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RAW, Nash, Angle, Lita, and MORE!
April 14, 2003

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


A quick word about the forums before we start:  the IP banning that was instituted when the Forums made their comeback last week continues to affect some innocent folks.  I have gotten your e-mails and am trying to use the data at my disposal to figure out which blocks of IPs to free up to get you back in business; just hang with me, a little patience and everything will return to normal for you in time.

This problem will affect readers mostly in the DC/VA areas; once the IP data was available, it became an easy exercise to isolate that region as the home to our problem child.  Large blocks of IPs from a couple different area service providers were banned.  I'm sorry if that spurious move has left you without access to the Forums.  Like I said, I'm fine tuning the process, and do not simply want to eliminate IP bans until we can see if it's actually an effective way to keep out the riff raff.

The rest of you, go play in the Forums: I hear Jeb REALLY wants to get back to compiling Crashing the Boards!
Or better yet, hold off on that, and read on for some news to start your rasslin' week:

  • Tonight's RAW will, by necessity, be a deviation from the last two weeks.  There are no shocking surprises in store, for one.  [And yes, the irony of bemoaning the lack of surprises one week after we were clinically discussing said "surprises" as foregone conclusions before they actually happened is not lost on me.]
    And secondly, it is expected that neither the Rock nor Bill Goldberg will be present live on tonight's show.  Rather than travel to glamorous West Virginia, both guys will be featured in a pre-taped segment that should get us to where we need to be:  namely, to the part of the story where The Rock drops his chickenshit routine just long enough to actually accept a one-on-one PPV match against Goldberg.
    While I'm sure it'll be entertaining (Rock did some funny pre-tape stuff with Hogan two months ago, so it can work), there is the intangible factor of whether or not the lack of live, in-arena presence will hurt the segment or the show's overall atmosphere.  Ah, I don't know: "hurt the overall atmosphere" might be a little strong...  but you know what I mean, right?  [Hey, on the upside, at least this means there will be a week for whatever did or did not happen between Goldberg and Jericho to cool off!]
    So if the Rock and Goldberg are relegated to 10 minutes of tape, who carries the live show?  That task likely falls to the RAW brand's #2 feud...  luckily, it involves six men, so there's plenty of it to go around.
    And one of those six is the returning Kevin Nash, who should take the opportunity tonight to let us in on his agenda.  A little "hey, how you doin'" promo should address his status with Triple H (which was uncertain at the conclusion of last week's RAW), clue us in on just how much of "Diesel" (besides the theme song) he's reprising, and finally, set up a six man PPV match (Nash/Michaels/Booker T vs. HHH/Jericho/Flair).
    Given the fact that Michaels, Flair, and Nash are all something less than full-time workers, I'm dubious about whether we'll see any singles or 2-on-2 matches play out leading up to the PPV.  But then again, these six worked tag matches on mere house shows this weekend, so who the hell knows what kinds of schedules they'll keep?  A case could also be made that you should save back Nash's first TV match for the PPV so that it can generate some casual interest buys; that case is easily debunked, however, as we've all seen Nash's ring work before.  That isn't where his charm lies.
    Feud the Third for RAW is the big mess they've made in the tag division;  actually, the barely-organized chaos is sort of endearing in a way.  I mean, at least they've got guys I mostly like working these stories.  So Kane and Rob Van Dam are your champs, but RVD's acting more and more like a prick, and they only won the titles after Kane tried to break up the team, only to agree to one last match (in which they just so happened to win the titles).  Chief Morley, with his partner Lance Storm, wields an indeterminate amount of power from his vaguely-defined position, and in pursuit of the tag gold that he awarded himself about a month ago, provides the pure heel element here.  But then the puppets Morley is mastering are the Dudley Boyz, who are presently doing Morley's bidding, but only because they want to keep their jobs; at the same time, they seem to find the jobs they do for Morley to be detestable, although they also find themselves wanting to get their hands on the gold belts.  You may think I'm off my rocker, but even as their act enters its fourth year without substantial change, the Duds are still way over and are the money team for the RAW tag division; I see more teases of full-heel status, but once Kane/RVD implode, they'll show their true (babyface) colors and get themselves some of that tag title glory.
    It looks like the women's feud of the month is going to end up being Trish Stratus fending off another challenge from Victoria.  It also seems like that's been the choice for women's feud of the month mostly just because it means Trish has to deal with Steven Richards at the same time as Victoria, which in turn means that Jeff Hardy can cart his hanky-sporting ass out to help Trish and to try to convince the rest of us that he's found that one special girl in the whole wide world who DOESN'T signal her attraction to him by issuing forth a high-pitched pubescent squeal.
    Other stuff:  Test and Goldust seem to be together in the same car, headed for a bad place; I guess snitching out two-timing louts is the best thing they could come up with for Goldy's as-yet-unnamed affliction?...  Scott Steiner has spent the last two weeks pounding down Chris Nowinski, and doesn't have a whole lot else on his radar screen just now; I am not complaining as long as it tops him out at about 3 minutes per show...  it seems like both Steve Austin and Jim Ross will be missing in action this week; but knowing that the latter is integral to keeping Jerry Lawler in check in the name of providing commentary that does not make you want to puncture your own eardrums, and knowing that these two likely return as a package deal to undermine the power of Eric Bischoff, this is a dormant storyline you might want to keep an eye on; it could revive at any time.
    Check out RAW tonight, or come on back to OO tomorrow for full results and analysis.
  • This is straight out of the "Oddly Enough" file... literally.  It was the top story in the "Oddly Enough" section when I was on Yahoo earlier today doing my daily scan of current events!
    The Great Sasuke has been elected to his local assembly in the Iwate prefecture, some 300 miles north of Tokyo.  "OK, big deal," I hear you complaining, "Jesse Ventura got elected frickin' GOVERNOR here in the States."
    True, but Jesse did not put himself on the ballot as "The Body," and at no point wore feather boas while governing in Minnesota.  But contrast, the real-life Masanori Murakawa campaigned exclusively under his ring-name and while wearing his trademark mask.  Now, he claims, he will continue to wear that mask when he shows up to work in the realm of Japanese politics.
    That claim was offset by traditionalists -- to be expected, I gather, from a fairly conservative group like Japanese politicians tend to be -- who actually want to look into the appropriateness and perhaps even the legality of Sasuke wearing the mask while legislating.  I can only wonder what they think of Sasuke's other bold claim that he would display his "superabundant power" in the halls power just the same has he did in the wrestling ring.  
    US wrestling fans should be familiar with Sasuke... at the very least, they should remember his name.  As the head of Japan's Michinoku Pro wrestling organization, he worked out a co-promotional deal with ECW in 1997 that resulted in a show-stealing six-man MichPro tag match being featured on ECW's first PPV.  That exposure then led to the WWF taking notice of Sasuke; they flew him over for a couple of shows later in 1997, hoping that he'd catch on and that perhaps they could use him as a tent pole for a new Light Heavyweight division.  Instead, it was Sasuke's hand-picked opponent, TAKA Michinoku, who got over with audiences, and earned a WWF contract.  TAKA remained under contract for about five years, and other MichPro talent also got shots with the WWF, including the still-employed Sho Funaki.  To think... I owe the very existence of my precious Kaientai "EVIL" t-shirt to the newest member of the Iwate general assembly.  Weird.
    You can check out the full story on Sasuke's election right here.
  • Both RAW and SD! returned to house shows this weekend after a brief post-WM siesta...  and both brands delivered something notable.
    Kevin Nash and Shawn Michaels both worked six-man main events over the weekend.  For Nash, it's significant because it was his first real in-ring work in almost a year.  For Michaels, it's significant because it's a deviation from his public stance that he is really only capable of working once every month or two.
    And he didn't just hide in the corner and let other guys do the work; Michaels wrestled long stretches, even playing the Ricky Morton role extensively in a Roanoke match that OO Reader Robert Luzaire estimated at 30 minutes long (counting some killer pre-match heel mic work by Jericho and HHH, anyway).
    A SD! brand show last night in Montgomery, AL, was newsworthy for something not quite so positive: John Cena needed to be helped to the back following his main event loss to Brock Lesnar.  I got two semi-conflicting reports as to the possible severity of the incident, so I'll just pass them both along.  One report said that after an F-5, it seemed like they did a quick finish and Lesnar left to let officials check out Cena, who needed to be helped from the ring by two guys.  The other said it was a post-match F-5 (after Lesnar had already pinned Cena) that left Cena laying, and that the crowd was split on whether or not Cena was really hurt or just selling the bonus F-5 (especially after no medical personnel, only WWE road agents, came to the ring to check on him).  I'm sure the best course of action at this point is to just wait and check out Cena's performance against Chris Benoit on TV this week, and that'll tell us how badly (if at all) he had his bell rung.
  • Also of interest with regards to Nash:  he's on booking sheets main eventing RAW brand house shows in May against Triple H.  Main event title shots after just one month back with the company?  CLIQUE!!!  POWER PLAY!!!  AH, POLITICS!!!!  THE VANILLA MIDGETS WILL NEVER GET A FAIR SHOT!   GLASS CEILING!!!!   AAARRRRRGGGGHHH!!!!!!!!!
  • Kurt Angle's surgery Friday went off without a hitch, and everybody projects a return to action in about 6 weeks.  "Wow," is about all I can say to that.  You never want to say "Congratulations" to someone because they've suffered a serious neck injury, but I think it's safe to say Angle's feeling lucky that the chips fell the way they did.  Here's hoping his recovery continues on pace and without any complications!
    If we can't isolate the reason for the neck injury epidemic the last few years -- and far be it for me to point my having-never-taken-a-serious-bump finger at two dozen Germans per match -- perhaps we can at least look at Angle as the first of the "next generation" of neck injuries that don't require the fusion surgery and year of recovery time.
    And as word filters out that Angle is looking to be on schedule for a return inside of two months, probably the least original sentiment on the entire internet is "Sucks to be Edge."  On one hand, I don't want to pile on with how unfortunate the timing worked out for Edge... but on the other, we shouldn't lose track of the fact that there's another guy out there dealing with a neck injury, and dealing with it the old way.  The hard way: sitting at home, watching wrestling on TV, and writing occasional columns for the internet.  
    Hey.  Waitaminute... this ain't so rough!  Just kidding: a big ol' "Get Better" (and a bonus "Hopefully This Ordeal Hasn't Left You TOO Bitter") goes out to Edge, too. 
  • While we're assessing this year's spate of neck injuries, I guess it's as good a time as any to take a look at the status of last year's.  Of course, Rhyno's already back inaction...  but both Lita and Scotty 2 Hotty went down about a year ago, as well, and are getting set to return after having rehabbed from the old school Dr. Youngblood surgery.
    Lita's now looking at a June return to active duty, at which point, she'll find herself faced with a women's division that has developed nicely in her absence.  There will be plenty of opportunities for her to come back and have good matches against capable opponents.  Or, given the curse of the last few Heat color commentators, she could be wallowing in TNA by August...  or maybe not:  much as I like 'em, Raven and D'Lo never moved thousands of DVD, poster, and magazine units just by donning thongs in all kinds of different exotic locales!
    Scotty's status is less clear.  I gathered that his procedure was actually more involved than others, and only generally remember hearing that he was hoping to get everything back on track by this summer.  I'd hope that's still the plan.  Damn you, WWE.com, for taking away the Ross Report!
  • Final rating for last week's SD! was a 3.2, which is down yet a couple more ticks from where the show had been performing.  Looking at RAW's recent trend, we can extrapolate that Goldberg does not Equal Ratings; and now, it seems, we can write off Roddy Piper as a Major Draw.  
    Oh well...  on the bright side, they're SURE to finally turn to King Kong Bundy, Hillbilly Jim, and those midgets to settle that unfinished business from WrestleMania 3, now that all else has failed!  What do you mean three of the midgets are dead?!?  Damn you, Bundy!
  • I talked briefly about the XWF PPVs last week... still haven't seen them (or anything about them) on my system.  But then again, I haven't been looking, either.
    Long story short: they'll be pasting together another PPV -- to air in May -- from the footage they taped back in the Fall of 2001.  Then, the group hopes, they'll return to Universal Studios for fresh tapings this summer.  Probably headlined by Bundy vs. The Surviving Midget, with a scheduled air date of February 2007... but hey, it'll be worth the wait, right? 
    I also don't know what, if any, involvement Jimmy Hart still has with the group... obviously, Hogan wouldn't be available to the XWF this time around, but without Hart, they'd even lose out on the tenuous drawing power of the Friends of Hogan...
  • Some e-mails this past week have talked at me a bit about the Grenier/DuPree tag team...  we've all seen the vignettes, and it's pretty obvious that they're just trying to play on American nationalism to get these two over as heels.
    And I've had two different types of people tell me that this is a poorly-chosen course of action.  One type (and I think this is the one that's also spoken out on the OO Forums) feels like it's a cheap and one-dimensional way to portray the new team.  The other thinks it's disrespectful or inappropriate given the current political climate as it regards France.
    With all due respect, I think my official stance is gonna be, "Let's do this."  The former group of opponents has lost track of the simple fact that you can't, at any time, overestimate the wrestling audience.  "Cheap" heat, you say?  Please tell me what in the blue hell it was when Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin became "Team Angle"?  Kurt Angle's not quite France, but his theme song has a good beat and you can chant to it.  Point being, cheap or not, by-association or not, heat is heat, and this gimmick should work.  And then comes the litmus test: if, after getting the cheap heat, Grenier and DuPree can perform in the ring like Team Angle (I'm not so clear on if that's feasible, as neither has worked developmental territories that I get to see), they'll start to get over on other merits.
    And the second argument:  I dismiss it completely.  Look, I've been deeply annoyed by the French for as long as I can remember, and I suspect you're the same.  They were spineless, rude twits before this latest tiff, and they'll be spineless, rude twists long after we've forgotten this latest tiff.  If we've recently had reason to be reminded that France is, at best, a fourth rate world power pining for the days (some 200 years ago) when their opinion was not quite so inconsequential, well, I can't help that.  It's still a good and easy stereotype to hate, and I don't get the feeling that it's pressing any "hot buttons" at all.
    Now, Nowinski's speech last week...  he actually didn't say a whole lot that you could disagree with: it is his right to speak his mind and blah blah blah.  But THAT struck me as an utterly inappropriate attempt to make a wrestling angle socially relevant.  There's no need for wrestling stories to be relevant; the last time we tried that, we ended up with Sgt. Slaughter as an Iraqi sympathizer, and we all remember how badly that sucked.  Plus, maybe it just annoys me that when ripping villains from the headlines, WWE chose to include a free-speaking American along with the always-detestable French.  It just doesn't work for me; they are simply not equals.  Unless, maybe, you get Michael Moore to come in and play the role.  What was Miller's line about him last week on Conan:  something about how in this great country of ours, it's Moore's sacred right to be so completely and totally wrong?  Pure gold...
  • Late update:  in the time it's taken me to write this, the Forums went from fixed-but-with-IP-banning-problems to broken-just-like-last-week.  I have no fucking idea what's going on, but I promise you I have a fully functional back-up of the repaired forums from after my repairs last week, and there will be no three-day down-time.
    Anybody know XMB well-enough to know what the cause could be for "Got Error 134 - from table handler" messages in certain forums, which would then, within an hour turn into "Can't open file 'xmb_threads.MYT. (errno: 145)" messages on EVERY page on the boards.  Drop me a line if you have any clue. 
  • Wednesday, I'll be back with Spoilers, mid-week news, and hopefully a fully restored Message Board.  See you then.



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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