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RAW, Austin News, and Lots More...
September 9, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Alright.  It's nearly mid-September.  Football is underway.  Watermelons cannot be had until next May.  The Reds are FINALLY out of anything resembling pennant contention.  My question is this:  When in the blue hell is it going to stop being 95 degrees??!!??  

I swear, I'm getting really sick of going and sitting through 2 hours of crap at the $1.50 movie theater just so I can be cool for a bit.  Add it up, and it'd probably be cheaper to have Central Air.  And on top of that, I'd still have the brain cells that committed suicide during my climate-controlled viewing of "Scooby Doo."

Luckily, even with my entire cerebral cortex tied behind my back, I think I'd be able to do a halfway-decent job of dissecting some rasslin' news.  It's just one of the three or so things in this world that I'm actually GOOD at:

  • Live RAW tonight.  As is increasingly the case, the reason to watch isn't necessarily a guarantee that the product will kick ass, but the fact that you can entertain yourself by analyzing which Face of RAW shows up:  Dr. Gerwitz or Mr. Hyde.
    The overall more entertainment-driven RAW has produced some of the summer's most memorable high points for the Fed.  But it's also produced some of the most distressing lows, all while SmackDown! -- and it's more traditionally-designed format -- has been consistently good (though only infrequently spectacular).
    So what's in store for the brand tonight?  Well, first and foremost, I'd expect that Rob Van Dam will now have himself a legitimate reason for wanting a shot at Triple H's half of the Disputed Title.  I'm not sure what to think about RVD's status as IC Champ, though... does he drop THAT title to someone else along the way?  Or does he keep it throughout the feud?  Or does it perhaps get folded into the Disputed Title held by Triple H as another of Eric Bischoff's strap consolidations?
    I don't have any answers there, but I will admit to really liking the idea of RVD vs. HHH.  If working with Shawn Michaels last month reminded us how good an inspired HHH can be, then hopefully, handing him an opponent who is, in many ways, a Michaels clone from a ring-style perspective, should be a good thing, right?  And what Van Dam lacks in ability to grasp the storyline/psychological component of a match he makes up for in being in his prime and able to pull off spectacular spots.  Plus, I like how an RVD/HHH feud could counterpoint Brock/Taker for the other half of the Disputed Title; on RAW, it's the establishment that holds the belt and the young star gunning for him (just the opposite on SD!).
    If that is the direction they go with the top feud, then it probably also means you can pencil in some more between Ric Flair and Chris Jericho.  Maybe it's not the most inspired way to go at this point, but if I wanted to put a happy face on it I would do it this way:  this gives them the chance to do right thris month what they didn't last month, both in terms of the build up and in terms of delivering on the final PPV match.
    Any number of different combinations and iterations could be designed for Kane, Booker T, Goldust, Test, Lance Storm, and Christian.  Tag titles matches, singles feuds, even six man action... or maybe you keep Bradshaw involved here, and have it be him and Kane for the tag belts, freeing Book and Dust up for other stuff. In any event, aside from the four top guys already mentioned, just about the rest of RAW's sell-able talent is involved in this feud.
    Other, lesser, issues that seem destined to kill some time tonight even if they never see the bright lights of PPV:  Molly Holly and Chris Nowinski decidedly non-romantic romance (whether also involving rivals Bubba Dudley and Trish Stratus or not is probably not the most pressing matter, either)...  the Big Show Mid Card experiment...  Eric Bischoff and his Three Minute Warnings...  and maybe RAW will try to extract revenge on SD! for last week's unforgivable theft of Crash Holly; perhaps Bull Buchanan will jump ship!?!?  
    Check out RAW tonight, or come on back Tuesday for CRZ's always-detailed recap...
  • Multiple sources out of San Antonio, TX, report that Steve Austin has dropped divorce proceedings against his wife, Debra.  The court dismissed the civil case filing, announcing that Austin no longer wished to pursue the matter.
    As is always the case when we're stuck having to talk about wrestlers personal lives, all we -- as fans -- can REALLY do in these situations is sit back and hope that everything is working out as best as humanly possible.
  • The final rating for last week's edition of SmackDown! was a 3.2.  That's up just one tenth from the prior week, but again, SD! was pre-empted in a few markets (including NYC), so a slightly deflated rating is not unexpected.

  • WWE knows it's got a potential powder keg in place for this week...  or maybe, the cynic in me noted, they just HOPE they do.
    The Fed's corporate front has launched a pre-emptive campaign with regards to the Billy/Chuck gay wedding angle to take place on SD!, warning parents that while the issue of same-sex relationships will be handled in a humorous and interesting way, it will still be a provocative storyline.  They urge parents to watch with their kids and to be mindful of this.
    Part of me says, "Bravo, Nice PR work."  But another part of me strongly suspects that this isn't going to amount to anything... maybe five years ago if they'd beaten Ellen to the punch, but...
    Then again, maybe not...  I got more flame mail for my use of the term "close-minded assholes" on Friday than I would ever have guessed; it was almost GnR proportions!  Perhaps you people prefer more PC terms like "ultra-conservative" or "flamboyantly religious"?  Not that being PC has anything to do with this debate; it merely has to do with not having any reason to give a shit what other people who have nothing to do with me do in their spare time.
    But till this angle launches Chuck Palumbo to main event status or lands WWE on the front page of Newsweek, I'll just sit back and try to just give it the attention that any mid-card angle deserves.
  • To that end, let me report this:  apparently, the Fed wanted to bring back a lot of personalities from the past (most affiliated with Billy) to add a bit of pomp to the wedding.  At present, it's not really clear who may have been invited or who may have accepted, other than to say that Road Dogg apparently won't be appearing despite having been on the wish list.
  • In the weekend's WWE.com Ross Report, JR had just a few items of note:
    There has been no forward progress with regards to Scott Steiner, contrary to what JR says had been widely published on the internet...  also no new news about Goldberg...  at present, the Rock isn't expected back in WWE until it's time to get him into the mix for WrestleMania 2003...  SummerSlam, by early indications, should end up being a big financial success....  Undertaker is working with a hyper-extended elbow...  Sean O'Haire is out for 6 weeks with a groin injury...
  • OO Reader Matt Helling was at the Fed's house show this weekend in Sioux Falls, SD...  the show was notable for a big reason:  due to the vagaries of WWE booking, the main event wound up pitting SD! champ Brock Lesnar against RAW Champ Triple H (it was otherwise an all RAW house show).
    Lesnar was without Heyman, and due to his SD (that's South Dakota, not SmackDown) ties, he was the easy babyface over HHH.  Lesnar won the match cleanly, via pinfall, in a contest that was only for his SD! Title (not HHH's RAW Title).
    For whatever it's worth, Lesnar was showing no signs of any injury.  Remember, he had been held off a Wednesday night OVW booking (replaced by Chris Benoit) due to an announced injury...
  • Following up on my mention of it on Friday, a few readers mailed in to say that they believe that the 500th Edition of RAW will actually take place sometime shortly after the New Year.  So it's a toss up as to whether the 10th Anniversary or Episode 500 gets here first...  maybe we'll get lucky and kill two birds with one stone?
    In any case -- and just to help the kids at Titan Tower with their market research -- the feedback was unanimous:  having Bischoff pick that night to turn RAW into Nitro is the best idea that we'll never see play out.  Everybody likes it, but knows too well that there's no way it's actually feasible to do.
  • Somebody e-mailed me, asking about a rumor that RAW's over-run was "being cancelled" by TNN, forcing the show to go off the air promptly at 11pm once the network starts airing re-runs of CSI. 
    A quick check indicates that RAW is still scheduled for an over-run for the foreseeable future (the "official" length is five minutes on all programming charts, but it's always been more like 7, in reality, I think).  Maybe that'll change at some point beyond the current's charts' abilities to predict, or maybe it's a change TNN merely WANTS to make...  but for now, it's nothing to get worried about.
    Hell, even if it happens, it's nothing to get worked up about.  The overrun has been a complete anachronism for the past 18 months, anyway.  It had value as part of the RAW/Nitro battle to get the last laugh on a given Monday, but what's it's purpose now, other than to make me miss the first seven minutes of "The Daily Show"?
  • And that, as I believe a great stereotype once said, is all ze people need to know.
    Send me spoilers reports if you attend tapings this week!  And the rest of you, you'll get more of me on Wednesday...  



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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