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RAW, Jarrett/Sting, Dragon, Trish, 
WWE for Free, And Lots More...
May 28, 2003

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


I hope you enjoyed my long weekend... or... umm... I mean, I know *I* enjoyed my long weekend, and I hope you were all too busy enjoying yours to give two shits about me taking the day off on Monday!  Yeah, that's the ticket.

I have a feeling that, in the name of making good on missed newsbites, I'll be running long today.  So let's cut the crap and get to it:

  • Monday's RAW was not necessarily as strong as a couple other RAW brand efforts in the last month, but I thought it largely delivered on the entertainment side of things.
    That got me to thinking, and really, that's probably a really good idea.  RAW's the first brand to have to try a PPV all by itself, and that means generating 7-8 matches that people want to see.  So while Hurricane vs. Christian in a very good 8 minute match for free on RAW sounds like something I'd rather invest my time in than more craptastic nonsense with Steiner and Test, fact is, one will probably sell PPVs.  The other won't.  Because one appeals to jerk-off internet workrate fetishists and the other let's us look up Stacy's dress.
    Like I said, I may disagree, personally, but I've also always been able to divorce my own personal feelings about what I want to see from what I think is sell-able.  From that front, going with stuff like Steiner/Test and the cheap-heat masters, La Resistance, is sensible.  Even if it means there wasn't a single really worthwhile wrestling match on Monday night.
    The best stuff on RAW was promo driven.  Flair and Michaels starting the show was really awesome material, and delivered well.  HHH's involvement was dead-on, too, though a bit more, traditional and obvious.  I had actually latched onto the idea of Flair/Michaels in a babyface-babyface match, and I thought it'd be cool.  HHH's blustery heelishness is what underscored the unqiueness of the vibe between Flair and Michaels.  So of course, by the end the show, Flair turned on Michaels and was a full-on heel again.  Oh well.  Such is the life of the naive, easily-led wrestling fan...
    Also lots of fun:  the Memorial Day Beer Bash.  It's not a formula you can necessarily duplicate every week, but it was really entertaining.  Anytime you get Austin willing to look sorta bad by singing horribly off-key, and Lilian willing to soak herself in beer even though it's utterly out of character, you're gonna walk away feeling like you just saw something special.  By that definition, you can't just do it again in two weeks and expect it to have the same impact.  But on Monday, combined with the patriotic fervor of Memorial Day, it all clicked perfectly.
    But now I'm started to basically repeat thoughts and analysis from yesterday's RAW Recap.  If you want to read that, you're more than welcome to.  But I won't waste your time re-hashing...
  • The rating for Monday's RAW came in at a 3.7, up a nominal two-tenths of a point from the week before, but still well down from the May 12 show that featured Goldberg's debut match.  It'll be good for RAW to build momentum, ANY momentum, though as it builds towards its June brand-specific PPV.
  • Well, Ultimo Dragon is maybe a week behind schedule, but he's getting ready to go.  He managed to make it to TV tapings this week, and worked dark matches at both RAW and SD! events.  Also, vignettes hyping his arrival will begin on tomorrow's SmackDown!... note that these are different from the mysterious "The Metaphor is about to change" (or whatever that whispering voice was talking about) vignette that showed up on RAW.
    The scouting report on Dragon:  he worked a very good, and surprisingly long and evenly-matched, dark match against Rico at the RAW tapings.  He busted out the Dragon Sleeper and the Asai Moonsault, but won the match via a complicated roll-up type move.  At SD! tapings, he worked a match against Crash Holly, and again looked pretty sharp, though it sounded like this was the lesser of the two matches.
    I am telling you, Dragon may not wow people right out the gate the same way Rey did last year, just because his aresenal is not all high-flying "Holy Shit" type moves.  But if you give him a chance, he is gonna impress the hell out of any of you who missed him during the hey-days of the WCW cruiserweight division.
  • Also of note from TV tapings:  The "Basham Brothers" debuted as a tag team on SmackDown, and briefly caused me some confusion as I was earlier today assembling spoilers.
    Doug Basham was a known commodity, a WWE developmental worker who I've seen in a couple of matches.  But I had no idea there was a "Danny Basham."  That's because there wasn't until last night.  I just got late word that Danny is the developmental worker formerly known as The Damaja.  Don't know his real name, and I don't necessarily know how well they're going to succeed with this brother gimmick on SD!.  
    I haven't seem either work in probably about 8 months or so, but my scouting report would be that they weren't, then, nearly as polished as Team Angle was, in terms of in-ring.  And though they might have more upside in terms of promos, the lack of the fantastic "Team Angle" gimmick means they are also starting in a deep hole compared to Haas and Benjamin.  Keep an eye on 'em, though....
  • The next domestic World Wrestling All-Stars PPV won't air until next month... but it actually took place over the weekend in New Zealand.
    Biggest news:  Jeff Jarrett defeated Sting in the main event to take the WWA Title and unify it with the NWA Title.  Sting looked pretty good and was again the most over star of the WWA roster.  The finish had Rick Steiner pretending to save Sting from an El Kabong guitarshot, only to hit Sting with the guitar himself.  Jarrett scored the pin as soon as the ref recovered from being bumped.  With very tentative rumblings about Sting considering a WWE run later this year, the move to put the title on the TNA-bound Jarrett takes on potential added significance.
    Good news:  Bret Hart made an in-ring appearance, his first major TV wrestling appearance since last summer's stroke.  He spoke at length, but mostly on depressing subject matter: this was the day after the 4th anniversary of Owen's death, and it was also the first time Bret had a chance to talk to fans since the deaths of his close relatives/friends Davey Boy Smith and Curt Hennig, and also Miss Elizabeth.  Despite the down note, Bret looked pretty healthy and was warmly received by the fans.
    If you're really interested, somebody posted a full transcript of Bret's speech in the OO Forums.
  • I've gotten some early reports in from folks who have picked up the Rey Mysterio "619" DVD released this week by WWE... and reviews are mixed-leaning-towards-positive.
    The documentary package is the usual human interest fluff that you see on "Confidential" and stuff like that, but the full matches that are included are a really sweet mix, it sounds like.  There are four WWE matches (all from SmackDown, with the PPV tag title final and SummerSlam vs. Kurt Angle oddly missing), five of Rey's biggest WCW matches (including his debut match and his surprise CW Title win at the outdoor Nitros held in Florida during the '96 Olympic displacement of WCW), and even on AAA match (from the lucha PPV that was co-sponsored by WCW).  It is far from comprehensive matchwise, and the documentary stuff is obviously WWE fluffery, but what's here is good, and for a single DVD, it sounds like a nicely put-together package.
    Something to look forward to:  next month will be a possibly multi-disc Shawn Michaels DVD release.  I've heard it could be loaded with lots of extras (including present day commentary tracks and stuff). You want one night of fun, get "619," but if you're looking for "comprehensive," maybe next month will be what you're looking for...
  • I had gotten no conclusive info on the situation, but for the terminally curious among you, I am told 1Wrestling.com's story is that Steve Austin's black eye was the result of a single car accident over the weekend.  Take that and run with it kids...  
  • In addition to the "free tickets to Bad Blood for members of the military" gimmick that Steve Austin enacted and Eric Bischoff opposed for purposes of making one a babyface and the other a heel, the Fed is actually extending that same courtesy to the military for most upcoming events/TV tapings, it sounds like.
    Also, my understanding is that any military personnel who order Bad Blood on PPV, and then mail a copy of the receipt and whatever ID is appropriate to WWE, they will issue a refund check.  But you probably want to check with WWE on that one, because it sounds like a deal where you'll have to jump through some very specific hoops to get your money back.  And I'm too lazy to reprint the whole thing here...
  • FYI:  Chris Jericho claimed he would have The Rock on as his special guest on The Highlight Reel next week on RAW, and it was not just heel bravado, or a case where he'll bring out a midget Rock, or introduce the similarly named "The Rick" and pass him off as the original, just like they did with Gillberg.
    No, The Rock is actually booked to be on RAW next week, for reasons unknown.  Last schedule I heard, he's still got a bit of time before he's got to commit his full time and energy to filming the "Walking Tall" remake, so who knows if maybe they aren't actually bringing him in to play a cursory role in the Jericho/Goldberg feud and help sell the first RAW-only PPV...  if it's a one-time thing, then expect it to just be a happy kiss-off for the Rock, where he can put his feud with Goldberg behind him, turn full babyface, and maybe set something up for the distant future with Jericho.
  • During a recent No Holds Barred radio appearance, Trish Stratus again affirmed her DISinterest in appearing in Playboy.  At this time, anyway.  She said it something like that would overshadow what she hopes are more notable accomplishments in the ring and also made the statement that "If you've seen one naked blonde, you've seen them all." 
    Ah, but Trish, you go and say commendably sensible things like those, and it only makes us want to see you nekkid all the more!  
    On the upside, you guys can take solace in knowing that she also affirmed her relationship status as "single."  Yes, that's the ticket; that's a COMPLETELY reasonable thing in which you should take solace.  
    Also she talked about wrestling and the work she's put into improving as a wrestler and all kinds of other stuff that you don't care about. 
  • New England has always been a stronghold for rasslin', and thus a bit of a stronghold for The Rick... so perhaps this is pertinent information for you:
    Kevin Kelly is holding a sort of a behind-the-scenes training camp on Sunday, June 15th, in Manchester, NH.  This isn't a deal like the Pillman Fantasy Camp where you'll get in a ring and do 5 hours of embryonic bumping and then walk away with no polished skills or useful info.  Rather, this expo will focus on backstage and production elements... the gist I get is that for workers already with some experience, it'll be a great chance to learn some ins and outs of how things are done at a higher level, and you'll actually walk away with useful, applicable knowledge.
    Kevin wasn't only a TV commentator, either, so it's not like this is just going to be a "how to do play-by-play" camp...  he also worked as a heel manager for some east coast indie or another in time away from WWE (and by the end, a good one, too), so all facets of promos, backstage angles, the whole she-bang will be covered.
    If you want info on the expo, either e-mail kkcamp4u@aol.com or call (609)-624-5230.
  • Those of you joyous that Nathan Jones did not return alongside the Undertaker, thinking that he might be on extended developmental assignment or something, think again...  WWE.com reports that it's merely a minor elbow injury that is keeping Jones from returning (as is still the plan) as part of the Taker/FBI feud.  It's just a matter of 2 or 3 weeks before he'll be back on TV, no more or less polished than he was before...
  • Scotty 2 Hotty has reported to Louisville, and has started a rehab assigment that should land him back on WWE TV within a month or so.  Also on the same basic timetable is Lita, who will also get some work in OVW over the next few weeks.
    Additionally: both Faarooq and Bradshaw have been slumming it in OVW for about a month now, and I'm still telling you it's just a matter if "when" and not "if" the APA makes a surprise return to punk out La Resistance.  It makes perfect sense, so c'mon already...
  • Last thing:  a quick look at tonight's TNA PPV.
    The headline match will be Raven taking on Glen Gilberti in a battle of the former #1 Contender and the current #1 Contender to Jeff Jarrett's NWA Title, respectively.  Raven has decided, apparently, to refocus on the belt, so this is a sensible feud for him to pursue, though until last week, both these guys were ostensible heels.
    Also of interest:  Kid Kash will finally get his hands on the mysterious black-clad masked wrestler who started attacking him three weeks ago.  Lotsa people think that Jeff Hardy -- who did work his first indie match this past weekend in the Carolinas, under a mask, no less -- would make sense in this role.  My first instinct three weeks ago is that it sorta looked like it might be Trinity (Kash's violently-estranged ex-valet).  We'll see.
    Also, the suddenly very impressive (but also seemingly temporary) tag team of D'Lo Brown and AJ Styles will face Jason Cross and CM Punk...  XXX will defend the tag titles against the Spanish Announce Team... and New Jack will face Slash in a "Hard 10" match (a gimmick where you win matches by accruing points for using foreign objects and tables, which will either be really cool or really lame; I won't judge until I see it in action for myself).
    I'm not sure if the new "unified" champ Jeff Jarrett will actually be in the house or not, but also expect them to openly acknowledge and hype the fact that Jarrett won the WWA title over the weekend, too.
    Check out the TNA PPV tonight, or come on back here for Damian Gonzlez's recap (probably delayed till Friday).
  • That's it.  I'm out for today.  As has become the custom, I'm here in re-run form tomorrow, but I'll have new material on Friday...


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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