spoiled!  Deal?


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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