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RAW, Ratings, Super Velocity?, 
DDP, Regal, and Other Midweek News
February 6, 2004

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Thanks to everybody who felt the need to console me upon the official announcement of Monday's bad news:  you see, Guided by Voices, one of my more favorite bands of the last 10 years, is putting out a record in August, doing one last tour, and calling it quits.

I actually didn't know it was official until the dozen or so e-mails rolled in... but here in town (I'm only one generation removed from having played in a band with Bob Pollard, so the Rock Scene Buzz I hear is usually pretty close to spot on) the rumors were definitely swirling about GbV breaking up more than a week ago.  Bob wants to maybe open up a club in town to try to revitalize the band scene here, says the Buzz.  Which would be sweet.  And frankly, nobody around here expects it to take much longer than mid-2005 before the GbV Reunion Tours start up...

So thanks for thinking of me.  But I kind of already knew.  And they've really only put out about one and a half really awesome records since about 1998, so maybe it was time.  I think maybe they even knew it: last time I saw them live, they did a 90 minute set of newer stuff, and then the 60-minute encore was basically all of 1994's OUTSTANDING "bee thousand" album with other classic hits thrown in.  So I'll live, folks.  I'll live.  But thanks for the consolation.

Before I forget: while you're all being thoughtful, if anyone out there has last night's "24" on tape, I think Erin Anderson still needs a copy.  Help her out.  And don't be a dickhead and make her pay postage or for a blank, either:  she's been entertaining you for a year now, so it's the least you can do.  

Looking at what we got today, I wish I had more rambling nonsense, but I don't really... so on with (what passes for) the show:

  • We start with Monday's RAW... and unfortunately, I did such an eloquent and complete job of covering my main thoughts about RAW in the Recap that I kind of feel like I'll be repeating myself, here...
    But my main point about the show was that No, it wasn't quite as awesome a show as the week before.  But it wasn't designed to be.  It was designed to set the table for what we here at OO like to call a "Free Per View" show next week...  Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Benoit ought to kick all kinds of ass, and it deserves to have a little extra build-up.  And THAT is what Monday was all about.
    They nudged storylines forward, they had fairly entertaining stuff going on at all times, but mostly, it was all prelude to Benoit and Michaels facing off to end the show.  Chairshot for Benoit.  Sharpshooter for Michaels.  And next week, it's on.  I'll be there with bells on.
    Stuff I really liked a lot: the pacing of the show (a bit more Crash-TV in terms of how the segments seamlessly moved from one storyline to another: example, a Stacy T&A Moment turned into Orton/Harley/Shelton), the use of Tajiri as a credible (but still underdog) challenger for HHH, the return of Funny HHH in the backstage/blinded skit, and the pure quality of the TV main event match.
    Stuff that didn't click as well:  Jerry Lawler really pissed me off during the opening tag match (I won't re-rant, but check the recap, if you care), I've got a nagging feeling that Kane might be headed into another Phase of Sucking (although a few readers correctly noted that my fears of the revival of the Kane The Irritable Virgin angle are misplaced since the Kane the Katie Vick Raping Necrophiliac angle superceded it, I still just don't like the idea of Kane making smoochy faces at ANYone; it's not him), and Rob Conway/Rhyno could probably have been a LOT shorter as I got real antsy and thought about FF'ing to the Eugene pay-off about 2 minutes into what shouldn't really have been more than a 90 second background match.  And remember: I LIKE Rhyno.
    A very effective station-keeping show.  You weren't gonna get blown away...  but you were gonna be entertained and were gonna get a little more fired up about next week.  That's not a bad way to spend two hours.  What's this, like six or seven really solid efforts in a row for RAW?
    Get the complete details and analysis of the show in yesterday's OO RAW Recap, if you still need it.
  • Actually, speaking of my recap, there's something I need to address...
    Approximately 1.3 billion of you caught me with my pants down, and had to mail in to let me hear about it.  In the recap, I said Benoit put Michaels in the Crossface to close out the show.  In reality, he used the Sharpshooter.  Good call, people.
    Hey, I might argue that my telling of the story was still crystal clear to anyone who didn't see the show, so it's not that big a mistake... that the point got across, anyway, and you understood what was going on.  But frankly, I'm just glad to have gotten the feedback.  One of my lingering insecurities is when I check OO's stats and see that only about one-third as many people read the Recap as read one of these M/W/F columns.  And at first, that was cool, since I didn't like Recapping, and wasn't very good at it.  The last six months or so, though, dammit, I have more good lines and observations in the Recap than I do in a month's worth of Friday throw-away columns, so I wish people were reading it more.  My line yesterday about Tajiri, HHH, and the Black Mist, for example:  Restaurant Quality, baby!
    I haven't checked stats lately, but maybe A Ton of Corrections = A Ton More People Reading the Recap.  And that'd be fine with me.  Will you all read more if I promise to keep making mistakes that you can correct, and in so doing, make yourselves feel that much smarter?
    Although I do feel kind of bad: a bunch of you hounded me about the Crossface/Sharpshooter frick-up, which ultimately didn't really affect the quality of my storytelling... but nobody wrote in to tell me what a freaking jack-ass I sounded like for using different forms of the verb "to culminate" about 9 different times in the recap?  Twice should have been the limit...  but that's what I get for writing in chunks and not remembering exactly what phrases I've already turned, instead of doing it in one smooth pass.
  • RAW's not just a hit with critics like me this week... it's also up in the ratings.  They show did a 4.0 cable rating on Monday, up two ticks from where it had been for the previous three weeks.  This is Very Good News, as a larger-than-usual audience showed up to see the hype for what will be a more-important-than-usual match...  unless something is very out of whack with the world, that means next week's HBK/Benoit match should draw VERY well. 
  • With WWE's line-up on SpikeTV getting shaken up this weekend, they are trying to load up a bit, at least for Velocity...
    Velocity features no fewer than THREE top-level, Thursday-caliber superstars slumming it, to hopefully get the show off to a rip-roaring ratings start in its new timeslot.  If you want to see John Cena, Rey Mysteiro, and John Bradshaw Layfield, tune in to Velocity, on SpikeTV, this Saturday night at 7pm!
    Well, if you want to see Cena and Rey, anyway...
    And actually, Bradshaw working Velocity means you will NOT have to endure him tomorrow night on SD!  Except for one brief taped vignette!  SmackDown!'s looking up already!
    You can get the complete Spoiler Report (including Heat, the semi-loaded Velocity, and of course, SmackDown!) right here.
  • A couple weeks ago, Diamond Dallas Page announced he was gonna be looking to step back into the wrestling ring...  
    Well, today, we have his first official date set in stone.  He'll be wrestling May 15 for Action Zone One in Concho, OK.  Unless I'm massively mis-remembering things, AZ1 is the attempted American branch of Japan's Zero-One promotion, and is being managed by Dusty Rhodes.  In fact, both Dusty and Dustin Rhodes are also on the show.  No actual line-up or opponent for DDP has been announced, but Page will definitely be on the show (which is being held at an Indian Casino).
    DDP announced his retirement about 18 months ago, but it's actually been over two years since his last match.  He last worked shortly after WMX-8 in 2002 before injuries took their toll... he contemplated various alternatives before going the retirement route about six months later.  It'll be very interesting to see how he performs upon his comeback...
  • Speaking of comebacks: it's only been a little over ONE year for William Regal, but he expects to be cleared for active duty very soon.
    In fact, if you were curious about why they booked Eugene's debut match against Conway for two weeks from now (May 10), well, let's just say it's not as a birthday present to The Me... it's because that's the first RAW after Regal's next meeting with doctors and the the first RAW where he expects to be cleared to take bumps and do all that stuff.
    Everybody assumes Regal will get clearance, and I'm assuming the way things play out in Eugene's debut match will set us up for a La Resistance vs. Eugene/Regal match later down the line.
    And in the interim, I still want training vignettes in which Regal attempts to teach Eugene some basic holds, but succeeds mostly in getting hit in the balls.  They're missing a big chance if they don't do that...
  • On the issue of HHH: his departure to go make his movie has been nudged back, but it's still happening.  Don't worry.  The original plan was "late April or early May," and we won't be missing that window by much.
    To help keep RAW running hot and cover for Austin evaporating, HHH is sticking around a couple extra weeks...  basically, the Fed is working with the idea that they need HHH back on TV by mid-July to get him in the mix for SummerSlam, so they'll push back the filming of the movie as far as they can to take advantage of HHH now, while still being able to get him back in time for the next major PPV.
    I firmly expect that next week's Benoit/HBK match will really firm things up for HHH to leave.  Whether that means setting up one final kiss-off match/angle that comes out of the match, or HBK going heel to help cover for HHH while he's gone, or whatever, I'm thinking we'll have a better idea what form HHH's departure will take after next Monday.
    And still: I can't get the Black Mist idea out of my head...
  • Speaking of Austin's departure fouling up plans...
    The planned Stone Cold Brew is not gonna happen this fall.  WWE pulled the plug on the idea since Austin isn't with the company any longer.  The upstate-New York brewery that was gonna make the beer is out of luck, and one of the local newspapers up there picked up on the story.  Thanks to all who passed it along.
    Also on the issue of WWE divestment of Stone Cold: many have been mailing in the last week to say that they can't believe it, but all the Austin merchandise on WWE Shopzone is like half-price.  Even if Austin's not with the company, you'd think he'd have enough fans who'd pay full price, but no...  the Fed just wants to get rid of the stuff, and you can get some GREAT deals, it sounds like.  
    And why not buy something now?  I really think Austin will be back in WWE, so you'll have plenty of future chances to wear your half-price t-shirt...  happy shopping.
  • Going back to Monday for a final pointless item...
    On the issue of "The Simpsons" mocking lovely Dayton, OH, with this weekend's new episode, it took a pair of readers to point out something I should probably have realized from the start...  they probably picked Dayton to mock because the voice of Bart (Nancy Cartwright, I want to say?) is from here.  In fact, one of my good buddies (and former Dayton Flyer Legend) Andy Meyer's non-basketball claim to fame is that Bart Simpson used to babysit him when he was a kid.  So yeah, I bet it's HER fault: she has turned on her hometown!
    I was too busy sitting there scheming up acronyms and some way to use the show for my rambling opening paragraphs to have thought of that.  Damn me!  And Damn You, Voice of Bart!
    Though mostly, I still just say it was good to have an actually funny episode of "The Simpsons" for once, mocking my town notwithstanding...
  • Yeah, I think that's about all I got...  we've got other good stuff lined up for OO this week (including the Very Special Survivor Series/Tuesday In Texas DOUBLE SHOT of OOTRR), so check that all out.  And I'm back again with something for y'all to enjoy on Friday.  


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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