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RAW, Booker, WWE Euro Tour,
Liz/Luger, and Other Monday News
May 12, 2003

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Yeah, so I took Friday off.  I gave myself a birthday present, so deal with it.  The best part is, much like some of our greatest presidents, I also get to have an "observed" birthday different from my actual one (due to the vagaries of travel plans of certain family members)!  I may be able to rationalize taking THIS Friday off, too!

Who'd've thought being spectacularly lazy could be this much fun?

  • Alright, on with the show...
    Tonight's live RAW is in Philadelphia, PA.  And while the two years that have passed since the demise of ECW might mean less bones thrown to "extreme" fans, the fact is that Philly's a tough town.  In terms of bizarro fan behavior, they are not that far behind our beloved Canadians.
    Will "Diesel" still "Suck" this week?  How will Goldberg fare?  Might the Philly fans muster up some hatred for Scott Steiner even as the Fed tries to hide him on the undercard?  We'll have to see...
    The big selling point tonight: Goldberg versus Christian inside a steel cage.  For the past two weeks, Christian has been the closest thing to a ringleader that the group of mid-carders who have tormented Goldberg has had.  Each time, he escaped Goldberg's clutches, leaving someone else -- be it Steven Richards or 3 Minute Warning -- to take his lumps for him.
    At the command of Steve Austin, however, Goldberg gets Christian all to himself, and inside of a steel cage, no less.  Cage or no cage, this actually seems like a situation ripe for additional tomfoolery: Goldberg has no other PPV-ready feud for Judgment Day in six days...  which means that actually using tonight's RAW to decisively blow-off his issue with Christian would be a bad play.
    Better to use Richards and 3MW or others to help Christian once again escape.  Or better yet, a reader-suggested idea: in the opening seconds of the bout, Goldberg tosses Christian into the cage... but the "Massive Power" of Goldberg causes the cage to break.  Think Big Show's 1999 debut.  Freed from the cage (and the winner by virtue of getting to the floor first... since they don't seem to be playing up The Streak at all), Christian takes advantage of his superior foot speed to again escape Goldberg.  Perhaps Richards and 3MW pounce and take some licks to close the segment.
    Then, at the PPV, you can do the Goldberg/Christian blow-off for real.  Maybe even includes Richards and 3MW to make it more of a gauntlet-style thing, with Christian getting the last shot.  It's better use of Goldberg than just blowing off this feud tonight, leaving him with nothing for the PPV.
    The one really top-level PPV feud heading into this Sunday is Kevin Nash challenging Triple H for the World Title.  But of course, a lot of fans are revolting against this push of Nash, calling him too old, too slow, too broken down.  So although it's a main event in name, the truth is that the Fed's got some convincing to do before it's so in practice.  I think it's kind of ridiculous, personally, the way people are savaging the Nash/HHH match before it even happens... I mean, I had my suspicions about HHH/Steiner, and I didn't hesitate to mention them before the match; but I still waited until after they ACTUALLY WRESTLED before crucifying anyone.
    Remember Goldberg two weeks ago?  From getting booed at the PPV to being the top babyface on RAW in under 24 hours?  Well, I'm not saying that WILL happen with Nash... but the possibility at least exists that someone will figure out how to flip the Diesel Switch into the On Position, recreating a little of that 1994 ass-kicking vibe that catapulted Nash to main events to begin with.  If they do, then Nash and HHH are capable of having a very presentable match on PPV.  If they don't, well, then I'll have my work cut out for me coming up with something as clever as "DUDZilla" for Nash...
    Without knowing what they plan to do with Goldberg at the PPV, and knowing that fans are already lining up to criticize HHH/Nash, that leaves the Revival of the InterContinental Title in a RAW Brand Battle Royal as perhaps the most intriguing of this show's contributions to Judgment Day.  I know we ran the entire scenario through the wringer last week, but just to recap: with HHH/Nash involved in the title match and with Austin/Regal unfit to compete, that leaves 9 guys -- MAX -- to compete.  That's not much of a battle royal, but hey, it's quality, not quantity, right?
    Out of that 9, two are the tag team champs, RVD and Kane.  Unless they make some move tonight to get the titles off them (I propose starting a new temporary era of "superteams" to re-establish some interest in the belts... Flair/HHH, Michaels/Nash, and Goldberg/Booker would all be viable teams), there just isn't going to be a very interesting tag title feud for them at the PPV.  So I say let them enter the battle royal; in fact, you can play up their joint singles agendas perhaps getting in the way of their tag team commitments.  I think one of RVD and Kane should go heel at some point this summer, anyway, so...
    Out of the remaining 7, two are Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels, who have enough of a standing issue to easily be the stars of the match if they spend significant time working together.  Michaels is on the periphery of the Nash/HHH thing, but lacking anything specific to do in their feud, this IC battle royal is where he should be on Sunday.  Along with giving us a little something between RVD and Kane, I'd like to see these two cross paths tonight as a way of building a little steam for the PPV battle royal.
    Of the five other guys, one is Christian.  As I outlined above, I'd actually rather see him be booked into something with Goldberg for the PPV.  But I suspect with so few former IC Champs available, they'll want Christian's warm body filling up the ring in the battle royal.  My worst fear: Goldberg still hasn't gotten his revenge on Christian, and crashes the Battle Royal, leaving all 9 contenders lying.  It's something I can see them wanting to do, and something that might even be halfway effective under slightly different circumstances... but not if you want that IC belt to mean anything besides "the belt that Goldberg could have in 20 seconds if he ever deemed it worth his troubles, which it isn't because he doesn't like dealing with mid-card jabronies" as it returns from the dead.
    Out of the four remaining possible entrants, one if Chief Morley.  And as it stands now, he's fired.  I suspect -- again in the name of getting warm bodies out there -- that situation will be addressed tonight.  The other three guys are Test, Goldust, and Lance Storm... out of them, only Test has anything resembling a serious standing storyline (friction with Steiner over their forced pairing at the behest of Stacy), and it's not one that I can see adding alot to this battle royal situation tonight.  They could also fill things up with a couple surprise returns:  Billy Gunn, for instance, is ready to go and is a jump to RAW away from participating.  I STILL vote for getting SD! involved in this somehow; Rikishi and Piper, especially, would make a lot of sense if they got involved (issues with each other, PLUS Piper/Jericho has been simmering).
    The last major thing sure to develop further on RAW isn't moving towards a PPV match... it's the battle for control between co-GMs Steve Austin and Eric Bischoff.  Austin seemed to have the upper hand last week, what with all the office re-arranging and beer bashing.  But to keep the angle viable, you need to counter that with Bischoff having good weeks every now and again.  Tonight's as good a night as any to let Bischoff get some of his heat back by being something other than a blustering, impotent prop for Austin.
    Other stuff:  they're insane if they don't give Tommy Dreamer something to do tonight...  and I don't know what the plan is now for the Dudleys, but if there is one, again, tonight is the night to get it started (in Canada, you serve 'em up Lance Storm; in Philly, you give 'em Extreme cast-offs; and no, Lance doesn't count, since I'm sure Philly remembers that he throws the wimpiest chairshots of all time!)...  Jazz vs. Trish is still the standing issue in the women's division, but they can't just keep recycling that match every week; it almost seems like mixed tag (Jazz/Mack vs. Trish/???) would be preferable over straight women's tag matches in terms of keeping this fresh;  hey, maybe you rest Trish and spend a month or two seeing if Victoria/Richards vs. Jazz/Mack would click?
    Check out RAW tonight, and come on back for results and satire tomorrow here at OO...
  • One guy who is listed as "Questionable" for tonight's RAW:  Booker T, who was hospitalized with flu-like symptoms over the weekend and missed a pair of house show bookings.  As of this writing, it was unclear whether he'd be sent home to recover fully or if he'd try to make it to RAW tapings in Philly, even if just to be present in a non-wrestling role.
    This marks the second time in the last six months or so that Booker's been hit hard by illness like this.  This time, however, he got sick visiting locales no more exotic than central Pennsylvania...
  • At the shows where Booker was scheduled to face Chris Jericho in the semi-main event, the Fed covered by having a special edition of Jericho's "Hi-Lite Reel"...  on both shows, it was Hurricane (who'd worked previously on both cards) who came out to banter with Jericho.  And on both shows, after they ran through some Grade-A low-brow comedy about relative penis size, Hurricane actually scored surprise pinfall victories over Jericho (total elapsed time of both matches was like, under 10 seconds).
    Jericho then tried to call Hurricane back for an instant rematch, but Hurricane was happy to leave with his Element of Surprise wins.  Most reports made Hurricane sound like the break-out star of the shows, and that fans really bought into him going from working a curtain-jerking prelim match to working with Jericho on the same card.
    All RAW brand shows over the weekend were also headlined by Nash vs. HHH, with HHH alternating between pinfall and DQ wins over his Clique buddy.  We'll just call the reviews "mixed," since at this point, I have no idea how much of the criticism is deserved and how much is knee-jerk, fit-in-with-the-crowd smarkism.
  • While RAW was encamped solidly near the Fed's Northeastern stronghold, the SD! roster was traipsing around overseas.
    In the UK, the Fed served up a heavily-rotating slate of matches, with a different main event practically every night.  The common thread:  besides the opening night in Scotland (headlined by Big Show vs. Brock Lesnar), Rikishi was involved in the main events.  Apparently, the European crowds haven't gotten tired of fat guys dancing, yet, so that was how the Fed booked the shows to conclude.
    Twice, Rikishi teamed with Tajiri against Palumbo/Stamboli; one other time, he teamed with Los Guerreros against all three members of the FBI.  In all three Rikishi main events, the ring filled up with run-ins near the end of the match, resulting in giant dance numbers featuring Rikishi, the Guerreros, Tajiri, Torrie Wilson, Nidia (briefly), and (ugh) Chris Benoit.
    The best matches on the tour sounded like the two times the Guerreros faced Team Angle for the SD! Tag Titles.  Also, Matt Hardy vs. Jamie Noble vs. Rey Mysterio three-ways sounded very good.
  • Bret Hart, who will be a part of a WWA tour of Australia later this month -- reprising his role as Commissioner -- has had some interesting things to say about Bill Goldberg lately (including the altercation between Goldberg and Chris Jericho a month or so back).  You definitely want to check out Bret's latest Calgary Sun column.
  • By the way, while on the subject of WWA: last week, I was confused as to how Jeff Jarrett vs. Sting could be a WWA/NWA Title unification match, since I thought Lex Luger was the WWA champ.  Wrong.
    Luger won the WWA Title on the show broadcast on PPV here in the US.  But a few days later, on a WWA house show, Sting actually beat Luger and Malice in a three-way match to win the title.  So he is the WWA champ, and when he faces Jarrett on this tour, it will be WWA Champ vs. NWA Champ.
    Coincidently, one of Bret Hart's duties will be to referee that match.
  • And before the subject of interesting non-domestic newspaper columns slips my mind....  you can also check out an interview with Booker T conducted by The Sun (London).  He covers a lot of interesting ground.  But probably the most telling statement he makes is that he only plans to remain active in WWE for another 18 months.  After that, it's off into the sunset...
  • It's unclear on which roster they'd be a better fit or if they'll even appear on TV this week, but keep in mind that the Legion of Doom are scheduled to be present at WWE TV tapings this week.  Hawk and Animal said they were only going to work dark matches, but you never know if that might change...
  • I guess the last thing is just a quick update on the Liz/Luger situations...
    Officials have released the 911 call made by Luger -- and I guess it aired on Confidential this weekend, too -- and from the sounds of things, this is almost certainly going to end up being classified as a terrible ACCIDENTAL death.  It sounded like a deal where Liz choked to death.
    Additional media reports indicate that Liz had combined vodka with painkillers (for her back) before sitting down with a plate of food.  I'll leave the advisability of ingesting a couple glasses of booze and a few pills at 5:30 in the morning to be discussed by others....
    Also:  in addition to 12 performance-enhancing drugs found in Luger's possession, there were actually 3 drugs in the pain killer/muscle relaxer family.  Luger had a bunch of Xanex, Soma, and hydrocodone bitartrate (which I'm pretty sure is Vicodin).  The amounts of these pills possessed by Luger original led authorities to suspect he was dealing them, but the sad conclusion wrestling fans probably reached -- given our past experiences with seeing workers develop unhealthy, sometimes deadly, habits -- was that the massive stash was really just for Luger's (and unfortunately, we must consider the possibility that it was also for Liz's) personal consumption.  
    There are cases where access to these drugs is a necessary (if not particularly good) thing for wrestlers, whose bodies take a massive toll being the ring 3-4 times per week.  But in this case, Luger's relative lack of in-ring activity in the last two years and the sheer size of his personal pharmacy lead one to suspect that this was not a case of defensible self-medication, but rather an on-going pattern of habitual and recreational use of these drugs.  In other words, something that should probably have been addressed long ago, but wasn't...  and if we should discover (when toxicology reports are available in a few weeks) that these drugs -- which were apparently introduced and accessible to Liz via Luger --  it becomes an even more frustrating situation.  I mean, it's one thing to have a monkey on one's back, but another to facilitate your friends' and loved ones' relationships with the same monkey.
    Of course, we don't know that that's how it all went down...  but between a recent online commentary from Vince Russo to comments made on "Confidential" by Vince McMahon (according to some readers who saw them, bordering on angry, almost to the point of inappropriateness), it seems like this is a reasonable train of thought.  I've long said -- even in the wake of the Curt Hennigs and the Louie Spicollis and the Art Barrs and the Eddie Gilberts -- that every man is personally accountable for his own actions and that it's not the place of the wrestling industry to clean up their acts for them or the place of wrestling fans or pundits to demand a grown adult behave a certain way if he doesn't want to.  But this feels different, somehow.
    I guess maybe I won't say anymore until we find out the results of those toxicology tests...  
  • And on that supremely down note, I'll say buh-bye for today...  Spoilers and other news will come at your 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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