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SD! and PPV, Beefcake News, Crap Happens,
And A Whole Lot of Other Stuff
February 13, 2004

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


I guess I should probably make today's rambling introductory comments Valentine's Day related.  Except that it's a holiday I'm not recognizing this year.  Partly because I don't need a greeting card company to tell me when to be all romantic and mushy.  But mostly because I don't have anyone at whom to direct what passes for my romantic mushiness.  Anyway, paying $4 covers to see a couple of the cool rock shows that are around town this weekend is a lot more "me" than sniffing corks and talking about feelings over an over-priced candlelit dinner.  You're all saps, I tells ya...  albeit it saps who have women who you know ahead of time are pretty much obligated to have sex with you, so.....  

And plus, I'd rather take a moment to talk to all the people who mailed me yesterday, mocking my Dayton Flyers for being just another unimpressive notch in St. Joe's undefeated belt.  Let me say this: I'm not one of these obnoxious fans who tries to have it both ways.  You know the type: the one who'd say "Fuck ESPN, St. Joe's does too deserve to be a Number One seed ahead of BCS conference teams that play tougher schedules" but who'd then turn around and say, "Fuck Vegas and that 15 point spread, Dayton's gonna whip their undefeated ass."  Nope, that's not me.  I pretty much knew UD was not as good as St. Joe's, and that'd it'd have taken something special for us to knock them off on their home court.

So it didn't happen.  I can cope, it wasn't an embarrassing loss, we even beat the spread.  Fact: Dayton's not as good as St. Joe's.  Hell, unless you're Duke, I don't think YOUR team is as good as St. Joe's, either, so leave me a lone.  Double hell, unless your team is in the top 30 or so, they're not even as good as my Flyers.  So in your faces, the other 90% of Division 1 teams!

But St. Joe's: next time, it'll be on our court.  And... well, you'll probably still beat us.  But we'll make you work for it.  And get to make fun of your obnoxious mascot the whole time, too!  Yeah!

And now, the wrestling column:

  • Well, SmackDown!'s got a little PPV over the weekend.  And although WM is looming on the horizon, and although No Way Out really feels to me like nothing more than a 2 Trick Pony, those two tricks have an awful lot of potential to be outstanding and significant matches.
    I'm talking, of course, about Eddie Guerrero facing Brock Lesnar for the WWE Title, and then the #1 Contender's match with John Cena, Kurt Angle, and the Big Show tangling.  With a Lesnar/Goldberg match seemingly in the books for WM20, that leads one to suspect that the only possible outcome for No Way Out is Eddie beating Lesnar.  And tell me you don't want to be there for such a sweet, sweet moment.  And tell me it doesn't become even more satisfying if Kurt wins the #1 Contender's match to set up a possible show-stealer for Mania.
    So all the rest?  I could take it or leave it.  Even Chavo/Rey, which SHOULD be an excellent 15 minute contest, gives me a vibe of "Not only are we going to short change the cruisers like we always do, but what time we give them, we're going to have them waste on boxers and senior citizens."  But if those top two matches deliver, I won't care.
    Erin Anderson has pitched in and done the No Way Out PPV Preview for us today.  So check that out.
    It leaves me free to get on with other news and info... but only after I mention these predications:  Chavo over Rey (it's the only way to set up a viable CW match for WM20, and I think in this case, they can do it by having the boxer guy turn on Rey, or something; why else would they bother with him?)....  Haas/Benjamin over APA (a de facto #1 Contender's match, really, and WGTT have to be on deck)...  Noble over Nidia (he'll cheat to do it, I'm sure; it'll be easy to peak)...  Rikishi/Scotty over the Bashams/Shaniqua (again, then WGTT is positioned to challenge)...  Kurt Angle over Show/Cena... and Eddie over Lesnar (those last two results for the reasons mentioned above).
  • Last night's SD! basically did a great job with Lesnar/Eddie, and then was just bleh for the rest of the show.
    The mid-show promo was sweet, with Lesnar kicking us off with some really funny (if borderline tasteless) shtick, and then Eddie came out and did the promo that he SHOULD have done last week.  Less over-act-y and melodramatic, and more intense and serious, with an edge that Lesnar was right to be concerned by.  The WWE Title as Eddie's "new drug" was a great riff, and Eddie put it over perfectly.  In another guy's hands, it might have seemed a little cheesy, but what he's been through and the way he delivered that promo... it was tremendous.
    Then the main event match wound up being just about as good a match as we saw this week on TV, and finished up with Eddie pinning Lesnar.  It's one thing for us internet fans to see the "big picture" and think Eddie might actually beat Brock.  It's another to convince the other 75% of fans who aren't armchair booking ahead to WM20 that Eddie's for real.  Between the promo and the fact that he pinned Brock, I think the other 75% are now on the same page with us.  They believe.  Great work advancing that story by SD! last night.
    Everything else: forgettable.  Nothing in the way of stand-out matches besides the main event.  Nothing to make me care about either tag match, really, and only the slightest of extra mustard for the #1 Contender's match.  The blindfold stip for Noble/Nidia just ensured that what was already not gonna be a great wrestling match would definitely be a Sports Entertainment Segment.  And as I referenced above, all the stuff with Jorge Whatshisface and Chavo Sr. just gives me the vibe that what should be an awesome CW Title match will instead by a canvas upon which to throw a ton of extracurriculars.
    On the strength of everything Brock and Eddie related, still an above average show, for sure... but not a killer, blow-away effort heading into a PPV, either.  Big Danny T has you complete SD! Recap, if you need the full report.
  • The prelim rating for last night's SD! is a 3.4.  If recent trends hold, that should mean that the final rating for the show will be somewhere between 3.4 and 3.6, which is right on par with where SD!'s been scoring lately.  Holding ground like that against strong performing Sweeps Month programming on CBS and NBC would be pretty impressive....
    Final rating should be included in Battle of the Brands over the weekend.  And I'll probably mention it here in Monday's OO, too.
  • This is borderline unbelievable... when I got the e-mails, I was like "Yeah, right."  Then when I saw the Boston newspapers reporting it, well....  it's for real.
    Ed Leslie -- that's Brutus the Barber Beefcake to you and me (and "Zodiac," "the Butcher," "the Disciple," "The Man with No Face," and some others to those of you who haven't yet successfully blocked out the pre-nWo Hogan Era of WCW) -- caused a minor panic last weekend.  White powder was found in a fare booth at the Downtown Crossing T Station in Boston, prompting a hazmat team to respond and sparking fears after anthrax and ricin scares in recent years.
    Turned out, the white powder was cocaine.  And it belonged to Leslie.  Who was working a $25,000 a year job as a fare collector.  D'oh.
    The thought of hopping on the T and having the Barber take my money is mind-bending enough.  Adding on the coke possession and the anthrax scare, and this is a hell of a yarn.
    Leslie immediately copped to the coke, though, and the panic was squashed before it could even pick up steam.  For being so forthcoming, authorities are going light on him.  In fact, the current Boston Herald story indicates that there might not be any charges pressed against Leslie, and that the transit authority will handle his discipline in-house.  Also: Leslie has already voluntarily entered a drug treatment program.
    And although this makes for a few chuckles for wrestling fans, let's all just hope that this all works out for the best for Ed Leslie, who's worst crime against us was nothing more than being buddies with Hulk Hogan.  Get it together, Bruti...
    You can check the full story courtesy of the Herald right here. Thanks to everybody who mailed in with the story and the link.
  • Ed Leslie and his numerous post-WWF personas provides as nice a segue as I can imagine into my next topic: the WrestleCrap book!
    Got a copy last week, and just finished it up, and let me tell you that I put it up there with Foley's two books as must-have items for wrestling fans.  You can get more info and buy the book, if you want, right here
    Although before you buy the book, I guess I ought tell you why...
    First off, as a fan of the WrestleCrap website, I had a certain idea in my head of what the book would be like...  sort of a printed page version of the site, with dozens of quick-hitting summaries of the absolute most-atrocious moments in wrestling history.  And that would have been fun.
    But it's also not what RD and Randy ended up doing.  Instead, WrestleCrap in book form provides a smooth narrative of the past 20 years or so of wrestling history; not quick summaries, but maybe a dozen chapters, all smoothly flowing from one to the next.  It's just that, unlike most history books, this one is not told from the perspective of the winners.
    It's told from the perspective of Suck.  Want to know why the WCW blossomed in the mid-90s?  Want to know how the WWF came back and regained the mantel of #1 wrestling company?  Well, you'll sort of get ideas about how those things happened, but it'll be mostly by inference, because what WrestleCrap presents are the stories of how WWF laid down for WCW in the mid-90s, and who WCW imploded a few years later.  To the victors go the glossing over, here.  To the losers go page after page of glorious reminiscing.
    Along the way, you still get plenty of quick asides, with tales of specific Crap, like Cactus Lost in Cleveland and Cheatum the Midget and all the way up to Kane, HHH, and Corpse Fucking... but Randy and RD also put it all into a big picture.  The prose is smooth and engaging, though, and by the end you've gotten a history lesson, albeit a twisted one, without even realizing it.   

    It's hard to be "smart" while still being accessible and casual, but WrestleCrap accomplishes that goal.  You (and I'm assuming you're awfully proud of knowing all about "heel heat" and "blade jobs" and "blown spots" and "the glass ceiling" if you're reading a website like this one) can read the book and revel in the memories of Crap Gone By.  But then you could hand the book over to a friend who might only know wrestling casually, though your fandom, and he'd still get a kick out of some of the stupid thing promotions have tried without having to stop and wonder what kind of festering ball of dork he's made friends with.  
    So just Buy the Book, already.  You may not have liked the Shockmaster the first time around, but trust me, now, you'll get a serious kick out of him.
  • OK, so earlier this week, Kanyon was released, and there were rumors that more WWE cuts would be forthcoming.  I talked about a few.  And then, disbelieving one of my sources, I mentioned something like, "Hell, I could make shit up, and come up with more sensible cuts than that.  Like how Ernest Miller not working SD! tapings strikes me as very suspicious."
    Well, folks, I may have set a bad precedent.  Because even as I was making up a story about how I thought Ernest Miller getting axed would make sense, he was getting called into Jim Ross' office and getting released for real.  Yesterday, WWE.com officially announced the release of Ernest "the Cat" Miller.
    For the record, it's not like I take pleasure in Miller getting cut.  Although he DOES have a successful karate-teaching thing going on the side, so it's not like he needed this job...  and I also think that if WWE had been a bit smarter in utilizing Miller's skill-set, he might have been a valuable contributor.  Here, I'm thinking less a wrestler, and more a personality, obviously; but also, I can't get over the idea that he and his real-life friend Eric Bischoff might have had a good thing going if they'd gotten to work together on screen.  The only problem there is that then the character Coach has developed into probably wouldn't have gotten his chance....
    So anyway, the Cat is gone, and I'm not making that up.
  • Cat's "butler" Lamont is still employed, and worked a SD! taping dark match, still using the same gimmick (afro, Cat's entrance music, etc)...  the guy was projected as a manager/personality more than a wrestler by WWE, but I gathered that was more an issue of his size than anything.  It'll be interesting to see what sort of repackaging they come up with for him.... 
  • Sadly, it doesn't look like Pete Rose will be making a WrestleMania appearance this year...  he's trying to be on good behavior and all so he can get re-instated in baseball.
    But I got an interesting little note that says you might want to keep an eye out for Mr. T at WM20.  Obviously, he's not the same kind of ass-kicker he was back at WM1, but T is a cult hero, and even as a sort of light comic-relief appearance, I think he'd pop the MSG crowd big time.  In fact, regardless of whether Hogan or Piper (the two guys with whom he has the most history) are on the bill, I think bringing T in is a really cool idea.
    Of all the celebs with WM history, he's the one who (a) would get a pop, (b) played important roles in past shows, and (c) is available on the cheap.  Pete might be #1 on my wish list, but T would be WAY ahead of, for instance, Cyndi Lauper.
  • A RAW-brand UK tour in Late May got a boost today when tickets for a Dublin show sold out in under 15 minutes.  The Fed immediately announced that a second show (the day after, on May 27) had been added.  Those tickets go on sale tomorrow morning, I think.
  • I think that's about enough for today.


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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