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PPV, RAW, Vince's Birthday, Movie News,
Other Monday Madness...
August 25, 2003

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


A few months ago, I think I mentioned that a former teacher and family friend, George Koenig, was sick and in the hospital.  Well, over the past week or two, things took a decided turn for the worst, and he passed away on Saturday.  George was one of the very rare teachers that you ever have, the kind where you look back and say, "Hey, that guy made a noticeable difference in the person I am today."  And if that wasn't enough, in the years after he was my teacher, he became the kind of friend to me and my family who'd argue with you at a baseball game over who'd get the last beer in the seventh inning or who'd tag along with your family when they went gambling down on the riverboats (and who'd end up happily buying you a few drinks on the boat this past Christmas break because he was up a few bucks and you'd already blown your entire wad on blackjack).

I know you didn't know the guy personally, but somehow, it makes me feel a bit better if I can at least half-way explain to you how good a guy we lost this weekend.  So there.  I gave it a try.

But I won't waste any more of your time:

  • Last night's SummerSlam seems to have generated an incredibly diverse set of responses from fans.
    There are people (like me) who thought that Angle/Lesnar was outstanding -- better than WM, and with a surprisingly clean, decisive win for Angle that just might prove to be a catapult to bigger and better things for Angle the Babyface.  Then there are people who (unlike me) looked at a crippled Triple H doing about 2 minutes of work in the main event and still walking away with the title, and get so enraged that everything else about the PPV fails to matter.
    There are even some folks in the middle who saw a little good, a little bad, and in the end, saw SummerSlam as perhaps a bit disappointing, but still worthwhile.  I'd gotten kind of used to the universally-held opinions generated by the last few PPVs...  all this dissent!  I don't know what to make of it!
    Again, for my part, I ended up liking the show.  I think it could have been slightly reconstructed, with results that would have made it an even more impactful event, but even as it was, I couldn't complain.
    The main bone of contention: the Elimination Chamber.  The HHHaters out there can't seem to shake the idea that if HHH is THAT hurt, maybe he shouldn't be holding the title.  Maybe he shouldn't have been in that match at all.  Well, OK, maybe you're right.  But that's not the direction WWE decided to go.  They rolled the dice three weeks ago, betting on HHH (even if he couldn't hold up his end of a one-on-one match) being able to carry one-sixth of the Chamber match.  And from the way things looked last night, they probably bet wrong.  Even with his little football shorts for groinal support, HHH still managed to contribute even less to the Chamber than Kevin Nash did in his 2 minute cameo.
    But the point is, this was the decision made 3 weeks ago, and I prefer to judge what we got in terms of the real world...  not some fantasy realm where we can go back in time and change things around so that the Fed does NOT gamble on HHH/Goldberg as a money feud coming out of the Chamber match.  This was the decision made weeks ago.  And as a cover for HHH's lingering injury AND as an angle that puts additional heat on HHH/Goldberg, I think the Chamber main event succeeded.  Was it a blow away wrestling match?  Was it a terribly satisfying ending?  No on both counts.  But it was effective, nonetheless.  Goldberg looked the best he has in his WWE run, and had the crowd support to prove it.  HHH still steals a win, and comes off that much more villainous.  Hey, I'll take it.
    Now, is that to say that things couldn't have been presented better?  Not at all.  You see, I think even the internet critics would have cottoned to SummerSlam a LOT more if the Fed had made one simple change:  invert the RAW and SD! matches in the last two hours of the show.  I don't care exactly how you implement the change, but finishing with Angle/Lesnar would have given the show that big time climactic feel that HHH's cheap win simply did not supply.
    So much energy went into building up Lesnar the last two weeks that I honestly think Angle's win was a surprise to 90% of fans (I know it was to me).  The match was superb, and the finish was monumental.  Angle, whose previous babyface title reign was tepid (at best), can now command serious respect as a legit champion.  I'd have told that story last, and made it be SummerSlam's signature moment.  Hell, it might have been buried in the middle of the show, and it was STILL the PPV's signature moment, if you ask me.
    Make that change in the presentation of the show, and I promise you fans are more willing to accept the Chamber as "adequate," instead of railing against it as another indication of HHH's destructive backstage power.  And once you eliminate that one major criticism, the rest of the show falls into place pretty nicely.
    The US Title four way was very good, and I can't help but mention that some of the spots between Benoit and Tajiri really got me hoping that somehow they can arrange for those two guys to get 10 minutes of TV time against each other here in the near future.  The positive response to Eddie, of course, is also more than deserved, and makes me really anxious to see how the Fed handles Eddie in his hometown on SD! this week.  A couple weeks ago, I did that Eddie-is-the-next-Mick-Foley thing, and if there's gonna be any kernal of reality to that theory, I think we'll see it start to develop this week.
    Shane/Bischoff wound up being my third favorite match of the night.  The heel turn with Coach was totally out of left field, but had enough of a foundation to be plausible.  On about three occasions since Bischoff showed up, he used Coach as his designated announcer.  Each time, JR would return, and Coach would step aside gracefully... but each time, I couldn't help but think the Fed was missing a chance to somehow give Coach a heel hook (while also giving Bischoff another tool he could use, himself).  Needless to say, the last place I expected to see WWE make use of that chance was in the Shane/Bischoff match last night.  Now, an announcer turning heel could very easily be a dead end.  But it could also a neat thing to explore.  It's basically gonna be up to Coach's performance (based on last night, I think he can pull this off) and the creative team's use of him (that, I think, is more of a crapshoot).  Austin's crowd-pleasing run-in and Shane's holy shit high spot were the icing on the cake for that Sports Entertainment Segment.
    After those three stand-out matches, the other four on the card were pretty much business as you'd expect.  The Chamber was an adequate, if unspectacular, way of getting us to the next PPV with Goldberg vs. HHH as the key issue...  RVD/Kane was fast-paced with a lot of effort by both guys, but also a bit clunky in spots where things didn't quite click...  the opening tag match was (and it pains me to say this) red hot with the crowd into everything and the in-ring work sufficient for the occasion... and Taker/A-Train was OK power brawling, and didn't lag at all, with the Steph/Sable tag giving fans a little something they actually got into.
    Three memorable contests and four that didn't leave you fleeing the room in horror... that's gotta be good for a mild Thumbs Up, right?  Hell, I probably liked Angle/Lesnar enough that that alone would have upped the thumb for me, but they gave us a little extra sauce, too....
    The complete results of the show are still available right here, if you missed them last night.
  • Tonight's RAW seems destined to be the HHH and Goldberg show.  Just not in any way that has then actually, you know, wrestling or anything.  I'm sure HHH is still resting that injury, and Goldberg should be limited because of his selling the attack by Evolution last night.  If it was anyone else (preferably someone who doesn't have a PPV main event feud to set up), I'd say book them to have the night off to REALLY sell the injuries.  But Goldberg's a monster and he does have to get this feud with HHH kicked into high gear, so....
    A lot of talky-talky to set the stage.  Maybe they even do a deal where Goldberg, even though injured, wants revenge...  HHH says he can only have a title shot if he can beat Randy Orton tonight.  Or something like that.  Of course, Goldberg beats the odds, and BAM, you've got your main event for Unforgiven.
    In other news:  Shane McMahon has settled his beef with Eric Bischoff, which means it's time to get down to business with Kane.  Those two are also heading to a PPV showdown next month, so paths will cross tonight, my friends.  Oh, yes, paths will cross.  [An aside: RVD does not necessarily have to evaporate from the Kane equation, either.  OO Reader Peter Lynn sent in an idea too good to pass up this weekend: Shane and RVD, at some point in the next month, need to hit Kane with Stereo Van Terminators!  The Holy Shit Moment of the Year... in theory, anyway.]
    I do believe that the foursome of Kevin Nash, Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton, and Chris Jericho will probably all remain married to each other.  Michaels and Orton are likely headed to a one-on-one PPV match, in the name of furthering Orton's gimmick as the "Legend Killer."  Michaels and Jericho seem to be perpetually at odds, which is cool, since they'll always deliver the goods in the ring.  And Nash... he's a wild card.  Michaels superkicked him and Jericho pinned him last night.  He could stay babyface and be pissed at Jericho for pinning him (as well as cutting his hair last week)... or maybe there's a chance for him to turn on Michaels?
    Other issues: La Resistance (shall they be renamed "Menage a Troi," now?) and the Dudleys (now with extra Spike) probably have a six-man feud rolling for a while, then it's back to two-on-two for the tag titles by the next PPV...  Molly, Trish, and Gail are in the mix in the women's division, with Gail straddling the babyface/heel line as of last week....  Christian's got nothing going as the IC Champ; maybe if RVD's getting phased out of the feud with Kane, he can build on last week's title match and start a feud for the belt?....  Hurricane and SHIT will probably continue with the cheesy skits, but will also find themselves opposed by a new tag team (Mark Henry will be joining forces with Rodney Mack and Teddy Long)...  meantime, Lance Storm and Goldust will continue with the awesome skits, but probably NOT have any in-ring issues to deal with.  Hey, it's my website, and I'll decide what is funny and what is not!
    Check out RAW tonight, and/or come on back to OO tomorrow for full results and analysis.
  • The final rating for last week's SD! was a 3.3, which is down from the week before, but right on pace with its 2 month average.  It should be noted that the whole blackout thing skewed ratings the previous week, so comparisons really aren't gonna be worth much.
    The OO Rating for SD! was a 3.48, making SmackDown! the easy Battle of the Brands winner last week.  In fact, with last week's RAW only deserving a 2.15 rating according to OO's staff (I won't name names, but you want to talk about skewing the ratings, we had some of that going on last week!), SD! scored the most decisive win in BotB history.  All two and a half months of it.
    Full ratings (both Nielsen and OO style) for last week are available right here
  • After SummerSlam wrapped up on PPV, there was still a 20 minute post-show celebration for the live fans in Phoenix.  You see, it was Vince McMahon's 58th birthday yesterday.
    According to live reports, Steve Austin hit the ring after the show went off the air, and invited Vince out.  Vince came, flanked by Big Show.  Then, eventually, the whole ring and ringside area filled up with every single wrestler, manager, announcer, and agent on the payroll.  
    Threats were made about Austin singing.  Then Taker singing.  Then Vince singing.  The HHH singing.  Somehow, in all this, Big Show was coaxed into doing a spin-a-roonie.  And in the end, it was Pat Patterson who led the crew in a sufficiently off-key rendition of "My Way" in honor of Vince.
    Then Vince, not much liking the melancholy tone of the lyrics, took the mic, boldly announced that he'd outlive everybody in the damn ring, and they can kiss his ass, and so on and so forth.  Everybody got a chuckle out of it, and then there were beers all around.  
    I am assured that this was a lot of fun, and that there's no way it can be translated to the written word.  I'd also guess that you'll be able to look for this on a future edition of "Confidential."  At least, one report indicated that cameras were still rolling through the entire segment.
  • Another quasi-sanctioned WWE event that was filmed but which may or may not ever see the light of day.... the finals of the 2003 Divas Search.
    This was done as a webcast this weekend, I gather, live from some club in Phoenix, or something.  Josh Matthews was the host of the thing, and was ridiculed mercilessly by guys like Test and Jericho, who bothered to show up.  There was a ton of drunken profanity spewed, at least one pair of tits bared, and basically little (if anything) that could ever be shown on standard cable TV.  
    The girl who won was briefly shown on the PPV last night.  I don't remember her name, nor do I know what qualifications she displayed to become a diva.  But here's a shocking news update for you:  she was pretty hot.  Oh wait, did I just answer my own question about her qualifications?
  • In Qualified Diva News: TNA's Alexis Laree has been signed to a WWE developmental contract.  Lately, she'd been hanging around with Raven's crew, and has also shown signs of both personality and in-ring ability.
    Just about everybody who's seen her work (counting me, a whopping two times) views this as a good thing.  Except for MB'er Chris "Lucky" Lopez, an avid TNA fan who will miss her contributions to that product and fully expects WWE to blow it with her....
  • A few people mailed in with this, and I'll pass it along....
    Nathan Jones has got a bit part in "Troy," a big budget historical/mythical movie starring Brad Pitt as Achilles.  It's set to be one of next summer's blockbusters.  May we cross our fingers that that will be our next chance to see Nathan Jones?  [No such luck: By all accounts, Jones' role is a minor one, and now that he's healthy and will be wrapping up this commitment, he's probably only a month or so away from returning to SD.]
    The role shouldn't be surprising (though the e-mails I got indicated it clearly was to a lot of you).... Jones' past as a felon has been documented, but it's been years since he's been released from jail, and in that time, he was an aspiring actor and a stunt man.  I still remember when I was at WrestleLine, his agent or somebody sent me his portfolio, thinking I'd somehow be able to break him into Stateside pro wrestling...  not that he turned out to need a whole lot of help in that regard.  Being seven foot tall tends to be all one needs to get noticed.  
    In other wrestler/movie news: word on the street is that Roddy Piper is set to co-star with Erik Estrada in a film directed by William Shatner.  I forget the title, but suffice to say this one is NOT set to be one of next summer's blockbusters.  This one's got direct-to-video written all over it!
  • OO Reader Kris Anderson had a cool Brush with the Horsemen this past week...  his brother is a high school football coach in North Carolina, and this week, the team they were playing was Providence (Charlotte) High School.
    On Thursday night, for the JV game, Ric Flair was in the crowd; and on Friday night for the varsity game, Arn Anderson was in attendance.  Ric's son, Reed (he of the takedown on Bischoff), is on the Providence JV team, and Arn's son is on the varsity squad.
    Kris' brother met and talked to Flair on Thursday night, and Kris talked with Arn the next night...  the scouting report on both Flair and Arn: super-nice and cordial to any fans who approached them.  They were willing to talk wrestling or football or whatever.  And Kris thought it was cool that high school football fans in NC this year just might end up having the chance to "randomly" bump into the two men most closely associated with the Four Horsemen on consecutive nights this fall....
  • I think that's just about enough for today.  See you again on Wednesday with Spoilers (hey, El Paso, you got my back?) and other 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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