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RAW/Diva Search Stuff, Rikishi Fired,
Angle's Return Match, Lots More...
July 19, 2004

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Well, the ol' DVR sure got itself a hell of a work out this weekend. For one, Comedy Central had a "South Park" marathon going, so I was trying to keep up on that.  Mostly because there's a bunch of episodes I know I missed between the time I (mistakenly, based on a too-small sample size) decided to give up on the show for not being funny anymore and the time last year when I came back around. Someone tell me: why had I not seen that Christopher Reeve episode till last night?  Don't I have friends who should do a better job of keeping me apprised of pop culture so I don't spend years missing out on pure gold like that?

And along those lines: I really do need friends to force me to check out new things. I've had too many people attempt to tell me, in completely honesty, that I should check out crap like "The OC" to take mere passing mentions all that seriously. Mostly, I just nod my head, mentally check those people off My List of Potential Friends, and move on...  so it took until this weekend for me to FINALLY check out something else that I shouldn't have waited this long for: "Da Ali G Show" on HBO.

They ran a marathon of the entire first season; seeing that, I finally broke down and checked out one show. I immediately DVR'ed the rest and devoured them all on Sunday, leading up to the Season Two debut episode.  Hi-fricking-larious, people, and I urge you to not make the same mistake I did...  put "Da Ali G Show" on your list of things to watch, and you won't be disappointed.

Now, sadly, the ol' DVR is woefully empty, awaiting it's more usual weekly doses of "Seinfeld" and "Simpsons" and "Family Guy" reruns. And wrestling. OF COURSE, the wrestling:

  • And DVR looks to continue as a vital component of my weekly wrestling routine: for months, it had allowed me to compress SmackDown! into a 45-minute highlights package! And in more recent weeks, it's allowed me to Time Shift my way to a significantly-less-obnoxious RAW!
    Diva Search? No thanks, WWE... I feel sorry for all you chumps who'll be starting on RAW at 9pm sharp, without the freedom to axe the crap. Me, I'll bide my time, and come 9:45, I'll fire up RAW from the start, FF'ing commercials and anything else deemed pointless, and by 11pm, I'm caught up to the rest of you, except that I've gotten 45 minutes of my life back from WWE (and held onto however many brain cells the rest of you killed with the Diva Search).  A glorious invention is the Digital Video Recorder. A glorious asshole I am for rubbing it in all your faces!
    But hey, if you don't think that bitching about the Diva Search is a noble endeavor, and don't think WWE needs to have Guys Like Me take every opportunity I get to point out the folly of their ways, then maybe you'd prefer if I talked about some other aspect of RAW tonight....
    I shit you not.  A rare "research" visit to WWE.com reveals a RAW preview that hypes the Diva Search above all else. Then, in a later paragraph, it makes mention about something to do with Evolution and Eugene. But there's no mistake: WWE has apparently put more thought into presenting Diva Idol tonight than they have into the actual, you know, wrestling storylines. Which is just baffling.
    But as I've often joked: I consider my job here to make things better when WWE's not taking care of its own business. So on the issue of tonight's RAW, the OOfficial Preview will gloss right over all things Diva Search related, and TRY to focus on the wrestling...
    Issue the First: Eugene should clearly realize that Evolution are not his friends now.  He can get back to palling around with William Regal, and probably will have a few weeks of dealing with Evolution ahead of them.  Wouldn't surprise me if it was all handled as a function of the on-going Triple H vs. Chris Benoit World Title feud, either.  A few tag matches and what-not would keep things interesting leading up to HHH and Benoit doing the blow-away, shenanigan-free singles match we all hope they have at SummerSlam.
    Issue the Second: how does Edge fit into all this? For a man who claims his mission in life is to eliminate Evolution, he sure was invisible last week when Benoit, Eugene, and Regal were getting a 4-on-3 beating. Does Selfish Edge just look out for his own interests, whether en route to a heel turn or not, and try to continue his streak over Evolution? If so, it seems Ric Flair is the next target for Edge (he got boosted up with a win on TV last week, and would be primed to become Victim #3)... but if not, Edge could even the sides by joining Benoit, et al, against Evolution.
    Issue the Third: Lita stood up to Kane last week, and in so doing, took Drastic and Necessary steps to siphoning off some of the Suck that had been surrounding her. There's still a lot of reason to suspect this storyline might regain its exceptional awfulness in due time, but at least for now, Lita's behaving semi-rationally (and from a performance aspect, is not being required to "act," if you catch my drift). With Lita standing up to Kane, I fully anticipate that Kane will (since he can't beat up the mother of his offspring) take his frustrations out on Matt Hardy.  And in spectacular fashion, I'd wager; Kane showing ass like he did last week (loss to Matt, punked verbally by Lita AND Jericho, loss to Jericho) demands a mighty payback.  And speaking of paybacks: how long before Shawn Michaels shows up looking for his?

    Issue the Fourth: Rhyno and Tajiri have formed a tag team, and have a grand total of one TV match (luckily, a win) to their credit. Additionally, Rhyno holds a singles match victory over Robert Conway (one half of the tag team champs). And folks, this is what passes for a Tag Team Title Feud these days...  but I'm a big fan of Rhyno and Tajiri, so I'll let it slide with the bare minimum of snarkiness.  Let's just keep this building (Tajiri d. Grenier? then a non-title match down the line? title match at the PPV?), and maybe in 3-4 weeks, it'll appeal as much to others as it does to me.
    Issue the Fifth: the women's division continues to be a little bit schizophrenic. On one hand, Trish is the champ and Victoria is the #1 Contender. But on the other hand, Trish's, ummm, hand is broken, and so for the time being they are kind of hiding her behind the Lovely Miss Tomko in a little mini-mixed-feud with Maven/Nidia. And while this is going on, Victoria is biding her time by doing a Stevie Richards In Drag subplot, but apparently only for the Heat Audience.  Which is too bad, because if they put some energy into fleshing it out on RAW, Victoria could be significantly rehabilitated as a character by the time Trish is healthy and ready to go full-speed with their feud.  But alas, I guess the current thinking is that if you're a woman and you want TV time on RAW, you'd better be an aspiring actress/model with no discernable reason for being on a wrestling show.  So sorry, Victoria: you and Stevie do your thing on Heat and like it, cuz Trish/Tomko vs. Maven/Nidia is probably ahead of you on the RAW depth chart.
    So... while I fully anticipate that some of you may find RAW an arduous viewing task tonight, I'm still looking some of this over and thinking I might have a solid hour-fifteen, hour-twenty of entertainment coming my way. In between Diva Idol bits, RAW does have some interesting stuff going as it gears up for SummerSlam.  You can check it out for yourself tonight, or you can also always come on back here to OO tomorrow, where I'll have the Best Damned RAW Recap in All The Land ready and waiting for you: and don't worry, I'll cut all the crap out before I serve it up to you.  Or at least, I'll do my best to make the crap seem entertaining.
    Either way, it's there as a service to those of you who don't catch RAW tonight, or who just like to be told all about something you already saw happen.  Sickos.
  • Just some other really quick Diva Search nonsense, and then we'll move on....
    For starters, the Ringer Report has been updated, and I guess I spoke too soon on Friday when I joked about how apparently My Disinterest in the Thursday night selection special was also Your Disinterest.  A few folks checked it out, and felt compelled to fill me in.
    So: they are down to 10 finalists, and of those ten, you've got at least five bona fide ringers, each with some nominal amount of existing fame. There's the 2004 Playmate of the Year (Carmella), there's the Girl Who Was in Playboy Alot But Never Showed Her bOObies (Amy Weber), there are twins who were both Juggies on "The Man Show" back before the new hosts took over and made it suck (the Costello Twins), and another girl who was also a "Man Show" Juggy (Christy).  And they also voted off two other "ringers" on the special last week (including another former Playmate of the Year and a girl who I guess hosts something called "Junkyard Wars"). 
    [An aside: so like I said earlier, I picked today to actually do research at WWE.com, and that included briefly checking out the list of 10 diva finalists. I'll say this: *if* I were to give two shits, I would probably throw in with Michelle McCool. On the grounds (a) that she is easy on the eyes, (b) that unlike every other girl on the list appears to have never, ever in her entire life been in a movie or TV show or done anything besides trying to be in really impressive shape, and (c) that, for reasons not likely to become apparent to you right now, I've recently decided to be massively amused by the name "McCool."  I, myself, am considering a name change: does Lord Richard Fantastikov sound like I'm trying too hard? Anyway, my point is that just to be difficult, I'm siding with a definite NON-ringer who might be the first girl eliminated, just so that I'll have something MORE to bitch about this retarded contest.]
    Anyway, I guess the logic you folks were applying when you e-mailed me was "If there's five ringers, then are they really ringers at all?" and you think this makes it more interesting if most/all the girls are moderately famous models...  and all I'll say back to you is, "Whatever jellies your muffin, dude."  Because I re-assert my belief that this is just a mammoth waste of time and money by WWE, and that they are essentially doling out a quarter of a million dollars in the hopes of getting themselves a new Terri Runnels. And they already got a new Terri Runnels: his name is Todd Grisham.  HA!
    I believe I pretty much made my feelings known about this last week, and it boils down to: the chances for anything good/productive coming out of this contest are minimal, and the process getting there is almost SURE to be soul-sappingly bad. I have a real hard time taking seriously anybody who would dispute me on this one....
    FYI: the Diva Search Special on SpikeTV wound up doing a 1.1 cable rating last Thursday night.  And while you or I or anything other sane person would look at that number and say, "How in the blue fuck is a concept that drew less than a third of RAW's usual rating going to in ANY WAY help increase RAW's audience?", the simple fact of the matter is that WWE and SpikeTV front office personnel are pretty happy with a 1.1 given the time slot and everything.
    Because you see, a 1.1 may be a third of RAW's audience, but it's almost three times some of the recent numbers done by Velocity or Heat or Experience.  The wrestling fans have spoken, and they like Random Ass Shaking better than they like b-shows!  Shame on you.
  • Speaking of what an amazingly-gifted artist I am, how about me using that "Random Ass Shaking" as a segue to talk about Rikishi! DAMN, I make it look so easy....
    Because, you see, Rikishi has been released from WWE. Not exactly a shocking development, and I think we'd talked about it as something of a foregone conclusion within the past couple of weeks, right?
    A mild bit of drama accompanies this release: though both sides hadn't exactly been pleased with each other over the past year or so (WWE wanted Rikishi to shed some re-acquired pounds, Rikishi wanted to be something more than a curtain jerker), they'd made do until an ankle injury slowed Rikishi this past spring.  That's when Rikishi kept on claiming the injury was debilitating, except that WWE suspected he was just sitting out in protest of his spot on the card, and then Rikishi proved them right by working a show for his uncle's indie fed last month.  Fuggetaboutit: that's a recipe for saying buh-bye.
    Rikishi is, nay WAS, right up there in terms of seniority in the WWE locker room.  I believe he'd been employed by WWF/E pretty much non-stop since 1992, when he and Samu appeared on the scene as the Headshrinkers and Yokozuna made his debut as a singles wrestler.  Now, granted, in that time he'd been repackaged a bunch (Headshrinker Fatu, then The Sultan, then anti-gang-member Fatu, and finally ass-shaking Rikishi Phatu) and maybe there were periods where he was off TV for months at a stretch... but by and large, I'm sticking by my dozen years of employment theory.
    I was always a fan of Rikishi the Wrestler, but never did quite understand the appeal of Rikishi the Thong-Wearing, Stinkface-Giving, Dancing Fat Man. And sadly, it was in that guise that he achieved his greatest fame, so once the rest of the world started to realize Rikishi was awfully talented for a big man, I'd started to sour on him.  Oh, the ironing!  
    And it bit him on that big ass of his in another way, too: fans just couldn't buy him as a heel when they tried to make him the driver of the car that ran over Steve Austin. Much like a can of worms or Pandora's Box or some other allegedly-clever reference, once Rikishi's ass was out, there was no putting it back in.  How are fans EVER supposed to take seriously a 400 pound man who gives himself intentional wedgies and dances around to shitty music? 
    No solid word on what's next for Fatu (although we can say with confidence that "Rikishi" remains the property of WWE), but his family does run that WXW promotion in Pennsylvania, and my guess is that if TNA came calling, Fatu would give them a shot, so we'll see....
  • Something I forgot to include on Friday:
    Some folks were very disheartened when they did a big fancy vignette hyping the return of John Heidenreich and his new manager Paul Heyman... seems nobody thinks too highly of Heidenreich, and don't think that he's worth Heyman's time.
    Well, I guess maybe I'd just tell you to relax a bit, kiddies: it may have had the look of a fancy vignette to renew Heidenreich's push to the moon, but I have it on good authority that nobody's really expecting Heidenreich to be a player for much more than the next month.  He's coming back with Heyman to essentially lay down for the Undertaker; if he somehow catches fire and shows management something in that run, who knows? But I'd think it more safe to just assume that Heidenreich might be the first in a series of disposable dudes that Heyman has to run with in an attempt to insulate himself from Taker....
  • Kurt Angle's return to the ring was not a victorious one: but reports are that despite losing a main event tag match (with JBL against Eddie/Taker), Angle looked really good and sharp as he carried much of the 30 minute match for his team.
    It'll be interesting to see how soon they blow the wad on Angle's TV return match, and what kind of schedule they put Kurt on. On one hand, I'd rather if they (for purely pragmatic reasons) held Kurt back as much as possible; but on the other, if they just want to come out firing and Angle matches every Thursday night, well, I guess I wouldn't complain about that, either.  I'd bitch and moan when Angle gets hurt again and needs another four month vacation, but I'd probably love it while it lasted....
  • An aside: Eddie Guerrero seemed to be fine in that tag match, though it DID seem to fans that he was limited in terms of the amount of time he spent in the ring. So I guess the jury is still out on just how bad Eddie's hamstring injury the night before was: bad enough to have Taker carry the load, but not so bad that Eddie looked hampered when he DID get in the ring....
  • The final rating for last week's SD! came in at a 3.3, which is up another tick from the week before, and continues a positive trend for the brand.  They aren't quite back to where they were in the first quarter of 2004, but this sure beats the hell out of struggling to break the 3.0 mark....
  • I'll again state that I think last week's Flair/Bret war of words is something that is clearly personal between them, and NOT really so much about one or the other of them truly deserving to be considered greater than the other...

    But that said, those of you who are fans of the drama might have reason to perk up, cuz things could get messy again this week, when Flair appears on Canada's "Off the Record," and no doubt WILL be confronted by the Hart Issue.  I believe that this happens on Wednesday.  And then Bret, for his part, can always fire back in his weekly newspaper column...
    If these two still have stuff to say to each other (or about each other), they'll have plenty of opportunity to do so.  If it gets interesting, I'll be sure to fill y'all in...
  • And I think that's gonna have to do it for me here, today.  I'll be back in your grill with RAW Recap tomorrow, and then the usual mix of news, views, spoilers, and whatever else I can come up with for the return of OO on Wednesday.
    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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