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SD!, Best Brand, Rock Update, New 
Signees, and Other Weekend News
July 11, 2003

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


I have made a gimmick out of being able to admit when I'm wrong (see: Triple H and my years of not ripping on him like the rest of the internet because I still feel bad about proclaiming that he'd never be a main eventer back in 1999).  So allow me one brief moment to apologize to Pete Yorn, who you may remember I bad-mouthed a couple days back.  I'm still not gonna heartily recommend buying his records or anything, but he and his band put on a very credible opening set last night for the Foo Fighters.  I was way more into it that I thought I'd be.

So a grudging Thumbs Up to Pete Yorn.  A HUGE, ungrudging, and unconditional Thumbs Up to the Foos, who I thought more than made up for their last time through town (although that was not necessarily their fault; they had to play an opening set for the Chili Peppers and had to do so in a shitty building with terrible sound and no atmosphere).  Thumbs Down to Dayton: the Hara Arena was maybe half-full.  The opening round of the Toughman Contest draws better than that.  What the hell else have you got to do on a Thursday night, Dayton?  Sometimes you really disappoint me...

Sort of like I'm probably disappointing you right now by not just shutting my damn yapper and getting on with the wrestling talk:

  • Just got done watching my recording of SmackDown!, and for as unenthusiastic as a couple of my spoiler reports from Toronto were, I wound up being pleasantly surprised.
    Granted, no single match really stood out as the highlight of the night, but the tag team elimination match, Rhyno/Benoit vs. the MF'ers, Eddie/Dragon, and the main event were all pretty good.  And granted, the only storyline/angle of the night that really stood out was the opening confrontation between Cena and Angle, which is of questionable value since they aren't feuding with each other.  
    But in the end, it's not like it was a show rife with blatant missteps and boring segments.  The only two things that I didn't get a whole lot out of were the mixed tag match and the set-up for a match with absolutely no prospects to be any good,  Steph vs. Sable.  I mean, c'mon: Zach vs. Vince fills Vengeance's quota for a gimmicky match with a non-worker, and at least that one's got a decent story behind it.  Steph vs. Sable is TWO non-workers, which means they'll have to overload it with double the gimmicky booking... and of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't also point out that there's nothing about the story between Steph and Sable that's particularly intriguing.
    But even that is something that we'll have to wait for the PPV to have suck.  Last night on SD!, it was just a brief part of the show, basically a 90 second backstage segment: not enough to drag down the other 118 minutes.
    Other stuff that I enjoyed: more signs of charisma and personality from Brock Lesnar in his bits with Angle....  Eddie's promo was a superb attempt at being a smarmy asshole heel, but Toronto (and me) just like the guy too much to boo; I'm not sure there's much Eddie could do, now that the "Lie, Cheat, and Steal" gimmick has been fully embraced by fans, to get booed....  nice work, whoever tipped off Tazz and Cole that Kidman and Rey have teamed up in the past (though last week, I said that was something I'd totally understand if they glossed over; I mean, you can't show the footage, since it's from Rey's post-mask days in WCW)...  
    I can totally understand how the show may have seemed like a let-down to some, especially coming off such a super week like the previous one.  But this was still an alright show.
    You can get the full details, courtesy of Big Danny T., right here.
  • The overnight rating for SD! came in at a 4.2, which is well within normal parameters.  The final rating will be posted in my Monday column, and should be in the low-to-mid 3's (which in turn will be a slight gain from the week before, when ratings were depressed a bit by the July 4 holiday celebrations getting started a night early for many).
  • In OO's own Battle of the Brands, SD! came out on top this week.  Very split voting this week, though... and again, this was a week where the show I gave the narrow edge to (RAW) was NOT the eventual winner.
    Just about the only thing everybody seemed to agree on was that neither brand put forth a truly exceptional effort this week.  For the first time in the 6 week run of BotB, the OO Ratings for both RAW and SD! came in lower than the Neilsens (meaning that, in our "expert" opinions, the shows under-performed... they had less critical appeal than popular appeal).
    You can get the full OO Staff analysis of both brands' weeks, as well as year-to-date data and lots more, in the latest Battle of the Brands.
  • During a recent radio appearance, the Rock confirmed one widely-anticipated rumor, and also made another unexpected announcement.
    With the Rock filming his remake of "Walking Tall" in and around Vancouver through Labor Day, we were justifiably suspicious when the Fed flipped around some shows in August so that RAW, rather than SD!, would be held in Vancouver.  To us, the only way the move made sense is if WWE thought they'd be able to get the Rock to make a special appearance.
    Well, turns out that is the case.  As we theorized, the Rock will be a part of the August 4 RAW in Vancouver.  
    What we DIDN'T know is that on 8/4, he'll be wrestling a match, not just showing up for a cameo/promo thing.  During the same interview in which he confirmed the August 4 appearance, the Rock also announced that he will be appearing on the July 21 RAW in Los Angeles (where Jericho vs. Michaels is already scheduled), and he'll be doing an angle there to set up the August 4 match.
    I'll say this: RAW is doing a much better job, it seems of throwing in special attractions every couple weeks to make sure that their 8-week run without a PPV is more riveting than SD!'s directionless late May and early June.  Then again, having access to the Rock for a couple guest spots makes that sort of thing very easy, I think....
    Rock also talked about being back on a full time wrestling schedule in January so that he can be a major player come WrestleMania XX...  but I think we'd all pretty much assumed that would be the case, already.  His current movie's full-time shooting schedule runs through the first part of September, at which point the Rock will have to hit the road to promote the movie that used to be "Helldorado" and which has had about 4 different titles since then.  That'll eat up about a month by the time all is said and done.  Then there's probably some more pick-up stuff to be done for "Walking Tall" followed perhaps by a bit of a vacation before his comeback in early '04.
  • WWE's made two roster moves this week, both additions, and both names that you should be familiar with.
    Paul London and Shannon "Daffney" Ward were both signed to developmental contracts.
    London has been seen on NWA-TNA shows, and has also gotten a couple looks from WWE in dark/Velocity/Heat matches in the last month or two.  Included in those matches was one against Matt Hardy that was so entertaining, it left many OO Message Boarders wondering why London wasn't under WWE contract already.  Wonder no more, kids...  I don't know what the timetable is on getting him up to the bigs, but I can't see London needing too long to adapt down in OVW; it might just be a matter of finding the right gimmick/opening for him.
    And Daffney, of course, was well known in WCW before that company went down the toilet.  She had a killer, unique look and gimmick, and by all reports has spent the last few years working hard to become a credible in-ring worker, too.  As the Fed seemingly diversifies its roster of divas, I think a girl who can out-psycho Victoria and out-punk Lita is a fine addition.  Blonde and stacked works great for selling magazines and stuff, but the women's division will only be truly viable if you've got distinct, unique looks and characters for the girls.  
  • The entertainment wire has been buzzing this week about a script purchased by WWE Films...  apparently they paid six figures to acquire the script by a guy named Alan McElroy, who is responsible for the scripts for "Spawn" and "Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever."
    This is the first major move I know of by the WWE's film division, which I was beginning to think was set to go the way of WWF New York, the XFL, and the planned Vegas casino....  still, just buying a script doesn't mean a whole lot.  There's no word on a timetable to begin production, much less any word on who might be coerced into starring in the picture or anything like that.
  • According to WWE.com, Chris Jericho is featured in a sizeable article in the current edition of Penthouse.  I'm kind of curious to know what Penthouse thought was so interesting about Jericho, but alas, it's been over five years since I've actually paid any money for porn (god bless the internet!), and I don't see starting back up just so I can actually, for once in my life, read the articles.
    So: anyone out there picks up the magazine, I'd love to get an e-mail from you with a summary.
  • Next week will get off to an interesting start.  On Monday, I'll have SmackDown! spoilers for you...  that's right: SD! is being taped Sunday afternoon in Columbus, OH, to accommodate the SD! crew as they head over to Thailand and Japan for a trio of shows next week.
    So, if you are so inclined, you'll be able to find out what happens on SD! before you watch RAW.
    Still no official word on the line-ups/cards for those shows overseas, though they did mention on SD! last night that Ultimo Dragon would be a big part of them.  That should be pretty cool, both for fans and for Dragon.
  • Still no additional info about Goldberg's arm injury that apparently sent him to the hospital and kept him off RAW on Monday (now, apparently, it sounds like his segment was supposed to be against La Resistance before he became a late scratch).  
    No idea what'll happen come with Goldberg this Monday, either.  He's got a SummerSlam title match against Triple H to start building towards, unless plans are being changed on that front....
  • That's about it for this week.  I'll see you again on Monday with SD! Spoilers and the usual week-starting news....  


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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