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RAW, WM19 Projections, SD! Rating,
Limp Bizkit, Tough Enough, More...
March 10, 2003

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Alright, so we got a few fresh things to talk about today.  Yeah!  I got sick of playing the "Who will replace Kurt Angle?" game every day last week... the end result is that sitting here on a Monday, playing the "What'll happen on RAW?" game seems FRESH and EXCITING by comparison!  
And of course, there are a few other morsels of info to spread around, too.  But all in due time:
  • Tonight's RAW is poised to follow up on last week's year-to-date best rating with another big show.  The very first main event feud of the badly-bungled Invasion Era -- The Rock vs. Booker T -- will be reprised on tonight's show, just with a reversal of roles.  Rock is now the hated heel, while Booker is riding a wave of popularity that just might end up with him wearing the Big Belt for the first time since the Rock took it from him in 2001.
    The match was sprung on us out of nowhere last week by Eric Bischoff.  Although he had, just the week before, sanctioned the Battle Royale that anointed Booker as the #1 Contender for the World Title at WrestleMania 19, Sleazy E interrupted The Rock last week to prevent him from accepting a WM19 challenge from Steve Austin.  Instead, Bischoff offered the Rock an option:  beat Booker T, and the WM19 title shot is his.
    So, of course, the Rock's first action after being presented with a way to wrestle in WM19's main event against Triple H (providing he could beat Booker T) was... to get into a brief brawl with Steve Austin, of course.  A brawl that should have suddenly become secondary to chasing the World Title, I'd have thought.  It's all very confusing.
    Now, there is a simple way to expect this to play out tonight... and then there are a ton of convoluted, complicated scenarios we could fantasy book.  The simple way:  just put Bischoff's motivation for shunting the Rock into the #1 Contender's match aside, and accept it as a plot device to set up Rock vs. Booker in a match that Booker will win.  In this scenario, they are just squeezing as many jobs out of the Rock as they can during the 2 months he'll be around... then Booker (with the Rock's rub) goes on to WM19 to beat HHH for the title, and Rock goes back to getting ready for a WM match against Austin.  Just a one week hiccup.
    Problem is, even as seat-of-the-pants as it sometimes seems WWE creative plans are, I refuse to simply sit back and dismiss the motivation for the match.  Bischoff's little bit of misdirection was done for a reason, and there's absolutely no standing explanation for why it would have to do with "punishing" Booker (which would then tie easily into the above "simple" solution).  So the part of my brain that refuses to accept the easy solution sees two directions for where this train is going:  (1) Bischoff is dead set on punishing Austin HIMSELF, and wanted to get the Rock out of the way (given the past in WCW and the more recent No Way Out thrashing, there is a basis for this)... or (2) Bischoff's up to something to help out champ Triple H now that HHH is without his out-injured "Evolution" faction (given that HHH somehow used his stroke with Bischoff to get the Booker/Steiner match signed last week, there is a basis for that relationship, too).
    From that platform, I could launch into convoluted schemes that involve roster jumps, WM19 line-up changes, Goldberg signings, Steiner heel turns, and even -- dammit! -- Kurt Angle's replacement.  I've got them all swirling around in my head.  But I won't bother dragging them out just now... because three weeks out from the biggest show of the year, the likeliest scenario is that we end up with Booker vs. HHH and Austin vs. Rock, after Austin runs in tonight to screw Rock in that match against Booker, and that's that.  No wacky shake-ups.  Probably.
    The one WM19 match that seems to be RAW's rock (in terms of "steady as a," and not "if you smell what he's cooking") is Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels.  I've been wanting to see this match-up for... well, many years, if I were to be honest.  But I've only believed it to be a viable possibility since about last November, when Michaels held the World Title and a feud against Jericho seemed like one hell of a good idea.  The build-up so far has been a masterpiece of slow-burn storytelling, with momentum really picking up lately.  Michaels was bloodied and issued the formal challenge for a PPV match last week, and you can be sure he retorts this week.  You can be equally sure that Jericho's running buddy, Christian, and HBK's associates-by-default, Test and Jeff Hardy, will be around to run interference and establish the pretext for any Michaels/Jericho confrontation, too.  [And it bears repeating that I don't care if he's cleared to wrestle or not, but a bodyguard-capacity-only Kevin Nash could be a very intriguing additional element in this story.]
    Another PPV-ready RAW storyline is that of the guerilla Dudleys crashing RAW due to their continued suspension at the hands of Bischoff and Chief Morley.  Morley's innate foolish bravado (a prerequisite for all "heels in charge," it seems) will end up getting the Duds re-instated in time for a WM19 title shot at Regal/Storm, I'm sure.  Last week, Morley beat Spike Dudley in a match that could have gotten the Duds re-instated, but I have a feeling his luck will run out if he keeps using that stipulation...
    The rest: GoldTwitch briefly appeared at the arena on last week's RAW, but didn't do anything other than freak out Three Minute Warning; I'm sure whatever was in the cards for the new take on Goldust has changed since the injuries to Orton and Batista, so we'll have to see where this goes...  there's no doubt that Trish vs. Jazz vs. Victoria is your WM19 women's match; where there is doubt is in whether or not they can find interesting enough way to work Jackie and Molly in for cameos to distract us from that obvious end result...  will The Hurricane get another chance to trade lines with The Rock?  Results have been very good in two previous exchanges; but maybe it's time for The Rock to meet mild-mannered Gregory Helms....  there was a time not too long ago when I'd have wagered money that the Rob Van Dam/Kane team would break up in time for the two men to face off at WM19; now, I'd be doubtful, except for the fact that I see no other really interesting way to work them onto the PPV card at this juncture...
    Check out RAW tonight, or come on back to OO tomorrow for a detailed recap.  And also for Matt Hocking's Satire.
  • While RAW is surging in the ratings lately, there has been no perceptible bump up for SD!... the final rating for last Thursday's show wound up being a 3.3 broadcast rating.  That's down a tick or two from the week before, but right about in line with where the show's been performing.
    Last week, RAW was actually seen in over a half-million more households than SD!, so although online fans might argue that nothing has changed in terms of which show is more consistently entertaining, it looks like Johnny Averagefanathome has turned around to give RAW the edge these past few weeks.
  • Several readers mailed in to say that Limp Bizkit's website has confirmed the band's participation at WrestleMania 19.  Oh, and good news, kids!  They won't be performing just the WrestleMania 19 Theme Song (helpfully entitled Hey, at Least it's not "My Way" to ensure that wrestling fans do not leap from high places in droves as the song enters heavy -- read: a dozen times per quarter hour -- rotation down the Road to WM)... they'll be playing TWO (2) monster hit jams!
    Honestly, if you're a reader of this page, and you're checking out the Official Limp Bizkit website, that's cool with me.  "To each his own," I say, and no hard feelings.  But you really ought to have known that sending me word that Limp Bizkit will be performing not once, but twice, at WM19 is only going to supply me with an excuse to once again talk about how utterly devoid of value and talent I find Limp Bizkit to be.  Unless you count Fred Durst being an idiot savant when it comes to the art of self-promotion.  Which I don't.
    But hey, Limp Bizkit at WrestleMania:  it's the perfect marriage of two pop culture phenomena that peaked several years ago!  On March 30, I'm gonna party like it's 1999!  Or possibly the first two-thirds or so of 2000!
  • Hey, another of my pet peeves may NOT be coming back to annoy me any time soon...  Ivory -- she is not, mind you, my pet peeve -- was signing autographs when tickets went on sale for the post-WM RAW in Seattle this Saturday morning.  And she was telling fans that she was not sure that there would be another Tough Enough.  Ah, Tough Enough, my old friend...  it sure would be a shame to see you go out without even a whimper.  There just aren't enough Reality Shows on TV!  Why doesn't MTV realize this?!?
    Pardon me while I shed a tear... you'd better get comfortable...  this could take a while...
    Actually, the only downside in the possible demise of TE is that Ivory is now sitting at home, doing nothing.  And she jokingly suggested to OO Reader "teamextreme77" as he passed through the line that fans should start a "Bring Back Ivory" campaign.  But since OO is already the online home of pro-Ivory propaganda (at least, when she's on a show other than Tough Enough and I can come up with a flimsy excuse to bring her up), I'll leave that project for somebody else, rather than continue to beat you over the head with my personal agenda...
  • WWE was here in Dayton last night, and I... didn't go.  A RAW brand house show just didn't do it for me...  maybe a live RAW or a SD! show, would have, but...  and it probably didn't help that I was in Self Medicated La-La Land by Sunday afternoon after waking up with debilitating back pain.  But that's another story.
    The story I meant to tell here was that some friends of mine went, and I talked to 'em last night after the show.  Small crowd, they guessed maybe 3500-4000 in an 8000-seat building (OK, they said, "less than half full" and I'm guessing the actual numbers), but those who showed up were really up for the show.  Also, there wasn't much of the -- shall we say -- "mixed reaction" during the Scott Steiner/Triple H main event that has been experienced elsewhere the last few weeks.  Leave it to Dayton to supply a crowd full of purebred redneck marks!
    The report: Hurricane beat Steven Richards in a good opener (Hurricane got a big pop, likely as a result of recent TV work with the Rock)...  Maven beat Rodney Mack...  Lance Storm beat Tommy Dreamer...  D-Von and Spike Dudley beat Chief Morley and Christian thanks to a run-in from Bubba Dudley...  Victoria beat Jazz and Trish Stratus...  Kane and Rob Van Dam beat Three Minute Warning in the night's consensus best match...  Chris Jericho beat Test in another good top-level match...  and in the main event, Triple H beat Scott Steiner in a match that was a lot like the No Way Out match they had (not all that great, but not as offensive as the Royal Rumble, either).  It seemed like the overall opinion was that the show was a very mild thumbs up: nothing too earth-shattering, but other than Storm/Dreamer, they said every match really had the crowd going, which was fun.
    Of note: William Regal did not work the show (or any shows this weekend), again as a result of the concussion suffered at the last PPV... and Booker T was heavily hyped in all advertisements for this show, but was also off the road this weekend.
  • I think that'll do it for today...  I ask for your help, as per the Monday custom, in terms of getting spoilers/tapings reports for publication on Wednesday.   Which leaves me with nothing left to say except:  bye, now.


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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