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RAW, Mania News, TNA Preview, More...
September 25, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Thanks to all the Chicagoans who mailed in supporting my "Move The Rick to Chicago" Plan.  It's nice to know that I'd be welcome in your fine city.  But alas, for now, I think I'm stuck here in boring, affordable Dayton.  

Luckily for you, that means I'll keep on having plenty of spare time available to sit down and write about rasslin':

  • Monday's RAW was, I thought, a small step up from the previous week's show (which was itself a huge step up from the few weeks before that).
    It almost seemed like a show where the RAW creative team was DARING the internet smarks to say something negative.  And while that resulted in some good things, it also might be what kept the show from really sizzling.
    To wit:  "So you want WRESTLING, internet fan boys?" the creative team asks.  Of course we do.  So they give us a few 6-7 minute matches.  But unfortunately, one of them involves Randy Orton and Steven Richards, neither of whom fans have been given a single reason to care about.  That's wasted bell-to-bell time, I think.  I appreciate the gesture, but a little understanding of fan psychology would probably have resulted in the awareness that shaving Orton/Richards down to 3 minutes would have given the main event -- or even the tag title match -- more time to shine (and there, the crowd would have eaten it up).
    Or how about: "So you people hate Triple H and think he's on TV too much?"  And while it might have been refreshing to see other guys get more chances to shine in place of HHH in every segment, you could FEEL the pandering when Bubba Dudley cut his "I'm sick of HHH" promo.  Didn't anybody learn anything when WCW went broke trying to do angles appealing to the internet fans?  Again, I appreciate the thought, but truth is, I'd rather they give fans what they want without (metaphorically) slapping our asses and saying "So is this how you like it, bitch?".
    Other than that, if I had to stretch from something negative to say (and isn't that the fashionable way to behave here on the internet?), I think the worst I could come up with is that Union Underground and the Hardy/Big Show match both seemed kinda pointless.  Not bad, mind you.  But pointless, nonetheless.
    But honestly, there was a lot of good on RAW.  We started with a really tight women's title match (one that I hope can be used to launch Victoria to a more active role on the roster, since she really hung with both Molly and Trish in that match)...  Then we did some nice storytelling, with Bischoff getting upset that his roster didn't rally to support him the way SD's did for Steph; the upshot is that Booker T looks to be moving on up the card as the direct target of Sleazy E's ire (and in the name of quality episodic booking, they also set up Booker/Goldust vs. Rosie/Jamal for next week)....  the classroom brawl between Nowinski and Dreamer was brief but intense (with a nice touch of comic relief); as perfect a way to write Nowinski out (for his jaw surgery) as anyone could come up with...  the new No Mercy promo with Pete Rose rules the universe...  Ric Flair and HHH did the bare minimum to explain their alliance, but there's nothing wrong with simple, and the fans seemed to buy it; the promo and confrontation with RVD clicked nicely...  Jericho/Goldust was another of those longer-than-RAW's-usual matches, but it actually had some heat and was fun to watch...  same goes for Kane/Hurricane taking the tag titles from Storm/Christian; on one hand, it's like a demotion down the card for Kane, but on the other, it's a fun "Kane and Little Buddy" angle that should be a lot more fun than it was with X-pac...  and finally, the main event was a really good match, too, which should keep HHH/RVD going as a main event feud for the next month; kudos also for improving the closing of the show after Bubba got hurt (more on that later).
    Overall, a good show.  CRZ's got the details right here.
  • The rating for Monday's show was a 3.6, which is up two-tenths from the past few weeks.  Although you could interpret the bump in the ratings as the result of post-PPV casual interest (something that is likely to go away next week), the fact is that the launch of the new fall season's TV shows should actually have been a major drag on RAW's rating.
    Instead, RAW gained a few ticks.  And as viewers decide which of the fall's new shows they will stick with all season and which aren't worth the trouble, there may be more viewers in the pool for RAW to draw from.  We'll see...

  • WWE has officially announced Seattle's Safeco Field as the venue for WrestleMania XIX.  At a press conference yesterday, the date was set for March 30, 2003.
    Vince McMahon, Eric Bischoff, and Stephanie McMahon were on hand for the announcement, and 5-6 top stars from each of the RAW and SD! rosters also spoke briefly.  For the most part, all were casual and out of character in addressing the fans and media.
    The Q&A with Vince McMahon revealed that there has apparently been not been any determination about the issue of what configuration to use for the open air/retractable roof stadium for an event in early spring in the notoriously cool and rainy Seattle. When asked about it, Vince just offered up some fluff line about "blowing the roof off" the place.  And then he cut the Q&A short when somebody asked about steroids.  D'oh.
    Tickets for Mania go on sale on January 11, through wwe.com and also through TicketMaster.  The Fed anticipates being able to pack in a little over 50,000 fans, which should make this the 6th biggest Mania ever (though the smallest crowd since 2000's WM16 in Anaheim).
  • As alluded to above, Bubba Dudley was apparently injured during the post-main event table spot on RAW.  Actually, it turns out it was more an aggravation of a pre-existing condition, but the result was the same:  Bubba unexpectedly lost control of Triple H during a powerbomb attempt, causing HHH to just clip the edge of a table, instead of going through the middle of it (HHH and RVD later improved a spot to demolish the table).
    Reports are that Bubba had been having some arm troubles going back a week or more, and clearly, he was grasping his shoulder/arm at the conclusion of RAW.  The diagnosis, at present, is that Bubba has a pinched nerve in his neck which is causing his arm troubles.  It is not currently known how much, if any, time will be required before Bubba gets back into the ring...
    The important things at this point are that (a) the condition has been identified so it can be dealt with, and (b) the flare-up on Monday didn't result in any serious injury to HHH.
  • Terry Taylor was backstage in a presumed-official capacity at the PPV and TV tapings this week.  Taylor was a key agent for the Fed at the height of their late 90's popularity, and then wound up jumping to WCW as a top official and creative contributor for that group's last two years.
    It's unclear whether he's back again as an agent, if he was "just visiting," or if (as one source suggests) this was something of a try-out before Taylor is offered a full time job.  I, for one, don't quite understand how someone could come in and be temporarily granted the authority of a top official on a "try-out" basis, but I guess anything's possible...
  • If you check out the SmackDown! tapings spoilers, you'll note that both Ivory and Bob Holly wrestled dark matches.  That's because the entire cast of Tough Enough 3 was sitting in the front row, and this was their first VIP appearance at a WWE event.
    From the looks of things, the competition (which is entering its final stage now) was down to either 4 or 5 guys and just one girl.  
    Oooohh, did I just give away Tough Enough spoilers?  So sue me...
  • Testimony in Nicole Bass' sexual harrassment/wrongful termination case against WWE continues in New York...  and again, since I'm not in a position to comment intelligently on Bass' claims or WWE's defense, I'll mostly just shut up about the charges.
    But of note to wrestling fans is that Bass revealed a storyline that had been proposed to her in which she'd face Chyna, and then wind up being the bride of the Undertaker.  I guess that's her way to showing that she'd expected to be pushed to the top level angles, until she was dismissed by the Fed.
  • And lastly today, some preview of tonight's NWA-TNA pay-per-view event...
    Despite injuries suffered in a car accident over the weekend, "Road Dogg" Brian James (billed simply as BG James by TNA) is expected to be on-hand for the live PPV event.  He unmasked last week, revealing himself as "The Bullet" who had been tormenting Jeff Jarrett.  I'm not sure how many of today's fans remember back to 1995 and the "Double J and Roadie" days, but tonight, James is scheduled to take on his old boss in a one-on-one match.
    Also: a rematch between Jerry Lynn and Ron Killings is scheduled.  Last week, Sonny Siaki cost Lynn the NWA Title against Kilings.  This week, Lynn puts his X Division title up for grabs.  Lynn and Killings had a decent match last week, but perhaps putting this one under the "X Division" banner will add the sizzle necessary for this to be the breakthrough match for Killings that it seems so fashionable to demand...
    Also, Scott Hall and X-Pac will both be back again: they'll be teaming up against Brian Lawler and Elix Skipper....  the aforementioned Siaki will wrestle the Amazing Red... and James Storm and Chris Harris will defend their newly won tag titles against Ron Harris and Brian Lee in a tables match.
    But perhaps the most exciting reason to tune in to tonight's TNA PPV:  a best-of-three series between X Division stars Lo Ki and AJ Styles.  If you've seen past TNA events, you know why to be excited about the prospect of this match.  If you haven't, this is as good a chance as any to find out about some of these X Division guys you've never seen before...
    And for those who don't get the TNA, we'll have a full recap for you here on OO tomorrow...
  • I'm finished for today...  back again Friday with some melding of news and opinion in a fresh, full-length OO!


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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