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(Almost) Nothing but Tangents!
October 10, 2003

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


This oughta be interesting today...  yeah, there will be some of the usual on-topic bullet points (mostly related to SD!), but I've also got a ton of odd little only-vaguely-wrestling related bits.  Stuff about crotch chops, movie budgets, and etymology. 

Join me, won't you?

  • Hey, it finally happened!  Eddie Guerrero in the main event!  Yeah!  How awesome was that to see Eddie working the climactic final segment of last night's SmackDown?  That freakin' ruled!
    Oh, wait... you're not buying it?  OK, fair enough...
    Plus 10, SmackDown!, for putting Eddie and the US Title in the main event spot.  Minus, ummm, about 37,892,249 for the most stupidest thing I've seen on SD! in a long time.  And you know what?  Forget about the plus 10, too...  you didn't do that with any grand plan to elevate Eddie or the US belt.  You did it because you couldn't cram the crap down earlier in the show and still conduct the rest of the program with the entrance set covered in faux shit.  
    Big Show's explosive diarrhea of a week ago was a ridiculous, laughably retarded development.  But it was one that might have been easily enough forgotten as it faded into the past.  Now, however, Eddie Guerrero's sudden poop fetish seems to be a recurring theme.  Something that won't go away so easily.  And worst of all: something that just might stall what had been a remarkable amount of momentum.
    Just two weeks ago, I had grand visions of ways Eddie could lose both the US and Tag Titles at the PPV and still come out ahead with fans.  Today, I sit here before you to make this statement: if Eddie doesn't drop the crap (literally) and beat the Big Show at No Mercy, the last four months will have all been for naught.  There is even less to be gained from Eddie going all scatological than there is from Big Show winning the US Title.  I can't believe how rapidly and totally my assessment of Eddie's prospects have changed....
    Also: Eddie's craptacular antics and his apparent use of Maxim Hair Color for Tossers both began last week.  Coincidence?  I think not.  Lose the highlights, Eddie.  And then bring back the mullet, the **** wrestling matches (and ***** cheating), and the promos that can be hilarious without resorting to poop.  Please.
    It's hard not to have something as brain-jarringly dumb as last night's "main event" color your perceptions of the rest of the show...  but I'll try.  Because even though this was the least in-ring-centric edition of SD! since I don't even know when, there were times when I still thought it was a very effective show.
    To wit: the "Battle Rap" wasted the potential 10-plus minutes of match time Angle and Cena might have otherwise delivered.  But it also played to other strengths of theirs, and wound up being a quality segment.  Cena got to rap and make a few funny observations.  Then Angle got to be funny for about 30 seconds before going all Bad Ass on us.  You might prefer when they had an awesome 15 minute tag match last week over this week's 10 minute promo.  But me, I actually like both elements working in concert to put a little heat on one of the No Mercy PPV matches that I'm really looking forward to.
    I have very little interest in A-Train/Benoit or Steph/Vince...  but I guess I'm starting to feel a little better about the former and wasn't too terribly annoyed by anything done with regard to the latter.  A-Train finally beating Benoit (even in a tag match) alleviates my concern over the PPV outcome; simply put, if A-Train was an 0-for going into the PPV, the only reason they'd have for still telling that story was if Train was gonna win.  Now, maybe we can still have Benoit come out of this with some dignity intact.  And Steph/Vince won't be much of a wrestling match, nor do I really suspect the outcome is in much doubt (Steph needs the vacation, not Vince), but if they keep adding in extracurricular elements, that might help them to fashion an watchable Sports Entertainment Segment.
    What else?  Um, I have no idea what a "Biker Chain Match" is, and in fact, I think it sounds really stupid and lame when they could have just had Taker ask Steph to make it a No DQ match, or something.  Other than that, I got no real problems with how they advanced the Taker/Lesnar feud, either.  Taker looked strong pounding the FBI.  Lesnar looked strong destroying Paul London and Spanky.  [I'm torn on what to think about a possible Spanky/London tag team; on one hand, they'd be very good.  On the other, they'd end up being very good on Velocity.]
    The re-do of the Hardy/Zach feud was a little rough and ham-handed, but considering that they had to pull the plug on it unexpectedly 2 months ago, I can't fault them for just trying to get us right back to the same point we were at, and screw trying to be all smooth and clever about it.  Zach and Shannon had a nice little match, Matt was quality re-explaining his motivation on commentary... now we'll all get to find out soon enough what was gonna happen back at SummerSlam before Zach was required to be cannon fodder for Brock.
    I am also very excited about Rey/Tajiri at the PPV, and will try to restrain myself from getting too pissed that Tajiri/Dragon was only given about 3 minutes last night.  I tell myself, "They just wanted to focus on the PPV feud, and they did a good job of that."  I try to forget that as soon as I heard Dragon was gonna sign with WWE, him vs. Tajiri was kind of one of the dream match-ups that I had in mind.  My dream included nothing about the match being a 3 minute total squash, though.
    At the end of the night, it was a mix of good and bad.  It's just that it was so Un-SmackDown an effort, with a main event that sucked so much ass, that it's hard to stay focused long enough to remember the good.  Normally, SD!'s strength is consistancy in storytelling and quality inside the ring.  And when that's gone, it's very easy to get frustrated.
    I won't rehash, at length, what was bad about last night.  Erin has already done that for you.  What I do want to briefly touch on is the issue of how long this little phase will last...  because if this is just a case of trying to ramp up the "entertainment" on SD! because they've got a PPV coming up, then fine.  I can cope with a couple of week's of halved bell-to-bell time in the name of telling some stories.
    Problem is, I'm not so confident that that's what's happening here.  For one thing, as soon as No Mercy passes, then we've got the joint-brand Survivor Series next.  If SD! is in "storytelling-for-the-sake-of-PPV" mode, then it continues for at least another month.  And second, I'd feel a whole lot better if the stories they were deciding to focus on were good.  Instead, it almost feels like RAW and SD! have flopped creative teams...  it's RAW that's gone back to more basic, tried and true wrestling angles, while SD! has started to get fancy with vignette-heavy Crash TV and massive sewage truck stunts.
    RAW simplifying its formula and SD! complicating its is not really helping either product.  RAW has the live element going for it, and is the more logical home for elaborate "sports entertainment." Also, after a year-plus of doing so, that creative team is probably also more comfortable working in that vein.   SD! has the demonstrably more talented in-ring roster, and a creative team that has spent a year becoming adept at making that in-ring focus marketable and distinctive.  Failing to take advantage of the strengths of both the roster and the creative department are inexcusible...
    I find myself hoping that once this PPV passes, SD! will get back to business as usual.  It's just that, for reasons outlined above, I have my fears.  Unless the two brands really have flopped creative teams, there can be no logical conclusion drawn from the past few SD!'s other than this one: they're under orders to deliver this type of show, whether they're good at it or not, and whether it plays to the brand's strengths or not.  And those aren't the kind of orders that are likely to be rescinded after just 2 weeks of experimentation.
    Like I said, though: there's still enough pure talent on this roster that good will continue shining through no matter how crappy some of the surrounding program is.  Last night's show was not all bad.  But the good was quite rare.  I'm actually gonna have a hard time picking one brand over the other when BotB voting time comes....  neither was at all impressive this week.
    For complete SD! details, I refer to you Big Danny T's SmackDown! Recap.
  • The overnight rating for SD! is a 3.9.  Again, this is another sub-par ON rating; SD!'s mid-3 performances of the summer generally had overnight numbers in the low fours.  Though there is no easy metric for guessing a final rating accurately based on the overnight, this looks to be another week where SD! will flirt with the 3.0 barrier.
    Battle of the Brands has been delayed this week due to tabulation/compilation problems.  But when it goes up (probably on Saturday), the final SD! rating will be in there.  Also:  I'll be sure to mention it back here in Monday's OO.
  • Managed to catch Stephanie McMahon on Jimmy Kimmel's show last night...  it was actually one of the funniest, all-around, episodes of the show I've seen, with both Bobcat Goldthwaite and Quentin Tarantino being really "on" in preceding Steph.  Also: I have no idea if he's being serious or not, but the mere thought of Fred Savage being out to destroy Jimmy had me rolling.
    Steph's interview was short-ish, and as I expected, focused a lot on the father/daughter PPV match.  Jimmy, Bobcat, and Quentin all got in on the fun, needling Steph about her dysfunctional family.  They also had some footage of last night's SD! to drive the points home.  Tangentially, they discussed Stephanie's ascension via all sorts of backstage duties to become an on-air personality and also the upcoming wedding to HHH (Steph does not foresee any Ben/J-Lo ugliness).
    In no way illuminating, but still fun, especially as part of the overall package.  Note to Steph's stylist: the plain old street clothes get a big ol' thumbs up from me.  Her usual outfits on SD! are just too... it doesn't full encapsulate the full meaning I'm trying to convey, but I'll settle for saying "too distracting."  Kimmel Steph just came across more likable and accessible than the ostensibly babyface SD! Steph usually seems.
  • William Regal appeared on yesterday's Byte This, and had some good news...  after a sequence of health problems that I shan't rehash right now, he's been medically cleared to resume light training.  He has high hopes that he'll be cleared to resume full-impact, in-ring work at some point in the not-so-distant future.
    It was not so long ago that his wrestling career was essentially in limbo, so this is promising.  Still, even as only a personality, Regal could have been a major contributor to RAW, I think.  And now we don't have to worry ourselves with that scenario.
  • Um, as I grasp at ways to stay pertinent... a bunch of people have e-mailed in to suggest that the Kane limo wreck was a way to set up Kane coming back with his mask again.  
    Well, can't blame you for leaping to that conclusion, but personally, I think if the Fed had any intention of putting Kane back behind the mask, they would have done it after the dumpster fire.  Rather, I suspect that re-masking Kane is not a priority, at least not in the short term.
  • OK, so this doesn't exactly have anything to do with present day wrestling, but...
    Apparently, the crotch chop is back en vogue.
    Derek Lowe got tons of heat (mostly from Harold Reynolds, it seemed) for a one-armed chop towards the groinal-region after he saved Game 5 of the ALDS on Monday night.  It probably wouldn't have been anything, but it sort of seemed to some A's players in the dug-out that he aimed it at them.  I saw the footage, and I'm not so sure it wasn't just an accident, but...  well, lots of people have spent the last few days talking about it.
    And a decision by pro bowler Pete Weber to STOP using the crotch chop was deemed worthy of a full write-up by USA Today.  Weber had become widely known for using the crotch chop to celebrate/taunt, but has let his conscience get the better of him.  Weber will, however, continue to use his initials and point to himself.  I shit you not.  Funniest of all: they really gloss over the fact that Weber lifted these things straight from Degeneration X and Rob Van Dam.  
    The full article on Weber is available right here.  Thanks to Jason Winter for forwarding the link.
  • OK, as we delve further down the relevance continuum...
    When I did the RAW Recap on Tuesday, I quoted Chris Jericho as calling Lance Storm's techno music "recockulous."  It was a stab in the dark, spelling-wise.
    Well, I actually had three different people e-mail me in the ensuing days to tell me I got the spelling wrong, and helpfully, to explain why I was wrong.  Apparently, the kids today, they took the word "ridiculous," but then they took the "dic" out and replaced it with the synonym, "cock."  
    So: the correct spelling is "ricockulous."
    I thank you much for the explanation...  I was honestly stumped.  I probably spent, oh, a good minute or two assuming that this was one of those deal where Jericho meshed two words together to create a made-up word that everybody would still get the meaning of.  You know, like "fantabulous" or "ginormous."  Problem was, I couldn't come up with what two words it might have been.  So I just gave up.
  • And now to correct myself AGAIN on something that has EVEN LESS to do with wrestling...
    On Monday, I said that while "The Rundown" was on target to probably gross about $30 million less than "The Scorpion King," it wouldn't be that big a deal because "The Rundown" was cheaper to make.
    Guess I was wrong.  A few folks mailed in to correct me, as "The Rundown" apparently had an $85 million budget.  "The Scorpion King" was made for only $60 million.  I'm sorry 'bout that.  I was going based on a year-old memory about "The Rundown" being budgeted in the $50 million range.  Apparently that information was either incorrect, or the budget was altered over time to allow for more money.
    In either case, the end story is that "The Rundown" is going to compare unfavorably to "The Scorpion King" from a financial perspective.  Which is too bad because "The Rundown" was really fun, while "The Scorpion King" was just barely watchable.
  • Uhhhh... want more Rock movie news?  OK...
    With Ah-nold's Reign of Hopefully Competent Underlings beginning in California, he has promised to not make any more movies for the rest of his term in office.  Result: discussions about "Terminator 4" have taken an odd turn.
    The franchise might go on with out him, and Arnold, according to multiple movie rumor websites, has suggested none other than The Rock to be his replacement.  Arnold might do a quick cameo in the movie, and if so, you gotta think his wish for a replacement would get some serious consideration from producers.  It would, simply put, be a HUGE boon to Rock's career to find himself shoe-horned into a proven franchise's headline role like this.
    Now see, THIS is the sort of political maneuvering that I think Arnold should be focusing on!
  • Ahhhhhhhh....   ummmmmmm.....
    Oh, I got one!
    So a bunch of people have e-mailed about seeing Stacy Keibler in an add for "platinumromance.com," a singles/dating service.  This has led to two lines of questioning.  From the borderline pathetic, it has meant "Whoa, so Stacy's really single?"/"What happened to Test?" questions.  From the slightly more intelligent, it's meant people wondering if using Stacy's picture is, strictly speaking, legal.
    I hope I don't have to address the former issue, but to the latter... well, Stacy did do some modeling before she got hired as a Nitro Girl.  If "platinumromance.com" happened to legally buy a set of photos with some of Stacy's work, then they're perfectly within their rights to use her picture.  I don't know if that's the case or not, but I gotta assume that nobody's dumb enough to just lift a WWE divas pictorial photo and try to use it to lure poor saps to their dating service.  The issue of insinuating that Stacy Keibler might actually be a member of their service is probably a bit more of a gray area....
    Apparently, the ad in in heavy rotation on Geocities/Hotmail pages.  OO Reader Hephaestus sent along this link, if you want to see it for yourself. 
  • You know what?  I think that's about it for me.  I'm scraping bottom.  Enjoy the weekend.  Go Yankees.  See you 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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