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Sort-of Sex Scandal, SD!'s Road to WM,
All Manner of WM Hype, and Other News
March 5, 2004

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Well, I'm supposed to be leaving here in a few hours for a trip that was GOING to be 90% social and 10% basketball.  After Wednesday night's sac-punch of a last-second loss to URI, though, it's at least a 50/50 proposition: the Dayton Flyers need to beat Duquesne on the road to absolutely guarantee an NCAA Tourney bid.

So there I'll be on Saturday, at the AJ Palumbo Center: being loud, wearing red (or more likely, the bright blue of EVIL, since Duquesne's colors are also red, but with dark blue), and most definitely less hungover that I'd expected to be.  Tonight's shenanigans in Pittsburgh probably get no wilder or crazier than breaking down game plans and talking shit (but not believing any of it) about facing St. Joe's in the A-10 tourney.  This has become a business trip.

At least until we win.  Then all bets are off.  

  • I suppose I could Ramble On... because honestly, this is a column I didn't really want to write, anyway.  I'm talking about 2 days ago not wanting to write it, just put something else up, leave town, and not worry about it...  but I knew that wasn't gonna happen.  I knew nobody had my back and that I was gonna have to cover the main page slot my own self...
    But then I got another reason to not want to do this column, yesterday, in the form of a news story that's only barely a wrestling news story, but which all the other sites have picked up on, and which is sensational enough to I know you'll want to read about it, and so here goes nothing...
    I'm speaking, of course, about Rob Feinstein.
    Who's Rob Feinstein?  Well, he was, until yesterday, the nominal guy in charge of Ring of Honor, which is arguably the #3 wrestling promotion in the USA.  I'm always mostly remember him as the little tape weasel at the ECW shows I went to in Philly in the mid-90s, but by selling his tapes, creating a market for hard-working, action-packed, indie wrestling action, Rob carved out a niche, and then filled it by helping to promote ROH.
    Yesterday, Rob stepped down from ROH (and also from his position as president of RF Video), following his involvement in a sting operation that targeted possible sexual offenders.  After an online chat, Feinstein allegedly showed up at a house expecting to meet a 14-year-old boy.  Instead, he found a Philadelphia NBC affiliate camera crew, as it was all a set-up.
    The website Perverted-Justice.com utilizes imposters, who go into chat rooms, pretend to be underage, and wait till deviants try to pick them up.  Then they expose them, but publishing names, pictures, and phone numbers of the offenders.  Pairing up with the NBC affiliate, the site took another step, and lured the deviants to a suburban home for a "Special Report."
    Feinstein wound up being one of those targeted who fell inside the "Special Report" window (Feinstein's ill-fated trip to meet his boy-toy happened on Monday afternoon), and was featured not just on the Perverted Justice website, but also on the channel 10 news in Philly.  For the record: there's no police investigation or anything involved with this, no crime was committed.  But the intent was there, and so the media smear campaign is on.
    Now: why am I so uncomfortable having to cover this story?  Because, contrary to some of the snide e-mails I've gotten in the past day, this is not the same as the WWF sex scandals of years past.  There's no institutional culpability, and there's no indication that ROH or wrestling was in any way tied to Rob's little habit (other than the fact that he seemed fine with using his borderline-fame to try to impress the young boys).  Fifteen years ago, the WWF looked the other way as (allegedly) their front office used the ring boy crew for devious purposes.  But today, this is just one guy behaving poorly.
    And has long been my policy, one guy acting badly doesn't equal a wrestling news story.  If it did, I'd have an entire Scott Hall wing to my archives.  Still, in this case, Feinstein's behavior has resulted in a partner in the #3 wrestling company in the nation stepping down, so it's only fair to let the fans know about that much.
    It follows, then, that once they know that much, they probably oughta know the "whys" of the situation.  Which in this case involve a twenty-something dude trying to make time with a boy half his age. 
    There have been claims of entrapment and stuff like that, already, in this case, that maybe it's not really as bad as it sounds.  That the "14 year old boy" actually was the aggressor and baited poor Rob into making a bad decision. But what the hell?  I'm already here reporting the dirt, so I might as well pile some more on...  to those people, I say, "Shut the hell up."
    I've got no sympathy for any guy pushing 30 who goes into a chat room, finds a 14 year old (same-sex or otherwise, it's just as wrong either way), and starts exchanging such witty repartee as "u r hot 2! got more pix?"...  no adult should think anything good could come of that.  Rationalize whatever motives you want, I'm going to summarily dismiss them: grown men trading HOT PIX with adolescents is not proper behavior.
    I guess I make the "summarily dismiss" comment because I didn't even make it all the way through the chat transcripts.  You can check them out at the Perverted-Justice.com website, if you want, but I caution you: there's a good chance your brains will start oozing out your ears if you go much past the first dozen lines or so....
    Part of me wants to joke that the braindead-ness of it all is just as offensive as the possible-desired-boy-fucking, except that I know that'd be a very un-PC thing to say.  Suffice to say that my pre-existing resistance to chat rooms and instant messaging and things like that is only strengthened when I see crap like this.  Or maybe I'm only bitter because I see this and I realize I'll never be able to use the internet to get girls (or little boys, for that matter); I'd be doomed to fail in any online seduction.  Because either (1) my insistence on trying to use complete sentences elucidating actually interesting topics would paint me as LAME, and in the absence of body language cues and other non-verbal feedback, I wouldn't know when I'd worn my online buddy down enough to bust out the required "hEy! i thnk ur SOOOO hot... wanna meet in RL?", or (2) I would put a bullet through my eyehole inside the first 3 minutes of trying.
    So I guess I'll go back to turning off my PC, going out every weekend, creepily eyeballing some broad from across the bar for hours, and then finally getting the balls up to coincidentally get in line for a drink at the exact same time she does....  yeah, I know it's weak, but I'm pretty much a sac-less wonder, and not being in a band anymore sucks, too.  And anyway, guess what?  Compared to this chat room drivel, I'm James fucking Bond.
    And yeah, so I'm really getting off-topic.  Consider it my friendly attempt to pad out the Feinstein story so you THINK you read a lot of important stuff about it without actually having learned anything but the bare bones details.  Because I stand by my original statement: this ain't much of a wrestling story.
  • You know what might be a good wrestling story: a little bit of fall-out from last night's SD!...
    Because for all of WWE's attempts to funnel some of SD!'s audience and momentum over to RAW (as documented in last Friday's column), I'm still getting a kick out of the Thursday night show.  Especially Eddie vs. Kurt.
    Seeing Eddie with a title belt and being so awesome as a top babyface, and seeing Kurt as such a dickhead who thinks he's crusading for our own good... I can't even describe it aptly...  it's something along the lines of seeing perfectly fully-actualized versions of two outstanding performers, if that makes any sense.
    What I'm trying to say is you couldn't book this storyline any better, and you couldn't have two guys being more true to themselves involved.  And when the pieces fall into place that nicely, the fans are right there to buy into it.  I know I got punked out on this a while back when I said it about Denver, but I have to imagine Georgia is not exactly swarming with a big latino population... and yet Eddie was monstrously over.  By design, RAW is getting all the real marquee matches, but look out come next Sunday, because Kurt and Eddie just might steal the whole damned show.
    Of course, the fact that RAW is more in control of the marquee feuds (even the allegedly cross-promotional ones) means that once you get past Eddie/Kurt on SD!, things drop off a bit, and there isn't the same kind of sizzle to Thursday nights as there has been on most recent Mondays...  but there was other good stuff last night, too.
    I was digging Big Show's promo a LOT.  They kind of went off the template by having Show do something that wasn't shout-y or funny or any of his other usual routine, and went even further off by having Cena, the babyface, sell it like he was really concerned.  The intensity was tremendous.  Now granted, it's not enough to get Show/Cena much higher than sixth or seventh biggest match on the card, but it's still appreciated.
    The two cruiserweight segments last night were also fun to watch.  As always, short and frustrating as a result, but solid while they lasted.  And effectively, too: they weren't there to wow us with 15 minute displays of action, they were there to set the stage for WM20's Cruiserweight Open.  To that end, Chavo's match told the champion's story (frustration at having to face 9 men, but thanks to cheating tactics, also having the ability to overcome), while the six man match told everybody else's (even if it did sort of boil down to seemingly like only Rey or Tajiri really had any chance in hell of winning at WM20).
    And shoot me, but I loved the four-way tag team schmozz precipitated by Haas and Benjamin's impersonation of the APA.  Yeah, Shelton stumbled a bit on his mic work as Bradshaw, but even with a few stutters, he showed more spark than at any time I can recall.  Haas had the easy job: since it later became clear he couldn't sing, he got to do mic work consisting of nothing but "DAAAAAMN."  By the time Benjamin busted out the old West Texas Rednecks song (modified so that the "APA is crap"), I was convinced that the World's Greatest Tag Team are not so far away from BOTH developing the personas appealing enough to match their prodigious in-ring skills (but I still think Charlie Haas will be the one to break out, and be the next Kurt Angle).  Then add on the run-ins by APA, the Bashams, and the tag champs, and I'll tell you what: SD!'s lazy four-way tag team match at WM20 is WAY more appealing to me at this point that RAW's.  And it shouldn't be that way, cuz RAW has Booker and RVD slumming it in that one!
    It was a solid show, but once you get past the Eddie/Kurt stuff and then these two or three other moments of entertainment, there were lulls (Cena/A-Train, Scotty/Basham, the sorta tacked-on Lesnar-impersonation-Austin bits that were amusing but which feel out of context because of the disjointed way Goldberg's situation is forcing WWE to tell the story, it was the exact same thing I felt about the Austin/Vince stuff on RAW).  
    It's gonna be a close call for me on Battle of the Brands this week.
    Oh, and you can get the full report from last night's show courtesy of Big Danny T's SD! Recap.
  • The prelim rating for last night's SD! was a 3.3.  That's down a smidge, and means that the likely final rating for the show will be in the 3.3-3.5 range.  Still OK, but unless they max out that range, it'll be the first drop off for SD!'s ratings in several weeks.
    I'm not 100% sure, because I'm too lazy to go sift through e-mails from 5 days ago, but I think SD! might have been pre-empted in a major market or two for NBA hoops last night... if that's so, the prelim rating might actually bounce up a bit more than usual, so maybe we should hold off on the doom 'n' gloom till Monday...
  • Speaking of Battle of the Brands, it's not just gonna be close on my personal score card.  It's gonna be close overall.  Maybe it's the WM Season upon us.  Or maybe I threatened bodily harm.  But we've got a bunch of Prodigal Sons (and Daughter) coming back to BotB this week, after not voting for weeks or months.  And they've all got diverse opinions that make it hard for me to just eyeball an obvious winner.
    But I'll be compiling those numbers as soon as I'm done writing this column, and you'll be able to check them out -- along with the real life Nielsen ratings for the week -- right here in the latest OO Battle of the Brands.
  • We've all hit the on-ramp of the Road to WrestleMania, whether you like it or not.  You MUST check out the Canadian Bulldog's WrestleMania Retrospective, as he kicked us off yesterday.
    I'm expecting to spend a sluggish Sunday night updating my own three-part Road to WM feature so it'll be good to go next week, as well.
    And then there's the actual, you know, real, mainstream hype, too.  In the form of TV specials and guest appearances, all heating up in the next week.
    The first special to keep an eye out for will be the "10 Greatest WrestleMania Matches Ever" which will be on SpikeTV on Tuesday night (9pm, eastern).  Ric Flair's hosting it.  At an hour long, there's no way they do justice to 10 great matches... but even in clip-form, it'll be interesting to see what the Fed puts on the list.  A few are unimpeachable (Steamboat/Savage, Michaels/Razor, Hogan/Warrior, probably both TLCs, Bret/Shawn), but you get into some real gray areas further down (like, do you take a Bret/Owen technical masterpiece, or a Rock/Hogan suck-a-thon that had AWESOME drama?).  So I'll be checking it out, if only to have something to bitch about.  There will also be replays throughout the week (including on Sunday afternoon at 5pm eastern, leading directly into the special, early pre-PPV edition of Heat at 6pm).
    There will also be an interesting-looking special on UPN on Friday night (8pm).  Culled from the abandoned "WrestleMania: the Movie" project, the one-hour "Mania of WrestleMania" special will be a behind the scenes look at last year's WM19.
    Then you've got Sunday's big schedule, and Monday's live RAW, after which will be a special WM-themed edition of Spike's "10 Things Every Guy Should Do" (a show that, until they do the Hot Japanese Twins Edition, has zero credibility with me), which will feature fans battling for seats to WM and then enjoying the event, I guess.  This one, I'll be taking a pass on.  Listening to idiotic banter about sandwich condiments in the OO post-RAW Chat is more appealing to me....  at least until it turns to "ur sooo hot, i want 2 lick ketchup of ur bOObs."
    See how I bring it all back around?  That's why I'm a professional Wrestling Columnist and you're not!
    There are also guest appearance in the process of being finalized.  I heard tell that for sure the Fed was gonna get somebody on Conan (probably Big Show, who is a hit with the Late Night people), either for Thursday or Friday.  Howard Stern will do something one of those two mornings, as well.  And Regis will be getting either Austin or HHH, last I heard.  Sorry I don't have the exact details, yet, but you're sharp enough that you can keep an eye on your local listings, aren't you?  And plus, I'll probably have the details for your lazy asses on Monday, anyway....
    Unfortunately, Letterman's in re-runs next week, so nothing doing there (not that he'd book any WWE star other than the Rock, anyway).  All the other shows are out in LA, so the Fed's not gonna be flying anyone out there in the middle of WM20 hype in NYC.  These three are probably it. 
  • In all of the WWE Hall of Fame flap, everybody is rushing to talk about Pete Rose...  but lost in the shuffle is Jesse Ventura, who was -- up until a year ago -- the governor of a state, not just some baseball guy.  I guess I'm not surprised, but part of me wonders if maybe Jesse shouldn't rate a bit more mainstream attention than what he's getting.
    Jesse -- who'll do the voice overs for one of those WWE WM week specials -- is actually featured in a really cool piece in this week's Boston Phoenix.  It ain't about wrestling, it's about Jesse the Man and what he's up to as a visiting Fellow at Harvard this semester.  Very good reading.  
    Check it out right here.  And thanks to Joe Littrell for e-mailing the link.

  • Randy Orton fell ill after Monday's RAW... some sort of mystery virus, or something.  I'm not 100%, and WWE.com's report wasn't exactly written by Dr. Medicine.  He's been pulled off weekend appearances, but should be ready to go for Monday's RAW.
    And somewhere, Jeb Lund has shed a tear.  
  • Damn... that really pretty much is all I got for you today.  And I'm not just saying that so I can skip town, either.  Hope it was worth your while...
    If not, hey, gimme another chance next week.  The Road to WM feature is gonna be revised and expanded yet again, and should kick at least 7.4% more ass than last year's version.  And I'll be back with the usual news and analysis on the thrice-weekly schedule, too.
    See you then.  And: Go Flyers!


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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