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RAW's Newest Star? And Other
Monday NewsBites...
July 29, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Can the Fed make it three weeks solid in a row?  As a fan, one certainly has to hope that the momentum that's been building for the past two weeks is sustained...  let's see where the rasslin' world stands today as we get ready for the next chapter:
  • Tonight's RAW has been built up in such a way that it's all about one major storyline:  who was in the limo with Eric Bischoff as he drove away from SmackDown!?
    Logic (and commentary from Heat) dictates that the seven men involved in SD!'s post-main event brawl (as well as Kurt Angle) are eliminated from consideration, leaving us with very slim pickin's as far as bona fide top stars who could be defecting from the SD! brand to RAW.
    Hulk Hogan and Brock Lesnar stand out as just about the only main event level guys besides those eight who would be genuinely impactful.  Hogan going to RAW might be neat if it was presented as Bischoff stocking his cupboard with older, established stars (he's already got Flair and Undertaker, for example), but I think we've already seen Hogan register his disinterest in joining back up with Bischoff.  And Lesnar?  It would make sense for his voyage to SD! to have been a one-week, self-serving swerve, since it would mean he'd be back on RAW, where he could continue an angle that had fuel added to the fire just last week (against Taker).  But then, would that mean that superstars are not only free agents allowed to decide between RAW and SD!, but that they're also allowed to switch back and forth at will?  Opens up a can of worms that I'd rather see kept sealed...
    So unless I'm missing something, that leaves us with the likeliest scenario being a bit of a let down.  Of all the "let down" scenarios that have passed across my desk, the one I like best is to have Stacy Keibler defect to RAW as Eric Bischoff's new assistant.  Stacy, by virtue of working with Vince, could claim to have insider information about the SD! brand, while at the same time providing a new dimension to Bischoff's dick-ish on-screen character.  Plus, SD! seems awfully babe-laden, so why not share the wealth?  It makes good sense, and since the mere act of Stacy walking down to the ring never fails to pop a crowd, it'd probably seem like less of a let-down than if it turns out that -- oh, let's say -- Rikishi is the defector (coming over to join his cousins, the Island Boyz?)...
    Since my official prediction is an anti-climax, let's just stop obsessing over the issue, now, so as not to increase the amount of disappointment we're sure to feel later tonight...
    The other big thing to look for tonight:  Triple H explaining what he did to Shawn Michaels.  HHH is still a week or two away from in-ring activity, so forget "actions speaking louder than words."  HHH is gonna have to do his explaining in a promo, and hopefully he's got some convincing ammunition to fire our way.  Also, Michaels himself might have some retort:  as I outlined last week, I fully suspect that this will be the feud that gets Michaels back into the ring (at least as a "special occasion" performer), but the question is, "When?".  I'm a huge supporter of the idea that you milk it as long as you can (possibly to next WrestleMania?), because the wrestling world is notably devoid of those kinds of long-spanning story arcs (not since the days of Kane/Undertaker or Hogan/Sting, at least).  But I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that there are also some who are talking about a HHH/HBK match happening as soon as SummerSlam.  Which would mean full speed ahead on this feud starting tonight.  And which would mean I'd have to decide on Wednesday rather to be enthusiastic about the chance of seeing Michaels back in the ring, or pissed that they're moving too fast with the storyline....
    And stripping away the storylines, we know we've got ourselves a hell of a Wrestling Match scheduled for tonight's RAW:  Rob Van Dam defends the IC Title against Chris Benoit.  RVD's push has continued unabated for months now (he's even managed to squeak by Brock Lesnar, retaining his title), while Benoit's record has been less than stellar since returning from injury a month ago.  Still, this is basically a pick-'em, since either guy would do a great job with the strap.  Benoit's probalby got more to gain from the IC rub, but that doesn't mean much these days...

    To see if the Fed can keep the streak of quality TV shows alive, check out RAW tonight on TNN (or your nation's equivalent)... or just come on back to OO on Tuesday for CRZ's detailed recap!
  • The final rating for last week's SmackDown! was a 3.3 broadcast rating.  That's down one tenth of a point from the week previous, marking the first stagnation in the ratings since the start of the GM Era.
  • Among the usual hodge-podge of news in Jim Ross' weekly WWE.com column, he had a major amplification of Kanyon's injury situation:
    Kanyon had an infection in his shoulder, which in and of itself was probably not perceived to be that big a deal.  Fluid was drained from the infected shoulder, and he was probably already writing this off as just a mild speedbump on the road to his return.  Then a day later, after noting some trouble breathing, Kanyon was admitted into the intensive care unit, and was found to have fluid in his lungs.  Though his situation was improving, no cause of the fluid build up is known, and Kanyon was stayed in the hospital through the weekend.
    Also from JR:  Kane will be medically cleared to return very soon (question from Rick:  but what's the point of having him come back until X-Pac is around to be his first sacrificial lamb?  Or do you just drop the whole angle with the mask entirely?)...  both Maven and HHH will be able to start wrestling again in early August...  Randy Orton's lay-off due to a concussion should end in a few days...  Sharmell "Paisely" Sullivan is among another round of developmental talents released by WWE...  Jerry Lawler's biography will be released in Decemeber; a Hulk Hogan bio is also in the works, with no release date finalized...  finally, JR complimented Tazz and Michael Cole on their work at last week's Vengeance PPV, casting further doubt on just how upset he was at being forced to split PPV duties with the SD! crew.
  • Jesse Ventura's third book is due out soon, and is aimed mostly at kids.  "Governor Jesse Ventura Tells it Like it Is" is 64-pages of part-biography, part-civics lesson.  According to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, it's sort of a toned down and gentler version of Jesse's books for grown-ups.  The newspaper got an advance copy of the book, and notes that it's very similar to Jesse's other works in its anti-government sort of tone.
  • Jim Cornette's mother, Thelma, passed away late last week after a bout with cancer.  OO and its readers add their condolences to the Cornette family to the pile...

  • WWE.com reports that tickets for SummerSlam sold out within 90 minutes of going on sale this weekend.  SS is taking place at the Nassau Coliseum, long part of WWE's northeastern stronghold.
  • OO Aussie Reader Winston Facey wrote in with additional info about Fozzy playing a show while WWE is Down Under later this month.  I didn't have these details handy on Friday, but the deal is that Fozzy will be playing a "Global Warning After Party" following the the show in Melbourne.  The concert will take place at the Festival Hall, and tickets are going for fifty Aussie dollars.
    With a pre-show fan fest also costing $50, and the cheapest seats in the house for the actual wrestling event going for $50, Winston notes that the Fed is doing quite an effective job of -- shall we say -- maximizing their revenue stream for the brief one-show "tour."
  • By the way, because of the tour, which will wreak havoc with the SD! crew's travel schedule all of next week, the SmackDown! that airs on August 8 will actually be taped on Sunday, August 4, in Richmond, VA.  That's the day before a live RAW on August 5, so for one week, the two shows will be temporally displaced.  Should make for some interesting spoilers, if that sort of thing is your bag.
    Then the SD! crew leaves the continent on Monday or Tuesday (augmented by some performers who will also be performing on Monday's live RAW) for two days worth of pre-show festivities before the big event on Saturday, August 10.  Because of International Date Line-related oddness, the SD! crew will be back in North America, resuming a normal schedule with a house show in British Columbia on Sunday, August 11.
  • Lastly, just a bit of closure on Friday's ranting-style meta-column...  it got me just about the most feedback of anything I've done since WrestleMania, which is not entirely unexpected.  Also not unexpected:  the feedback was very positive.  I mean, if you're the people still here reading what I've got to think, it stands to reason that you tend to share my tendencies, right?  The people who find it behooves them to disagree with me will probably not do so with a direct e-mail, but will keep on taking the public potshots that have served them so well for so long...
    That said, there were a handful of forthright folks who fired off e-mails explaining that they had issues with me and/or what I wrote.  Of them all, the one that stung the most is the accusation that I did exactly what I was rallying against by lobbing an over-abundence of attacks towards Dave Meltzer.  In reality, what I wanted to accomplish by mentioning Meltzer is to underscore the fact that when I realized what he was doing was of no interest to me, I just quit subscribing and didn't obsess over it.  The fact that I later reprised my apparently anti-Meltzer stance with a sharp-tongued aside undermined my entire effort and made it seem like I WAS obsessing.  I don't apologize for quitting my subscription to the Observer some 7 years ago, but I do apologize if I unfairly singled out Dave Meltzer for a personal attack, when I might have been more likely to get away unscathed if I'd substitutied -- oh, let's say -- Herb Kunze.
    The rest of the negative feedback I got was more along the lines of, "Writing about stuff like this just makes you sound like a whiny bitch."  Which is probably right.  But I'd hope for a one day pass to whine, bitchily, about the non-stop bitchy whining that all the full-time whiny bitches are engaging in every day.  I'm sorry if I misjudged and should have just kept that all to myself, and I promise that for the most part, I'll keep things on topic.  But every now and again, it's nice to vent, and hopefully I won't totally alienate anyone.  I guess every tme you see me talking about firing up another Meta-Column, you can just fire back and call me a Meta-Bitch, and I promise I won't take it personally...
    And then to the vast majority of you who liked what you read, I say, "Thanks."  Because it's always nice to be loved.  Also, it's nice to know that the internet is still populated by people who LIKE wrestling, and who aren't just watching it so that they have something to complain about next time they log on.
  • As always, anybody who attends TV tapings is encouraged to send along a full report.  Spoilers, thus, will be posted in a timely fashion on Wednesday!  Also, that's when I'll next be back with a full-size OO column, repleat with news and opinion...


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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