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RAW/Ratings, Steve Williams Illness,
More on Lesnar, Rock Movie News, MORE!
September 2, 2004

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Sorry about the little schedule shuffle, people. A lot of this news column was actually done intended for publication on Wednesday, but a look at the roster of available columns for the rest of the weekend, I decided to call an audible.
I've updated this piece with another 12 hours or so worth of news, to accompany an "OO Best of 2004" recycling gimmick on the main page. The reason why is this: I'm hitting the road today for a road trip to Eastern Oregon (in fact, as of this re-writing, I leave in about 6 hours and today's been such a pain in my ass, I want to tell you you're  

LUCKY be getting this much!). This whole thing might wreak havoc with OO's schedule for the holiday weekend. At the very least, there will be no update made here tomorrow. But DON'T PANIC! There may be updates made from the road, and (although the trip is being left semi-open-ended) I could be back with regular updates as soon as Tuesday afternoon or early evening.

There's only one way for you to find out what goes up and when I'm back: and that's to keep checking! And hey, if the worst happens and there's no updates for the better part of a week, you have my apologies. I've explained this entire situation previously: it's not my idea. Maybe amuse yourselves in the Forums, or something, until we get back to full speed!

So I guess I wish you a happier holiday weekend than it's looking like me and my 65 hours of driving are gonna have! And if this must tide you over for a few extra days, well, just know that I tried EXTRA HARD to make it good!  Here goes:

  • Monday's RAW: like I said, not a home run, but a step in the right direction.  Mostly.
    I've said my piece about the Diva Search segment, and let's just say if *you* found that amusing, fine.  I didn't.  And not for any puritanical reasons.  Just because it was unclever, base, and after the first bleeped word, quite boring and predictable.  It was no different than any previous Diva Search bit: pointless, and accomplishing NOTHING in terms of making any of the girls really stand out as uniquely appealing.  But enough about that.
    Cuz the rest of the show had its moments....
    The big winner, in my estimation, was the new Jericho/Edge/Christian Triangle.  I'd openly wished for this alignment back before SummerSlam (before they gave the heel role to Batista in THAT triangle), and I think not only was the entire Highlight Reel segment well-conceived and performed, I also think the backstory between Edge and Christian, combined with the fact that Jericho has legitimate pressing issues with both guys, combines for a LOT of promise here. I'm digging the Highlight Reel, and I'm digging what comes next between these three.
    In fairness, you gotta call Randy Orton a winner on the night, too. He didn't set the world on fire, but he was strong enough in his first babyface promo that he turned a mixed reaction into heavy cheers and chants.  His issue with Triple H still feels a bit forced at this point, like it would have benefited from more time and a more logical build-up, but it looks like the Fed's gonna win and I'm gonna lose: fans will buy Orton as the face between the two. At least, they did on Monday.
    The best part about the Orton/HHH dynamic (to me, anyway) was that they seemed to re-open the door on the possibility that Flair and Batista might eventually opt to abandon HHH and join Orton.  It was a part of Orton's promo, and if you paid attention, at now point did Flair or Batista make an honest effort to get at Orton; in fact, they were decided LATE in making the run-in to stop Orton during the main event. Or am I reading too much into this?
    On the wrestling side, I thought both the La Resistance/Coach vs. Tajiri/Rhyno and the Batista/Regal matches had the right ideas for finishes, but neither really clicked at all.  MUCH better were the Flair/Benoit and HHH/Eugene matches; those alone were superior to anything RAW had last week on the wrestling side of things.
    On the whole, like I said: a step in the right direction.  You can get more detailed results and analysis in the OO RAW Recap.
  • The rating for Monday's RAW was a 3.5.  That is down a single tick from the week before, and unlike last week, the show didn't exhibit as much growth from beginning to end.  In fact, it started at pretty much the same place that last week's did... but just never reached the same peak.
    So, dammit, there's nothing to do but credit the Wedding From Hell with last week's rating.  I may not like it, but I'll give the credit where it's due.
    The converse is that this week's show indicates a LACK of interest in HHH/Eugene, and perhaps (by extension) in the Evolution/Orton feud.  Or MAYBE (he said conspiratorially), once Orton was kicked out of the arena, the masses simply decided that the show wasn't worth watching anymore?
    Or perhaps that's just transparent and phony overcompensation for all my nastiness directed Young Randall's way over the last few months!
    Anyway, no Olympics, no real strong counter programming at all that I know of, and RAW drops a tick this week.
  • Some sad news:  a letter from Bill Watts is circulating, and in it, the one-time UWF promoter reveals that "Dr. Death" Steve Williams is battling throat cancer.  And the news isn't so encouraging at this point.
    Williams has been inactive for some time, essentially a forced retirement. But this is the first public mention of his condition.  Apparently, his weight has dropped significantly, and currently, doctors are advocating a complete removal of Williams' voice box to best battle the cancer's spread.
    Obviously, even if the surgery is successful in stopping the cancer, this means a traumatic change in lifestyle for Williams.  I (and I'm sure ALL of us) wish him the best in the future.  
    Williams has performed in the past for the then-WWF, and is also a close friend of Jim Ross.  The Fed has acknowledged Williams' condition, and has set-up an e-mail address for all fans to send well wishes to Steve.
    It's wellwishes@wwe.com.
  • With the on-sale date for WrestleMania 21 tickets looming in just 3 weeks, WWE has announced the full pricing structure for the event.  On the whole, tickets are down slightly in price from last year's show at MSG.  Not sure if that's a "marketplace correction" (lingo for "fewer fans than last year, and WWE wants a Super Fast Sell-Out"), if it's just an acknowledgement that MSG and the 20th Mania were special, or if it just might be related to the audience capacities of the two buildings... if the Staples Center seats more, sure going slightly cheaper makes perfect sense.  They may still top WM20's overall gate.
    Best seats are $750 (ringside, and you keep the chair).  Looking at the seating chart, basically good seats are gonna be $200, $100, and $75.  There are also two significantly less-sexy tiers priced at $50 and $40.
    I'm quite sure the show will sell-out within hours, nonetheless, with a significant percentage of those seats sold BEFORE the official on-sale date.  As always, for an event of this magnitude, you can probably keep an eye out here at OO for whenever I publish the password for the "secret" internet presale, if you're gonna be hitting the show.
  • More on Brock Lesnar...
    Although the tone of Lesnar's comments in the days leading up to his being cut by the Minnesota Vikings SEEMED (to me, at least) to be "respectful concession," his agent and some Vikings coaches are singing a different story.
    Instead of chalking up his one summer as an NFL semi-star up as a learning experience, they say that Lesnar IS willing to consider a season or more in NFL Europe (where he'd be able to remain "property" of the Vikings, as he works in the developmental league; at least, if he so chooses; he could also cut ties to the Vikes and go as a free agent, which, if he does significantly improve his craft, would increase his options for getting picked up by the NFL next year, if I understand it all correctly).
    Also: Lesnar is now being courted by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League.  The CFL is its own independent entity (with an even longer and richer history than the NFL, as many angry Canucks have been more than happy to tell me about in the last few months any time I referred to the CFL as a "developmental league"), and Lesnar would completely cut ties with the Vikings and the NFL to work there.  To the best of my knowledge, the level of competition is generally stronger in the CFL, as some players OPT to play there (whereas NFL Europe is populated by NFL retreads and never-will-bes, to a large extent).  But I also think accessibility to NFL scouts would be higher in NFL Europe, and that is HUGE for someone with Major League Dreams.
    So IF Lesnar is serious about pursuing this, he's got a tough choice ahead.
  • I'm not sure it'll ever go anywhere, but Gene Simmons (of KISS) says he's been in talks with Steve Austin and Dallas Page about a possible reality show featuring the two.
    Both are currently rooming together in LA, where they're both a part of the Adam Sandler remake of "The Longest Yard," so I assume that's the hook: rassler roomies.  Or maybe not.
    They'd have to keep living together after the movie wraps (which is soon, I believe), but that shouldn't be a problem. I think we're all up to speed on Austin's woman problems, and you might also recall that DDP is currently separated from his wife, Kimberly.
    Simmons has plenty of history with wrestling, so he's probably talking about a project that has at least SOME real teeth. If it were to happen, hopefully it'd go over better than The KISS Demon did in WCW...
  • A bunch of people have been mailing in the last few days, "helping me out" with word that the Diva Search Finals have been moved back a week.  I guess the deal is that originally, WWE said September 13 was the last day of the competition. But now, it's September 20.
    I dunno exactly where the "it was originally September 13" thing came from or why it was accepted as cannon... but it's just a simple matter of math.  X number of Diva Contestents means X-1 (let's call this "Y") weeks of competition.  At this point, we have four divas left, which means three weeks of eliminations.  Which puts us squarely at September 20.  Don't know how it could ever have been another date, folks.
    But I DO appreciate the snarky sentiment that accompanied most of those mails (along the lines of "Great, they're adding ANOTHER week of this crap").  It might not be an extra week, but yeah, I'm with you: it'll probably be crap.
  • Some interesting casting news about the Rock... 
    His next movie is looking more and more like it'll be ANOTHER videogame-inspired film.  In this case, the adaptation of "Doom."  But while it might be another videogame movie, credit Rock for apparently trying to diversify his roles as much as possible.
    Instead of playing the lead hero, he's in final negotiations to play "Sarge," who would be the movie's villain.  Or so says one trusty Hollywood source.
    It'd be a departure for Rocky: although he's ostensibly a bad guy in his upcoming release "Be Cool," that's more a lovable, comic-relief bad guy role.  If he's Sarge, there's nothing lovable about him: he's just a prick.  Or so says the same Hollywood source, who has probably actually played "Doom."  Or has seen enough pictures to be familiar with it. I, sadly, have done neither.
  • And I think with that, we have to call it a week. I probably won't be able to do a full column myself until Wednesday, but remember: keep an eye on OO for any updates I can make from the road, and I'll be back as soon as possible after the holiday weekend!
    Also: best wishes to all the folks bracing for more storms in Florida, especially our very own Jeb Lund and WrestleLine's Denny Burkholder.  I'd trade places with most anyone for this weekend... but maybe not you guys!  I'll take the 65 hours of driver's seat hell, thank you!  At least I know what I'm getting into ahead of time...
    Remember, while I'm gone, I've left a SWEET sampling of the best OO columns of the year so far up on the front page. They all have my Personal Endorsement as my favorite word done by the Respective Artists.  Check 'em out again, for shits and giggles; they're THAT GOOD.  And if you didn't check 'em the first time: shame on you.
    And I'll see you when I see you!

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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