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More on WWE TV Changes, PPV News,
RAW Preview, and Other Monday Stuff...
April 12, 2004

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Goddammit, I hurt all over.  Including my pride.  For reasons that are probably not going to become apparent just now, I didn't actually get any sleep on Saturday night, and had to pick up a pack of Mini-Thins so I could report to my mom's house for Easter in a state resembling consciousness.

And then my (not-so-little-)brother decided he wanted to play me in basketball, and I was too stupid to decline.  After an hour of him throwing his weight around and me being a step too slow, not only was I nursing bruised ribs and a bad left foot, I was also a loser, by a tally of 11-9.  So much for the Big Brother Factor.  I didn't think it was even possible for me to lose....  I should probably have tried cheating.  I mean, sooner than I did.... 

Needless to say, a night of actual sleep and letting things tighten up and not being all jacked up on trucker speed, and I'm in a world of hurt.  All I want is a nice lie down.  But not until I do my duty to you, the Loyal Wrestling Fans of America.  Not that there's a ton of stuff to talk about today, or anything, but still...  this is love, people!

  • We talked on Friday about some impending changes to WWE's shows on SpikeTV...  well, today, I've got a few more details, and also a correction.
    For starters, I guess WWE will NOT be losing the Sunday Night Heat timeslot.  Sunday at 7pm (eastern) will still belong to the Fed, according to one source with knowledge of the situation.
    And then we've got confirmation that Saturday at 7pm (eastern) will be the new home for Velocity, and also a Mystery Show that will air on Sunday mornings at 10am.  The third show will NOT be Confidential, and I'd suggest that a Sunday morning slot should pretty much kill off any rampant fan-boy speculation about a New ECW.  Cuz there's nothing that says "Extreme" quite like Sunday morning...  actually, the two primary options under discussion would be making the Sunday morning show either a "Classics" type show or a cross-brand recap/magazine show, still to be hosted by Gene Okerlund.  Nothing I'd be waking up for, I can assure you...
    Of course, I guess that WWE could shuffle things around so that Velocity is the Sunday morning show, and then use the Saturday evening timeslot for something cool...  but that's not anything they're discussing right now.  For now, it's Velocity moving up 3 hours, Confidential getting cancelled, and then something new popping in on Sunday mornings...  and Heat remains unaffected.
    These changes will go into effect the first week of May, I believe....
  • In June, WWE will present pay-per-view events from both its brands...  the "established" RAW show will be Bad Blood on June  13.  The additional show?  It'll mark the return of the Great American Bash on June 27.
    In materials that have started to circulate to PPV distributors, WWE is bringing back the old NWA/WCW brand name for the SD-only June PPV.  I wouldn't necessarily start any conspiracy theories about a New WCW, though... I'm actually kind of surprised it's taken WWE this long to rip something off from the NWA/WCW days.  Given the horrible business their December PPVs usually do, I would have thought for sure that Armageddon would have long since been replaced by Starrcade, for instance....
    After June, WWE will resume a normal PPV schedule until October, when they'll again present two shows.  In October, RAW will run a special Tuesday night PPV, while SD! gets the normal Sunday night slot.  
  • Chris Benoit's "relocation" to Atlanta, GA, a month ago caught my ear...  but I guess I was not paying attention last week, because now it seems that Chris Jericho has also moved, and Canucks are getting all whiny about it.
    To wit: a few folks forwarded me this article from the Calgary Herald.
    I honestly don't know how to react.  I mean, a big part of me simply cannot comprehend why WWE is bothering to "relocate" these home towns; it doesn't seem like there's any chance in hell that it could possibly make a difference.  But an even bigger part of me can't comprehend why anybody would really give a rat's ass; putting together a petition seems an even bigger waste of time than re-home-towning these wrestlers....
    This is definitely a fabricated controversy that I'm having a real hard time even pretending to care about...  not unlike the ROH/TNA deal that continues to "rage"....
  • And here's another one I'm gonna have a real hard time feigning interest in...
    Even while we American fans grapple with whether or not we should bother getting worked up over Eugene Dinsmore, fans in the UK are getting a sanitized version of the character.  Two UK readers who caught RAW on Friday noted edits made to Eugene-centric bits...
    Any mention of Eugene being "simple" or "special" were axed, though Eugene himself stayed in the show, acting every bit as "simple" and "special" as he did on our version of the show.  The lesson, apparently, is that it's OK to ACT mentally disabled, but you can't TALK about it.
    Or something.  I honestly can't explain this one, folks.
  • Speaking of Eugene... comparisons to Timmy or Forrest Gump are well and good, but after the weekend's house shows, another one might be even more apt.  Eugene was borrowing liberally from the George "the Animal" Steele playbook.
    Ironically, he was also booked against A-Train, who was once under consideration to do a "George Steele Jr." gimmick...  anyway, Eugene used a doll as a prop at weekend shows, just as Steele used to do with "Mine."  Of course, when Eugene's doll was savaged by Train, he was inspired to get sweet, sweet revenge.  And the crowds went mild.
    I'm sure we'll be seeing more of this shtick on TV, too...
  • Trish Stratus is handling Martina Hingis, and it's all thanks to You Fine Readers.  Friday when I included a link to the "hottest sports babe" contest, Trish was actually losing, but as of this writing, she's comfortably ahead.
    The page says a winner will be named today (April 12), but they're still only at the Final Four, same as back on Friday, so I don't know what's going on...  you can check out this link, though, if you want to keep tabs on the competition or register a vote on behalf of Trish.
  • The final rating for last week's SD! wound up being a 3.0, pretty much on pace with what I would have expected based on the prelim rating.  After averaging around a 3.5 for the first few months of 2004, SD! has taken a huge ratings hit since WM20...
    For the past several weeks, SD! has been demonstrably weaker than RAW, and the Fed is not helping its cause by having Booker T underscore the weakness by calling SD! the "minor leagues."  For three weeks running, SD! has been the less-viewed brand, which is the first such winning streak for RAW in well over a year.
    So far, I'd probably opine that WWE's attempts to de-loyal-ize their audience have failed.  Last week, RAW was back to essentially its average rating after two strong weeks.  Even if they get another boost this week (with no college hoops as competition and without baseball's opening day as a distraction), I don't think the increases in RAW's audience will offset the losses in SD's...
    But we'll give it a few more weeks before making any dire predictions or crunching too many numbers.  Three or four weeks simply is not a sufficient sample size...
  • I actually think RAW stands a good chance of winning back a few ratings ticks this week...  not only is there nothing quite as big as the NCAA Championship game to distract fans, but RAW also has a very appealing main event on tap.
    Tonight's show will be built around an 8-man tag match that'll pit Evolution against Chris Benoit, Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley, and Shelton Benjamin.  Not only should that be a fantastic contest in and of itself, but it'll also afford the Fed a chance to put some final storyline touches on either 2 or 3 PPV feuds.  Sunday's Backlash is going to be headlined by Benoit vs. Michaels vs. Triple H, with Randy Orton vs. Foley as the semi-main event.  And it would not surprise me if Benjamin -- as a result of tonight's action -- somehow found himself in a PPV match against Batista (or Flair, or both).
    All those elements converging in a marketable main event strikes me as a pretty good reason to get fired up for tonight's show.  They could go any number of ways with it:  a breakdown on the babyface side if there's tension between Benoit/Michaels...  a tease of the ultraviolence Foley will bring to the PPV...  another "upset" win for Shelton to keep him in the mix...  lots of options.
    With a couple of the marquee PPV feuds contained in the 8-man main event, that'll leave plenty of time to dedicate to polishing up a few other key storylines, as well as adding in a few other PPV matches.
    Probably the most important supporting feud is Chris Jericho vs. Christian/Trish...  as I outlined last week, I'm no longer convinced this is as cut-and-dry an issue as it originally seemed.  If nothing else, it certainly seems like Trish is a less-than-willing participant in the upcoming PPV match, so we'll have to see how that affects her relationship with Christian.
    Also important will be Edge vs. Kane, since there are big plans for Edge as he returns from a year off due to neck surgery...  this feud is kind of a thrown-together affair without a ton of story to it, but that's OK since they can still sell it based on it being Edge's first match back.  To maintain a little bit of that mystique, I'm sure we won't be in for much different than what we've already seen in this feud: a random bit of physicality and probably not much in the way of talking or explanation.
    The only other PPV match we know is on for sure is Victoria defending the Women's Title against Lita.  Even though every shred of conventional wisdom would have pointed towards a Victoria/Molly rematch, they had Lita win a #1 Contender Battle Royale last week to jump-start this seemingly random feud between two babyfaces.  We'll have to see what they've got in store for us by way of advancing this issue before the PPV....
    That's five officially announced matches for this weekend's Backlash PPV.  And then you've got Shelton Benjamin doing something, probably against Evolution, so that's six.  The Fed could still use 2 more matches to flesh things out.  Unfortunately, you probably can't look to the tag division, since Evolution are the champs and will probably draw Shelton Duty....  I'm guessing we might see some comedy sideshow feuds elevated to PPV status.  They certainly seemed to be building to something between Tajiri and Coach, for instance...  and it wouldn't shock me if part of the Eugene Project called for him getting on the PPV card, either.
    So you've got all that, plus Much, Much More (except not Steve Austin) to look forward to tonight on RAW.  Check it out, or just come on back here to OO tomorrow for the full recap.
    See you then...


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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