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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
SD! Fall-out, WWE On Demand,
Sting Movie, ECW, Lots More...
March 26, 2004

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

Screw the clever bastards at WWE: *I* know how to strike while the iron is hot and milk the ratings! 

So stick around till the end of the column.  I'm gonna give you what you want.  I'm gonna give it to you good.  But I'm gonna make you wait for it.  Yeah.

  • Thankfully, last night's SD! was better than it sounded "on paper."  It actually ended up being a more than tolerable ride and pretty entertaining in execution.
     
    It still confused and frustrated the hell out of me once I stopped to, you know, actually think... but it wasn't the wall-to-wall snooze-fest that one of my two spoiler reporters made it out to be.
     
    The real big news of the show was HHH being traded back to RAW by new General Manager Kurt Angle.  HHH, who not only could have aided RAW-brand stories with his absence there AND could have given Eddie Guerrero and other SD!-brand faces some much needed opposition and "rub," didn't even appear on the show.
     
    In his place?  A freshly-traded and heel-turned Booker T and a made-over and also heel-turned John "Bradshaw" Layfield.  I smell something.  And it ain't ratings.
     
    Also not appearing on the show in any capacity: the Big Show and the Undertaker.
     
    Now, I don't want to question to WWE Vision, but coming off a red-hot RAW, an absolute Grand Slam of a show, how do you follow up with this tepid affair?  Actually, Why do you follow up with this tepid affair?  You had eyeballs riveted, you had interest piqued.  And you put on a show that had even me flipping back to the OSU/Pitt game (which is telling because my bracket's busted and I don't give two craps about either program: they were just having a more compelling contest than most anything served up on SD!)...
     
    I am not calling for WWE to have gone all out with another Monster Schmozz like the RAW vs. SD! brawl... to the contrary: that was special and should not be repeated till the next special occasion.  But I DO think the Fed should have put the best possible SD! foot forward.  In my mind, that means utilizing HHH as a SD! talent, and making sure you've got room on the show for two of your other most bankable personalities (Taker and Show).
     
    Not only did they not do those things, they actually spent the two hours TELLING US HOW CRAPPY THE SHOW WAS.  Well, not really; but they predicated Booker T's heel turn on him ranting and raving about how SD! was the minor leagues and Eddie Guerrero was a crappy champion and so on and so forth.  Tazz and Cole tried to use that to paint Booker as a moron for saying such things... but they are also the same two guys who spent two hours talking about what a Great Trade GM Angle made getting 3-for-1 for HHH, despite the fact that the live crowd (and probably a goodly number of us at home) were not impressed with the trade.  So their credibility was shot.
     
    My point is that putting on a subpar show where a Booker T heel turn and a make over and apparent main event push for Bradshaw are your main talking points and then, during that show, having Booker talking about what a subpar show it is... well, it hits a little too close to home, don't you think?  I said this on Wednesday in the closing to the spoilers, but it bears repeating: there ARE some interesting interpromotional storylines they could generate out of a "SD! is the minor leagues" perception, but I'm not 100% sure the Fed is reckless enough to go down that avenue.  And as such, they are running a huge risk by having Booker say these things, because he's essentially speaking the truth.  He harps on it long enough, and it won't just be us internet jack-offs talking about SD! being comparatively weak: Joe Sixpack will realize it, too.
     
    An aside: my idea for continuing to promote the "SD! is the minor leagues" vibe is one that has Kurt Angle only as a temporary GM, and SD! only "sucking" for a few weeks.  Basically, my hope is that his neck's OK to still headline the May PPV against Eddie, even if he can't keep anything even resembling a normal schedule up to that point.  If that's the case, then maybe he could be using his GM position NOT to better the brand, but to soften up Eddie so he can take his shot at the WWE Title.  Think about it: he pumped Booker T up with lots of big talk and sent him out to go after Eddie.  He riffed on Eddie's tough schedule and how it was wearing him down.  Now he's in a position to make Eddie's schedule even more grueling.  If we do a gimmick where PuppetMaster Angle is throwing every half-assed heel at Eddie every week -- Bradshaw, I'm looking at you next, buddy -- and keeps doing things like trading away Triple H (who was clearly stiff competition for the WWE Title that Angle wanted, and thus had to be deported), then we can cruise for about a month with Eddie facing Angle's Heel of the Week before somebody -- probably Vince McMahon -- realizes what's going on.  Angle's actually HURTING the SD! brand for his own benefit.
     
    At that juncture, Angle is deposed, and returns to wrestling.  His last act: to grant himself the PPV title shot against the now vulnerable Eddie Guerrero.  Vince swoops in and has to name a new SD! General Manager, AGAIN, and to un-do the damage of GM Angle, might even open up the trade gates again.  At some point in May, you can do another big, special-feeling blow-out like Monday's RAW, maybe:  I'm not sure what form it would take, but after two months, some kind of cross-brand storyline associated with the "fixing SD!" theme could be crafted with ease.  Maybe it involves a returning Paul Heyman.  Maybe it involves a different SD! GM altogether (Wednesday, I made the case for Teddy Long; Steph is always an option; and a few people in e-mail reminded me that there's one guy we've overlooked so far, one William Regal, who if he can't wrestle would make an OUTSTANDING figurehead boss, as he's done in the past).  Point is, you use the "SD! is the minor league" vibe to build to a future "Angle abused his power and now we have to fix SD!" storyline that also feeds directly into putting some serious heat on the Angle/Eddie feud.
     
    It COULD work.  It's risky anytime you intentionally try to lower fans' opinions of your product, but ends might justify the means.  That said, this probably isn't the plan.  The plan probably involves Eddie vs. Bradshaw at the May PPV, or something.  And that wouldn't be "pretending to suck for a purpose."  That would just plain suck.
     
  • But now I'm getting off topic... I meant to discuss SD!, hit some of the highlights, and then move on.  Not to do a philosophical rant about the direction of the show.
     
    I guess you gotta call Booker T the big winner of the night.  He's gone from forgotten babyface tag team wrestler on RAW to ostensible main event heel on SD!.  I'm not sure fans totally bought into it, but the attempt is probably the most exciting thing WWE's done with Booker in over a year.  We'll see how it goes from here.
     
    Despite the big push for Booker, I'm actually half-believing the hype about Rene Dupree.  He could end up being SD!'s most important acquisition in this round of drafting/trading.  It goes against every asshole-ish instinct I have, but I'm gonna go ahead and ignore the fact that Dupree has apparently decided that his new singles push apparently required him to go out fake-tan himself a healthy shade of Hulk Hogan Orange, start patronizing long-time WWE sponsor Maxim Hair Color for Homosexual Men, and trade in his so-ridiculous-it-was-magnificent La Resistance sparkly robe for something that looked like your father's bathrobe...  instead of mocking those unfortunate choices by young Rene, I'll just say that he looked mighty comfortable in the singles role last night.  Even though the gimmick is still one-dimensionally French, he busted out of his shell: without a partner, he played it over the top, and it seemed to work pretty well for him.  I'll even go so far as to say that on a night of forcing a Booker turn and over-pushing a heel turn by Bradshaw, Dupree might be the guy who shoe-horned himself into the best spot of any heel: his success might come sooner rather than later if they run with a Dupree vs. Cena feud for the US Title.  I'm serious.
     
    Somebody else who impressed me last night: Charlie Haas.  I know the popular opinion is that Shelton Benjamin is the "charismatic one."  But I'm not sure I see it.  Benjamin has maybe been asked to carry a few more promos, but that's also meant that he's had way more opportunities to come off as looking uncomfortable and un-smooth while doing so.  Haas has been asked to do less, but I also don't ever recall him really hitting a false note:  remember, years before mentioning Jeff Hardy's name became an excuse to snicker, I was ahead of the game and claiming that Matt would be the Hardy Brother who became a singles star.  So give Charlie a chance, here...
     
    Getting back to the point, I actually isolated what it is about Haas that impresses me most last night during his match against RVD.  It's something that's hard to explain, but we noticed it during WM20, specifically while watching Austin as the special ref of Goldberg/Lesnar: the performers who are best at what they do look like they HONESTLY BELIEVE what they are doing.  They have to totally sell out to the moment and mentally place themselves in a legitimate competition.  For refs, that means actually thinking there are rules that you are honor-bound to enforce and that you MIGHT actually count to three EVERY time (we started discussing this after Austin blatantly halted his count at a 2 even though the guy hadn't kicked out yet).  For wrestlers, it's a bit more complicated, and involves a blend of body language, facial expressions, sequencing your moves, and other stuff.  Chris Benoit is probably the best at this; Kurt Angle picked it up quick; and I'm starting to see the same aptitude in Haas.  Yeah he lost the match, yeah he might not be a sterling promo guy... but inside the ring I am honestly way more entertained by him than somebody like, oh let's say, Randy Orton (or, to be honest, a lot of other guys) who exhibit seams that let you know they are performing rather than competing.
     
    And now let's move on before people start to get the idea that I have a mancrush on Charlie Haas....
     
    In addition to the opening RVD/Haas match being quite enjoyable, I also got a kick out of Spike/Chavo.  In fact, that was probably my favorite match of the night, even over the longer Eddie/Booker main event.  It was quick paced and fun, and it was just felt right in the end.  Eddie/Booker, not faulting the effort, just seemed a little bit forced.  And it also got no help from the fact that Bradshaw came in and caused the DQ and was the Last Man Standing at the end of the night.  Bradshaw.  He's your top heel.  I still can't believe it.
     
    BTW, Bradshaw's heel-turn promo wasn't nearly the abortion it was presented to be in the spoilers.  But it was also pretty clear that was because of some heavy editing.  I noticed at least 4 spots where there were awkward cut-aways to the crowd with corresponding audio anomalies. If those weren't edits, then it was just really piss-poor production.  And WWE ain't known for piss-poor production. [An aside: one of my spoiler reporters from this week mailed in after seeing the as-aired show and called "shenanigans" on the very end of SD!... he said there was almost zero heat on Bradshaw at the end, and specifically said the "You Sold Out" chant was dubbed in.  Can't dispute that, as I actually did catch myself wondering where it was coming from when every fan visible on screen was sitting down, placidly.]
     
    But hey, if post-production isn't there to help tighten up the product and make the guys look better, then what is it there for?  I'm all for them massaging things whatever way they want to...  as long as they realize that in this specific case, it ain't gonna work.  Maybe if Bradshaw played it like the stereotypical Crazy Rich Texan (an archetype so sound it's been used as a recurring character on both Seinfeld AND the Simpsons)...  but Texan Who Is a Political Conservative And Financial Wiz is just too incongruous and too inaccessible to work. 
     
    Anyway, I'm finding myself digressing again.  That's because SD! was a decent little fluff show.  I didn't really get too annoyed as I was watching it (except for the over-push of Bradshaw): segment-by-segment it was tolerable fun.  But when trying to find something to actually TALK about, I'm defaulting to the smarkier/analytical stuff.  Because there just wasn't enough good or bad on the surface level to provide the fodder.
     
    If you want that surface level explanation of the show, then that's what we've got the recap for.  Check out Danny's SmackDown! Recap for the complete details...
     
  • The prelim rating for last night's show was a 3.3.  That's down a bit from the previous week, and means the final rating for SD! will probably settle in the 3.3-3.5 range.  We'll know for sure by Monday.
     
    That rating also means that SD! will end up getting destroyed by RAW this week.  Since I started keeping comparison stats for Battle of the Brands last June, RAW has only drawn a bigger audience than SD! six times (one of those times was the week where SD! aired on New Year's Day, and another one was a week where SD! was pre-empted in six of the top 20 markets).  This will be seven, and it may well also turn out to be RAW's biggest margin of victory in that time.  We'll see.
     
    RAW obviously had the sexier show this week, which is what spurred their record ratings.  But SD! wasn't helped by the fact that they had super-stiff competition.  I guess every moron in America has decided that "The Apprentice" is the reality show they want to invest their time in, and it did huge ratings.  And the basketball games on CBS scored big, too, and as always are a draw in WWE's main demographic of young males.  
     
    Let's put it this way: if we apply the same criteria I used for that Calculus For Wrestling tangent on Wednesday, then the criticism we should make is that SD! performed just about at (or slightly below) its own usual average and thus converted approximately ZERO of RAW's loyal audience.  If the goal of the lotto and these trades and stuff is to make the WWE audience less brand loyal (and it is), then it's only working one way so far (getting some SD! fans to tune into RAW).  And recalling Wednesday's calculations, it's not even really working THAT well in that direction, yet.
     
  • By the way, given what is to come later, I just want to take a moment and chastise you people: in a week where e-mail feedback has been higher than usual due to interest in wrestling being higher than usual, I got almost NOTHING about the Calculus for Wrestling thing.  Which, if I may say so myself, was one of the cooler things I've done in a long time.  Or maybe it just made me feel smart to be able to figure that stuff out.  I don't know.  
     
    No, strike that.  I really just think it's an interesting slant on the "70 percent brand loyal" claim to try to track WWE's success or failure in making fans less brand loyal.  It's cool, it's neat, even if it had appeared on Another Website, I'd have been intrigued... it wasn't just me feeling proud that my brain still works even years out of school and after much alcohol abuse.
     
    Fie on you, OO Faithful.  The only responses I got to that portion of Wednesday's column: people who wanted to make sure I knew that either (1) there wasn't a UPN affiliate in their area or (2) they didn't have cable, so (3) they were brand loyal but not by choice.  None remembered to mention (4) Wow, nice work, Rick, this is quite fascinating and also you are very smart for devising and solving those equations.  Bastards
     
    So OK, maybe I should revise the Highest Theoretical Rating for a WWE show downward slightly because of this Forced Loyalty... but I can't imagine it'd be by much.  Thanks for the reminders, folks, and I'm sorry about your plight.  But I'm gonna pretty much stick by my numbers, I think.  Unless you know of some way to find out what percent of the 70 percent brand loyalists are forced into it, that's probably the only way to go without totally making shit up...
     
  • WWE has announced the impending launch of a video-on-demand service that they'll be calling "WWE 24/7."  They've just started shopping the concept around to cable providers this week, so there's no exact time table on when you might have access to it... but the wheels are in motion.
     
    According to WWE's press release, subscribers would have access to 20 hours of footage at any given time, and the library would be rotated weekly.  If you're unfamiliar with how VOD works, basically any time of day or night, you can go to the WWE 24/7 channel and dial up one of the available shows.
     
    This will mark WWE's first real attempt to make full use of its expansive video library that now includes not only WW(W)F footage going back to the 50's and 60's (actually predating the WWWF, back when Vince McMahon Sr. was still an NWA affiliate running the northeast territory), but also the full NWA/WCW, ECW, and AWA libraries. 
     
    It doesn't say explicitly, but I'm assuming this will be a subscription service, with a monthly price tag between $6-$10.  That's about what current HBO-on-demand and similar services charge.  There are also, at least on my system, about 5 or 6 free on-demand channels (Comedy Central, A&E/Biography, Food Network, a Music Video one, and a few others I'm forgetting), but I doubt we'd have the good fortune to see WWE 24/7 show up as one of those.
     
    Although maybe we should hope.  The truth is, the HBO-on-demand and channels that charge have WAY more than 20 hours of footage available at any given time.  I'm not sure what the number is, but I'd guess at least triple that, what with having 4 or 5 Curb Your Enthusiasms, a couple Sopranos, usually some Mr. Shows, always a handful of HBO's other Original Crap and then a ton of movies to pick from...  and THAT is worth the money.  I realize WWE's audience is a niche, and this is a service that would appeal to only hardcore/loyal fans, really, so they can be exploited a bit;  but WWE oughta be careful.  I know what ten bucks worth of video on demand gets me.  I may be loyal, but I'm not stupid.  Also, why would I pay for access to 20 hours of old wrestling when I have probably 800 hours of old wrestling that I'm SO attached to that most of it is in a box somewhere at my mom's house?
     
    Thinking this through, maybe WWE should consider being one of the bargain on-demand channels.  Like the Comedy Central and the rest, where as long as you pay the first tiny premium over the usual digital package, you get a few crappy movie channels by Starz and then the half-dozen on-demand channels, too.  Those on-demands put commercials in the shows, hyping their current programming (so you watch an old Biography on-demand, but you get exposed to commercials for this month's current Biographys on A&E, and so one).  It's a PERFECT match for WWE, which could put hard sells for that month's PPV (as well as other current WWE programming/products) in with the archived shows.  And again, I go back to this idea that 20 hours of footage really isn't a great selection given what you get from other premium on-demand channels.  

     
    I really think that WWE foregoing a steep monthly fee from the end-user and trying to get their on-demand channel on as many TVs as possible by piggybacking on the lower tier on-demand services could work.  Instead of exploiting the handful of hardcore fans who might actually shell out 6 bucks a month, you're on every digital system in the country.  A casual fan, one of the tens of millions who used to watch during the Hogan Era or the Stone Cold/Monday Night War Era might stumble across it, might dial up some Classic Wrestling.  And in so doing, get exposed to a commercial for SummerSlam 2004.  Might think it looks interesting enough to buy it.  Might come back into the fold.  Who knows?
     
    Ah hell.  I'm probably just looking for some way to get the WWE 24/7 without having to pay extra for it....  the Fed knows there's a certain number of us they can rape, and we'll just keep coming back for more.  Cuz we're idiots.
     
  • It's not quite "on-demand," but if you want to see Monday's RAW again, you can.
     
    WWE and Spike have apparently decided to air a repeat of RAW on Sunday night, immediately following Heat.  I'm not positive, but I'm guessing this was a mid-week decision based on the ratings success from Monday, because it only showed up on my onscreen guide yesterday.  Imagine my shock when I was going through and saw "WWE RAW" scheduled to be recorded on Sunday night all of a sudden...
     
    It's a pretty solid idea, even if it is a one-time only thing.  The lottery got people talking.  Obviously it appealed enough to some ex-fans that they showed up to watch.  But if those fans who came back to check out the lottery told some of their friends who DIDN'T, this gives the word-of-mouth-factor a chance to work and let those folks see what they missed.
     
    Also the 8pm on Sunday timeslot is interesting: fans are actually sort of conditioned for wrestling in that slot.  It's not a PPV, granted, but a big wrestling show on a Sunday night?  That might feel right to a lot of folks.  It'll be interesting to see what kind of ratings the replay does.  If it scores strong, I wonder if that might lead anywhere...  future replays, maybe Sunday night prime time specials (which I almost think might be a better way to handle PPV off-months: instead of adding PPVs, let the off-brand have a Free-Per-View on SpikeTV on a Sunday, not unlike the old Clash of the Champions gimmick), who knows?
     
    Anyway, if you missed RAW (and if you're a moron and didn't read my sparkling, detailed, and insightful Recap of the show), here's your chance to get caught up.
     
  • Regarding the "new ECW" thing we talked about on Wednesday...  specifically, the ownership status of ECWWrestling.com.
     
    I off-hand asked if someone wanted to do the research for me on that, and a dozen or so of you did.  That domain name IS owned by Joey Styles, as I half-suspected.  It was not part of WWE's purchase of ECW's assets.  If WWE really did want to use Paul Heyman's resignation to start a new ECW promotion, they'd have to pay Joey off to get that domain.
     
    Again: the NewECW.com domain, although it does redirect you to WWE.com, is NOT owned by WWE.  It's just some guy in England who is screwing with your heads.  Trust me on this.  Or at least, I'm trusting the people who mailed in about it to be telling me the truth, and so should you.  
     
    Also, because some people asked: Heyman's resignation was totally on on-screen thing.  He remains in the company and in the company's good graces.  This is not like last year after Mania when he became persona non grata for several months.  I don't know for certain, but I'd guess that we'd see Heyman back on TV sooner rather than later.  The "new ECW" thing might be a pipe dream, but Heyman as a manager would certainly be workable.  Everybody's saying that the brand shake-ups and SD!'s light heel roster is a chance for somebody (or somebodies) to step up and take a top spot... who better to help those somebodies than Paul Heyman?  It wokred for Brock...
     
  • Even though I'm going to keep dismissing the New ECW theories on the grounds that they are quite fanastical and that if they actually did come to fruition, I'd like it to be surprising, instead of thinking it could happen and then being disappointed as it never happened, the fact is WWE is giving the conspiracy theorists plenty of fodder to work with.
     
    Many readers noted (quite accurately) that ECW got more exposure on Monday's RAW than it had at any point since the end of the inVasion.  ECW titles were featured prominently in the on-screen bios of drafted talents, and Heyman referenced not only his "extreme past" with RVD, but also explicitly mentioned ECW when going off on his resignation diatribe.  Why mention ECW so much?  I don't know.  But the simpler explanation is that is just fit the situation.  Guys needed accomplishments to put on their bio sheets: ECW Titles are recognized as valid by WWE, so they used 'em.  Heyman needed to give us a reason why he's too proud to work for Bischoff, and his creation of ECW was as good as any.  There's no need to see a vast conspiracy: it's just a case of ECW being a tool and WWE using it properly.  That they used it a half dozen times in the same night probably doesn't carry any real significance.
     
    And then there's this....
     
    Maybe they are just re-introducing the ECW name because they are releasing an ECW DVD this summer.  That's right.  A 2-disc ECW set is slated for June, and will chronicle the entire life cycle of ECW (much like the 2-disc Monday Night War set did for RAW vs. Nitro).  Could be interesting, though it could also be a deal where they're gonna over-condense stuff: I mean, ECW was around for about 7 years, so what story do you tell and what stuff do you pick to put on 2 DVDs?
     
    Or maybe the DVD is coming out because they are going to launch a New ECW and want to familiarize fans with the old one?  [Cue Dramatic Music!]
     
    Yes, I was being sarcastic.
     
  • WWE has announced that they expect WrestleMania XX to be the highest-grossing PPV in company history.  The Fed is claiming an estimate of somewhere around 900,000 to 950,000 buys, and a final take of between $40 and $45 million.
     
    The total number of buys will be up substantially from WM19, and would put the total buys back on par with 1998-2001 heyday.  I can't perfectly recall the figures, but my memory is that WM14 (Austin/Micheals, but with Tyson involved), WM15 (first Mania after WWF finally overtook WCW), and WM2000 all did right around 900,000 buys.  And then WM17 only dropped off slightly from there.  At the time, I remember that these "Golden Era" Manias were talked about as the best-drawing non-boxing events in the history of PPV TV, with each of the '98, '99, and 2000 shows trying to top the last.  
     
    WM18 marked the first serious drop in WrestleMania interest, and put the Fed back at pre-Austin levels.  Last year's WM19 did even worse, I think only a little over a half-million buys.  That makes the rebound all the way back up to the 900,000 range all the more impressive.  It would, in fact, be the second biggest bump in buys in WM history (behind only the huge increase between WM13, which was the least-viewed WM ever, and WM14, which as discussed above had Tyson and the start of the Austin Era to boost it up).
     
    I'd do a quick search of the net to try to find the exact figures, except that I know that most sites always reference the buyrate, not actual buys.  And that's absolutely worthless for doing comparisons between anything except shows in the last half-decade or so since the PPV universe has stabilized in terms of size.  For instance, if I recall correctly, WWE claims a 10+ buyrate for WM3, which is by far the highest buyrate in company history.  But the buyrate only means that 10 percent of the PPV-capable homes in America bought the show.  And in 1987, there weren't very many PPV-capable homes.  The 10 buyrate actually translates into far fewer actual buys than the 2.3-2.4 buyrate the WM20 will end up getting.  
     
    Buyrates are NOT comparable across the years: there was a huge explosion in PPV availability in the 1989-1992 window, and it steadily increased through the late 90s.  I'm sure there are still new PPV homes being added every year, but things have stabilized and those increases are probably more just tied to the increase in overall population.
     
    Anyway, there's no gimmicking the numbers here: screw the buyrate, the actual buys for WM20 will end up making it one of the most watched Manias ever.  And the $50 price tag (ten bucks more than the previous highest price) will easily make the the biggest money maker.
     
    So is this the part where I get my Internet Smark Card renewed for another year by saying something like "In your face, every promoter ever: Chris Benoit headlined the best-drawing PPV in the history of the world!"?  It is?  Good...  see, I'm one of you!
     

  • The Rock's getting ready to punch it into high gear in terms of promoting "Walking Tall."  I know he's doing Letterman next Thursday and then Conan the next night.  His movie actually opens next Friday.
     
    Those are the two late night guys I actually watch, so I'm fired up for those.  I'm not sure if Rock's gonna do an LA swing earlier in the week or not; he's already done Leno, so maybe not.  Kimmel and Kilborne and whoever else might not be on the docket.  I'm sure during the NYC swing he'll also do Regis.  
     
    So keep an eye out.
     
  • And while the Rock's new movie is coming out in a week (and his latest DVD is just out now), there's another wrestler who's making movie news.  Kind of.
     
    According to a Nashville newspaper article, Sting is going to be starring in a movie that tells the story of his life.  But before you start lining up at the local metroplex, you need to know that the scope of the project isn't necessarily that grand.  The focus of the bio-pic is going to be on Sting's maturation and how his belief in Jesus got him there.  The movie won't be released to theaters, probably, but will be distributed via the Christian Cinema Underground.
     
    I'm not sure exact what that means, but maybe it's related to the people who somehow seem to think I need a Story of Jesus video every year around Easter and send one to my house even though I still have two of them from past years still wrapped in their original cellophane and it looks like the EXACT SAME FREAKING TAPE.  Wouldn't one per household suffice? Didn't my 12 years of Catholic education count for anything in terms of familiarizing me with the Jesus Highlights?  And wouldn't I much rather have a new copy of "Jesus Christ Superstar" (preferably on DVD) since my VCR ate my old one last year, and my CD of it is the Broadway cast which isn't nearly as cool as the movie soundtrack?  
     
    Anyway, the article has a few details about the movie: who's financing it, who's playing young Sting, a possible tie-in with the local TNA promotion.  If you're interested, here's the link.
     
  • And that, my friends, brings us to the end...
     
    Oh, but you didn't think I'd leave you without making good on my promise, did you?
     
    Because I don't care what you say or how often you say it: putting fruit in your beer is still going to be womanly.
     
    I honestly can't believe it: I made a little joke on Monday about Randy Orton drinking Corona Light With A Lime (as seen on Confidential), and I get a deluge of hate mail.  I reprise the topic on Wednesday, since it appeared to be a hot button issue, and really tried to flog the dead horse, put the nail in the coffin, whatever cliche you want to use.
     
    And instead, response was even greater than it was to my original comment.  Some of the e-mail were even from people who had already mailed in telling me I was an idiot on Monday!  But in addition to that, I got a heavy dose of support after Wednesday's rant.  From like-minded drinkers, and even from a handful of bartenders who took the time to tell me that I'm 100% spot-on, and that they also suspect guys who put lime in their beer to be a little bit off.
     
    But I bring the topic up for a third time mostly as an excuse to bring up my most favorite of the supportive e-mails.  From someone who took his suspicions of Randy Orton to a whole new level.  St. Louis native F. Allen wrote in to say that until my revelation about Orton's favorite drink, he had been a Randy Orton fan.  He supported his fellow St. Louisian (or whatever they call themselves).
     
    But Orton's consumption of Corona ended that.  Because F. Allen says that no self-respecting St. Louisian would be caught dead drinking anything besides an Anheuser-Busch product.  If you're from St. Louis, he says, you drink Budweiser.  If you're from St. Louis and a cheapskate, you drink Busch or Natty Light.  If you're from St. Louis and a little hoity-toity, you drink Michelob.  If you're from St. Louis and like dark beer, there's Amber Bock.  If you're from St. Louis and a girl, you drink Mich Ultra.  If you're from St. Louis and are gay, you drink Bacardi Silver or Doc Otis.  And that pretty much covers it.  There is no provision for Corona With Lime.  Although if there was, I think we all know which of the above categories it'd fall into.
     
    Thank you, F. Allen, for reminding us to loathe Randy Orton not just because he's apparently lacking male genitalia, but also because he is a turncoat and a sell-out!
     
    And thank all the rest of you for being so enthusiastic on this topic.  I haven't gotten this big a kick out of pissing people off with something so pointless since the days of the wrestling anagrams!  I think you've even inspired an entire column: keep an eye out next week for something special, just for you!
     
    To think: all this because I thought there was something so perfect, so fitting, about Randy Orton getting caught on camera drinking pansy-ass Corona with a lime in it.  Wow.  Randall, buddy, if we ever meet, your drinks are on me.  Castrating myself by fetching your fruity beer is the least I can do for the man who has supplied me with so much entertainment this week!
     
  • That's all, folks.  Enjoy the weekend, and we'll do this again on Monday.
     

E-MAIL RICK SCAIA
BROWSE THE OO ARCHIVES

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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