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Lots of tabOO Talk, plus RAW, Ratings,
SD!'s Upswing, Spoilers, and MORE!
October 18, 2004

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


No reason to bullshit you fine people: I start this column about 90 minutes before Game 5 of the ALCS, and believe you me, no matter how bad/short it is, even if I'm in the middle of a sentence, I'm wrapping this mother up before the opening pitch. 
I swear to god, I had no idea until last night that they'd play this game in the afternoon today, otherwise, I could have worked ahead on the column a bit (I mean, RAW preview? Taboo Tuesday predictions?  C'mon, that's shit I can do with half my brain tied behind my back, and three days early, if need be!). But no, Major League Baseball, in its 

decidedly-finite wisdom, figures a non-possible-clinching game between two middle-market teams deserves Prime Time ahead of a possible series-ending finale of the 2004 Version of the Most Incredible Rivalry In All Of Sports (hey, even football dunderhead Howie Long agrees on that front!).

Which means I have no choice but to add MLB to the growing list of entities that are clearly out to Annoy The Rick.  This must be the primary agenda of the entire universe, or else I beg you to explain just how it is that I can be so massively annoyed with 98% of all people, places, and things!  They're out to get me, dammit.

On the upside, I guess this means I WILL be able to enjoy RAW unencumbered tonight. Which means I might as well get to the wrestling talk here before I waste anymore valuable time before I have to wrap it up prior to my Night Of Seven Hours Of Couch Time:

  • Actually, before we get started with what will likely NOT be a stellar outing for me, let me tell you that if you want your socks rocked off, make damned sure you have checked out Jeb Lund's latest column.  
    And if your socks have been adequately removed already, you can read it again!  Because perfectionist that he is, Lund made me do a couple corrections for him, so it's PRACTICALLY like an entire new document!  Or maybe not.  But it's still damned good.
    Read it.  Instead of reading this, even.
  • And now to RAW...
    It's really a simple thing: just keep doing what they did last week, and RAW should be amply entertaining. Although I honestly believe the ambiguity regarding Taboo Tuesday voting approximates ZERO, I think they can do themselves a lot of favors in terms of post-PPV storylines and what not if they keep putting effort into stirring the pot in the manner they did last week.
    At the main event level, this means keeping the heat on Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit, and Edge, making them all as hungry to top each other as they are to get their hands on HHH and the World Title.  Because it's this way that you can best further whatever story is to be told with Edge and a possible heel turn in the coming weeks, and also create distracting issues for when whoever DOES win the voting does NOT win the title (because, let's face it: Edge ain't ready for the World Title, Shawn Michaels doesn't need the World Title, and if we posit that the universe is Out To Get Me then we can also say with certainty that Benoit's not getting the World Title, either...  the World Title Outlook, in 4 words, Stinks Of Randall Orton).
    Obviously, this should be easy as hell tonight, as Michaels, Benoit, and Edge face off in a 3-way match that has every opportunity to trump anything on tomorrow's PPV for Match of the Week honors.  I'm stoked for that, as we've seen Michaels and Benoit work really well together dating back to the Road To WrestleMania, and Edge's X-factor of heelishness should add some real sizzle to things.  Throw in a promo or two earlier on, and these three should combine to steal the show. Something I'd consider important: let them do a clean finish. I honestly don't care who wins (although MY sense would be that Michaels is already the odds-on fan favorite, and Edge had his week last week, so by christ, how about we give Benoit SOMEthing), but I think it should be relatively clean, and once we have a winner, THEN you can do the expected and have HHH/Evolution do a run-in to attack the winner (or attack all three guys, or whatever), and if you must here's also a case where having Orton run in for a show-closing save (to get his hands on Flair for some Hour One Transgression, maybe?) would be the right way to even the numbers up and also to grease the wheels for post-PPV stories.
    Speaking of Orton, I'm not necessarily expecting great things out of his match with Flair.  I mean, to bust out the trite cliché, Orton's probably the tiniest notch better than your garden variety broomstick, but this is simply NOT the Ric Flair of 15 years ago.  Their match on Tuesday is one that will have to be carried more by force of personality than by the Non-Stop Action...  which is where things get interesting. I *still* don't know what to make of that promo last week between Flair and Orton.  I stick by my guns that it had to have been conceived of to give Orton a heelish, disrespectful edge, and as such, he nailed the delivery of it.  Others think Orton just botched the delivery of a babyface promo by infusing it with his copious and innate unlikeability, which I grant is a possibility. But I honestly don't think the UK crowd reaction is one that will be all that unique in the wrestling world: in a match that'll be carried by the personalities involved, WWE might be stuck in a spot where Flair is gonna be the fan favorite over Randy Orton.  And *that*, my friends might be interesting to watch for reasons completely divorced from the Orton Chinlock Ratio of the match.  I'll be VERY curious to see how Orton and Flair interact tonight and if they do anything to UNdo last week's Heelish Tinge to Orton, or if they push it further....
    On the third line, inexplicably, it's Kane versus the phenomenon that is Gene Snitsky.  Kane may even be RAW's #2 or #3 babyface at this point, and I never would have expected that 2 months ago.  I think you gotta do more like last week: remind us how big a bad-ass Kane is, but let Snitsky get away scot-free. It ain't rocket science. About the only things I would suggest in terms of subtle/clever additions to this week's version of Kane Beating the Holy Hell out of someone are: (1) using a different foreign object (Snitsky's used the pipe, Kane's used the chair, maybe this week, the chain?  FEEL THE DRAMA~!  Who will win this All Important Election?), and (2) maybe having Val Venis show up to try to interrupt the beating, only to have his ass handed to him again (not because I hate Val, but the opposite: because at least it would create the illusion of him having an active storyline).  For whatever it's worth, I'm OFF the idea of having Lita join Kane for any kind of angle tonight; upon further discussion this weekend, the play I'd make would be having Lita show up at a Key Moment of the Kane/Snitsky PPV match, and have the announcers play up the drama of what she might do (of course, what she does is join/help Kane for a brutal beating of Snitsky; and from there, the Kane/Lita bond may fairly become the subject of any number of wildly varying storyline possibilities that I won't bother hashing out just now).
    Just about the only uncertainty on the RAW landscape these days is who will step up as the IC Title Contender to Chris Jericho.  After last week, I think you write Rhyno out, as they chopped his balls off by having him timidly revert to being Jericho's partner, and then being a non-factor for that match.  In his place: Batista's post-match run-in cemented him as one of two choices.  The other: Christian, obviously. I'd honestly love to see them make a play to boost up at least 1 other guy out of the remaining field of 13 also-rans tonight (my vote: Shelton), but I'm also not sure it really matters or if it would accomplish much at this late juncture.  Something I'd do tonight to remind us that the IC Title match is more about Jericho than about some randomly generated contender: we need to have us a Kick-Ass Highlight Reel, in which I think you let Jericho cut loose on the mic for about 10 minutes, "roasting" each of his 15 possible challengers. I think (a) Jericho can pull it off and it'd be high-fricking-larious, and (b) if something clicks with the fans, chemistry-wise, during one of Jericho's taunts, it could result in a shake-up in terms of voting and a little more heat on a future match.  Oh, and (c) when you get 15 guys in a ring, chances are they'll start fighting amongst each other, which I think could be a cool way to set up some mid-card feuds between the contenders; nothing earth-shattering, but something with teeth for these guys to do AFTER the PPV.
    Other stuff: I'd have to expect some excuse for a schmozz involving the entire women's division, since they'll all be tossed together in a Battle Royal at the PPV as part of our latest Division Reset; all I hope is that Lawler keeps the Annoying Knob to 6 or less, and that whatever they do tonight is AT LEAST as much about the women wanting to win the title as it is about what costumes they'll be wearing at the PPV.... we could PROBABLY use some kind of Eric Bischoff showcase tonight, to remind us that he *is* a Karate Fighter and that maybe his match against Eugene isn't a totally forgone conclusion (either that, or just more comedy with Bischoff, Eugene, Coach, and Regal would be fine, too)....  and they'll do something to remind me that all I can really hope for out of the Diva Search Showdown is that The Redheaded Spaz mercilessly beats the Vapid Playmate, so that the latter will never be seen nor heard from again.
    So check it out. Or, as is your right, you can just wait for the Finest RAW Recap in All The Land to be published here at OO tomorrow.  Special notice: I won't be doing the recap this week, but you're in good hands.  You may rejoice and be glad that The Broad is back in town, for only her second appearance since early August!  Erin's been looking for a spot to get back in the mix, here, and we've determined that tonight's the night that the stars will align.  All the MORE reason why I would have preferred the ALCS game be tonight instead of this afternoon, dammit!  
    Anyway, no The Me tomorrow.  But you get The Broad, instead, and from the sounds of the feedback last month, you should all be pretty fired up for that. And hell, who knows the next time Erin will grace you with her presence, anyway?  Enjoy it while you can....
  • And since RAW talk segues nicely into Taboo Tuesday talk...
    We won't be doing our usual Team Coverage PPV preview, simply because the nature of the PPV would make for an unwieldy document.  You'd have to tell a bunch of parallel stories for a few of the possible matches, and then having to format things so people could make predictions for who/what will win the polls and then AGAIN for who'd win the resulting matches.... well, it'd get messy.
    And also, it'd be asking for a hell of a lot of work out of the trOOps, and they're already massively underpaid.
    But that said, *I* will make a few picks here.  Mostly because I honestly believe that most of the voting consists of foregone conclusions, and then it's not THAT big a deal to guess at the winners.  So, just to see if I can do better than my usual sub-.500 predictions percentage:
    World Title Match
    I bet if you run this poll among the usual slew of internet jack-offs, Chris Benoit probably wins the voting. And keeping in mind that I like Benoit as much as most of you, that just won't translate into the Real World. In fact, after last week, Benoit may well finish 3rd in the real world voting.  Which sucks, but that's how it is. Meantime, Shawn Michaels -- based on decades of goodwill with fans -- runs away with things, has a great match against HHH, but ultimately goes down because he's a disposible off-month challenger.
    Voting Won By: Shawn Michaels.
    Match Won By: Triple H.
    Randy Orton vs. Ric Flair
    Conveniently enough, it's yet another legend for the Legend Killer. Certainly, I'd been eye-balling this feud and predicting it since last summer, but never figured it'd happen this way; My Predictable Drivel dictates this is the part where I announce I always figured this would work better with Orton as the heel and Flair as the face. And who knows? Maybe before the night's out, that'll be the de facto alignment. The three stip choices have gotten NO attention as yet, and it's probably because two of them are lame, and the Steel Cage is the only half-way interesting one.
    Voting Won By: Steel Cage.
    Match Won By: Randy Orton.
    Kane vs. Snitsky
    Snitsky's shelf life has been extended this far... but I don't really see it lasting much further. The only drama in the match will be when Lita makes a surprise appearance, but she'll quickly reveal an allegience to Kane, and together the cute couple will Make Snitsky A Dead Man.
    Voting Won By: Steel Chair.
    Match Won By: Kane.
    InterContinental Title Match
    Jericho's got history with Christian out the wazoo, and those two would also have the hands-down best match out of the top echelon of possible match-ups. Batista's made a late run, and would also be a good dance partner for Jericho (since you could run it as a straight big-man/little-man match, and both guys are good at those roles). Everybody else can probably forget about it.
    Voting Won By: Batista (sorry, but again, this is my Real World vs. Internet Jack-off World theory at play, and I think fans'll probably go for Batista, though it'll be the closest voting on the entire show).
    Match Won By: Jericho (because if we posit this is the one unknown voting outcome on the show, then I'm not entirely sure this is a deal where you can reasonable think WWE has a plan in place to move the title off Jericho on such short notice and without any long-term plan).

    Eric Bischoff vs. Eugene
    In the annals of Uncle vs. Nephew, I expect this to fall well short of Eddie vs. Chavo... but it should be entertaining enough. All signs point to WWE desiring the Head Shave Stip, which sucks because anybody with half a brain can tell that the Butler Stip would have about a BILLION TIMES more potential for fun and comedy. And hasn't Bischoff already lost a haircut match before?  Methinks he has.  And the only thing I can figure is that he'll have to again because of the Dumbass Wrestling Fraternity Mentality that values "ribs" and "hazing" and "dues paying," since they probably are still salty about Bischoff ditching out of a PPV early last month without telling anybody.
    Voting Won By: Head Shaving.
    Match Won By: Eugene.
    Tag Team Title Match
    The two main event losers will team up to face La Resistance. Given how easy a call it is, in my mind, to expect Michaels to get the main event shot at HHH, picking this match becomes pretty easy, too.  Benoit and Edge will not be the most willing of partners after what I'm sure will be an acrimonious night on RAW.  Edge could start/cement a heel turn by intentionally ditching out on Benoit here; I also know that a lot of folks out there have this idea in their head that Edge could be a new member of Evolution, and having him dick over Benoit here, and then maybe popping back up in the main event could set up some pretty cool factional/team feuding heading into Survivor Series.
    Voting Lost By: Benoit/Edge.
    Match Won By: La Resistance (thanks to Edge).
    Women's Battle Royal
    No fancy explanation needed here. The Stacy Experiment was mildly fun, but now it's over and we need to reset the division by putting EVERYbody into one big match with Trish's title on the line. For shits and giggles, WWE is adding Lame Costumes to the mix.  I'm probably just weird, but I've never found anything even remotely titillating about cheesy French Maid or Nurse outfits, so I guess Go Schoolgirl Costumes?  Eh, who cares, they'll be TV-PG no matter what, and they should leave the T&A to a pro like Carmella... so instead: Go Molly! And if not, then I won't feel too bad about going to my back-up plan: Go Trish!  It's just like my baseball loyalties!  I have my lovable losers (the Reds/Molly) who I cheer for as long as humanly possible before resorting to cheering for the dominant Powerhourse (the Yanks/Trish)...  I love flip-flopping!
    Voting Won By: Schoolgirl Outfits.
    Match Won By: Trish Stratus (I think you use this gimmick match to SET UP the next major title feud, but I don't think you actually move the title off Trish until you've done the work to establish the next contender; Stacy's done, and everybody else is basically at Square One, so Trish retains but has the seeds of her next feud sown here.  I'm REALLY keen on a face turn for Molly or Gail, just since Victoria's so stale and Nidia's so whatever-it-is-that-makes-me-not-really-care-about-Nidia, and that'd open things up for Jazz to make a bit more noise on the heel side).
    Red Headed Spaz vs. Vapid Playmate
    Why, god, why?  Playmate just needs to get her narrow ass kicked and then do the one thing in this life that she's shown she excels at by getting nekkid.  And also this needs to be a segment in which Christy shows us something unexpected, wrestling-wise. Because if this match does NOT exist simply to put Spaz over a disposable opponent and get fans to appreciate her, then I honestly don't understand the point.
    Voting Won By: Evening Gown Match (duh).
    Match Won By: Spaz. 
    There you go: the Rick's official look at Taboo Tuesday. We'll see how I do tomorrow night and remember... even if we're off-kilter with the previewing and what-not, I *will* still have the customary PPV Recap posted here at OO tomorrow night around midnight, so if you need the results from the show, you can count on OO to have your back within an hour or so of the conclusion of the show.  I may not see you for RAW tomorrow, but I'll see you with the PPV Recap, kids...
  • The rating for last week's SD! was a 3.5 broadcast rating; keeping in mind that a broadcast ratings point represents about 15% more eyeballs than a cable ratings point, I think we MIGHT be able to say the tide has turned, popularity-wise in the RAW/SD! battle.  The 3.5 for SD! is up another tick from the week before, and discounting an anomalously low rating when SD! went up against the first Presidential Debate, they have matched or topped RAW in the ratings for about the past 6-8 weeks, I think.
    And just to quickly toss a few thoughts from the show out there...
    I really don't have much good to say about the Heidenreich bit; just overdone and lame, and it doesn't help that at this point, the novelty of the poetry has worn off, and all I really care about is getting Taker to get in here, finish Heidenreich off, and send him back down to OVW to work off the rest of his contract.  I don't even care if the rumors are true or false about Taker politicking to headline WM21... I just think the dude's got more left in the tank, and so far in 2004, he's been wasting it on utter garbage.  When I look at the stream of nonsense (killing Paul Bearer, JBL, now Heidenreich) I actually enthusiastically endorse a WWE Title feud between Taker and Angle.  Just something for Taker to do where his performance can be commensurate with the amount of TV time and crowd reaction the guy commands.
    But balancing that general displeasure was nothing but pure glee during the Battle Royal.  Especially the last 5 minutes or so that featured Rey and Angle.  I swear to you, that was probably one of the finest tease-laden closing segments to a battle royal that I can remember, and whoever came up with all that stuff, well, I want to be friends with them.  Creative, dramatic, and of course very well-executed by those two.  Loved it.

    The Rey/Carlito match was solid, too, and was nicely set-up to put Carlito over an already-exhausted Rey so I think both guys "won" on the night.  Making me laugh extra hard: Carlito's not even TRYING to mask it, he's doing Razor Ramon. This week's new additions to his performance included calling Rey "mang," and doing the Razor Hand Wiping Motion Of I Am About To Polish You Off.  Hilarious.  Hey yo, Scott Hall: tell TNA to go screw, and wait until WWE comes calling, because I think the feud that could REALLY put Carlito Cool over the top would be a little two-month mini-run against his OBVIOUS idol, Razor Ramon.  You ain't coming back to win matches, Scott Hall, you're coming back to MAKE this kid.  C'mon, you know you wanna.

    A couple other Carlito thoughts that occurred to me: (1) what's the over-under on how many more weeks he can go with fluke wins and NOT debuting an actual Finishing Hold?  I say it's 3.  And I also say if he picks the Razor's Edge, I may very well explode several internal organs with laughter.  And (2) is it wrong that I have been tempted more than once in the last two weeks to do an Apple Spit? I rotate my fruit basket a couple times a year (watermelon in summer, citrus in winter, but now we're right in the middle of Apple Season), and I can't fricking eat an apple without wanting to spit on something that isn't cool. It's probably just that I don't think very much actually is cool.  cOOl!
    SD!'s keeping things going nicely.  I don't think they had quite as strong a show as RAW last week (a big part of that was the finish on SD!, which was a kind of blah match and then the predictable Big Show run-in), but I'm entirely convinced that wrestling fans now have as many reasons to tune into SD! in a given week as to tune in to RAW.  The brand gap has closed substantially from a QUALITY standpoint, as well as a ratings one, if you ask me.
    And just in time, too: SD! brings TV tapings to Dayton, OH, on the Tuesday after Survivor Series.  Awesome.  We got RAW right at the end of its super-hot run, and now SD! comes to town just as the brand is hitting ITS stride.  Lucky me!
  • And speaking of SD! tapings...  they're already done for this week.  Because WWE doesn't have the resources to conduct two TV events on the same night in two different towns, SD! ceded its Tuesday slot to the PPV, and held tapings last night.
    You can get those full results right here, if you absolutely, positively cannot help yourselves.
  • As threatened, I think I gotta wrap this up now. Sorry, but between a dearth of material and having my PC continuing this obnoxious new habit of freezing up at random times (various antivirus and spyware programs have not yet yielded me any relief from this recent development), I have reached the limit of what I can write for you people today.
    Baseball commands my attention.  Go Yanks!  
    I'll see you next tomorrow night (or for you early-to-bedders, Wednesday morning) with the PPV recap.

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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