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RAW, Ratings, Final Arrangements,
SD! Talk, TNA, and Other Midweek News
October 1, 2003

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


OK, California, you wanna go?  Look, to the score or so of really angry west coasters who didn't like an Ohioan telling them who not to elect and felt the need to tell me about it (many being so clever as to turn my own oh-so-clever "Get your heads out of your asses" line against me... HA!), trust me, I'm just looking out for your own good.

And it seems like you took me all wrong, anyway.  Listen, I dare you to show me where I once endorsed Davis or even hinted that I somehow felt his liberal policies were perfectly OK for your state.  Cuz I never did.  In fact, I consider myself woefully ill-equipped to endorse any one candidate or his/her policies in your upcoming recall.

However, I will UNendorse Schwarzenegger and his apparent lack of any discernable policies, no matter how much of my own business you tell me to mind.  Based on the exactly one time he even tangentially discussed policy, he'd be an embarrassing choice for governor.  He's a loud, ill-read, unqualified blowhard.  And unlike Jesse Ventura, he's a loud, ill-read, unqualified puppet of a blowhard.  At least when Jesse went off half-cocked, they were his own ideas, bourn out of something vaguely resembling experience; he crashed and burned his own man.  When Ah-nold does it, he comes off as little more than a guy who didn't do sufficient research on this character and is able to do little more than recite his lines; whether he succeeds or not, who knows?  But it won't matter, because it won't really be Arnold doing anything besides getting elected so other people around him who actually -- you know? -- KNOW shit can get things done.  To me, that's not the way democracy should work.

You want political change?  Fine.  Just don't tell me you honestly think Arnold Schwarzenegger should be governing a state instead of making "Terminator 4" next year.  He's a guy whose expertise lies in nothing more than being famous, and therefore, quasi-electable in this bizarro situation you have made for yourselves: it is like a divorce that a judge will only grant if you agree to IMMEDIATELY marry someone else, a virtual stranger.  In this scenario, Arnold seems appealing only because he's the most easily recognized of the strangers.  In a real election, one built up over a year, I want to have faith that you'd see the myriad flaws and vote otherwise. I have faith that in a real election, Arnold would realize this and do what a true believer in his party SHOULD do: quit pretending like he had any business playing politician and throw his clout and fame behind a conservative candidate who had expertise in something other than being famous.

That's all this is, and you'll have to pardon me if I'm upset by the idea that being electable is the only qualification required to gain political office.  I'm upset by it in general, and recognize that it's a problem elsewhere besides California.  You all are just the gullible saps who gave me the specific example to rant about on Monday.  And again today.

I'm sorry for wasting so much time here, but I consider this a retaliatory e-mail to twenty-something readers who got under my skin after Monday... and this way, I only had to retaliate once.  Saves me a lot of time.  Wastes a bit of yours, though.  Oh well.

Here's the wrestling column:

  • I can't add a whole lot in terms of what I thought about Monday's RAW compared to what I already said in yesterday's RAW Recap...
    Mostly, I'd just restate my praise for the main event.  Going into the show, it was the one thing a fan could hang his hat on, could expect to deliver.  There were a lot of other question marks on RAW, surrounding the top heel spot minus HHH and who might challenge Goldberg... but I could get excited for an IC Title Ladder match, and even with those heightened expectations, the main event still delivered.  Christian and RVD get tons of credit for making good.
    And regarding those question marks:  I felt those situations got addressed reasonably well.  I think the bounty hunter concept should, for a few weeks, provide Goldberg with easy prey.  You know: mid-carder steps up, gets whupped, disappears.  First, Mark Henry, and then, who knows?  It's a cool little scenario where Goldberg can take on the world and come out looking awesome.  It plays to his strengths.
    The end game is where I have concerns.  If this is nothing more than an excuse to keep Triple H on TV in pre-taped segments every week while the rest of the rosters "softens up" the champ, and then HE's the guy who eventually gets the better of Goldberg, then I think it'll work.  I (and most fans) will be underwhelmed, WAY underwhelmed... but the logic works.  Conversely, you could try to wow fans by using this gimmick to elevate somebody (perhaps a Kane) by having him finally notch one over Goldberg; and while that's a cool idea, it falls apart if HHH simply comes back and says, "OK, here's your money, now go away, because I'm getting the title shot."
    I'm probably not explaining that perfectly, but you see what I mean?  The new top heel, the one who bests Goldberg, might, by design, fade to the background again.  That's not all that appealing a thought, to build a guy up just to see HHH chop him off at the knees.  I say this not as a HHHater, convinced that this is the secret backstage plan or anything... rather, I mention it as a cautionary tale.  Because there are also ways I can conceive of where everybody can win: Goldberg, HHH, and a new top heel.  It's just going to be something that will require a bit of care in weaving the stories.  It can be done.  It can also be fumbled.  
    In a lot of ways, if you break it down, this is theoretically shaping up to be similar to "Who ran over Stone Cold?" in terms of alignment of the key players (top face will eventually get taken out by somebody, HHH is behind that somebody)....  and I'll I'm warning against is having some poor sap stuck being little more than Rikishi at the end.  Again: I'm not being a negative nelly right at the start, I'm just pointing out the possibility exists.  For now, I like the idea of just feeding Goldberg chumps week after week, and I'll not get worked up about the End Game until we get a better picture of how it's gonna go down.
    Other stuff I liked Monday: Steiner going heel... yeah, maybe not a logical and graceful turn, but who cares?  Attacking poor Stacy is instant heat, and Steiner's way better as a heel, anyway...  also, the bit with the women was spot-on.  For the second week in a row, it felt like Trish and Lita and Molly and Gail (and Victoria, now) were integrated into the show, contributing positively as much as any man on the roster.  Last week, it was in a quality match.  This week, in a quality promo/angle.  And like I said last week, for every Jerry Lawler Sympathizer who couldn't care less about that and would rather keep the "divas" as a sideshow, I'm positing that there are two of me, who find it really cool and appealing.  It's just that Lawler gets to screech "Puppies" to millions and I've gotta register my approval to thousands.
    The announcer fight was not pretty, and as you may have guessed, I'm none to excited about Lawler being back.  I'm not saying I thought Coach and Snow lit things up (they were, by necessity, too into the shtick to do much more than annoy), but over time, they might have lost the gimmick and gotten more listenable, whereas you know Lawler's not gonna change at all.  Also: I was fighting back the urge to change channels during the OVW Six Month Reunion Match.  Nothing against those guys, but honestly...  give us the reason to care about a performer before you throw him out on Mondays.  Developing a personality is what Heat's there for.
    Like I said, full thoughts and results are over in yesterday's RAW Recap.  Make use of it, if you haven't already.
  • I've got Monday's RAW rating at a 3.7, which would be a a statistically insignificant increase from the previous week, but which would continue to keep RAW at a level below its 3 month average.
    Note: this rating comes from my secondary source, and I don't think it includes the over-run.  That might affect the final number (if so, it will almost certainly do so in an upward direction).  Usual ratings guy has not come through for me yet this week.  Don't know why.
  • I think you can now seal the file on the Owen Hart case once and for all.
    To recap: the Hart family and WWE settled out of court, and WWE paid the Harts somewhere just north of $18 million (disbursed among Owen' widow, Martha, his kids and his parents).  As a condition of that settlement, WWE retained the right to go after the manufacturer of the harness Owen was wearing when the accident happened to attempt to recoup their loss.
    Well, it was reported yesterday that WWE has, indeed, settled out of court with Lewmar, Inc., to the tune of $9 million, plus all legal fees.  Between this settlement and WWE's insurance policy (which covered around half the Hart family settlement), it is thought that the company walks away from all this litigation breaking even.  Granted it took them over four years, but they got there...
    Back after the accident, it was determined that there were no grounds for criminal charges, and I think this fully discharges any possibility of further civil cases.  From here on out, I think anytime you hear the name Owen Hart mentioned, it'll be connected with nothing but fond memories.  The ugliness is done.
  • Well, I've been talking about it for weeks... and with good reason:  Booker T himself said he was expecting to return to action starting this coming weekend.
    That plan may have changed, as RAW brand house shows have been shuffled up and do not presently include Booker's name.
    Cards which had already been changed once to reflect the absence of Triple H and Kevin Nash have been altered again.  Booker is absent, and new IC Champ RVD is defending against Test.  I can't remember which shows were which, but Booker was to challenge Christian at least once, and I think was in a tag team match with RVD on another.
    If WWE knew Booker was still not gonna be ready to come back, it certainly makes some retrospective sense to put the IC Title on Van Dam.
    Kane vs. Shane McMahon will headline RAW house shows.  Goldberg, after working once or twice last weekend, has this weekend off.  Chris Jericho remains on light duty following to the birth of his son, as well.
  • Alot of the RAW guys have excuses for not working house shows...  Booker T cuz he's hurt, HHH cuz he's sorta hurt and getting married and doing a movie, Goldberg and HBK cuz their contracts say they don't have to, Jericho with the new baby, etc., etc., etc.
    But Kevin Nash's continued absence is a bit puzzling.  He had been penciled in for shows in weeks past, as he was done filming his part in "The Punisher" about 2-3 weeks ago.  Why he's yet to return is a bit of a mystery.
    From one source, it sounds like maybe the reason is injury related.  A lingering neck condition may be bothering Nash, and I guess it's something he's having evaluated before he comes back.  Not knowing how solid that report is, and having even LESS idea what the evaluation might end up being, I can't tell you when Nash might be expected back, now.
  • The SD! brand has the weekend off in terms of house shows, since they've got an international tour coming up next week.  They'll hit Germany, Finland, and the UK for four shows.  
    With a rest and recovery period AFTER the overseas tour, the brand, in fact, won't run any domestic house shows until after the No Mercy PPV later this month.  That's when they'll resume a normal schedule.
  • In addition to the Ric Flair DVD set coming out in November, WWE is also going to give Flair the (not-really-auto-)biography treatment.  His book is due out in Spring 2004.
    I'm sure Flair's got stories to tell, and that his ghost writer will tell them well... but I'm way more stoked for the 3-DVD set.  It'll be the first of the WWE's DVDs that does something more than assemble footage I already have (somewhere, be it in a closet here or in a box at my mom's or something) into one cogent document.  I was a WWF fan in the 80s, and I know I'm missing vast tracts of Flair's finest, so I'm really looking forward to really ENJOYING the stuff that I maybe only flipped past on TBS back in the day.
  • Wanna talk a little about SD!... as usual, I know what happens tomorrow night, since I had to do The Spoilers, but I'll not mention any of that here.  Kinda awkward, but worth the trouble, I think.
    As sort of a non-spoiler preview, here's the line-up: Taker/Angle vs. Lesnar/Cena...  Tajiri vs. Kidman...  Benoit vs. Haas...  Bashams vs. APA...  Big Show vs. Orlando Jordan... and Eddie Guerrero vs. Matt Hardy.
    It's that last match that gives me the spring board to what I wanted to mention, because last Friday, I envisioned a scenario in which the "Eddie-defends-both-titles" gimmick bleeds through to the No Mercy PPV.  In that scenario, Eddie could conceivably lose twice, lose both his titles, and still come out BETTER OFF simply because of the circumstances.  I love that idea.  However, in my dream scenario, Eddie's US Title feud would have been against Matt Hardy.
    Instead, following up on last week, they burned that match for free on SD!, and it now looks like full speed ahead for Eddie's solo feud to be against Big Show.  Allow me to say, "Dammit."  Look, Show's ALWAYS gonna be big.  It doesn't matter if he sits around as Vince's stooge for 2 months, cuz when there is something for him to do, he'll instantly regain the same credibility as before.  Bigness doesn't go away.  But Matt Hardy's not big, and he needs other things to gain credibility; feuding with Eddie and having a kick-ass Match of the Year type PPV contest not only gives fans something they'll love, but helps Matt get over the hump he's been straddling for damn near a year, now.  
    Big Show not only can't give the fans the same kind of match against Eddie that Matt could (not saying better or worse, but you know it'll be DIFFERENT; I'll leave the value judgment part of little mystery for you to decipher), but he doesn't need the US Title.  At least, he doesn't need it now, so long as there's one guy ahead of him who so clearly needs it more.
    Ah well... I'm sure nobody cares, but one of these times, Matt WON'T get the carpet yanked out from under him.  There was the time when he was gonna be the guy to cripple Rey Mysterio, but then that shot went to A-Train at the last second.  Then there was the potential biggest-asshole-in-the-world feud with Zach Gowen, but Zach got rebooked to make Lesnar the biggest asshole, instead.  Now this.  One of these times.... one of these times...
  • This is about week old news, but my organization is not what it should be so...
    Jimmy Yang has been signed to a WWE developmental contract.  He had a really good Heat match against Tommy Dreamer about a month ago which sealed the deal.  Yang's a super worker, who was featured during the dying days of WCW and also during the first months of TNA.  I'd say he'd be a huge boon to the cruiserweight division, but seeing how WWE has somehow managed to bungle Ultimo Dragon, my faith in them letting matches speak louder than words for international stars is waning.
  • Speaking of the last days of WCW... another guy who you'd recognize from that era, Alan "Kwee Wee" Funk, was seriously injured on an overseas tour this past weekend.  He was teaming with Mike Sanders against Elix Skipper and Sonny Siaki, and sustained serious injuries to his head and face.
    Even now, five days after the accident, Funk remains in a Helsinki hospital.  The injuries are serious, but no one has any idea at this point if they are career-threatening.  Here's hoping for the best for "the Funkster."
  • I do want to briefly address something I wrote in the RAW Recap yesterday.  I said, "I'm really starting to get upset that so many average fans apparently see Jerry Lawler's commentary as so desirable that they DID seem to respond to that strap match."  And in retrospect, that's not exactly fair, nor precisely what I meant.
    I hope you'd all agree that I'm about as un-smark as it gets on the internet.  At the very least, I pride myself on being able to distinguish between what I personally like and what I know (even if I don't like it) is going to get over with the fans.  It's a distinction very few other internet experts seem willing or able to make as they rush to deify Chris Benoit or indict HHH for capital crimes. 
    Along the way of making those distinctions, I also try very hard to not begrudge "average" fans what they like and enjoy.  What I said yesterday was a deviation from that, and I apologize.  Look folks: cheer what you like.  If you got off on Coach and JR stumbling around the ring, fine, and I do not mean to train you to do otherwise.
    More than anything, I think I was upset that, in this case, my radar for isolating the Segment I Thought Was Crap But Which I Totally Understood How Everyone Else Could Enjoy was dead.  Even during the interminable La Resistance/Dudleys feud, I KNEW that as boring and one-dimensional as I thought it was, it'd still go over big time, even if only because table spots are still really neat.  I said so at every turn.  But in the Coach/JR case, I could not see the redeeming value, and when I still heard those cheer, I just got flustered, confused, and lashed out.
    See, even as well-honed as I feel my Wrestling IQ is, I know I'm not perfect.  I missed something on Monday.  Hell, I'm still missing it, now. I beg your understanding and/or forgiveness.
  • Last thing: I saw "The Rundown."  I liked it.  You'll definitely get your eight bucks worth, kids.
    The Rock was good, sure, and the action was frequently kick-ass in its simplicity (damn you Lucas and the Matrix!  sometimes a fight scene doesn't need to be any more than just a fight scene!)...  but my ticket was paid for by the 2 minute clip where Christopher Walken hilariously overextends a Tooth Fairy metaphor in front of a crew of uncomprehending natives, and insists that his henchman try to translate for him.  That's comedy, folks.
    Then again, what do I know?  I'm a guy who also saw his second episode of "The Mullets" last night... and liked it.  Way funnier than the pilot.  Not that it'll matter.  It stands a good chance of being the first show cancelled this fall season, as it is UPN's lowest rated show, and is distinguishing itself by doing little more than losing close to half of the lead-in audience it gets on Tuesday nights.  They'll be lucky to get to the Roddy Piper episode before getting the axe at this rate....
  • That's it.  Nothing left in the tank for today.  See you Friday with something fresh.  Oh, and: Go Yankees!  Good lord do I ever NOT need another first round elimination....


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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