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SD!, Liz, A Fine Mess in Australia, and
Other Weekend News
August 1, 2003

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Remember that thing I said on Wednesday about how it'd suck if my favorite team, the Reds, trading away Scott Williamson meant my second favorite team, the Yankees, would end up losing the pennant race to the Red Sox?  Well, yesterday, the Reds traded Aaron Boone the the Yanks, and now, I can honestly say the Yanks got healthier off my Reds than the BoSox did.  Assuming they sign Boone, long term, how stacked is that infield in New York?  All-Star caliber all-around...

As much as I hated the Boston trade (because I thought Williamson rated a lot better than a borderline prospect and cash), I liked the Reds other two moves this week, no matter how pissy Gammons acted on ESPN.  He's friends with Bowden, so of course, he hates the Reds, now.  I think we got our future #2 and #3 starters in those deals, as well as a potentially VERY strong bullpen arm.  And yeah, some more cash, too.  Which DOES sucks if ownership just pockets it, but which I'm naively hoping (along with over $10 million from the lost contracts of Boone, Larkin, Williamson, and White) will be spent on upgrading next year.  Like on picking up a FA starting pitcher to be the #1 in front of Claussen and Harang.  Number two priority (assuming we're stuck with Casey and his fat contract at 1B) is getting a SS with a bat for maybe a nice 2-3 year rental until the farm system is ready to spit somebody out.  I have no faith in Felipe Lopez developing...

What, you don't care about baseball?  You infidels!  I suppose you're all excited about football starting up again this weekend...  cretins.

Alright, how about talking about our favorite year-round sport that never goes out of season, instead:

  • SmackDown last night was a very good show, as the positives easily overcame the mind-numbingly pointless stupidity of the Noble/Nidia/Torrie/Gunn skits.  And also overcame my dread at seeing Albert suddenly back in the main event mix. 
    Match of the night was definitely Eddie/Tajiri.  I'm sad to see Tajiri come back for his title shot so quick only to get chopped back down even more quickly.  I saw this as a chance to help elevate Tajiri; instead, WWE seems to have viewed it as a chance to give Eddie a boost as he starts establishing the US Title, and little else.  I know it was far from a clean win for Eddie, but nothing in how it played out gave off the vibe of anything other than "Tajiri: Coming Soon to a Velocity Near You."  Which sucks, because he was on, and really pulled his share in terms of getting the crowd into the match.  I mean, not even Benoit coaxed an "Eddie Sucks" chant out of the audience, but Tajiri did.  Still, a really good match, in any case.
    Story of the night: Angle and Lesnar's tenuous relationship being stretched.  Lesnar wants his rematch, Vince says no (possibly under duress from Angle himself), Lesnar decides to prove he's worthy of the title shot by challenging Vince next week, Angle steals Lesnar's thunder by scoring the pinfall in their tag match, Lesnar F-5's Angle in retaliation, and then Vince announces Vince/Lesnar is on, but only inside a steel cage and with Angle as the guest ref.
    The hints and implications seem to point to Angle being in league with Vince, meaning the deck would be stacked against Lesnar in his "prove it" match against McMahon.  But in recent memory, I cannot recall a case where the obvious storyline actually feels like the least likely to play out.  Tell me this doesn't smack of Lesnar and Vince getting Angle inside of a cage.... only to reveal that they are in league with each other, and to attack Angle viciously with no hope of a save.  Bam, say hello to Brock Lesnar, Monster Heel.  Much as I love Angle as a heel, I just see THIS scenario working much better right now; fans don't seem to have much interest in booing Angle just yet.
    Revelation of the night: Zach Gowen.  Against a, let's just say "limited," opponent at the PPV, Zach busted ass, and had himself a pretty entertaining brawl against Vince.  But against Shannon Moore, he showed an entirely different side of himself, incorporating some actual grappling moves (DDT, armdrag, stuff like that) that, while mostly simply, looked really unique coming from Zach. Even though they made the mistake (I think it's a mistake, anyway) of again replaying that touching and inspirational Zach video package before his match, I just do not see how a wrestling fan could have walked away from that match last night with anything but positive thoughts about Gowen.  Of course, points must also be awarded to Matt Hardy for his role in that segment: he came off exceptionally poorly.  Like a real douchebag.  A total asshole.  Kudos to you, sir!
    Suck of the night: the hotel room skits.  As comic relief, they were more Miss than Hit.  As titillation, these scored a perfect zero.  And if this was meant to blow-off or advance any story, I don't think we had success there, either.  I mean, honestly, what new things did we learn or discover here?  About Noble and Nidia, absolutely nothing; we already knew they like to screw.  And about Torrie and Gunn, what we learned is not necessarily good or useful: Torrie's an easy lay if you get her drunk, apparently, while Billy performs best only in proximity to another naked dude.  Tell me what I was supposed to like about those bits, please.... unless this leads to Torrie becoming the officially sanctioned Slut of SmackDown and Billy trying to seduce Chuck into reforming their tag team -- or MAYBE to Noble channeling the Road Dogg for the benefit of Billy's career, if you catch my drift, although I can think of just as many minuses as pluses to that scenario -- then I don't see why I needed to have my time wasted with this.  
    Luckily, it wasn't a whole lot of time.  The bits were nice and short and spaced out so they absolutely didn't get annoying or anything.  I just like to find SOMEthing to bitch about on every show.  The skits weren't good, but they were far from bad enough to drag the rest of the show down with it.
    That's because, unlike RAW this week, I thought SD! once again did a fine job of building up the infrastructure of the show so that each match built on something previous, and therefore, kept your interest.  Instead of throwing Rico/Venis or La Resistance/Cade/Jindrak out there with "these guys don't like each other because of Sunday Night Heat," even little throw-away segments like Cena/Jordan and Benoit/Doink were prefaced with mic work/promos that established TONIGHT's reason why this match matters.  And if the throw-away segments got a little attention, you know they didn't flub on the main event (which is sort of what happened with Michaels/Jericho over on RAW): Lesnar, Angle, Vince, and later Sable all played parts in making sure that the story of Lesnar/Angle vs. Show/A-Train was told over the course of the show so that you were intrigued.  The match was hyped and promoted using a lot more than just a fancy graphic, and I like that.
    I'll again be giving SD! my vote in Battle of the Brands this week.  Don't know yet how others will be voting, but I really expect to be in the majority on this one...  also, you can get full SD! results right here
  • The overnight rating for SD! is a 4.5, which is actually up just a tick or two over what I'm used to seeing for the overnights.  A number this high might mean the final rating settles in the mid- to high-threes, which would be a very strong showing, indeed.
  • The Cobb County coroner's office released the results of the autopsy of Elizabeth Hulette (Miss Elizabeth).  For all the innuendo and suspicion in the days following her passing in May, the final cause of death was tragically simple:  Acute Toxicity.
    Along with a copious mix of painkillers and tranquilizers, Liz also registered a 0.29 blood alcohol level.  Most states would call that almost quadruple the legal limit if you want to drive.  I call it "Saturday Night," but this ain't about me.
    The coroner's report ruled out any kind of foul play, and also found no cause to suspect this was an intentional overdose or suicide.
  • The RAW brand's tour of Australia seems to be mildly snake-bitten.
    First, Triple H's injury forced him to stay at home; he had been expected to headline all three shows.  Now, two more headliners have had troubles as the tour is two-thirds complete.
    Ric Flair, expected to sub for HHH in a tag team main event, was a no show on the tour's first night, due to travel difficulties.  Chris Jericho had to be pulled from his planned match to team with Randy Orton (against Shawn Michaels/Kevin Nash) in Flair's stead.
    Then, when Flair did make it to Australia in time for Friday night's show (oy, again with the screwy tenses... DAMN YOU INTERNATIONAL DATE LINE!) and a one-on-one match against Michaels (Flair won), WWE was forced to replace Nash.  Actually, they didn't exactly replace him as much as they shuffled the entire undercard so that his scheduled opponent, Jericho, was absorbed into a tag match (w/ Christian vs. Booker/Goldust).  Nash had worked the night before, but was held off the show as a precaution due to an undetermined/undisclosed medical reason.
    We might get a sign of how serious/not serious Nash's condition is when results of Saturday's show are available: he's scheduled for a six-man tag match, where if he's even remotely well, he could go out and be "hidden" on the apron while Michaels and RVD do the majority of the work (against Kane, Orton, and Flair).
    Still, most reports from Down Under are that the shows are very enjoyable, regardless of the absences.  Packed houses and hot crowds have been the norm the first two nights.
  • The only update on Triple H, at this point, is that there is no update.  He has not yet been re-evaluated, so the true severity of his injury remains unknown.  I have heard that they are progressing under the assumption that HHH will NOT be present on RAW Monday...  but keep in mind, HHH would have flown to Australia if doctor's hadn't stopped him, so who knows whether common sense will win out over dedication on Monday or not.
  • The latest wrestling victim of TheSmokingGun.com:  Brock Lesnar.  Sort of.
    He didn't actually do anything wrong, but that didn't stop authorities in Louisville, KY, from detaining Lesnar in January, 2001.  He was hauled in, accused of trafficking in steroids.  He was vindicated -- and cops were a bit embarrassed -- when the lab results came back and revealed the pills were legal vitamin-type things.
    You can catch Lesnar's mug shot and police report (and with links to TSG's past wrestler exposes, including Eddie Guerrero, Billy Gunn, Big Show, Booker T, and Steve Austin) by clicking right here.
  • WOW -- Women of Wrestling -- is gearing up for another run, from the sounds of things.  A press release circulated yesterday announces a partnership between David McLane (on-air, WOW's obnoxious announcer; off air, it's owner/visionary) and StereoVision Entertainment to go halvsies on a new iteration of WOW.
    StereoVision is a company that aims to produce 3-D programming, and the goal here is to produce WOW PPVs in 3-D.  Huh.
    I wouldn't start holding your breath, necessarily...  nothing in the press release comes even REMOTELY close to indicating that the new partnership has the resources to move forward with this quickly.  There are vague mentions of utilizing WOW's video library (they had one full season of shows back in 2000-2001, plus a PPV) to generate revenue, and also of WOW's continued presence overseas.  But nothing to indicate there's a big time money mark who'll get this thing going again in the near term.
    As surprisingly not-dreadful as WOW's one PPV was, I'm just not sure if there's a market for this product.  Or, more importantly, that McLane can twist things around to convince financial backers that there's a market for this product.  But we shall see.  I guess I'm cheering for them, nonetheless, though... I mean, I can think of lots of things worse than Terri Gold to put on my TV.
  • I think that should just about do it for me this week.  Unless you got something else you want me to talk about?  No?  Good...  cuz this feels kind of like a sit-on-the-porch-with-some-beers-and-my-guitar type of evening: nice weather and no particular place to be.  Ah, lethargy, my old friend!
    Screw you guys, I'm outta here....   


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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