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RAW/Iron Man, More SummerSlam,
Injuries (Fake and Real), Lots MORE!
July 26, 2004

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Might as well get this out of the way right here at the top...

As a similarly-themed thread in the Forums noted: "Brand New Look, Same Great Taste"...  or at least, I hope that's what you're experiencing.  We've got a new logo and a couple lay-out tweaks that were finalized on Saturday, and the goal was to not just Look Awesome, but also to improve your browsing experience (or if nothing else, at least reduce your load times with smaller image files).

Now, I don't know what to say if you disagree with me on the former...  I mean, there's just some cosmic reason why Matt Hocking lusts for Stacy Keibler and I say, "All Yours," while I reserve grown man crushes on the likes of Molly Holly: You simply cannot dictate Personal Taste.  I merely hope that you don't find the new look to be distractingly awful,

or anything.  You need not worship it as an aesthetic masterpiece, I guess, but *I* do like it, and hope you can tolerate it.  And on the latter issue: THERE is where I'd really like to hear from anyone if there are problems... so bring it on if you find you're having any kind of legitimate difficulties related to the new look/lay-out.

In an ironic twist (or an amazing display of my laziness), this is a redesign almost exactly One Year In The Making.  Kind of. It was one year ago this week that I abandoned the old circa-1998, inspired-by-Attitude "Scratch Logo" as part of what was GONNA be a massive make-over. And then I decided I didn't want to do it, and so we've spent the last year having essentially two logos/looks at the same time.  It took me 51-plus weeks, and the final result was NOT the major shake-up I'd originally envisioned, but hey, gimme credit for FINALLY getting everything to look the same, OK?!?

Good: respect me, want me, LOVE ME!  I'm SUCH a High Maintenance Internet Wrestling Guru, aren't I? Here's some wrestling as your much-deserved reward:

  • Tonight, my friends.  At 9pm (eastern), sharp, not a second later.  Where will YOU be?
    The answer, of course, is glued to your couch and tuned into SpikeTV so as to catch the entirety of Chris Benoit vs. Triple H in Iron Man 4.  At least, that's your answer if you EVER want to be considered my friend.
    Unless you're on the west coast, I guess.  Or maybe one of OO's Overseas Contingent.  Or, goddammit, unless you're The Me and have a deep, dark secret.  Yeah, that's right: I'm still not 100% sure, but for all my Big Talk on Friday about suspending DVR/Time-Shifting for one week, tossing back a few cocktails, and enjoying Iron Man 4 under "Legitimate Sporting Event" viewing rules, I might be stuck doing nothing of the sort.  I, shamefully, kinda forgot tonight is my little brother's birthday.  He, shamefully, didn't think to just celebrate it on Sunday, which would have been a LOT easier for me.  I still don't know WHAT my plans are for tonight, but they could very well include NOT being on my own couch, enjoying my own adult beverage at 9pm tonight.
    All of which is very annoying to me, personally, but couldn't possibly affect you or your enjoyment of tonight's show any less, right?  Right.
    So let's just stick to the happy part of the story, the part where WWE is giving away not just a "Free Per View" match tonight, but one that has "Match of the Year Candidate" emblazoned on it in bright neon letters.  Last year, I thought Lesnar/Angle's Iron Man match was the Match of the Year, as it told an absolutely compelling intra-match story (slow build, leading to Lesnar frustration, leading to Lesnar being willing to get DQ'ed twice because he knew he couldn't outwrestle Kurt and also because he then was able to "steal" 3 decisions because of his illegal acts, building to an awesome climax where Kurt ALMOST had enough left to pull it out in the end, afterall) that existed as part of a grander story (in fact, Lesnar/Angle was also the Feud of the Year last year).
    Now, some others (hell, ALL others) disagreed with me, and I pretty much stood alone in my appreciation for Iron Man 3.  "Too slow for the opening 20 minutes" was the primary criticism.  "Underbooked and anticlimactic" was another from some fans who compared it unfavorably to the near-circus-atmosphere of Iron Man 2 (Rock/HHH).  But I freaking LOVED it, slow start and completely contained storytelling and no run-ins and wackiness and all.  In fact, in the last 3-4 years, I've almost entirely stopped keeping copies of wrestling shows and have also pretty much ceased going back and watching the old tapes I DO have (exception: the one or two awesome DVD sets WWE puts out every year)... but I go back and watch Iron Man 3 every couple months or so, just because it was That Damned Good.  If Benoit and HHH can come even close to that, I'll have a mess in my shorts tonight, even if you other hard-asses find reasons to piss and moan about the pacing of a 60-minute match.
    Actually, you might get what you want, anyway, as Benoit/HHH is poised to have more elements of Iron Man 2, if they want to use them.  Although they did a very cool thing last week by having Batista (as a Hired Goon) concuss Benoit on the orders of HHH, and they will/should use that for a very elegant little piece of intra-match psychology, the fact is that Benoit/HHH is not the singular athletic showdown between two proud warriors in the same way Angle/Lesnar was; instead, it exists in a context that includes HHH's running buddies in Evolution, and where Benoit has allies in the likes of Eugene and William Regal.  Run-ins and extracurriculars would be VERY do-able tonight, should WWE deem them necessary.
    And before I get too carried away suggesting nutty ideas for screwy finishes, let's not lose sight of the fact that the BIGGEST storyline concern here is the disposition of the World Heavyweight Title.  Benoit's held it since he made HHH tap out at WM20, but HHH has yet to get a really clean one-on-one shot at regaining the belt: first his quest was obscured by the presence of Shawn Michaels, and more recently, he let a misguided plan with Eugene foil him.  This really is the continuation of a four-month-long mission for HHH, and the title is the key thing here.  This is about as long as HHH has ever gone without holding the belt in the 2 years since Eric Bischoff summoned it out of thin air in response to then-WWE-Champ Brock Lesnar deciding to be loyal to SD!, and HHH wants his precious back.
    So, let's quickly rundown the ingredients: (1) Chris Benoit, technical mastermind, (2) Triple H, underappreciated heel, (3) Evolution, running buddies of the challenger who MAY be on the brink of Civil War, (4) any combination of Eugene, William Regal, Edge, and Chris Jericho who might have Benoit's back if it needs to be had, (5) lingering "concussion" from the week before to add drama and tension even if none of these other 7 guys get involved, and (6) one hour of live television time.
    What's not to love, people?  Any outcome is possible, and every outcome has innumerable ways to reach its End Game. As I've often said, I love it when we have that Ambiguity: either guy could win tonight, and there'd be TONS of cool stuff to do as the next step in the feud. And over-riding all of that on the "predicting a winner"/storyline side: it's simply going to be an amazing display of athleticism and what makes wrestling more fun for me to watch than some shitty sitcom.
    I'm excited.  I'm practically giddy.  Won't you join me?
    Actually, once we get past Iron Man 4, things aren't QUITE as enticing-sounding....  another one of the reasons why that edition of SD! from last September with Iron Man 3 is such a favorite of mine is because, even if I only drudge it up for some super-late-night drunk viewing, I can start it up, and I get me a SWEET Guerreros vs. World's Greatest Tag Team title match (and also an ALMOST as sweet Tajiri/Rhyno vs. Rey/Benoit opener) in hour one, and even if I'm passed out before the climax of Iron Man, I've gotten myself some KICK ASS wrestling.  I, in fact, am not too proud to admit that when I finally ran out of people and things to keep me busy on this past Friday night, I tossed on the 9/18/2003 edition of SD! at about 4 in the morning, and had me a Grand Ol' Time (and a few additional cocktails).  Such a grand ol' time that this is one of the times I easily and enthusiastically made it all the way through the 2 hour show.  Really good stuff, top to bottom.
    In an ironic twist, both Tajiri and Rhyno could again help contribute as members of the Supporting Cast in a tag match following Iron Man 4... but more likely, we'll get nothing anywhere near as cool as last year's non-Iron Man hour.  Because lord knows if we don't waste 15 minutes or more on the Diva Search, the Lord God Almighty will come down from heaven and punch Vince McMahon in the eyeball.  Or something.  I'm sure they have a good reason for not just giving up on this crap.  Or at least, think they do.
    My point? Oh yeah, that Iron Man itself notwithstanding, there IS another hour of TV time tonight, and I'm not entirely sure that RAW will do as well with it as SD! did last year.  However: the placement of Benoit/HHH in the opening slot DOES give one reason to hope.  Putting them on first means that RAW will HAVE to develop another Main Event Segment.  Hopefully a match, but hell, even if it is a skit/promo, they are not gonna crap out on us for the WHOLE second hour.  They need something big to close out the show.
    Likely candidates would be IC Champ Edge facing off against Evolution in some capacity (he cheated to beat Orton last week, and still has yet to face Ric Flair, for instance) or Chris Jericho's revived feud against Batista (hey, it's a Big PPV Rematch!).  Actually: to consolidate things and make the most out of Hour Two, I'd vote early and often to just put those two issues together into one thing: Edge/Jericho vs. Orton/Batista.  Ample star power, ample match quality, ample chances to do stuff like continue inching Edge towards heelishness (especially if he did anything to screw Jericho here), ample chances to do OTHER stuff like put Orton and Batista over after HHH loses to further lay the foundation for an Evolution power struggle.  Whatever you want to do...  yeah, I like this idea.
    So give that 15-20 minutes, and basically we're down to 45 minutes for everybody else on the RAW roster. And just to piss me off, probably 15 of those go to the Diva Search (instead of what it DESERVES: a grand total of 5 minutes of Coach quickly and painlessly announcing who got voted off and then asking the remaining 9 girls to kindly prance around in bikinis and keep it moving lest they get booed again).  So half an hour left.
    Into that, we need to squeeze: Kane/Matt/Lita stuff, hopefully as unretarded as possible....  token tag team division appearance (La Resistance, Rhyno/Tajiri, and probably the newly-reconstituted and NOT In Training Rosey/Hurricane, possibly with Stacy?, combination are the likely contributors)...  some excuse for Trish to act like a whiny bitch, but not have it compel me to boo her, hopefully inching her AWAY from intergender things where the Lovely Miss Tomko is forced to waste my Monday Night Time and TOWARDS her eventual showdown with Victoria....  and if it doesn't figure into Iron Man, then somehow Eugene will be involved, probably in skits with Regal and/or Bischoff, or at least as the topic of conversation BETWEEN Regal and Bischoff.
    I have no reason to suspect that RAW will be anything less than outstanding tonight.  I urge you to check your smarkiness at the door and enjoy the ride.  But if things don't work out for you, well, I also have no reason to suspect that OO's RAW Recap will be anything less than DOUBLE OUTSTANDING tomorrow.  So you can always just come on back here for that, and it'll be just as good as the real thing.
  • Some not-so-good news for SmackDown!: Eddie Guerrero has been pulled from all house shows between now and SummerSlam, following a diagnosis of a partially torn hamstring.  He suffered the injury last weekend in Japan, worked in a limited capacity during a tag match to close out the tour, and then made only a non-wrestling "drive-in" appearance on last week's TV.
    The match at SS against Kurt Angle will go on, pretty much no matter what, even if Eddie's at less than full speed.  But to get him as healthy as possible, there will be no house show matches (actually, I wasn't clear: Eddie might still be on the road to do appearances on some or all house shows but he is NOT wrestling), and they'll be using him sparingly in terms of physicality on TV.
    On one hand, it's kind of nice that Eddie vs. Angle is so appealing it will, to some extent, sell itself. And the nature of the storyline and of the two talents involved means they can also get away with doing a lot of talking and a lot less brawling.  But on the other, how fricking crappy is it that for the second major show in a row, Eddie and Angle will be getting into a ring where one of them is NOT at 100%.  And they'll probably still hit **** just on the grounds of Because They Rule, but STILL...
    Hamstring Injuries: they're all the rage these days!  Just ask Junior Griffey....
  • I'd be remiss if I didn't back track a bit to one of my Friday column's major topics of conversation.  Namely, SummerSlam's projected line-up.
    Now, I'll let you all in on a little secret: most of Friday's column was written on Thursday night for reasons that are not likely to become clear right now.  Actually, you can usually figure out when I'm doing that for yourself: just look for instances of when I keep contradicting myself, temporally-speaking.  I'm talking about when I say "tonight's show was good" in one spot, but then remember I'm PRETENDING like I'm writing the next day and put "last night" in another paragraph.  You'll sometimes see this in the RAW Recap, too, but not as much: though most of the recap is from memory on Tuesday afternoon, I do sometimes "cheat" by sitting down and typing out quick notes before bed on Monday (especially if there's a particularly good joke/observation I want to make sure I don't forget).
    I do have a point: I got myself all worked up into a pretty good lather over some neat-o keen SummerSlam ideas on Thursday night, and then by the time I hit "publish" on Friday, I KNEW there had already been some rumors leaked out that rendered my entire scenario worthless.  But given the option between having to completely re-write and just letting out-dated speculation sit out there over the weekend, well... I'm a lazy, lazy man, so you do the math.
    The currently-hot rumors have WWE running with Benoit vs. Orton and HHH vs. Eugene as the top two RAW matches at SummerSlam.  This in direct violation of my Very Awesome Ideas.  How dare they?
    Now, I actually think some people/sites are treating this like SPOILER information, but christ, people...  idle rumor mongering is NOT spoiling anything.  I, in fact, have my suspicions about the timing and proliferation of these rumors, but this isn't the time or place for that...
    I'll just tell you that according to the buzz, Benoit is supposed to drop the World Title to Orton at SS.  This, I gather, is not only a SPOILER for the PPV, but also for tonight's Iron Man, since Benoit must retain for this to work out.  Again, all I can do is tell you that it is NOT WWE Standard Operating Procedure to leak out the intended result of a PPV main event a month ahead of time, and that anybody who goes to Vegas and tries to put their life savings on "Orton to win the belt" is a freaking moron.  It could be that "Orton d. Benoit" really is a talking point in WWE creative meetings, sure... but it could also be outdated information, or possibly even Intentional Disinformation to create confusion heading into Iron Man.  Take it all with a grain of salt.
    For my part? Well, obviously, I'm going to have a strong attachment to my ideas, and I think that there are many reasons to NOT be excited over Orton getting the SS title shot (and title win, if all is to be believed).  This is not to say that I'm against Orton being elevated to the World Title level by year's end... hey, I may be baffled by how his Mere Adequacy has suddenly generated him such a fan base, but I don't deny that that appeal exists, and I say "You go, girl" to Young Randall.  But you don't go from dropping the IC belt AND getting pinned in the rematch to a World Title win less than a month later.  There are better ways to tell the story, ways that will help make Randy's first World Title more meaningful in the long run.  I won't get into a whole big thing here, but I'll just say that there is a difference between Striking While the Iron is Hot and what WWE would be doing if they rushed Orton to the World Title in this case. 
    Also: as far as a PPV semi-main event goes, is the world really clamoring for HHH/Eugene 2?  I get a kick out of Eugene, and all, but getting the second line on the depth chart underneath the World Title Match?  Maybe not just yet....
    Suspiciously absent from the latest round of rumored SS matches that circulated on Friday: Edge. Trying to keep a heel turn under wraps? Or just still trying to figure out if a heel turn is coming at all?  If Orton's getting kicked upstairs, I'd love to see them somehow twist things around so that Edge and Jericho are feuding over the IC belt, maybe....  or maybe I'm just still stuck on a month-old idea that Jericho needed to be in the IC hunt because him and Orton could have KICKED ASS in both promos and matches, and now that Orton's not in the picture, I somehow can't let go of the idea....  I dunno.
    Another idea I can't help but get VERY attached to: replace Orton in a three-way IC Title scenario (remember, I'd also said that Heel Orton vs. Tweener Edge vs. Face Jericho would be cool) with.... CHRISTIAN!  Yeah!  Word on the street is that Christian could be back at virtually any time between now and the PPV, and the backstories he has with both Edge and with Jericho could make that one super-sweet little scenario.  Edge still plays a tweener, and at any time, you could pull the trigger and have him go full heel with Christian, or have him pull back from the brink by having Christian pull the Jealous Little Brother act and make Edge seem entirely sympathetic in comparison.  Again, feel free to praise me for my off-the-cuff and completely unintentional genius.
    Anyway, there you have it: in the interest of Full Disclosure, my SummerSlam Rambling on Friday was useless, dated drivel when I published it and, worse, I knew it. But you now have the updated and widely disseminated Latest Rumors to chew on.  Enjoy.
  • One other thing I tangentially referenced Friday: you can probably forget about Kane vs. Shawn Michaels at SummerSlam, and there's a reason why they've been keeping mentions to Shawn to a minimum, and it's because he's gonna wait till this fall to come back.
    It's a strange situation, since on one hand, I know HBK's been out there making personal appearances for WWE and stuff, and he's been doing it WITH A NECKBRACE, that magnificent bastard...  but then there's this other thing that I can't confirm for sure that Michaels still hasn't officially signed his new contract (which was supposedly agreed to in principle over a month ago), and maybe that's part of the delay.
    I don't know: that might be nothing, it might just be that Michaels wants to spend more time with the family, or that somebody decided two months wasn't long enough to sell the injury, or something like that.
    So forget about Michaels/Kane, and from what I was told, forget about it probably until the experimental Tuesday night RAW PPV in October (which may or may not be "Halloween Havoc," or otherwise holiday themed).  And I guess this means Matt Hardy maybe gets a free pass to SummerSlam, and that he won't be killed by Kane before then...
  • Michaels suffered his Fake TV Injury at RAW tapings here in Dayton in June... but Shelton Benjamin suffered a Real Life Injury (broken hand) that same night.  Like Christian, Shelton is now looking at being back on TV Just About Anytime Now.  Problem is, unlike Christian, I don't have any really cool idea for HOW to bring him back....
  • Thanks to many who passed along a Minneapolis/St. Paul article about the Minnesota Vikings bringing Brock Lesnar back for a second try-out...
    The article spins is that Lesnar was not fully healthy for his first rounds of try-outs, following his motorcycle accident, but now he is, and hopes for better results.
    More realistically, I can tell you this: NFL training camps start opening up in the next week, and very few, if any, believe that Brock will be on an NFL roster this season.  It's not that teams aren't in awe of his athleticism, it's just that they have serious doubts about his "football IQ" and his most basic of fundamentals.
    Magazine articles and SportsCenter vignettes notwithstanding, it looks like I had this one right back 4-6 weeks ago: there's very little chance of Brock Lesnar playing NFL football this year.  Which raises the question: what are the chances of Brock Lesnar stepping back in a wrestling ring this year?  That, my friends, is the million dollar question...
    He certainly didn't leave in the best possible way, but he also didn't come close to burning any bridges.  There may or may not be lingering resentment, but the fact is that nobody in the locker room or front office would turn down a chance to make some money off Brock Lesnar.  It probably really is entirely up to him if he returns or not.
  • OO Reader TJ mailed in, with a Big Show Sighting...  apparently, the big man was moving around pretty well, but the real story was that it seemed to TJ that Show had dropped a lot of weight and looked in GREAT shape.
    I think I talked about this last week, but if not: they want to get Show as healthy as possible before they start putting more wear and tear on those poor knees of his, and the current thinking is that after SummerSlam, Show will return to TV in the fall as a babyface to oppose Kurt Angle.
  • I think that's just about it for me today.  Oh, other than: Thanks to everybody who mailed in ideas for South Park episodes I should keep an eye out for.  But NOT to all the smart-asses who wrote in and basically said, "They're ALL great, dumbass."  No: if they were ALL great, I wouldn't have stopped watching for 3 years!  But now I'm just being difficult!

    Oh and also a big "I Fucked Up" when I kept on tangentializing and somehow wound up talking about Weekend Update hosts and said that I thought Colin Quinn replaced Kevin Nealon, and then, was 10 times funnier by comparison, even though he's not usually that funny.  WRONG!  Quinn replaced Norm MacDonald who IS really funny.  The problem is just that Nealon sucked so bad that just about everybody who came after him seemed like a genius by comparison....  thanks to everybody who felt the need to point out my faux pas, and who usually did so politely.
    And NOW I think that's just about it for me today.  Must try to convince little brother that 23rd birthday is NOT as important as TV wrestling......  ENJOY RAW, EVERYBODY!

SMACKDOWN RECAP: Bonding Exercises
RAW RECAP: The New Guy Blows It
PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
RAW RECAP: The Show Must Go On
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Boot Gets the Boot
RAW RECAP: Heyman Lands an Expansion Franchise
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Losing is the new Winning
RAW RECAP: Say My Name
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Deja Vu All Over Again
RAW RECAP: Dignity Before Gold?
PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
RAW RECAP: Bigger IS Better
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Hitting with Two Strikes
RAW RECAP: Heel, or Tweener?
RAW RECAP: CM Punk is Not a Fan of Dwayne
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Returnening
RAW RECAP: Countdown to 1000
PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Friday Night ZackDown
RAW RECAP: Closure's a Bitch
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Five Surprising MitB Deposits
RAW RECAP: Weeeellll, It's a Big MitB
RAW RECAP: Johnny B. Gone
PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
RAW RECAP: Crazy Go Nuts
RAW RECAP: Be a Star, My Ass
RAW RECAP: You Can't See Him
RAW RECAP: Big Johnny Still in Charge
PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: One Gullible Fella
RAW RECAP: Anvil, or Red Herring?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Everybody Hates Berto
RAW RECAP: Look Who's Back
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Care to go Best of Five?
RAW RECAP: An Ace Up His Sleeve
PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Sh-Sh-Sheamus and the nOObs
RAW RECAP: Edge, the Motivational Speaker?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: AJ is Angry, Jilted
RAW RECAP: Maybe Cena DOES Suck?
RAW RECAP: Brock's a Jerk
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28



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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