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Unpleasant Incidents, RAW Reloaded,
Bret, Goldberg/Nash Speak, and Other News
March 29, 2004

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


As of yesterday, my NCAA bracket is officially busted: I can win no money.  Further, with St. Joe's and Xavier gone, I no longer have any real rooting interest in any team, either for or against (respectively, in this case).  

But luckily, here's baseball to the rescue!  Starting almost a week early so as to occupy my time, the Yankees open up tomorrow morning in Japan.  Then official opening day next week, a few months of caring about the Reds, and then it all comes full circle in October, as the Yanks are still playing ball for a few weeks after most other teams have gone home for the off-season.  Yee haw!

And there's always the wrestling, too:

  • Well, we might as well start off by discussing some Unpleasantness.  It's more stuff in the vein that I don't normally like to harp on too much, but it's news...
    First, we'll go back to late last week, when police were called to Steve Austin's home outside San Antonio, TX, on a domestic disturbance.  Austin was not arrested, though a complaint was filed.  This happened on late Thursday night, and didn't really filter out to the public till the late Friday news...  to my knowledge, Austin's weekend public appearance bookings were not affected.
    The Cliffs' Notes version of what happened, according to Austin's live-in girlfriend: they were discussing their relationship, apparently getting ready to separate.  Austin became perturbed and wound up shoving her down.  In a brief tussle, she claimed injuries to her hands and knee.  Police were called, Austin was gone when they showed up I guess, and his girlfriend made a visit to the police station to make her statement.  Although no charges were filed against Austin, she had pictures taken of her injuries, and said she fully intended to pursue charges against Austin.
    If you want the full police report (which includes the woman's name and the responding officer's recap of the evening), then I suggest you visit the always-informative TheSmokingGun.com, where they've already gotten a copy of the report posted.
    Obviously, this is a touchy situation.  One one hand, reading between the lines of the police report, you kind of get the impression that this is getting blown out of proportion (complainant's condition is listed as "good," with her only "injury" being redness on the right hand).  And again: it's telling that no charges were pressed.  But on the other, Austin's past does put any incident, no matter how minor, under a microscope.  It was less than 2 years ago that he WAS arrested after a spat with his then-wife.
    He was found guilty, paid a fine, did some community service, and was on probation for a while.  Luckily, that probation is long since over, otherwise I'm sure this situation late last week would have gotten even stickier.  As it is, if charges actually do get pressed, I'm sure the past will be brought up again, as part of a plan to prove a pattern of behavior associated with Austin getting drunk and belligerent with significant others.  
    The best we can hope for is probably that this is getting way blown out of proportion, that no arrests are made, and this one gets swept under the rug.  Not to call Austin's (ex-)girlfriend's judgment into question, but when you have an argument, it takes two to tango, and unpleasant things happen that you have to take into account as the cost of doing business.  And in the grand scheme, this one doesn't seem like anything THAT bad happened.  On the other hand, somebody needs to sit Austin down and make him realize that shoving a girl to the ground in wrestling might not be too horrible an act -- what with all the Trish-clotheslining and Stacy-chairshotting and Mae-Young-tabling that they do -- but this is the real world.  And here in the real world, we just don't do that.
    Or at least, those of us that don't live in trailer parks and subsist on Jerry Springer don't do that.  So Austin's girlfriend: chill out, it sounds like you're perfectly OK to me, so let the courts deal with something a little more pressing and let's not make a federal case out of this.  And Austin: shape the fuck up, my friend, and realize that you screwing up 2 years ago means you've given up whatever claims to "hey, one time/heat of the moment thing" you might have had and your leeway is officially down to zero.
    Like I said: Austin made weekend commitments and there's no way he won't be at RAW tonight, too.  In fact, I doubt very seriously WWE would take any action unless police actually did press charges and Austin was found guilty.  And even then, I doubt there'd be any serious sanctions.  If Kobe Bryant can hoop it up with a rape charge hanging over his head, Austin can probably keep on Sheriff-ing his ass off with "shoved a girl to the ground" on his record...
  • And SD! had its own brush with the Unpleasant this weekend, too...  at yesterday's house show in Tampa, a fan was taken from the building in handcuffs and was likely to be charged with some form of misdemeanor following a spat with Eddie Guerrero.
    And just as with Austin, this isn't the first time Eddie's "latino heat" has led to a confrontation with a fan...  but even though the situation was tense and kind of messy, it SOUNDS from the two reports I got that Eddie was 100% in the right, here, and was only reacting to what some total jack-ass did.  
    Following the show's main event -- in which Eddie beat the Big Show, and even overcame crooked-GM Kurt Angle in the process -- Eddie got on the house mic and talked about being proud to be a Tampa native for the past few years.  He even had his daughters join him in the ring.  That's when some fan decided to toss something in the ring, almost hitting one of Eddie's girls.  Eddie cut a little promo on the guy, as security tried to track him down... but mostly, he was making a real effort to restrain himself.  Eddie cut the celebration short and took his girls to the back...
    Then Eddie came back out, alone.  And not showcasing a whole lot of restraint.  Security had found the guy, and had separated him from the dispersing crowd and was restraining him near ringside.  Eddie got really hot and the two got into a shouting match.  Eddie was apparently ready to attack the guy when road agents came out and restrained him.  Finally, the cops were ready to take the jackass fan out of the building, and Eddie got settled down.  But late-leaving fans got an extra little showdown.

    You certainly can't fault Eddie for being protective of his family, but his temper probably got the best of him, here.  It's obviously a good thing that WWE personnel were looking out for him and held him back, cuz there was nothing good that could have come out of Eddie going back out to the ring after the show.  This is one where you just have to let the cops do their jobs: the guy was ID'ed and in cuffs, and whatever punishment is appropriate for throwing a paper cup (or whatever) will be doled out in good time.  Eddie wasn't exactly in a spot where Vigilante Justice was Option #1.
  • Actually, weekend house shows held a bit more interesting news, as well....
    First and foremost, fans at SD!'s Tampa show were impressed by the amount of physicality displayed by Kurt Angle.  I guess people think that Kurt has gone from a four-star match against Eddie at WM20 to Invalid in two short weeks... so when Kurt did a few minutes of brawling with Eddie (Angle made himself the referee of the Show/Eddie main event, and towards the climax, refused to count a pinfall), some fans were amazed by Kurt's Lazarus-like recovery.
    As discussed last Monday, the actual situation is that the door has NOT been shut on Eddie/Angle still headlining SD!'s May PPV.  At that time, there was a vibe of cautious optimism pending further tests on Kurt's neck.  Then there was the announcement of Angle backing off the active wrestling to be a GM on Tuesday, and everybody swung 180 degrees the other way and assumed Kurt was out of action indefinitely.  Now Kurt's brawling for a few minutes on throw-away house shows where he need not be putting himself at risk...
    I'll leave it up to you to make of that whatever you want.  Me, I'm not privy to any solid information, and what people are talking about is mostly that there ISN'T any solid information yet, since Angle is still seeking expert opinions.  In the name of not having to face up to the possibility of Bradshaw in a PPV main event, I'm going to just naively hope that I was right the first time, that Angle WILL be OK to do a match in May.
    You think they won't do it?  Remember, SmackDown! is the brand that brought you Bob Holly: Main Event Superstar just three months ago, people.
    So everybody: say a little prayer to whatever gods you believe in that Kurt Angle's gonna be OK.
  • Also on the SD! house show: Dennis "Mideon" Knight got to work.  He won a match against Some Guy, and was later involved in a mini-angle with the Undertaker (after Taker squashed Booker T, Mideon was among the C-level guys who came out and tried to attack to no avail).
    Though Knight remains on good terms with WWE, this is just a case of him being a local and getting to work on the Florida swing.  Don't look for the return of "Nudeon" on TV...
    And on RAW shows, there was a notable debut.  Around the horn, Nick Dinsmore appeared as "Eugene," losing to Garrison Cade, but effectively getting over with a comedy gimmick along the way.  I guess Eugene is kind of a simpleton, perhaps even borderline mentally-disabled.  It wasn't clear, but everybody thought he was really funny.  The house show appearances are surely a test run to work out the kinks, and based on responses, you can probably look for the character to be fully fleshed out in time for a TV debut in the next month or so.
    Also from RAW shows: the truth about the Jericho/Trish angle came out, as Jericho cut his first promo since her heel turn.  Apparently, the whole six month angle was all just an excuse for Jericho to drag his extended "Trashbag Ho" riffs back into circulation.  They've been dormant since Stephanie left for SD!...  and also: Tajiri vs. Matt Hardy won the Underappreciated Undercard Match of the Night award for what I'm sure will be the first time of many for those two poor, poor bastards.  Matt worked as the nominal babyface, and a turn may be forthcoming, since that's not the first time in the last few weeks the fans have responded to him that way...
  • Bret Hart is in the news...  he has begun legal proceedings against Lloyd's of London.  Hart, like a lot of wrestlers during that time period, took out an insurance policy on his body: if he suffered a career-ending injury, he'd get a big balloon payment.  Lloyd's, after getting shellacked on a few of these policies, hasn't been as quick to offer them to wrestlers in the last half-decade or so...
    But Bret had a multi-million dollar policy with Lloyd's, and hasn't seen penny one since getting booted in the head and suffering a severe concussion against Goldberg back in 1999.  He has seen Lloyd's doctors, has done everything they've asked.  Lloyd's has not disallowed the claim.  But they also haven't made payment on it since being made aware of Hart's injury status in mid-2000.
    So Bret and his legal team have decided to goose the insurance company a bit: shit or get off the pot, as they say.  The lawsuit claims $1.2 in unpaid benefits, and then an addition $1 million in punitive damages.
    You can get a full report on Hart's lawsuit in this article.
  • A couple of decidedly-former WWE employees have spoken out lately...
    First up is Kevin Nash who quietly parted ways from WWE around the New Year without making any form of final comeback.  He did an interview with IGN's FilmForce, talking mostly about his role in the movie version of "The Punisher" that comes out later this year...
    But inevitably, the talk turned to wrestling, as the interviewer seemed to be a fan.  Nash probably didn't completely torch any bridges, but he certainly made a few critical comments about WWE and how he didn't think the right decisions were made during his 2 years under contract to them.
    Some of them seem sort of narrow-minded or self-centered (I kind of think he missed the point with regards to Mick Foley, for instance).  But a lot of his comments are probably things that I/we would agree with, too.  The Internet and Kevin Nash, together at last?  Talk about an unholy alliance.  But if you don't find yourself nodding your head in at least a little bit of agreement when Nash goes off on his tangent about how WWE could probably find somebody more qualified than a mediocre sitcom writer to be the head creative force of RAW, then you can't be my friend.
    Say what you will about Big Daddy, who probably ain't much of one for the book learnin'...  but he's been around the block, and his "wrestling IQ" has to be respected.  You can check out the entire, lengthy interview right here.  It's worth the read, I think.
  • And then you have Goldberg, who STILL appears on WWE.com as a member of the RAW roster...  but who didn't seem to think that counted for much during a recent radio interview in Canada.
    He's up there filming the final bits of "Santa's Slay," and appeared for an interview last week, and like Nash was doing it mostly to hype the film (which should be out for the holidays later this year).  The host and Goldberg both downplayed wrestling.
    But when it did come up, there was no mistaking that Goldberg considers his WWE career pretty much over.  Because the radio show was in Edmonton, Goldberg specifically mentioned that he was NOT going to be at the Backlash PPV, that his contract expired after WrestleMania and that his interest in re-signing was very low.  He also was critical of WWE's product (as a soap opera) and schedule (as too demanding on his time), and said it was simply not a good fit for him.
    According to the recap of the interview I was sent, Goldberg did, however, take great pains to make it clear that he was NOT retired.  He put over his work in Japan, saying that both athletic-based style and the one big match every 2 months schedule were things he would keep on doing.  I'd probably contend that for anybody listening to the radio in Edmonton, that's as good as Goldberg being retired, but that's neither here nor there... 
    Point is, you should probably write Goldberg out of any of your fantastical Return of WCW Nitro storylines you're writing in your head.  Lingering WWE.com bio notwithstanding...
  • The final rating for SD! last week wound up being a 3.3, identical to the prelim rating I reported on Friday.  That's down three-tenths from the week before, and also down very slightly from SD!'s year-to-date average.
    Most tellingly, however, is that the momentum of the RAW Draft Lottery did NOT spill over to SD!'s audience.  Whether RAW pulled some SD! Loyal viewers or plumbed the depths of some other well of fans to draw their big rating on Monday, it translated into nothing on Thursday.  In fact, not only did SD! not appear to draw any new fans in, they actually had fewer of their regular fans than usual.
    Stiff competition from NCAA hoops and "The Apprentice" should not be forgotten, but still...  
    Not that I want to reprise my big, fat, hairy ranting from Friday, but it probably didn't help that SD! didn't give us a whole lot to tune in to watch.  Coming off the spectacularly effective RAW, they put on a show about which the nicest thing I could say was "It was watchable and not nearly as bad as it sounded on paper."  But how Bradshaw breaking out as a top heel is supposed to match up, climactically, to a 50 man RAW vs. SD! brawl is beyond me...
    Anyway, I said I wasn't gonna rant.  So end of bullet point.
  • With all of last week's rambling about drafts and me going back and reprising the original draft in OOld School, reader Jason Winter thought it'd be an interesting exercise to go back to that first draft and figure out where the original 60 men and women who got assigned to new brands are today...
    The big lesson, as far as I could tell: don't get drafted to RAW.  About half of the original assignees to RAW are either fired, inactive, or (in two cases) dead.  Obviously, a ton of stuff changes in 2 years, and SD!'s original draftees took a few hits, too... but overall, if you forced everybody still with WWE today to go back to their original brand, SD! would have the much easier time putting together a full show.
    The breakdown:  of the original 30 RAW stars...  only 8 are still on RAW (Kane, Lita, Steven Richards, Trish Stratus, Tommy Dreamer, Molly, Jacqueline, and Terri), 7 more are now on SD! (Taker, RVD, Booker, Big Show, Bubba, Spike, and Bradshaw), 1 left for SD! but came back (Matt Hardy).  The other 14 aren't around any more (including William Regal who is still under contract but is out with health concerns and nobody knows if he'll ever come back; Mr. Perfect and Crash Holly, who are dead; and then 11 guys who don't work here no more).
    Of the original 30 SD! stars...  9 are still on SD! (Angle, Billy Gunn, Kidman, Rikishi, A-Train, Torrie Wilson, Scotty 2 Hotty, Tazz, and Bob Holly), an astonishing 15 are now on RAW (Benoit, Jericho, Edge, Palumbo, Mark Henry, Maven, Tajiri, Ivory, Hurricane, Al Snow, Lance Storm, Stacy Keibler, Christian, Test, and Val Venis), 1 went to RAW but has since come back (D-Von), 1 is the Rock (who probably counts as "RAW" but I'm giving a category all his own).  Only 4 aren't with the company anymore (Hogan, DDP, Faarooq, and Perry Saturn).
    Conversely, OO Indies/Video Guru Scotty Szanto-Nicodemus wrote in with the other take: that the roster split that would have resulted from my Fantasy Draft 2 years ago would have gone the other way.  SD! would have taken some serious hits, and RAW would have more of the still-active guys.  Yet another way I badly missed the boat with that draft....
    Maybe a pointless exercise, but I thought it was kind of interesting to see how things have flowed over the past 2 years... thanks to Jason for inspiring the discussion.
  • As discussed Friday, SpikeTV did a repeat showing of Monday's RAW last night...  they scheduled the encore presentation based on RAW's best ratings in 2 years and hopes the could build on what was a very exciting and interesting show by showcasing it again after six days worth of good Word of Mouth.  
    I don't know what kind of rating the repeat did, and that'll be interesting to find out about here in the next day or so.
    But I can tell you that a bunch of people DID mail in after watching the show, which seems like it is probably a good sign for WWE and Spike. Or maybe not, since it sounds like they knew what happened on Monday, so they probably already saw the show and were just watching it again.
    I'd make fun, except that I'm the jerk-wad who asks you to watch RAW every week and then spend another 20 minutes of your time reading my ricockulously wordy recap of the show, too.  So watch away, you magnificent sons of bitches!  Watch it as many times as you want!  And always read the Recap!  There's no such thing as Too Much RAW!
    Anyway, the main e-mail I got was about how I guess they put Edge's old music in.  They had to completely remove the live audio track, left in the commentary, and then did a dub-over with the old Edge/Christian theme and fake crowd noise, or something.  I don't know.  I didn't watch it, cuz I had a Fantasy Baseball Draft to prepare for.  Not that there's anything wrong with YOU watching it again. Honest!
    If they did that, there's only one reason why: because they don't want to pay off Rob Zombie for the "Never Gone Stop Me" song that Edge has been using.  Which I didn't actually think would be an issue, since I thought that was a song done specifically for WWE (kind of like how Kid Rock did Stacy's ZZ Top cover) and they owned it, lock, stock, and barrel. Not a deal where they were licensing the song.  But if the Fed's making the cut, then I guess maybe it IS an issue.
    I can deal with "Eye of the Tiger" and Cyndi Lauper being edited out of classic WWF footage... but if the Fed's going cheap on us here with Edge, that's kind of sucky.  I mean, I'd probably still never buy the record, but I thought Edge's theme was a really good one and that his strobe-tastic, seizure-inducing entrance, taken as a total package, is/was one of the better ones in the company. 
    I mean, seriously: some moron in marketing thought it was worth paying off Limp freaking Bizkit for the better part of a year so Taker could use them for his theme...  why can't we toss a little cash Rob Zombie's way and make this thing work?  
    We'll have to see what tune he comes out to tonight, I guess...
  • Which leads us directly into a discussion of tonight's RAW.  We need to get back to business, since you can only bust out Draft Lotteries and 50 man schmozzes every so often.  And RAW's got a PPV to present in just a few weeks, too...
    So, with the rosters now aligned for the time being, it'll be time to focus on brand-centric stories.
    Tonight, that means a few key issues.  First, Shawn Michaels has been named the #1 Contender to Chris Benoit's World Title, and the two are scheduled to meet one-on-one at Backlash.  That's all well and good, and left to their own devices, I'm sure the two would have an easy time getting us to the PPV.  
    But nothing's ever that easy.  At the time the match was made, Triple H was property of SD!, and Eric Bischoff didn't have to worry about The Game.  Now HHH has been traded back...  and I'm sure he not only wants his title back, but would also like to finish off Shawn Michaels once and for all.  His presence significantly clouds the issue.
    Do they have Bischoff fold and give HHH his title rematch at the PPV?  If so, what's that do to Shawn Michaels' mindset, maybe make him more tweener-ish?  If not, then do they leave Michaels/Benoit unmolested as the main event, or reprise the three-way match?  And if HHH is left completely out of the picture, what do you do with him, maybe something with Evolution who thought they were broken up for a few days last week?
    More questions than answers, here... and from experience, I can tell you that the RAWs I get fired up for are the ones where I sit here tossing out rhetorical questions like a madman.  Beats the hell out of the weeks when I can do a RAW preview that's basically "here, let's connect the dots, and this is what'll happen next," and I usually end up being mostly-right.  A lot of possibilities on the World Title front, is what I'm saying.  And I likes it.
    Issue the second: Randy Orton made a challenge to Mick Foley 2 weeks ago, and Foley sort of answered... at least, he showed up and brawled out of the building with Randy.  So even though it seems like an unnecessary acceleration to Phase Three of their feud, it looks like Foley vs. Orton, one on one, is coming up at the next PPV, as well.  Both guys were absent last week (which was fine, since there were plenty of other issues to fill up time), and so we'll have to bring this one rushing back to the forefront.
    Issue the third: more with Jericho and Christian.  Again, this kind of stalled out last week due, by necessity, so we'll have to jumpstart it tonight.  Jericho's "All Business" vibe is a nice idea, but to move this forward, he's going to have to speak on the matter eventually.  Christian and Trish laid a foundation 2 weeks ago, but Jericho's probably going to have to verbalize a few reasons why fans should REALLY hate them.  Again, going back to the house show thing: if it means bringing back the Six(teen) Degrees of Adjectives Qualifying the Word "Ho," then so be it.  Trish is a slut, Christian's a slimy jerk... Jericho underscoring those facts can't hurt, though.  Beats him being a mute, I think.
    Issue the fourth: if there was a point to shaving Molly's head, it's quickly losing relevance.  She's up to two weeks worth of growth, and probably only has about another 3 or 4 before she's up to some form of socially-acceptable hairstyle and 100% hotness again.  To me, that means you need to push ahead, fast, with the psycho bald chick vibe and have her emerge as a legit challenger to Victoria, instead of as the comic heel who runs away and hides when you steal her wig.  If they handle it right, then Molly, even with her hair back, will come out of it with even more value as the Women's Division's lead heel than she had when she was ruling it for the last half of 2003 and into this year.  If they handle it wrong, and Molly ends up just being another generic heel with hair, well, Trish won't be staying a pure valet for long is my guess.  In another month or two, she'll get back in the ring and develop an agenda beyond Making Out With Christian And Screwing With Jericho's Head...  Victoria's title probably would head that list of Things To Do.
    And then Issues the Fifth through the Infinity: the rest of the show is a bit of a cluster.  The brand lottery didn't necessarily end up shaking things up too badly, but we do have some teams broken up and some new faces to integrate.  So below these very top level issues, there was kind of a reset...
    The tag division was a COMPLETE reset due to the draft: the new tag champs have no clear cut challengers, as the old champs are both on SD!, now.  Figuring out if there's anything constructive you can do with Tajiri or Rhyno or Shelton Benjamin will be one important step.  A-Train and Chuck Palumbo, nothing against them, are slightly less pressing new names for me.  Also: the now solo Garrison Cade presents some difficulties, though I'd expect a Dupree-less La Resistance to continue on without missing a beat (even if they do miss Fifi the Wonder Poodle).  And Edge.  Edge has all kinds of potential; last week was a great start, and now he's a top babyface who has drawn the ire of the boss, so all kinds of options are open, too.
    And even though another 50 man Red vs. Blue brawl shouldn't take place again any time soon, I think the most important things the draft reset were rules with regard to Brand Warfare.  Maybe there won't be a phalanx of SD! stars invading, but I'd be stunned if WWE didn't try to capitalize on the success of last week by including a lot more cross-brand sniping.  Maybe just JR and King talking about those infidels from SD! and their bad behavior the week before.  Or gloating about getting HHH back.  Or Austin, who led the troops into battle last week, taking the lead in terms of planning an offensive versus SD!.  Or Bischoff boasting about beating another SD! GM, and thinking the war is over and RAW has already won (or something, just to put him at odds with Austin so the two can get cheap pops by opposing each other).  And let's not forget Paul Heyman, who possesses a really unique spot in the brand battle: he competently managed SD!, but got drafted to RAW, and has now quit.  I don't need to say anymore: I know all y'all's creative juices are flowing on this one....
    Should be an interesting night.  Check it out... or come on back here tomorrow for OO's full, detailed recap and analysis.
  • And on that note, I bid you....
    I guess this column can't end yet, as I have not made any obligatory "Randy Orton puts fruit in his beer and thus possesses a vagina" comments.  And you Fine Readers have once again given me the excuse to do so...
    I am sad to report that my Friday column contained an inaccuracy.  It turns out we canNOT say that Orton's now-documented love of Corona with Lime in it makes him a turn coat and traitor; as you'll recall, reader F. Allen wrote in to express disgust that Orton, a St. Louis native, would be caught on TV drinking anything other than an Anheuser-Busch product.
    But over the weekend, many wrote in to say that Corona is, via a technicality, an Anheuser-Busch product, afterall.  OO Reader and Anheuser-Busch employee Andy explained in the most detail: AB recently purchased a controlling interest in "Modelo," which is the company that brews Corona, so basically, Corona is only one step removed from being an AB product.
    Another OO Reader (also named Andy) gets points for reporting the same basic thing, but also adding in the fact that just because drinking Corona doesn't make Orton a traitor to his hometown does NOT change the fact that putting fruit in his beer makes him a woman.  I'm with you, Andy #2!
    And now, to see if there's any way I can manage to justify making it five columns in a row with the Orton/Corona/Lime/Vagina jokes on Wednesday...  stay tuned!  You know you want it!


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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