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SD! Stuff, Jeffitude?, Slick Willy's
Wrestling Habit, and Other Weekend News
April 23, 2004

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Remember Wednesday how I bitched about things not going The Rick's way this week?  Well, strike that.

Last Friday, I told y'all about a band called The Giraffes, who I'd seen the night before.  Well, due to their van breaking down in Ohio on their way back home to NYC, they wound up doing an impromptu free show here in Dayton two nights ago.  My friends in Wet Leather (who played with them last week) put it all together.  It doesn't get much cooler than that.

And I guess there's some confusion I should clear up: this "the Giraffes" has nothing to do with the Presidents of the United States of America.  I guess one or more guys from that band formed a splinter band called "The Giraffes" a few years ago, but this is not them.  This "the Giraffes" does not suck.  The strongest praise I can give them probably means nothing to you, but here goes, anyway: they sound exactly like a band I'd want to be in.  Seriously: I have this really bad habit where I see a new band, and the second or third time through a verse/chorus, start thinking "Oh, now see, that's where I would have played THIS instead."  I learned long ago to keep it to myself, but such is the curse of thinking you know jack about rock 'n' roll.  Anyway, don't think I even once mentally corrected the Giraffes in two shows this past week.  Their bassist is clearly my creative equal (but also, my technical superior).  The guitar player is off-the-hook, but unlike a lot of metal-y players, uses his powers for the forces of good.  And the front man... I dunno, is like a combination of Wooderson from "Dazed and Confused" and Big Bully Busick, maybe.  The sound system the second show wasn't that great, so he's not the one I was paying attention to.  The end result is pretty awesome.  The Giraffes are probably the first band since I latched onto the Cherry Valence that I know nobody's ever heard of, but I'm gonna advocate for them the best I can, anyway...  check out their website, keep an eye out for them visiting your town, and download a few of their tracks (hey, if nothing else, you can tell yourself "If my favorite wrestling guru had a band, it'd sound just like this, just slightly less surf-y").

The show was also fun for another reason: it turned into The Night of the Hobo Pimp and His Feral Beast.  Seriously: some homeless guy came into the bar (like I said, this was a free show), had a seemingly-domesticated raccoon with him, and got up front and started dancing his smelly ass off for all the ladies.  Hey, some people buy those "Hobo Fights" videos, but to me, THIS was comedy.  People even kept buying him beers so he wouldn't get kicked out.  

Just another Wednesday Night in Dayton.  Top that, Your City Here!  But now, it's Friday afternoon in Dayton, and you're probably looking for something about wrestling, right?  Self-centered pricks....

  • Last night's SD! was certainly a step in the right direction.  I'm not necessarily any more convinced that I'm gonna be fired up for a PPV main evented by Bradshaw in four weeks, but I was actually pretty entertained for two hours.
    They ladled on plenty of in-ring action, which was all very good.  The tag title match and the two handicap matches were all extremely entertaining, and in kind of different ways.  
    The comedy in the tag match was handled well, and with the Odd Couple of Haas and Rico holding the belts, they have a couple different options:  have Haas lighten up (not necessarily lighten up in his loafers, people, just go with the flow enough to be a babyface), have Haas remain uptight but part of the team cuz he likes Jackie, or have Haas just go Ultra-Dick and turn on Rico and break up the team after a few weeks.
    The two handicap matches were pretty much by-the-numbers, but did their job of making the babyfaces sympathetic before carting out their ACTUAL foe to further those storylines.  Dupree attacking Cena to cause his loss puts a bit more stank on their PPV feud (which is cool by me, more on that later).  The Dudleys beating Eddie (relatively) cleanly cements their heel status, but the post match beatdown by Bradshaw put the focus back on JBL/Eddie (which needs all the help it can get).  Good matches, with the right finishes.
    Actually, the show as a whole was, for lack of a better term, "well constructed."  SD! may have personnel problems which is handcuffing the creative team, but this is a week where they took what they had, and gave the talents sensible, non-retarded things to do.  Nobody was getting worked up over cowboy hats or trophies, nobody was getting thrown off balconies.  Everything made sense.  Maybe not all of it was totally engrossing or thrilling, but it never left me shaking my head in annoyance, either.
    Case in point: Booker's promo and then getting spooked by Taker's lighting scheme.  I'm not sure this is the greatest use for either guy, I'm not sure Booker underscoring how weak SD! is and having Taker defend the brand is all that stellar a story.  But they're running with it, and that segment was a pretty solid way of introducing it.
    On the storyline/talking side of things, I was actually more impressed with two other segments:  "Cafe de Rene" actually came off really well.  Dupree's got the chops to handle an interview segment, if they want it to recur.  Outings like this make me think Rene belongs in the US Title hunt.  [I also can't help but wonder if it is coincidence or not that Tazz threw the term "Pinot Noir" in Cole's face when discussing Rene's choice of wine.... then again, I'm still vaguely curious about Bradshaw deciding to humiliate a guy named "Ricky" two weeks ago, too.  Because I am the center of the universe.]  And of course, Paul Heyman was outstanding, and in weaving his show-opening tale and in facilitating the Dudleys heel turn, reminded me just why I hope this was the START of something big (something that be necessity should cross brands and involve RAW) and not just a one-night thing.
    Anyway, to bottom line it: this was the best SmackDown! since before Mania.  But that's not really saying a whole lot.  I was actually entertained for the entirety of a Thursday night, though, and that's a start....  Big Danny T has the complete details from the show in the OO SD! Recap.  Check it out.
  • SD!'s prelim rating is once again a 2.9, which will mean the final rating will end up somewhere between 2.9 and 3.1.  Which is bad.  At least, it's bad considering where the show was just six weeks ago.  It's right on par with where they've been at the past two week, or so, though.
    RAW's run of being the more-watched brand should continue this week, once we get the final number...  after beating SD! all of three or four times in the last year, RAW is now on a streak of out-drawing SD! five weeks in a row (and six out of the last seven weeks).
    Again: sometimes the internet is a bunch of clueless jerks.  But sometimes, we know what we're talking about.  The mass defection of SD! fans leads me to believe our last month of bitching might be on the money....
  • Oh, and before I leave SD! behind....
    I'll eat a bug if that wasn't Paul London as "El Gran Luchador."  Don't know if it's a gimmick they're going to reprise, or anything, but I personally thought they did a pretty crappy job of trying to keep the identity secret.  Then again, with as many times as London's actually been on Thursday nights, maybe they weren't particularly concerned about a couple dozen "Velocity" fans recognizing him....
  • A pretty interesting newsbite from Jim Ross today...  on "Byte This" he announced that he's working on a deal to bring Jeff Hardy back to WWE.  Made it sound like pretty much of a done deal, actually.
    As big a fan as I am of the idea of putting Matt and Lita back together with the storyline that started on Monday, I'm not sure plugging Jeff in with them is a good idea.  It would lead to "Dudley-itis," in my mind, and Matt's work the last year or two has been so good that fans are buying into him as a singles and even forcing the Fed's hand kind of... so going into a deal where you'd just be a stale, comfortable tag team would be a disservice to him.
    I also don't want to go to the other extreme and say Jeff should just come in as a heel and do a quick feud with Matt...  sort of like the Marty Jannetty to Matt's Shawn Michaels...  because then he'd be marginalized inside of two months.  Is just going to SD!, competing as a Cruiserweight, and staying away from Matt and Lita the answer?  I don't know...
    I think the proper use of Jeff Hardy will be determined by whether or not he can come up with some connection with the audience so that we care about him other than wanting to see him jump off high places.  That has never, not once, been something he's done in WWE.  Exceptionally creepy romantic advances on Trish do not count.  I'm talking about developing a persona that has fans reacting some way other than "Ewwwwwww, that ain't right."
    I thought they MIGHT have been onto something right at the end of Jeff's last stint, where he tried a deal where he was spouting poetry and basically being one of those really obnoxious Creative Types.  Bring him back as kind of poetry-slamming coffee-house wank, tinged with a bit of identity-confused-goth-kid-who-is-always-at-Denny's-at-3am, and see if that works...  nobody likes those people.  Except those people.
    Ring-work-wise, I'm sure Jeff and WWE are both confident that a year off to "recharge the batteries" (euphemism alert!) will result in a sharper Jeff Hardy this time 'round.  But y'all can dust off your "blowing more spots than Monica Lewinsky at a Dalmatian Convention" jokes, anyway.  I'm sure he won't hit 100% of everything he tries....  nobody does.
    So keep an eye out for Jeff making his comeback in the next few weeks...  oughta be interesting to see where they plug him in this time around.
  • Somebody to NOT keep an eye out for: Big Show.  His knee surgeries went down earlier this week, and he'll be on the shelf for about 2 months.  I'm not sure if he got his elbow worked on at the same time, or if that'll be a later procedure.
    Don't know how much stock to put in this one, but I heard a sketchy item about the hope being that Show is back in top form so that he and Eddie can do the SD! main event at SummerSlam.  Which would probably mean being back on TV no later than early July.
  • For the second time in a week, there's a really good Ric Flair interview for you to read from when he was over in England promoting Backlash...
    From the e-mails I got directing me to the website, I gather that one particular paragraph has got a lot of panties in bunches... in it, Flair rails against the interviewer for using insider terminology because he's not in the business, so it's disrespectful.
    Well, shocker of shockers: an old guy has an old-timey way of thinking about things!  Yeah, I think Flair's way off base, but I'm also not surprised that he's got that viewpoint.  I'll reserve my venom for the more contemporary attempts to insult the audience and keep us "dumb," and do annual rants against the New Work.  But I'm not gonna make a big deal out of Ric Flair sticking to his old-timey guns.
    I suggest you do the same, because this interview is really interesting, and you'll be missing the point if you focus on that one paragraph.
    And of course, thanks to all who sent along the link.

  • And as we scrap bottom for the weekend news update, how about a little tidbit about one of Flair's fellow old guys?
    Dusty Rhodes, Professional Actor?   It might happen...  during a recent radio appearance in Atlanta, Dusty was talking about how he'd read for a part on the HBO series "Carnival."  And even though he didn't get it, they liked him so much that they'd just asked him out to LA to try out for a part on "Deadwood."  And apparently, it went very well.
    Call me crazy, but unless Dusty is essentially playing Dusty, I'm not sure I see him as the actor type....
  • And as long as I'm relaying reports about Atlanta radio, I guess I can also pass along some info from a recent Goldberg interview...
    Amidst the expected, but understated, criticisms of his time in WWE (Goldberg did note that he didn't want to say too much because it was possible he WOULD end up back there some day) and talk about his movie career (his next project could be a small role in Adam Sandler's remake of "The Longest Yard), Goldberg did say one very interesting thing...
    He noted that a match in Japan between him and Steve Austin "has never been closer to a reality."  So chalk one up for the Austin-goes-to-Japan rumors... it sounds like there is definitely some talk on the subject going on, and that it's filtered back to Goldberg himself.
  • And hey, while we're doing Ultra Smooth Segues, how about shifting back to some Old Guy News...
    WWE has announced that Terry Funk will be a special "enforcer" at the RAW-brand show in Amarillo, TX, next Friday night (Apr. 30).  The show will be headlined by Benoit vs. HHH, but Funk oughta be a pretty big highlight and selling point for the hometown crowd.
  • Get ready for footage of Hillary Clinton on WWE TV...  at a youth voting summit on Wednesday, Victoria got to meet Hillary and Hillary did a little interview for use on television.  It'll give a nice little boost to the "SmackDown Your Vote" campaign.
    A blurb in this Washington Post article recounts the meeting between Hillary and Victoria, and also includes the tasty morsel that Bill and Hillary are (or at least, were) big wrestling fans.  Give it a read.
  • And I think that's about it for me today.... 

    Well, I guess I'd be remiss if I didn't at least mention that AJ Styles beat Jeff Jarrett for the NWA Title on Wednesday's TNA PPV.  But hey, I didn't see the show, I got all of 2 e-mails about it, so I'm kind of assuming that's not an issue that's at the forefront of our collective minds.  It wasn't even a scheduled match, so the news IS pretty surprising...  but still...  let's get us a weekly TV show, and maybe we can all start caring a little bit more.
    Oh, wait: there is TNA Xplosion.  And I think it's even on here in Dayton.  But I think it's on tonight (Friday), at like 11 o'clock or something on the cable access channel.  I DVR'ed it once, but it was basically a half-assed recap show.  Bzzzt.  You lose, TNA.  I need that hard drive space for my umpteenth viewings of "The Simpsons" and "Family Guy."  
    Yeah.  That's definitely it for me today.  When I let my disinterest in TNA out, I've said too much.  What kind of Internet Wrestling Expert am I, anyway?  
    See you folks again on Monday....



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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