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RAW/Ratings, WWE Guests, TNA Update,
and Other Midweek News...
May 19, 2004

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


How about that Randy Johnson, eh?  Like a jack-ass, I'm watching the Pacers (YAY!) while history is being made... even during halftime, I flip past TBS and don't notice anything interesting, so I hop on the intraweb to kill some time.  Finally, a scanning of the Yahoo Scoreboard told me what's going on JUST in time to check out the ninth inning, and the guy's pumping it in at 98 mph and getting guys to look like complete schmucks at the plate.  I saw the final three outs.  Perfect game.  Amazing.

And I HATE Johnson and the D-Backs.  2001 World Series hatred, folks.  But something that has only happened 17 times in the past 100-plus years, well, I'm a sucker for that.  That's good TV.  Good enough to cheer the enemy.  First time I've seen the end of a Perfect Game someplace other than in SportsCenter highlights, too, so it was exciting to live it in real time.

First Bonds and Clemens tear it up, now Johnson pulls this.  Baseball's partying like it's 1989.  And I think I like it.  Except for the part where Clemens pitches in the Reds' division and we have to face him 5 or 6 times this year.  It's still kinda cool, though...

Rasslin' ain't the only sport where guys have usefulness past 40, it seems:

  • But even in a week with a Perfect Game, and in a week when the Reds sweeping the alleged Best Team in Baseball was the most exciting event to happen in Los Angeles this past weekend (BURN!), I've still got residual praise that needs to go RAW's way, too...
    Women's opener: solid.  Randy Orton/Shelton Benjamin promo? Lazy in the sense that they played the race card for no reason, but I think it sets up what should be a solid PPV feud. All things Kane/Lita/Matt?  Pretty crappy, but I expected that AND it was kept short and to the point.  Tag Title match?  Extremely good, and better than any PPV match we got the night before.  Battle Royale? A little rushed in the opening phases, but very effective once down to the final eight; Kane gets a bit of his bad-assitude back, and HHH/HBK is on like Donkey Kong.
    And then there's The Rock, Eugene, and the Coach (and on the periphery, William Regal).  Exceptional work there, first to bust out the Rock as a surprise, and then to have such strong material for him to work with.  I wasn't kidding yesterday when I said I'm sure that segment will be getting votes in the OO Year End Awards.  Maybe in the "Holy Shit Moment" category, maybe in the "Funniest Segment" category, but definitely somewhere...
    Like I said yesterday, it's a segment that would have been just as fun if it had been Regal (spouting British-isms) who had made the save.  But it would also have been semi-expected.  Carting the Rock out was a get-off-the-couch moment, no doubt about it.  And now, they can continue to leave Regal's true feelings and motivations mysterious for a while longer, which is important, since that's what'll drive Eugene's sustainable storyline.  Rock, you can only use once, really.  Eugene vs. Bischoff's Boy, the Coach, however... well, how Regal fits in there will be interesting, and now, he can remain "conflicted" for a while longer.  Good stuff.
    It's hard to say that an Entertainment Segment Driven show like Monday's compares favorably to the kick-ass Free Per View show of May 3, but it's a close thing.  Both scratch you where you itch, just in different places.  Monday was still a huge step up from the week before though, even if I feel like it was still only the second best RAW of Sweeps Month.
    You can get the complete, detailed results (along with all my pithy and insightful analyses... and possibly the start of my Very Own Catchphrase if I remember to use it again next week, go ahead check it out and try to guess which one it is!) over in the OO RAW Recap.
  • The rating for Monday's show was also favorable.  After an anomalously low rating for the previous week's RAW, this week's edition bounced back up to a 4.0 cable rating.
    Before you start crediting the Rock, or anything, apply a little common sense: how could The Rock have generated massive ratings gain if nobody knew he was gonna be there.  The best you could have hoped for were incremental gains from people who flipped past RAW while Rock was on screen.  Further: the Rock wasn't even the highest rated segment of the show... the main event/battle royale was.
    I think what I'd chalk the ratings up to would be simple continued high interest in the overall RAW product, and further state that last week's drop was a blip on the radar, so it'd be smarter to try to figure out what the one-week drop off was attributed to than to fall all over ourselves figuring out why the ratings are now back to where they were two weeks ago.  That, my friends, is a shitty run-on sentence.  But go back and re-read it a few times, and you'll get what I mean.  
  • A follow-up on TNA...
    First and foremost, I said TNA's Friday afternoon show "Impact" would be 2 hours of event programming.  Bzzzt.  One hour.  Which does jibe more with the fact that they are keeping the Wednesday PPVs rolling for the time being.  Honestly: WWE can't do two 2-hour shows per week that are interesting, these past few months, what chance did TNA have?
    I still see a fundamental disconnect, as the Fox Sports show will be the one that can build the audience (but which costs the company money, as they are buying the timeslot), though the Wednesday PPVs are the ones that will build the bottom line (even though they haven't done that exceptional a job on that front, which is why TNA is pursuing other avenues).  So you see that and think, "Well, then the right business move would be to use the Friday Fox SportsNet show to hype the PPVs."  Except, folks, there's a reason why I don't watch "Xplosion" on my local cable access channel: namely, because an hour of hype does not amuse me.
    So it remains a thin line that TNA must toe.  I hope they get it right, not just cuz I like the idea of another wrestling company, but also just selfishly.  I mean, I'll be checking out "Impact" when it starts on June 4.  I want to be entertained.  But still, I figure, if nothing else, I DVR it, and maybe it's more entertaining when I need pass-out TV at 4am later that night.
  • Also about TNA's new Fox SportsNet show (3pm Fridays), a bunch of people have mailed in about how they don't have Fox SportsNet, or whatever... and it does appear that TNA's clearance on basic cable systems will be less than 100%.  I think Philly's panties are particularly in a bunch over this.
    But: almost anyone with cable SHOULD be able to get this new show if they are really interested.  Look, I was a guy railing Time Warner Cable because of their "required Digital Upgrade" to see PPVs back 3 years ago...  today I stand before you and tell you, "Shut the fuck up and go digital!".  It's worth it.  Add in the DVR box, too, and it will change your life.  And once you have the digital package, you can juice it up however you like.
    Pertinent to our discussion is the Sports Tier, which includes the four or five main Regional Fox SportsNets.  Myself, I don't have it on the grounds that I've got FSN Ohio on the basic package and have no real interest in PAC-10 Softball games or some such nonsense.  But I know it's only about $5 or $6 a month, and it'll give you the chance to see "Impact" on your choice of 5 different channels and at 3 different times, to boot!  And seriously: just about EVERY cable system that's gone digital (channels up into the 700s) will offer this feature, and that's about 90% of you, I'd guess.  Even you in Philly.  So if you care so much to e-mail me about this, there's your solution.
  • Another TNA thing folks have asked about is the fact that TNA is taping the FSN show at Universal Studios in Orlando, FL.  And a lot of you are aware that Jimmy Hart has, for a long time, had a relationship with Universal Studios Florida (the XWF) and had designs on taping wrestling shows there again...
    So the question arises: did Jimmy Hart broker this deal, or is he involved in any way?  And if so, can the Orange Goblin, Hulk Hogan, be far behind?  Unfortunately, I honestly don't know at this point HOW involved Hart was in the deal, though it wouldn't surprise me if he was... 
    And as for Hogan?  Well, after knee surgery last fall and NOT getting together with Vince McMahon for a WM20 appearance, he's probably getting about ready to go again.  And if I wanted to contribute to the conspiracy theories, I'd note that when Jeff Jarrett was making appearance promoting the new FSN show last week, he had footage of him and Hogan butting heads in Japan.  Just TNA putting its best foot forward, even if it's a deceptive foot?  Or TNA knowing something we don't, and getting started with the process of reviving the Hogan deal?
    Chew on that one for a bit, folks.  Let me know how it tastes.  Myself, I'd lean towards "Maybe Jimmy Hart is involved, but that doesn't mean anything, and Jarrett talking about the Hogan incident was just him trying to make TNA sound bigger than it is."  But you can get yourself worked up for whatever you want to get worked up for...
  • On Monday, I mentioned that Dallas Page and Konnan were both backstage at Judgment Day... I further said that some folks were talking about Konnan actually getting a job with the Fed, and that it might include a feud with Eddie Guerrero.  I guess maybe I jumped the gun and was running with exceptionally unsubstantiated rumors.
    Konnan is not as close to a WWE deal as I'd said, nor are his aspirations along the lines of main eventing PPVs.  I guess he'd rather stick to announcing (possibly doing Spanish Language stuff for WWE), which is about 75% of what he's doing in TNA these days.  So there: I fucked up.  We are NOT about to follow up the Dark Days of Bradshaw with the Even Darker Days of Konnan.
    Of course, DDP's status is that he is starting a wrestling comeback, but like I said Monday, his presence at the show was not in the vein of looking for work.  He wants to keep it simple and do indies for now.  He's all of one match into his comeback after 2 years on the shelf.
    Also: I guess Sean "X-Pac" Waltman was also backstage at the PPV.  Other than "he was hanging with HHH," I have no idea anything else he was up to.  He could have been asking about a job, he could just have been comparing notes about how nutty that Chyna is, I don't know.  And yes, HHH skipped a RAW house show to be at the PPV, but is that REALLY so surprising?  The guy's a McMahon-in-law and has his fingers in a punch of pots...
  • A couple weeks ago, we talked about long-time Japanese female star Takako Inoue getting a try-out with WWE at this week's TV tapings.  Readers of the Spoilers will see that she did NOT work any matches...
    But she did attend at least 2 of the 3 WWE TV events (PPV/RAW/SD), and got an in-ring try-out BEFORE fans got into the building against Jazz.  Less pressure, letting her show what she can do physically without necessarily having to put it together in a match format (I'm not 100%, but there may have been a language barrier issue, here), that sort of thing.
    We should know in the next week or two if the try-out was enough to impress WWE officials into granted her a contract...
  • Speaking of Spoilers, they are depressing this week.  I won't say anything specific, but even though there seem to be 1 or 2 really good matches coming our way tomorrow night, they are couched in an overall context of suck.
    Let's just say that if you liked Judgment Day you are (a) alone, and (b) gonna like the next month of SD!'s overall booking direction.
    Check the spoilers, if you dare.  Once again, I've taken the liberty of pre-analyzing the show and put in the snarky remarks I'd normally save back for Friday on the grounds that SOMEbody has to be entertaining and interesting... and from what WWE served up at the tapings, it wasn't them.  Enjoy.
  • Matt Hardy skipping the Battle Royale on Monday night made sense to a lot of people just as a "selling the Kane attack" kind of thing.  But he's also nursing a sore knee, so that might actually have been the reason they DID the Kane attack to write him out...
    Meantime, Christian's absence seemed a bit more ominous, since the "week-old cage match injuries" claim didn't ring as true.  But it's nothing too horrible: strained lower back, I think is the deal.  He also sat out house shows over the weekend, is expected to take another weekend off here (though he'll be at RAW, with his role depending on how he feels, next week), and then be back at it in time for the UK tour the weekend after that.
  • I'm about done for today... I just want to close with a quick request.  Any of you who are computer geeks or tech nerds or whatever (I use these terms in the nicest possible way), I'm kind of curious about some obvious virus/worm e-mails I've been getting...
    No, I'm not dumb enough to open strange attachments or anything, I get scores of these stupid things a day, it seems, and I'm able to handle them.  But I'm curious as to why, lately, some of them APPEAR to come from people I know, usually other OO writers (mostly the ones who have AOL and Yahoo accounts, actually)... and sometimes from bogus OO mail accounts, too (which is baffling).  And then, the capper, the thing that made me curious enough to ask: yesterday, I got a couple of them from my old buddy Mike Samuda's e-mail address.  Well, not really from him, but that's what it looked like at first glance.
    How in the hell does whatever worm this is know who to put in the "From" header like that.  At first, I kind of assumed that it was some kind of thing where some mechanism just scanned OO, and logged the e-mail addresses, and then started firing off viruses that seemed to be "from" one of them "to" another, in an attempt to make me think that Brad Smoley and others are trying to destroy my hard drive.  But then, how in the hell does MiCasa's old e-mail get involved?
    So I'm worried that maybe my PC is actually infected already, and that somehow my own address book is being used to generate these falls "From" headers.  Which it shouldn't be, since I have all the popular Anti-Virus, SpyWare, and Firewall technology up and running, and have since time immemorial.
    Can anybody explain how these virus/trojans/whatever they are work?  Am *I* infected here in Dayton, OH?  Does the mail from fake OO accounts mean my mail- or web-server has issues?  Or am I just over-reacting, and should I keep on deleting hundreds of e-mails a day without reading them because they are suspicious?
    Help me, Obi Wan, you're my only hope....
  • That's all today.  I'm on the fence for whether or not I'll be here on Friday.  It'll depend on coordinating other columns to fill in for me as well as my own motivation/time management.  I'm off to Chicago for a bachelor party this weekend!
    Somebody warn Delilah's (a/k/a "The Best Bar in the Universe") and tell them to stock an extra bottle or two of Maker's Mark.  And make sure that the hot bartender that was working there 2 years ago serving me quadruples for $6 (I was ordering doubles) is working, too!  A double Maker's costs $6 here in Dayton, and it rarely comes to me courtesy of something other than a scruffy dude and NEVER comes in quadruple form!  Needless to say, I loved that place, and have an arrangement with the groom-to-be that as soon as any dumbass tries to hijack the party to a titty bar, we're hitting Delilah's.  Whoo!
    So maybe I'll see you Friday, maybe not.  Well, unless you're reading this at WrestleLine, in which case, you definitely won't see me here on Friday.  Remember, The Rick is only a Tue/Wed feature here.  The rest of me is only at OnlineOnslaught.com!
    Later on, folks...


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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