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Marking Time...
August 2, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


There's not really much in the way of news this weekend... and my ass is notably free of bugs up in it, so I don't have any particularly pertinent OOpinions to spew out.  I swear, it's enough to make me wonder why I'm even bothering...

Oh, well, let's give this one the old college try:

  • Last night's SmackDown! did a 4.4 overnight rating.  That's down a bit from the previous week's ON number, but as always, we won't get a full picture until the final rating is released.  I'll have that number on Monday.
    I though SD! was a good show for some.  For instance, as Brock Lesnar continues to do more of his own speaking, and as he continues to mix in with main event talents like the Rock and Hulk Hogan, he's more and more convincing as a main event talent in his own right.  His "break out" show may not come till SummerSlam, but the stuff he's doing now is helping to make him seem deserving of the SS PPV main event.
    Also:  even if I remain unsold on Stephanie McMahon as a babyface, based on some intangible heelishness that is omnipresent in her performance, I give credit to her for playing it well enough to be a viable foil to Eric Bischoff.  I'm not sure, but I know that I, for one, find the non-evil hair and the non-slutty outfits lots more appealing than the Old Steph's presentation.  In any case, the War of the GMs is not clicking just because of Bischoff:  you need reciprocation for a genuine war, and Steph's doing a solid job of providing that.
    Another thing I was a fan of:  Michael Cole and Tazz did a nice job sneaking in some underhanded jabs at the RAW brand.  Cole, as the straight man in the pair, simply remarked that "SD! is the only place you'll find cruiserweight action like this," while Tazz was more outspoken in his handful of mentions of RAW.  For Cole, it's stuff like this that'll help him develop an "edge" and a hook that'll connect him with fans (finally!  after how many years of being bland and vanilla?)...  Tazz doesn't need an edge, but since he can be a bit more vocal, he could really add some sizzle to the perceived hostilities between the two brands.
    On the flip side, I think this is the first night when John Cena took a noticeable step backwards.  Not necessarily in his performance, but in terms of fan interest in his act.  And that's because getting paired up against Rico (and Billy and Chuck) is not exactly a recipe for crowd heat.  Cena's good, and he's gonna be lots better, but he's not ready to carry segments against marginal heels.  Also utterly forgettable was Rikishi vs. D'Von Dudley.
    And the defections of Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit to SmackDown!?  Well, I guess it's necessary, since the heel side on RAW got really log-jammed with the appearances of Jericho and the Canucks this past week...  this'll give Eddie and Benoit the chance to basically be the understudies to Kurt Angle (and I guess Brock) as the SD brand's top heels.  With Benoit as the IC Champ, his defection takes on added significance:  the perception was he was headed into an extended IC Title feud with RVD...  but that's out the window, now.  I presume that Edge vs. Benoit will be his first major feud as the champ?
    If nothing else, Benoit's return to SD! got him off on the right foot:  getting the Rock to tap out to the Crippler Crossface is huge.  After a month-plus of getting beat by Bubba Dudley and others on RAW, that was almost a must-have sort-of win for Benoit (and Eddie)...
    I'd say you could check out the OO SD Recap for additional details, but I forgot to spin the wheel of destiny this week...  basically I got too tied up to find someone to sit in on the recap, and you, the Home Viewer, must pay the price.
    That's what you get for not watching!
  • By the way, I also apologize for the problems with the Main Page yesterday.  I heard from plenty of people in e-mail that I botched a few of the links (including the headline link), so that everybody was getting Scott Keith's latest column, instead of the promised article.  
    I wound up doing the Thursday update first thing after I got up, because I was in charge of transporting my brother and his belongings back to school.  Normally, I'm much more awake and coherent when I do the updates... but yesterday, I was still in a stupor, and probably none-too-excited about the prospect of a day of driving and of hanging out in Muncie, IN. [Thank god the Reds gave me something exciting to listen to on the drive!] 
    And to make it up to you, here are PROPER links to the two articles that I KNOW got fucked up:  Jeb Lund's latest Obtuse Angle (with some thoughts about the developmental process, specifically, character development), and the previous Online Onslaught (with RAW fall-out and WWE movie news).
  • Fozzy's new record is out, and Chris Jericho and the boys are in the midst of a globe-begirddling tour to support it.  Wednesday: Charlotte.  Tonight:  Atlanta.  Next Saturday:  Melbourne.  And then that's it.  Hey, you go to two continents, and you can call it a world tour, that's my motto!
    Anyway, OO Reader Mike Dean was at the Wednesday show in Charlotte, and it sounded like he had an absolute blast.  The mid-sized club gave it an intimate feel, but with Jericho on the stage and luminaries like Matt Hardy and Lita in the crowd, it still felt like a big time event.
    Mike noted that all three WWE stars were really cool with the fans, signing autographs and taking pictures.  Lita was minus the big neck brace, but still seemed to be taking it pretty easy.
    The set list included "Eat the Rich," "Balls to the Wall," "TNT," "Live Wire," and "Breaking the Law."  The show-closing encore finale was "Rock You Like a Hurricane," complete with Matt Hardy getting up on a chair to do the Hurricane's superhero pose.
    It's just $10 to see Fozzy tonight in Atlanta at The Masquerade, if you happen to be in the area.  Next weekend's show in Melbourne's a bit pricier...
  • Speaking of the Australia tour:  the show is supposed to feature the comeback matches for both Triple H and Maven, but a few readers have mailed in to say that the card listed on the WWE's international website no longer includes the Rock/Brock/HHH main event.  I have no idea what that means, but I promise you that the Fed's not gonna go half-way across the world to deliver anything but the best possible product.
    Not that Edge vs. Chris Jericho wouldn't be a great main event, but you know what I mean:  they'll make sure fans who bought tickets feel like they got their money's worth.
    Also, turns out the Aussies get their WWE TV just a few hours delayed...  not three months.  My bad.  I didn't mean anything by my snide remark.  I apologize and beg your forgiveness.  Because lord knows, them Aussies have been known to kick people's asses for much less...
  • WWE Confidential has seen its ratings dip back towards the numbers Excess was pulling in back a few months ago...  my guess is that it's because there's only so much genuinely interesting backstage type stuff to cover.  And then the show is left to fill up space with "Up Close and Personal" pieces about your Stacy Keiblers and Randy Ortons...  and I'm sure that's interesting and all, but what I want to see is Orton kicking ass, and Stacy in a bikini.  I don't need much more than that.
    Anyway, this weekend's show is an attempt to spark some more viewership:  they're doing "The Demise of Nitro" on Saturday night, with interviews with Bischoff and the myriad superstars who did their time back in the old WCW.  Could be interesting...
  • I know CRZ's recaps (next one to be titled "The [Blank] is [Blank]ing," I'm sure) have been none-too-kind, but I saw my first NWA-TNA PPV this week, and I didn't think it was all that awful.
    I mean, the bits that were awful were awful, but the stuff that was good was good.  For every midget with a gun, there was Jerry Lynn reminding us why he's the single most talented man to never get a REAL shot at national stardom.  For every time somebody who had no business in front of camera was featured, there was a chance to be introduced to somebody new and genuinely talented (like Lo Ki).  For every time I wanted to punch Don West in the face, there was a chance to revel in the quiet class of one Rick Steamboat.  For every misguided, racial-based angle, there was "The Truth" showing he's come a long way since "K-Kwik" by --well -- making a misguided racial-based angle almost work.
    Would I pay $10 a week for this?  No.  But even with some VRap and some green performers, this is still a product that features a few redeeming qualities.  I like the idea of alternative products, and there's enough here with NWA-TNA to like; it's just their financial model may not have been the best one ever put together...
    All I ask, I guess, is that you plunk down a ten spot one of these weeks and make your own judgments...
  • Also while on the topic of TNA:  the group is trying to hammer out an arrangement so that Canadian viewers will be able to see the show every week.  Presently, I think only two or three of their PPVs have been available for purchase north of the border.  
    Another stop-gap deal has been reached so that the August 21 and 28 shows will be on PPV in Canada, and if a permanent deal can be reached soon, every show there after should also be available... 
  • As quickly as I post them, Fantasy Football leagues for OO Readers are filled up...  but as part of my on-going service to bolster that struggling dot-com, Yahoo, I've got a few more reader-started leagues that you folks can join.
    First, go to Yahoo's Fantasy Football, and select to join a private league.  Then use one of these league ID's:
    ID#:  145144 (password: yummy)
    ID#:  129816 (password: ricky)
    What could possibly be more fun that fantasy football with other OO Readers?  Nothing!
    Well, actually, OO Reader Doug Humphreys has an idea for something else that you might enjoy:  an OO E-Fed.  If you're into E-Wrestling, and would be interested in an OO E-Fed, drop Doug a line at DHumphryes@webtv.net
  • That's it for today.  Because of WWE's Aussie tour, the tapings schedule next week is screwy:  and thus, I ask anyone attending SmackDown! taping on Sunday night in Richmond to please pass along a report.
    That way, Monday, we will DEFINITELY have interesting things to talk about.  SD! spoilers BEFORE we even see the live RAW.  It oughta beat the hell out of today's sorry excuse for a column, anyway!
    See you 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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