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SD!, D'Lo, Tenacious Z, and Other
Weekend News...
February 14, 2003

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Happy Valentine's Day, folks...  not that I ever find myself in need of extra motivation to eat candy or be one damn smooth operator.  Those are things that just come naturally 365 days a year. 

That said, I'll spare you the pain of a Valentine with a picture of Albert and the caption "I Ch-Ch-Choose You" (get it, because he's a TRAIN?!? HA!), and just get on with the rasslin' talk:

  • The Blueprint for a Successful SmackDown! was followed again this week:  Five good-or-better wrestling matches, some superb work building up the Angle/Lesnar storyline, and all the minor issues were either pretty funny or otherwise entertaining.
    No one match stood out head and shoulders above the rest, but I'll go out on a limb and say that I liked Haas/Edge just a tick better than Benjamin/Eddie.  Defying all conventional wisdom, Benoit/A-Train was the next best match of the night, with good psychology and intensity.  Just below those, both Mysterio/Hardy and Lesnar/Cena were good, too.  That makes two good matches Cena has had with Lesnar, something that bodes well for future PPV main events (I'm guessing by 2005-ish).
    The show-ending confrontation between Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar was also really good.  Maybe it wasn't quite Hogan/Rock from last week, but it was face-to-face, and it did go a long way to building up their eventual one-on-one match as something major.  It's one thing for a subset of smart fans to have penciled it in as a Dream Match; it's another to actually get the masses to see things the same way.  
    I have no real faith that we'll actually see Lesnar vs. Angle next week for free on SD!... but now I do have faith that they'll be doing a sweet job teasing us, making the WrestleMania match between them into something special.  Some sort of weasel-y antics from Angle to get out of the match next week will even put some heat on the No Way Out six-man tag match in which Lesnar and Angle will be on opposite teams.
    Even the two matches that I did not list as good ones served their purposes...  Nunzio vs. Rikishi introduced the team of Chuck Palumbo and Johnny Stamboli; call them "FBI2" or "The Family" or whatever, it's still an effective pairing that gives two otherwise dormant talents something to do...  and Torrie vs. Dawn Marie supplied the monthly dose of titillation, and also provided the backdrop for hyping upcoming Playboy and Girls Gone Wild appearances for Torrie (and also gave Tazz a chance to entertain us with some hilarious tongue-in-cheek commentary).
    It was good to see Kanyon back on TV, though I wish his return did not have to include the sick chairshot to the head.  Ouch.  Here's hoping that future weeks see more of the good matches and hilarious promos Kanyon's known for, and fewer incidents of getting whacked in the face with chairs.
    But I can save my breath here, and just summarize thusly:  for the second week in a row, I think SD! was really outstanding.  And if you want more details than that, I'm gonna refer you to the OO SmackDown! Recap.  Some of you will recognize the new guy... others of you won't (but trust me, he does a bang-up job).
  • The overnight rating for last night's SD! was a 4.2.  That's up an insignificant one-tenth of a point from last week's overnight number.  We'll have word in Monday's column about the final rating for the show...
  • By the way, next week's SmackDown! is looking like a monster.
    Even if it's not the PPV caliber one-on-one match people might hope for, something cool will go down with Angle and Lesnar.  And on top of that, it'll be The Rock's first show back, live and in the arena.  And Hulk Hogan will be there, too.  Should be big.
    It's enough to make me thinking driving two hours over to Indianapolis is a good idea...  except that I have to be here in Dayton that night, since my band's playing.  Damn.
  • NWA:TNA is reporting that Tenacious Z -- real name Zachary Gowen -- has left the group to sign with WWE.  Z has appeared on the last two TNA PPVs, wrestled a dark match at the TNA taping the week before that, and prior to that was a completely unknown Michigan indie wrestler.
    If you missed my past mentions of him, you may be wondering why Z got singled out for the meteoric rise from obscurity to a WWE contract...  well, it's pretty simple: the guy's got one leg.
    He comes to the ring with a prosthetic leg, takes it off, and proceeds to deliver drop kicks, moonsaults, and a full arsenal of moves.  It's really pretty amazing.
    I've only seen one of his matches, and I have to admit that one of my first thoughts was "I wonder why WWE hasn't signed this guy."  I mean, even if you're a cynic and note that the novelty of Z's act might wear off after a few weeks or months, you gotta admit that there is some serious short-term upside to signing the proverbial one-legged man in the ass-kicking contest.  The mainstream press oughta eat this up...
  • There's some pretty solid buzz going around that D'Lo Brown is going to be released from WWE in the near future... it's basically one of those deals where the Fed is not going to roll over D'Lo's existing contract when the next review period comes up.
    I don't want to get into a whole big thing here, but allow me to opine, "Boo, WWE, Boo."
    On the other hand: D'Lo, Killings, you do the math.  They could tear shit up in TNA.
  • A few readers mailed in to say that "Joe Millionaire" (otherwise known as Evan Marriott) was on the Howard Stern radio show this morning.  He mentioned that he was contacted by WWE a few months ago, and briefly considered doing a short-term angle with the company (he would have worked with Ric Flair, only to turn on him at the end).  But, he said, the timing just wasn't right, and he declined.
    I wonder if the timing will suddenly be right when he goes from mild celebrity to forgotten has-been within two nanoseconds of the completion of "Joe Millionaire"?
  • Rhyno, who had been scheduled to return to house show action this weekend (with the RAW brand, teaming with Batista against RVD and Kane), is no longer listed on cards for the RAW brand's Michigan swing this weekend.
    Don't know what that means for speculation that Rhyno would (a) be joining the RAW roster and (b) might ally himself with HHH's "Evolution" faction.
    Speaking of HHH, he IS listed as competing on RAW house shows this weekend, despite original word that he'd be out of action until next weekend's PPV due to a thigh injury.  Scheduled main events pit HHH and Batista against the "All Michigan" team of Rob Van Dam and Scott Steiner.
    Also odd:  Redd Dogg is listed as appearing on RAW brand shows this weekend...  his absence from SD! this week makes me wonder if the partnership with John Cena is over already.  Maybe Bisch and Steph did a straight-up Redd Dogg for Stamboli trade?  
  • Autopsy results for Curt Hennig will not be released for about 6 weeks...  his cause of death will remain a mystery (and probably a matter of much speculation) until then.
  • And with that, I'm finished for this week.  Enjoy the weekend, and I'll see you again on Monday.


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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