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Austin, RAW, TNA Preview, 
Goldberg, More...
August 28, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


A nice mix of news and views here for this mid-week update:
  • If you missed my emergency, bare-bones RAW recap yesterday, I led it off with confirmation of my Monday report that Steve ("Austin") Williams has filed for divorce.
    Thanks to Keith Young for doing the initial legwork (and to subsequent OO readers for confirming his work) in finding the civil case filing on LexisNexis.  I think I can safely say that thanks to Keith, I had my first top level news "scoop" in -- oh -- years!  Not that that's what I'm trying to excel in here, or anything, but it's still nice to beat everybody else by a day every now and again...
    Again, just in case you weren't paying attention, it's Austin who has initiated divorce proceedings against Debra.  The civil case filing was made on July 22, so this has been pending for about a month, and had been on record even when Austin was brought up on domestic abuse charges by the DA earlier this month.
  • Now, back to RAW...  I tried to play it pretty straight in my comments yesterday, but couldn't bring myself to completed strip out my disappointment in Monday's show.
    A lot of little things bugged me, not the least of which was Steph's stupid exit line about the peaches.  I did my whole spiel about that already though, and I'll just observe that CRZ nailed it when he compared it to a David McLane/WOW-caliber tag at the end of the show...  just not very effective.
    Other little things that nagged: the poor acting and major continuity holes in the Molly/Nowinski storyline get to me.  I mean, is Molly watching Nowinski's leacherousness on the WWE-Tron before the match (when we are shown it on TV)?  At the very least, shouldn't Victoria be keeping an eye on a monitor backstage and then warning Molly?  And once Molly knows that (a) Nowinski wants to deflower her, and (b) that he's an awful actor, shouldn't she dump his ass?  I know, I know:  I'm thinking too hard.
    A final little thing:  Kane's return started off perfectly ("You want to play with fire, Test?  Well play with this!"), and then it went to hell.  As soon as Booker inexplicably decided that Kane's return needed a Spin-a-roonie to be complete, I knew where they were going, but I still couldn't believe it when Kane actually got down and mimmicked the move.  I know they were in the process of giving Kane a sense of humor and a personality when he got hurt a few months ago, but fer chrissakes, people:  you do not turn him back into a comedy act on his first night back kicking ass!  Do you really need to have this spelled out for you?
    But in a bigger sense, what got to me was how utterly ineffectively they utilized Brock Lesnar.  I realize that the babyface reaction he got was probably a bit of a shock (or at least, the degree of babyface reaction he got had to surprise those in charge)...  but even if you just wanted to keep testing the waters with more of a tweener persona, how hard would it have been to throw him out there against a lamb just to showcase a few power moves and give the fans a chance to cheer if they wanted.  [Note:  for a precise example of what I mean, watch and see what they do on SmackDown.  That should have been done twice this week!]
    Coming off an incredible PPV, this was a chance to keep up that feeling of "starting a new era," and instead, Lesnar was an afterthought.  Worse: when he was out in the arena for the first time, this supposed Next Big Thing wound up begging off of a fight with the Undertaker.  Maybe it wasn't just ineffective, maybe this booking was actually counter-productive?
    Also: no capitalizing on Shawn Michaels' performance from the night before.  Knowing the way that match (and post-match) was gonna be booked, they should have had guys working around the clock for the past week getting a killer HBK Tribute Video ready.  It could have incorporated memorable past moments, but also should have featured highlights from SummerSlam (if for no other reason than so that people might be motivated to buy the PPV replay if they missed Michaels' swan song once they saw how much ass it kicked).  And by showing us how much he took away from us with those sledgehammer shots, the Fed could have furthered HHH's heel standing.
    But there was good, too...
    I'm probably a mark for just about anything the references the golden era of ECW ('95-'98), so RVD/Dreamer was off the page for me.  The MSG crowd supplied the atmosphere, and Van Dam and Tommy supplied the kick-ass spot-fest.  The final segment with the ladder in the corner was outstanding and creative. 
    I don't care how un-PC it is, but the more inappropriate the targets of the Island Boyz, the more I enjoy it. Last week's attack on the Big Show?  Eh.  Back to beating up 60 year old men this week?  Yes!  Nice touch letting Snuka (at MSG) get in a few shots on the Boyz, too...
    Even nicer touch:  having Snuka linger long enough to also get the Walls of Jericho.  That's a perfect extension of Jericho's cocky asshole persona, as well as a fitting counterpoint to his feud with Flair.  And it should be noted that, along with RVD/Dreamer, Jericho's match with Jeff Hardy easily stood out as another of the night's in-ring highlights.
    Still, even with a few highlights, I couldn't shake the feeling that this was a show that fell far short of following up effectively on SummerSlam.  The Lesnar Era got a great foundation built at the PPV, but it seems further construction was halted on Monday...
    As always, CRZ's got the Full Recap for those of you who desire additional details.
  • Monday's RAW, despite whatever shortcomings I might have felt it had, still maintained WWE's recent ratings momentum.  The show scored a 4.0 cable rating, same as last week, and reasonably above its recent average.  The Fed probably got a bit of a post-PPV buzz boost (especially given how good SummerSlam was), and I doubt it was hurt at all by a MNF preseason game featuring (ewww!) the Cleveland Browns.
  • Spoilers for tomorrow's SmackDown! (as well as for this weekend's Velocity and Heat) are available right here.  Finally:  closure on D'Lo vs. Raven!
  • Several readers mailed in to note that Bill Goldberg has been announced as having a part in an upcoming Warner Brothers movie "Loony Tunes: Back in Action."  The film will combine live action (stars are Brendan Frasier, Heather Locklear, and Jenna Elfman) with Bugs Bunny and the cast of Loony Tunes.
    You know what I always say:  if it's got Brendan Frasier in it, it's GOT to be awesome!
    First, Goldberg announces his return to the ring (later this week in Japan)... now, his movie career (once so promising with a role in "Universal Soldier 2") is back on track.  What is this, 1998?
  • By the way:  yes, that was the real Kane on RAW Monday.  Glen Jacobs.  If he looked different or smaller, chalk it up to either the new costume or the fact that four months away due to injury is sure to effect one's training regimen.
    It's getting to the point where the rumors surrounding multiple Kanes is approaching Ultimate Warrior dimensions!
  • A quick interview on WWE.com reveals that not only is Eric Bischoff little more than a one-night-a-week performer for the Fed, but he's also got a bunch of other projects simmering that occupy the majority of his time.
    And you people thought he'd be taking WWE down from the inside...
    One project is that martial arts/reality show concept that we've known about for a while.  He's developing it with the guy who came up with Survivor, and hopes that the show will have a home for the Fall, 2003, season.
    He was more secretive about another project, saying the network deal for the show is signed, sealed, and delivered, but that he's sworn to secrecy till the network makes the announcement (in the next 10 days).
  • Another Yahoo! Fantasy Hockey League for those of you interested in such things.  Unlike the one I plugged on Monday, this one is a head-to-head league (not total points), so be forewarned...  League ID# is 8535, and the password is "rocky".  Enjoy!

  • Lastly for today, a quick pimping of tonight's NWA-TNA pay-per-view...  
    The centerpiece of the show -- which was taped last week -- is a three-way ladder match pitting X Division Champ Lo Ki against challengers Jerry Lynn and AJ Styles.  The match was necessitated when Lynn and Style went to a draw in their Best of Three series on last week's show.
    Although the match was taped after last week's live broadcast (where Lynn and Style had already wrestled three falls, and Lo Ki had wrestled, too), the hype suggests that this is just about as amazing a match as TNA has delivered to date.  Vince Russo even called it just about the best match he's seen in his decades as a wrestling fan.
    Even if you're the cynical type who'd love to prove VinnyRu wrong, the only way to do so is gonna be to tune in to the PPV tonight...
    Other matches on tonight's show:  Harris/Storm vs. the Hot Shots vs. Backseat Boys vs. Disciples of the New Church for a spot in an upcoming Tag Title tourney...  Bruce (formerly "Kwee Wee") against April Hunter for the Miss TNA crown...  the Flying Elvisses vs. the Spanish Announce Team...  and Kid Kash vs. Amazing Red.
  • I'm outta here for today, and will be back on Friday (although with me heading into a long holiday weekend, you never know how abbreviated I might make the column...).  That doesn't mean you're excused from OO duty tomorrow, though:  Jeb Lund's gonna have another column, I think you'll finally get a fresh "Devil's Due," and who knows what else might sneak in under the wire before I get Thursday's update complete?  A TNA PPV Recap (CRZ's cable system permitting)?  The next chapter in the Immolator's saga?
    The only way to find out is to come on back....


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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