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SD!, TNA, Booker T, and the Minimum FDA 
Allowance of Other Random News...
September 12, 2003

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Much like last night's SmackDown!, I don't think I've got any one singular blow-away segment for you in today's column...  but also like last night's show, I think I can (a) bring the absolutely perfect mix of the sizzle and the steak, (b) have absolutely zero pointless or unentertaining content, and best of all (as far as I'm concerned), (c) come in about 25% shorter than usual.

Here goes:

  • Alright, last night's 90-minute SD!...  think back quickly: can you remember any part of the show where you were even remotely tempted to flip the channel?  Oh, you can?  Well, screw you!  My point is that I can't.
    And it's my website, so I get the final say.
    I thought it was another forward step in SD!'s couple-months-long evolution into a show that can be sustainably entertaining without necessarily relying on hugely memorable moments or gimmicks.  It was, in short, a nearly flawless example of well-executed episodic television.
    Last night's peak was definitely the Eddie/Cena parking lot brawl.  But even as good as it was (as an intense, uniquely presented, hardcore style contest), it didn't necessarily constitute a blow-away, remember-it-months-from-now segment.  The feel was still very much one of a middle chapter.  Chavo's return and Eddie's resulting cheap win mean that nothing was really settled.  But again: it's not like I care as long as these middle chapters can be as indisputably entertaining as this was.
    Hell, for my money, EVERY segment was entertaining last night.  There was not a single wasted moment.  It was a trim, compact show that managed to tell a story, get a laugh, impress inside the ring, or something at every point.  Opening match: a great 6-minute TV Special with an awesomely-put-together finishing sequence.  Vince/Steph/Lesnar backstage promo: didn't feel as scripted as most segments with Steph usually end up feeling, and both Show and Lesnar demonstrated something very near to charisma or personality.  The Dawn/Shaniqua/Torrie/Nidia thing: as close to pointless as it got this night, but also short and harmles; also, I can't deny having my smark gland pleasantly stroked by the way they treated the Torrie/Dawn relationship (they know they can't ignore their retarded storyline past, but also didn't dwell on it or remind us of it TOO clearly).  Benoit/Rhyno:  an extremely stiff match that finally gave Benoit the clean win over Rhyno.  The APA Poker Game: a great example of guys just being comfortable in their characters and able to move through a skit without coming off like they are reading lines; absolutely hilarious stuff (but Bradshaw needs to learn how to play Texas Hold 'Em if he's going to go to the trouble of specifically calling out the game).  Cena rap: gold.  Cena/Eddie brawl: as discussed above, more gold.  APA/Matt&Shannon: a showcase for APA's power and Matt and Shannon's double team cheating, this was fun and interesting enough as an outgrowth of the previous poker game skit.  Steph/Lesnar: of course it didn't happen, but Lesnar's recent past had you thinking that maybe it would.  But in the end, this was just a set up for Angle's run-in to hype next week's Iron Man Match.  A bit of an anti-climax, but hey, next week oughta kick so much ass that I grant that it deserves the hype.
    Where are the holes?  I don't see any.  If you want to look more closely, I suggest Danny's SD! Recap...
  • The overnight rating for SD! was a 4.5, which is pretty much in line with where overnights have averaged lately (maybe a tad toward the high side).  Should end up being a mid-3s final rating, which I'll be sure to post to this week's Battle of the Brands as soon as I get it (and which I'm sure I'll remember to mention here in the column on Monday).
    You should check out BotB, regardless...  if for no other reason than to find out in exactly what context Jeb Lund turned the phrase, "The needless complexity of figuring out how to program a VCR by referring to an instruction manual written in Urdu while some pantsless Yurt-dweller ululates loud enough to make Alanis Morissette cringe and throws daisies at you."
    Jeb delivers the goods even when he doesn't deliver a, you know, actual column!
  • If you were interested, the overnight rating for "The Mullets" was a 3.1.  Yes, that means they lost about a third of WWE's audience.  But by UPN standards, the 3.1 is still a good-looking number.
    From what I gather, the show was savaged by critics.  For whatever it's worth, after months and months of hearing my brother tell me about it, I was actually kind of interested in seeing the show despite the bad buzz.  And now, I'm not sure where I stand.  Yeah, the show was monumentally stupid.  But you're looking at a man who still watches "South Park" and who thinks MTV needs to put "Beavis and Butthead" reruns into circulation (screw those DVDs, they don't have the music video commentaries)!).  So, clearly, there are times when I likes me the stupid (especially when it's stupid that's invented by guys who used to work on "The Simpsons").  I laughed more than once during "The Mullets," but I must also admit that I didn't laugh nearly as often as that god-awful phony laugh track they had going.  So sue me, seeing the guy who was J. Peterman basically playing J. Peterman (just with a different name) was good enough for a reflex chuckle on a couple occasions.
    Just so you know: the final act of the show was a re-shoot done back 7-8 weeks ago when RAW was in LA.  The pilot had actually been shot back in April, and had a different ending; when UPN picked up the show, they managed to get WWE to go along with doing the extended final act.
    And as I mentioned a week ago, the wrestling cross-overs are not done.  The Rock pulled out of a guest spot, but was replaced by Roddy Piper for an episode that will air during November.
  • On yesterday's "Byte This," Booker T phoned in and said that his back injury will keep him on the shelf for about another month.  The official diagnosis came down as a bulging disc that was impeding on the sciatic nerve.
    Booker pegged October as his hoped-for return date, and a quick glance at WWE house show schedules confirms that.  He's on cards starting the first weekend of next month.
    Sadly, Booker sounded less than enthusiastic about his return to the ring being a long-lasting one.  He was talking in terms of "one more run" for the World Title and stuff like that.  Due to his back, he's essentially looking at working out the remainder of his existing contract and then walking away from active wrestling.
  • Another thing one notices when looking through October RAW brand house show cards: Goldberg is on all of them.  Goldberg, to the best of my knowledge, has worked house shows so rarely in his first four months in the company that you can count them on one hand and have fingers left over.  
    Goldberg's appearance on house show cards starting next month could be interpreted as an indication that the Fed is planning to put the title on Goldberg, and has reached an arrangement with him so that he will appear on non-televised shows.  Previously, one of the big insider theories for why Goldberg would never wear the big gold was because of his contractually-agreed-upon light work schedule.
    Other oddities regarding the RAW brand house show schedule: Triple H is booked on shows throughout October (in fact, he and Booker are on opposite sides of tag matches on a few shows), so my theory that HHH would drop the title and then take about 6-8 weeks off to get healthy and then get married (and then well-honeymooned) looks to be out the window.  
    Also: Shane McMahon will be working house shows against Kane.  Wow.  Looks like Vince and Steph aren't the only McMahons sucking it up and hitting the road for the good of the company.
  • Speaking of which: it's been brought to my attention that just about every other website but this one has been making a big deal about Vince and Steph's placement in ads for SD! brand house shows.  I guess they are getting top billing over the actual wrestlers, and everybody thinks that's really terrible or something.
    "Who the hell gives a shit?" is my official response.  Look, if I thought for one second that fans hear or see radio or TV ads and stop paying attention after hearing two names, maybe it'd be an issue.  But they don't.  They listen to the whole thing.  They'll know the entire advertised roster of performers.  If adding Vince and Steph at the top of the ad gives fans the impression that it's a bigger show, one where storylines will happen, well, then I say that's a good thing.  We know enough to EXPECT Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle and the crew...  advertising Vince and Steph sends the message that this is not a typical nothing-happens house show. NOT the message that Vince and Steph are the stars of the show.
    Cripes, talk about the internet living down to its reputation for completely over-reacting to nothing.
  • Mick Foley's gonna be on TV sooner than you might have thought.  But in a different place from what you might have thought, too.
    Foley will be Jimmy Kimmel's co-host every night next week on Kimmel's ABC late night show (airing at 12 midnight or 12:30 in most markets).  Kimmel's been very wrestler-friendly since starting his show earlier this year, and his willingness to feature Foley for an entire week is a pretty cool move.
    Foley has yet to face the terror that is Cousin Sal, so expect that.  Among other hijinx.
  • Alright people, I got the message:  you wanted to see the naked pictures of Jamie "Candice" Koeppe, but the link I posted in Wednesday's column ain't working.  Don't get mad at me.  If you gotta get mad at somebody, get mad at the guy who either (a) went over his bandwidth limit after I posted that link or (b) got shut down because those pictures of Jamie are actually copyrighted by a pay-site and shouldn't have been posted for free.
    In either case, the fact is the pictures exist, and as WWE puts Jamie to use (and as word spreads that "Jamie = Candice"), it's inevitable that the pix will become ubiquitous.  Just hold tight, maybe poke around a little, and chances are good they'll surface again.
    But then again, if, hypothetically speaking (of course), somebody had sent me an entire set of Jamie's "Candice" photos in a big ol' ZIP file, I'd be smart enough to not post them cuz I sure wouldn't want to get in trouble with actual copyright holders or anyone else.  So maybe you ought not to hold your breath, on the off chance that others have the same scruples as I.
  • Last for today: a quick mention of TNA's One Cent pay-per-view...
    Of course I checked it out.  I've seen about a dozen other TNA PPVs over the last year, and was quite confident that I'd get my penny's worth and then some.  And I was right.  But how awful would the show had to have been for me to feel like that penny was wasted?
    That said, I'm also not entirely sure that the show was anywhere near as effective as it could have been.  While they served up a very generous dose of quality, unique in-ring action, it was clear that this was essentially a 2 hour infomercial to get people to buy next week's full-price show.
    And it's in that respect that I think the show floundered.  Once they got the X Division and tag title situations out of the way (in pretty solid fashion), the whole show kind of fell apart and got disjointed.  I know Vince Russo's propensity for over-booking is no big secret, but to see it leak into a pre-packaged highlight show that they had weeks to craft was kind of disappointing.
    The second half of this week's one-cent show was more befuddling than if you watched "Memento" without seeing the first 10 minutes...  Raven was a face.  Then he was a heel.  Then he was a face again.  AJ Styles and the NWA Title is the big finale.  No wait, Sting is.  No wait, we're going back to Raven and Shane Douglas again.  Just sort of disorienting, especially to a fan like me who sees maybe one out of every four TNA shows.
    Maybe it's not really Russo's fault or anything.  I mean, he's got a roster of what, maybe 20 regulars?  And to try to keep feuds fresh, to keep guys apart long enough to make their eventual show-downs seem like they're worth paying for, he has to mesh and blend a lot of feuds together.  Sometimes the results are just ridiculously chaotic (the Jarrett/Raven match that I vented about back in early May was included on the one-cent show and is a fine example)...  and I guess that could mean that even recapping and making sense all the chaos becomes a more difficult task than I'm thinking it would be.
    The upshot of the night: they announced a hair vs. hair match between Raven and Douglas for next Wednesday, and also announced that Roddy Piper would be appearing next week (suggesting he was on a mission to put an end to all the aforementioned chaos).
    My reservations aside, you'd still be an absolute ass if you didn't plop down the penny to give TNA a look, just to see if there's anything there that might convince you to become a regular or semi-regular viewer.  I know that there were troubles for some fans, whose cable systems did not have the one-penny price tag attached to the show.  Hopefully, that's an issue that has been addressed, because you still have a bunch of chances to see the show, and you should only have to pay one cent.
    Scheduled replays of the one cent special: tonight (Friday) at 5pm...  Sunday (5am, 7am, and 4pm)...  Monday (10am)... Tuesday (2pm)... and Wednesday (11:30am, and 6pm leading directly into TNA's next live show).  All those times are eastern.
  • That's it.  Stick a fork in me, I'm done.  Enjoy the weekend, and I'll see y'all Monday.  


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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