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Dayton is RAW, PPV Fall-out, 
Another Glancing Impact, More...
June 14, 2004

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Thanks to all who mailed in with a little help about last night's Bad Blood... I missed almost the entire Orton/Benjamin match and a backstage skit with Lita and Matt Hardy, from the sounds of things.

Anyway, people were very complimentary towards the Orton/Benjamin match, saying it was pretty fast paced and exciting by the end (including Ric Flair getting involved to good effect).  So that's just ANOTHER reason to have been satisfied with the show.  Even with the weather-related PPV outage, we were happy enough already...

  • I don't think I've got a whole lot to add to last night's immediate post-show PPV Recap...  Hell in the Cell was an excellent match in a way a bit different from what we've been conditioned to expect in HitC contests: more time went into constructing the psychology of the match than into constructing insane high spots.  And it paid off.  Once they passed the 40 minute mark and were selling the total exhaustion, it could have gotten a bit cheesy, but fans HAD to be totally on the same page because of how well-put-together the match had been to that point.
    And Kane/Benoit was a surprising source of technical grappling proficiency.  Not so much because we didn't think the two capable of it, but because all signs pointed to Kane's stupid sidebar issues with Lita overshadowing the wrestling match.  Didn't happen that way, at all, and instead, we got a really good match that was contested in a style that will really help the character of Chris Benoit (technical wrestling "machine"), instead of one that would have assassinated the character of Kane (which would have been likely if they'd let the Lita stuff get in the way).
    You throw in Eugene and Coach delivering a fun 10 minute Sports Entertainment Segment, a solid opening tag match that also played into the effectiveness of the Kane/Benoit match, a women's title match that was pretty much non-stop action, and apparently a really good IC Title match (even if I didn't see the match, it seemed like Orton's better-than-his-usual promo work before hand was a harbinger of good things)... that's a winning recipe right there.
    Again, you can get the full report from last night's Bad Blood PPV by clicking right here.
  • The OO Team Coverage of Bad Blood resulted in an overall "hit rate" of 47.6% (nine staffers picking seven matches each, we got 30 out of 63 right).
    Starting this month, we're also sort of informally battling WrestleLine's staff with our picks...  I didn't check their predictions, but I'll say this: if they couldn't beat 47%, they got problems.  I bow to WL, I guess.  They know their wrestling.  But we here at OO are still way more cooler and better looking and fun to hang out with!
    Jesus, for two years running, I don't make a big deal out of my PPV picks, and I maintain a pretty solid 75% average... now the last four months, I can't even hit 50%, and THIS month, with Site Pride on the line, my suckiness rubs off on everyone else!
    On the bright side: I, personally, was only one match away from being the winner of the OO side of the Predictions Battle.  We actually had a big tie on top: Canadian Bulldog, Matt Hocking, and the Cubs Fan all picked 4 out of 7 matches correctly to co-hold the crown this month.
    Myself and everyone else (Erin, Fonzo, Adam, Jeb, and Immo) picked 3 out of 7 correctly.  So: a three-way tie for first, and then a six-way tie for fourth... easily the least deviation we've had for these things since we started up at WM20.
    Although...  after predicting all seven matches, I also predicted that I'd only get TWO of them right.  So should that count as a failed prediction, and send me tumbling into the basement with a 3-for-8 scorecard?  Nah... that's kooky talk.  I'm 3-for-7, baby, fourth-place, just one match out of first!  Hooray for me!
  • And that brings us to tonight, where RAW can't afford to let its guard down...  with recent shake-ups in the PPV schedule (in this case, the addition of the SD!-only Great American Bash in two weeks), RAW has taken over custody of July's Vengeance PPV.  So they've got four weeks to build up another set of pay-per-view caliber match-ups.
    To say the Fed's got options would be an understatement: they could continue (SD!-style) by re-hashing storylines for an off-month PPV.  It wouldn't be tough to have a frustrated Kane do something to keep himself in the World Title mix; more go-rounds for Orton/Shelton and Jericho/Tomko would be easy to do, too.  But they could also shake things up, and fairly drastically, if they want...
    Triple H, I think, earns himself a ticket back into the World Title feud after last night.  If he's not going anywhere to make a movie, then his HitC win could put him in line to be the "off month" challenger to Benoit... but more likely, I think, would be HHH somehow going into a slow burn so he gets the SummerSlam title shot.  Who might get the July PPV title shot, then?  People are STILL thinking Edge might not be long for a babyface, so there's one little conspiracy theory.  Another theory (one even less pertinent) notes that Randy Orton is the featured star in Vengeance PPV promotional artwork, so maybe he gets the shot (by that logic, Edge should have been the star of Bad Blood, though).
    Of course, no matter when or where HHH decides to get back into the World Title picture, I'm thinking maybe tonight's not the night...  this is one of those deals where it wouldn't surprise me if the Fed gave both HHH and Michaels the night off to sell the brutality of their HitC match.
    And what of Kane if he's not gonna get the July PPV rematch?  Tell you what: he can have that match, if they just promise, once and for all, to give us non-stupid closure on his thing with Lita.  Of course, I instead fear that last Monday's "It's not over" promise will lead to tangential silliness becoming Kane's primary activity now that he's been beaten by Benoit.  He probably has more business with Team Xtreme than he does with the Wolverine.
    The Women's division is kind of a mess, with all potentially useful Molly/Gail/Victoria storylines down the toilet, and a dire need for new ones to take their place.  The best I can think of: let Trish do a quick week or two against Victoria (since Victoria can, rightly, claim she was never beaten in the four-way match), and then Trish vs. Lita takes the lead. You can even feature some mixed tag matches with Tomko and Matt getting involved as a way to tread some water while Christian's out and they "rest" the Jericho/Christian feud.  I think, in the interim, you could do something like throw Jericho at Randy Orton and have it work out REALLY well for a little off-month feud.  Also: I think I have a legal claim on getting a royalty check for every time Jericho would use "Young Randall" in a promo, so let's hook 'em up, says I!
    The tag division's even worse, as it's a shapeless mess AND it's seriously depleted; it's not like there's a criminally under-utilized tag team equivalent of Molly Holly sitting on the sidelines ready to challenge La Resistance.  There's just no one: the best babyface options involve make-shift teams like Benoit/Edge and teams that don't, technically, exist at this point (like the supposedly still re-uniting Hardy Boyz, or like a Eugene/Regal tandem if Regal ever gets back on the active roster).
    I guess what I'm getting at is that tonight's a bit of a Reset RAW...  or at least, I hope that it is.  What RAW canNOT afford is to backpedal into shows like they put on the last half of May, where it seemed like *I* was the only one concerned with building up a full slate of PPV-ready feuds.  Tepid, marking time shows like that have their place, but that place is generally during "off-PPV" months.  The new schedule means that RAW doesn't have an off-month luxury this time 'round.  Right off of Bad Blood, and straight into Vengeance...
    Then again, I'm probably just stumping for an extra-exciting show because RAW's here in Dayton tonight.  Truthfully, I'll probably have myself a hell of a good time, no matter what: the Nutter Center's enlightened policy of selling hard liquor will allow me to reach whiskeylibrium, that magical place where Everything Is Good.  I even had a blast last time the Fed brought TV to town, and that was a kind of storyline-light SD! taping right after the unpleasantness of 9/11/2001.
    I actually half-hope that RAW brings us something more note-worthy and historically-significant than that last SD!...  we fans in Dayton have been spoiled over the years: we got the first King of the Ring, the first-ever Hogan/Flair match, the last-ever Piper's Pit (until his comeback last year, anyway), the debuts of the Road Warriors and Hacksaw Jim Duggan, and all kinds of neat stuff.  
    So why not make sure you check out tonight's show: sadly, our seating situation is such that I can virtually guarantee that you won't see me (or an "ORTON FEARS JEB" sign, although more on the grounds of how for all my egoism, I still have this weird modesty that'd make me feel really self-conscious about bringing OO-promotional signs to a TV taping; I got no problem asking others to do it for me, but if I did it, it'd be like, really lame).  But you'll know I'm there, in the building, contributing all of my fat, gay internetness in an attempt to ruin the show for everybody sitting near us!  Because everybody knows I'm one of the Problem Fans who NEVER just relaxes and enjoys the show...
    Check out RAW, cross your fingers for cool stuff on MY behalf, and then tomorrow, I can promise I'll make it up to you with a big-ass Live RAW Recap with all the little extras and stuff that we'll get to see at the Nutt House, but which you'll miss out on watching at home....
  • More on the Brock Lesnar Lottery: he had his try-out for his hometown Vikings this past weekend, and though it went pretty much as well as Brock could have hoped, Minneapolis papers are reporting that Lesnar's been told he will NOT be offered a contract at this time.
    The Vikings were reportedly very impressed with Lesnar's physical tools, but remain unconvinced that (with no football experience since high school) Lesnar would be able to put those tools together at the NFL level.  This is a concern for other teams, too, who see Lesnar as a "project" at best (and as a bench-riding PR tool at worst).
    Thanks to all who sent along word of the try-out happening as seen on SportsCenter and to those in Minnesota who had the scoop about Lesnar already being told he doesn't have a roster spot...
  • I was again kind of underwhelmed by Friday's edition of TNA Impact... it's almost like they are just resigned to impressing the fanbase who already knows/is familiar with their product, rather than trying to really reach out and grab any new eyeballs.
    That's fine, and all... a free, weekly TNA show is something that I appreciate having, as a change of pace.  But a continued dearth of sizzle means that's all Impact will ever be for most fans: a change of pace.  It'll never engender the same enthusiasm that RAW or SD! can.
    A quick recap of this week's show:
    Kid Kash beat the Amazing Red in a hot little opener (but as TNA deals with trying to cram a bunch of stuff into a one-hour show, it seemed WAY on the short side)....
    AJ Styles beat Frankie Kanzarian in an X Title rematch from the PPV; good stuff, but again kind of short-ish, and it wound up feeling more like it was just a set-up so that Kid Kash could return to make a post-match run-in to attack Styles.  Not that that's a bad thing: those two oughta have a hell of a little feud...
    3 Live Kru beat David Young and the Naturals in a match that was essentially a 2 minute squash designed to get Ron Killings over as a top challenger to Jeff Jarrett's NWA Title....
    After that match, Jarrett interrupted 3LK's celebration with some vaguely threatening talk.  And then Dusty Rhodes interrupted Jarrett's interruption, and brought word from Vince Russo that on the June 23 PPV (the 2 year anniversary show), Jarrett would defend the NWA Title against Killings.  Killings promised to win the title, Jarrett promised to make sure Killings doesn't even make it to June 23....
    Monty Brown squashed Sonny Siaki; I know Monty's got his fans, but, well...  so did Ahmed Johnson back in the day.  It'll take more than looking like a bad-ass in 90 second squashes before I hop aboard the bandwagon...
    Team Canada beat Team Mexico in a six-man tag match to close out the show.  Maybe 5 minutes long, and again, not to shit on TNA's "roster sexiness," but are these the six guys you want to put out there for a main event?  They bust ass and all, but I, as a fan, had little or no reason to care.
    They also continued the trend of not-so-subtlely pimping the Wednesday PPVs: in this case, that meant the first Friday look at Raven and Sabu, in recap form, plus a few other video packages.  They also kept on doing Two Year Anniversary Flashbacks, which is something I meant to mention last week, but forgot about....  the Flashbacks all feature special guests like Sting or Toby "Boot In the Ass" Keith or Brian Urlacher, which I'm not sure is the right message to send.  Or maybe I'm over thinking it... but doesn't it KIND of seem like, if you're just a casual fan, the message you'd get is, "The real reasons to watch TNA AREN'T EVEN ON THIS SHOW EVERY WEEK!"...
    An OK show, but again, not the kind of effort that makes me think TNA is gonna be inspiring a lot of loyalty among a new fanbase.  They are running out a ton of new faces on each show, but the one way those new guys might get over is by kicking all kinds of ass in great matches, but because they need to run them out there, rapid-fire-style, nobody gets much more than 5 minutes so they don't really make that big an impact on fans...  it's kind of a Catch-22, and something that TNA will have to continue to address as they decide what, exactly, it is they want to give away for free and what to hold back for PPV.
  • The rating for last week's SD! came in as a 3.0, which is pretty much on par with where they've been scoring since WM20.  That is to say: it's not really very good.  The days of mid-3s week-in and week-out are clearly gone for good...
  • For the first time since he out-Theismaned Joe Theisman, Sid Vicious stepped into a wrestling ring as an active competitor this past weekend.
    On an Internet Wrestling Syndicate event in Montreal, Sid made a surprise appearance as the tag team partner of Pierre Oulette.  The two former WWF/WCW stars mowed through a ten-team guantlet match.
    The only report of the show that I got was IWS's own PR hype story, so I'm not necessarily sure how much stock to put in this, but I guess Sid looked pretty decent.  I have no idea if this is the start of a comeback, or just a one-shot deal...  Sid had been completely inactive since January 2001, when he snapped his leg in a WCW PPV match, and no one was clear on whether or not he'd ever be able to compete again after the gruesome, graphic injury.
  • And I do think that'll have to do it for me today.  Feel free to keep eyes peeled for the ruggedly-handsome guy with a double-whiskey in his hand on RAW tonight, if you want...  but like I said, our seats are such that (much like John Cena), you can't see me.
    Better to just enjoy the show, and then come on back here tomorrow, when I'll be amply visible to all with a live report from RAW for you.
    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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