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RAW, HHH, Wedding, Early Spoiler Report,
and Other News
July 14, 2003

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Word of warning v1.0: if you clicked here looking for the SD! Spoilers from yesterday afternoon, they are all the way at the bottom.  If that's all you're interested in, just scroll all the way down and read those, and skip the other 20KB of my sheer rhetorical genius and mind-bending analytical skill.

Word of warning v2.0: if you're the type who hates spoilers and just wants to be surprised on Thursday night, I strongly advise you abort reading this column when you get to the bullet point that purports to be Spoilers.  I ain't kidding around here.

There.  Hopefully, that should cover everyone:

  • If you read Friday's column, you know that RAW's got some mighty big shows coming up.  Jericho/HBK, two appearances by the Rock, that sort of thing.
    Tonight's show, by contrast, looks to be one whose job is to set the table.  I mean, our most heavily hyped match going in is Gail Kim defending her women's title against Molly Holly.  Which is all well and good, but well...  you know.
    The two most interesting issues to be addressed tonight are both ones that will have to be addressed in non-match/non-wrestling environments.  Number one, the Shawn Michaels/Chris Jericho mini-feud that heated up last week will get another week to bubble under before the two men lace 'em up in LA.  No doubt, they've got the ability to make even a purely verbal battle entertaining...  still, after last week's sparring session, one would hope that this week sees the two get a little more physical, even if they're saving back the one-on-one showdown for next week.
    And number two, Kane is now firmly entrenched in a storyline with both RAW general managers.  He's chokeslammed both Eric Bischoff and Steve Austin in the last two weeks, and though a feud against his old partner, Rob Van Dam, is the one that would make the most sense for truly monster-izing Kane, they seem focused on telling this story of Kane as an off-balance, mutinous tweener.  One week, he gets cheered for tossing Bischoff off the stage; the next, he misinterprets Austin's comments and gets booed for assaulting the more popular of the two GMs.  
    Based purely on feel, I'd say this is the week both Austin and Bischoff are back, and this is the week where they finalize the future direction for Kane.  Keeping his agenda mysterious has worked well the past few weeks (just look at ratings, which twice peaked for Kane's post-main event in-ring segments in the last 3 weeks)...  and I'm all for slowly building up the drama.  However, if Kane spends much more than just one more week (tonight's show) playing around with GMs instead of getting himself into a feud that will have a bona fide in-ring pay-off, I think we may see fan interest level off or perhaps even begin to drop.  It'd be different if the new Kane's strength were going to be killer promos and quality mic work... but as an ass-kicker, there are only so many times he can be the strong silent type who decides to chokeslam an authority figure before it will wear thin.  So maybe closure on whatever he's done with Austin/Bischoff tonight, and on to a feud with RVD...
    By the way, two weeks ago, I talked about one cool thing they could do with Kane to keep him fully heel even though fans tend to want to cheer bad-asses would be to have him end up being manipulated by an evil manager type.  I lamented the absence of Raven (who's character would be perfect), and in the end, could only come up with Eric Bischoff as a really good option for someone who could take advantage of Kane's mental anguish and use it for his own purposes.  With that alternative waning after Bischoff's chokeslam, I'm left to bring up one other guy known for his verbal skills who has made a WWE managerial career out of taking advantage of monsters:  Paul Heyman.  I don't know if his style who mesh with Kane's or not, but on the surface level, I'm at least intrigued by the possibilities.  Thanks to reader Steve Feld for the suggestion....
    What else have we got tonight?  Well, again, it's probably about time that they start in on Goldberg vs. Triple H if that match is, indeed, to headline SummerSlam; but a week after Goldberg was absent from RAW, HHH may now be a question mark in terms of ability to work anything more physical than a promo (more on that below).....  Test's assault on Trish Stratus last week continued his pattern of dickish misogyny; more than likely, Scott Steiner will remain the defender of women everywhere (sorry, ladies) and will be back feuding with Test after his very wise demotion to Heat last week in Montreal (where he was booed viciously)....  don't know where they go with Trish, since the obvious move (she finds a guy -- Kevin Nash, maybe? --  to team with in a mixed tag match against Test) doesn't work on the grounds that Test's whole gimmick is that no woman in her right mind would want anything to do with him; maybe burn a week with a Nash/Trish vs. Test handicap match, instead....  Rosey split violently, if inexplicably, from his one-week-old alliance with Rodney Mack and Teddy Long; one-on-one matches with Rosey and Mack would make sense, and if the Fed remembers that they had this storyline with Hurricane seeking out a partner going on, they may think to put Rosey and Hurricane together (it'd be a lot like Rikishi and Scotty 2 Hotty, except that the fat guy would be the LESS goofy of the two in this case) against Mack and Chris Nowinski.... La Resistance, despite holding the tag titles, continue to have a whole lot of nothing to do, it seems; their directionlessness is so pronounced that I have nothing more interesting to say about them here than to mention that I sorta like a reader-submitted suggestion from last week that Jean-Pierre Lafitte (who worked a dark match at TV tapings last week) be brought back as a teammate/ally of La Resistance.  Palling around with a salty pirate type can't possibly push La Resistance any further out of the spotlight, anyway....
    So maybe it's not sounding like the most fascinating show of all time, at least not on paper.  But the Fed's building up to a few really promising-looking Monday's in the near future, and you gotta thing that they'll be on top of their game as they try to get the ball rolling tonight.  Check out RAW or come on back here to OO for full results and analysis tomorrow....
  • I mentioned above that HHH might be a question mark tonight...  well, to clarify:  there's no doubt he'll be in the building, but whether or not he'll wrestle a match is still up in the air. 
    HHH did not work scheduled main event matches this weekend in Green Bay and Terre Haute (although he did work in a tag match on Friday night in Omaha).  Live fans were given some heel mic work that made it seem like HHH was pussing out (replaced by Randy Orton in tag matches), but in reality, he was suffering from a deep thigh bruise that would have hindered his work.  I believe this would be about the third time HHH has missed dates with an injury of this type (the last time being back last fall, when he missed maybe 3 weeks or so) since he came back from his quad tear about 18 months ago.  I couldn't even begin to speculate on why this would suddenly be such a recurring problem....
    Past instance of this injury, though, have not kept HHH from working major matches when necessary.  If the Fed were to call his number tonight, I'm sure he'd be up to the challenge... but I'm equally sure that if the injury is serious, they'll want to protect their champ as best they can, which might mean hiding him in a tag match or keeping him in a purely verbal role.  Afterall, smarks rejoiced last week at a mostly HHH-free edition of RAW, and the ratings didn't seem to suffer, either.
    Still, getting the champion on TV might be an important goal of tonight's show, especially if it's time to get his feud against Goldberg rolling.  A clarification on Goldberg: I said last week that he was pulled from the show with an arm injury, but now the word going around is that it was an elbow infection, not an actual injury, that resulted in Goldberg being a late scratch.  He had been slated to do a segment with La Resistance, apparently, which is why the tag champs were also absent from RAW.  As far as I know, Goldberg's expected back on TV this week, however.
  • Billy Kidman and Torrie Wilson officially tied the knot this weekend at a ceremony in Connecticut after almost 4 years together.  Congratulations to the happy couple (with a requisite undertone of seething jealousy directed, of course, exclusively towards Kidman).  No time for a romantic honeymoon, though...  they did SD! tapings last night, and are now off to Thailand and Japan for the Fed's three-show tour of Asia.  
    Hey, the ever-struggling-for-an-identity Billy Gunn might be on to a new gimmick here: Call him "Nine Commandments Should Just About Do It" Billy Gunn... he's a clean-living, god-fearing man who does no wrong.  Except that he just cannot help but to covet his neighbor's wife at every turn.  Play it sort of like Flanders: a total wuss, but in this case, with a libido.  It could be hilarious because, think about it, he could never bear false witness about his transgressions, which would have him in hot water just about every week.
    Or maybe not.  What was my point again?  Oh, yeah, congrats to Billy Kidman and Torrie Wilson...
  • The final rating for last Thursday's SmackDown! came in at a 3.6.  As predicted, that's up significantly from the previous week's depressed-by-early-July-4 number, and means that for the first time in OO's Battle of the Brands, our "expert" staff ratings for both RAW and SD! came in lower than the actual Nielsen ratings.  
    In plain English: the Fed didn't quite deliver the goods last week.  At least, we didn't think so.
  • I liked the Confidential that aired this weekend...  the headline fluff/human interest piece was about Gail Kim, which if nothing else served to further my unseemly schoolboy crush (hot chick and she wants to emulate the  likes of Mysterio and BENOIT~!).  Move over, Ivory...  there's a new girl who I'd like to pretend would be really into me!
    And there was a really cool extended segment later in the show focusing on Jimmy Hart and all the trademark wrestling theme songs he's contributed in the past 15 years....  they explained a bit of the process that went into developing a few of the tracks, and Jimmy even went over some of his personal favorites (sadly, he admitted to thinking "Three Count" was one of his best creations, but never once let on whether he thought it was because he really liked the gimmick, or if it was because the gimmick and the song made them such total fucking tool boxes that fans had no choice but to (a) boo or (b) laugh).
    Good times.  Any excuse to bring the old Rougeau Brothers' theme out of mothballs is a good one, in my book.
    Oh, and speaking of tool boxes:  Josh Matthews did his little interview piece with Matt Hardy.  It's been about 3 or 4 weeks, I guess, since I taught my DVR to record "Confidential" for me, and not once have I seen Josh be anything other than a mic stand with note cards.  Maybe that's a good thing, though: by not upstaging the talent (by showing a personality or maybe even coming up with a clever ad lib), he makes guys like Matt seem even cooler and wittier!
    Also, someone had better explain to by what definition of the word Taker vs. Yoko at Survivor Series '94 is a "classic."  If the answer is "A-Train's definition of the word 'classic'," then a lot of things are starting to make sense....
  • I promised I would mention this, and so here goes:  at this weekend's drunken wrestling summit -- a meeting of only the sharpest wrestling minds and most heavily abused livers in all of Dayton... a Salon of sorts, really -- discussion turned to some of our recently departed WWE superstars.  It seemed that the most-missed of them all was Crash Holly.
    That, of course, led to the inevitable speculation that Crash should go to TNA.  Which led to me saying that Crash's free agent value is next to nil because, as I noted a few weeks ago, "Crash Holly" is the only gimmick that he's ever made money with.  And WWE owns it, lock, stock, and barrel.  Debuting as "Erin O'Grady" in TNA would flat-out flop.
    It was at this point that Gee Gee Bradley dropped the nickname "Elroy" into the conversation.  Surely WWE never thought to trademark that, even though most fans would immediately associate Crash with the name.  I'm sure he could legally take the "Elroy" name down to TNA and run with it.  Even "Elroy O'Grady" has a certain ring to it.  So that is how I flipped my opinion and now believe Crash in TNA might be a viable idea.  There you go, Vince Russo: don't say I never gave you anything.
  • Alright, I think we're at the point where I'm gonna make one final warning, because this is where the spoilers from yesterday are gonna kick in.  I'd apologize for just throwing them on here at the bottom of this page, but frankly, I don't think you mind getting all the important news and crap all on one page, instead of having to click a half-dozen different links (and get three dozen different pop-ups as a result).
    Also, this is just SD! spoilers, instead of the full slate of Heat, Velocity, and SD!, so I wasn't sure if they even rated their own page....  I'm outta here when these are done, so here goes:
    • Vince McMahon opens the show with a promo; he says this week's main event will be Kurt Angle vs. Big Show/Charlie Haas/Shelton Benjamin... Brock Lesnar got that treatment last week, and comes out to confront Vince.  Lesnar even challenges him to fight, which McMahon accepts... but not for tonight.  Tonight, Vince says Lesnar's still hurt, so he should take the night off.  And he better not interfere in Angle's match tonight, either.  Or else.
    • Chris Benoit beat Matt hardy to advance to the finals of the US Title tournament.  Match of the Night by most counts, and Benoit's win came via submission to the Crossface.
    • Backstage: first, Steph confronts Vince and is looking for Sable... and second, Kurt Angle is arriving and Lesnar is leaving the building, and the two exchange friendly-rivalry style banter.
    • Jamie Noble loses to Ultimo Dragon in a nice little TV match, but the storyline here was that before the match, Noble wound up doubling his "indecent proposal" offer to Torrie Wilson, which caused Nidia to leave the ring, angry.  Later, as the match was one, Noble was distracted when Billy Gunn and Torrie made an unexpected appearance, which allowed Dragon to get the win.  One must assume Nidia sent them out to distract Jamie?
    • Backstage: the APA announce that they are having a Bar Room Brawl at the Vengeance PPV, and start handing out fliers inviting various SD! stars to come and join in.
    • Billy Kidman and Rey Mysterio continued their winning ways as a tag team, beating two masked guys in very short order.
    • Vince hit the ring for another promo (I can HEAR you rolling your eyes!)...  this time, he's here to talk about his business, which means briefly talking about Sable and her match against Steph at the PPV, and then talking at length about Zach Gowen.  As Vince is putting the bad-mouth on Zach, John Cena comes out to the ring, and joins in the fun, making a rhyme at Gowen's expense that invoked the name of Christopher Reeves that is apparently really funny.  Vince was enjoying the little rap when Undertaker interrupted.  Taker left Cena lying by the end of the mini-brawl.
    • Rhyno vs. Sean O'Haire went to a no contest when the APA showed up and invited both men to their PPV Bar Room Brawl.  There was a spot where Rhyno intended to Gore O'Haire, but O'Haire dodged and Ron Simmons wound up getting the Gore.  So of course, Rhyno ended up getting an APA beat down for his mistake, and the ref just had to throw out the match.
    • Eddie Guerrero beat Billy Gunn to also advance to the US Title tourney final.  Crowd was cheering for Eddie here, although he's supposed to be the heel.  The finish had the ref going down after Jamie Noble ran out to try to interfere.  That allowed Eddie the chance to go out and grab a steel chair, which he used to KO Gunn.  The ref came 'round in time to make the three count.  So it's Benoit vs. Eddie in the US Title finals...  I like.
    • An attempt by Josh Matthews to interview Sable up in a sky box goes horribly arwy, as Stephanie McMahon interrupts and starts a huge food fight.  
    • In the main event, Kurt Angle was able to beat the trio of Big Show, Haas, and Benjamin, but only with a little bit of help.  It's no DQ again, so there's a lot of wild brawling and foreign object shots here, and action is pretty fast-paced.  Finally, the numbers catch up with Angle, and he's in trouble, which leads to Zach Gowen making the save.  He hits a few spots to keep Angle alive in the match, but also ends up getting thrown around a bit.  This is a 2-on-3 match for a little bit leading up to the finish which had Show powdering out after a steel steps shot, Gowen taking out Haas with a plancha, and Angle reversing his way into an ankle lock on Benjamin.  Benjamin, with no one to save him, tapped out.  Angle and Zach celebrated together to close the show.



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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