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RAW, Ratings, Angle, Austin, 
and the Tasty Thanksgiving News!
November 26, 2003

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Sorry about the odd update schedule so far this week.  Been busy, with the knowledge that I won't be doing a whole lot productive tomorrow or Friday, and having this little tournament out in Maui that I'm obsessing over isn't helping any.

It doesn't get much better for you: there will be no OO update tomorrow.  Like you'll miss it.  You'll be stuffing your face just like I will be.  Just come back on Friday, when we'll have hopefully close to the usual full slate of stuff for you.

Here's today's Big Report:

  • I was a huge fan of Monday's RAW.  There were a few things that got under my skin, but by and large, once you get past the Phantom Bell the rang during HHH/Goldberg and past the retarded non-finish of "Capture the Midget," there's nothing that misfired on Monday night.
    You had a little bit of everything from the entertainment perspective.  A little T&A.  Intense drama and physicality as the World Title picture expanded to include Kane.  More intriguing developments in RAW's best "grown up" storyline in forever (Trish and Jericho).  A taste of 1988 with Ric Flair's four-pronged promo.  And an overall sense of wackiness afforded by the RAW Roulette gimmick.
    And while there was no single stand-out wrestling match on the show, I applaud the participants in the "Strange Bedfellows" match for probably having the closest thing to a Match of the Night, while also doffing the cap to Goldberg/HHH for having their best singles match to date and also to Lita/Victoria for having a solid match inside of a cage that neither of them has had any experience with.
    Seriously, a well-rounded, excellently-paced, nearly-inspired two hours for RAW.  The gimmickry certainly helped, and they certainly can't duplicate this particular formula more than once every six months or so without it losing impact... but that doesn't diminish the fact that, in this particular iteration, RAW Roulette was a lot of fun.
    I said my piece -- including the increasingly-required extended passage about Jericho/Trish -- in yesterday's RAW Recap.  So check that out.  I stand by everything I said there, and hope that as we see more and more of Jericho's "softening," the jerks in the audience who had been cheering for Jericho to screw Trish over and stay heel will simmer down.  Sure, that's still one possible outcome, and I agree that Jericho's a great heel and should not renounce his heel status for ever and ever.  But you've also got to give me that really liking Trish doesn't make Jericho weak or less entertaining.  If anything, it's made him into RAW's most engrossing character over the last month, involved in RAW's most engrossing storyline.  
    So again: complete results, including other aspects of the show not even mentioned here, are in the Recap.  I'm done talking about RAW, now.
  • Well, not quite.  Because I also have to mention that RAW's rating for Monday was a 3.6, which is exactly the same that the show did the week before.
    However, this week, RAW was back to something that they had happening to them back in September and October: the show peaked around 10pm (middle of the show) and then lost a few viewers.  In this case, the HHH/Goldberg match resulted in a 4.4 rating for the first QH of the 10pm hour.  Then viewership dived and the rest of hour two and the overrun only averaged a 3.5, though there was a slight upturn for the final QH/overrun.
    I'm gonna back off my bitching from a month ago, cuz this was not a case where RAW put out a mid-show angle that sent viewers scurrying.  Rather this was a case of RAW giving away a PPV match, which had a lot of appeal, apparently.  Once it was over, a casual element of the audience tuned out.  No big deal.  One could argue that WWE could maybe have wrung another couple tenths of a point out of the audience if they'd put the title match on last, but dramatically speaking, I'm 100% confident they did the right thing. RAW was a better show for being structured the way it was this week.

  • If you've somehow missed them, Spoilers for tomorrow night's SD! (and for Heat and Velocity) were posted a couple hours ago.  Check them out, if you want.
  • Kurt Angle's status has been updated again, this time by WWE.com.  And the news isn't great.  But it's not horrible either.
    There is confirmation that upon the original diagnosis, the plan was to have Angle back on TV in non-wrestling role starting this week, and back in action by mid- to late-December.  However, that plan had to change.
    During Angle's procedure, more damage to his neck was found including an "exploded" disc that was causing bone fragments to impinge on Kurt's spine.  The mess was cleaned up, but it was a more involved procedure than anyone had planned.  A blood clot in the front of Angle's neck was also discovered.
    So now, Kurt's gonna take a few more weeks before returning to TV, and does not anticipate being inside a ring until the Royal Rumble.  So basically take everything I'd been saying about Angle's time table over the past week and push it back by one month.  
  • I know that among certain, more morbidly-minded elements of you Fine Readers, I've earned the reputation of being at my very best when somebody dies.  Just call me The Eulogizer!
    But I'm at a complete loss on this one.  
    A former NWA Champion named Dick Hutton passed away earlier this week.  Other than recognizing the name from title histories as one that showed up immediately following Lou Thesz's name in the 50's, I honestly have no knowledge of Dick Hutton, I am sad to say.

    Luckily, along with word of Hutton's death, a few helpful readers also supplied this link to an excellent career retrospective.  Do what I did: check out the article and learn a little something today.
  • Ric Flair's injury from RAW, while it looked pretty nasty, turned out to be not too bad.  Flair's nose was not broken in the impact.  Just a little blood and a cut lip.
    I'm not saying it was Foley-losing-an-ear caliber, but my first instinct was that Flair wouldn't get off anywhere near that easily.  Glad to hear it's only minor stuff that went wrong.
  • Along similar lines: Steven Richards was injured at Heat tapings on Monday.  Not seriously, but still...
    In working a match against John Heidenreich, Richards hurt his shoulder when John's finisher got a little botched.  The bump reportedly looked quite sick, with Richards also taking a hard impact on his neck.  Trainers came out to check on Stevie, and after they determined the shoulder was the problem and not the neck, they waved off a stretcher, and Richards made it to the back under his own power.  He's not expected to miss much, if any, time.
    I'm not gonna do a big thing here, but I will just say this: this isn't the first time this has happened with Heidenreich's finisher.  If I know the internet the "Fire Little Johnny" campaign will only pick up steam.  The most drastic thing I, myself, would be willing to suggest is that the guy could at least start considering a different finisher.
  • Finally, you have a choice tonight, wrestling fans:  you can check out the TNA PPV or you can watch UPN's "Stone Cold Truth" special.
    TNA's show is headlined by Jeff Jarrett taking on Dusty Rhodes in a match where fans will get to pick lumberjacks who will surround ringside.  This, presumably, means that Dusty will have a fighting chance.  Also: Michael Shane will defend the X Title against Sonjay Dutt....  Simon, Swinger, and Legend will take on 3 Live Kru for the NWA Tag Titles...  Raven will have to face both of Cyrus' Red Shirt Security guys in separate matches...  Chris Sabin will face "X"... and a pre-taped piece with Roddy Piper will air.
    The option is saving the 10 bucks and watching The Steve Austin Story...  which, as I said Monday, is not just gonna be a repackaged Fanatic Series special or anything.  Rather, it looks like all-new stuff drawn more from Austin's book and real life.  Might be really good.  So it's definitely worth considering.  It's on after "Star Trek," too, which until last week I wouldn't have given two shits about... but last week's show I checked out on a whim, and it was excellent (the first time ever for "Enterprise"!), and then they did the promo for this week, and it was a time travel story.  I'm such a mark for time travel.
    Me, I'll be watching neither.  Flyers v. Rainbows has precedence.  The title of Champions of the Least Competitive Maui Classic Ever is on the line.  Seriously, three years ago, we go to Maui, and beat #11 UConn, lose to #1 Arizona, and beat #9 Maryland to finish third.  This year, we may well win the thing, but it's with wins over Central Michigan, San Diego St., and (hopefully) Hawaii?  Even ESPN, which had the rights to show last night's semi-final, couldn't move fast enough to cut away from Maui to start showing another game...  how are we supposed to win any national respect with crap like that going on?
    But that's just me.  You kids pick some wrestling to watch.  My DVR's second channel will be recording UPN, if that helps at all...
  • And on that note, I'm finished.  Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it.  A thumbing of the nose and a "Hey, watch us all take a four day weekend" to our early-crop-harvesting friends to the north, and pretty much to everybody else in every other country around the globe.  Turkey, taters, and football games featuring mediocre-to-poor teams... it's a purely AMERICAN tradition.
    See you with a column on Friday.


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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