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RAW Preview, Wrestler Missing Thumb,
Fozzy News, More...
August 5, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Definitely not a business-as-usual week, what with SD! tapings already in the books and all...  but we'll try to keep to our normal routine here on this Monday:  some RAW preview and assorted other news and views.

Let's go:

  • Tonight's RAW hinges primarily on the unraveling of the mystery surrounding who attacked Shawn Michaels last week, and why they did it.
    And as we joked about last week, since I don't think there were any Syracuse-based Marines hanging out in North Carolina last week, that kinda narrows down the suspects...
    The three obvious candidates:  Triple H, the Big Show, and the UnAmericans.  HHH was ostensibly in the ring when the attack took place, and was extremely indignant when Eric Bischoff insinuated he was responsible.  But then again, HHH is the same character who kept quiet for a year before admitting to being the one responsible for putting Rikishi up to running Steve Austin over with a car.  And in my mind, HHH/HBK still makes the most sense  in terms of a return match for Michaels...
    Big Show had gotten upset with Shawn earlier in the night last week, and overheard Michaels saying he'd be waiting out in the parking lot for HHH.  He had the motive and the necessarily knowledge to be the one who took out HBK.  One problem:  if this is the angle that leads to Michaels' return match, somebody ought to make note of the fact that HBK/HHH or HBK/Any of the UnAmericans is a promising contest...  but HBK/Big Show has not particularly appealing in any way.
    Then you've got the UnAmericans.  They were interrupted early on last week by Michaels, who went on to invoke the memory of the Montreal Screwjob as a means of further getting under their skin.  After the UAs took out the Undertaker, they boasted of having "one more piece of business."  Chris Jericho's post-main event attack on Ric Flair blurs the issue... if he's in direct cahoots with the UAs, then that could have been the piece of business.  But otherwise?  Well, maybe the trio of Storm, Christian, and Test are accountable...
    And of course, in wrestling-think, anytime you have three "obvious" choices staring you in the face, the knee-jerk reaction is to get really nervous and start wondering which of the unobvious outcomes the Fed will choose as a way of swerving you.  An unexpected heel turn?  A debuting/returning star?  Another defector from SD?  But that way lies madness...  and actually, the Fed's taping schedule from this week kind of  handcuffed them in terms of doing a "defector from SD!" storyline, so you might be able to dismiss that.
    [OK, OK... you want one "out of left field" possibility?  How about Booker T.  He got laid out by Michaels a month or so back, and even had a tense verbal confrontation with Michaels early on in last week's show, in which he (Booker) seemed less interest in forgiving and forgetting than Michaels was.  Personally, I think Booker's face turn is going far too well to hamstring him at this point with a shock value heel turn, but you never know what lurks in the minds of the creative team...]
    Other RAW-centric storylines that will gear up for the PPV: regardless of their (non-)involvement in the Michaels situation, the recent Canadian defectors will have their hands full after last week. Jericho punked out Flair, while the other three took out Undertaker (albeit in an attack that further cemented Lance Storm's rep for throwing the wimpiest chairshots in wrestling... remember ECW's debut PPV?).  There are any number of different singles match combinations you could do, and actually, it might not be totally out of the question for this to distill down to Taker and Flair teaming up to take on the tag champs, Storm and Christian...
    Also:  Tommy Dreamer is the new Hardcore Champ, so hopefully he'll rip off that Texas decal off the belt and personalize the division by labeling it as something more "extreme" (plus any chance to bury the aborted "Jackass" gimmick and revitalize the Innovator of Violece is a good move in my book)...  Booker T and Rob Van Dam are sort of directionless at this point; RVD lost not only his IC belt last Monday, but also his most obvious feud on Thursday, when Chris Benoit took the IC strap over to SmackDown; both need a fresh direction, now...  and I don't know who and I don't know why, but I'm guessing Eric Bischoff, ever the nice guy, will probably find an excuse to administer another Three Minute Warning to some poor sap(s)...
    Check out RAW tonight, or come on back tomorrow for CRZ's detailed recap of the show...
  • Last week's SD! finished with a final 3.1 broadcast rating, down two tenths from the previous week.  On one hand, you could say that viewership is always down during the summer, and that the Fed is simply feeling that pinch.
    On the other, you could say that WWE programming is about the only thing NOT in reruns, and that if they are scoring these numbers now, things could get a lot worse when Monday Night Football and fresh episodes of "Friends" and that ilk start up again in a month.
  • This one is too bizarre to let escape mentioning...
    William Welch -- who wrestles as "Messiah" on the California indie circuit -- was sitting in his home playing a videogame on Friday when two guys came in through his unlocked front door, chopped off his thumb using a gardening implement, and then left.
    The two assailants "were there specifically to assault him," according to a police detective.  They didn't rob Welch or try to steal anything out of his place.  The thumb was not recovered.  Welch was treated and released from the hospital, and is fine, now, albeit minus one opposable digit.
    According to a write-up in the LA Daily News, Welch has described the attackers as two black men in their mid-20s, both around six-foot tall, weighing between 230 and 250 pounds.  Also, the article notes that Welch has directed police towards a possible wrestling-related motive behind the assault, though it does not specifically state what that could be.
    I hate to be a dick, here, but Welch's resume includes work for XPW... and knowing how that braintrust operates, why would I not be surprised if, somewhere down the line, the bad blood in this case is forgotten, and we find ourselves reporting on a "Frozen Thumb in a Cooler on a Pole" match?
    Just FYI, the LA Daily News write up can be accessed right here.
  • For reasons unexplained, Chris Jericho's band Fozzy is not going to be performing at a post-show party following the upcoming Global Warning show in Melbourne, Australia.
    However, the band has added a new date:  August 23, the Friday night before SummerSlam, Fozzy will play at The World (formerly WWF New York).  Tickets are $15 at the World's box office or through TicketBastard.
  • Not a whole lot from Jim Ross this week...  he does make a comment along the lines of Shawn Michaels returning to the ring sooner than we might have expected.  That does play into pre-existing rumors that SummerSlam could mark HBK's return match [regardless of how I personally would have preferred to see that scenario work out].
    Also:  Kane is 100% and cleared to return, but will not do so until "creative has a plan for him."  Hey, how's this for a plan:  tell X-Pac to get his ass back to work and make Kane look like a million bucks?  Works for me.
  • The Charlotte Observer reports that Ric Flair is again thinking about taking a shot at the governor's mansion in North Carolina...  

    This is now the second time Flair's entertained the notion of running for Governor in NC.  A few years ago, during one of his little hiatuses from WCW, Flair considered a run as an independent.  If he does it this time, he said he'd run as a member of the Republican Party.
    Flair has not commited to anything, yet, and says he has spoken with Jesse Ventura about the work that goes into running a state, and will only decide after discussions with his family.  As far as a political platform goes, Flair says he's pro-lottery, and would like to build a toll road between Charlotte and Myrtle Beach.  
    The original piece from the Charlotte Observer can be found here.
  • Alright, I'm outta here...  see you Wednesday with RAW thoughts/ratings info and other news!


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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