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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
Goldust is Gone, Injuries, Goldberg,
Austin Special, plus RAW Roulette and More!
November 24, 2003

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

I bet you all think you've got me figured out...  that I'll take a moment (or three) here at the top to say something about the Dayton Flyers' recent and upcoming games.

Well, guess again, Pedro.  Don't want to jinx the boys.

Maybe I could kill some time with some humorous anecdote from the past weekend?  Let's see...  there's the one where I was stopping to pick up a bag of ice and a couple mixers on my way home after the bar, and wound up briefly fearing for my well-being after I was stunned into laughing at the absurdity of a homeless guy who, showing no signs of joking, really thought I should to go back in and get him a 10-spot out of the ATM because the buck and change I had in my pocket was not nearly enough for him.  Granted, laughing at his suggestion probably wasn't nice of me, but he didn't have to get in my face and cut a promo on me, either.  So he didn't even get the change in my pocket, which I had originally been just drunk and cheery enough to offer.  Assholes, it seems, come in all shapes, sizes, and economic classes.

There, that should meet my daily requirement for wasting your time before getting on with the wrestling talk:

  • It feels like we've had to mourn an inordinate number of wrestling stars so far this year, including a distressing concentration in the past month alone.
     
    Well, today we don't have anything of quite that stature.  Though, in a way, you wouldn't be too far off base if you suggested that "Goldust is dead."
     
    No, not Dustin Runnels, the man in the paint and gold vinyl suit...  he's alive and well.  But Goldust, the gimmick, may have seen it's end come, and with the proverbial whimper and not a bang.  That's cuz WWE has publicly announced that Dustin Runnel's contract will not be renewed when it expires in mid-January.  Dustin can immediately go work elsewhere, but "Goldust" will go nowhere.  "Goldust" remains the property of WWE in perpetuity.
     
    And therein lies the (if I may hyperbolize) tragedy of this situation.  Dustin's best moments over the course of his 15 year career have almost all come in the guise of Goldust, and more importantly, it's now the persona with which he is most closely associated.  Although purists could point to his early 90's WCW run (as simply "Dustin Rhodes") as a success, Dustin's probably gone past the point of no return.  A post-Goldust attempt to wrestle as "himself" in the then-WWF failed some five years ago, and other attempted recreations of an over-the-top persona were underwhelming (and even, in the case of the cup of coffee he had back in WCW, downright forgettable).
     
    Nevertheless, Dustin will have plenty of options for work after the expiration of his contract next month.  Already, indications are that there will be Japanese shows for Dustin to work on (including for Zero-One, which itself hopes to branch out to the USA)... and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to map out about a dozen different ways Dustin could fit into NWA-TNA (where he just might have his best chance of getting over as "Dustin Rhodes" simply because his dad is working for the company).
     
    And that's all well and good for Dustin, but it's still a bit baffling for me, the Fan At Home.  Dustin moves on, the "Goldust" gets shelved in spite of its years of success.  From its early engrossing edginess to its more recent endearing goofiness, "Goldust" has, at almost every turn, been a must-watch guy.  Maybe not always for the best reasons, but even at his Ahmed-Johnson-Kissing and Neon-Green-Thong-Wearing worsts, you still couldn't look away without feeling like you'd miss something.
     
    Then you toss in all the times when it really DID work -- the Razor Ramon feuds and the Booker T partnerships of his WWF/E career -- and the sum total of Goldust's contributions becomes pretty remarkable.  Was he ever going to be a world champ?  Hell, no.  But was he going to take the 2 minute backstage skit you handed him or the 5 minute match you tossed together and turn them into something other than fast-forward fodder?  You better believe it.
     
    And to me, you can never have too many role players like that around.  The mid-carders who may have peaked in terms of ability to sell PPVs and merchandise, but who keep fans glued to TV shows when you ask them to eat up some time.  But WWE sees things differently: because Goldust is never gonna sell a PPV nor show up on the t-shirts of 10% of a packed arena, he becomes expendable...  replaceable, even.  When you distill it down, what's Goldust's role?  Goofy comic relief.  "Well," WWE thinks, "The fat wannabe super-hero can do that.  And he's working for about half of what we had to pay Dustin." I'm betting it's the same thinking the resulted in us Rodney Mack getting to tank with a gimmick that D'Lo Brown would have rendered watchable (at the very least)....  as much confusion as I claim to have as I report this today, fact is, there is precedent.  I don't agree with it, I keep hoping for some sign that WWE has reconsidered or is for some reason working us on this one because that's better than the alternative that the company's making a decision that seems indefensible to me...  but it's happened before, all the same.
     
    And I guess there might be other considerations, perfectly valid ones that would support WWE's decision.  I mean, Goldust has spent more of the past year dealing with injuries than he has in the ring (and is, in fact, just now getting close to being cleared after his most recent lay-off), and we can't know with any certainty if there are any sort of backstage considerations that make Dustin Runnels a less-than-desirable guy to have in the locker room.  However, WWE's public statement is all of 20 words long, and provides little in the way of their motivation for this decision.
     
    I find myself wondering if Goldust was to be tied into the "I Still Remember" storyline with Booker T.  The idea that the note would be sent by a movie buff who had a history with Booker (and who might have been just weeks away from returning to TV) is a logical one, and might have been pointing at Goldust.  Who knows?  I just think it might be kind of a neat trivial oddity that, after Goldust's 1999 departure left "G-TV" in sort of a no man's land, he might be doing the same thing now to the "I still remember" storyline.  That said story was not referenced even once last week on RAW did strike me as a bit odd at the time.
     
    We'll just have to wait and see.  And maybe just quiet down a little and remember never to say never.  Two years ago we would have thought Goldust in the WWF was an impossibility.  Two months after that, nobody thought he'd parlay a one-night-only special appearance into a 2 year contract.  But Goldust beat those odds, and who's to say he won't again?
     
  • Not that there was any reason to, but I actually made a special trip to WWE.com just to see their wording of the Goldust statement, to see if I could divine any hidden meaning.  Of course, I couldn't.  It's literally a one-sentence blurb, and that's it.
     
    But on the visit, I noticed that the Fed was making its first real mention of Goldberg's role in the currently-screening "Looney Toons" movie.  There's a little write-up on it, and along the way, Goldberg also confirms his involvement in the "Santa's Sleigh" film we talked about last week.
     
    I mention it only because I feel like I need to slightly retract my comments from last week, where I put "Santa's Sleigh" on the same level as the Rock's next proposed movie "Instant Karma."  Well, I'm still not sold on a mass-murdering Santa movie or anything, but for a low budget camp/horror type movie, it sounds like there are some decent people involved.  Not the straight-to-video craporama I had envisioned.
     
    Goldberg states that when filming commences next February, it should not affect his WWE availability.
     
  • Also, Jim Ross provided WWE.com with an injury update.  It was almost like the good ol' days of the Ross Report.  Almost.  No blatant Sooner hype, though.  I bet many of you are wishing that I could learn from JR's conciseness, aren't you?
     
    Anyway, probably the big name on the list is Edge, but he'd already been keeping us pretty well apprised in his own WWE columns.  So nothing shocking, just another confirmation that Edge is expected to be fully cleared to return to action by early March, following a slow ramping up process in terms of physicality.
     
    Second biggest name: Kevin Nash, who followed his haircut and movie role with neck surgery about a month ago.  He chose Dr. Jho in Pittsburgh (Kurt Angle's doc), and JR says Nash is scheduled back there for an appraisal in mid-December.  Of note (but not addressed by JR or anywhere else on WWE.com): Nash's contract is due to expire just a month after Dustin Runnels', but everybody's talking like they just assume he'll be back (and not just for one month of work).
     
    Also:  Billy Kidman is back in action...  Spike Dudley is a week away with a bad back....  Billy Gunn's due back in 2 weeks....  and Sylvain Grenier remains in a holding pattern because his neck/back is still so swollen that doctors can't really tell what's going on, yet.
     
  • For a guy who is ostensibly out of work, Steve Austin's still managing to get his face on WWE programming with ease.  Even on SD! brand shows...
     
    Of course, I speak of ads for this Wednesday's "The Stone Cold Truth" special airing on UPN, which was heavily hyped in the last week, including on SD!.  Contrary to my original guess when we talked about the special over a month ago, this doesn't look like just a repackaged version of a previous "Fanatic Series" show or anything.  Rather, it looks like a freshly-produced spotlight on Austin focusing more on elements drawn from his recently-released book than on in-ring/storyline highlights.
     
    So this one'll be worth checking out.  Probably.
     
  • The final rating for last week's SD! was a 3.6.  That's down a nominal one-tenth of a point from the week before and continues SD!'s streak of 3.5-or-better ratings.  The show continues its best run of 2003 and finished the November sweeps period for this year over a quarter of a point stronger than they did for sweeps month last November.
     
    I'm not 100% positive, but I'm pretty sure that this week's depressed-by-Thanksgiving rating doesn't count towards Sweeps month averages.  When "November" sweeps started on the last Thursday of October, I think the explanation I got in e-mail was that some sort of calendar oddity caused the Powers That Be to start the four-week sweeps period early.  
     
    Regardless, I'd suspect you could safely pencil WWE in for big losses this Thursday night (and probably also for underwhelming ratings for the Wednesday night special).  Holidays haven't been kind to WWE ratings in recent years.
     
  • Following up on Friday's request for information...  I mentioned that Tajiri's goons, Akio (Jimmy Yang) and Sakoda, are on WWE booking sheets under the team name of "Kyo Dai," but also that I had no idea what that meant.
     
    A half-dozen helpful e-mails later, and I can tell you there are two possible interpretations.  One, "Kyodai" as one word can mean "gigantic," and seems less likely to me.  Unless it's some twisted tribute to fallen Superheavyweight Crash Holly.  Second, "Kyo Dai" as two words would indicate the two are brothers, with the "Kyo" part making them "great" brothers or something along those lines in terms of a literal translation.
     
    Much thanks to those who helped out.  Although I guess I should also point out that until you here the name on TV, our little Japanese Language Lesson doesn't count for a whole hell of a lot.
     
  • The 3-disc Ric Flair DVD is selling significantly faster than expected, and has, in fact, had to be rushed into a second pressing after less than a week on the market.  This has not been a common occurrence for WWE home videos recently.
     
    Some retailers that didn't anticipate the demand are, I guess, SOL for another week or two until the second pressing is available.  But as it stands now, Amazon.com still has copies ready to ship ASAP.  Not that I have any particular reason to mention the highly reputable online retailer.
     
  • Speaking of Flair, there are now indications that he will be included on WWE's tour of the Pacific Rim in early December, even though it is a SD! brand tour.  Flair's NWA past means he's highly recognizable and marketable, especially in Asia.  The show includes stops in Australia, Singapore, and Korea.
     
    Though anomalous, a RAW star appearing on a SD! international tour is not completely without precedent.  I know they've shuffled rosters slightly for shows in locales no more exotic than Canada, all in the name of supplying fans with the most appealing roster possible.
     
    In this case, discussions of possibly adding Flair might be directly tied to the fact that SD! will be without Kurt Angle.  Flair's appeal would help the SD! brand follow through with strong shows even without one of its top stars.
     
  • And finally for today, a quick look at RAW.
     
    And with the return of RAW Roulette, a quick look is just about all that is really appropriate.  It might be easier to rundown the things that are NOT possible than the things that might happen.  Most, if not every, match will have a wacky stipulation determined by the spin of a wheel.
     
    A few of the stips might be pretty cool.  But I'm sure the WWE braintrust won't be able to resist the urge to pull a few ill-advised tricks out of their collective ass.  The same sort that had William Regal wrestling in a showgirl outfit last time they did this gimmick.  Ugh.
     
    One thing we know with certainty: the main event will pit Goldberg against Triple H in a match for the World Title.  One thing I only suspect: that Goldberg/HHH will merely be the backdrop for Kane showing up again to attack Goldberg.  Maybe he saves HHH from having to do the job, or maybe he waits until after the match is done, but I'm definitely thinking that Kane/Goldberg is the PPV match WWE wants to run in December, so that's what they'll fast track starting tonight.
     
    Secondary storylines:  Randy Orton is now on the trail of Rob Van Dam's IC Title...  Matt Hardy is back on RAW, and is a heel after double-crossing Lita and dumping her; but Lita has a knight in shining armor in the form of Christian, who helped her get her job back after Molly helped orchestrate her firing; the four elements are obviously not going to be getting along pleasantly tonight...  by my count, Chris Jericho is the last member of Team Bischoff to still have his wish (or at least, the last member who matters; Mark Henry didn't use his, either, I don't think);  on what might Jericho use his wish?  Trish?  Or something more heelish....  Test and Scott Steiner seem to be on the same page, finally, and the loser in the deal is Stacy; the Dudleys are obvious foils for them (and possible saviors for Stacy)....  and lurking around every corner, in my mind, is the spectre of Steve Austin, who will almost certainly be back on TV sooner rather than later.  But how?
     
    Should be an eventful show, if nothing else.  We'll have to see if the Fed can find the right mix of using the RAW Roulette gimmick to add some fun and excitement while also keeping things from getting really stupid.  It's a fine line.  Gagging Lawler if showgirls make even brief appearances might help.
     
    So check it out, or at least come on back here to OO on Tuesday for the full recap!  See you then....
     

E-MAIL RICK SCAIA
BROWSE THE OO ARCHIVES

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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