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RAW, Anniversary News, Ratings,
December 4, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Following a baseball season in which the Reds stumbled after the All Star Break and the Yankees fell in the first round of play-offs, it's only PARTIALLY heartening to see the Dayton Flyers and Indiana Hoosiers off to strong starts in basketball.  I'm sure they'll screw it up, somehow...

I mention it only because -- DAMN! -- did you see that IU/Maryland game last night?  Now THAT is entertainment.  They had the drama (rematch of last year's NCAA final), they had the workrate (two senior guards giving ***** performances), they had the Dusty Finish (Blake wins it at the buzzer.... NO HE DOESN'T!), they had it all!

Oh wait, that's right... I forgot: I hate it when people try to apply wrestling logic and terminology to non-wrestling events.

So let's apply it to some actual rasslin':

  • RAW on Monday was an odd little deviation from the norm... not one damn thing from the storytelling side of things really sticks in my head, but the show still managed to entertain, on the strength of a couple really good wrestling matches.  That's not usually RAW's forte.
    Starting at the top of the card: Triple H vs. Rob Van Dam was a good match, and Michaels' antics as special ref enhanced the drama.  When RVD started repeatedly KO'ing Michaels (accidentally, of course), I was especially digging it, because of that strange idea I had in my head that they'd do a HBK/HHH/RVD three-way match at the PPV.  I figured it go down like this:  Michaels finally starts to get pissed at RVD, and he was already pissed at HHH, so the match winds up breaking down, with everybody attacking everybody, and Michaels just throws it out and calls it a draw.  As punishment next week, Bischoff can force Michaels to defend against BOTH HHH and RVD at the PPV.  Ding ding, sounds like a winner to me!
    So of course, good work in the main event aside, I was let down when they had Triple H go over cleanly.  Even with the help of the ref, RVD's not good enough to beat HHH, that's what fans walk away with.  And we also walk away with another HHH vs. HBK match, which, in essence, we've already seen twice in the last four months.  We get a stale PPV main event, and RVD misses out on yet another shot to break through; see what I mean about the storytelling side?  But honestly, the match itself was good stuff.
    Superior to the main event was the mid-show two-in-one Morley Special... it started out as Booker T vs. Chris Jericho, but on orders of Chief Morley, it turned into a Jericho/Christain vs. Booker/Goldust tag title match following repeated interference.  Total elapsed time had to be somewhere in the 15-plus minute range.  The action was good, the crowd was into it, definitely Match of the Night.
    Again, from a storytelling side, you wish there was more rhyme or reason in terms of Morley's motivation to make a ruling here, and not in another match at another time... but as long as the results are quality, drawn-out matches like this one, I guess I can't kvetch too loudly.
    Two other notably good in-ring matches:  the opening Dudleys vs. Three Minute Warning match was solid, with a hot crowd anticipating the 3-D and whatnot; a fun way to start the show...  I'd like to think that I liked Trish vs. Ivory for reasons other than they are my two favorite divas; if pressed, I'm sure I could deliver objective praise for their 5 minute match that did not include a single reference to effective use of tight pants...
    Speaking of "effective": that's about as accurate a description I could come up with for Batista's 60-second win over the Hurricane.  Batista looked like a monster, and then when he continued the beatdown, we got the obligatory run-in from Kane.  Keeps that issue rolling with both Batista and Kane looking strong...
    A couple notches lower:  Regal/Storm's win over Tommy Dreamer (and Jeff Hardy, who I don't think actually tagged into the match legally) was easily a better wrestling match than Batista's, but I don't see the angle here, yet...  and Jackie's upset win over Victoria was not as good, wrestling-wise, as the other women's match, nor do I see fans getting too into Jackie challenging for Victoria's title (or is that just my pro-Trish bias again?)...
    Steiner's appearance was strictly by-the-numbers stuff, and if you didn't have the whole "superfreak in the limo" thing figured out within the first few nanoseconds, then I weep for you.  You're as stupid as Bischoff.  Still, if Steph's going heel again, then I guess it only makes sense for her to go all slutty again, too, right?  Too bad... I was just starting to think that regular business-attire-wearing, kick-ass-match-making, non-slutty Steph really WAS developing into a good babyface (contrary to my prior beliefs).  Still, this gives us another few weeks to drag out Steiner's free agency... the obvious angle:  are Steph's additional services enough to get Steiner to sign with SD!, or will Steiner just use Steph, and then toss her aside to go with RAW when all is said and done?
    My only serious gripe:  I would have just left the Macy's Parade shit out of the broadcast entirely.  Having Al Roker screw up Jerry Lawler's name is not something I'd have put on air.  No, it's not an excuse to make fun of Roker:  it's proof that Jerry Lawler and WWE aren't exactly the mainstream superstars they'd like to pretend to be.
    But really: overall a fun show, albeit a rare Monday night one that worked because of the bell-to-bell action and not because of particularly surprising or effective storytelling.
  • No ratings, at present, for Monday's RAW... I guess we're still backed up by the holiday weekend.
  • On the other hand, SmackDown's rating is finally in.  On Thanksgiving night, the final broadcast rating for SD! came in at 2.7, which is down about three-quarters of a point from the usual SD! average.  
    It's also down about a half-point from last year's Thanksgiving night show; but that's about right, since SD!'s average rating is also down about a half-point from a year ago.
  • From the sounds of things, WWE is going to try to make the 10th Anniversary RAW Special, well, special...
    They've secured a Tuesday, January 14, 2003 slot on TNN, and expectations are that this will be an extraordinary cross-brand event, celebrating the 10 years of the RAW show (and not focusing as much on the current use of the RAW name as a "brand").
    WWE wants to assemble as large a collection of past and current performers as possible.  In addition to allowing SD! stars to appear on the special, this also means the Fed will be going out and bringing in folks not currently on the active roster(s).
    Already in the past week, the buzz surrounding Steve Austin (now that his legal troubles are behind him) has been increasing; a special appearance at the 10th Anniversary show might be a jump-start to a more full-time return.  And even the Most Unlikely Man Ever to Appear Again in WWE is probably going to start popping up in rumors:  Bret Hart has been referenced (unnecessarily) by Jim Ross TWICE in recent weeks.  Though he turned down an invitation to the last WWE super-special event (WrestleMania 18), who knows if the recovering-from-a-stroke Hart might have softened his stance?  [And there is that nagging issue of Hart supposedly being booked to fly to Florida next week on WWE's dime...] 
    From there, it isn't too hard to speculate that Mick Foley could be brought back for an appearance.  I mean, he's obviously still got some sort of communication with "the office," as seen by his being scheduled to appear on Byte This a month or so back.  Now that the Fed's got it's stupid necrophilia nonsense out of its system, I think Foley'd be willing to schedule another one and NOT back out of it this time...  And shouldn't The Rock be just about done filming Helldorado in another month?
    But it isn't just going to be the super-huge big names who appear as guests at the 10th Anniversary Special.  In a recent interview with noholdsbarredwrestling.com, current NWA-TNA star Ron Killings said that he'd be attending the show, reprising the K-Kwik gimmick for one night.  Hey, WWE, if you're bringing back K-Kwik, I must INSIST that you go find Damien DeMento, as well!  And Mantaur.  You can let Friar Ferguson stay at home.
    Sounds like the show is shaping up to be pretty cool, though... they'll be reliving past great moments as well as having all these star present for more current events.  You can vote one the "Best RAW Moments" at WWE.com, though I'll warn you of two things: (1) the term "moments" means there's basically no mention of great wrestling matches in RAW's past, and (2) even among "moments" there are a few really dubious choices available to vote for (and a few notably absent good ones, too).  
    Hey, how about a Best RAW Matches poll to go with the "moments," WWE?
  • A correction from Monday:  I said that readers had mailed in with a newsbite about The Rock being up for the part of "Venom" in the new Spider-Man movie, and then wondered how they could still be casting major roles for a movie that was probably really close to going into production.
    Well, there's a very simple explanation:  the rumors about the Rock being up for a Spider-Man role are related to the already-planned THIRD Spider-Man movie.  The 2nd one has begun production, but there's plenty of time to hash out a third movie.  Supposedly, the same rumors that talk about the Rock being in the movie have Vin Diesel competing for the role, too.
    And of course, these sorts of rumors have a way of being completely disconnected from reality, too, especially when it's 2 years before filming would even begin on a movie.  
    I do find it humorous, however, to think about the producer's going out to pay top dollar for Rock or Vin to play a bad guy... I mean, the guy who actually plays Spider-Man should be the star, right?  And in this scenario, he'd end up getting fourth billing, at best.  Behind the Rock and Kirsten Dunst's breasts.
  • Lex Luger missed a couple shows on the WWA tour a few days back, due to flu/illness... he is expected to be at 100% and able to work a show in Scotland this coming weekend, the one that is being taped to air as a pay-per-view here in the US in early 2003.
  • And speaking of non-WWE contributors to PPV wrestling, let's close with a quick run-down of tonight's NWA-TNA show...
    The big issue, of course, will be whether Jeff Jarrett is with or against Vince Russo.  Russo -- in the guise of Mr. Wrestling III -- helped Jarrett beat Ron Killings to win the NWA Title... but last week, Jarrett did not use Russo's assistance to beat Killings in a re-match.  Russo demanded to know if Jarrett was with him or not, but the show conveniently went off the air just before Jarrett could respond.
    Jarrett has no scheduled match, but will be present, and at the very least will cut a promo furthering this story.  Of course, Killings is also slated to be present, but is without a scheduled match, so who knows if this might end up in yet another showdown between those two, as well.
    Among the announced matches, the two that hold my interest the most are both (predictably) in the X Division... the top contenders' match is actually the most promising, as AJ Styles, Kid Kash, EZ Money, and Amazing Red will go at each other in a Double Elimination Match (you have to be beaten twice to leave the match).  Styles and Kash are just flat-out awesome, and Red and Money aren't far behind, so this could be spectacular.  And the X Champ Jerry Lynn will defend the division's title against Sonny Siaki; though Siaki is not an X-Pert (ha!  get it?), he's sound, and Lynn is an outstanding and versatile worker.  That match should be very good, too.
    Other matches:  Chris Harris vs. Brian Lee and James Storm vs. Slash; if Harris and Storm both win, they will wrestle an additional match, a handicap bullrope match against Lee and Slash's manager, James Mitchell...  and the Spanish Announce Team will take on Chris Devine and Brian Storm in a match to determine the #1 Contenders to Lee and Slash's tag titles.
    Scotty Szanto-Nicodemus will have the full details if you don't check out the show tonight.
  • That's it for me today... I'm back again on Friday! 


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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