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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
Lots of News From Europe, Plus Austin,
Real Wrestling, Rebuttaling, and MORE!
October 11, 2004

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

Sweet, sweet October.  Everything is going according to plan.  
 
After a brief stumble in Game 1, the Yankees are prepared to deal yet ANOTHER gut-punch to Red Sox Nation, and I couldn't be happier. Hey, maybe one of these years, Boston WILL beat the Yanks and win a World Series. But until it happens, I have 86 years worth of anecdotal evidence telling me that I've got nothing to worry about. I just cheer for it to be another 

memorably-dramatic series like last year.  You know, for about 3 nanoseconds I was kind of concerned there in Game 7; but I knew it'd turn out alright.  It always does.

I may not believe in "Destiny," but I believe in the Bambino. Chew on that, Beantown.  Of course, you may now pile on with as many pissy e-mails as you want!  Part of the fun is knowing that I've got people to cheer against, and it seems like the Yankees inspire a remarkably-intense kind of loathing and hatred.  There's nothing particularly noble or likeable about the Red Sox, but much like their state-mate John Kerry, apparently the masses can be duped into loving them simply because of the evilness of their opponent! I've even had our very own Erin Anderson confide to me that she's not seen even one highlight of Her Hometown Braves this post-season and couldn't give two shits about them advancing, but that she'll be enthusiastically cheering the Red Sox starting tomorrow.  I think that scoundrel (albeit one with a genuine, proven, long-standing rooting interest in the Red Sox) Jeb Lund must have gotten in her head to inspire such unprovoked hatred from the normally pleasant and kind-hearted Broad.

And I wonder what happens if the Yankees beat the Sox, and the St. Louis Cardinals (the hometown team of a certain not-so-well-liked RAW superstar) make it from the NL...  might your favorite OO Superstars kiss and make up? Or might this insubordinate cabal side with the Cardinals of Randall Orton over The Beneficent Rick's Yankees?  I just think they might gas-face me for the pretty-boy, the ungrateful curs!

But I fully expect that we'll get to find out for certain.  Because the Yankees might lose, but I'm here to tell you, I believe with the same certainty that I believe the sun will come up tomorrow that it won't be to the Boston Red Sox.  It's a matter of faith in a higher power, it really is.

Perhaps we should get started on a bit of wrestling talk, now? Not that my chicanery isn't transparent to you insightful readers at this point, but there's actually a reason why I'm hyperbolizing baseball-related, intra-OO insubordination for a few paragraphs.  Because it's actually kinda sparse on the news front, since WWE's been over in Europe, leaving not a whole lot to happen stateside for the past several days. But we'll try to scrap some goodies together for you:

  • Since I've already mentioned it, we might as well start with a bit of talk about WWE's overseas tour, specifically about how, as of this writing, tonight's RAW is actually being taped in Manchester.
     
    And the fact that there will be no spoilers here at OO is more a matter of Personal Preference than logistics.  Yeah, I'm running late enough today (dammit) and my reach extends far enough that I could probably squeeze results for the show in here before it airs in the eastern US in about 4 more hours...  but I don't want to.  Because of my petulant belief that wrestling is more fun to watch when you don't know what happens, and so since *I* want to have fun tonight, *you* don't get to find out what happens!
     
    I'm sure compulsively trolling the Usual Suspects' websites, however, will provide you with the spoilers, if you really must have them.  I know if I was getting a pair of e-mails from people offering to get me RAW spoilers, then the Bigger Boys probably had the same options open to them.  And they probably lack my scruples.  So fly, fly, Agent Starling, fly away to the arms of Dave Scherer!
     
    Here, I'm kind of rambling because I have suddenly realized how silly I feel; trying to figure out how to do a preview for a show that is already at least PARTLY done is not easy.  I guess just pretend like there's nothing unusual about tonight's schedule, and treat RAW as if it's Plausibly Live (or whatever that euphemism is that they use during the Olympics).  I know nothing, you know nothing, so let's briefly set the table for tonight's show....
     
    I'm still not convinced that WWE has done anything really effective with the fan-voting gimmick for Taboo Tuesday's main event.  Chris Benoit has been almost PURPOSELY ignored on TV the last 3 weeks, and Edge's inactivity has left him a useless fringe candidate; so although the freshest storytelling between them is five months old, it seems like you might as well pencil in a de facto Michaels/HHH main event for next Tuesday, cuz there's really no other option fans might reasonable vote for at this point.
     
    But that DOES kind of raise a secondary issue with regards to how pathetic WWE's storytelling between it's top three contenders and the champion has been: not only is there no rivalry between any of the contenders and with HHH, but there's been no INTRA-CONTENDER squabbling, either.  In my mind's eye, I'd have envisioned this as a really cool, layered storyline in which you planted the seeds for multi-pronged feuds for HHH, and then heated debates between the contenders themselves, and all kinds of stuff like that.  Not only does your World Title main event deserve to have some storyline fresher than 5 months, old, but think about this: two of these guys are gonna LOSE the voting, and there's no way WWE would do a PPV without letting two of its top stars work a match.  Again, just off the top of my head, if you had intra-contender rivalries, then you could announce a gimmick where the two LOSERS face off in a semi-main event match, and that'd be kinda cool, too.
     
    So obviously, you can see where I believe WWE has a lot of work to do in the last two Mondays before Taboo Tuesday.  They really need to get all the contenders together and interacting with each other and with HHH, and it needs to happen tonight.  I'd probably suggest that you headline tonight's RAW with Evolution vs. The Three Contenders, because you could get a LOT accomplished that way (especially if you set it up earlier in the show with promos that indicate that Benoit, Michaels, and Edge are all gonna be out for themselves in an attempt to impress the fans).  This little idea of mine, of course, is dependent on Edge's health, but my understanding is that he DID return to house shows this weekend, so unless they see some value in holding back his in-ring return for the PPV, I think this is do-able.  If not, hey, just plug Jericho in, since he'd fit in very nicely after last week.
     
    Of course, my advocacy of this main event is contingent upon it NOT finishing up with Randy Orton running in to screw Chris Benoit out of his spotlight for the third time in four weeks.  Absolutely contingent.  
     
    Orton will have to advance his feud with Flair, though, so maybe I just scrap the entire six-man main event idea altogether.  NO, dammit!  I won't let a good idea go to waste... I say if WWE is so hot to have Orton RKO the Coach like it means something, then they'd fricking BETTER follow up on it this week.  Orton can play with Coach, maybe do a little promo to indicate what match stip he'd like against Flair at the PPV, and then just MIND HIS OWN DAMNED BUSINESS OTHERWISE.  The world title picture is more important than delivering another spirit-sapping and pointless Orton Superman Run-In.  At least, I think so.  [On a side note, although it would personally Crack My Shit Up, I would NOT be looking for Ric Flair to get substantive promo time on his own tonight in order to ordain himself "The Virgin Killer."]
     
    Chris Jericho can do pretty much any damned thing he wants tonight, since unlike Randy Orton, if he wants to start randomly fighting against 15 dudes, chances are REALLY good most of them are his prospective PPV opponents.  Jericho actually could even still fit in as a partner to the Title Contenders against Evolution (due to recent ties to Michaels, and also due to last week's dust-up with HHH).  Lots of possibilities, but I'd have to imagine you spend this week following up on the way Rhyno was a difference maker in Jericho's match, and how he (and probably a few others, like Batista, Shelton, and Christian) is a front-runner to emerge from the 20-man pack of possible IC Title Contenders.  Oughta be interesting.
     
    Fourth on the PPV depth chart is the Kane/Snitsky feud.  Last week, they gave the decisive "win" to Snitsky, which I think was very wise.  Now I think you follow that up by having Snitsky wisely keep his distance, while Kane rehabs his character by squashing some other poor sap(s) and maybe, JUST MAYBE, doing some interacting with Lita that might get real interesting.  Again, I'm a huge fan of seeing Lita and Kane actually start to form a bond here, cuz I think that opens the door for some really cool possibilities once Matt returns to TV and isn't sure what's going on.  You see: I'm not opposed to soap-opera-y stuff, kids!  I just only like it when it's semi-realistic and compelling.  Character over Gimmick, and all that!  Kane and Lita coming together after their trying ordeal, coming together to kill Snitsky, coming together in a way that's not exactly clear but which is enough to make Matt a bit jealous and confused when he returns?  Ambiguity, shades of gray, and all that good stuff....  perhaps we get an inkling of if we're in for any of it starting tonight.  I mean, one way or another, it's about time we have Kane and Lita in the same place at the same time to see what their dynamic is....
     
    I think a fifth thing to keep an eye on is the women's division.  They are really pulling out all the stops with Stacy Keibler's flukey winning streak over Actual Wrestlers, and that's all well and good.  Stacy's popular enough that she's an ideal foil for Trish in a crowd-interest sort of way.  Maybe not so much in a match-quality sort of way, but hey, I can recognize box office appeal when I sees it.  After spending a month dominating Molly Holly, I assume tonight is the night when Stacy uses Trish's attempted run-in from last week as a segue into an actual feud with the champ, so that they can face off in some stipulation-voted-on-by-the-fans match at Taboo Tuesday.  [And all I can there is that WWE had fucking better do the right thing and leave "Bra and Panties" match off that list, cuz THAT is why they're paying Carmella to show up and allegedly "wrestle" at the PPV, right?  RIGHT?  I sure as hell hope so.]
     
    And a final thing to keep an eye on: William Regal.  We're (plausibly) live from the UK, and you know ol' Sunshine there will be massively over with his home country fans.  WWE is sure to make good use of him...  maybe hand him the Token Titleshot of Homelandery, since Regal's in the mix for the IC Title deal, right?  Yeah, just have Regal vs. Jericho, I bet the heat would be insane for both guys, and then best of all: the finish is an easy call (a giant schmozz with the other IC title guys, allowing Regal and Jericho to save face, and maybe even team up and share a post-match Handshake of Mutual Respect, or something, and yet ANOTHER guy breaking ahead of the Pack of 20 Possibilities).  Of course, that fine concept of putting Regal to good use in an important match will probably be passed over by WWE in favor of some pointless (but likely funny) shtick with Eugene and The Red Headed Spaz....  just because they hate me so very, very much.
     
    All the kind of "gotta right the ship before the PPV talk" is kinda silly though.  Because when you get right down to it, it'll be hard to be genuinely impartial about tonight's RAW. Already, even with no real reason to be, I'm kind of stoked for the show, just because the International Aspect means we'll have a hot crowd, and a Big Event Aura, and stuff like that.  I may have my issues with some of the lack of planning that seems all-pervasive on RAW these days, but a night like tonight just shapes up to be FUN.
     
    So be like The Rick, and kick back and enjoy tonight's RAW. And if that doesn't work out for you, come on back to OO tomorrow, when you can kick back and enjoy The Rick's take on RAW, in the interweb's finest RAW Recap.  FINEST, I said!  As in THE BEST!  And YOUR FAVORITE!  Not that I'm SUBTLY FORESHADOWING anything by INEXPLICABLY BRAGGING about how you have NEVER EVER seen a Recapper as TALENTED, WITTY, ELOQUENT, INSIGHTFUL, AND GOOD-LOOKING as The Rick!  It's not like I'm running for office or anything....
     
    So see you tomorrow with the Recap.  The INDISPUTABLY AWESOME Recap!
     
  • Insurmountably awesome as I may be, I'm not above a mistake or two.  Specifically, in last Wednesday's column when I was talking about this international tour and how both RAW and SD! would be taped in Manchester, I made the Completely Inaccurate Statement that there had never been an International SD!...
     
    Of course, after dealing with the usual Caschmucks who didn't much care for the fact that I essentially reduced Canada to being the 51st State with my dismissal of their Claims To Internationality, you were lining up around the block to point out, "Um, The Rick, what about Christmas in Iraq, dumdum?"
     
    GODDAMMIT!  You got me.  SD! in Iraq, and it was all of 10 months ago.  I know that what happened is that in my head, I just think of that show as "non-Canon," because of the wholly unique look and feel it had.  But that's wrong: there were a few little skits/storylines, and a title changed hands.  That wasn't "non-Canon" at all...  it was a real SD!, and it was overseas.

    Boo to me.  Thanks to all who pointed out my error (or at least, to those who pointed it out politely!).
     
  • FYI: the exact format of Taboo Tuesday voting has been announced, and basically what'll happen is that voting will commence with next Monday's RAW, and will continue up until PPV time on Tuesday.  By all outward indications, WWE will then tabulate and actually present the show on the fly...
     
    Now, I think there's probably a BIT of a Fudge Factor here, since WWE shouldn't have too many surprises of real import what with the basic telegraphing of some Desired Voting Outcomes, and for anything that IS a genuine pick-'em, WWE will be monitoring votes and should know by the afternoon of the show who and what will be winning, which gives them time to book their way out of any corners.
     
    The confirmation of the voting timetable also means that we can probably forget about doing a PPV preview in any traditional sense; the uncertainty of the card would require a multi-layered preview (OO staff picks the winners of the VOTES, and THEN picks the winners of the MATCHES) which might be interesting, but it'd also be way too much work for everybody involved.  And really, the way I see it playing out, I'm betting next Monday's RAW is basically WWE's "preview" of the PPV, laying out all the votes and storylines...  so OO's recap of that will suffice as YOUR preview of the show, and our little predictions war with WrestleLine will have to take the month off.
     
    And remember: reports are that WWE will be continuing the interactivity on RAW, at least on a partial basis.  October 25's RAW is being talked about as the launch of a new kind of multi-platform presentation of the show... so for that entire week of October 18 through the 25th, you'll be getting lots of stuff to vote on, Wrestling Fans.  Lots.  You'll be breaking tabOOs left and right!
     
  • There is a lot of uncertainty about Booker T's immediate future...  not only because of that odd promo he did last week that SEEMED to indicate a return to babyface status.  That was strange and mysterious all its own, but I'm also talking about Booker being pulled off the road indefinitely with an unspecified illness and a lingering rib injury.
     
    Booker's not even in the UK for tomorrow's SD! tapings, so one week after a vague cameo, this week he'll probably be completely absent.  My understanding is that not even Booker and WWE are exactly sure of the whats and whens of the situation, and I just hope it's nothing too awful, and Booker gets back in the swing of things here (either as a heel or a face) inside of a few weeks.
     
  • Somebody else who will be missing for at least a few weeks: Paul London. That injury angle at the PPV was done because it turns out London's broken nose was worse than originally figured, and he needed surgery to totally repair the damage.  Same thing had the Hurricane on the shelf for right around a month, so maybe that's your timeline....
     
  • Back to UNcertainty on the injury front...  at a show in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Charlie Haas did a run-in to save Miss Jackie from Heidenreich, but in so doing, apparently hurt his knee.  He had been announced as Heidenreich's opponent, and on the fly, local boy Fit Finlay ran out to replace Haas in an impromptu match against Heidenreich.
     
    Now, all indications are that the injury to Haas is legit, and that he'll need to be examined once he gets stateside. But the velocity with which they ran Finlay out to the ring sent out some warning signals that the fix might have been in...  but I'll counter that by saying "If they wanted to cart Finlay out for a home country welcome, they probably would NOT have had him get squashed by Heidenreich."
     
    So more on Haas once we have it....
     
  • One week after a crippling number of pre-emptions left SD! with its smallest audience in a while, the rating for last Thursday's show bounced back up to a respectable 3.4. 
     
    Not that I want to prematurely latch onto a particular superstar with two proximate "O's" in his name, or anything, but this has gotta be good news that fans tuned in to the show and stuck around, en masse, to watch a debuting unknown commodity wrestle (and WIN) in the main event.
     
    I'm digging Carlito, and at the very least, it seems like he convinced the wrestling audience that he's for real in the course of his first night on the job.  No mass defections or anything in SD!'s final half hour....  folks wanted to see what the guy was all about.
     
  • Remember about a month ago we talked about a new wrestling series that would feature real, Olympic-style wrestling matches with real, Olympic-caliber wrestlers, but jazzed up, and with them getting paid and stuff, so that it's essentially REAL Pro Wrestling? 
     
    Well, all the preliminary rounds were taped this weekend in Los Angeles, and will air over the course of 3 months on PAX TV starting this winter.
     
    I'd LIKE to be able to tell you what happened and who won and how things went, but I might be Severely Sanctioned. Because, you see, all the fans in attendence were forced to sign Confidentiality Agreements, saying they wouldn't reveal results to the media.  So PAX is trying to keep this one under wraps, although it's not really THAT big a deal: the 3 month "season" is a set-up for a massive live TV special next Spring in which the standings from the preceeding 13 weeks set up the final championship matches.  
     
    Again, I did my whole spiel on this about a month ago; I think it could be really interesting, and striking shortly after the Olympics is also a good idea....  go hit the Archives if you want more of my analysis!
     
  • Oy.  So slow news weekend, and I'm left to actually reprise Steve Austin's personal life, even though it's really none of our business.... but from the sounds of things, it shouldn't have been any of Austin's business, either.  He should have fricking known better....
     
    From many e-mails from readers who apparently have less self-control than I do and actually do flip through the tabloids while waiting in line to check out at Kroger, it seems that not only has Steve Austin file a $125 million lawsuit against his estranged girlfriend (Tess Broussard), but that she's a completely psycho bitch.
     
    There are tales of her pointing a gun at Austin, harrassing his kids, stealing his property, being an ex-prostitute, being 51-years-old (!), and all kinds of other wacky shit.  I honestly don't even know what to say.  Either Austin's making this up or hyperbolizing (which is not good, since I hate me the frivolous lawsuits), or he's just a sorry, sorry son of a bitch for having gotten involved with such a winner (which might even be a worse character flaw).
     
    I mention it just so you're all still abreast of the many things Austin needs to address before he'll be contemplating anything wrestling related... if you really want details, then I'd advise you to go do some grocery shopping tonight (cuz I think Tuesdays are when they ship in the new periodicals).
     
  • Last thing, just a "thank you" to some of you who wrote in to say you appreciated Friday's Thinkpiece. As long as it'd been percolating, I thought it was bound to be pretty good, and some of you agreed.  Hell, some of you wrote in and seemed to have really digested it and thought about it and fired back some very cool thoughts of your own.  That's massively edifying.
     
    Making y'all laugh with my rapier like wit is easy; making y'all think and work at your wrestling fandom? That's harder, and I'm kinda feeling like I might have done the trick last week.
     
    But I'd be remiss if I didn't also direct a few pointed barbs as a vocal group of dissenters who seemed not to even have READ the column. Because from your mails, I had to go back and check, and NOPE, Friday's piece was NOT about the many ways I find Randy Orton to be a worthless performer.  It was about GIMMICK vs. CHARACTER.  A discussion of how Randy Orton is an example of WWE's creative failures in the matter of GIMMICK vs. CHARACTER was included in the column. But at no time was Randy Orton the issue.
     
    And yet, two dozen mindless drones who see "Randy Orton" in a column of mine, and figure that I must be Doing It Again.  If anything, the only time I talked about Orton's own ability level, it was a back-handed compliment (that one the rare occasions when he gets good material to work with, he nails it).  Please: so many of you are bombarding me with your hallucinated-accusations about my Orton Hating, and tell me to "just cut it out already, you sound like a broken record; Randy is good, and you just have to accept it"....  I will retort to all of you, "Just cut it out already, YOU are the ones who sound like broken records." 
     
    How many goddamned times do I have to explain myself, how many times to I have to present Really Good Ideas Of My Own for how Randy Orton could be a main event superstar before you all realize that I've long since moved past railing against Orton's ability.  For months now, what I've been pissed off about is how WWE's creative team has failed him.
     
    And if I'm not allowed to point out that Orton SHOULD be a full-formed, multi-dimensional character and if I tend to harp on how that would make his present push and storylines a LOT more interesting, to the benefit of the entire RAW brand, then what the hell is my job here on a wrestling website? I'm supposed to analyze and commentate.  It seems to me, anyone who is NOT upset at the way WWE has presented Orton the last several months is either (a) easily entertained, or (b) a bad wrestling columnist.  I am neither.
     
    And so I keep pointing out how if Orton WAS a character, we'd have all been right there with him as he split off from Evolution. We'd have understood his motivations and felt his pain and joined in his victories.  But I think what WWE did with him displayed an almost criminal lack of understanding of whatever CHARACTER Orton had; if the "Legend Killer" had suddenly realized he'd surpassed his mentor, if he'd plotted and schemed to take over Evolution from the inside, if after all of that he'd eventually succeeded in doing what his mentor couldn't (beat Benoit for the title), THAT would have been a CHARACTER building path to take, it would have made sense to fans who'd been paying attention.  There would have been surprises along the way, but we would have been able to stop, put it all in context, and say, "Damn, we should have seen this coming." 
     
    Instead, what happened (and what continues to happen) is pure, fabricated crap.  "Destiny" is what Randy Orton is all about.  There's nothing else driving him, certainly no character that has been displayed at any point that I can remember.  Destiny is a GIMMICK.  Destiny sucks.  And as a result, Randy Orton has spent three months getting RAW's most incredible promotional effort of the year, and is still lucky if he's the #4 babyface on the roster.
     
    Now kids: re-read this bullet point. Now, re-read it again.  And again. AND EXPLAIN TO ME WHERE I SAID RANDY ORTON SUCKS!  You can't.  You can make shit up, but that's about it. Friday's column was the final coalescence of a lot of things that have been bugging me lately...  but it was, make no mistake, a CHARACTER vs. GIMMICK column, not a RANDY ORTON BLOWS column.  And frankly, I can't believe how much of this shit I have to put up with.
     
    You might say I'm getting predictable and repetitive, but at least WWE keeps MAKING ME RIGHT when I come up with my insights and when I'm struck by the need to underscore them for the umpteenth time.  I can't say the same for those of you who have spent three months being so mind-bendingly wrong.
     
  • So since I learned long ago that it's best to get out on a high note, and there's no better Exit Line than Insulting Some Vocal, But Small, Percentage Of Your Audience, I'll be wrapping it up, now....
     
    See you tomorrow with the Recap and then Wednesday with Spoilers, News, and Views.


  
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PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28

 
 
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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