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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
RAW/Orton Fall-out, Austin News, 
and Tons More Midweek News...
August 18, 2004

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

How do you know when you've read too much Online Onslaught?

HA!  Trick question!  There's no such thing as Too Much Online Onslaught dot com!  But when you're checking out the Olympics and you suddenly start finding yourself trying to Fantasy Book events even though they (a) are legitimate sporting events, and (b) already happened and are only airing on a 10 hour tape-delay, you MIGHT have yourself a moment of doubt and pain. 
 

I'm speaking, of course, about Erin Anderson's recent convergence of Wrestling and Gymnastics supplying me with JUST ENOUGH information to be a truly dangerous dilettante, who ALMOST understands what's going on. Or who at least developed a serious attachment to the name "McCool."  Surely I can't be the 

only one who, when the Other Courtney was said to be injured and had to be replaced on Balance Beam, envisioned Floor Exercise Specialist Courtney McCool being called off the bench for the last rotation, to replace her injured teammate and un-do her general suckiness from the qualifying round with an amazing routine?  Can I?
 
I can? And I am? Oh well, more evidence that my mind works in ricockulously convoluted and byzantine ways. So sue me for thinking the Olympics could have used more Drama... and for wanting at least ONE of my McCools to do something worthwhile this week! [Of course, it didn't work out that way at all, and the Injured Courtney did the floor exercise herself and pretty much tanked, and Team USA settled for Silver. Not that it was her fault: it was a practical mathematical certainty given how flawlessly machine-like those damned Romanians were; and anyway, afterwards, they were so chipper and happy to be second that I guess I'll just do the same thing.  YAY for silver!]

In other Olympics news: thanks to the mens' basketball team, I think after womens' gymnastics just about the only other thing I'll have to look forward to is some of the Big Tall Platform Diving. Unless I decide to be a TOTAL douche and watch basketball to start cheering AGAINST the US, simply out of principle.  There's billions of reasons why I prefer college basketball to the NBA, and those prima donnas are showcasing many of them for the world to see...

Who's with me?  I'm alone on this one, too?!?  Dammit, how about if I shut up and start with the wrestling, will you at least PRETEND to be sympathetic to my causes?  OK, good.  Here goes:

  • Monday's RAW will be a success or failure based on how far and how fast Young Randall Orton can run with the ball which he has been handed.  It's that simple: for about 90 minutes, it was an OK show, nothing too great, nothing too awful... then you had a strong main event wrestling match, and a major angle to close out the show.
     
    If Orton shows he's got the chops to be a solo babyface champion, then retroactively, Monday's RAW becomes an historic night.  If he fails to connect with the audience, then retroactively, Monday's RAW will become on of WWE's biggest bungles of 2004.
     
    It's kind of fun to think about it in those terms. And although I've been accused of being a Waffler and a Middle Grounder and a Voice of Reason, it pains me to be so strongly convinced that this will end up as a bungle for the Fed. I have yet to see the kind of spark out of Orton that would actually endear him to an audience in the standard fan favorite kind of way, and don't understand why his ascension wouldn't come as a heel (where how he's booked is more important than how he performs).
     
    But we'll see. I have pretty clear thoughts on this issue, actually, but I figure that I'll actually wait and give Randy a week or two of, you know, actually playing the babyface before I bring my full wit and rhetoric to bear on the matter of how bad he sucks at doing it.
     
    Just know that I'm not a fan of this particular decision, and think that Orton's path to main events would have been far less perilous if he'd led a heel Evolution against Triple H. Playing the babyface is hard, and Orton's got nothing on his resume to suggest he's up to the challenge; HHH has about 5 years of relatively-top-shelf work (and the respect and goodwill from fans that goes with it), and could probably have had an easier time as a babyface, but has instead opted to take the easy job.  
     
    But again, we'll wait and see how it works out, huh?
     
    The rest of RAW: I'm DEAD SERIOUS when I say that until the main event, my personal highlight was the Diva Bridal Shower segment. I don't care how much Street Cred I lose by saying that. I thought the jokes were funny, I thought that all four girls were dead-on in their acting/delivery, in a lot of ways, Trish and Molly and the others were Speaking For Me on the sheer crappiness and silliness of the Kane/Lita angle which is always cool, and you won't convince me otherwise.  So neener neener neener.  Molly, especially, scratched me where I itch in that segment, what with finally going along with my advocacy of ditching the silly wigs and also stealing my jokes about Lita possibly being as stupid as she is slutty!  Good times.
     
    [An aside: in e-mails, people have told me that Gail's "If They Mated" baby did, in fact, have more Lita elements to it than I'd given credit for. So sorry, WWE Photoshop Guy, I guess I wasn't paying close enough attention.]
     
    The second best pre-main event thing: Rhyno vs. Grenier and the way it continued a methodical build towards a Rhyno/Tajiri vs. La Resistance Tag Title Match. I love the rare show of restraint here, and instead of rushing ahead too fast, they are playing it SUPER slow to make the eventual showdown mean something.
     
    Third best thing: not any single match, but more just the way they inched us towards a more intense chapter in an Edge/Jericho IC Title feud. Edge steals one from Kane, Jericho had one stolen from him against Batista, and then they come together at the very end when Edge comes out and teases a save, but decides to let Evolution pound on Jericho just for the hell of it.
     
    Not a fan of: Orton's bland, by-the-numbers opening promo which did nothing to really make me change my opinion of him from "promising mid-carder" to "World Champion" (claims of winning the WWE Title and encouraging male toplessness only added to the problems)... the Diva Search crap (they tried to make it interesting, but instead, it just came off as heavily-scripted, instead of genuine hatred of the Playmate)...  and for as excited as I've been over the prospect of Victoria vs. Trish, Victoria sure didn't look especially sharp against Gail Kim...
     
    You can get the complete results (and my sterling analysis) of every match and segment in yesterday's OO RAW Recap.  It's good reading, folks!
     
  • The rating for Monday's show?  It's a 3.4, folks...
     
    You can say that's good on the grounds that they rebounded 0.2 from the week before, if you really want to... but it'd be more accurate to say that the rating came in close to a half-point lower than RAW's year-to-date average. And that's on the night immediately following the second-biggest PPV of the year.  I vote NOT good news, here...
     
    You might make the argument that the Olympics contributed to ratings problems, except that I flipped past the Olympics on Monday, and didn't really see anything that interesting.  I think swimming and some men's gymnastics, maybe.  Neither of which really rank on high on the National Pop-Culture Interest-o-Meter. [Don't ask me why, but Women's Gymnastics = Interesting, but Men's Gymnastics = Not. Except I DO know, again thanks to Erin, that our best guy is named "Hamm."  Which is ALMOST as neat a name as "McCool."  Or was... until last night and Costas mentioned him and I found out he pronounced it "hom," which is not nearly as funny or delicious sounding!  Dork.  Maybe I'll have to watch me some soccer, too, to rinse that bad taste out of my mouth with the properly-pronounced and always-delectable Mia brand Hamm?  What do you mean, too much with the amusing last names?  And I haven't even managed to work in Harmon Killebrew yet!]
     
    Anyway, RAW's rating was our topic...  a 3.4 is not a particularly good story, Olympics or no. The problem seems similar to last week, too: the show started off in the low 3's (which is fairly standard), and instead of a snowball effect, RAW was just stagnant, bouncing between 3.2 and 3.5 for all the quarter hours until managing a 3.7 for the over run.  That's not the trend or pattern that RAW usually enjoys: usually the second hour significantly out rates the first, peaking well above 4.0 by the end of the show.
     
    This is a disturbing pair of back-to-back ratings for RAW.....
     
  • A couple other things about RAW before we have to move on to some unpleasant news....
     
    First, with the announcement of Kane's wedding to Lita last week, a ton of people have been mailing in wondering if they will use this as an excuse to do some cross-brand stuff, by having Undertaker and/or Paul Bearer (Kane's half-brother and father, respectively) present at the ceremony.
     
    I guess you never say never, but last I heard there were absolutely ZERO plans along these lines (and in fact, even though they "unkilled" him to come in line with their own posted policies regarding murder storylines, WWE has no intention of Paul Bearer ever being an active character again).  You want a surprise guest, expect Matt Hardy (and expect him to take a wicked beating, since the dude needs time off for knee surgery), and that's about all.
     
  • Second: I made fun of King and JR for not knowing who Victoria's Mystery Woman was on RAW, even though the crowd was audibly chanting Stevie Richards' name. And on a few occasions where we DID get a look at her face, it seemed pretty clear that it was Stevie...
     
    But a couple alert readers pointed out that with the extra effort on Monday to keep the wig over the face, they could be setting us up for a swerve: Victoria comes to trust her be-wigged benefactor, but she never sees the face...  then, in a key title match against Trish, the Mystery Woman suddenly turns on Victoria and is revealed to be....
     
    CHRISTIAN!
     
    Hey, I'd sign off on that.  Good idea, guys.  Then, I'd guess maybe you have Victoria and Richards actually reconcile without any silly drag-costumes, and Trish/Christian can go over Victoria/Stevie in a mini-feud to reestablish their dominance. And the Lovely Miss Tomko? The less seen, the better: sparsely-used dumb muscle seems like it'd suit him well.
     
  • And third: another suggestion made multiple times by people apparently more clever than I.  Otherwise I would have thought to talk about it on Monday!
     
    Their idea: Chris Benoit could head back to SmackDown!.  He won the Rumble, and only showed up on RAW because he opted to go for the World Title, then he had to STAY on RAW when he won said title.  Now that he's lost the belt, who's to say he's obligated to continue on RAW?  Or that he's even ALLOWED to stay on RAW?
     
    This concept gains some credence when you consider the Bischoff/Long GM Confrontation at SummerSlam, where Teddy made it clear he'd have no problems raiding RAW's roster if Bischoff alienated any of his talents.  It almost seemed like they wanted to prime us for some roster moves...
     
    Reasons for Benoit jumping: Orton has taken the top babyface spot, by default, and HBK is coming back soon. Jericho is a criminally under-utilized genius who needs to move up the card.  Eugene and Regal fill up babyface spots on the next line down.  Does RAW really NEED Benoit?  Meantime, Cena's about ready to take a vacation from SD! (after losing the Best of Five against Booker), to make a movie, and could use the boost; Taker's part-time, I think Benoit would be VERY handy as a proven main event babyface on SD!.
     
    And plus: if you want a "First Ever" that might actually make sense and impress fans more than Orton's "youngest ever" claim, how about Benoit coming back to SD! and immediately going after JBL, and in so doing, becoming the first man of the Brand Split Era to hold BOTH the RAW and SD! Titles?
     
    If you need to balance things out, I would not be averse to a storyline being put in place so that when Cena returns, he does so on RAW, where his gimmick and edginess might fit in better. And also where you can keep doing Orton/Cena bits, if that's something WWE really desires to do with its two Young Guns.
     
    I might have to think some more on this, but after a glancing consideration, I think I might like this idea, too.  It can be done logically and easily, story-wise, and it might help both brands out, in the end.  And goddammit, I'm a small man (or at least, a predictable internet jack-off) for saying this, but: if the RAW main event at WM21 is gonna have Randy Orton in it, then they'd fucking BETTER let SD! deliver something TOTALLY AWESOME to balance it out.  Benoit vs. Angle for the WWE Title sure would fit the bill, no?
     
  • And while I'm thinking about it: apparently, Orton's not the only one confused about what title he won (on RAW, he said he was the youngest WWE Champion in history, but that's NOT the title he holds).  Brock Lesnar actually remains the youngest WWE Champion in history.
     
    Randy Orton is the youngest World Heavyweight Champion in history.  A history that only spans 2 years, and only includes four other men, but hey, it's still something, right?
     
    Note: if you are really dense and want to go along with the WWE partyline that suggests the World Title actually shares a lineage with the NWA/WCW Title, then Orton has ANOTHER problem.  Tommy Rich won said title at age 24, as well!  Given that he's already drinking beer with fruit in it and asking men to take off their shirts, I'm sure WWE would prefer we not put Randall in the same company with Rich, though... might get folks asking questions or making jokes about how Randy got the title to begin with....  [Astute Reader David Fong actually went even more in depth on this and found out that Orton is still about 4 months younger than Rich was when he won... but it's still funny to point out!]
     
    Note #2: if, as some readers have suggested, all Orton was doing was declaring that he's the youngest man ever to win a belt in WWE, then he's STILL wrong. Not only was he EVEN YOUNGER when he won the IC belt, so it's temporally impossible for him to beat his own record there, but I believe WWE made a big fat hairy deal out of Rene Dupree being either 20 or 21 when he won the tag team titles last year.  So it's not that, either.  And if you start talking in terms of "youngest ever to win one of the two title belts that WWE has determined are the two top titles for their two brands," then you're basically getting into a territory of a completely nonsensical and made-up statistic.
     
    I reassert my belief that it was an idiotic thing to introduce into storylines, and that it's something WWE cares more about than any fan could ever possibly care about themselves.
     
  • I guess I'm not gonna be able to escape today without at least briefly mentioning this... as is my custom, I'm not entirely happy with having to report on Bad Behavior when it's got nothing to do with the actual wrestling product, but this is all over the news, so...
     
    Apparently Steve Austin and his erstwhile (ex-)girlfriend have taken hostilities to a whole new level.  This is still the same girlfriend whom Austin was trying to unload back 5 months ago when there was a bit of unpleasantness at his home in Texas.
     
    This time, the scene is Los Angeles (where Austin is part of a new Adam Sandler movie), about two weeks ago.  Apparently Austin (with his manager) had dinner with the girl with the intent of cutting her a check for $1.5 million so that she'd go away once and for all.  This is the second report of Austin trying to buy the woman off to get rid of her, and this is (I think) almost 10 times what he originally was willing to spend.  Somehow, the dinner turned violent, and the girl tried assaulting Austin and his manager (the manager was reportedly stabbed with a steak knife).
     
    Ugly enough, right?  Well, the girl was hauled away on assault charges, but has now decided to counter with a claim that the manager stabbed himself, that the whole thing was a set-up, and she's now suing Austin for $10 million.  Crazy.
     
    Just goes to show that I guess no matter how rich and successful you get in this life, there's just some people who are Born Springer.  If you catch my drift.
     
    I don't know who the good guy is in this, who the bad guy is, or if I even really give two shits.  The full LA Times report is right here, but it requires a paying membership. Part of me would love to just reprint the entire piece as it was forwarded to me by an unscrupulous LA native, so you could enjoy the full experience of The Stupid, but you'll probably just have to make do with my summary unless you want to pony up the $5 monthly fee.
     
  • Ummm, let's see, what else I got here so I don't have to end on such a spirit-crushing note?
     
    Here: many readers have mailed in to say that the Minnesota Vikings have officially released a Brock Lesnar jersey (the always hilarious #69), which one might take as a sign that Lesnar is considered a lock to at least make the Vikes' practice squad.
     
    It might also be considered a chance for the Vikings to milk some money out of Lesnar before they cut him, too.  But my cynicism aside, it is sounding more and more like the Vikings will keep Lesnar around and have him try to develop for a year on the practice squad, and just go from there.
     
    And to follow up something I'd said last week: Lesnar is comfortable with that arrangement.  Months ago, there'd been some questions about whether Lesnar would accept anything less than an active spot on an NFL roster, but apparently he's made more recent comments that make it clear he'd welcome a chance to continue improving and proving himself on the Vikes' practice squad.
     
  • When will Bret Hart's return to a WWE ring take place? This fall. It's a lock!
     
    It's also in a videogame.  HEY, DON'T SCOFF!  This dirty trick was good enough for the Ultimate Warrior, it's good enough for me!
     
    Bret will be one of the playable legends in the "SmackDown vs. RAW" game for PS2 that comes out in November. Last year's SD! 5 (I forget the subtitle) was said to be the greatest wrestling game ever, and the year before that SD! 4 (also forget the subtitle) I actually played and thought was cool... this is the latest iteration, and I suspect it'll continue the trend of steady improvements and being better than any of the wrestling games for other platforms.
     
    OO Reader The Hurricane sent this link if you'd like to see screenshots of Bret Hart in action (sharpshooting HBK, no less!). No membership required this link; there's some cool looking shots in there, too!
     
  • If you just can't wait with the rest of us, you can find out what happens on tomorrow night's SmackDown! by checking the spoilers
     
    Of note: they will confirm tomorrow night that SD! will host weekly "Tough Enough" segments starting in September, with the goal to award a SINGLE winner a WWE contract (instead of the two winners for the first TEs).  Somebody even said that WWE will be giving the winner a cool One Million Dollars.
     
    Somebody page the month of May and tell it to regurgitate all the remarkably prescient things I said about the Diva Search idea before it ever happened.  I suspect they will apply remarkably well to this concept, as well, regardless of the increased "wrestling content" of Tough Enough.  That's because the more pressing factor is the "nobody gives a shit content"....
     
  • I think that's about enough today.  You'll probably be seeing something from me tomorrow.  The only question is: will it be an OOld School throw-back column, or will some of this simmering frustration finally vent itself as I Flip the Asshole Switch to the "On" Position and do a mean-spirited Mail Bag column in which I dress down readers who dared to send me feedback?  Perhaps YOU are one of the ones already targeted for public mocking!!!
     
    Or maybe I'll just lack the balls to go through with it, no matter HOW piss-poor and missing-the-point some of my last week or so of e-mails have been....
     
    There's only one way to find out: TUNE IN TOMORROW~! Unless you're reading this at WrestleLine, in which case, TUNE IN TO ONLINEONSLAUGHT.COM TOMORROW~!


  
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E-MAIL RICK SCAIA
BROWSE THE OO ARCHIVES

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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