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RAW, Rating, More Jones, TNA, More...
February 5, 2003

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


If you've missed 'em, Spoilers are right here.  It's gonna be a good SD!, so maybe this is another week when you should lay off and enjoy the show...  but I ain't the boss of you.  Do whatever you want.

The rest of you, well, I don't want any trouble from the rest of you, so here's some news/opinion that won't explicitly spoil any surprises for Thursday night's show:

  • Monday's RAW did not impress me the same way as the previous week's did...  though still generally solid enough, it was a show that seemed maybe just off by a beat.  Maybe a tick too far into the "sports entertainment" realm for my tastes.  Good enough for government work, but not -- you know? -- ON.
    Main gripes: two "this is really real" stretcher angles in three weeks?  This really frustrates me, because Stacy's came first, which make Goldust's seem like the superfluous one.  But logically: Goldust's injury/electrocution at the hands of HHH's boys has a huge upside and real storyline potential, whereas Stacy's was just poorly acted and pointless (hell, she's already back, showing no ill signs!).  By wasting a quasi-shoot injury angle on Stacy, this thing with Goldust is spoiled to an extent.  Again, it baffles me that there is no a bit more forethought going into this sort of thing...  at least they realized that fans wouldn't sit through another 10 minutes of over-wrought pseudo-drama, and they kept the stretchering-out short.
    Let me pause here to spell out why I think the Goldust angle is one that has upside:  because simply put, it should now lead us to Triple H vs. Booker T as RAW's Title Match at WrestleMania.  Booker wants revenge for his buddy, which takes him right to HHH's "Evolved" faction; he climbs up the ladder till he reaches upper management, and by the RAW after No Way Out, HHH will have Booker T (and not Scott Steiner) to deal with.  This is a recipe for a non-sucky match at Mania!  The blanks are easy to fill in, and Booker will easily slide into that top level spot, I think.  
    Back to a gripe:  even when RAW did finally try to focus on some wrestling in a match longer than 5 minutes, they served it up in the form of Scott Steiner vs. Chris Jericho.  Which, as it turns out, is really only about two-thirds of a wrestling match.  Jericho tried, and Steiner did seem to be cardio-vascularly in the game the whole match... but I just cannot accept the shitty-looking nature of much of Steiner's ring work.  Just as a single example: at some point, mid-match, Steiner tried a simple move, an elbow drop, that looked positively awful.  No snap, no real attempt to even aim it realistically.  He just kind of flopped.  Now:  this was not as bad as it was versus HHH at the Rumble, and I don't want anyone getting the idea that I'm demanding Negative Stars or anything for Jericho/Steiner...  but what it was is indicative of a trend that now really doesn't look like it's gonna get much better:  Steiner has offense that is kind of half-assed, and his selling for an opponent is rigid and unconvincing.  He could probably kick 99% of the RAW roster's ass in a real fight, which is commendable; but the name of the game here is entertaining fans, and it doesn't sound like they're lining up to buy.
    Some stuff I liked:
    Booking RVD/Kane was a nice bit of business, and it seems to be taking the storyline between the two slowly to a place where I suggested it should go back a few months ago (i.e. to Kane getting pissed at RVD for being so easy-going, eventually turning heel on him).  But I also liked that at the end of the match, they reunited in a mission to make sure Jeff Hardy once again looked like a putz...  speaking of Jeff Hardy, his ultimate putz moment came when he telegraphed his attack on Shawn Michaels, only to eat the Sweet Chin Music.  Good segment there, with Shawn reprising his own past as a tag team wrestler trying to get noticed as a singles  (note to Shawn:  11 years ago, not 15... are you TRYING to make yourself seem older?)...  BTW, Jeff with his "I'm so complicated and delicate I could NEVER explain myself to you" bit has me thinking that a sign along the lines of "Jeff Hardy: WWE Diva" would go over huge if someone out there wanted to make one for an upcoming TV taping...  
    Speaking of divas:  the Molly/Victoria match was basically sent out there to die, since they're both heels.  Fans only perked up slightly when Jazz ran out and seemed focused on Molly, but also willing to start trash with Victoria, though the result may not have been what they were hoping for; no sympathy for Molly, but fans kind of seemed willing to back Victoria against Jazz.  Probably something to do with the hotness and the theme song by Russian lesbians, if you ask me...
    Booker T/Goldust vs. Storm/Regal was probably about as good as it got from a wrestling match perspective.  And like I said, the storytelling, especially with Booker and Goldust, was another highlight with huge potential for the future.  Sure Booker and Goldust lost and seemed content to go on with singles agendas, but if it ends with Booker T in a WM19 title match, all's cool with me...  the other tag match, the Dudleys vs. 3 Minute Warning (with Rico as a referee) was a pale recreation of Morley's screwing of the Dudleys in recent weeks; this one was just a bit more obvious, though.
    Eric Bischoff's Bogus Journey in Texas was, I thought, a really good idea.  Change it up with Sleazy-E, who till now, has been just an office-dweller for WWE.  Chasing Steve Austin around suburban San Antonio fits perfectly with Bischoff's motivation to get this deal done so he can save his job, and Austin screwing with him by being one step ahead at every turn is also perfectly in character, and a better way to tease fans with his non-presence then having Bischoff in a ring "inviting" Austin to show up in a few weeks' time.  Some of the comedy fell flat, but if this had been the only overly-long bit of non-wrestling on the night, it would have been good stuff.
    Alas, we also got a super-long Triple H promo, the purpose of which seemed to be to give his faction a name (since "Not the Horsemen" and "HHH and his Sycophants" weren't marketable)... in this case, HHH's buzzword was "Evolution," though I admit that does not sound like that cool a faction name, either.  Too reminiscent of The Revolution, for one... and two, HHH's explanation was REALLY stretched at times.  He even seemed to bungle lines when putting over both Batista and Orton; in the case of the latter, he quickly corrected himself with the "coal into diamond" analogy, but in the former, he just talked right through some gibberish about Batista being a "genetic stopper."  Huh?  That doesn't mean anything, Haitch.  Probably meant to be some reference to Steiner being a "genetic freak," but I sure as hell missed the point.  "Mission Statement" promos like that are generally best served up when you follow it up with decisive action; but "Evolution's" only action the rest of the night was to waste a few more vignettes up in a skybox, ogling the hot waitress.  Then they sent the lackeys -- oops, sorry, I meant "blue chip future superstars" -- down to electrocute Goldust; but that was only by accident and not a purposeful, forceful action by any stretch.  So the whole night (big promo and all) came off more like "Well, this here's all we can do with HHH hurt" than anything else.  At least, to me.
    Just a couple of holes that stood out to me as I watched... but then again, that's me doing what I do best:  being an Internet Asshole instead of just being a wrestling fan.  Your mileage may vary.
  • The rating for Monday's show came in as a 3.5, which is down over a half-point from the prior week.  For almost a month there, RAW was flirting with or exceeding the 4.0 barrier...  now, they are back down to more standard numbers this week.
    We'll see if they regain any momentum heading into No Way Out and WrestleMania....
  • WWE took note of that Aussie newspaper article that I linked in Monday's column, and posted a retaliatory interview (of sorts) with Jones on their own website.
    In it, Jones cops to the things that make him seem like a bad-ass, like the eight years in prison, the tearing cell doors of hinges, and that sort of thing... but he also downplays the original article's mention of his steroid abuse (saying he lied about using steroids to scare guards into worrying that he might fly into a roid rage) and his mammary gland removal (which he said was a standard/common procedure that had nothing to do with steroids or his breasts producing milk).
    Aw, dammit...  just when I was getting ready to champion the OO Message Boards' ideas to launch a "Nathan Jones: Got Milk?" campaign and to chant "Mil-ky Nip-pples (clap-clap-clapclapclap)" at him!
  • Sting's recent appearance on No Holds Barred resulted in a bit of a surprising revelation:  that he has not, contrary to most popular rumors, completely ruled out working for WWE.  
    He mentioned that he was in talks to appear at WrestleMania last year, but a deal wasn't finished in time.  He does note that he'd want to come back for a really killer storyline, and that he'd want a schedule where he worked only TV and PPVs (basically, the Hogan deal, and similar to what Goldberg's said to be stumping for).
    Also of note:  Sting called Jeff Hardy and Rob Van Dam his favorite wrestlers to watch today.
  • Speaking of guys revealing they've been invited to WrestleMania...  on The Best Damn Sports Show Period last night, Roddy Piper mentioned that he briefly considered playing the role of Guest Referee in a scheduled Hulk Hogan vs. Vince McMahon match at WrestleMania.  Apparently, he declined, as he went on to opine that he just hopes that Hogan and Vince just take each other out for real, since they're not contributing positively to the business anymore.
    In making the mention of Vince/Hogan being planned for WM, Piper gave more rub to WWE than he did to TNA, which went unmentioned for the duration of the interview.
    Piper's other topics included reliving some grand moments from the past, including the infamous coconut incident with Jimmy Snuka, and plugging his book "In the Pit with Piper."
  • WWE is going to be pushing the "SmackDown! Your Vote" campaign again really hard over the next year and a half leading up to the 2004 election... they had good success in registering young voters for 2000, and if that election showed us anything, it was that a single vote can come sort of close to making a difference.  At least, in Florida.  Not that they have a lot of young voters.  But I'm digressing.
    I mention it because I was directed to a recent article about the SD! Your Vote program that was notable primarily for the reason that the author -- obviously knowledgeable in the nuances of the squared circle -- noted that Jesse Ventura honed his debate skills against the formidable Gorilla Monsoon on "Prime Time Wrestling."  
    That's not the sort of minor detail you'd expect to see in something like The American Prospect. 
  • There are some rumors that Jonah -- apparently the star "ribber" from Tough Enough 3 -- might be the next TE loser to get signed to a WWE contract...  mostly just to keep him from appearing on rival shows (read: TNA) and using the exposure he got on TE3 to become a star for someone else.  True or not, the rumors persist, since he has already resumed training at another facility in Massachusetts.
  • Scotty Szanto-Nicodemus (you kids remember him, right?) let me know that FOX's "Boston Public" has had a character named "Vince Russo" on the show the past few weeks... basically, he's a slimy basketball recruiter for a school that would prep players for the NBA.
    In the end of the multi-week story arc, however, "Vince Russo" lost out, and the players decided to go with the non-slimy recruiter...  
  • Finally for today, some TNA preview for you....
    With audiences polarized, but growing, in the wake of Vince Russo's crash-TV style and SEX take-over attempt, fans have been treated to plenty of surprises in recent weeks, including the Rock 'n' Roll Express, Tony Schiavone, Konnan, Nikita Koloff, and Raven.  Some are one-shot deals, others are meant to stick around.
    You'll get to see who returns from that list this week, find out who might be tonight's surprise guests, and also see the continuation of established issues...  chief among those is what seems to be a three-way NWA Title feud brewing between rightful champ Jeff Jarrett, Raven (who stole the title belt two weeks ago, only to have Jarrett snare it back), and AJ Styles (who walked out of last week's show having stolen Jarrett's belt).  That could be some good stuff.
    Konnan and BG "Road Dogg" James both will get to talk and do some explaining about their allegiances...  Jerry Lynn vs. David Flair vs. Ron Killings vs. Mike Sanders is scheduled and should be good (once, ahem, it's down to three, anyway)...  Sonny Siaki defends the X Title against Amazing Red in what should be a really good match, too...  Lo Ki/Elix Skipper (representing SEX) will face Brian Lee and Slash in a tag title match... and with all the hype he's been getting following last week's dark match, I gotta wonder if TNA is determined to bring Tenacious Z -- who lost a leg to cancer as a kid, and now wrestles with a prosthesis -- out on PPV anytime soon...
    Check out TNA tonight, or come on back tomorrow for a detailed PPV report.
  • That's it, folks...  see you 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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