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SD! Thoughts/Rating, After RAW, Easter Not
Christmas, and Other Weekend News
December 19, 2003

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Wouldn't you know it?  The Holiday Party Season officially begins TONIGHT for Yours Truly (and it don't end till 2004, baby!), and the weather gods picked TODAY to dump our first significant snowfall on us...  and while I'm a damned outstanding .07 driver, if you catch my drift, the last thing I need while navigating the roads this weekend is idiots who lack my skills slip slidin' away all around me.

But I shall not be deterred.  And in fact, I'd better just get to the wrestling so I can be done with the website for the weekend and get on with the festivizing....

  • Last night's SmackDown! was a decided step down from the preceeding two weeks.  The "formula" that they'd gone with -- great opening promo, then some filler, then two killer matches in Hour Two -- was out the window.  In it's place was a show that, while soundly and logically constructed, was almost completely underwhelming.
    The story they pushed as the most important was Bob Holly's "all or nothing" match...  and sadly, I am in no way interested in a Holly vs. Lesnar PPV match.  The result was a TV main event that was actually more of a let down to me that Monday's Foley Walk Out.  I mean, really: A-Train, Matt Morgan, Shannon Moore, and Bob Holly...  this is a main event?  Not in my world.
    It's not that I dislike Holly.  But I don't like him, either.  He's just... you know, THERE.  If I've spent time these last few weeks railing on how Batista is the essentially competent but completely generic version of a wrestling heel, then I guess the parallel I could draw is that Holly is the same thing on the babyface side.  Man alive, I realize that the "revenge on the guy that broke my neck" story needs to be told, but generally, the proper order of things is (1) Make Fans Care About a Guy, and then (2) Push Guy into Main Event Title Feud.  We're doing this one ass-backwards.
    From a "make me care about Bob Holly" perspective, SD! last night was a failure.  Where the show may have succeeded was in using the intra-show storyline (the promo, the rigged tumbler, and then the final match) was in continuing to grow Brock Lesnar as an excellent heel personality.  If we posit that Holly is essentially being built-up to be Lesnar's Royal Rumble lamb, then I think that's where we see some upside, here.  Not from a Holly-is-elevated viewpoint, but rather from a Lesnar-is-cemented one.
    But in the meantime, you'll pardon me if I get mildly put off by a Velocity-caliber match-up headlining on Thursday night.
    The four-way tag match was good, but not great.  Same can be said for Rey vs. Noble (although there, we also got a little interesting side story, which maybe bolsters it to Match of the Night for me).  Neither match was up to the level of the five man on RAW, though... and when you have a week when SD! gets out-wrestled by RAW, you know there's trouble afoot.  Toss in the pseudo main event and craptacular stuff like Vince/Ernest Miller, and it's an easy call for Battle of the Brands this week.
    Not that SD! was an awful show.  Not at all.  Really, other than the Vince/Cat stuff I was not annoyed by anything.  But the show was one where you just sat back, soaked it in, and really, never once felt like something big or important was happening.  That's fine.  Next week will feel "special" just because of the Iraq flavor, and then into the new year, we'll rapidly get past the Bob Holly push, we'll have Kurt back, and things should start moving quickly towards WM20 stories.
    If you'd like, you can collect the detailed results of last night's show in Big Danny T's SD! Recap.
  • The preliminary rating for SD! is a 3.4.  That's about where these prelim ratings have been the last few weeks, and the final rating should be within one or two tenths when we get it on Monday.
  • I forgot to mention this on Wednesday....
    As upsetting as the Foley walk-out was for those of us watching at home, it was bound to be even more frustrating to the live audience.  I'm sure they were poised to, at the very least, fire up a "Bullshit" chant -- if not out-right begin rioting -- if the event had ended with that backstage footage.
    But, of course, WWE didn't send the audience home that way.  What they did was have Bischoff and Orton come back out to the ring to take credit for running Foley out of WWE.  Rob Van Dam then came down to face Orton, who was quickly saved by Evolution.  Shawn Michaels then hit the ring, too, and there was some brawling.
    When things settled down, Ric Flair got on a mic and started taunting Gerry Brisco's high-school-age son (who was seated at ringside).  While HBK, RVD, and Evolution looked on, Flair challenged the kid to come on up and wrestle him, amateur style.  Flair, of course, was taken to school.  HBK even counted a pin for Young Brisco as everybody in the ring laughed it up.
    Funny stuff, and a unique moment to send the live fans home happy.
  • Wednesday's TNA ended the year on a strong note for the company.  They ended the show with the pay-off to a long-building heel turn for Raven's pals CM Punk and Julio Dinero.  They turned on Raven in a six man match, causing him to lose.  Per a stipulation, Raven is now forbidden to ever get an NWA Title Shot again.  [Obviously, this is about as convincing as Chris Benoit never getting a WWE Title shot, and sets up a slow-building storyline for Raven to once again earn a shot.]
    Also on the show, Sting defeated Jeff Jarrett via submission in what was a non-title match.  Sting got an assist from AJ Styles, so this probably will end up leading more towards another chapter in Styles/Jarrett than Sting actually chasing the belt.
    And finally: TNA is doing recap shows the next 2 weeks, but when they return live on January 7, it will be "Ultimate X" part 2 (the criss-crossing "X" wires above the ring, with the title suspended in the middle).  X Champ Michael Shane, Christopher Daniels, Lo-Ki, and Chris Sabin are gonna duke it out in that one.
  • Again, Damian Gonzalez is, unfortunately for all of us, cut off from TNA and is stepping down as TNA recapper....  I've gotten a few interested parties mailing me, but if you're a TNA regular and wouldn't mind doing a weekly recap, there's still time to drop me a note and let me know.  With TNA on break till next year, and with my natural laziness, it's not like I'll be rushing to make a decision on who gets the gig...
  • Follow-up #1 from Wednesday....
    I mentioned WWE is giving Mick Foley the 2-disc DVD treatment (including WCW and ECW footage)...  but in my excitement over the prospect of seeing "Lost in Cleveland" again, neglected to actually tell you the name of the disc or the release date.
    "Mick Foley's Greatest Hits and Misses" will be available on January 20, 2004.  Save up that Christmas money, kids... this one should be a good 'un.
  • And Follow-up #2....
    In joking about "Lost in Cleveland" being a possible easter egg on the Foley DVD on the grounds that WWE actually included the so-bad-it's-good "Blow Away" ad on Shawn Michaels' DVD, I apparently caught some of you off guard.
    So, for the half-dozen or so people who mailed in asking "Easter eggs?  What easter eggs?", I present you with....
    Easter Egg #1:  it's the Blow Away diet ad, and it's on disc 1.  You go to the "extras" menu, go down to "Be Ready," and then click left (either once or twice). 
    Easter Egg #2:  it's HBK's "Lost My Smile" speech, and it's on disc 2.  Again, go to the extras menu, then go down to "Photo Gallery."  From there, click left (again, either once or twice, I forget).  
    The "Lost My Smile" speech is actually an odd choice.  To me, it's sort of a low point for the WWF, what with Michaels taking a cheap way out at a time when the company could not afford to have their title lose any legitimacy.  While there is no denying the emotion of the interview, it's also a case where I don't think ANYone would remember this as a career highlight for HBK.  It was, in fact, sort of a low point, in my opinion.  Yet there it is.
  • I think that's about it for today.  Erin's got our Year in Review Season off to a Jeri-tastic start, so check that out.  Myself and all the other OO regulars (and maybe a few non-regulars and returnees) will be following suit in the coming 10 days...  leading up to the crowning of the Prestigious OO Awardies being handed out once I add up everybody's votes.
    You know you can't wait!
    And also in a similar-but-different vein:  I'm not one to pimp my own columns, but I know that a lot of you skip out on "OOld School" Thursdays... but when prepping yesterday's, I was struck by how well my 1996 Year in Review holds up.  At the time, I remember being unpopular for thinking Michaels/Foley was the Match of the Year, and took heat on RSPW for being among the first to get sick and tired of the nWo...  but in later years, the nWo's bloated nature was widely recognized and even WWE went on the air with "Confidential" a few weeks ago and called HBK/Foley the MotY for '96.  So read OOld School this week: it's not just a time machine back to 1996, it's a case of me looking like a man ahead of my time!
    Have fun, be safe, and I'll see you again on 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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