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A SD! in Iraq Recap, plus
A Bit of Other News
December 26, 2003

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


I'll admit it: there's not a whole lot going on in the rasslin' world right now, and your time will be better spent checking out the insightful and widely-varying Years in Review being contributed by OO columnists past and present.

Including the one by me from Tuesday, which is really long, but also way better of a read than what's to follow here.  At this point, just about the only post-Christmas change that I'd be tempted to make would be in "Best Album."  Let's just say "Strong Bad Sings" isn't what I thought it'd be (which is to say a throw-away collection of stuff right off the HomestarRunner website).  It's pretty kick ass.

Here's the goods:

  • Danny is, as is his right, on Holiday.  So there is no SmackDown! Recap per se here at OO...
    Last night's SD! was, of course, taped a few days ago in Iraq, and it wasn't much of a storyline show as it was a "televised house show."  It had a really cool, unique feeling, and it certainly made for good TV...  but you didn't need to see it to pick back up with SD! next Thursday night.
    Nevertheless, here's a quick rundown of the show, with apologies to anyone who thinks I'm being disrespectful by glazing over the names/ranks/etc. in the many meet-and-greet-segments of the show.  I'm not disrespectful.  But I am very lazy.
    Here goes...
    Segment 1:  the National Anthem is sung by a female soldier...  Tazz and Cole (in voice-over only, though they do their level best to convince us they were there and part of the show) welcome everyone to the show (which is conducted outdoors, under a bright blue sky, with about 5000 soldiers -- some on duty and armed, others sitting on tanks -- surrounding a SD!-style ring)...  Vince McMahon struts out, and begins in babyface mode by saying what an honor it is to bring a slice of Americana out to these brave troops who can't come home to America for the Holidays...  Santa Claus picks that moment to come on out and hand out free stuff (t-shirts, mostly) to the troops... when Vince calls Santa into the ring so he (Vince) can receive his gift, Santa doesn't have anything left... so Vince clotheslines Santa and showboats for the crowd....  meantime, Santa has taken off his costume to reveal Stone Cold Steve Austin ("He's a RAW superstar, Tazz!  What's he doing here on SD!?" ejaculated Cole)...  Austin stunnered Vince, briefly talked to the troops (who were right there with "Whats" in all the right places), and then celebrated with some beer....  as we head to a break, they show a clip from an earlier meeting, when all the WWE guys were being trained in what to do if sniper fire broke out.
    Segment 2:  we come back and Tazz and Cole take us through the set-up of the "Camp Victory Arena," which was done by a crew of armed forces workers (as WWE only brought a skeleton crew) who did the work tons faster than the usual stage crew WWE works with....  in the opening match, the APA beat the Worlds Greatest Tag Team:  APA out fast, then Haas and Benjamin isolate on Faarooq for a couple minutes.  Hot tag comes to Bradshaw (who is, predictably, mega-over) who cleans house and pins Haas with a lariat after about 4 minutes of action...   backstage, we spy a meeting between Steve Austin and Chris Benoit, with Austin playing the role of Shit Stirrer to motivate Benoit for his match later against Eddie Guerrero.
    Segment 3:  back from break with more troops saying "hi" to their families at home...  Torrie Wilson is suiting up for a "Santa's Little Helper Contest," or so we're told....  then it's back to the ring for Rikishi vs. Rhyno: a fly-over from two Blackhawk copters sort of drives home the reality of the situation, but Rhyno and 'Kish keep the match going.  Rikishi wins the brief (maybe 3 minutes this time) match with a Samoan Drop, and then after the match, gives Rhyno a Stinkface for good measure.  Then 'Kish finds two female soldiers to come on up to the ring for some of his classic Country Line Dancing...  Note: during the match, Cole and Tazz lauded the 15 WWE production crew members who accompanied the 20 or so performers.  Usually, there are 150 crew members at a WWE TV taping, so those 15 did a great job organzing the event and integrating with the armed forces assistance to create a show that still looked very much like a typical WWE telecast....  we cut to break with more troop meet-and-greets (one commanding officer says the WWE crew are getting bigger responses than President Bush did on his visit).
    Segment 4: some of the stars decided to take a 70 mile copter ride to a hot zone north of Baghdad, and visited troops at a place called Camp Anaconda.  They were issued full protective gear and even given a brief tutorial on taking over the machine gun, if necessary (whoa! that HAD to be for show)....  then back to the ring for John Cena to cut a half-freestyle, half-heartfelt promo thanking the troops.  After he got down smacktalking Big Show and making his fantasies about defiling Torrie Wilson public, he called the troops the real heroes and professed much love for 'em....  backstage, shit stirrer Austin is at it again, this time talking to Eddie Guerrero to fire him up.
    Segment 5: still more meet-and-greet and messages to home featuring the troops....  then it's go time, with Eddie Guerrero taking on Chris Benoit. Equally popular are these two, with "Eddie, Eddie" and "Benoit, Benoit" chants alternating.  Even as it's clear these two are mostly just having fun, they are so good that the match is still very entertaining and crisp.  Another copter flyover about 4 minutes in has Eddie bailing out to grab a flak jacket and helmet.  The ref disallows it, however, and the action eventually continues.  After both men crash to the ground outside the ring, we take a commercial break.  Resuming the action, it's Eddie trying to play the heel role in the match, but still getting good pops.  Finish had him roll through a move by Benoit, then put his feet on the ropes for illegal leverage to get the pinfall win.  Benoit was pissed, but Eddie (only after grabbing the helmet and flak jacket again) got in the ring and tried to make peace.  Finally, Chris relented, and the two shook hands...  we cut to break with more messages from the troops...
    Segment 6:  this one's a Zero Content segment, wrestling wise.  Lots of meet-and-great type stuff.  A pep talk by Bradshaw.  Another teaser shot (of Sable, this time) for the Santa's Little Helper thing.  And a few more holiday wishes from the troops for their families and friends back home.
    Segment 7: Tony Chimel (who is no Tazz) is our Master of Ceremonies for the "Santa's Little Helper Contest."  Out come Sable, Dawn Marie, and Torrie Wilson, all in Christmas-themed costumes.  The deal is this: the girls each dance, the troops vote, Chimel declares a winner.  Sable's first, and just sort of hikes here Mrs. Claus skirt up a bit for a few pops.  Dawn goes next, and actually unzips her Mrs. Claus one-piece to reveal a red bikini with strategically placed tufts of white (Cole makes an idiotic "Peter Cottontail" comment, and Tazz reminds him of which holiday this is).  Torrie goes last, and doesn't just unzip, but also discards her dress; and WOW is that ever a lot of skin for UPN (between the ass-floss and the middle fingers, I think UPN's standards and practices crew had the day off, or something; they usually TV-PG it for us).  Troops make Torrie the hands-down winner.  Dawn and Sable take exception and attack for a good ol' fashioned Holiday Catfight.  In the fracas, Torrie relieves Sable of her Mrs. Claus dress, so Sable (in red lingerie) and Dawn decide to leave, as Torrie celebrates and gives Our Boys a little more of exactly what they need out there in the desert....  
    Segment 8: more meet-and-great, this time with troops in the hospital...  then back to the ring for the main event: John Cena vs. Big Show.  This is NON-TITLE (contrary to the spoilers I did on Monday).  Show starts fast with a chokeslam, but Cena's too close to the ropes.  Match is still over pretty quickly, though, as Cena hits the F-U (impressive again) for the clean win after maybe 5 mintues.  Cena is celebrating when all of a sudden, Austin's music hits again, and he's coming out to the ring... but why?
    Segment 9:  Austin's in the ring, going eye-to-eye with Cena.  And then Austin Stunners him.  Then, as Show gets back to his feet, Austin Stunners him.  Twice.  Then Austin grabs a mic, and says the WWE crew wants to thank the troops for having them over for a performance they'll never forget.  The entire roster of wrestlers and divas comes out, with Vince lingering back in fear of another Stunner.  But have no fear, because Big Show gets up one last time and gets the Last Stunner of the Night.  Crew salutes the troops, and we cut to a final video montage of the trip to Iraq to close out the show.
    All in all?  Hey, I don't think you'll ever see another show quite like this one.  And uniqueness aside, there were some cool things for wrestling fans.  Eddie/Benoit was genuinely good, the "Santa's Little Helper" thing was quality T&A, and I think Austin's all-around awesome-ness lent a few fun surprises to the proceedings, as well.  Only foul note was an undertone of self-importance, like WWE wasn't gonna let us forget that they did this good deed.  The final video montage, in particular, was really over-blown (including "Before" and "After" footage of Saddam, for instance, was really unnecessary).
    But hey, they DID do the good thing, and that's what matters.  I'm sure you can catch the highlights if you missed the show on "Velocity" and whichever of the syndies is SD!-flavored... they got no other footage to show this week.
  • No overnight or prelim ratings are available for last night's WWE in Baghdad show...  I'm sure they'll be available by Monday's update.
  • RAW's "Year in Review" on Monday night was a pretty inoffensive affair.  They hit many of the brand's real highs, including highlights of RAW's three "Match of the Year" contenders: HBK/Jericho at WM19 (probably clipped to about 10 minutes), RVD/Christian IC Ladder Match (also clipped down to about 10, but with all the high spots), and Team Austin vs. Team Bischoff (got closer to 20 minutes, spanning a commercial break, and was end-heavy, focusing on HBK's great final stretch).
    They threw in bumpers of "RAW Moments" that were hit and miss.  Some stuff (like Rock/Hurricane) were really cool moments I'd forgotten.  Some others (like the Redneck Triathlon) were better left unmentioned.
    Complete non-sequitur of the night: Stacy Keibler showing up on set with Jerry Lawler and Jonathan Coachman to (a) profess her attraction to the King because he wears Bod Brand Bodyspray for the Latently Homosexual Male, and also to (b) give Coach a free bottle of Bod Brand Bodyspray for the Latently Homosexual Male, ostensibly because then she might also find HIM attractive.  If you remembered nothing else from this dreadfully forced skit, remember this: that if you wear Bod Brand Bodyspray, Stacy Keibler will unconvincingly pretend to like you even if you are 30 years older than Bod's target demographic, and I'll think you're either gay or a total toolbox.  Bod!
    There will be no review of this week's RAW.  Deal with it.
  • The canned Year in Review show did a 2.8 cable rating, down over three-quarters of a point from RAW's usual level.  That's to be expected, though, as some fans probably just had other things to do on Monday, and even those who showed up for RAW would be less likely to stick with a clearly disposible recap show.
    I actually don't think the 2.8 is all that bad, considering.
    Hopefully the "week off" doesn't kill too much of RAW's momentum heading into next Monday, which is shaping up to be a pretty big show.  Austin will make his TV return to plead his case in front of the Board of Directors, while Shawn Michaels will challenge for the World Title against HHH (in his own hometown, no less).  Could be a good ol' good one.
    But we'll talk more about that on Monday.
  • Jesse Ventura's Saturday night MSNBC talk show has been put "on hiatus."  Though that technically leaves open the possibility that the show could be revived, nobody is viewing this as anything other than an outright cancellation.
    This choice of words, however, leaves open the alternative of keeping Jesse in the MSNBC "family" as a rogue commentator on other shows, something the network sees value in.
    I never saw Jesse's show, but understand it was snakebitten from the start, and once MSNBC saw the way the show was looking, they intentionally gave it the Saturday evening Death Timeslot, where it drew predictably low ratings, allowing them to "hiatus" it with plenty of justification.
  • Last thing for the week: additional details about "Santa's Slay," an independent horror flick in which Goldberg will play a deranged, homicidal Santa Claus, have been published by the FilmJerk.com website.  You can check it out right here.
    The filming starts in February, and when it was orginally announced last month, Goldberg made it clear that this should not interfere with his (already sporadic) WWE schedule.  Don't know if him dropping the title and getting the month of Deactivation might have anything to do with this, but I really don't think so...
    Thanks to Josh for passing along the FilmJerk link.
  • That's it.  I hope everybody's holiday went/are going well.  I'm actually thinking that this weekend would make a nice time to relax a bit and regroup so that I'm ready to do it all over again next Wednesday and into Thursday.... but damn those holiday parties!  Will they never end?
    Have fun.  Be safe.  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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