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RAW in Vegas, Hogan Update, and
Lots More...
October 7, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Hope you all enjoyed the weekend... me I got to have a blast at my friends' wedding in Milwaukee, only to come back last night to a barrage of e-mail taunts.  Apparently, the baseball play-offs haven't gone down quite as I'd predicted (or hoped).  Well, congrats to those whose teams I (inaccurately) dissed.

But remember this:  when Big Stein lost in the World Series last year, he went out and bought Jason Giambi.  How pissed do you think he is, now?  Fear the Yankees!  [Yet oddly, my dream for the Reds to be competitive hinges primarily on seeing something surreal like the almost-contracted small-market Twins making the World Series...]

On with some rasslin' news:

  • Tonight, RAW is going to turn to outright gimmickry to try to fool us into thinking we're being entertained.  I'd start getting all righteous and indignant, 'cept that it was just three days ago that I left town and put some haikus and a picture of Victoria's ass up on the main page to distract you from the fact that I didn't have time to write a column...  [Not that I wasn't VERY proud of turning the phrase "rumptastic pentameter"!]
    So the deal is this:  tonight on RAW, Eric Bischoff is going to present "RAW Roulette." Playing off the fact that tonight's show is in Las Vegas, Bischoff will doctor up a roulette wheel with every imaginable gimmick match possible, and then "randomly" (cough) assign a gimmick to every match on the show.
    For instance: we know that Stacey Keibler has gotten her wish and will face Trish Stratus in some kind of match.  Thanks to RAW Roulette, you can know sit back and hope that it's a Bra and Panties Match.  Or a Big Bowl of Pudding Match.  Or an Evening Gown in a Swimming Pool Match.  Or whatever.
    Alas, I think I know how the braintrust on RAW works, and I fear that their sense of humor will dictate that this gimmickry is used for at least one very unfunny moment of comic relief.  The "luck of the wheel" will probably force something like Christian vs. Lance Storm to be an evening gown match.  Bwhahahahaha!  Pardon my simulated laughter!
    Or maybe it's not a bad idea to try to do SOMEthing unexpected like that...  because the fact is, the random gimmick match idea is not exactly new, and it's never exactly wowed fans.  I don't remember if it was right before Eric Bischoff's reign started in WCW, or during his early tenure, but WCW tanked miserably with it's "Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal" concept at a Halloween Havoc PPV or two.  So what I'm saying is that I'm not quite sure HOW you go about making RAW Roulette as interesting as possible.  Go for laughs?  Play it straight?  Who knows?
    Jim Ross himself had a brief "preview" of the random gimmick concept, calling it a "feast or famine" situation that could either be highly entertaining.  Or maybe a total trainwreck.
    Leaving behind the Roulette gimmick -- and although it'll be a decidedly UNrandom process, we can say little definitively about it, so moving on is the wise play -- we can also say that RAW's going to have to move quickly forward with a Kane/Triple H feud.  Much like Rob Van Dam last month, Kane is simply foisted into the #1 Contender position by virtue of winning a match. Unlike RVD last month, Kane has no previous issue with HHH to build upon.
    With them heading into a World vs. IC Title match in less than two weeks, I expect some fireworks.  They're about the only established feud the Fed's got to work with on the RAW roster.
    That's because the big losers in this scenario -- RVD and Chris Jericho, primarily -- were basically operating on the fringes of the World Title situation.  A situation that both are now locked out of.  I guess they might get paired up against each other, and certainly I can envision few better ways to squeeze another top-shelf wrestling match for the PPV out of RAW... but somehow, it seems like that'd be lacking any kind of real sizzle. 
    The fact that the IC Title is locked in with the Kane/HHH feud (and seems destined to be decommissioned) does not help, since it takes away the premise/prize that those two could be fighting over.
    What else have we got?  The UnAmericans, as allude to above, seem to be on the brink of splitting up...  it seems a pointless exercise to me, since together, at least all four can get cheap "USA USA" heat.  Apart, well, the prospects aren't so good.  At my very kindest, I'd point out that there seems to be a grand total of just about ZERO babyface potential among those four (even if Regal and Storm have what it takes to be heels outside the UnAmerican context, I don't see Christian recreating what he had during the brief period when he and Edge were faces... and we're now coming up on three years since anyone cared enough about Test to really cheer him).
    Also:  Trish/Stacy is something to look forward to...  in addition to being the IC Champ and #1 Contender to the World Title, Kane is also half of the tag champs; with no real feuds/stories in the tag division (and with SD! starting up its own tag division), you gotta wonder how much emphasis RAW will even both putting on that fact; do Kane and Hurricane just job the titles over to Rosie and Jamal, or what?...  also put Bubba Dudley on the list of guys who got short-changed when we locked in the Kane/HHH feud; he's directionless, now... 
    For all the holes one starts to see when trying to examine RAW's longer-term direction (even just forward 2 weeks to the PPV), the fact is that over the past couple shows, RAW has made steady strides toward putting on 2 hours of entertaining TV.  I, for one, save all this smarty-pants arm-chair booking for after the show, so I'll just sit back and hope that tonight's show is another exercise in amusing escapism. 
    And I think my odds of coming out ahead are a little better than hitting Red 27 on a roulette wheel.  
    CRZ will, of course, have all the details from tonight's show in his RAW recap tomorrow...
  • Last Thursday's SmackDown! was yet another very good effort, with Edge and Kurt Angle getting the "show-stealer" spot this week.  Ratings-wise, SD! performed just as well:  a 3.6 final broadcast rating was equal to the week before, and continues to keep SD! over a half-million households ahead of RAW.
  • When last I did a column (all of five days ago), I made Hulk Hogan a brief topic of discussion, essentially calling into doubt the wide-spread rumors that Hogan had worked for WWE "without a contract" or on a "handshake deal."
    Now, I know those rumors got started in the ever-reliable "insider community," and then were deemed "credible" when Hogan himself said he was not under a WWE contract during a radio interview.  And I still said that I didn't believe a word of it.
    Well, you can place whatever value you want on this, but Jim Ross is on my side, now.  If you wanted to suggest that he'd be every bit as likely to spin doctor and distort the facts, fine, but truth is, his story makes more sense to me.  In the weekend WWE.com Ross Report, JR states (quite logically) that no talent gets on TV without having their paperwork in order.  Hogan signed a WWE contract in January 2002, states Ross, and that contract "remains in effect."  
    I'm still not sure what Hogan would think he'd have to gain by telling people he was not under contract...  the only think I can come up with is that Hogan -- on his own -- decided to try to run a little "angle" of his own so that he could be perceived of as a "free agent" in the battle between RAW and SD!... and that's a flimsy premise at best.
    In any case, yeah, maybe Hogan and WWE have had some issues to smooth over and don't yet see totally eye to eye.  But not having Hulk under contract?  Apparently, it's total BS.
  • More from the WWE.com Ross Report:
    Bob Holly is looking at another six months on the shelf; this time, the cause is a ruptured disc in his neck (JR notes that the condition was "pre-existing" but was aggravated in that memorably stiff/awkward match Holly had against Brock Lesnar a few weeks back)...  Kurt Angle (elbow), Undertaker (elbow), RVD (hand), and Rey Mysterio (knee) have been working hurt and will continue to do so...  Mark Henry (ankle) and Randy Orton (shoulder) are probably going to be unbooked, pending further testing...  all other injury updates seemed to simply reinforce existing time tables for longer-term lay-offs...
    Also:  David Flair was released from OVW/the developmental program; he's being encouraged to accept bookings elsewhere, and the Fed would like to re-evaluate him down the line...  JR (rightfully, as far as I'm concerned) praised the Victoria/Trish match from last week's RAW as being indicative of the type of direction they should go with the women's division...  of course, just a few paragraphs away, he also noted that the divas were in the midst of a scantily-clad photo shoot in Arizona, so let's just chalk this one up as wanting to butter BOTH sides of our bread, alright?...    with Tough Enough 3 finishing up filming, Ivory will likely show up on RAW, with Bill DeMott (Hugh Morrus) going to SD!; Al Snow is undecided, but JR thinks he'll end up on RAW...  JR confirms that the plan is to totally eliminate the IC Title as part of the HHH/Kane match at No Mercy...
  • Over the weekend, the wrestling world passed a dubious anniversary:  it's been five year since the death of Brian Pillman.  Hard to believe it's been that long...  at the time, we had no idea what we'd have to go through with the death of Owen Hart, and hearing the news that Pillman was found dead in his hotel room broken to us by Vince McMahon on a pay-per-view event was just unreal.
    Of course, we could try to remember that "Badd Blood" PPV in a better light... because in addition to the tragic Pillman situation, it also brought us the very first Hell in the Cell match.  In that contest, Shawn Michaels bested the Undertaker thanks to an assist from the debuting Kane.  Not only was Kane's career launched by that match, but the creation of the HitC gimmick wound up being just about the most innovative and marketable gimmick match devised in the last couple of decades.
    Five years later, it's kind of interesting that they've decided to commemorate the creation of the Hell in the Cell by pulling it out of mothballs for a rare public exhibition:  Undertaker (demonstrably the "master" of the Cell by sheer virtue of working more HitC matches than anyone else, even if he didn't always win them) challenges Brock Lesnar inside the cell on this month's PPV.
  • I think that's gonna have to do it for now...  remember, tapings reports are ALWAYS appreciated, so if you're attending shows tonight or tomorrow and want to help with Spoilers, please pass along an e-mail.
    See you again 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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