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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
No PPV Preview Here! (And Not Much of
Anything Else, Either, Dammit....)
December 12, 2003

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

Well, it's hard to cheer against a guy who's been a favorite of mine for so long, but damn you, Andy Pettitte, you are now on the Rick's Shit List.  Turning down a superior offer from one of my favorite teams to jump ship to a Hated Division Rival of my other favorite team.  

I mean, hell, I didn't expect a play-off run for the Reds in 2004, but I was kind of keen on the idea that we might finish in the top half of the NL Central at some point in the next five years.  We already had to deal with the Cubs throwing Wood/Prior/Clement out there, not to mention St. Louis with Morris/Williams/Stephenson... and now Houston can counter with Pettitte/Oswalt/Miller?  Goddammit.

And Pettitte's dropping hints that he might get Clemens to unretire and join him?  I don't know whether to laugh at his self-importance, or cry at the prospect of it actually happening.

If there's a silver lining, it's this: I REALLY like Kevin Brown in pinstripes.  If he and Pettitte pitch the same number of innings next year, I promise you, the Yankees will have the better pitcher and at roughly the same price that Pettitte would have cost them.  And they dumped Weaver and his $8 million, too.  I also realize that Brown pitching 200-plus innings a gi-normous "if," so....  the Yanks really need one more stud starter, just to make sure they are covered if their question marks don't deliver.  Can Brown stay healthy?  Will Contreras show up or suck again?  Can Lieber come back from surgery to his 2001 form?  And is Wells gonna be worth the trouble?  Right now, out of those four guys, we'd need to get roughly 650 innings and 100 starts to go with what Mussina and Vazquez will deliver.  I'd feel better if we had a fifth guy in the mix to cover for those four giant question marks.

Actually, I have a really good feeling about Lieber... maybe I'd spend George's money on bats, first.  First: a right-fielder (hi there, Vlad!).  Second: a center-fielder (say hello to the DH, there, Bernie).  And third: a 1B (in case Giambi can't play the field again this year).  After that, THEN we can talk another starter.

And now...  for some UD Flyer talk!

Just kidding.  I guess I'll actually start the column:

  • I actually don't have a ton of stuff to talk about.  Thanks to the consideration of Matt Hocking and Jeb Lund, I do not have to do a big ass Armageddon PPV Preview!
     
    I think Jeb's motivation is simply that he likes doing the predictions and proving how big his brain is.  Well, bully for him.  His Armageddon thoughts are right here.  [And I was serious when I hyped his "Randy and Me" column from yesterday as one of the best things you've seen on OO all year, too.  So if you skipped it, dammit, go read it now!  It's better than anything else I've got to talk about today.]
     
    Then there's Matt, who I'm pretty sure was seething with anger at the thought of me savaging the RAW brand PPV before it even happened.  Matt likes the RAW, admits to being a "sizzle over steak" man, and as such, he's the guy to do an enthusiastic-but-fair preview of the Armageddon card and what you can expect from it.  You can read Matt's preview right here.
     
    And if Matt was seething with anger, he'd have been within his rights... as I sit here, trying my hardest to come up with a complimentary or positive thing to say about Armageddon, just about the best I can come up with it this:
     
    Armageddon is, without a doubt, the MOST RECENT pay-per-view in the history of the business!
     
    Schiavone's got nothing on me.
     
    Anyway, even if I don't have to do the big write-up for the PPV, I am compelled to do predictions of my own.  Because, deep down in that secret place that I visit sometimes when I'm feeling down, I actually think that my brain is at least as big as Jeb's.  Bully for me!
     
    So here goes....
     
    Goldberg/Kane/HHH: anything short of Kane scoring the surprise win (hey, Goldberg can get it back one-on-one at the Rumble, maybe even thanks to the return of the Undertaker) will render this match utterly pointless.  Do I expect WWE to pull a big shocker out of the hat, or are they OK with a bland, tepid, pointless main event?  Kane over Goldberg is the right move, I think.  Goldberg retaining, however, is WWE's move.  
     
    Orton/RVD: if not for Mick Foley, I'd say this was a no-brainer in favor of Orton.  Holding some gold is the next logical step for his progression.  With Foley inserting himself as special ref to "counter-act Flair" (something, it should be noted, that he did NOT do for the other two Evolution matches, even though Flair is just as likely to be there), however, I have to think that he did so just as much to make sure Orton does not win (since Orton tossed him down some steps lo those many months ago).  My gut, however, overrules my brain on this one: something tells me they'll still craft a finish that escalates the Foley vs. Orton tension, but that also crowns Orton the new IC Champ.  Maybe a ref bump and a second official to make the count, or something...  I just don't see Orton's push being sidetracked on Sunday.  It's full speed ahead, and that means IC gold.
     
    Michaels/Batista: Michaels will have to be at his Survivor Series getting-his-ass-kicked best on Sunday, if this match is to be watchable.  No real story, no real heat on Batista...  I can't imagine a bigger waste of HBK.  Well, I can, actually: if he loses this match.  But I don't think he will.  Michaels wins.
     
    Tag Team Turmoil: this could be very good, actually.  But if the crowd's not into it, it could also die on the operating table and be an over-long show-killing segment.  There will be six teams involved, but only two at a time.  So this is really gonna be five contiguous matches, with the winner of the last one walking out with the gold.  I say the Duds will be there at the start, and defeat Rosey/Hurricane, La Resistance, and Steiner/Test.  But when Cade/Jindrak enter fifth, the Duds are too beat down, and they finally lose a fall.  Cade and Jindrak then go on to cheat their way over Storm/Venis to win the Tag Titles.  You could also flip Rosey/Hurricane and Storm/Val, doesn't matter...  point is, I think the psychology of the match is perfect for Cade/Jindrak getting a "tainted" win over the Duds, and then winning the titles by adding a second pair of victims to their list.
     
    Battle of the Sexes: along with Orton/RVD and my probationary interest in tag team turmoil if they can keep the heat up, this is the only other match on the show I give a shit about.  Two and a half out of six: nicely done, RAW!  Anyway, here's how I see this one going down...  starts slow, like it'll actually be a match, but with the guys obviously not wanting to do anything REALLY vicious.  But the girls aren't interested in being treated special or playing by the rules, and hit some sort of testicle-related move to show they are serious about winning at any cost.  This should happen to Christian, who then fires up, and actually KOs Lita and Trish with some kind of dickhead offensive explosion.  But his nuts still hurt, so he tags in Jericho.  And now, with the kid gloves off, Jericho finds he can't quite follow up and be as vicious as Christian was... he's still got it bad for Trish afterall.  Jericho is torn, and Christian starts to get upset.  Christian gets up in Jericho's face and tells him to beat up on the girls, or else.  Jericho turns.  Considers doing it.  And then decides not to.  Jericho shoves Christian back, right into a cheap roll-up by Trish.  But it only gets a 2.  Jericho decides to walk-out and not be a part of the match.  Christian is left fighting one-on-two, and this sets up a bunch of double teaming for a heat sequence.  Fans believe Trish and Lita might win.  But then Matt Hardy tosses his two cents worth in or Christian just hits a big move to silence the rally.  Christian will pin Lita to win the match single-handedly.  But the really story will be, well, the story.
     
    Booker T/Mark Henry: good lord, this could suck.  Not even HBK could get a good match out of Henry back about 6 weeks ago on TV.  Booker's good, but I don't know if he's good enough to have this be anything other than a trainwreck.  Henry's methodical offense dominates, then Booker makes the superman comeback to win and put a capper on this feud.  Any other finish, and I will blow a fuse.  Isn't it enough that Booker's dropped two falls to Henry already, in the name of "advancing the feud"?  Now it's time for the feud no fan in his right mind gives a damn about to end, and it had better end in Booker's favor.
     
    That's it.  At this point, they've only got six matches lined up for the show.  With the Tag Team Turmoil possibly eating up 40 minutes or so, I guess that works.  Maybe they also throw in some fluff with Bischoff and Foley, too...  I'd really like to see Matt Hardy having something to do, so maybe they'll still add a match.  But probably not...  I bet it's Richards vs. Heidenreich on Heat, and that's the only other match, just to spite me.  
     
    In any case, I can't pick winners in matches I'm only imagining and hoping might take place.  My picks are Goldberg, Orton, HBK, Cade/Jindrak, Christian (and Jericho, but not really), and Booker.  End of story.  End of obligatory Armageddon talk.
     
    Except for this final tidbit: just cuz I'm not fired up for it doesn't mean I won't be watching Armageddon.  I'm WWE's favorite sort of fan: The Lemming!  Upshot for you is that you can stop by OO on Sunday night around midnight, because that's when I'll have my immediate post-show PPV Recap posted.  
     
    I'm not saying it could save you the $35, but if you wanted to use me for that purpose, I guess I wouldn't complain...
     
  • Last night's SD! followed almost exactly the same blueprint that the previous week's did: strong opening promo, then 45 forgettable minutes, and then a kick-ass final hour.  The overall effect wasn't quite as good as the previous week's, as nothing peaked anywhere near as high as Benoit/Lesnar... but it was still a very good show.
     
    For all the talk of the Guerreros/TWGTT match stealing the show, I actually thought that Lesnar/Rey was the Match of the Night.  Great action, great heat, great drama/psychology.  The tag match supplied a second tremendous 15 minute match.  Then the opening promo and the Battle Rap provided us with the entertainment portion of the show.
     
    The way they recapped the Benoit/Lesnar match, by the way, was also outstanding.  Benoit's promo was simplicity itself, but left me convinced that WWE is finally gonna put the machine behind Benoit...  if last night's Heyman promise (no more title shots for Benoit) and Benoit promo aren't laying the foundation for Benoit to headline WM20 against Lesnar, then I'll be stunned.  Best of all: I think it'll work.  It doesn't matter what chicanery goes on around it (does Steph have to come back to replace Heyman to make the match? does Benoit simply win the Rumble and force Heyman's hand?), the core issue is Benoit vs. Lesnar, and after what they showed us last week, I think that's something fans will be VERY into.
     
    You can get the full details of last night's show over in the OO SmackDown! Recap.
     
  • The preliminary (not overnight) rating for SD! is a 3.5.  Remember, this is a new sort of way of Nielsen collecting data for UPN, and the final rating (which I'll have by Monday) should be PRETTY close to this prelim number.  Last week, the preliminary rating was a 3.3 and the final rating was a 3.4...
     
    If I had to guess, I'd say SD!'s final number will wind up being back up to the pre-Thanksgiving levels... but we'll just see about that on Monday.
     
  • One of the issues at SD! that seemed to generate a bit of disucssion was Eddie Guerrero and his shoulder injury.  Was it real?  Part of the story of the match?  What?
     
    The moments after the single-arm DDT in last night's match were edited a bit oddly, so I assumed that yes, Eddie really did tweak something and they had to give him a minute or two to recover.  The ref briefly threw up the "X of Legitimate Injury" later in the match, but for the most part, it seemed like Eddie was basically OK and Haas and Benjamin had free reign to target his shoulder for the purposes of seeming like dicks.
     
    Well, the story apparently is this: Eddie's shoulder IS basically OK, nothing he can't work through.  Problem is, it was sore before the match, and when Benjamin hit the DDT, it did flare up.  
     
    And a secondary story: Eddie took exception to some of the shots TWGTT took at his shoulder over the course of the match, and this resulted in a big argument backstage between Eddie and Haas after the match.  It did get physical before the two were separated, but it was really just the heat of the moment and two guys feeding off the other's over-reacting.  Before the tapings were over, Eddie and Haas had settled down, shook hands, and apologized.
     
  • Don't know what to make of it at this point, but there was no mention at all of Hulk Hogan/Jimmy Hart on this week's TNA show...  with the promotion wanting to build to a Hogan/Jeff Jarrett main event at an eventual full-price Sunday night PPV, they'd been using Jimmy Hart as a surrogate, and Jarrett was keeping the issue fresh by mentioning it in promos.  Until this week.
     
    I know there had been word that Hogan's recovery from knee surgery wasn't as rapid as hoped, and that TNA's hopes for an early 2004 (pre-WM20) PPV date were fading.  Certainly I wouldn't take Wednesday night's lack of referencing the story as anything major just yet... it could be as simple as TNA realizing that if Jarrett/Hogan can't happen till the spring, then they are hanging themselves by keeping their eggs in that basket now, when they should be pushing ahead with storylines they CAN do.
     
    On the show, Jarrett instead tangled with Roddy Piper.  Piper made his TNA return playing the old school/traditionalist NWA card, and accused Jarrett of thinking he was bigger than the business that made him.  One thing led to another, and at night's end, Piper was in the corner of AJ Styles and D'Lo Brown, and helped them to beat Jarrett and Kid Kash.
     
    When "Director of Authority" Erik Watts decreed after the main even that Jarrett would have to defend his NWA Title next week, Jarrett pussed it up a bit, and said he wouldn't face Styles or D'Lo... and Watts countered by saying that was fine...  Jarrett asked who he'd be facing, then.  And Watts announced Sting is returning next week to take on Double J.
     
    It ain't rocket science, but I tells ya, it's beats the hell out of marking time for three months until Hogan's ready.
     
  • The Hollywood trade papers are reporting that WWE Films is developing a very violent, dark horror movie that will star an unnamed wrestler in the lead role.  There are comparisons to Freddy and Jason in discussing the tone of the project.
     
    There really aren't any additional details, but you can read the article for yourself right here.  Thanks to the many who sent in the link.
     
    Oh, and to the many more who might think they'll be clever and e-mail me about how maybe it'll star Kane and be the "Katie Vick Story," well, just keep it to yourself, Pedro.  
     
  • We knew that the Rock's role in "Stay Cool" was a bodyguard with aspirations of being a movie star... he's said as much in interviews.
     
    But OO Reader Terry has actually read the Elmore Leonard book that the movie will be based on, and has additional details about the character...  such as the fact that the character is gay, woefully untalented despite his dreams (Terry says the character's only skill is the ability to raise an eyebrow), and has a big song and dance number near the end of the book.  To say this will be a stretch for the Rock after his three starring roles had him playing extremely competent bad-asses would be an understatement.  Except for the part with the eyebrow.  That's almost too perfect.
     
    Terry notes that John Travolta's character is again the star of the story, but that the Rock's character is a pretty big role, too, and in fact is responsible for a lot of the laughs.  It could be, in other words, a big chance for Rock to steal the show, if they do a faithful job of adapting the book for the screen.
     
  • And finally for today, if you want a sneak peak at the Rock's next competent bad-ass role, the trailer for "Walking Tall" is right here

    Nothing to get too fired up over, in my own damned opinion... just two minutes of action/joke/action/joke, which you probably could have guessed at on your own.
     
  • That's it.  I'm out.  Enjoy the weekend, check out the PPV, and if you don't, come on back here on Sunday night around midnight for my recap.  Or show up before that.  I'm sure the regulars will be hanging out in the chat room, and could use some fresh meat to haze.
     
    See you Sunday night.  Or Monday.  Whichever. 
     

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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