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RAW, Ratings, On Haircuts, Rock,
and Other Midweek News
August 6, 2003

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Hey, lucky you!  Pretty soon, I'm gonna have one less thing to waste your time with here at the top every day...  cuz it looks like Flight Risk, the rock sensation that swept the nation (or at least, the region), is breaking up after a big final show on August 30.  Not my idea, no sir, but one I truly think is a necessary move.  That makes two break-ups like that in a row for bands I'm in!  You need know no more.  This is my cross, and I shall bear it.

And gods willing, you shall again have the cross of listening-to-me-talk-about-my-band to bear again in the future.  I mean, I'm freaking awesome.  Somebody will want me.  Right?  RIGHT?!?!  

Too bad there's little chance of coming up with a third-in-a-row cool band name.  After "The National Drink" and "Flight Risk," watch me end up in some stupid band called "Limozeen" or something.  Misspelling a word doesn't make it cooler.  Not unless you're Vince Russo and the year is 1997, anyway.

And rambling on pointlessly doesn't make you cooler unless you're me.  But even so, I think I've had about enough.  So:

  • I've got no real problems with Monday's RAW.  After a few weeks when I thought the show just didn't quite have a consistent focus, with the result being pointless segments (sometimes compiled back-to-back for interminably dull quarter- and half-hours), Monday's show scaled back and did a nice job showcasing key stories and matches, instead of trying to force Sunday Night Heat down our throats without sufficient cause.
    In Chris Jericho vs. Rob Van Dam, you had the night's anchor: a wrestling match you could hang your hat on.  Recent weeks' shows may have had a 10-plus minute match on 'em, but they didn't always feel like the main event.  Jericho and RVD went out and busted ass, and gave us the wrestling highlight of our wrestling show.
    In a nicely arcing set of events, you had a key talking point from a story perspective: namely, that we've got a new SummerSlam main event, with tons of criss-crossing feuds.  The Flair/Goldberg match was an extension of the Goldberg/HHH feud that was to headline SS, but provided the excuse for Shawn Michaels to run-in to attack Randy Orton after Orton's interference.  Before you knew it, you had Chris Jericho (who hates Michaels) and Kevin Nash (who dislikes Jericho and is Shawn's buddy) in the ring, too.  Cue Austin, who makes the six-man Elimination Chamber match, and has ample reason to: he just has to look in the ring in front of him to see that these six all hate each other.  For now, we'll leave the discussion of how this is also about as graceful and effective a cover-story for HHH's injury as they could do.
    Then later on, the interwoven stories continue, as the six-way brawl and Jericho's feud with Nash tie into Jericho's loss to RVD.  If Nash had not powerbombed Jericho in a separate segment earlier in the show, Jericho might not have lost his match.  So Jericho rants on and challenges Nash to a hair vs. hair match.  I love it when stuff all ties together.  Here we've got some extra mustard on one of the intra-Elimination-Chamber feuds for down the line, as well as key story points for right here on tonight's show.  Nicely handled.
    Tying Bischoff into the Kane/Shane feud also gives that one extra legs.  Now they can do Kane vs. RVD at SummerSlam -- no doubt holding back Kane vs. Shane for the RAW-only PPV in September, when they'll need the box office buzz Shane brings to do a big buyrate -- and in the meantime, they've got this sidebar between Shane and Bischoff.  Bischoff holds the win over Shane, and now it also seems that Bischoff holds the reigns to Kane, so you can weave those things together in any number of different ways in coming weeks.
    If I must find fault, it'd be that the top of the tag division is just about as unexciting as humanly possibly.  The miscalculation with La Resistance -- whose cheap heat is probably a boon for house shows and things like that, but is a little too one-note for seriously compelling TV storylines involving the tag titles -- has left us with a Dudleys title win as a foregone (and thus, less satisfying) conclusion.  On the upside, Hurricane/Rooselvelt and Storm/Goldust tag teams appear to be forthcoming, both of which have unique enough hooks that they might spruce things up.
    Quick tangent: though both would seem to be babyface-oriented tag teams, reader Steve Feldman mailed in a cool idea...  that Goldust's attempts to make Storm less boring backfire, and instead, Storm's conservative approach rub off on on Goldust.  Possibly it leads to another end for Goldust and return for Dustin Rhodes, and along with it, a heel turn?  As we've found in the past, once the tag team runs its course, Dustin can always bring back the Bizarre One without much rhyme nor reason to keep his career alive, too.  At any rate, this would be one way to conserve some heelishness on the tag roster, where the #2 bad guy option after La Resistance is probably the Nowinski/Mack tag team that hasn't even been heard from in a month.
    Speaking of heel turns, Gail Kim's receives an Incomplete grade.  Her next step is telling us why she turned on Trish, and doing it in a convincing fashion.  If that works out next week, then cool: we'll have Victoria, Gail, and of course, Molly on the heel side, not to mention Jazz, who should return soon.  On the babyface side, it's Lita who's returning soon, plus Trish, Ivory, and Jackie.  Things are nicely aligned there, as Ivory and Jackie are the easy meat who keep the four heels all pretty well over, the Trish and Lita are the uber-faces who have to smite the four foul temptresses.  Insofar as it's possible to have an 8-person division, they've got this set up to work pretty well.
    A really good RAW all around, I've gotta say.  Full results are over here if you missed 'em.
  • The rating for Monday night came in at an even 4.0.  That's down two-tenths from the past couple of weeks.  Wouldn't you know it?  Two weeks when I think RAW is a big fat "eh," it does the 4.2; then I really like the show the next week, and it drops down.  Clearly, I am not the pro wrestling guru I like to fashion myself as.
    Or am I?  I always like to contend that ratings are reflexive: this week's minor drop doesn't mean THIS week's show was unappealing to fans.  Rather, it means that LAST week's show didn't convince ITS audience to make the return trip the following Monday.  Here's hoping for a good word of mouth buzz about this week's show resulting in a bump back up in the ratings for next week's RAW.  Then, and only then, can I claim to be a true idiot savant of all things sports entertainment!
  • The Rock -- with nothing better to do during an evening in Vancouver, I guess -- showed up backstage at RAW, despite not being booked to appear on the show.  He just hung out and visited and stayed as far away from cameras as possible. 
    The story is this:  with the movie company putting the kibosh on Rock's plans to wrestle a match as part of a 2- or 3-week mini-storyline this summer -- they have insurance to cover themselves if Rock gets hurt doing a stunt on the movie and brings the production to a grinding halt, but NOT if he does the same thing inside a wrestling ring -- WWE decided that just tossing Rock out there for a promo-to-nowhere would just be a distraction from more important issues.  No doubt Rock could have done 15 very entertaining minutes for us, but it wouldn't have led to anything significant in coming weeks, so they put the focus on SummerSlam storylines.
    Probably wise.
  • Might as well acknowledge this one now:  yes, the word on the street is that Kevin Nash has been talking up a movie role that might require him to get a haircut.  So, the thinking goes, the hair vs. hair challenge from Jericho might not end the way you'd expect (with the internet's hated Political Mastermind Kevin Nash getting the win).
    Now, this could easily be a piece of misinformation to throw smarks off (or even a little rib by Nash), but fact is, Jericho winning the eventual match -- speculation is mixed about whether this is to be a RAW match leading into the Elimination Chamber, or if it's now planned to be another big drawing gimmick match for the RAW-only PPV in September -- is probably the right move.  Less need for Nash to invest weekly in mammoth supplies of Grecian Formula, for one.  And for two, Jericho is one of the very few guys who I think can really use the long-hair look as part of a long-term gimmick; he is, afterall, a huge rock star, and part of his look is predicated on the 80's metal bands who all had long, flowing manes.
  • And while on Nash: his fainting spell in Australia is now thought to be the result of a pinched nerve, and not any sort of more serious or lingering medical condition.  That WWE went forward with letting Nash get physically active in an angle on Monday and also booked him in the SummerSlam main event is a pretty solid indication that they are not concerned about this issue. 
  • I don't know just how widespread these rumors are, but they certainly existed enough to spawn a few e-mails (and show up in OO's post-RAW chat), so I might as well shoot it down: the change of the SummerSlam main event is NOT due to the company's waning faith in Bill Goldberg.
    For the record: Goldberg did not weasel his way out of going to Australia or anything like that (he was not booked on the original tour, and although the company looked to him as a replacement for HHH, it was logistically impossible for Goldberg to get his paperwork in time to make the international trip... it was not a backstage powerplay).  The company also did not suddenly lose faith in Goldberg's appeal in the span of one week between setting up the PPV main event on TV and changing it to a six-man match.
    You want a reason for the change, look no further than lingering uncertainty over HHH's condition.  He will work the match at SummerSlam, but will be at less than 100%.  Now, instead of counting on Goldberg to somehow single-handedly carry the match, they've surrounded the two with four other guys with varying levels of ability to carry the workload AND spark fan reactions.  If Goldberg ties into the decision at all, it's simply insofar as he's not the type of worker who could salvage a 20-minute PPV main event caliber match against an injured opponent.  It has nothing to do with any other anti-Goldberg conspiracy factors.
    I really think it's a super idea for getting out of a difficult corner.  It might not have just gotten them out of trouble, either... this might be the preferable scenarios.  To wit: now, instead of having these six guys in 2 or 3 separate matches, they get them all into one... allowing them to elevate maybe one other mid-card feud to "PPV status" on the busy and crowded SummerSlam card while also holding back on 1-on-1 blow-off matches until their RAW-only PPV a month later.  Tell me what's not to like about this, regardless of whether you're a fan or the company... go ahead, I dare you!
  • Booker T was absent from RAW this week because of back/neck spasms... the company decided it was best to send him straight home after the Australia tour (which Booker toughed his way through).
    He's expected back for next week's RAW, lest the IC division fall to the depths of the tag division....
  • Harry Smith, the teenage son of Davey Boy Smith, wrestled dark matches at both sets of TV tapings this week.  By all accounts, he was very good, as fans warmed to the dark matches as they went on (and trust me, that doesn't always happen when fans are exposed to two guys that they have never seen before).
    And while I'm mentioning tapings, I'll just say that this week's SmackDown! sounds like a very strong effort from both the in-ring and storytelling perspectives.  You can just watch on Thursday like good little lemmings.  Or if you must, the spoilers are right here.
  • Just a follow-up to the silly link people were asking about on Monday -- the one that appeared to have Booker T in a co-starring role in "Rocky VI."
    Yeah, I already told you it's bogus (duh), but OO Reader Justin McGrotty did a little research, and it turns out that Rocky trailer actually dates back to last fall, and the guy who did it did it as a school project.  Also, not only is Booker T not the main villain in "Rocky VI," the movie is also not even in production.  The guy who made it did so to somehow inspire MGM to actually make another (non-crappy) Rocky movie, so there.... 
    I honestly have no idea how something like that suddenly took on a life of its own 9 months after it was actually created, but you folks who were asking now have your answer...  and then some.
  • Lastly, a quick rundown of tonight's NWA-TNA PPV....
    It's headlined by an AJ Styles vs. D'Lo Brown rematch for Styles' NWA Title.  This time, it's inside a steel cage.  It's a fitting extension of the three-fall match they did that ended a bit inconclusively under Ladder Match rules.  Also, TNA is not shy about reminding you that the only other cage match in the company's history (America's Most Wanted vs. Triple X) is a top contender for their Match of the Year.  A lot of potential for a great match here.
    Other action: AMW is actually in action, in a non-title Strap Match against Simon and Swinger....  Chris Sabin defends the X Title against Frankie Kanzarian...  Kid Kash continues his disrespect for legends by taking on Larry Zbyszko....  and you can bet that the freshly started Christopher Daniels vs. Jeff Jarrett feud will be addressed directly, as both men will be in the house.
    You know, you don't HAVE to wait till TNA's one-cent show next month... you can check out this one.  It should be a good one.  If you don't, though, Damian Gonzalez will have your back with a recap here at OO on Friday.
  • And Friday is when I will ride again, as well.  Buenos Nachos, suckers.  


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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RAW RECAP: Brock's a Jerk
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28




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