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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
Some SmackDown! Surprises, Major TNA
News, plus Lesnar, Quake, and Lots More!
August 20, 2004

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

Upfront: no SD! Recap here at OO this week. I guess Danny had cable problems, and I didn't find out till after the show (which I'd watched in casual fan mode, and NOT in my RAW-style "pay attention to details" mode, so I can't really do a quality recap of my own, either), and at this point, it's too late to worry about a replacement.... 
 
And then you've got Erin -- too busy feeding her Gymnastics Jones to remember to do my bidding -- slacking off, too. So it becomes quite fortuitous that I've suddenly remembered that I've got a Special Video Review from the Canadian Bulldog that I'd put away for a rainy day. And also that I got this deal with WrestleLine so  

that I can reprint Denny's columns to make it ALMOST look like OO has a full weekend update.

Luckily, there's also a non-zero amount of decent news to talk about, too. So let's can the chatter and try to get this over with so we can all start enjoying the weekend:

  • We'll start with my cursory discussion of last night's SmackDown!... I may not be able to break it down in great detail, but I've got me some thoughts about the show.
     
    First is that the highlights came from totally unexpected sources.  JBL's opening promo was really funny; the visual of him still wearing the cowboy hat on top of the neckbrace/halo was hilarious, and JBL was delivering a quality Chickenshit Vibe, as well, what with all the WAY over-selling the injuries from the PPV.  I remain unsold that going for the Honkytonk Man/comedy vibe with your Top Champ is a wise idea, but as long as JBL's entertaining, that's a step in the right direction. The "Taker will never get another title shot" storyline is an interesting invention, too, since it allows Taker to remain in the hunt, but allows him to play the "special attraction" card by only appearing sporadically to chase his rematch.
     
    And the other highlight?  Spike f'n Dudley.  I mean, christ, I was expecting his heel turn and was expecting it to be pretty cool.  But not even *I* had envisioned it turning out this well. Spike is playing the Bossy Runt role perfectly, Bubba and D-Von have been dead-on as his back up... and speaking as a guy who's really only been in one fight in his life, even *I* have to fight the urge to want to slug Spike right in his smug little face.  Well, either that, or congratulate him on being an absolutely magnificent asshole.  He's even going around kicking John Cena in the sac!  I love that brash little dictator!  Or hate him!  Dammit, I can't decide!
     
    And just as surprising was where one of the non-highlights came from: it seemed to me like Eddie Guerrero had a seriously off night.  My understanding is that (a) he's still not 100% from the hamstring injury, but also (b) that he was distracted and pissed off all night because of pockets of fans who were booing him.  I can totally understand the former, would suggest Eddie just needs to chill and not let the latter get to him, and mostly feel bad that I actually thought it VISIBLY affected his work last night.  Especially in what SHOULD have been a kick-ass main event tag match (but which was really only "pretty good"), it seemed like Eddie wasn't completely there; stuff that's normally so fluid and free-and-easy with him was looking kind of sloppy.  There were 3 or 4 spots in the match where I noticed it, but maybe the worst one was the awkwardness of a spot where Angle wanted to beg off and do some heeling, but Eddie just sort of rushed in, without even a courtesy boot or other transition, and grabbed Angle's head and awkwardly tried to drag him into the Three Amigos spot.  I wish I could be more specific, but again, I wasn't watching SD! thinking I needed to report the details.  And anyway, it was more just an overriding, almost-intangible vibe, and NOT a collection of blatantly obvious spots.  Caught me by surprise, really....
     
    Other stuff: enjoyed the tag non-title match, and it's opponents the caliber of Chavo/Noble and potential feuds  like this that will establish Kidman/London as a strong tag team and thus, in the end, strengthen the entire tag division as long as they play it right give it some time; smiting the Dudleys has removed the stink of "fluke" from London/Kidman, and now having them move into a feud with Chavo/Noble will REALLY let them shine, is my thinking...  RVD/Dupree reeked of "been there, seen that," but I guess it served its purpose as Suzuki made the post-match attack and jump-started a singles feud with Van Dam; anyone else think there are HIGHLY amusing possibilities for a Dupree/Suzuki tag team?....  Spike's sac-kick on Cena nicely set up a Cena/D-Von match, which itself was merely OK, but it was useful as a backdrop to Booker doing some scouting and learning for next week's Match 2 (and although they'll probably do the easy thing and have Booker's scouting get him the win, I kinda hope they let Cena go up 2-0; then you can have people bring the brooms out to the next week's tapings in a nice nod to Real Sporting Events, and also tell the story of Booker "fighting out of a corner" to eventually retain his belt)... and as always, Teddy Long is a highlight; they are booking him strong, as he's doing stuff like generating quality main events (Rey/Eddie vs. Kurt/Luther, which should have been better, sure, but which was still pretty good and mighty "big") and bringing back the Big Show; that's a GM who gets things done.
     
    An overall OK show. Nothing came even close to really sizzling, but I also can't think of a single moment that wasn't fairly entertaining.  In a lot of ways, SD! and RAW were equals this week in that I don't think either came out of SummerSlam with a grand slam... but RAW's closing angle (the Evolution attack on Randy Orton) was easily the week's most significant happening and probably puts RAW over the edge.
     
    You can check the main page for the exact numerical ratings OO has assigned to each show this week.  And I wish I could tell you where to look for a more detailed recap of SD!, but like I said above, Danny was betrayed by his cable system... I guess maybe you could make use of our detailed Tapings Report from SD!, if you want the show results.  Yeah, do that.
     
  • Last night's show did a prelim rating of 3.0, which is a bit of a bounceback from the week before, but like RAW, is not a bounce ALL THE WAY back to where they were in July.
     
    Problematic last night was that NBC did its best ratings yet for the Olympics, what with the USA winning gold in the women's gymnastics (Three Cheers for the Gymnast Known Simply As "Chris Benoit Girl"! Although after last night, perhaps it's more apt to call her "The New Chris Jericho"? And this has GOT to be another case of the problem I posited on Wednesday: I'm reading too much OO if my entire gymnastics knowledge comes filtered through this column) and almost exactly one third of all TVs in use last night watching NBC.  
     
    Everybody else trailed in the far distance, including SD! on UPN.
     
  • A huge (but expected) shake-up was announced by TNA this week. They are moving to a monthly PPV model starting in November, and ditching the weekly PPV model starting almost immediately.
     
    I know we first discussed the possibility months ago, and really, the impression I'd gotten was that as soon as TNA got its deal with Fox Sports Net, this move became an inevitability. It was just a question of "when," not of "if."

    TNA will only present 3 more live Wednesday night PPVs, the last one on September 8.  After that, TNA is contractually obligated to fill up three more Wednesdays, and will air best-of compilations in that slot.  It's not clear, but it's quite possible that this might mark the end of TNA's use of the Nashville Fairgrounds ("the Asylum") as a venue.  "Impact" tapings will continue in Orlando, and as yet, no location has been announced for TNA's three-hour Sunday PPVs.
     
    The first of those will take place on Sunday, November 7, and is being called "Victory Road."  That means TNA will have essentially two months between the suspension of Wednesday PPVs and their Sunday night debut to build up storylines to make their full-price PPV debut a big one.
     
    The break may seem kind of odd to you, but I'm actually kind of stoked for it: it means that TNA will begin using "Impact" on FSN as a flagship show, instead of a red-headed step-child. Considering how utterly boring and uneventful the free show has been, I welcome 2 months of it being TNA's only major outlet, and thus, home for marquee matches, important angles, and in general about 400% more excitement than they've been giving us on "Impact" so far.
     
    My understanding is that they also intend to seriously rehabilitate "Xplosion" into a workable b-show (basically, to be to "Impact" what "Impact" HAD been to Wednesday PPVs). That means more exclusive content instead of recaps, and having actual recognizable stars supplying said original content. And not to be a dick or anything, but part of "Xplosion's" rehab had BETTER be a serious upgrade in terms of distribution.
     
    I mean, TNA can claim the show is syndicated in however many markets, but I have a feeling most of those "syndication markets" are like Dayton: here, "Xplosion" is on a cable access channel, and I never really even know when it's gonna be on. Not that, at its current level of quality, I'd bother watching, but still... the point is that if "Xplosion" is gonna be a viable commodity, TNA needs to get REAL clearances in major markets (real channels, and real timeslots).
     
    Going back a year, TNA had targeted a Sunday night, 3-hour PPV in November 2003. The idea there was to have it be a guest-star-laden event (including a match pitting Jeff Jarrett against Hulk Hogan), and only a one-shot deal.  This year, TNA is finally abandoning the weekly PPV model, and needs to have it's monthly shows be repeatable, sustainable events.
     
    I'm not sure if that precludes busting out major stars for the debut show (or holding the event at a military base, or using Toby Keith as a draw, or whatever other tactics had been discussed for TNA's previous one-shot Sunday PPV concepts)... but I do know that this move SHOULD inch TNA towards being a realistic alternative for wrestling fans not satisfied with WWE.
     
    Having a weekly free cable show on FSN that DOESN'T suck and exists to entertain instead of to half-assedly hype weekly PPVs will be awesome, I think.  Only asking fans to set aside one night a month (the much more common and user-friendly Sunday night) to shell out money for shows also helps the perception that TNA is a competitor of WWE's, instead of some bush league operation that can only get clearance on Wednesday nights when people got other stuff to do than pay for wrestling.
     
    I'm looking forward to the imminent upgrade to "Impact," and also to what kind of line-up TNA can come up with for their first full-price, 3-hour, Sunday night pay-per-view event in November... should be an interesting few months for wrestling fans not entirely satisfied with WWE.
     
  • The Steve Austin/His Girlfriend situation has been all over the place the last few days, I guess. Judging by e-mail, every one of those stupid tabloid/gossip shows had SOME kind of coverage of it, so if you're just jonsing for more details AND you're lame enough to be able to endure those shows, then be sure to tune in to "Inside Edition" or the E! Network or whatever...
     
    Actually, I should stop being all polite and referring to the girl in this situation as "the Girlfriend."  I was mostly just remembering the police reports from the first incident 4-5 months ago, and her name was redacted from the documents that were posted to the Smoking Gun website, so I thought (much like Kobe's accuser), we weren't supposed to be using her real name, even though everybody knows it, anyway.
     
    Guess again: I believe the tabloid TV shows were more than happy to refer to her as Tess Broussard, and in fact, a number of alert readers have passed along this tidbit: she is an actress/model and maintains a website at www.tessbroussard.net. It has been recently updated with a statement that clearly relates to the Austin situation.
     
    Judging by the handful of pictures on the front page, and recalling Austin's last two exes, I think we can all get a pretty clear idea of exactly what kind of woman cremes Stone Cold's twinkie, too... Easy to pigeon-hole is Steve Austin. The fake-blonder, the better!
     
  • More Brock: might as well let you know that Lesnar's hung around long enough to be the victim of Rookie Hazing at Minnesota Vikings' training camp.
     
    Yesterday, some of the vets hog-tied Lesnar, doused him with water, and jumped on top of him and fake-pinned him and stuff.  Sounds fairly harmless.  At least, the parts that they deemed fit for print in the Minneapolis press were.
     
    Lesnar took it all in good stride, noting that he knew it was coming and that it's all just part of the job.  
     
    Thanks to all who passed along links to various local media articles....
     
  • Some disappointing news:
     
    John "Earthquake" Tenta has revealed that his battle with cancer has taken a turn for the worse, and he's been given about 18 months to live by his doctors.  He says he doesn't really care what the doctors say, though, and he's gonna keep fighting this thing as hard as he can.  All I can say (and I'll presume I can speak on behalf of each and every one of you, too), is that our thoughts are with the Quake on this one.
     
    The announcement was posted over at WrestleCrap.com, but don't let the source color your opinions about the reliability of this unfortunate news. One of the cool things about Tenta is that he's completely at peace with the ridiculousness of some of the things he's been asked to do in his career, and has embraced "WrestleCrap." He even wrote the forward to the WC book...  so this news is as genuine as it is sad.
     
  • Much to my chagrin, Tough Enough will be starting back up as a weekly segment on SD! starting in September.  They'll start with airing videos of possible contestants and eventually move into more in-depth training vignettes once they narrow things down to a set of finalists.
     
    The prize is listed as "one million dollars" for the lone winner, but it's since been explained to me that what WWE is ACTUALLY offering is a four-year contract valued at $250,000 per year and which IS contingent upon fulfilling schedule obligations to be determined by WWE if you actually want to get fully paid-off.
     
    At this point, I really don't care about the money. The issue of some worthless diva getting a quarter-mill while Molly Holly busts ass and gets paid less has been driven into the ground by me and others.  What I do care about is that I thought Tough Enough was dumb when it was a half-hour reality show on MTV, and now they're marrying THAT concept with the basic format of the even MORE retarded Diva Search thing... how am I supposed to be anything but Deeply Annoyed at this announcement?
     
    More baffling: even at its peak, Tough Enough really only drew a core audience about half that of SD!'s. At ITS PEAK. So with me pointing out that it won't be Entertaining, I'm left to wonder how in the hell WWE thinks it'll be a Ratings Draw...  OK, so I grant that some percentage of viewers who liked Tough Enough probably didn't watch any other WWE TV (as I recall, TE is the only WWF/E show ever to have more female viewers than male), but what kind of asinine logic is being applied to convince WWE that that minority of fans will not only decide to come check out TE segments on SD!, but that they'll also stick around for the OTHER hour and fifty minutes of the show?
     
    Sometimes I wonder -- with all this Diva Searching and Tough Enoughing and Dress Code Implementing -- if anyone at WWE has actually stopped to identify their REAL problems instead of ejaculating nonsense to solve made-up ones...
     
  • Some new RAW brand house show line-ups for the next couple weeks are headlined by Benoit vs. HHH vs. Orton...  which you MIGHT take as an indication that WWE will run with that match as the main event of September's Unforgiven.  I know it's the match *I* would have endorsed, it's just that I have deep-rooted problems with the path WWE has taken to get there...
     
    But I promised myself today would be an Orton Ranting Free Day.  I believe I've explained my position clearly, and yesterday, I believe I explained to those who refuse to accept that this is my position what fucking idiots they are. So really, what else do I have to say on the matter today?  Nothing...
     
  • Although the reference to yesterday's mail-bag column reminds me....
     
    Surprisingly, none of the five Spotlighted E-Mailers has re-replied to me, and I'm kind of thinking there's a chance I lost me five readers. I'll cope.  But the e-mail responses from others has been voluminous. And it's largely positive, so that feels good.  Except....
     
    Over a dozen people decided to latch onto a throw-away comment I made about cheering for Mr. Perfect when I was in 7th or 8th grade... specifically about the part where I mentioned Mr. Perfect and I shared a hairstyle.  Clearly, I have given you all the wrong idea, at least, if the companionable mocking I've received the last 24 hours is any indication.
     
    For the record: I NEVER had the "greasy perm mullet" that Mr. Perfect made famous in the 90s.  I was talking more about his WWF Debut Hairstyle, right when I latched on to him.  Now, it was still a mullet, make no mistake!  I won't deny my past; and if anything, I'm moderately proud of having lost the mullet in high school well before the hairstyle became a national joke. But it was a much less-ricockulous mullet I wore: Like Mr. Perfect, I had nice wavy hair, which I kept trimmed to 2 inches or so on top, but which I let grow longer (but still off the shoulders; I DID have a Strict Catholic Education, and the Pope don't like no hippies!) in the back, and where it started to get all curly.
     
    I actually think it's a style still worn by many of your more popular country artists of the present day. So please, excise the mental image of me with the PerfectPerm from you brains.  That's NOT what I meant.  And if you jack-offs in the forums are serious about doing some Photoshopping, I will ban you so hard and so fast you won't know what hit you!  Unless it looks good on me.  Which I don't think it would.  Cuz really, it didn't even look good on Hennig....  rest his soul.
     
  • And that should just about do it for me.  See you on Monday, kids.  Enjoy your weekends. I know I will: it's more lows around 50 and perfect Porch Sitting For a Final Drink or Two When I Finally Come Stumbling Home From the Bars Weather... sometimes, that can make the coming home even more satisfying than the going out, if that makes sense....


  
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E-MAIL RICK SCAIA

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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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