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RAW, Taker, TNA, and More...
October 23, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


If you're like me and saw RAW, you might think you know what's coming up in today's column.  Afterall, am I not a verbose and eloquent Pro Wrestling Thinker, capable of coming up with a thesis for a level-headed critique, and of then presenting it as part of an illuminating 15,000 word column?  And don't I just hate necrophilia angles?

Well, you might think you know what's coming.  But you might be wrong:

  • Screw RAW.
    With all due apologies to the guys who went out and laid it on the line in the ring Monday night, with a nod of the head to Shawn Michaels who actually cut a really effective promo, and with the heavy heart of a fan who has never before been in a situation where he didn't feel like talking about wrestling if he had other interested parties, I say: Screw RAW.
    It'd be really easy to do a huge rant about why RAW frustrated me so badly, but no.  Best as I can determine, WWE booked the show the way they did to create discussion and controversy.  So now I frustrate them: no discussion.  No controversy.  It was afterall, not my sense of morals that was offended on Monday.  It was my sense of what is entertaining.  
    And to think that the Fed is sitting in a room, trying to think of ways to piss people off and create controversy, confident that we've whittled the audience down to a core group of loyalists who (no matter what they claim) probably aren't going to desert the product, is not a happy thought.  I'll be a mark for a good wrestling show.  But I'll not be a mark for whatever stupid "we're going to piss you off and have you create a controversy for us" scheme that they must be trying to run, here.  [The alternative -- that they actually thought that Monday's RAW was a well-crafted and fun show at the main event level -- is too depressing to even consider.]
    If you were looking for the big dissection of what went wrong and how it could be fixed, then sorry.  On a night like Monday, I don't think you need me holding your hand to figure out what was wrong.
    Luckily, CRZ didn't decide to shirk his usual duties this week.  Check his recap if you really must find out what happened on RAW. 
  • RAW did a 3.7 cable rating on Monday night.  Though that is a nearly-insignificant drop of just one tenth of a point from the week before, you must consider that this was a post-PPV edition of RAW, when you usually see a spike of interest.
    I'll let you draw your own conclusions from that.
  • Spoilers for SmackDown!, Heat, and Velocity have been posted, and can be read right here.
  • Undertaker needed staples in his head to close the gaping wound he suffered at the PPV.  As I noted both on Sunday and Monday, Taker's Crimson Mask was easily one of the most gruesome in recent memory.
    The hardfought match and bladejob were designed, in part, to let Taker keep some of his sympathetic babyface heat...  but it's also part of a set-up to allow Taker to get some time off here as 2002 winds down.  He's gonna get a vacation to get healthy and to be with his wife as she gives birth.
  • Some sources are saying that Booker T is being pulled off the RAW roster for this weekend's UK tour, where he would replace the Undertaker (who is already off the road, now).
    But I heard that they were just going to hand Taker's bookings to the Big Show, which would make a lot more sense to me, in storylines, anyway.  Then again, in practice, there could be the very real concern that Big Show would not be perceived of as an adequate replacement.  Booker probably would be...
  • Tough Enough 3's big debut show last week drew a 1.5 rating for MTV.  That's significantly down from the premieres of the first two TE's.  If tradition holds, you can even look for another few tenths to drop off the rating as the show kicks off its usual half-hour shows this week.
    Even in a worst case scenario, in which TE3 loses a full ratings point from past TE peaks, the show would still be a relatively strong ratings performer for MTV's prime time schedule, though...
  • Weekend ratings for WWE didn't tell a good story either.  After dropping below the 1.0 barrier months ago, the Saturday night block continues to flounder.  The two hours averaged a 0.65 for TNN.
    This week, TNN is experimenting by moving the WWE shows up a few hours.  Velocity is at 8pm, and Confidential at 9pm.  Theoretically, this should give the WWE block more access to a more prime piece of prime time real estate.  In reality, though, Saturday night is a flat-out shitty night to try to reach the Fed's target demos, and moving the show around may only serve to confuse the handful of people who ARE loyally tuning in.
  • Tonight on E! Network, you can see a half-hour show of highlights from Stephanie McMahon's recent appearance on the Howard Stern show.  She talked a lot about the S-E-X (titter, titter), so you might want to check it out to see a side of Steph that's never quite made it on to WWE TV. 
    Steph's on the 11pm (eastern) edition of the show, with a repeat on the 2:30am (eastern) show. 
  •  Last week, NWA-TNA tried to out-"E" the WWE, and the results weren't all that good...  perhaps this week, they'll get back to the unique style that has won them some loyal fans and critical praise?
    They've announced a near-complete card, and it looks to be once again a bit heavy on the attempts to bring in "big names"... but the X Division looks poised to represent as well.
    Curt Hennig returns again, and again, he'll be facing Ron Killings for the NWA Title. Last week, Mr. Wrestling III and Jeff Jarrett both got involved in the title match, so this rematch is to determine a decisive winner. 
    Joining Hennig as former Big Two stars making TNA appareances:  Scott Hall returns after a few weeks-long lay-off.  He'll face Jeff Jarrett in another chapter of their feud that's been on-going since practically week one of TNA.  And SyxxPac will be in the house again, defending his X Division Title against AJ Styles for the second week in a row (last week, the two went to a silly DQ finish, satisfying no one).
    But there is X Division action that should provide the real fire works tonight, even if our ol' buddy X-Pac is involved in a more E-centric type match...  peaking my curiosity most is a five-way elimination match, featuring Elix Skipper, Kid Kash, Amazing Red, and the Spanish Announce Team.  That should be spot-tastic.  And also, Jerry Lynn is in action against Sonny Siaki in a feud that was born out of Lynn's loss of the X Title some weeks back.
    Also slated for tonight:  BG "Road Dogg" James takes on Brian "Grandmaster Sexay" Lawler...  Chris Harris and James Storm defend the TNA Tag Titles against the Hot Shots... and Jorge Estrada of the Flying Elvises takes on Ace Steel.
    Whether you are intrigued by the names from the pasts of the WWF or WCW, or whether you want to check out this wacky (but often astounding) X Division thing, consider dropping a few bucks on tonight's NWA-TNA show.
    And if you don't, well, we got your back.  Scotty Szanto-Nicodemus will have a full recap for you tomorrow.
  • Thanks to those of you who have already helped out with contributions to the Annual OO Pledge Drive...  it's good to know that some of you find this website to be a worthwhile endeavor!
    Because of popular demand, I've added PayPal as a way you can donate, too.  I guess some of you weren't too comfortable with Amazon, or something like that.
    If you'd like to read my heartfelt plea for your money and donate via PayPal (or through Amazon or the US Mail), just click here!  I wouldn't have made it through the first post-WrestleLine year without you, and now it's time to get ready to embark upon Year Two.
  • That's about it from me today...  I'll see you again on Friday, when hopefully everybody will be in a better mood following SmackDown!.
    Till Then... 


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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