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Hogan, Hart Updates, and Lots More
October 6, 2003

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


I love baseball, but I love baseball even more when it's October and one of my favorite teams is still playing.  I don't know about you, but the result for me is usually that October is the month of the year in which I drink the most beer.  My social drinking is with hard liquor usually; you get the more drunkeness and the less farting (both of which are useful when drinking with a social agenda).  But there's just something about baseball and a cold brew or two.

Or maybe it's just that busting open the bottle of whisky during daylight hours would make me feel like a full-blown alcoholic...

In any case: go Yankees!  In an odd way, I'm pulling for you, too, Cubs, even if I will only turn on you if the Yanks meet you in the World Series.  And hell, hopefully, I can get this column done in time to sit down and root for the Red Sox today so that my team can once again be personally responsible for smiting you.  The sixer of Miller High Life is chilling as we speak...  oh, no, wait... they changed that to a night game tonight, right?

Well, I guess that means I don't have to rush the column... but what will I be watching tonight on the TV?  God bless picture-in-picture, I guess...

  • Ton of big talk this weekend about NWA-TNA signing Hulk Hogan to make a one-night-only appearance.
    What's not clear is if reports are accurate that the appearance would come a on special full-price Sunday night PPV.  I know those are the details being circulated (mostly cribbed from a 1Wrestling.com report, I believe), but I can't confirm them.
    In fact, I asked one of my cable industry guys, and he says TNA has not, as far as he knew, finalized a contract for the purported Sunday night, November 30, date.  InDemand PPV has other commitments for that day/night already on their schedule, including a full day of live Soccer and a live bodybuilding event on their flagship PPV channel.
    That is not to say that this cannot change, or even that it hasn't already changed.  InDemand could easily shuffle its line-up and make room by not showing ad infinitum replays of whatever shitty movie they've got on an All Day Ticket that day on one of their other PPV channels.  All this means is that my second tier sources don't know anything about it, yet, and that if true, it is a very recent development.
    One theory that was floated to me, one that I tend to believe: that TNA getting the Sunday night timeslot from InDemand was contingent upon signing Hogan to appear.  In this way, TNA's coming to terms in the last few days with Hogan and subsequent change to the PPV schedule might not be disseminated just yet.  This stipulation sounds reasonable to me, as I know PPV distributors have made past requests regarding star power and sell-ability before agreeing to screen wrestling shows.
    What I do know for fact is this: that Hogan has been in contact with TNA sporadically over the summer, and has been open to working for them in the right situation.  Also: TNA's desire has been to get Hogan for a one night deal so he could face Jeff Jarrett.  This jibes with other published reports (which say Hogan vs. Jarrett will be the main event of a full price Sunday night PPV), so again, the pieces do look like they all fit.
    The match-up is intriguing in a certain way, as Hogan's last WCW match was the debacle against Jeff Jarrett in which Jarrett (under orders from Vince Russo) laid down for Hogan.  After that match, Russo showed up and cut a huge promo on Hogan, accusing him of abusing his creative control to get a win, so Russo gave him a cheap win and rendered his World Title worthless.  [Later in the night, Russo basically created a new WCW Title and put it up for grabs between Jarrett and Booker T.]
    If TNA could somehow have access to that footage, it'd make a Hogan/Jarrett match way more interesting...  of course, they don't have access, so they'll have to find some other way to tell the story, or to remind fans of the past storyline.  It'll also be interesting to see if Russo himself plays a part in the story.
    Hogan, as far as I've ever heard, didn't hold a death grudge against Jarrett after the WCW debacle, or if he did, he got over it.  But heat with Russo did remain, as Hogan even sued over comments Russo made him his promo.  I find myself wondering if it's any coincidence that the decline in Russo's backstage stroke with TNA comes as the company is finally able to seal a deal with Hogan...  and if it's not a coincidence, one has to wonder if Hogan would be willing to work an angle with Russo or not.
    It actually makes me think that Hogan/Jarrett is not really the best idea for a match, something that might change as TNA evaluates options.  There just might not be a way to tell the story to the satisfaction of everyone that still gives the fans their money's worth.
    Working with the assumption that getting Hogan on board will be the cornerstone of TNA's first attempt at a Sunday night special event, we can also safely begin speculation about Sting being brought back for another night of work, too.  TNA would probably want to shy away from over-loading the show with guys who would be one-shot deals (because doing so would only serve to make the regular talent look like minor leaguers in the eyes of the casual fans who check out the event), but Sting's got some history, so I'd say definitely he should be added, too.
    TNA could also direct their existing storylines to point towards the November 30 date.  That could be the night that Raven and Vampiro, for instance, have their big blow-out gimmick match.  There's also plenty of time for someone (other than Dusty Rhodes, please) to step up as AJ Styles top TNA Title contender.  I'd even love to see them give Jarrett vs. Christopher Daniels the slow-burn treatment leading up to that show if Hogan could be split off into something different.
    But let's not get ahead of ourselves.  TNA's coming off back-to-back subpar performances, and they haven't even officially announced these plans for a full-price event.  Let's sit back and watch to see how the company sets things up before we go spouting off about the Greatest PPV Ever.
  • Tonight's RAW will have a hard time living up to last week's... but let's also sit back and watch to see what the Fed can deliver before spouting off, eh?
    We do know that Goldberg vs. Mark Henry is supposed to be a key drawing card.  Feel the apathy!  However, I also feel it's a necessary starting point.  Feeding Goldberg a steady diet of bounty hunters needs to begin with stuff like beating the hell out of a Mark Henry.  If Rodney Mack tosses his two cents in, they can build a nice little bit of drama where fans might temporarily doubt Goldberg's ability to get the job done.  Then, in the end, when he prevails, BAM!, big pop, and mission accomplished.
    Then comes the next wave of bounty hunters.  Slowly ramp up the competition level until you get to a believable foe (a heel-turning Kevin Nash is one potential surprise) or until Triple H can come back and pick at the carcass of a Goldberg who has had to fend off half the roster.  Either way, it's a cool little thing you can exploit for some quality episodic TV.
    Also tonight: Shane McMahon is coming back.  Why?  Because I guess he needs to get his ass kicked by Kane some more.  Clearly, this feud cannot and should not end in any way except for Kane going over... so my guess is that when RAW dabbles in the "free-per-view" concept in the next few weeks (a la SmackDown and the IronMan match), the main event will be Kane vs. Shane in what will be their blow-off match.  That could be set up as soon as tonight.
    Elsewhere on RAW: Chris Jericho's mindgames against Steve Austin might again seem like a sort of meandering stop-gap thing to give Jericho something to do every week, but should again provide quality entertainment; my lone hope is that their antics no longer involve Announcer Fights...  Scott Steiner's heel turn should evolve again this week, with him and Test agreeing, if nothing else, that tormenting Stacy is good; from there, a full-time tag team seems the next step, which is just what the Dudleys need as foes right now...  Shawn Michaels getting his ass kicked as a "message" to Goldberg opens up some interesting options besides just continuing with his issue vs. Randy Orton; Michaels could get a few cheap TV special wins over Teddy Long's guys, or more intriguing, could resent Goldberg's lack of concern over the beating (which in turn, could tie into Nash's comeback)...  Rob Van Dam is the new IC Champ, which probably means another week or two dealing with Christian before another contender shows himself....  the women's division got unbalanced last week, and now Trish and Lita are facing a numbers game against Molly, Gail, and Victoria; lots of possibilities there.
    Check out RAW tonight to see how it all goes down, or come on back to OO tomorrow for full coverage.
  • One interesting theory that OO Reader Kevin Martin mailed in that I just gotta share to see what you all think...
    With Booker T's return temporarily delayed, and the IC Title now resting with RVD, what would you think about shuffling things so Booker comes back as a heel?  Specifically, since the IC Title feud with Christian doesn't happen, how about having Booker T come back as Teddy Long's trump card in the assault on Goldberg?
    Kevin sets it up as Booker appearing in the next few weeks to "save" Goldberg from a 2-on-1 against Henry and Mack... but in the inevitable tag match, Booker turns on Goldberg and joins Teddy Long's team in a quest for the hundred grand and the gold.
    Personally, I'm not sold on how well Booker could work as a heel at this point, but I gotta admit, it'd be a hot little short term angle, and if anyone can distract fans from cheering Booker, Teddy Long's the man.  Hanging out with Mack and Henry wouldn't help Booker's appeal, either....
  • A little Hart family flavor for you...
    First is some kinda cool, kinda cruel news, as Bret Hart mentioned in his weekend Calgary Sun column that he spoke on the phone with Kurt Angle last week.  As you know, Angle has openly invited Bret to come back and face him in a farewell exhibition, and Bret has also publicly stated that if he could come back for one match, he'd love for it to be against Angle.  So they spoke last week, and....  damn you for getting our hopes up, Bret!  Bret says the one thing he told Angle is that there's no way he can ever wrestle another match.
    Obviously, there's no way any fan wants Bret to risk his own health, and it'd even be unfair to push him to appear at something less than his best even if he were physically cleared to do so.  But it's still so -- I don't know, I guess frustrating IS the right word, even if I feel like a bit of a heel for getting frustrated over this -- to see these two so obviously on the same page and to know that in a slightly different world, we could be treated to something special that would also serve as the proper send-off that Bret Hart never got.
    Full Bret Hart column for this week is right here.
  • Not so cool is news that Stu Hart was hospitalized over the weekend.  He took a nasty fall, and was lacerated badly.  Complications from his diabetes are apparently going to keep Stu in the hospital for as much as a week before he can recover enough to go home.
    Here's a big ol "Get Well Soon" to Stu.
  • Here's some more not-very-cool news:
    Afa Anoai Jr. was arrested over the weekend on charges stemming from an August robbery in Allentown, PA.  Or at least, a warrant was issued for his arrest on Friday, and I have to assume the situation has been resolved. It's gotta be hard to hide a 270 lbs. member of a very famous local family.
    Afa Jr.'s the son of original "Wild Samoan" Afa, and a cousin to guys like Yokozuna, Jimmy Snuka, and the Rock.  He is 18 and completed high school this past June.  He was a serious Division 1 college football prospect, and was going to attend UConn; however, he didn't qualify academically.  Afa Jr. had also had started wrestling professionally for his family's WXW promotion, where he quickly proved himself quite talented, and won the company's title.
  • The Rock's movie, "The Rundown," cleared another $10 million this past weekend, making it the #3 movie in the nation.  The 10-day total for the film was at just about $33 million.  If it keeps up at this pace (the drop-off from the first week indicates it should have SOME legs), "The Rundown" will end up clearing $50 million domestically, which would surely make it a soundly profitable film for Universal.
    It'll probably come in thirty-something million dollars short of "The Scorpion King's" haul, but keep in mind: "The Rundown" cost less money to make, and also was a stand alone feature released well after the traditional big-box-office season instead of a summer blockbuster franchise film. 
    In other movie news of note: "The School of Rock" is freaking awesome.  And it's a total kids movie, which I wasn't quite expecting.  I saw "PG-13" and thought there might be at least a touch of Saucy Jack Black.  But no, a total feel-good, squeaky-clean family flick that still was about the funniest thing I've seen all year.  The only other movie I can even think to compare it to in terms of how DIRTY I feel for so thoroughly and unconditionally liking something so GOOD and CLEAN is "The Princess Bride."  In addition to being the rare family flick that everybody in the family will actually enjoy, there is a second level at which this movie rules: anyone who's ever even tried being in a band will find so many little, funny nuances that ring really true.  Go see it!
    Next up: "Lost in Translation" is finally in Dayton.  And then "Intolerable Cruelty" looks like more quality from the Coens... and "Kill Bill" might not suck (but it's a toss-up based on the previews I've seen).  Suddenly, a moderately shitty movie year is getting good!  And all roads lead to "The Return of the King"!
  • Last thing today: clarification on a story last Monday.
    In addition to Eddie Guerrero going off on a fan at last weekend's house shows, the next night saw Brock Lesnar shove a ringside fan to the ground.  I didn't have many details on that story, but here's the deal...
    The fan had merely MET Brock Lesnar's brother during intermission, and was told it'd be cool to try to get under Brock's skin.  The fan took that to heart, but must have crossed some line, cuz Lesnar turned and shoved him.  The fan was held back by security and was asked to move to a seat further away from the action.
    You can get the full story on the altercation (plus a few other neat tidbits about WWE's house show that night in Brandon, Manitoba) right here.
  • That's it...  I'm guessing that I'll go for sobriety and wrestling tonight, instead of baseball and a six pack of the Champagne of Beers.  Such is life when I've gotta come at you tomorrow with RAW Recap.
    See you then....  


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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