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RAW, Roberts, Legends, Goldberg Status,
TNA Stuff, and Other News
February 18, 2004

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


You know how the media's trying to find some fresh angle to the ARod/Yankees thing, and the best they're coming up with now that "The Yankees have too much money and are ruining baseball" is this "Jeter and ARod won't be able to co-exist because obviously ARod's a way better shortstop"?

Well, for once, I wish these two guys weren't relatively classy, eloquent individuals...  because I'd kill for one of them to put some jack-ass (preferably the sniveling little Jeremy Schaap) in his place by responding to the "How could ARod move away from shortstop and let Jeter have it?" question by shouting, "What the hell is your problem?  It's SHORTSTOP.  It's not like Jeter's defiling my wife.  Or stealing my childhood home away from my grandma like in Happy Gilmore. It's a spot on a baseball diamond! That's it!  I'll make do 10 yards to the right.  Now shut up while I win a ring!  Or six."

But it'll never happen.

  • Monday's RAW?  A good show on balance.  But with a few holes here and there that rendered it a definite step down from the week before...
    The biggest hole, in my opinion, was the Evolution beat-down on Foley that went on and on and on with no real climax.  My contention is that we already got the message that Foley was in a numbers game the week before.  We didn't need that re-drilled into our skulls again this week.  So just making it obvious that Foley needs a friend was not reason enough to have that segment (or to have it drag on as long as it did).
    If Evolution's beating was to be so heinous that Foley could not stand up, they should have selected some kind of highspot.  Not that I wish ill on Mick, but somebody should have realized how false it would ring if the guy who walked out of Hell in the Cell was put down by three guys punching him, and given us a believable reason why Foley stayed down.  Or the other option: have this be the week Foley has some friends... and if the Rock couldn't make the 90 minute drive up from LA, then why not just have RVD and Booker make the save after the first, oh, 15 minutes of the interminable beating?  They don't have to be Mick's long-term friends, they just gotta remember, "Oh yeah, maybe we can keep feuding with Flair and Batista if we go out there."....
    I don't know... those 15 minutes really sucked the energy out of the show for me.  Maybe your mileage varied...
    My other complaints were more nitpicky: some clunky dialogue between Orton/Bischoff... Taker's power over low pressure systems inching Monday's spookiness closer to the bad end of the "gay-good" continuum...  the finish of the main event being TOO clean and making Benoit look kinda dim-witted....  but nothing as major as the Evolution/Foley thing.
    But on the other hand, there was much good.  A lot of it was in the bookends of the show.  
    I liked the opening promo, with HHH bringing it hard and staying on task in his mic work for the second week in a row.  Bringing out Benoit, and having his line be "I've got one thing to say to you" before just dropping the mic and cold-cocking HHH was gold, too.  Perfect for his persona.
    And the main event, misgivings about the finish aside, was tremendously worked.  Part of my enjoyment was also derived from the fact that the live crowd, after being mostly pro-HBK all night, was slightly more behind Benoit and booing Michaels by the end of the match.  It vindicates me and my theory that Benoit is a guy who might not ever cut an endless stream of killer promos or develop catchphrases out the ass... but that he IS a guy who can tell a story with his moveset and body language and make people care in other ways.  That's what happened on Monday.  Good main event.  But I just wish HHH had been more physically involved in causing Benoit's downfall.  Minor gripe...
    I also liked how they handled Jericho/Trish/Christian again this week... I'm starting to get a sense of it, now, and that's probably because, for the first time, I think THEY have a sense of it, too.  I mean, back 2 and 3 months ago when I was fawning over the storyline like a middle-aged housefrau and looked forward to it as a highlight of RAW, I don't think they had a clue when or how it would end.  And before long, that started resulting in missteps and false starts and me losing a bit of interest.  But now, now I think they have A Plan.  And over the past few weeks, I've hopped right back on board.
    Jericho being conveniently prevented from making his overture to Trish for the past few weeks, sometimes directly interrupted by Christian...  Christian taking every opportunity to instead reinforce the Just Friends thing while putting his own slimy moves on Trish...  but if his slime is just charming enough to confuse Trish for a few weeks, I can see us ending up with a WM20 match that has a bit more to it than I originally imagined.  Instead of it being Jericho vs. Christian with the matter of Trish already decided, it'll be Jericho vs. Christian with Trish trapped in the middle between her Just Friend and a Would-be Boyfriend.  Maybe as a guest ref, but maybe not (since the guest ref gimmick might be in use for Lesnar/Goldberg), maybe just In the Middle like Liz at WM5.
    Obviously, I still feel like the RIGHT ending is Trish realizing what a weasel Christian is, helping Jericho win, and then they have the Big Kiss (let's all just pretend the first one never happened, cuz this one should be lots better).  But, looking past that, there's only so much you can do with the First Couple of Canada, and their formation would pretty much come at the expense of sending Christian straight back to the mid-card...  so maybe Trish MIGHT turn heel and help Christian?  I don't know, but the ambiguity would make the match a lot more fun and important...  and a heel turn does make sense for keeping Christian in the spotlight and balancing the face turn of Victoria.  But I'm still such a softy that I think I want to see Jericho and Trish get together at the end of this thing...
    About the only way I can convince myself otherwise is to take the lesson of Molly Holly, and realize that a heel turn might mean a hairstyle change for Trish... and in her case, for some reason, I've got this spidy-sense that going brunette might actually increase Trish's already-formidable hotness by a significant amount.  Which wouldn't be a bad thing....
    But now I'm getting off track.
    Point was the Jericho/Trish/Christian thing now has my attention back, and the three had productive nights on Monday.  Christian, lately, has been especially good in coming across like a complete dick, who is JUST BARELY able to hide his dick-ness from those he's dicking over.
    I also must admit a certain interest in the Vince/Bischoff segment, partly because it played off of Bischoff's memorable challenge from 6 years ago and we'll get that match next week, but mostly because part of me wants to believe Vince really does have a Blockbuster Announcement about WM20 next week. We'll see...
    Good show.  You can get the full recap and analysis right here.
  • Just for the record: no RAW rating as of this early Wednesday writing... President's Day holiday's got Mr. Nielsen backed up.
    We'll get you up to speed on that no later than Friday.
  • If you're having a hard time finding them (then you're very, very stupid!), the spoilers from last night's SmackDown! tapings are right here.  Dummy.
    Looks like it could be a really good one, and in the RAW kind of way, no less.  You know, with the storytelling....  and one killer match, too.
  • OK, so have you stopped chuckling pityingly after the Brutus Beefcake anthrax/cocaine thing from last week?  Good, cuz I got another one for you...
    Jake Roberts is being investigated over in the UK, and could spend up to six months in jail... for animal neglect.
    After getting a tip from neighbors, authorities went into Jake's home (he's been living in London Colney for about 2 years, I think) and seized Damien, the infamous python Jake used for the majority of his WWF career.  Damien was malnourished and died a couple days later.  [Actually, I have no idea if it's actually the same Damien or not...  but it's somehow a little more ironic if it is, since "Damien" met his demise in wrestling storylines after being squashed by Earthquake.]
    This is definitely another one in the too crazy to be true family... but you can read all about it in the UK Sun, thanks to this link that many Alert Readers passed along.
    Man, I don't know if this is one of those things that comes in threes or not, but....  well, Ko Ko B. Ware, pal, if you've got some kind of transvestite hooker decapitation fetish that we don't know about, please, try to be careful for the next couple weeks, OK?  And I NEVER want to have to read about where you're sticking Frankie.....
  • But we have some GOOD news too on the legends front.... 
    It looks as though you can count on Bobby Heenan to be a part of WrestleMania weekend, likely including induction into the Hall of Fame on the night before the big show.  I just hope that the fans don't let the prestige of the event stop them from chanting "Weasel" at Heenan.  And I hope that Heenan doesn't let that stop him from knowing that we chant it because we love.  Just like "You suck" and Kurt Angle.
    Also expected to be at the Hall of Fame thingie: Jesse Ventura, which should be pretty cool.  Jesse's primary inspiration, Superstar Billy Graham, is another guy expected to be honored at the event.  And the story making the rounds is that WWE has invited both Bruno Sammartino and Bret Hart, as well, but that both have declined.  Bruno, well, that I believe for reasons too numerous and well-circulated to get into here... but Bret, I really got a sense (beyond rampant fanboy wishes) that we might be getting a cover story there, that they've still got something in the works with the Hitman. But we'll have to wait and see.
  • A couple of legends you WON'T be seeing at the Hall of Fame, at least, not unless something changes: Roddy Piper and Ricky Steamboat.
    As has previously been discussed here, indie groups are hopping on the WrestleMania bandwagon by promoting events in the NYC area the same weekend as WM20.
    One is a previously discussed "Fan Slam" convention taking place during the day so that fans (and some of the guests of honor) can make it to the WWE Hall of Fame event that evening.  For $15 you can get in the door, but for significantly jacked-up prices you can actually get autographs and attend Q&As with: Heenan, Steamboat, Paul Orndorff, Bundy, Tito Santana, Lou Albano, Bob Orton, Sheik and Volkoff, Beefcake and Valentine, and the Fabulous Moolah.  A few more of these guys will probably be at the HoF thing, too, not just Heenan.
    But not Steamboat.  Because he's just been announced as participating at the Ring of Honor event that goes head-to-head with the HoF dinner.  He'll be a guest referee for an AJ Styles vs. CM Punk match.  Roddy Piper has also been announced for that show, in an undisclosed capacity.
    Piper is also a part of ROH's own little convention deal during that Saturday afternoon.  He'll do a Q&A session first, and then an autograph session later in the afternoon (attending requires two separate tickets besides admission to ROH's "Do or Die" thing).
    I guess it's too bad those two aren't gonna be a part of the dinner, as both are certainly deserving.  But I wonder if it's worthy pointing out that they'll still be in the area on Sunday, and Anything Can Happen?  Nah....  no need to get hopes up.
  • It's entirely possible that Goldberg will not be seen on TV again until WM20.  And then won't be seen again after WM20.  At least, not on WWE TV.
    I guess the "suspension" thing was done to cover for the fact that Goldberg's essentially fulfilled his stipulated WWE obligations, and has only a PPV showdown at WM20 left to do.  And with prospects for a contract extension looking less and less promising, there may be no reason to lift that suspension except for the big blow-off match.
    The way it was laid out to me: if the suspension is lifted or violated and Goldberg does make appearances on TV (on SD!) prior to the PPV, it's possibly an indication that he and Vince have worked something out.  If it doesn't, then it means conventional wisdom holds and Goldberg is out of WWE after Mania.
    Pretty cut and dry, there...
  • You shouldn't need me to tell you this, but Taker's probably not gonna be making any appearances on TV till Mania, either.  That should be apparent from the way they've been building the videos, but folks have been asking so...
    There you have it.  I'm not saying I agree, necessarily, but WWE is pretty obviously set on doing the mysterious supernatural stuff and making us pay for Taker's comeback.  They gotta watch it, though....  I think some smoke and lights is OK.  Maybe some druids or "Creatures of the Night" are cool.  I also think once Taker's back some good casket-trappings might be good for the soul.  But indoor weather effects goes over the line for me, past the cool, good-spooky and into the gay.  
    Some stuff I'd like to see in coming weeks: maybe an actual voice over from Taker one week, giving us something concrete for WM20, cuz fans won't keep popping for static-y pictures of a chair and puddles of water.  Then maybe the next, actually have a shadowy figure in a long coat and a hat appear inside some of the smoke up on the stage... but be gone when it clears.  That'd be mysterious and supernatural enough to satisfy the entertainment mongers on RAW, but also real and concrete enough to satisfy fans like me who are gonna be sticklers about how the Old School Taker is booked.
    But I don't see any real chance of Taker on TV before Mania.  Hell, the guy's still got hair to grow.  I just got sent some pictures from an autograph thing he did last weekend, and it's barely down to his shoulders!
  • But what about the Rock on TV?  I honestly thought Monday would have been the right night to pull the trigger: Rock's able to make the short trip, does the cameo, makes it clear he's got Mick's back.  Then he's gone another week or three finishing up the movie, maybe submitting stuff via satellite, maybe doing one week where Mick doesn't even go to RAW, but instead, they have an hilarious pre-tape piece of Mick and Rock on the set, maybe use Travolta and whoever else is in the movie if they're willing (why do I think that getting Travolta to do a HHH impersonation as part of a mocking of Evolution would be outstanding?)... but then the last 2 weeks before Mania, Rock's there in the arena finally setting up exactly what the PPV match will be, after having laid a foundation for a couple weeks before.
    That would have been my plan.  But it ain't going down that way.  Rock may only make 2 TV appearances prior to WM, actually...
    OO Reader JLRuckus mentioned that ads on Atlanta radio are hinting that the March 1 RAW could be the one where the Rock returns.  So it'd be March 1 and March 8, and then Mania, and then Rock's probably gone again.  Savor it, kids.  There's no reason to suspect that Rock's gonna be rushing back any time soon. 
  • How about we wrap up with some TNA, which returns to live action this week after a tremendous taped pure-wrestling show last week...
    Terry Funk's gonna be back, and Raven's returning too; the two team up to take on CM Punk and Julio Dinero in a continuation of Raven's feud with Father Jim Mitchell's minions.  That'll be your main event.
    Other top level stuff won't be in the category of wrestling matches: TNA will announce a new "Director of Authority" (if you don't understand, just think "GM" and you'll probably be fine), and alleged-mainstream celebrity Jonny Fairplay will start his "Piper's Pit"-like interview segment (which everybody expects will lead to a feud against Piper).  Fairplay's first guest was SUPPOSED to be Joanie "Chyna" Laurer, but TNA announced yesterday that she has been pulled from the line-up due to unforeseen circumstances.  So if you're the 2 people who circled February 18 on your calendar as "Chyna's TNA debut," you'd better cool the jets...
    Also tonight: "Team TNA" (from last week's America's X Cup against luchadors) will take on four mystery opponents (oh, Team TNA is Jerry Lynn, Chris Sabin, Sonjay Dutt, and Elix Skipper)....  Dustin Rhodes and El Leon will take on the Red Shirts...  Ron Killings will face Michael Shane...  and the Insane Clown Posse will be back, taking on members of Jeff Jarrett's crew of sycophants.
    Give it a look, if your favorite team is not locked in a pitched battle for control of the Atlantic 10 West at bell time, why don't you?
  • And that's it...  remember, if you've got any particular questions or issues you always wanted to ask The Rick back before I killed "The Rick Says" (or even better, all new ones),  I'm interested in hearing them.  Fire off your wrestling trivia questions, whatever happened tos, and what were your favorites, and all that stuff to AskTheRick@onlineonslaught.com, and maybe, just maybe, your answers will see the light of print....
    Oh, yeah... and Dayton (or SW Ohio): if you'd have any interest in seeing WM20 at a bar, drop me a line (at my regular address) and let me know, and if the stars align, maybe the Rick and some of his friends will have enough numbers to take over this place we know, and I'll let you know all about it....
    See you Friday, kidz.... 


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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