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Rocky Goes Hollywood?, SD!, 
WrestleMania Tickets, and More... 
September 26, 2003

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Might as well get this out of the way first...

For about 36 hours yesterday and into today, OnlineOnslaught.com was down.  I can do little, myself, except to apologize on the behalf of my webhosts, who DID warn me to expect 6 hours of overnight downtime started at 2am Wednesday night/Thursday morning as they did a server move of some kind or another.  

I'd have warned you in Wednesday's column, except that I foolishly put faith in their time estimate, and didn't think 95% of you would notice.  I'm guessing you DID notice when the site was MIA for a day and a half, though, and for that I'm sorry.

As near as I can tell, everything is back to full-speed (at least at your end).  But there are still a few screwy things going on "backstage" here, so if those manifest themselves in errors or other anomalies, PLEASE let me know about them.  Thanks.

But enough about that.  The important thing is OO is BACK, baby, and your life again has meaning!  And I again have an outlet for my inane bullshit:

  • Today marks the release of "The Rundown," a Christopher Walken driven vehicle that also, as you may have heard, features our very own The Rock.
    Good buzz in the last few weeks has blossomed today into full blown good reviews for the flick...  grand cinema it is not, but a lot of fun?  Apparently it's got that in spades.  Even reviewers who found the overall story simplistic or formulaic all took time to praise the Rock as a an incredible screen presence to the extent that he propped up otherwise subpar material and made it watchable.
    I have yet to see a below-average (i.e. sub-"C" or sub-two-stars) review for the movie.  Not that I put a whole lot of stock in most movie reviews, but I think I feel pretty confident about "The Rundown" being significantly less crappy than "The Scorpion King."  I might not even wait till the DVD release to find out for myself this time 'round...
    On good word of mouth, expectations are high that "The Rundown" will rule the box office this weekend.  The only other new movie released today is the Ben Stiller/Drew Barrymore dark comedy, "Duplex."  And it has not reviewed as well as "The Rundown," nor done as well in terms of audience feedback.
  • Now, for something only marginally different... More on the Rock!
    I caught his appearance on Letterman two nights ago, and was struck by (a) how many utterly obscure old-timey wrestlers Dave remembers, and (b) how completely dismissive of his wrestling career the Rock was.
    When discussing his last tour of duty, Rock just non-chalantly blew it off, saying it was "eight months ago" (really more like four), and that even though he lost to Goldberg in his farewell, he's not all that interested in going back to get revenge.  Dave fluctuated between teasing the Rock about going back so he doesn't go out a loser and advocating that he's an incredible talent on the cusp of a real movie career, so he should step away from the wrestling ring.
    For his part, Rocky responded to the latter with what certainly seemed like silent assent.  He didn't come right out and say he was quitting wrestling, but he sure as hell didn't speak up and say, "No Dave, I'm always gonna go back to the ring every now and again," either.  How much of that was just posturing so that he could downplay wrestling to draw in casual movie-goers, and how much was a straight shoot, nobody can know...  Rock also downplayed wrestling when on Letterman last year, but he came back for a tour.
    This time around, though, we've already seen Rocky pull out of a planned WWE date (when the Fed rescheduled a RAW to Vancouver for the express purpose of putting him on the show) to placate Hollywood.  Rock also did the same kind of dismissive-towards-wrestling act (I am told by a trio of readers who saw it) when he appeared with Regis yesterday.
    Rock also has a date with Conan O'Brien tonight, so it'll be interesting to see what, if anything, he has to say about the issue there.
    Just for the record: I'm not presenting this because I feel particularly betrayed by the Rock or anything.  Hell, he can do whatever he wants to do, and since it seems he's actually got the talent to succeed in Hollywood, I'm all for that.  If he keeps plugging away, works REALLY hard, and gets just the right script, MAYBE he'll be able to unseat "They Live" as the best movie ever starring a wrestler.  
    I'm presenting this for informational purposes only.  Though there is a part of me that finds it odd that Rock was on RAW just four days ago pining to come back to "electrify" once again... and then two days ago sounded like there was nothing left for him in wrestling.  It's the mixed signals that I don't much understand.  I think there IS a part of me that would like it if he'd just shoot straight with us.  
    I have a feeling just how much access WWE has to the Rock will have a lot to do with how the new movie does this weekend.  If it opens up big, even though wrestling has been decided UNhip for the past year and a half, it means the Rock, and not pro wrestling, is what people like.  And that'll mean more offers and more work in Hollywood.  If, against all odds, it tanks, talks of things like carrying the new "Spy Hunter" or revived "Predator" franchises may evaporate.  We'll have to see.
    FYI: Rock has said in interviews that he just wrapped on his "Walking Tall" remake in time to start doing publicity for this movie.  Technically, that makes him available to WWE as soon as this round of publicity is over.  More realistically, by the time Rock gets done promoting the movie here, and then when it opens in coming weeks overseas, and then gets a month or two vacation time, you'd be talking December or January before WWE could stake a claim on his time.  Assuming, that is, that Rock is even interested.
    Rock's next project:  it could either be the King Kamehameha bio that has been talked about or, if Rock is chose, the "Spy Hunter" movie.  Hawaii press has reported that the Kamehameha picture is expected to start filming there in Spring 2004, so that probably beats "Spy Hunter" (not expected to go into full production till next summer).  Also, the "Walking Tall" remake is already scheduled for an April 2004 release, right at the start of the Summer Blockbuster season.
    Enough Rocky for you?  Good....
  • Well, with the OOutage and all, my posting of WrestleMania 20 ticket pre-sale passwords probably didn't help many of you...  but the passwords were circulated to other websites, as well, and were pretty readily available to anyone who was looking.
    The result: as of this writing (about 2pm Friday), there are no WM20 tickets available through TicketBastard's website.  Now, I'm not 100% sure, but I THINK that just means that the tickets allotted for pre-sale have sold out.  I THINK that also means that tomorrow morning, when the regular on-sale starts, there are a bunch of tickets yet to be released to the public.
    I simply can't believe that WWE could sell out all of MSG in a matter of minutes/hours when only a fraction of their audience would have collected the necessary password(s) from insider wrestling sites.  I gotta believe they only set aside a certain number of seats for the presale.
    That said, I would not expect tickets to last very long into the weekend once they are opened up to the general public tomorrow morning.
    Oh, and also:  I was wrong Wednesday.  The cheapest seats in the house for WM20 are going for $55 (not $80).  Although by the time everybody gets done adding on their various "convenience" charges, I wouldn't be surprised if I was pretty close to right with the $80 claim.  Freakin' TicketBastard.
  • Last night's SD! was a really good show.  Sure, not as killer as the week before, but what do you expect?  You couldn't do that and keep it special and entertaining every week, even if you had the horses to run out there...
    That said, I'm already getting SUPER-PSYCHED for No Mercy.  And I say that with a staunch record of having never been one of those creepy male cheerleader-types.
    Think about it:  obviously, they jump-started an Angle vs. Cena feud.  The promos will be pure gold, and the match at the end shouldn't be far behind.  That's one.  The Lesnar/Taker match is one I also look at as a major plus segment; Taker's match against Angle showed what he can still do when he turns it up, and I actually think Lesnar might provide a better foil to him (see last year's HitC for evidence).  And also: if we didn't just see the set-up for a Rey/Tajiri PPV Spectacular, then my name isn't The Rick.  That'll rule.
    Yeah, the Steph/Vince thing will be a drag on the PPV, and likely on shows leading up to it, as well, via tortuously over-long skits every week...  and Benoit/A-Train is rapidly becoming the Test/Steiner of SmackDown!.  But those two things are not nearly enough to dampen my anticipation for the aforementioned three feuds.  And when I use my prognosticatory powers and project them forward, I think there's two other things that we should probably get VERY excited about.
    To wit: the introduction of the Eddie Guerrero Defends Both Belts concept is outstanding.  For one, it just means more Eddie.  That's good.  But there are also storyline possibilities here that could allow Eddie to lose BOTH titles, and yet come out at the other end an even bigger, more established star.  A guy who can successfully defend two titles a night for a month or longer, even when he inevitably loses them, is a guy who might be in line for a WWE Title shot, no?  I like the idea...
    Plus, assuming that we're gonna keep going with the Eddie Defends Both Titles concept, it looks to me that No Mercy will also feature Los Guerreros vs. Haas/Benjamin, as well as Eddie vs. Matt Hardy.  Tell me: exactly what in the hell is wrong with that?  Nothing.  Nothing at all.
    So: A-Train/Benoit and Vince/Steph stuff aside, I got very into SD! night of storytelling.  Tack on Rey/Tajiri having a good ol' good one and both of Eddie's matches clocking in at Above Average, and I again doff my cap to SD! for an excellent outing.
  • The overnight rating for SD!: a 3.9.  Amidst the season premieres for NBC's Must-See TV and CBS's new "Survivor" (and CSI), SD! could have been expected to take a hit, and it did, losing more than 10% from its usual overnight number.
    Of course, the final number is the one that really matters, and it might not have dropped as far.  We'll have that data for you in the newest Battle of the Brands at some point over the weekend, and in Monday's new OO column at the latest.
  • Thanks to numerous readers that passed this along:
    According to the Fozzy website, Chris Jericho's wife, Jessica, gave birth to their son (Ash Edward) on Wednesday night.  Congrats to the proud new parents!
  • WWE.com is reporting that both Jazz and Batista are essentially recovered from injuries (shoulder and arm, respectively).  Jazz has completed an OVW run, and it's just a matter of creative finding a spot for her; Batista still needs to report to OVW for a couple of weeks before he'll be considered for a call up.
    Jazz's comeback will really overload the heel side of the women's division, what with Molly and Gail working so well together and Victoria always hanging around, ready to deliver either a solid match or a wacky promo.  I wonder if that means somebody's gonna turn... or if maybe somebody might finally put Ivory to use.  
    Batista's comeback should keep Evolution viable while HHH takes some time off.  I say let him and Orton tag team full time, with Flair as their manager.  RAW needs a heel tag team, and frankly, I'd be lots more likely to get into watching Orton develop as a tag wrestler than having him over-pushed because he's exclusively a singles "Legend Killer."  I mean, on top of that, there's only so many legends to kill, too...  Let him simmer in a tag team for a while, I say.
  • Just in case you were holding your breath: several readers report that the highlight of yesterday's Byte This was Jim Ross discussing former superstars, and when the topic of Randy Savage's public stumping for a Savage/Hogan match at WM20 came up, JR point blank said it wouldn't happen and that WWE wasn't interested.
  • Hopefully, you gave Hugh Zeitlin's MLW War Games report a look earlier this week...  MLW has been getting increasingly positive reviews as their syndicated show becomes more and more widely available.
    They mix a lot of established stars (including, until a recent flare-up with WWE, Jerry Lawler) with a new generation of indie talent with really good results.  
    I mention them why?  Because starting tonight, their weekly show (hosted by Joey Styles) is going to be airing here in Dayton, OH.  Granted, it's only on cable access (TW channel 20, Fridays at 10:30pm, DVR do your thing!)... but on the other hand, when you consider the other craptacular-looking wrestling products that are on Dayton's cable access, MLW has a chance to really stand out and shine!
  • And I am done for today.  Do me a favor and do a little dance or voodoo curse or whatever to ward off the rain this weekend in the midwest.  I'm going to Indy for the F-1 race, and I'd prefer if it's not another cold and rainy one like 2 years ago (which is how it's looking if today's weather holds).
    See you again on 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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