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RAW, TNA PPV, Return of Tough Enough,
RVD, and Some Other Midweek News....
June 23, 2004

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Time is of the essence, folks.  Ever the Good Son, I'm escorting my mother to see Simon and Garfunkel in Indianapolis, tonight.  They're favorites of hers, and truth be told, when you have Simon and Garfunkel's "Concert in the Park" played at you every night when you're 6 or 7 years old, or so, you develop a certain affinity, too.  So I do this willingly, and I'm almost ashamed to admit, I do it practically enthusiastically (or at least, curiously).

But I just found out I'll apparently also do it much earlier than I had suspected.  I guess mom has set up dinner with some old family friends before the show in Indy, and now I gotta be outta here by about 4.  Which gives me about an hour or two less than I'd thought to get website shit done this afternoon.

So why am I wasting my precious time with stupid yarns?  So you know why if I come up less-comprehensively insightful or more typo-laden than usual, you'll feel a tinge of forgiveness or understanding.  Here goes:

  • Monday's paRAWdox (if Rock can force "popcorn fart" on us, gimme this one, folks!) is not less confusing or confounding a show after an additional day of contemplation.  Not that I sit around the house contemplating RAW in my spare time.  I'm not a loser.  But I still haven't fully decided whether to say it was a good show or a bad show.  I mean, the good and bad maybe equaled each other out, but the divergence from the mid-point was so great that I have a hard time just doing my usual "Thumb in the Middle" gimmick.
    The good: Rock showing up is always gonna score some Sizzle Points.  Even with b-grade material and what felt like a bloated and over-long segment, you get the Rock, and you end up feeling like you're seeing a Big Show.  This is good.
    Also good: all things Eugene, HHH, Regal, and Bischoff.  The backstage vignettes perfectly set the stage (including William Regal demonstrating to certain other, unnamed, roster members how you perform the ACTING~!), and the match itself was tons of fun.  Even with the kind of non-sensical Bischoff interruption to insist on a "beating the hell out of" instead of just "beating" leading to a no decision, I still think this was one of those non-finishes that accomplishes a lot.  Benoit took out Eugene with a chair.  Eugene was already predisposed towards HHH and Evolution.  If you don't see at least a month's worth of entertaining possibilities here, you're just not trying.  Free from Regal, chairshotted by Benoit, could Eugene be a part of a three way PPV main event against Benoit and HHH where he's the Tool of Evolution?  And if so, don't you think fans would lap it up when somehow, some way, Eugene finally came around and cost HHH the three-way?  And isn't it somehow appropriate that HHH would get screwed yet again in a three way deal, all setting up an eventual one-on-one match with Benoit?  I really liked the RAW main event on a lot of levels, is all I'm saying...
    Then the bad: obviously, the Diva Idol things horrify me to no end.  We have weeks and months more to come, too.  Look, at least I can sort of understand if on a show like "American Idol" you actually have people attempting to demonstrate a skill, and if they suck, making fun of them might be entertaining. I've opted out of that particular form of entertainment, but hey, your mileage may vary, and I can at least see how it might be fun.  But these women are basically just standing around looking pretty, and you've got Coach (who's obviously been designated the "Simon" of this sub-show) smugly dismissing them, which just doesn't feel the same as seeing an obvious hack mocked for being awful. And no, this is not a plea for WWE to make sure that the 2004 equivalent of Bertha Faye is allowed into the contest so the smug mocking seems appropriate, either: it's just me thinking this is another case of WWE trying to be something that it shouldn't.  If I liked reality-TV contests, I'd watch them, WWE.  But I don't.  I'd rather spend my budgeted TV hours watching WRESTLING, which you are clearly trying NOT to be.  Dumbasses.
    And don't even get me started on Pregnant Lita.  I'm heartened to see that everybody who thought to write in echoed my sentiments that there is nothing sympathetic about Lita at this point.  She's weak for having folded to Kane's demands, she's stupid for actually having gotten knocked up during the Romantic Weekend Get-Away with Kane, and she's also still a really unconvincing actress.  
    My favorite e-mail: somebody who, in all earnestness, wanted to find the logical core of this story.  He took my line about how (if we just assume that Kane wasn't gonna be wearing rubbers, and that Lita was apparently not in the habit of practicing any birth control of her own) if Lita wasn't stupid, she'd just suck down a bottle of the morning-after pill and be done with Kane, and came up with an idea: maybe Lita really LIKES Kane, maybe this is all just a put on to get Matt, maybe she WANTED Kane's baby.  And he spun a few other details into the web for how the end of the storyline will be Lita turning on Matt.  All I can say is: nice try, but you lose!  My reason is simple, and it's got nothing to do with it being right for the characters or being less lame or anything, it's simple logic: Lita has displayed a Complete And Utter Lack of Comprehension of the Concept of TV Cameras, and on Monday night, even after Matt was gone, she fell to the floor and wept.  For nobody but the camera. See what I'm getting at, people?  Lita can't ignore the camera one week, and then put on a weepy display for one the next!  Logic wins!  Oh, wait, this is WWE we're talking about: logic can take a vacation at any given moment... well, I still don't think they're going the "Lita wanted Kane's baby" direction, and I still don't see a single sensible element to this whole retarded story.
    So there: RAW had ups, RAW had downs, and I still don't know how to piece it all together for you.  So just go back and read the Always Comprehensive OO RAW Recap that I did yesterday.  And for once, why not reach your own conclusions, since I'm too lazy to figure out the Big Picture for you this week, OK?  Good...
  • The rating on Monday was a BIG bump up to a 4.2.  Which is good news for WWE, but possibly bad news for those of us who thought half the show sucked balls.  WWE might look at the numbers and think more of the same is what we need...
    But just me guessing, here: you can attribute the rating to two things, and they were the Good Things.  They shot the Rock Wad immediately in the first quarter hour, locking in some eyeballs who would probably have wandered if they started off with anything less.  And they had the Eugene/HHH match last, which was sure to be a stronger drawing card than RAW has had recently, which meant they kept those early eyeballs around and kept accumulating more as the night went on. 
    I HOPE that's the right explanation.  I HOPE that if WWE gets the minute-by-minute ratings, they see fans jumping ship in droves when the Diva Idol and Lita bits happened... but I fear that won't be the case.  We'll have to see.
  • Also about RAW: that WAS Stevie Richards in drag who saved Victoria.  Hopefully it's not too little, too late, but I like the idea of re-wackifying that duo.  And this time, doing it on RAW, instead of in the Heat Ghetto.
  • A bunch of people have been e-mailing lately asking about the status of Rob Van Dam.  One of the prophecies of the sagacious Scaiadamus seemed to suggest that RVD would leave WWE in the sixth month...
    And it's true that his contract is expiring, but my understanding is that a 2 year extension has been worked out and agreed to in principle, and by this point, might even be finalized.  It also would not surprise me if you see RVD and Booker T feuding over the US Title in earnest by summer's end, now that Rob's locked in....
  • WWE just released the figures for another fiscal quarter, and actually had good stories to tell, at least as compared to last year at this time.  Sadly, I don't have time to go into any of the dollar figures right now...
    But I will tell you that the accompanying conference call with Linda McMahon was one of the more newsworthy that she's done in a while....  but the news is not all good.
    As the companion piece of RAW's "Diva Idol" experiement, SD! will be hosting a new round of "Tough Enough" starting in the fall, and the Thursday show will feature the TE vignettes integrated into the actual SD! program.  Goddammit, WWE, are you TRYING to alienate me, or is this just a massive coincidence?  You want to dabble in other bullshit, then KEEP IT SEPARATE AND LET IT TANK ON ITS OWN.  You know, like the XFL, or even TOUGH ENOUGH, which was deemed not longer worthy of an MTV timeslot, but which will somehow save SD!...  this makes no sense.  Even at it's peak, TE's audeince was maybe half of SD!'s, so how does this help SD!'s ratings?  Because TE had a larger female percentage of fans, and maybe they'll come on over and great an incremental gain for SD!?  But what about fans like me who will be pissed off that you're putting a low-rated, pointless spin-off in the middle of my Wrestling Show?  I don't understand...  I just don't understand...  
    Speaking of the Diva Idol thing: it'll have it's own UPN special in July.  Neee haw.
    There are NOT any current plans to further expand the PPV calendar until they fully assess the success of the new July and October shows.  So maybe we hold at 14, afterall.  I still got people telling me that 16 in 2005 is something WWE wants to do and they retain a hard-on for a full slate of 20 (four joint, and then in the other eight months both brands run shows) at some point, but I guess low buyrates have got them slowing down.
    In the fall, WWE will be running a cross-brand storyline where they create a new "WWE President" who will oversee both shows.  Wrestlers and personalities will run for office and fans will vote.  In the absence of the Reanimated Corpse of Jack Tunney, I'm already throwing my support behind the Heyman/Dreamer ticket!
    I think those were the highlights... thanks to those who listened in and then filled me in.
  • Sunday's the first of WWE's "new" PPVs, the Great American Bash.  It'll be the first GAB since 2000, when WCW held a show on which Goldberg turned heel as part of Vince Russo's "if you can't entertain them, then baffle them" philosophy.
    And let's just say SD! shored up the card at tapings last night, and you can read all about it in the Spoilers.  We're up to six Thrilling Matches (and also one likely extended T&A segment)!  Feel the excitement!
    But I'll save my GABashing for Friday, when I'll try to assemble as many of the trOOps as I can for a Team Coverage PPV Preview.  I don't know how many of them have actually been watching SD! this last month or two, but I'll wheedle and cajole my way into getting a few folks to pick, I'm sure.  Maybe we'll lose ignominiously in the Predictions Battle to those insightful swine at WrestleLine, but I'll get my crew to show up and take its lumps like professionals.
  • Finally, let's take a quick look at tonight's Second Anniversary TNA Show on PPV...
    It's a show that may very well be worth a look-see, even though I'm unconvinced that TNA's done that stellar of a job with telling you why on its new FSN show, Impact.  Go back and read Monday's column if you really want to hear me wonder aloud how Vince Russo cutting a main event promo on Impact is supposed to make me care about Jeff Jarrett vs. Ron Killings...
    That doesn't take away from the fact that Jarrett and Killings should probably have a pretty decent little match, and that TNA has lined up a show that should be entertaining across the board.  It's just that I can't get away from the idea that I would have wanted to do more in my first month of National TV Exposure to make tonight's show seem like a must-see, WWE-caliber event.
    And instead, I don't feel bad at all about going to Indy with my mom to see old men sing, because I'm sure I'll be able to catch a recap of the show, or find out what happened on Friday's Impact.
    Actually, there is one big reason why TNA might be stealing some headlines with this show, but it's kind of by accident: Kid Kash, the intended challenger to AJ Styles X Title, hurt his leg, and will NOT work tonight.  In his place, TNA is promising a major guest star, and just about everybody suspects it'll be Jeff Hardy.
    This is curious for two reasons: one, just to see how Jeff looks, if he's "recharged the batteries," and so on.  And two, Jim Ross said he signed Jeff to a WWE deal over a month ago, but this kind of makes one wonder...  if Jeff wins the belt or gets involved in storylines (and ESPECIALLY if he shows up on Impact), I guess you can throw his WWE deal out the window.
    Beyond that....
    The main event is the aforementioned Jarrett/Killings match for Jarrett's NWA Title... the thrid most intriguing aspect of the show (to me, anyway), is Raven promising to do a Touching Video Tribute to Sabu's uncle, the Original Sheik; this could be HIGHLY entertaining, as it should be something that ignites a Raven/Sabu feud....  then you've got America's Most Wanted defending the tag titles against Japanese imports Nosawa and Miyamoto...  TNA's bringing in the MexiMidgets (who I STILL don't think WWF should have given up on back in '96), as Mascarita Sagrada (Max Mini) will face Mini Negro in what should be a lot of fun...  also: Jerry Lynn faces Scott D'Amore in what's apparently the end to a long standing feud according to announcers on Impact, although I wish they'd just have taken the time to SHOW ME WHY I CARE instead of tangentially mentioning it....  the same goes for tonight's women's match, Desire vs. Trinity, which is a blow-off to a long-standing deal never adequately addressed on Impact.
    Check out the show tonight on PPV, I'm thinking that if there's any week where you'll get your $10 worth, it's this one.  But then again, what's an endorsement from a guy who won't be watching the show worth? 
  • OK, that's it, folks, I'm at deadline.  See you with PPV preview 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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