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SmackDown! and Goldberg are Both
Winners.... plus More!
August 30, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


I know it's usually my "gimmick" (insofar as I have a gimmick) to act all excited about long weekends because it means I get to slam back even more Pabst Blue Ribbons than usual.  But this weekend, I'm torn... yes, the National Drink is playing a show at the regionally-famous Canal Street Tavern on Saturday night.  But on the flip side, I've got a high school reunion that I've inexplicably agreed to attend on Sunday night.  I don't know if I should be in any particular hurry to get the weekend started or not.

While I ponder the issue, let's say I kill a few minutes with a smattering of newsbites and opinions from the realm of pro rasslin':

  • Last night's SmackDown! actually came across REALLY well, I thought.  From the tapings/spoiler reports, I didn't expect that.  Hell, I expected to be totally pissed about Taker jumping ship to ruin a potentially awesome Benoit/Angle main event, but his involvement in the match was not too detrimental.
    Plus, Taker as the #1 Contender is the right play...  he can be the first sacrificial lamb to the altar of Lesnar.  Save up the quality guys like Angle and Benoit for later down the line, once Lesnar may finally be booked to lose.
    I thought the main event was right up there with Eddie/Edge and Rey/Rico as contending for Match of the Night.  And anytime you get three matches that strong on one show, you know The Rick is gonna be a pretty happy camper.  Moore/Tajiri was really good, too, just a notch below.
    The elimination series concept worked well, too, as basically an excuse to get some heat on matches that otherwise would not have had an excuse for existing.  Out of the series, I think we can now safely expect a Benoit/Eddie vs. Rikishi/Edge tag match down the line, as well.  Nice storytelling there.
    I like the continuing differentiation of the SD product from RAW...  maybe somebody went a little overboard with the chrome/tin foil in this latest make-over, but on the whole, trying to make sure the two shows look really different is a good idea.
    SmackDown! is the easy winner over RAW this week.  I gotta remember to start picking a winner every week, and keep track of the results.  It ain't the RAW/Nitro ratings war, but as a fabricated competition, it isn't that bad an idea.
  • The overnight rating for SmackDown! was a 4.2, which is down a few ticks from previous weeks.  The final rating is probably going to be down significantly, too, since SD! was pre-empted for baseball in a bunch of markets, including New York City.
    We'll have that final number in Monday's update.
  • Another reason SD!'s rating may be down:  competition from the MTV Video Music Awards.  As is my custom, I was actually splitting my time fairly evenly between SD! and the VMAs during my couch time last night.
    I gotta get this off my chest:  it was nice to see cookie-cutter pop and R&B take a back seat to more original work, but somehow, somebody still thought it was a good idea to make Justin Timberlake's "solo debut" a focal point of the show.  For one thing, I suspect if crappy pop continues to die a slow death over the next couple of years, we'll be able to look back on this and all be embarrassed for Justin (in the same way everybody's been quietly feeling sorry for what Michael Jackson's become in the last decade or so).  And second: what's the big deal with his "solo debut"?  He was out there dancing like a jack-ass and lip-synching to some total shit that was created by someone else all by himself, instead of with four of his buddies.  I don't see it being such a huge difference.
    Best performances of the night: the Hives (but strangely, not the Vines), Pink, and (oh, this hurts to admit) Shakira even rocked it up a bit.  There definitely seems to be a shift to "pop" with more rock emphasis/riffs; another reason to hope that stuff like Justin Timberlake will be obsolete soon.  GnR was -- ummm -- we'll say cool from a nostalgia perspective, but either Axl's lost his pipes or was having serious problems with his earpiece monitors.  And none of those guys had Slash's chops on guitar.
    Most foregone conclusion of the night: Eminem winning a bunch of awards.  I got nothing against the guy, but his new stuff is the same thing as his old stuff... I would have loved to see MTV do something unexpected for once, and take a chance with something fresh.  Perhaps it bears repeating now that the White Stripes (in Lego form) were about the coolest thing I saw on MTV all year...
    Oh, wait, maybe I do have something against Eminem:  I forgot about the part on the show where he and his entourage actually seemed serious about being upset at Triumph.  Talk about a guy taking himself way too seriously.  And be honest, Eminem, you wouldn't hit a guy with glasses; you employ thugs who would do it for you.
    OK, enough non-wrestling for now...
  • Goldberg made his return to the ring last night in Tokyo, Japan.  He defeated Satoshi Kojima at an All Japan event at Budokan Hall.
    Goldberg won the match via pinfall following a jackhammer.  The match lasted just four minutes, which did not unnecessarily tax Goldberg in his first match in about two years.
    Also on the AJPW show:  Kronik teamed up and won an AJPW Tag Title match (an 18 minute match, no less!).  From WWF cast-offs to international sensations... does anybody else remember when the reason to trade for puroresu tapes was because the Japanese product was demonstrably better than the domestic one?
    Goldberg also wrestles tonight on another AJ show, against Taiyo Kea.
  • Going back to Monday... I'd reported RAW's rating as a 4.0, but differences in rounding have resulted in others saying it's a 3.9.  I don't know... it's roughly the same either way:  holding just about steady from the week before.
  • With WWE's financial performance declining in the last year, the company has decided to withhold bonuses for both Vince and Linda McMahon.  They both still took home their annual salaries (totaling just under $2 million), but unlike last year, they won't get additional bonuses (which could have equaled their take-home salaries).
  • Another plug for the always-amusing Smoking Gun website...  this time, because they've got the divorce papers filed by Steve Austin online.  If checking out the three-page filing interests you, just click here.
  • WWE has announced that the Hugh Morrus gimmick has been scrapped.  Bill DeMott will now go by the name of... Bill DeMott.
    At least, that'll be the name he trades under during his tenure as a trainer on Tough Enough 3.  It's always possible they'll be something else, gimmick-wise, waiting for him when it's time to get back in the ring.
    Having seen the former Laughing Man work as one of the instructors at last year's Mark Curtis Fantasy Camp, I think he'll come off really well on TE3.  
  • Ken Shamrock and Tito Ortiz -- who will face off on a huge UFC event in November -- were on "The Best Damn Spost Show Period" last night.  Ortiz scored a quality taunt when he told Shamrock to "keep Vince McMahon's phone number handy," because he intends to deliver a beating so severe that Shamrock heads back to the world of pro wrestling.
  • Late breaking news, as I wrap it up:  baseball isn't going on strike.  I am happy.  I am also frustrated that it took such a dramatic, 11th hour effort to solve the problem, but ultimately, I'm mostly just happy.  Baseball lives, and this means that valuable games between the Reds and the Brewers will not be lost.  If the Redlegs are gonna make a last-ditch push in the NL Central, we need games against the patsies to be played!  [Course, we also needed to do better than split against the Cards...]
    But didn't I say that I was done with the non-wrestling stuff?
  • OK, so that means I'm just plain "done."  I'm outta material, so I'll cut out now.  I don't intend to be so incapacitated by the weekend's festivities that I'm unable to do a column on Monday (but I guess you never know)... so come on back for RAW preview, etcetera.
    Enjoy the weekend....


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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