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RAW, Insurrextion, Other Monday News
June 9, 2003

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


OK, so I'm basically one of those guys who think that a good 90 percent of all technology is pretty stupid.  For instance, you will never see me with a cell phone (at least, not until I have a boss that requires me to have one); it's not QUITE important enough to me that I entertain everybody around me with a flamingly homosexual "ring tone" to justify anybody being able to track me down and talk at me whenever they want.  You can leave me a message, and I'll get back to you as circumstances warrant; it is utterly unnecessary technology in the vast majority of cases.

I had similar bitches about this whole "TiVo" concept, no matter how cool my brother told me it was.  I just didn't see the point of it as long as one had the three brain cells necessary to successfully operate a VCR.  But then Time Warner Cable called me and told me I should try a new digital box that is basically the same thing as TiVo for free as long as I kept my juiced cable package.  After a week or so of having whatever "Simpsons," "Seinfeld," and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" reruns (not to mention every B- and C-level wrestling show) waiting for me whenever I felt like watching them (no need to sit through commercials, either) without me having a lift a damn finger, allow me to rescind my previous stance.  This is Good Technology.  I'm sorry for every bad thing I ever said about TiVo, and further more, I encourage anyone else out there to get Time Warner's free DVR thingie if they offer it to you.  Lord knows it'll probably be the only half-way beneficial thing they ever do for you as a customer.

On with the rasslin':

  • Tonight on RAW: it looks like the show will be built around adding a final bit of intrigue to the PPV Hell in the Cell match between Kevin Nash and Triple H.  
    The RAW brand officials have pussed out of actually refereeing said match, leaving Steve Austin to call in a favor.  He said that a sufficiently "crazy" sumbitch was just a phone call away last week, and the insinuation throughout the weekend (on Heat, at least) is that his appointed ref will be present at RAW tonight.
    Which kind of leaves me in a precarious position....  where do you draw the line between Informed Speculation and Spoilers?  How responsible is it for me to posit known-to-be-false theories in an attempt to muddy the waters and keep you from "ruining the surprise" of tonight's referee revelation?  I honestly don't know the answer to either of those.
    I guess what I'll do is this:  I'll tell you that there are three suspects of varying plausibility, and outline at least one or two good reasons for each being named the special HitC ref for the PPV.
    One guy who leapt to mind last week:  Terry Funk.  Though Austin never uttered the phrase "middle-aged," Funk certainly fits the "crazy" label well enough.  Also, the Bad Blood PPV is taking place in Texas, where Funk is a minor deity.  On the downside: a good portion of fans in the TV audience (i.e. outside of Texas) would be let down by the aged and only marginally-known Funk, who doesn't have any semblance of personal history with either Nash or HHH.
    Another intriguing option:  the Rock.  Tonight's RAW is live from Miami, less than a half-hour drive from the Rock's palacial estate.  Rock was in business in California last week (doing pre-production work for his next movie project, which does not begin in earnest for another 3 weeks or so), and was back in the Miami area over the weekend, so it fits.  On the downside: if the Fed thought they'd have the Rock again this week, they'd promote the hell out of it like they did last week, instead of trying to keep it secret.
    Third option: Mick Foley.  Foley made his peace with WWE earlier this year, and he does have a book coming out this summer that could use the cheap publicity.  Also, Foley helped "make" HitC, and it in turn helped to "make" him, so that fits perfectly, too.  He's got intense history with HHH that could be utilized here, as well.  And let us not forget that when it comes to guest referee wear, Foley is the Fed's leading fashionplate; I'm sure he's still got a hand-striped button-down or two lying around, just BEGGING to be recycled.  On the downside: ummm, does the live crowd last week chanting Foley's name count as possibly "ruining the surprise"?  No?  Well, then hell, I've got no down side...
    Just the same:  remember, here at OO, we have NO IDEA who will be announced as the special referee.  We did not spoil anything.  We encourage you to contemplate the above pros and cons, and then watch the show tonight to see how things actually go down.  It's more fun that way, anyway.
    Other stuff tonight:  which HHH and Nash get a little extra sizzle courtesy of the completely mysterious guest referee, that'll leave Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels to break off on their own a bit, I think.  Those two showed last week that they can carry 10 minutes of promo work on their own, and I'd be surprised if we didn't get more of the same.  And then, by the end of the show, if you put me in charge, I'd do this:  bring it all back together again (HHH and Flair and Orton vs. Nash and Michaels and Hurricane) and do a six-man rematch from last week, this time with the Mysterious Guest Referee in charge because of how Earl Hebner screwed up the finish last week.  Take last week's negative, turn it into this week's positive, and get a little mileage out of the guest ref -- whoever it may be -- as a tease for the PPV.
    Chris Jericho and Bill Goldberg is the third top level feud to be addressed tonight.  I'm loving how this is playing out so far: not so much with Jericho dominating the feud in any sense, but with him so successfully avoiding being dominated.  Tossing some yellow paint on Goldberg's black car and twice avoiding the Spear are not massive victories, but they are the sort of thing that you could believe would gnaw at Goldberg.  And they are also the sort of thing that will get the typical fan at home that much hotter for Goldberg's eventual decimation of Jericho.  I'm already on record saying that I don't think that final decimation should come at Bad Blood, so it should be pretty obvious that I've got tonight's RAW pegged as another obnoxiously weasely moral victory for Y2J. 
    Jericho's buddy Christian should be right in the middle of some shenanigans of his own.  He's looked exceptionally beatable the past two weeks... hell, make that "He's looked exceptionally BEATEN the past two weeks."  Though he's the IC Champ, Christian has been pinned by both Goldust and Booker T in non-title or tag matches.  And he's got a title match against Booker looming at the PPV.  At this point, to give any value to the feud AND to the IC belt, Christian needs some help, here.  It could take two forms:  one, he could simply cheat his ass off and somehow retain the title this weekend (and go for the HonkyTonk Man sort of god-he-sucks-but-why-can't-anyone-take-the-title vibe), or two, he could actually get some heat back tonight to give fans a reason for thinking he might be able to win come this Sunday.
    The second level of PPV storylines are less thrilling, but are being fleshed-out sufficiently enough that it's easy to almost forget this is a brand-specific PPV coming up:  Rob Van Dam and Kane are slated for a PPV tag title defense against La Resistance, but the more interesting story there is Steve Austin's attempt to unleash the "old" Kane....  Scott Steiner and Test are embroiled in a feud in which the winner will get to keep Stacy Keibler....  women's champ Jazz just got pinned by Ivory last Monday, so that could be a solid throw-away match for the PPV (Trish and Victoria are the other reasonably-over women who could fit into the mix)...  and it looks like the Dudleys and odd couple duo of Chris Nowinski and Rodney Mack are probably headed for a showdown, too.  Since they don't figure into the PPV, you might even see Randy Orton and the Hurricane paired up, maybe for a Heat match.
    Check out RAW tonight and then come on back to OO on Tuesday for full results, analysis, and -- of course -- satire.
  • The final rating for last Thursday's SmackDown! wound up being a 3.1, which is actually a slight drop from the week before, and which has to be considered a disappointment considering the amount of hype that went into Kurt Angle's return and into the Rey/Hardy main event.
    I definitely thought last Thursday's show was strong, and wound up being better than RAW.  Seeing Angle back in the ring and obviously having a blast gave me just about the biggest possible (non-sexual) warm, fuzzy feeling.  And then seeing him and Lesnar interact as they ran off the Big Show... well, let's just say that I'm feeling pretty good about my arm-chair prognostication from last week:  they're getting along for now, but it's clear that they won't necessarily still be buddies in 2 months.  I don't THINK I was just reading that vibe into it because it's what I want to see, at least.
    Then again, they've certainly left their options open with Chris Benoit, too.  If Benoit were to get pissed at Rhyno for costing him that match against John Cena, it could be a springboard to a heel turn, which might mean anything I sensed between Angle and Lesnar will only be manifested in a face/face Mutual Respect Rematch.  But on the topic of Cena/Benoit, I do have some complaints:  first, they pulled this out about 3 weeks too late (it should have been hot right out of the PPV, so it could eventually build into the #1 contender feud), and second, if it is to be Benoit's springboard to a heel turn, I question if Rhyno is a strong enough baby to pull it off.  If Benoit still had Edge as his partner, sure, it'd work perfectly, but with Rhyno?  Fans might stick with Benoit...  at least, in so far as they are with him now.
    The Mr. America/Vince McMahon feud is increasingly seeming like it's just a backdrop to explain the presence and eventual in-ring debut of Zach Gowen.  And to that end, I'm not sure it's as effective as it could be.  At first, I thought Zach should pull out some amazing shit out of nowhere and surprise the 99% of the audience that doesn't know what he was doing on the indie circuit (and briefly for TNA).  Then, I "saw the light" of doing a slow build up, and making his first in-ring high spot really mean something.  But now, I think I'm edging back towards my original thought... my unease is due to the fact that they are almost conditioning fans to EXPECT Zach to be able to do the impossible.  Instead of wowing us from get get-go, Zach is now in the exponentially more difficult position of having to impress a fanbase that is growing tired of all the nonsense, and is just waiting for him to somehow beat Vince McMahon in an arm-wrestling contest this week (a ridiculous proposition in it's own right!) and then get in the ring and be passable as a wrestler.  One potentially entertaining way this could go:  Vince actually beats Zach, but the week after, Mr. America's masked sidekick "Kid America" debuts.  I don't know what the out would be, but at least in the short term, it'd be something a little unexpected out of a storyline that has been pretty straight-forward so far.
    Oh, and if I'm picking nits, let me just vent briefly about Sable as Stephanie's new "assistant."  That gets a big old "What the fuck?" from this corner.  Sable was quite nicely entrenched in a silly but harmless storyline that seemed to focus on her drenching Tazz (and sometimes Torrie Wilson) with bottled water.  The pay-off?  In a month or so, at the SD-brand PPV, I think a wet t-shirt contest would have been in order, don't you?  And now, instead of being involved in an underneath storyline in which her shortcomings from a charisma/promo perspective are masked (albeit only by a thin, moistened layer of cotton), Sable's suddenly in the middle of what should be a major power struggle angle requiring actual acting ability.  The fact that there is absolutely ZERO storyline grounds for rationalizing the move in Sable's, Vince's, or Steph's characters severely compounds the problem.
    But for the most part, SD! ruled.  Angle was awesome.  The main event cruiserweight match was awesome (even if part of me thinks it could have been built up and held back as a PPV match in July).  Los Tajiros were on again, and I hope the Bashams are starting to show you a little something, too (I'm telling you, they've got the charisma edge so handily over Team Angle, even if they aren't as tight in the ring, that it wouldn't surprise me to see them leap-frog over TA in the next few months).  I was even digging Undertaker's little match with Palumbo, and think that this just might be a good way to utilize Taker and help legitimize the FBI; if only it was someone other than Nathan Jones who was coming back to join in the fray in a couple weeks.
    So I personally gave the nod to SD! over RAW last week... but guess what:  you no longer have to listen to just my opinion!  Effective last Friday, we've started the OO Battle of the Brands, in which a slew of OO columnists/recappers present and past will supply a numerical rating (0.0 to 5.0) and a few thoughts about each show.  Then the numbers are averaged, and OO will crown a Brand of the Week every Friday afternoon.
    Also: the reason for the 5.0 decimal ratings scale is because for about the past year/year-and-a-half, it's seemed like a 5.0 is just about the maximum possible Nielsen rating attainable for WWE.  Our Battle of the Brand ratings are, thus, meant to reflect the Nielsen ratings that RAW or SD! would receive if it was rated on entertainment value instead of number of eyeballs glued to it.  This allows us to make comparisons not only between RAW and SD!, but also between OO BoB ratings and real Nielsen ratings.
    For instance, last week, SD! defeated RAW according to OO BoB ratings, by a 3.9 to 3.1 tally, even though in real life, RAW beat SmackDown! according to Mr. Nielsen (3.3 to 3.1, once RAW's rating is converted to a broadcast rating).  This also means we can say that SD! OVERdelivered (by a healthy 0.8) versus its real world rating, which RAW slightly UNDERdelivered (by 0.2) versus its real ratings.
    Hopefully, these are distinctions and trends that you find as interesting to read about as they are for us to deliver them to you.  If nothing else, it's like BoB Compiler Jeb Lund notes: at least once a week, you know everybody here at OO will be focused on one single topic, instead of going off on whatever tangents they please.  I think it'll work out pretty well.  Check out the First Ever OO Battle of the Brands, and be sure to keep on coming back for updates every Friday.  Because lord knows this is the last time I'm gonna waste three paragraphs introducing and hyping the concept here instead of just expecting you to go read it for yourself.
  • One thing RAW did have over SD! last week:  it was the only brand that actually presented a PPV event.  Granted it was the UK-only Insurrextion, but PPV is PPV.
    Also, it was a show that provided a nominal sneak peak at next week's worldwide Bad Blood PPV.  The IC, Tag, and World Title matches were all the same as they'll be next week, and for the most part, reviews of the show were positive.  So that bodes well, I think.
    Here, for your edification, is a report filed by OO Reader Tony Cottam (of SmashWrestling.com):
    Just watched Insurrextion - thought you might be interested in a recap of the show.
    WWE Insurrextion
    Telewest Arena, Newcastle
    June 7th 2003
    Insurrextion kicked off with a still image of Freddie Blassie and an “in memory” dedication.
    We then launched straight into a video package featuring Nash, Michaels, Triple H, Flair, Jericho, Steiner, Bischoff and Austin.
    WWE Women’s Title
    Jazz (c) w/ Theodore Long vs. Trish Stratus

    Jazz picked up the win in 9:42 after Theodore got in the ring and rammed Trish shoulder first into the turnbuckle, while the referee was distracted with the interfering Victoria.
    A neat video package of the Christian and Booker T feud aired next.
    WWE Intercontinental Title
    Christian (c) vs. Booker T

    Christian fluked a win after 15:10 with a reversal of Booker T’s roll up - ably assisted by the ropes, of course. One sided match in Booker’s favour which bodes well for Bad Blood.
    Backstage Austin runs into Theodore Long and after telling Theodore his suit must have cost “at least 19.95 in a thrift store” books him into a 6 man tag match with Christopher Nowinski and Rodney Mack against Bubba, Spike and D-Von - The Dudley Boys. Austin sent Long packing as Kane came round the corner - a brief staredown followed, ending when Kane walked off.
    A video reminder of the issues between RVD & Kane and La Resistance aired, featuring Austin’s “motivation” of Kane after the match on last week’s Raw.
    World Tag Team Titles
    Rob Van Dam & Kane (c) vs. La Resistance

    Ross and Lawler played on the effects that Austin’s motivation may have had on Kane all through the match, which ended in 9:03, when an RVD 5 star frog splash on Sylvan Grenier (after simultaneous chokeslams to both Grenier and Dupree from Kane) got the win for the champions.
    Al Snow interviewed Goldust backstage, who hyped his upcoming match with Rico
    Rico vs. Goldust
    In a solid match, Goldust powerslammed Rico for the win in 9:52.
    JR and The King briefly talked about Freddie Blassie, before a video tribute to him and his life aired, at home and in the arena. Lawler and Ross stood up applauding as the arena chanted “Freddie! Freddie”.
    Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel
    featuring Eric Bischoff and Steve Austin

    Jericho came down to a ring filled with 2 bar stools and a small red carpet to host the first International edition of the Highlight Reel (his words, not mine) and complained about the set and generally antagonising the Newcastle crowd before introducing Eric Bischoff, who proceeded to do the same.
    Austin interrupted, and after informing the crowd that he had 20 pints the night before, and told Bischoff that the planned Nash vs. Triple H main event was now a street fight, opted for a beer bash with Jericho and Bischoff - in a surreal moment, Jericho even managed to get the crowd to say “dowahdiddy diddydum diddydoo” before the beer drinking would commence.
    Needless to say, Jericho was the recipient of a stunner. Bischoff looked worried, before Austin reminded him that he couldn’t touch him... in the US. Kick wham stunner, more beers and everyone was happy.
    A quick segment backstage with Triple H and Ric Flair was next. Just the usual “I’m the man, this isn’t fair” kind of stuff.
    6 man tag match
    Bubba, Spike and D-Von Dudley vs. Rodney Mack, Christopher Nowinski & Theodore Long

    The crowd were really into this match, with the tables being on the receiving end of the biggest chants. Spike took the win for the Dudleys at the 9 minute mark when he pinned Theodore after a misguided Rodney Mack clothesline took out Theodore instead of the intended target, Spike. After the match, the fans of tables got their way, when Nowinski took a 3D through a table.
    A brief video package highlighting the differences between Test, Scott Steiner and Stacy Keibler aired, hyping the match at Bad Blood also.
    Guest Referee : Val Venis
    Guest Ring Announcer : Stacy Keibler
    Scott Steiner vs. Test

    Stacy was at ringside as she’s contractually obliged to be with Test for the time being. Short match, with a lot of crowd interaction between Stacy and the fans. Scott picked up the win after he hit his version of Kanyon’s Flatliner at 6:40
    A very good recap of the Nash and Triple H feud aired, and it was time for the main event - HBK came down to the ring to his music, followed by Nash, then Triple H - no separate entrance for Flair...
    World Heavyweight Title
    Street Fight
    Triple H (c) w/ Ric Flair vs. Kevin Nash w/ HBK

    This is the match we should have had at Judgment Day. Wasn’t the greatest match you’ll ever see, but it was a million times better than the last PPV outing between the two. Flair did an almighty blade job within 2 minutes while he and HBK were brawling outside the ring, and the two briefly left to go to the back. Nash and Trips brawled up the ramp, and onto the announce position, before brawling back to the ring in time for the finish - After some more Flair and HBK antics, Triple H used the sledgehammer on Nash to retain his title in 15:03. No surprise that the title didn’t change, but a surprisingly enjoyable match.
    All in all one of the better UK PPVs and a good sign for Bad Blood.
    Thanks to Tony for the timely and detailed report!

  • It has come to my attention -- courtesy of OO Reader M. Bubba Blume -- that adult entertainer "Devon" is being featured in photos promoting the on-going "Diva Search" by WWE.
    Lord knows that I, as the pious man I am, would never have recognized a porn star without outside assistance.  And I CERTAINLY wouldn't have noticed one or two other known adult models being similarly used by WWE even before Bubba's e-mail.  That would never have happened.
    But now that the matter has been brought to my attention, I have two theories: (1) the models are submitting their pix in hopes of gaining legit (well, "non-porn") work, and the Fed is more than happy to take advantage, since their plan (as I understand it) is to include a bunch of finalists in a "Diva Search" magazine, and having a handful of proven-hot porn babes might move some units.  In both senses of the phrase.  Or (2) there are just some idiots out there with no life who collected some pictures and entered them in the WWE contest under bogus names for reasons that would probably not make any sense to any of the rest of us.
  • Something that I picked up from the more indie-savvy members of the OO Forums:  although we've already discussed how the Basham "Brothers" are not actually related, the fact is that they were actually feuding with each other -- over the OVW title -- when WWE decided to call them up and put them together as a tag team.
    When Doug Basham and Danny "Damaja" Hollie (now Danny Basham) go back to OVW to unload the title, some fans think they'll have some 'splainin' to do.  I have to admit, it's a pretty crazy situation, but Jim Cornette knows what he's getting into when he uses "on call" developmental talents like these two...  he'll figure out a way to get around it.  And it's not like it's the end of the world if a few thousand fans in Louisville are temporarily confused by a sudden revelation by a pair of apparently long-lost brothers....
  • I think that's just about it for me today...  oh wait, first I gotta 'fess up to a mistake I made last week.  In attempting to mock Spike Lee over his retarded "Spike TV" lawsuit, I referred to him as "Li'l Penny."  Which of course makes me even more retarded than him.  Chris Rock, of course, was the voice of "Li'l Penny," and Spike's Nike commercial alter ego was Mars Blackman.  Stupid brain-cell-killing alcohol...
    See you again on Wednesday with spoilers and other stuff.


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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