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RAW, Hogan, SD!-only PPV Card?,
Maven, Chavo Sr., and Other News
January 19, 2004

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


In compiling the OO 2003 Year in Review, I noticed a remarkable quote from exactly 51 weeks ago: I mentioned that the Dayton Flyers were 14-3 and undefeated in the A-10, and clearly destined for great things.  What makes it odd is that today, right now, the Dayton Flyers are 14-3 and undefeated in the A-10... and yet, I'm not nearly as confident.  Why should that be?

I mean last year, our three losses came to a bona fide Top Ten team (Duke) and then two other teams we should have beat (St. Louis and Miami).  This year, our three losses are to a bona fide Top Ten team (Cincinnati) and two other teams we should have beat (Wyoming and, dammit, St. Louis again).  Last year, we had big wins over Marquette and UC; this year, we won the Maui Invitational.  Why am I not oozing with machismo and bragging on the Flyers' every move this year?  Why do I have this feeling like we're a bubble team, at best, whereas last year, I felt confident about our NCAA tourney resume from pretty much December on?  I don't know... I'm as baffled as you are...

And anyway, I'm guessing the really important thing you've taken out of these preceding two paragraphs is that "Hey, look, Scaia's actually working on the Year in Review."  Yes I am.  It's done through September, at least the raw compilation.  

Just so you know: each month takes about 3 hours to compile, and then another 30-45 minutes to polish up and format.  So seriously: it's not that I'm slacking off.  It really is a pain in the ass to do this thing.  But it's the only pain in the ass I, personally, enjoy looking back on months and years later, so I do it with pleasure.... and to make sure I extract all that sweet, sweet pleasure in a timely fashion, I promise I'll have the whole thing done by the Rumble, or else I will personally pay airfare for anybody who is interested to fly to Dayton and punch me in the sac.

And now, lest I earn a second sac punch for my rambling, here's today's column:

  • Tonight's RAW will be headlined by Scott Steiner vs. Bill Goldberg.  Wow.  Just like WCW in September 2000!  Except that, if possible, Steiner is even less mobile than before, and Goldberg's not quite the marketing phenomenon he used to be!  It's a recipe for....
    Well, actually, let me do something unique and check my smarkiness at the door, and say it's a recipe for an effective Rumble Building Segment.  Will it be a **** classic?  Of course not.  But you put these two guys in the ring, let 'em slobberknock each other for a bit, and then you release the Kraken.  Or at least another dozen or so guys who'll all be competing in the Rumble match this weekend.  Probably it starts with Steiner's tag partner, Test...  maybe Matt Hardy even wants a piece of Goldberg after last week.  With the odds 3-on-1 maybe somebody finally decides to come to the rescue.  Booker T's as good a guy as any, which might be enough to goad Kane into a run-in, and so on and so forth.  The traditional pre-Rumble schmozz usually lights up the crowd, and I think with a few criss-crossing storylines, they are in a unique position to use the gimmick to their advantage this year.  
    My thinking: that the way you use it this time out is to have Goldberg fend off a 2- or 3-on-1 attack for a bit until he finally needs saving.  Then you fill up the ring with as many of the Rumble participants as they're willing to confirm.  Then you have Kane start taking care of business in one corner, Goldberg in another, and Booker in a third.  After a minute or so of tossing carcasses, those three guys are alone in the ring.  Pause for a beat to let the crowd get on board with the "these are the 3 guys who can win" message (you can say RAW shouldn't distill it down to 3, but I'd argue that since it feels so "obvious" that SD! is going to have the winner in Benoit -- or possibly Cena -- that RAW needs to do something similar and have a few guys standing above the rest).  Then have Booker and Goldberg attack Kane, tossing him over the top.  Then, while Booker celebrates, Goldberg "snaps" and attacks him, tossing Booker over the top.  Golberg turns to the camera to do some snarling and facial tics... and gets caught by a fully-recoved Kane with a chokeslam.  Maybe Booker tries for a failed save, maybe not.  Depending on if this is the main event or a mid-show match, you can even do a reprise with a ref-pull-apart in the back between a handful of these guys.  Note that in my scenario, I'm sort of laying a foundation in case they want to do a Goldberg heel turn...  which I've been championing for a while, now.
    Anyway, my point is that RAW has the right kind of situation to do more than just a lazy 15 man schmozz... and they should take advantage.
    Other than that, what to expect on RAW?  Well, it's MLK Day, which means that if Teddy Long so much as opens his mouth, idiot internet fans will be climbing onto soap boxes to accuse WWE of "insensitivity on this symbolic day," leaving me to retort that those people are morons, and that doing racially-charged material is not automatically better or more appropriate the other 51 Mondays of the year. And not any worse this one Monday.  It is what it is, regardless of the day.  Just watch it happen, people.  Watch it happen.
    But seriously...  we'll have Shawn Michaels and Triple H putting the icing on the nice little cake they're baking.  After last week, the vibe I'm getting is an arm's length one: they are less likely to physically attack each other than they are to cut more promos explaining that their rivalry goes beyond cheapshot attacks.  The alternative would be to keep the cheapshots at a minimum by actually including them in some sort of tag match (the only one that'd make sense to me would be HHH/Orton vs. Michaels/RVD) so they could take their frustrations out in the sort of dignified "I respect you but I don't like you one bit" manner that we saw last week.
    The other half of Evolution will have its hands full with the Dudley Boyz.  Those four are headed to a PPV tables match on Sunday, and as such, you can pretty much bank on whatever run-in/brawl/shenanigans are up with them this week, it will involve a table.
    I'm also off my "RAW needs another match at the PPV" thing...  I thought each brand would get 3 matches to go with the 30 man Rumble.  But then I look at what SD!'s serving up, and I want full time awarded to Noble/Mysterio (15 min.) and Eddie/Chavo (20 min.), as well as to RAW's HHH/HBK match (30 min.), so also penciling in the Rumble Match for 60 minutes, that doesn't necessarily leave a whole lot of time left over.  Maybe 45 minutes tops for Lesnar/Holly, the tag title tables match, and whatever extraneous stuff they want to do (with Bischoff/Austin/Heyman or with RAW/SD crossover skits).  So let's leave the card as it is...
    That means no Jericho/Christian match at the PPV (which I'd originally thought would be a lock).  Which in turn raises the question of what happens with those two tonight.  They're both in the Rumble match, so maybe a bit of friction, but not a full-fledged explosion is what you'll see...  Trish clearly had something she wanted to say to Jericho last week, but he was too busy heading out to womanize at Christian's suggestion.  If she spills the beans that she still sorta likes Chris, it's not too far of a logical leap to have Christian throw his hands up in frustration and say "Didn't we have fun nailing those stupid bitches last Monday? Why do you want to go back to her?", which would lead to Jericho having to defend Trish, and yadda yadda yadda...  just enough friction to head into the Rumble, but just enough ambiguity that there's still more story to tell next week.
    Also, the five-match-plus-the-Rumble PPV card means no women's match, although that'd be the perfect kind of thing to throw on Heat...  except that no one single feud is standing out.  You've kind of got Victoria going face to feud with Molly for the title.  You've got Jazz pre-occupied with Trish (who has her own other thing with Jericho going on).  You've got Lita who never got to blow-off her feud with Molly.  All the more reason, I think, to just kind of pick one pairing and throw it on Heat...
    There's a chance for RAW to do some cool stuff tonight.  Check it out, or come on back here tomorrow for the full recap/satire treatment...
  • The final rating for last week's SD! wound up as a 3.4.  That's a drop of one-tenth from the week before.  It's terrifying for me to think that America At Large thinks that Bob Holly vs. Big Show is a more interesting main event than John Cena vs. Rhyno, so I'm just going to chalk up the minor loss as a statistically insignificant quirk, and move on...  OK with you?  Good...
  • We ran down all the news about Hulk Hogan last Wednesday...  he hasn't talked at all with TNA since his knee surgery, he may have single-handedly torpedoed their hopes for a Sunday night full price PPV, he might be starting up a promotion based out of Universal Studios, and if so, he's probably looking for  a way to land a spot on the WrestleMania XX PPV so as to raise his profile (since he's been absent, at least under his own name, from the spotlight for almost a year now).
    Well, a few readers sent along word that Hogan himself will be on TV this week, on the Thursday night (early Friday) edition of "Jimmy Kimmel Live."  Seeing as how Hogan has no non-wrestling projects to plug at the present time (unless he's going on to somehow boost his jailbait's...  I mean DAUGHTER's profile, since she wants to be the next Britney Spears and is putting out a record sometime this year), they thought it suspicious that Hogan would show up as a guest on a talk show.
    I don't know what to tell you...  I said last week that I thought the newest Hogan news pointed to an increased probability of him doing SOMEthing at WMXX.  Even back four months ago, a few people I talked to thought Hogan's timing on his knee surgery was suspicious, that it was the sort of out-of-the-blue thing he might do if he'd suddenly decided he wanted to be in ring-shape by March of the following year, instead of toughing it out and doing the TNA commitment before going under the knife.
    But that's all purely in the realm of the hypothetical.  Digest it, and believe whatever you want to believe... and I guess, if you want to hear something straight from the horse's mouth, check out Hogan on Kimmel this Thursday.
    Why, oh why do I have a feeling that if Hogan's plan is anything less than a run-in on tonight's Steiner/Goldberg match to put himself into the Royal Rumble, with Thursday's appearance meant to be a PPV boost for the show, and then Hogan takes on Goldberg at WMXX (remember, Hogan never has gotten that win back) that you'll all be massively disappointed? 
  • WWE is running local publicity in San Francisco that gives away the top three matches for the SD!-only PPV that takes place on 2/15...
    The main event will be Eddie Guerrero challenging Brock Lesnar for the WWE Title.  For the US Title, John Cena will challenge the Big Show.  And for the Cruiserweight Title, they've got Chavo Guerrero taking on Rey Mysterio.

    I'd say that those are spoilers, except that you've got the omni-present "Card Subject to Change" on all WWE advertising.  The top two matches actually aren't surprising at all, and I might have been able to puzzle them together without any help from the local ads.  The only moderately interesting thing is that by these ads, Rey will still have the CW Title after the Rumble (and I'd assumed they were building up to a swerve were a non-blind Nidia helped Noble win the title to set up a babyface-chase scenario leading to WMXX).  Also: for everybody who thinks Cena is a favorite over Benoit to win the Rumble, well, I look at this as confirmation that they've got another path ready for the Doctor of Thuganomics.  But we'll have to see...
    For the time being, this is your No Way Out PPV card, though....
  • Maven, after getting some time off to spend with his ailing mother, started this past weekend back on the road... but was back home by Sunday night.  He hurt his arm (maybe the elbow, not sure) at the Friday night show, showed up Saturday but did not work, and then was sent home after a hospital visit on Sunday.

    Maven's not catching any breaks just now...  here's hoping things look up for him soon.
  • I got called on the carpet by about a dozen readers over the weekend for an off-hand comment I made on Friday...  I said something along the lines of how it took guts to hand the mic to a "non-performer" like Chavo Sr. for a 5 minute solo promo.  And boy did that not sit well with some of you.
    It's probably one of those deals where, in my head, I had a qualifying statement written up and ready to throw in there.  But since I type at only about one-fourth the speed of thought, it got trampled over in my attempt to get on to the next point.
    So, did Chavo Sr. have a storied career as a performer?  Hell, yeah, of course he did...  but that came at a time when pro wrestling was, well, pro wrestling.  Not Sports Entertainment.  It was both a while ago, and it was at a time when standing in the ring by yourself for five minutes didn't require the same sort of charisma and comfort that it does now.  All I meant to convey is that WWE asked Chavo Sr. to do something that he hasn't been asked to do for a long time, something that he may never have been specifically asked to do ever in his career.  It was not to knock Chavo Sr., it was just to point out that this was something out of the ordinary for him.  And like I said, he acquitted himself very nicely.  So lay off me, man!
  • Since I'm thinking about it, and since I have no smooth way to introduce it, I must also admit that I lost at least one other smart-ass comment in the Speed of Thought to Speed of Typing translation on Friday....
    I don't know whether or not the choice of brands of SmackDown's soap was intentional, or what the motivation behind those intentions might have been (hell, it could just be that soap that 99.44% pure is "more edible")... but if I'd been in Tazz or Cole's shoes, I'd have been unable to resist the too-easy line...  my discretion would be out the door...  and some braying ass would be overheard to say, "You know, for a long time, I really wanted to get me a taste of some Ivory."  Or words to that effect.
    See?  If those are the ideas that I cut out, what I leave in must be Pure Gold!
  • Also some viewer mail about Friday's column:  a few people took the time to write in and say that I'm probably right to not be getting too worked up over "Johnny Fairplay" (the heel from "Survivor") signing with TNA...  you'll have to forgive me for not having the name handy, but one guy went so far as to call him "X-Pac, but smaller, blond, and probably way less talented in the ring."
    Which, if accurate, would sure explain why WWE wasn't gonna offer the guy anything more than a developmental deal...
  • I was anticipating the return of MLW's "Underground" show on my local cable access channel this weekend...  I'd gotten a glimpse of it late last year, when MLW added Dayton to its list of cities airing the show, although never a current edition.
    But in the slot reserved for it, I instead got the same local show (the kind that looks like it actually belongs on cable access, if you catch my drift) that's been airing for the past couple months.  The only bright side, whatever this show is (I think it's "Outlaw Championship Wrestling," maybe), they are infringing on somebody's rights by showing "Classic ECW" matches as part of the show.  A week or two ago was a pretty cool one: they had the full Fan Cam footage from the night Tazz (a WWF wrestler) beat Mike Awesome (just signed to WCW) for the ECW World Title.
    Anyway, my point was that I hope MLW gets its deal in Dayton straightened out.  I liked what I saw last year enough to program trusty ol' DVR to record the wrestling show that I thought was gonna be MLW's victorious return...  but who knows how long my curiosity will remain piqued?
  • I think that's about it for today...  by my math, it's maybe another 12 man hours of work on the Year in Review, and then it's done.  I should have that knocked out by Wednesday.  Which if course is my way of unfairly raising your expectations so that by the time I finish it on Friday, nobody will give a flying frick about 2003, anymore.
    Oh well...  See you tomorrow with the RAW Recap, at least.  Wednesday with Spoilers and other news.  And who knows when with the YiR...


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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