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RAW Fall-Out, SummerSlam, Vince Talks,
Bracing for "Impact," and Other News...
June 2, 2004

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Somebody help me out here: I'm watching last night's Pacers/Pistons game with rapt attention.  No time shifting, no channel flipping, pretty much the first NBA game all year I've actually watched whistle-to-whistle.  Having your favorite team on the bubble will do that to you... so obviously, it's the first time I'm hanging on every replay, watching every second, and in doing so, I could not help but notice: on the above-the-rim cam, Detroit's product-placement read (and I am NOT making this up or hallucinating, it appeared SEVERAL times) "pitons.com".  Pitons.com.  

Since I did kind of breeze through past games in Detroit, I can't say for sure if I missed it or if this was a new twist for Game Six, so I ask you folks: which is it?  Because if "Pitons.com" was there for any longer than one game, I hereby declare the Indiana Pacers to be the Eastern Conference Champions on the grounds that the Detroit Pistons are an embarrassingly-stupid organization who should be penalized one (1) play-off game loss for every game that such a glaring typographical error was shown on national television.

I mean honestly, we're not talking about some third-rate website where the guy in charge tosses off first-draft columns and doesn't make nearly enough money from the operation to pretend he cares about typos.  We're talking about a multi-billion dollar basketball league.  And it's something that looks like it'd take about 15 minutes to fix.  And if not, how about 18 inches of duct tape to cover up your retardedness until you CAN get it fixed?  And it's YOUR OWN TEAM'S NAME, fer chrissakes.  Jeez...

Oh well, on with today's Onine Onslaugh!  Remember that name: it's Onine Onslaugh for ALL the finest in Pro Wrestling News and Analysis!

  • I'm still at a loss for how exactly to encapsulate my thoughts about Monday's RAW.  It had its moments, sure.  But I'll be damned if I wasn't completely baffled by the absence of ANY forward push in key PPV storylines.  Especially Benoit vs. Kane.
    I mean, at the end of the day, I LIKE WRESTLING.  And in this case, I mean "wrestling" as in what Vince McMahon likes to call "Sports Entertainment," not "wrestling" as in "wall-to-wall 40 minute Chris Benoit matches."  So I enjoyed Monday's show when it was hitting its high notes.
    But is it so wrong to have been wanting more?  Two weeks out from a PPV, I want something to be enthusiastic about, something that makes me excited about coming back next week and shelling out for Bad Blood.  It's especially important for RAW to get back some of that sizzle, I think, given how much of my enthusiasm has been sapped by SD! lately...  instead, just kind of two hours of "Hey, that was OK," and then at 11:05, I'm flipping around looking for SportsCenter or the Daily Show instead of getting fired up to check in on the OO RAW Chat or anything like that.  Thirty seconds after RAW was over, wrestling was already the furthest thing from my mind.
    I think that's where my pissiness comes from: for almost three months preceding, RAW would finish up, and I'd want nothing more than to immediately go into Talk About What Just Happened and Then Talk Some More About What Might Happen Next Mode.  In the last two weeks, RAW has lost that spark with shows that seem to have adopted the SmackDown! Credo of "Just Randomly Throw Shit At The Wall, And Don't Worry About Your Looming Pay-Per-View."
    Think about it: we have one RAW to go before Bad Blood, and four matches are announced.  Of those four: (1) one sells itself because HHH/HBK have already blown us away before and Hell in the Cell is almost-always awesome, (2) one has nominal heat on it because Shelton has now beaten Orton twice in the last two weeks, and (3 and 4) the two with actual titles on the line have been almost entirely neglected.  Seriously: a grand total of 3 minutes has been spent on Kane and Benoit having any reason to fight, and the best storytelling between Victoria and Gail Kim took place back a month ago before "Vickishi" showed up and has since been completely obscured by a crappy dancing make-over.  What the hell?
    The only real forward progress RAW made were in two areas: (1) getting the tag belts off of Benoit was important and now they can at least TRY to reconstruct that division with champs who are a real tag team and can focus on tag team stories, and (2) Trish did a nice job handling the Highlight Reel, basically doing the grunt work necessary so that Tyson Tomko is ALMOST viewed by fans as a viable PPV opponent for Chris Jericho.  Of course, this does nothing to solve the problems that (1) La Resistance has no immediate PPV-caliber challengers and that (2) it's not really THAT much of a compliment to say that the most convincing heel in a PPV match between Tomko and Jericho would be outside the ring, but....
    I don't know... the show fun moments, but enough to really carry a whole show and make it seem like something special?  Probably not.  The stuff we'll take away from this Monday's RAW will probably all involve Randy Orton's titanic struggle against the Turnbuckle Pad; and that's not a good thing...
    I'll recuse myself from further ranting and raving (including about what I thought was a mis-use of Eugene) on the grounds that I already did that ranting and raving yesterday.  It so happens I also actually stopped ranting and raving for vast stretches of time so that I could tell you what ACTUALLY HAPPENED on RAW, as well.  So please do check all that out in the always-excellent OO RAW Recap.
  • As of this Wednesday early afternoon writing, there are no ratings available for Monday's RAW.  Chalk it up to a holiday delay.
  • On Tuesday, WWE officially announced that SummerSlam would take place in Toronto, and held a big press conference/pep rally featuring both RAW and SD! stars...
    "Pep rally" is probably closer to accurate.  Based on live reports, nobody really said a whole lot except about how excited they were to be coming to Toronto.  As far as the talents go, this makes sense since SummerSlam is still so far off that they wouldn't know who to cut promos on or talk about in terms of building hype.  As far as officials goes, Jim Ross and Vince McMahon were generally evasive anytime issues like Bret Hart or Sting came up.
    About the most important element to come out of the SummerSlam announcement is that tickets go on sale to the public this Saturday.
    And of course, before the public on-sale, there will be an internet presale, starting Friday morning at 10am (eastern).  You have to go to Ticketmaster.ca (not dot-com!) and find the event, and then just use the password "toronto," and you can get tickets before anyone else.
    Thanks to those who passed on the password.  One person also noted that although this password will only be good starting at 10am on Friday, TicketBastard's website indicated there were DIFFERENT pre-sales starting tomorrow (Thursday), but he didn't know what those passwords might be.
    I hope that the Friday pre-sale works out for some of you, and I apologize if I'm only getting you in on the SECOND wave of pre-sale action.  But I gotta work with the hand I've been dealt.
  • The RAW guys who stuck around for the press conference had to stay on the road an extra day, but it was an easy appearance for the SD! crew, who taped tomorrow's SD! in Toronto last night.  
    And for the second week in a row, I'm gonna be going into the show fresh, since I got complete/detailed spoilers and could just cut and paste those into a page today without having to pour over them and compile a complete set of tapings results from different e-mails.
    Only problem is, I also got a quick note from Our Very Own Canadian Bulldog, and his subject header was "I Paid $30 For This Shit?" which kind of gives me the impression I've got not much to look forward to on UPN tomorrow night...
    Anyway, if you want to be smarter than The Rick (at least, for a day and a half) and find out what happens on SmackDown! before it's on TV, I've got all your spoilers right here.  Click away, Nosy Brooks!
  • As another facet of the WWE Toronto PR Campaign, Vince McMahon appeared on TSN's "Off the Record" last night (and will be on again tonight)...
    Readers who saw it thought it was a pretty interesting show, with Vince coming off pretty well, even as he had to address touchy issues such as Steve Austin's status and his past with Bret Hart.
    About Austin: Vince painted Austin's absence as entirely Austin's decision, said WWE left a nice offer on the table for him, but he has opted not to pick it up.  Mentioned that lawyers getting involved is part of the problem, but that he and Steve always seem to get along pretty well, one-on-one.  Did kind of take a cheap shot when he went out of the way to say that the fans aren't exactly clamoring for Austin to come back, but also was plenty accommodating in admitting that the door was always open for an Austin return.
    About Bret: says they met back in April, says he thinks that he and Bret are back on the same page and are friends again.  Says that a big reason for the meeting was discussing a Bret Hart DVD project that should come together soon.  Vince hedged on apologizing to Bret or his fans because he still thinks, in the same situation, he might have to protect his business and his interests and do the same thing, but does admit that the way things went down was "unfortunate" (we have an early candidate for Understatement of the Year!).  But Vince also puts Bret over and calls him a true Canadian Hero.
    About other stuff: pretty much admitted that HHH is a McMahon, including him with Shane and Stephanie when talking about who'll run the company when he's gone...  defends the decision to change Benoit's hometown to Atlanta, because it does make him more marketable to US fans...  says he considers his relationship with Goldberg to be "good"...  and says he's recently spoken with Hulk Hogan, who just wanted to drop a line and let Vince know, "Hey, I'm feeling pretty good, lately."
    Sounds like pretty good stuff.  You lucky Canucks can check out Part 2 of the interview tonight on TSN.  Some of you better remember to again send me more recap info, too, so I can do the highlights in Friday's column!
  • Many folks have written in asking what's going on with Brock Lesnar, since he was supposed to have had his NFL try-out in the last few weeks... well, I guess his motorcycle accident wound up putting the kibosh on those plans, and Lesnar is now targeting mid-June for his try-out.
    That said, along with people asking what was going on, there's also been an upsurge of readers mailing in saying that they've heard their team is now hopping on the Lesnar bandwagon.  Obviously, Lesnar's hometown Vikings remain in the mix, and I think that's also Lesnar's #1 option, personally.  But I've had people from Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Phoenix, and Milwaukee (Green Bay) mail in the last few days saying they've heard or read something about Lesnar.
    All I know is this: as soon as Lesnar's latest nagging injury (a groin pull) is OK, he'll do an open try-out later this month, and any team that wants to come look, can come look.  I'm not an avid enough follower of the NFL to say for sure if your team is gonna be there, or if they're just considering it, or if they're not interested at all.  All I know is that the two teams I *do* try to follow (Giants and Bengals, at least when it seems like they might be good) don't seem to have Lesnar on the radar at all.  Beyond that, I must sadly cut you folks free.
    Hey, for all my digressing onto other subjects this *is* a wrestling website, not a football one!
  • A final thing today: with SD! struggling, maybe fans will give a chance to another late-week wrestling alternative, as TNA gears up for its FOXSports Net debut on Friday.
    The show will be taped tomorrow night in Orlando, FL, and TNA has already begun hyping the unique atmosphere and set-up -- which will include a six-sided wrestling ring -- that fans will be treated to on Friday afternoon (3pm YOUR TIME in most markets with an FSN affiliate).
    The TNA product which, if we are to be totally honest, has kind of been sluggish the past few months and has dropped down my List of Things to Be Interested In, is definitely ramping up.  We've had a couple NWA Title changes, and the belt now rests with Ron Killings (the first NWA champ of the TNA era, actually), as the company celebrates its 2 year anniversary and gets national cable exposure.
    TNA also seems to have hit upon another unique match concept, one that actually has tons of potential for drama and excitement (instead of for blown spots and technical difficulties, a la the Ultimate X concept).  That'll debut on tonight's TNA PPV, as it's a "King of the Mountain" match.  Think "Ladder Match With Extras," as it's not only going to involve five men all out for themselves (including all three of TNA's most marketable stars: Jeff Jarrett, Raven, and AJ Styles, along with champ Killings and Chris Harris) instead of the requisite two, but there will also be pinfalls and submissions allowed.  But: in a cool twist, the loser is NOT eliminated, but rather has to serve a "penalty" (and if your mind isn't racing ahead to having two guys fighting inside the penalty box, well then, that's why my wrestling IQ is what is and I've got the website instead of you) and will be re-released into the match later.  Could be VERY interesting if given time to develop.  
    Oh, the final twist: the goal will be to grab the NWA Title belt and use a ladder to hang the belt up above the arena.  I think TNA has used "reverse ladder match" to describe this aspect, but really, it's kind of the same thing as a regular ladder match: guys fight in the ring to incapacitate opponents so they can climb a ladder and do something with a title belt.  That's a no-value-add in my mind, but I do love the possibilities of the penalty box and the fact that TNA is putting five quality workers and marketable personalities into such an intriguing match.
    So I guess you can check out tonight's PPV as a way of getting ready for Friday afternoon's FSN debut.  I mean hell, it sounds like an interesting match, and who knows who TNA will want to have wearing the belt when they make their national cable debut?  Make the "safe" play of going with Jarrett?  Maybe FINALLY give Raven the title he's been fighting for for 18 months?  Keep it on Killings or give it to Styles again to delineate TNA as a totally fresh product with new stars and not WWE cast-offs?  I'd come up with a hype-line for Harris, but really, I only remember him as a tag team wrestler from before I got disinterested in TNA...
    And if you don't check out tonight's PPV, OO will have your back.  Tomorrow, we'll be publishing a special TNA Viewers' Guide to help make sure you're full prepared for TNA Impact on FSN even if you've never seen even one minute of the TNA product...  so come on back and be sure to check that out!
  • And on that note, I'm done for today.  After you're done with "Impact" on Friday afternoon, come on over to OO for a fresh news/views column from me, along with whatever else is deemed publishable for the weekend.  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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