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RAW, Darwin Proved Wrong, SD! in 
South Africa, and Other Very Bad News...
March 3, 2003

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Hey, apologies for not writing a column on Friday...  but when there's nothing to talk bout, well, there's nothing to talk about.  And if, as a side effect, Jeb stole some thunder for Part 5 of the Obtuse Experiment, then so much the better.  That was some good reading.

Lack of subject matter is not gonna be a problem here kicking off the week, so let's hop to it:

  • Well, the Church has finally caved in during the past few years and forgiven Galileo...  but I'm know there are still a handful of folks out there who would soil their pants if they read something like "Evolution Sidetracked" in their daily news bulletin.
    Unfortunately for them, Charles Darwin's theory remains the most logical explanation for the development of life on this planet.  But pro wrestling's "Evolution," a faction just barely a month old, is facing an Extinction Level Event of its own.
    In the same match this weekend, both Randy Orton and Dave Batista suffered injuries that could potentially leave both sidelined on the order of months.  Batista's injury came first in the match against the Dudley Boyz, as he tore his triceps, but was able to continue the match in a limited capacity.  Later on, Orton injured his foot after landing awkwardly on a bump; he was unable to continue, the the wrestlers quickly improvised a finish. 
    The injuries took place on a Saturday night house show in a match that was not originally scheduled.  Orton and Batista were thrown into the match against the Duds because William Regal (concussion) was not deemed ready to return to in-ring action.  On Sunday, there were mixed signals as far as the severity of the injuries, but the consensus now is that Orton has broken bones in his foot and that Batista will require surgery to repair his muscle tear.  Both will be examined by Dr. James Andrews today, and a more accurate diagnosis should be available soon. 
    The pair of injuries leaves "Evolution" without much bite.  Arguably, 50-something year-old Ric Flair is now the healthiest member of the faction, as HHH still recovers from a deep thigh bruise.  A months-long hiatus for Orton and Batista doesn't just limit HHH's ability to send heel henchmen to take care of his business (in this case, a blossoming feud with Booker T), but it could also impact whatever was planned for Goldust's return (he had some nasty words of warning for the duo that electrocuted him last week).  [An aside: perhaps the best thing to do would be to just pull an "Edge" where Batista and Orton are shown face-down backstage tonight on RAW, the victim of some unseen atrocity that Goldust later claims responsibility for.]
    A month ago, Rhyno was considered a likely candidate for a fifth spot in "Evolution," but was shunted over to SD! when the group was deemed adequate as-is, and when Edge's injury opened up a spot.  If only they'd held off on Rhyno an extra week, I wonder if they might have re-thought that plan?
    Best of luck for full and speedy recoveries to both Orton and Batista.  Well, to Batista, anyway.  Orton, that lucky bastard, will probably be able to use this to do more RNN updates and get even more over as a heel.  It's just too bad that his perpetual injury status is -- unlike his dad's -- a shoot.
  • Tonight's RAW may be short-handed as far as HHH's heel faction goes, but that'll be made up for by the fact that The Rock and Steve Austin are both going to be on-hand to set up their feud heading into WM19.
    Rock has fired the first salvos, playing up some general whiny, jealous bitchiness over the fact that Austin was deemed "Superstar of the Decade."  Also, in a convenient twist of fate, it was Rock who got to cut the big anti-Austin promo the week after he left the company, which should provide more soundbites for the on-going feud.  Arguably the two biggest stars in the business today, Rock and Austin always work well together, and have ever since they first hooked up in 1997.  This iteration will once again see them in the initial roles they played back then, too:  Rock as a heel, Austin as a babyface.
    I can see Eric Bischoff interjecting himself into things, too... he can't be happy with the ass-kicking he got from Austin on PPV, and may sort of slide into the Mr. McMahon role as Rock's power-wielding benefactor.  Together, they can probably make life pretty tough for Austin.  Who might have Austin's back?  Well, I vote for the Hurricane!  Not only did he have a nice exchange with Rock last week, but you'll remember that it was an exchange with the goofy heel Austin that resulted in Shane Helms developing the "Hurricane" gimmick almost 2 years ago.
    Two other big programs move forward tonight: first, Booker T has won the WM19 title shot against Triple H.  HHH was absent from last week's show, but should be here tonight to chime in with his first thoughts about the challenger.  If he keeps it a strictly verbal beat-down on Booker, they'll be able to put off emergency back-up plans for Batista and Orton for another week, and that's pretty much what I'd expect.  For Booker's part, I'd say let him get a few words in edge-wise on HHH, and then feed him another pinfall win to keep his momentum rolling.
    As far as "emergency back-up plans" go, I don't want to get into a whole 12 paragraph fantasy booking thing going over all the options and half-way logical ways you might do it, but I've got four words for you:  Scott Steiner heel turn.  Discuss amongst yourselves.
    Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels is also on for WM19.  Lately, Jericho's had business with Test and Jeff Hardy distracting him, but at the end of the night, it always somehow boils back down to Shawn Michaels getting the last laugh.  Jericho -- who does have Christian as a tag partner -- is still short-handed in terms of going after all three guys in a six-man tag setting to kill time before the one-on-one versus Michaels at the PPV...  but there are enough iterations of tag matches and run-in that should keep things going for four more weeks.  [And if I said it once, I've said it, well, a half-dozen times, maybe: Kevin Nash may not be able to wrestle for another 4-6 weeks, but how about bringing back the "big ass bodyguard for an undersized big mouth" gimmick, and have him align with Jericho?  After WM when he's cleared, then it's a natural to have him blow through a feud with his doppleganger, Test, and maybe get into something against Michaels if HBK still wants to work.]
    Other issues: the guerrilla Dudleys may strike again and continue to foil the best laid plans of Chief Morley, somehow leading to their re-instatement; I still say Duds vs. Regal/Storm is the RAW tag division's money match for WM19...  Trish is back, and that means they can finetune the dynamic for the women's title situation heading into the PPV; Jazz is a heel, Trish is a face, but will try go a tweener route with Victoria?  Could work: on one hand, she's big and physical (boo!), but on the other, she's hotter than Jazz (yay!)...  
    Check out RAW tonight, or come on back tomorrow for results.  And satire.
  • The SmackDown crew completed a three-show tour of South Africa on Saturday night.  And initially, it looked like just about the biggest newsworthy tidbit from the tour would be that Rikishi actually got Chris Benoit to dance following a match at the Cape Town show on Thursday, there is now concern that the tour will eventually be known for something a bit more ominous.
    Kurt Angle began suffering some numbness/weakness in his arms, something that is known to be a symptom of severe neck problems.  Given that Edge started experiencing those symptoms about a month ago and is now slated for serious neck surgery next week, the warning signs in Angle are being taken very seriously.
    However, Angle still worked his matches as scheduled, and will not know if he's really in as bad a shape as Edge until being examined by a doctor following this week's TV tapings.  Angle, you may remember, has a history of neck problems (he actually qualified for the Olympics with a broken neck in 1996) and so this could be something related to that.  Or, given that Angle's frequently taking a lot of the same German Suplex bumps and whatnot that Edge was, it could be an injury similar to his (sort of a degenerative condition, and not the result of just one bad bump).  Or, who knows?  It could be something entirely different, and hopefully less serious. 
    I'd say it's definitely too earlier to be scratching off Angle/Lesnar at WM... given his position on the roster and his proven past at working through injuries, it seems like he'd do everything short of defying a doctor's order not to wrestle to meet his obligations at WM19.  But it's probably not too early to be hoping for some good news when Angle sees a doctor later this week.
  • And if wrestlers are dropping like flies, I guess it stands to reason that a decade-old PPV tradition should be set aside this week, too.
    Advance PPV schedules list June's WWE PPV as untitled/TBA.  For the past 10 years, June has been the King of the Ring tourney and PPV.  This year, which would have been KotR's 11th, an expansion of the brand split concept will result in the June PPV becoming a RAW-only event, and presently, WWE is not certain if they will retain the King of the Ring name and concept.
    The KotR crown has sometimes been the harbinger of future greatness for its mid-card winner... but has nearly as often been the first step in a major flop of a push.  Regardless, the once-a-year tourney concept is one that always seemed to appeal to smart fans, even if it never was a huge hit with the mainstream audience.
  • I think that's just about enough bad news for today...  here's hoping that things are looking up when I come at you again on Wednesday. 


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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