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Austin Arrested, Goldberg Signs,
RAW Stuff, More...
August 14, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Some interesting stuff to discuss this mid-week, so let's get on with it:
  • Steve Austin "surrendered" (to use the word bandied about in most media reports) to the authorities on Tuesday in San Antonio, TX.  Though the news sounds rather dramatic when phrased that way, this was simply another outgrowth of the June 15 incident where Austin allegedly assaulted his wife Debra.  [There was no new incident, nor any sort of showdown with cops after which Austin "surrendered."]
    Austin posted $5000 bond and was released.  After being official charged with spousal abuse (a misdemeanor), Austin will now face future court dates to determine what penalty, if any, is justified in this case.  At worst, he could spend a few days in jail and pay a $4000 fine.  
    WWE has not commented on the arrest, other than to say that "yes, it happened" and to wish Austin and Debra the best of luck during a trying time.  They also reiterate that Austin is not a part of the active WWE roster at this time.
    Debra had a sizeable window within which to pursue these charges against Austin.  I don't know what, if anything, can be read into the fact that she only took 2 months to decide to go ahead and press charges.
    Oh, and as a side note (for whatever it's worth): Debra, like Austin, has bascially been placed on suspension/leave by WWE...
  • Monday's RAW was back to being a very enjoyable experience.  A big part of that was the positive tone set in the opening minutes by Triple H, who was back at his heelish best, instead of trying to get fancy with lame excuses for why he assaulted Shawn Michaels.
    Like "The Game" of old, HHH simply asserted his superiority over everyone, which makes him the kind of asshole you just have to boo.  Getting a chance to play a game of verbal chess against the Rock solidified those responses.  If he keeps it up (and keeps wearing trousers and golf shirts, instead of the ever-so-much-more-identifiable denim ensemble), I don't see any reason why he can't continue getting those responses.
    Now, like CRZ, I had thoughts of continuity issues pass through my mind when the main event eight man pairings were announced.  Whether it's Test and HHH getting along after their confrontations of 3 years ago, or HHH and the UnAmericans getting all buddy-buddy after they faced off JUST LAST WEEK, it did seem like there were some forgotten linkages there.  Ultimately, the Random Tag Team Generator can be a useful tool, but only when you're willing to acknowledge the randomness and some of the awkward relationships that are sure to exist on some teams spawned by it.
    But unlike CRZ, I think that was more just a mild annoyance to me, and not a sign of damnable storytelling neglect.  Just about everything on the show was about a thousand miles a minute, full speed ahead, and most of it worked.  When the individual pieces are good enough, your hit-rate when throwing a thousand things out there will be good enough to carry a show (cinematic parallel:  see "Airplane").  It's when the individual pieces aren't good enough that you get a sloppy, disjointed, unentertaining product (cinematic parallel:  see any other Leslie Nielsen movie after "The Naked Gun 2").
    The pieces I especially liked on Monday: the Jeff/Matt Hardy split and the Jeff/RVD match were very nicely done, and this stands to be a Hardy split that works better than the previous attempt last year...  call me an asshole, but Bischoff's right:  a midget getting squashed IS entertaining; and you put Stacy dancing on a table in the same segment, and you've got one big ol' load of Guilty Pleasures that Don't Really Have Anyhing to Do with Wrestling...  even the Big Show/Bubba feud that I am still not really buying into was made extremely palatable when paired up in that tag match with the Jericho/Flair feud; really good stuff in the match, though I'd like to see more of a verbal war between Jericho and Flair leading into a one-on-one match.
    If I had to point to something I didn't like it'd be this:  why the hell do you waste time with Howard Finkel cutting a heel promo? When you do Lillian's grand return, the mere fact that she's a hot broad and Howard is -- well -- Howard will ensure you get the crowd response you want.  The heel promo just reminds us that some loon on the creative team thinks there's a good reason for doing some kind of angle when Lillian returns, and trust me, this person is wrong.  There is no market for ring announcer vs. ring announcer feuds.
    I liked RAW a lot.  Let's see if SmackDown! can match or exceed it this week, to continue it's streak...  oh, and the aforementioned CRZ has his recap of the show right here.
  • The rating for Monday's RAW came in at a 3.9, which is up two tenths from the previous week.  Again, any growth is a positive sign, though fans and (more aptly) WWE itself should brace for stagnation or lowered ratings once the new fall season kicks in...
  • Bill Goldberg is a free agent no longer!  [But he could be again by the end of the month.]
    Goldberg, as had been widely expected, has decided to make his return to the wrestling ring in Japan.  He will wrestle two All Japan shows at Budokan Hall in Tokyo later this month.  On Friday, August 30, he'll face Satoshi Kojima; on Saturday the 31st, he'll face Taiyo Kea in the semi-main event.
    Goldberg will also be appearing (but not fighting) on the August 28 PRIDE/K-1 show, also in Japan.  This event will be taped to air on PPV here in the US.
    Though it was pretty much expected that Goldberg would make his in-ring return in Japan, there's also a school of thought that says that these matches will be carefully watched by domestic (read "WWE") scouts, who want to see how Goldberg looks after almost 2 years on the sidelines.
  • A note about WrestleMania 19 and Seattle...
    A local DJ was in the ring doing some sort of promotional appearance before last night's SD! tapings, and fired up the crowd by saying that Seattle would be hosting WM19.  However, this was an INACCURATE statement, corrected by ring announcer Tony Chimel just minutes later.

    Chimel was booed mercilessly when he said that Seattle was one of the cities under consideration for hosting WM, and that no decision had yet been made.
    Once these rumors started circulating a few weeks back, I began getting e-mails from readers who were suspicious about the viability of Seattle's Safeco Field as a venue...  they noted that while Safeco does have a roof, it is not a true "dome."  It is still essentially an open air stadium, just with the majority of the venue able to be covered by a retractable roof.  There is no way to regulate temperature inside the stadium, and rain could still blow into the stadium in some areas.
    WM generally takes place in March, when Seattle's weather is not exactly at its most pleasant, and some readers thought the Fed would shy away from holding its crown jewel event under anything less than optimal conditions.  
    I have no idea what impact, if any those factors would have on WWE's decision making, though it should be noted that WM should take place within a few weeks of the Mariners' opening day, and weather shouldn't be that much different than fans attending early-season baseball games.  If baseball fans can handle it, couldn't wrestling fans?
  • I don't know what to make of rumors that there was a money aspect to Hulk Hogan being off last week's Australia tour... they are very pervasive, but seem to make little sense to me.
    The story goes that Hulk Hogan wanted to get a pay-off for the Aussie show similar to a PPV pay-off.  Vince McMahon was treating the show (and thus, pay-offs) like a house show.  The dispute between the two over the matter led to Hogan getting written off of TV (via the Lesnar assault) and getting to stay home from Australia.
    But for this story to be true, you'd have to accept that Hogan could look at the Aussie show and think there was PPV-type money to be throw around.  Now, it was a huge house, but the Fed usually clears the vast majority of its PPV money (into the tens of millions of dollars, versus a good drawing house that brings MAYBE  close to $1 million) from the pay-per-view buys.  While the Aussie show drew 55,000 and probably well into seven figures, Hogan's been in the business long enough to realize the difference between that and the $15, $20, or $25 million that a PPV makes.
    Compounding my doubt that this is the real, primary motivating factor behind Hogan's temporary absence is the fact that there are those who maintain Hogan really is hurt, and what's more, that you could see evidence of his bad back even in the match against Lesnar last week.  
    You're free to believe whatever you want until further notice...
  • Of the guys who did make it to Australia, the Rock was clearly the most popular superstar.  But OO Reader "Lion" saw a TV interview with Rock that made him wonder how much longer the Rock would be working for the WWE.
    When asked about continuing his scheduled, the Rock said this would be the last year when he actively pursued both movies and wrestling.  When pressed, he admitted that acting is what he sees himself gravitating towards, because it's where he feels he's growing most as a person and as a performer.  In wrestling, he feels he's done it all, and he's open to a change.
    This stands in stark contrast to Rock's statements just a few months ago in which he promised he'd always be a part of the wrestling world.  Unless Rock simply got off on a tangent, and forgot to leave out the part where he'd at least come back a few times a year for major events, this could put the upcoming SummerSlam into a whole new light...
    At the very least, if the Rock has no intentions of ever pursuing anything resembling a full-time WWE schedule ever again, SummerSlam should mark the end of the Rock's last title reign, ever.  
    Unless the guy tanks in his future movies and comes crawling back, of course... 
  • I'm finished for today.  I'll see you Friday with another column... but others (including Jeb Lund and Scott Keith) will see you sooner, with fresh material tomorrow! 


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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