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Contractual Obligation Theater...
March 7, 2003

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Well, it's Friday.  As usual, there isn't a whole lot of real news.  Plus, it suddenly seems like Friday's a good day for other columns here on the good ol' Double O, what with the launches of CtB and The Broad Perspective.  Also, there's the hangover...  it's a situation that begs for me to take the day off.   

But I did that last Friday.  And so, even though I'm too lazy to concoct on my my patented 10,000-word end-of-week OOpinion pieces, I am here to waste a few minutes of your valuable time.  But probably less of it than usual, what with the lack of subject matter and all.  Here goes:

  • I have absolutely zero complaints about last night's SmackDown...  well, unless you want to count the utterly pointless segment in the first hour that contained nothing but fluff about Playboy and Girls Gone Wild.  Note to WWE: tits have about the same appeal to me regardless of much you hype them.  I appreciate the information about when WWE-sanctioned tits will be made available, but found that 8 minutes of promotion did little to increase my pre-existing interest in tits. Please resume wrestling-themed programming, post haste.  Thank you.
    But other than that petty gripe, you had a kick-ass main event wrestling match with Team Angle vs. Benoit/Rhyno, you had a couple other good-but-short Cruiserweight matches, you had a satisfying decimation of Paul Heyman, you had a really good Hogan/McMahon promo.  But the one thing you didn't have: any clear-cut idea of where SD! is gonna go with the WrestleMania 19 main event title match.
    Since you can get a detailed recap of what went down on the entire 2 hour SD! broadcast right here, I'll just skip to the white meat: talking about the final segment in which Brock Lesnar earned the right to face Kurt Angle next week on SmackDown...
    Actually, watching things play out, I have to admit that the primary thought running through my head was: goddammit, Angle looks really good for a guy who is supposedly a near-cripple.  The headfirst shot into the cage (and subsequent what-looked-like-a-hardway crimson mask) was sick, and he was awfully active throughout the match for a guy who is on the medical equivalent of Orange Alert.
    I don't know whether to praise Angle for continuing to play an active role in storylines after being diagnosed with a serious neck injury, or if I should be entirely more selfish and cynical.  You know, something along the lines of questioning the possibility that the internet has turned Angle's medical status into something more severe than it really is, and insisting that he should retain the WM19 main event spot against Lesnar if he can put on a show like he did last night.
    A dream scenario:  the Fed flies a half-dozen doctors a day into Stamford until one tells Kurt, "You know, this ain't so bad.  You can wrestle one more match," and then next week, when everybody is expecting Angle to drop the WWE Title in a short, anti-climactic match to protect Angle's neck and that would never fly on the WM stage, you swerve 'em.  Angle shows up, claiming a severe neck injury that will keep him from wrestling, and offers to forfeit the title live in the ring; everybody in the know believes that this is what will happen, since Angle really is hurt, and this would protect the eventual Lesnar/Angle match for a PPV a year down the line.  Steph OKs it, and sets up some kind of minor ceremony in the ring in which Angle will surrender the title and Lesnar will be made the new champion.  When the main event rolls around, all the players are in the ring when Lesnar, off his guard, is suddenly blasted in the head by a belt-shot from Angle.  A brutal beatdown ensues to end the show, and it's revealed as nothing but a ploy by Angle and Heyman to avoid facing Lesnar twice in March.  Now it's Lesnar who is injured, and he is off TV for a week or two recovering (so that Steph cannot rebook the pre-WM match).  You give Lesnar a run-in beatdown on Angle on the SD before the PPV, and then at WM itself, an ultra-motivated Lesnar beats Angle and wins the title decisively.  And if the match is short and has to protect Angle's neck, so be it; I think by giving Lesnar this extra motivation, you can create the psychology that will explain the match being short and squash-ish.
    Of course, this will not happen.  But what was baffling is that they gave absolutely no hints as to what WOULD be the plan for the WM19 title match.  Hulk Hogan was discussed as one possible replacement, but they went full speed ahead with Hogan/McMahon, basically eliminating him from the equation.  Chris Benoit, the internet's replacement of choice, was part of a tag match that seemed to absolutely cement his role at WM (in a tag title match with Rhyno against Team Angle).  Two other guys who have recently been in the Title Hunt and who could be re-elevated, the Undertaker and the Big Show, are involved in their own thing with each other, and showed no signs of being distracted from it last night.  It's kind of baffling, really...
    I know I endorsed a heel-turning, roster-jumping Scott Steiner as my personal favorite choice to solve this problem on Wednesday.  And although I was half-joking and trying to find a creative way to mess with your heads, I honestly do think it would work.  A hell of a lot better than the babyface DUD-Zilla we've been treated to, so far, anyway.  In my heart of hearts, however, I'm with you all: Chris Benoit should get the shot.  Not only would he get the best match out of Lesnar, but I also think you could easily re-arrange the WM19 card (replace Benoit/Rhyno with Los Guerreros) to accomodate Benoit moving up to the main event.  And best of all, a possible angle with Rhyno could provide some killer material for this spring:  imagine Benoit/Rhyno are deemed the #1 tag title contenders, but then Benoit enters and wins some kind of match (or tourney) to determine the challenger for Lesnar at WM19.  Rhyno is pissed, turns heel on Benoit, and might even cost him the match at WM.  BAM!  Instant feud for the post-WM season, and it would rock.
    But with the Fed not tipping its hand at all on last night's SD!, I'm starting to think they've got something up their sleeve.  It would either have to be a roster jump -- and here, the Rock fits the bill perfectly -- or a free agent signing.  Of course, it goes without saying that the free agent everybody covets is Bill Goldberg.  Really, I like both my Steiner and Benoit scenarios better than anything Goldberg could bring to the table... but the fact is that Goldberg's been talking to WWE for months, and if anything could motivate both parties to compromise, it's the sudden opening at the top of the SD! roster.  WWE would get a main event player, and Goldberg would have a top spot on the WM stage handed to him on a silver platter.
    I don't want to say that it's a lock that Goldberg is coming in, but I am now forced to consider the very real possibility.  And if it does happen, I stand by my Fantasy Booking from Wednesday, in which the Rock comes over and gets the title shot at Lesnar, while a heel Goldberg (managed by Eric Bischoff) gets a WM19 match against Steve Austin.
    Oh, and while I'm thinking about it:  apologies if my Wednesday run-down of the Angle situation and possible replacements was confusing.  I originally had a paragraph about how Lesnar would likely get the title before WM19, which rendered my discussion of challengers to Lesnar quite sensible.   Then I realized that the sensitive types among you might view that "Lesnar wins the title before WM" mention as a spoilers for last night's SD!, so I deleted it and told myself I'd go back and find a more delicate way of explaining why I was assuming Lesnar vs. Mystery Man would be a title match at WM19.  Then I forgot to go back and do that.  I'm an idiot.
    In any case, with just three weeks to go before WrestleMania, we still have more questions than answers in the case of Kurt Angle's neck-injury-induced rumored-removal from the main event picture....  maybe we learn more next week.
  • The overnight rating for last night's SD! was a 4.3.  I don't know if that's up or down from the week before since, as outlined above, I didn't bother doing a column last Friday, and thus do not remember what overnight rating the show got.
    Not that it matters, since the final rating will likely be somewhere in the mid-3's, and that is the number that really counts.
  • I have it on good authority that "The West Wing" is considering Hulk Hogan for a guest role in an upcoming show.  Hogan would play a secret service agent in an episode that involves protecting Martin Sheen when there is a terrorist threat at the White House.
    Already, ex-NFL'er Willie Gault has agreed to be a secret service agent in this episode, and Hogan was slated to talk with the producers today, I think.
  • Also going back to Wednesday, when I mentioned that Jimmy Hart was at SD! tapings, but his motives were unclear...
    Well, it now seems that he's under consideration for a job at WWE.  Despite his involvement in various indie projects (including the XWF and a women's wrestling group that had aspirations of hitting PPV), he'd obviously prefer to use Hulk Hogan's stroke to get himself a job back with the Fed.  
    I have no doubts that an on-air role is out of the question for the Mouth of the South...  but Hart could be a valuable contributor to the Fed's original music development, and could no doubt fill a role as a road agent.
  • Alright, I think I'm about out of stuff to say...  unless you want me to succumb to a massive desire to vent about the bizarre and frustrating week of sports news that I've endured.  First the mess with St. Bonaventure, and now the resumption of trade talks surrounding Junior Griffey.  Oh, good lord...
    But I won't do that.  Instead, I'll simply tap out and see you again on Monday.  Buh bye.


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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