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SmackDown!, SummerSlam, Stern, 
and More...
August 16, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


A few tidbits for your weekend reading pleasure:
  • Last night's SmackDown! was an interesting little mixed bag.  On one hand, you probably got the two best matches of the week, including the outstanding Benoit/Rock main event (I also really enjoyed Eddie/Chavo vs. Edge/Rey).  On the other, there was some utterly forgettable material, too, with top talents like Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle tossed into bland, meaningless matches.
    It's not a good thing when I -- supposedly one of these "smarter" fans who appreciate the actual WRESTLING -- walk away from a show more entertained by a Kurt Angle promo (the top-shelf bit he did with Rey Mysterio backstage) than I was by his match.  And more good was done for Lesnar in the few minutes of the show-opening promo before Rikishi came out than was done in the actual match with Rikishi, too... I mean, what's the message when Lesnar can "retire" Hulk Hogan, but against Rikishi, he needs Paul Heyman to take a stinkface to create a distraction long enough to steal a pinfall win?
    Some other bits from SD:
    Matt Hardy may have found himself a nice little heel niche... his "save" of the Hurricane, Shannon Moore, and Hardcore Holly and subsequent backstage boasting was well done.  Between his recent bulking up and his possession of something very much resembling personality, Matt Hardy does not have to worry about being "the Marty Jannetty of the 21st Century."  Truth be told, it wouldn't surprise me if he winds up a more effective singles performer than Jeff.
    I don't think I'm going to miss the Rock's comedy promos very much... it didn't take a rocket scientist to see the Rock making Mark Loyd "bend over and squeal" coming a mile away.  Where we can put the rocket scientist to work is in trying to calculate whether it was a good idea to begin with...  [My cursory examination of the topic suggests the answer is "no."]
    Funaki as a backstage interviewer?  Well, we know the guy responsible for Juventud Guerrera doing color commentary isn't behind this...  but I do find myself wondering what the point is, when Funaki COULD be out there wrestling matches and selling "EVIL" t-shirts!  [I know, I know, that gimmick is dead, and the ShopZone put the EVIL t-shirts on clearance like four months ago....]
    On the whole:  although it had the week's highest highs, SD! also had some lulls and misuses of talent.  The delineation between the top 8-10 guys everybody else on the SD roster has never been clearer.  RAW, by virtue of being more top-to-bottom even, gets the slight edge this week.
  • The overnight rating for SD! was a 4.5, which is up one-tenth of a point from last week.  Since the show was not pre-empted in both the nation's top two TV markets, I anticipate that that overnight number will translate into something better than last week's abysmally low 2.7. 
    We'll get that number to you in Monday's column...
  • Between this week's RAW and SD, we've got ourselves a pretty exciting-looking card for SummerSlam...
    Rock/Brock on top is interesting, if for no other reason than to see if the Fed's got the balls to let Lesnar take the title and destroy Rock like he did Hogan.  I'm not saying I look at Lesnar as a prodigy as a performer or anything; but I AM a proponent of the theory that if you're gonna do something, do it right.  In this case, that means Project Lesnar gets every possible added bit of oomph.  Sending Rock packing to Hollywood with a restaurant quality beatdown puts Brock in a position to succeed.  [The fact that his first PPV Title defense should come against Hulk Hogan also helps a lot!]
    Shawn Michaels and Triple H also falls into the "interesting" category.  It goes without saying that we all just want to see how HBK performs in the ring after a 4 and a half year lay-off.  Like the main event, the end results could end up anywhere from "Tremendous" to "Disappointing" along the Quality Continuum.  But we'll be riveted the entire way...
    Then you get two supporting matches that come with no strings attached:  both Rey Mysterio/Kurt Angle and RVD/Chris Benoit should kick ass.  The UnAmericans vs. Booker/Goldust should have a ton of heat and be a nice little old school style match.  It seems like Eddie vs. Edge (or maybe Edge/Cena vs. Eddie/Chavo?) should be easy enough to set up, and should be awesome.  Throw in a women's match (Trish/Molly would be fine with me) and something from the Hardcore division (Dreamer's doing a nice job keeping those matches interesting lately), and you got yourself a PPV.  They ought to capitalize on the Warring GMs, too, by having them involved in some sort of promo or angle (can you imagine Bischoff trying to give Steph a Three Minute Warning?)...
    Now if only we could do something about that pesky Taker/Test match....
  • A few readers mailed in to say that Howard Stern talked about WWE and SummerSlam yesterday morning...  Stern said he had talked to the Fed about appearing at the PPV (which is taking place at Long Island's Nassau Coliseum), but ultimately, he turned down the appearance.
    I understand he was still fairly complimentary towards WWE, and didn't discount the possibility of working with them at another time.
  • David Williams, who was the front man for the band Drowning Pool, was found dead on his tour bus Wednesday.  The band was a main stage act on this year's OzzFest tour.
    But to wrestling fans, they'll be remembered for contributing a couple of PPV theme songs, including "Bodies" back last year at the height of the Invasion, and one of the themes for this year's WrestleMania.  At Mania, Drowning Pool performed live, and also debuted their version of Triple H's theme song (which appeared on the WWF "Forceable Entry" compilation).
    No cause of death was known as of this writing.  David Williams was 30.
  • Several readers wrote in to talk about Steve Austin's arrest earlier in the week (which we discussed in Wednesday's column)....  I'd suggested that it was Debra who had decided to press charges against Austin, albeit two months after the incident, but apparently, that is not necessarily so.

    It is possible for a district attorney to pursue a case like this one, even if the wife or girlfriend is not interested.  The DA presents the case to a judge, and if it's deemed in everybody's best interests, the arrest warrant is issued.  That is what happened here, in Austin and Debra's case.
    OO Reader Ed Truitt goes further, noting that under Texas law, not only can the DA's office pursue a case on its own, but it is also possible that the victim/spouse can be forced to testify against her will in court about the assault incident.  Ed also says that this is an election year, and thus, a DA may be looking to create a "tough on domestic abuse" image for him-/herself by taking down a well-known celebrity.
    So apologies for any confusion that may have resulted from my previous intimation that Debra was somehow responsible for her husband being booked on domestic abuse charges.  This was the DA's call...
  • Vince McMahon for Commissioner of Major League Baseball?  No not really, but he did get a tongue-in-cheek nomination in a recent column on Maxim Online.  Hey, with my "Anybody But Selig" platform, I'd have to say that Vince ain't that bad a choice!
    A momentary aside:  I don't pretend to have the answer to the current collective bargaining problems (because there is no accurate information about the subject available... which in and of itself is part of the problem; Selig's office spinning yarns about teams being unable to meet payroll is just another example of an inexcusable PR ploy)... but if we take as granted that bad shit is gonna happen, why couldn't baseball go on strike earlier this week, and then get everything fixed -- oh, let's say -- right around Labor Day.  That way, the Reds could have just skipped over this pesky part of the schedule where we play the Diamondbacks and Astros six or seven games each, and cut right to the part where we get to play the Brewers, the Cubs, and the Pirates!
  • On Wednesday's NWA-TNA PPV, they set up what should be a very cool three-match series for next week:  AJ Styles and Jerry Lynn will do a Falls Count Anywhere match, then a No DQ match.  If they split the first two falls, then the third match will be a 10 Minute Iron Man Match...  I know, I know, ten minutes for an IronMan match seems kind of silly.  But they can have it make sense by hyping the fact that they'll be really tired after two previous falls, so pinfalls in the third match can happen in a more rapid fire way.  The winner of the match gets a shot at the X Division title.
    Nothing wrong with putting the X Division front and center, if you ask me.  Which is not to say that TNA isn't making it's share of mistakes, too...  just check out the stuff with the Dupps from this week's show.
  • Lastly for today, I'm gonna reprise a gimmick from a few weeks ago... a few readers have mailed in with Fantasy Football Leagues that they'd like other OO Readers to join.
    You know the deal...  go to Yahoo's Fantasy Football, and when you get signed up, choose to "Join Private League."  Then, try one of these league ID#s:  99775 (with password "cheapass"), or 218191 (with password "school").  These leagues fill up fast (and live drafts are starting up soon!), so get cracking.  First come, first served!
  • Enjoy your weekend, folks...  I'll see you again on Monday with RAW preview 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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