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RAW, More on WWE/WWF, and Other
Monday Newsbites
December 2, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


OK, so I know we wrapped up the 2nd Annual OO Pledge Drive a couple weeks back, but we're actually in the midst of a couple of other anniversaries... ones that don't require me to ask you to give me money to keep OO going!

For instance, today marks exactly 52 weeks since OnlineOnslaught.com was launched as a fully functional website.  The first set of columns went up on Monday, December 4, 2001.  So that means you've got one full year of gOOdness stored up in the archives.  Should be somewhere just the high side of 200 pages of material (about 150 of which might actually be worth saving; the rest are spoilers).

But another anniversary looms:  next Monday, December 9, will be a special day for me.  And VERY special for folks who'll enjoy a good laugh at my expense, too.  But I shan't spoil it...

What I shall do is get on with some quick Monday news:

  • Tonight's RAW will, more likely than not, return to a bit more of a Triple H focus tonight.  This, after two weeks of HHH being all-but absent due to a bruised throat suffered at the Survivor Series PPV.
    Last week, HHH interrupted the Rob Van Dam vs. Shawn Michaels RAW main event, laying both me out, which probably has the effect of creating a three-way feud for Michaels' World Title.  Afterall, Van Dam can claim he was jobbed out of his fair shot at the belt, while HHH can demand a rematch for the title that he held prior to Michaels.  
    Add in the fact that the Fed probably wouldn't mind "protecting" Michaels by putting him into three-way or gimmick-type situations for his PPV matches (8 minutes of one-on-one on free TV is one thing; 20-plus on a PPV is another, entirely!), and an HBK vs. RVD vs. HHH Battle of the Monograms makes a lot of sense.
    The onus of the three-way feud will fall upon HHH tonight, since he's not said Word One since getting hurt and dropping his title two weeks ago.  Some things to keep an eye on: announcers haven't shied away from talking about how HHH bravely continued the PPV match despite the throat injury, which combined with the fact that Michaels "special attraction" vibe is wearing off (leaving only a sense of familiarity that reminds us he's about 100 times more natural/convincing as a heel) might have an unintended effect.  You fill in the blanks.
    Also:  Ric Flair has been hanging out with Dave Batista in HHH's absence (helping the guy beat Kane last week), which means Flair is either (a) moving on, or (b) forming a stable.  Both present potentially interesting possibilities.  We should find out where the Flair/HHH relationship stands this week.
    The secondary story tonight should focus on Chris Jericho and Christian seeking revenge on the Dudley Boyz for last week's public untowelling.  Then again, the untowelling was, itself, revenge for Jericho and Christian stealing a win in a tag title match, so one might argue everything's even between the two teams...  but then you wouldn't have anything to fight over, so maybe you'd best just forget that.  Regardless of your personal sense of fairness and justice, let's just agree that Jericho/Christian vs. the Duds is going to be an on-going feud, and more shenanigans will take place tonight.
    Other issues sure to be featured:  Sean Morley, in his new role as Eric Bischoff's Chief of Staff, will probably be up to some more selective enforcement of rules...  I doubt we've seen the last between Victoria and Trish Stratus (again, I posit that if Jazz is due back soon, it makes the most sense to have the title on Trish)...  as mentioned above, Batista and Kane probably have unfinished business, and it'll be interesting to see how Flair fits in...  Booker T, off last week's show due to illness, will be back, looking for a top-level program to get involved with...  even though Scott Steiner spent last week on SD!, don't necessarily expect him to flop back to RAW immediately; the Fed might ration out Steiner's appearances until he's ready to pick one roster (and he's scheduled for SD! brand house shows this weekend, anyway)...  
    Check out RAW tonight as the show begins to put the pieces in place for the Armageddon PPV in 13 days time.

  • So going back to last week, I've been tracking the real-life effects of a recent UK court ruling that has forced retailers to pull old WWF (produced prior to the name change) videogames off shelves... because my initial feeling was that there would be no real life effect since the next round of games are either out already or are coming out soon, and nobody would be putting a year-old version of "SmackDown!" or PS2 on the best-seller charts.
    But it turns out that the precedent -- that WWE loses all rights to include WWF initials in past, already-produced products and events -- is not just some ridiculous thing we have to dread...  nope, it's something that the Fed has already been working hard to fix.
    On Friday, I mentioned that "RAW Retro" clips have had the scratch WWF logo ("attitude" style) on turnbuckle pads blurred and removed from all clips...  well, readers have since brought other instances of historical revision to light.
    First:  overseas readers note that there had been a "WWF Classics" show airing weekly (usually one of the syndicated shows from 15-20 years ago, with some fresh introductory material).  At some point after the name change, the Fed turned the show into a collection of old NWA/WCW footage (since they attained that old tape library, it was an easy change; currently, UK fans are being treated to Sting vs. the Four Horsemen, circa 1990-ish), probably because removing all instances of "WWF" would have been impossible in the old footage.
    Second:  there is a feature in WWE Magazine that shows you the cover of the Mag from 5, 10, and 15 years ago.  The mini-covers they show have replaced all instances of the new scratch WWF logo with the current WW logo.  The old block logo, for some reason, is allowed to stay; but on those older covers, all instances of "WWF" spelled out has been replaced by "WWE."  The result, as reader "Ol' Fuzzy Bastard" notes, is the disconcerting revelation that Demolition are gunning to regain the WWE Tag Team Titles from the Brain Busters.  [Are they still selling back issues of publications?  Do you think they'd actually go through the trouble of re-editing 20 years worth of magazines just to comply with this court edict?]
    Third: versions of WWE superstar bios -- at least those available right now in Europe (which might just be an updated printing) -- have removed all references to "WWF."  In the text of the book, this means "WWE" replaces "WWF" and "Entertainment" replaces "Federation."  In the photo section, the scratch WWF logo is air-brushed out.
    This is officially the Most Obnoxious Thing Ever.  People got annoyed when Spielberg went back and digitally altered "E.T." so it was more PC, but at least that was his choice and his doing.  And it's not that an "E" instead of an "F" has any real, tangible effect on the end product (any more than cell phones instead of guns change the actual story of "E.T.")...  it's just that every time you see an "E" where you KNOW an "F" USED TO BE, it's going to register in your brain, and detract from your enjoyment of the end product.  Being slapped in the face with such anachronisms just plain sucks.  We shouldn't have to accept "WWE" in 1989 any more than we should have had to swallow Russell Crowe wearing Nike-brand sandals in "Gladiator"; it's just the sort of thing that spoils the fun for everyone.
    Not that I'm even sold on why we'd have to accept "WWE" in any time or place... [Even accepting the necessity of change, it was a shitty choice for a new name.]
    The World Wildlife Fund needs two things: (1) a bitchslap to the face to bring it back to reality.  Because there has never, in the history of time and space, been anyone who was confused by the co-existence of the World Wrestling Federation and the World Wildlife Fund.  Nobody looking to save a panda has ever accidentally purchased WrestleMania on pay-per-view.  If the issue is that the Wildlife Fund people are upset that some folks will snigger at the "WWF" initials because they do have an alternate use in the wrestling world, then too bad:  you have to get over it and quit taking yourself so seriously.  It's like this:  "flour" and "flower" can co-exist, and nobody gets confused or has any inherently bad feelings towards either.  I see the representation "flour" and I think one set of thoughts (usually of a culinary nature); I see the representation "flower" and I think another (more botanical in nature).  Just like I can see a bumpersticker with the letters "WWF" adjacent to a panda and think one thing ("goddamned F-stealing hippie nazi" is a new one that leaps to mind more readily these days), while a "WWF" logo in the bottom of a screen featuring various men (and women) pretending to beat each other up conjures up other, completely distinct thoughts.
    Oh, the other thing the World Wildlife Fund needs: (2) a token donation from the World Wrestling Federation.  What'll it take to send you jerk-offs back to your backwoods panda-lovin', never to be heard from again?  I'll open Vince's checkbook and start the bidding at $10 million.  C'mon, we just want the "F", and YOU just want the money; I know how you people work.  Assholes.
  • On an only-slightly-related note:  speaking of turnbuckle pads (go back up and check!), OO Reader Anthony Esposito has noted that each of the past couple weeks, the middle turnbuckle pad on the "northeast" corner of the ring (from the hard camera shot) has been upside down on SmackDown!...
    That is something that I would never, in a million years, have noticed myself, but now that Anthony mentions it, it sticks in my craw.  This is a much more intriguing mystery than Jeff Hardy's secret pocket-hanky code, if you ask me...  any theories?
  • Ernest Miller's showing on SD! was generally viewed as a good one by WWE personnel.  He did lose his voice late in the broadcast, but given the last-second nature of him getting the job, he did very well.
    The spot on SD! was said to be mostly just a try-out, but now, it sounds like Miller will be put under WWE contract, mostly for announcing duties (Velocity), but with an open option for in-ring work, too.
  • A couple of readers mailed in with an item they picked up (I guess) on movie-preview websites:  apparently The Rock is under consideration to play the role of "Venom" in the next Spider-Man movie.
    I had thought that the new Spider-Man movie -- needing a lot of post-production special effects work -- would already be either in production or really close to it, since it's due for a Spring 2004 release...  wouldn't that preclude making late casting decisions like this?
    If there's any truth here, it's just another possible movie franchise that the Rock's been mentioned in association with... without rehashing all of that, suffice to say that it looks like his Hollywood plate will be plenty full.  Kinda makes you wonder how often he'll make it back to wrestle (if at all)...
  • No rating was available to me for last week's holiday SmackDown as of this writing...  I think we can just guess that it was probably really low, and leave it at that.
  • Alright, that's about it today...  I think that World Wildlife Fund tirade got me out of my Zone.  If only I could have someone warming up in the bullpen for days like this when I don't have my A-game.
    Ah, well...  Texas fans, you're on Spoiler Duty this week.  Pass along report if you attend TV tapings tonight or tomorrow, and then I'll be back Wednesday with the usual news and views.


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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