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RAW, Two Superstars Released, The
New Scott Hall?, Simon System, MORE!
November 1, 2004

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Shall we open the week with a Few Things That Are Pissing The Rick Off?  Yeah, why not... we gotta talk about something pointless first, or else I wouldn't be The Me....
For one, I either need to get myself a Pop Culture Coach, or just need to keep my mouth shut, or something...  because on Friday, I was out and got roped into a conversation about how some of the true Progenitors of Suck like Eminem and Limp Bizkit had been pleasantly absent from ANYthing resembling the mainstream for a year or longer. We knew

that none of our favorite bands were exactly tearing up the charts, but the mere absence of that crap made us feel good.  So of course, what happens on Sunday afternoon when I throw in my recording of SNL?  There's Eminem, apparently promoting his brand new album.  I got about halfway through Song #1 (y'know, just to make sure he still brings nothing to the table), and FF'ed, confident that it was probably MY fucking fault for invoking his name two nights before... welcome back, Eminem!  And wherefore art thou Fred Durst?  The world needs to hear more from the man who is 45 years old, acts like he's 25 years old, and has the wit of a 5 year old!

And for two: maybe this is just me, but this weekend, I was exposed to a brand new marketing campaign for Milwaukee's Best Light Beer. Granted, this might not be a totally new campaign, and I might have only just now discovered it because the holiday weekend was an excuse for a rare foray into a Known College Bar (and even *I* endured "The Beast" in school; provided somebody else paid for the keg).  But this new marketing strategy was one of the most patronizing and humiliating things I've ever seen:  "Milwaukee's Best Light: Brewed for a MAN's Taste."  Which is basically Dumb Guy Code for "If you think Lite Beers are for pussies, drink this one, cuz it's MANLY."  I don't know.  I can't explain it, but whoever thought of that slogan is only SLIGHTLY smarter than whatever toolboxes would fall for it.  Aiding in my righteous indignation is the fact that if Beast Light is brewed with a MAN's Taste in mind, then I'm gonna have to revoke my OWN Man Card.

I do NOT like being patronized.  All domestic beers are basically the same, so christ, just do like High Life and the lot and make your ads FUNNY.  Or if you're REALLY out of ideas, SEXY.  Twins~! Catfights~! THAT is how you sell beer!  Not by trying to trick me into thinking that Lite Beer is manly!  End of rant.  Because YOU do not like me wasting valuable seconds of your time with more than 2 paragraphs of pre-ramble....

So now: On with the show.... 

  • I fully anticipate a night of gentle sobbing in front of the TV tomorrow night, as I watch the election returns and wonder where the hell this country went wrong (more on that later~!), but I can at least look forward to spending TONIGHT in front of the TV with some quality wrestling action.
    Or at least, I'll cross my fingers and hope.
    To me, a HUGE part of how RAW turns out tonight is how they present the Randy Orton issue.  Because nothing will infuriate me more than if they took last week to write him out of the World Title picture, but then this week, continue to make sure the show revolves around him.  I know that Factional Warfare comes and goes in 2 weeks, but the ONLY way that you build up Orton's character and make people care about him is if they HONESTLY BELIEVE that maybe he's out of the picture. That he really was screwed out of ever getting a shot.

    And people will NOT believe that if they keep on having the other babyfaces on the show be played as lackeys to the Anointed Son, Randy Orton.  WWE should view this as a chance to do two things: again, (1) try to realize the myriad ways they are screwing up Orton's push, slow down, and fix it by giving us reasons to relate to the guy.  And (2) actually use this as a chance to elevate the status of Benoit, Jericho, and (to a lesser extent) Maven, which is VITAL for RAW to keep things moving in the absence of both Shawn Michaels and Kane.  The next challenger to HHH should be Benoit or Jericho, and as important as it is to Fix Orton, it's equally important to realize that if nobody actually BELIEVES that Benoit or Jericho are legitimate challengers to HHH because they KNOW that Orton's the one waiting in the wings, your entire main event picture is shot to hell.  No sizzle, no spark, no uncertainty or drama.
    As long as WWE is telling us "Orton's out of the running" but then having every week's climax involve Orton hitting that dumb-ass pose of his while his god-awful theme music plays, even the densest of fans will know not to get too vested in any challenges lodged by Benoit or Jericho.  Obviously, this is the part where I re-assert my opinion from Friday, and say that the easiest and best way around this is to basically decide RIGHT NOW that Randy Orton will not win the Royal Rumble (too cheap, too obvious, and they did this exact story with Benoit last year), but rather you do a story in which Orton becomes the "lackey" to either Benoit or Jericho; Orton knows he won't get a shot at HHH, but he figures he'll get a shot if some other guy can beat HHH.  Fans won't know what to expect, just because there are so many outs: does Orton fail to get the title off HHH, but DOES manage to enrage HHH so much that he gets his own title shot? Does Orton help another guy win the belt, and if so, what happens when Orton wants his title shot?  Complex motivations, tons of outs... which is why it won't happen, of course!
    As far as Factional Warfare goes, SD! set the precedent that this year, it'll be four-on-four elimination matches...  so the babyface team is set (Benoit, Jericho, Orton, Maven).  Evolution is three-handed right now, but my guess is they won't take long to secure a fourth member.  It's gotta be Edge, don't you think?  His story with Benoit is a hugely pressing issue (they are the tag champs, technically, I guess), and he's got a slightly older (but still unsettled) beef with Jericho.  Don't know if you go with Edge as a new member of Evolution, but I can see a marriage of convenience suiting all parties involved.  For whatever it's worth, Edge should be back on TV tonight, despite the way he couched things in that excellent phoned-in promo from last week.  I expect answers, and I expect them fast.
    Last week, I posited a couple different ways they could go with the Edge/Benoit situation, and the speed with which Survivor Series is coming up makes me think it'll (sadly) have to be resolved a bit more quickly than I'd have liked.  Unless Edge is NOT the 4th man on Team Evolution, that is... but really, who else would there be?  Snitsky'd just about be the only choice, but that's a storyline headache and a half getting him in there...  Edge fits, and I think it means you see either a stripping of the tag belts, or Benoit's forced to go it alone in a match and loses them, or something like that.  Too bad: I was attached to the idea of both Edge and Benoit being too proud to give up on the straps, even if they fricking HATED each other...  but I think Edge's character has pretty well spelled things out: he's not proud, he thinks the tag titles are a Consolation Prize.  All the more reason to think the way is paved for Edge to take up sides AGAINST Benoit.
    After the elimination match, RAW's biggest contribution to the upcoming PPV will almost certainly be a Shelton Benjamin vs. Christian IC Title match.  Should be a jim-dandy, seeing how those two clicked a few weeks back, and given how it seems folks have taken to Mr. Benjamin (to the point where he was cheered as much as, possibly even more than, Jericho when the two went heads-up).
    Another possibly simmering issue: although it probably doesn't count as a full-fledged feud, it sure does seem like Snitsky's married to Eugene/Regal for this next PPV.  Or at least, they're dating steadily.  He's already done both one-on-one matches with them and won.  Handicap match?  I dunno...  feels like this one's not done yet, though.
    Though it breaks me heart, it looks like we can count on Trish vs. Lita as the women's division title feud.  I STILL can't believe how stupid I looked last week....  me and my harebrained Molly face-turn schemes, and Lita's sitting RIGHT THERE ready to get back into action after her "miscarriage." It's really no different than the Trish/Stacy feud though: it's putting the two women who will get the biggest reaction into the ring with each other.  And the fact that Lita (when she's not nearly killing herself) is a significantly more-versatile in-ring performer than Stacy is a bonus.  Now, if only WWE could come up with some way to stop having me cackle in appreciation every time Trish ZINGS~! Lita with some totally deserved bit of bitchiness!  I am, to quote a very old friend of mine, "such a slut for the bad guys."  
    There may be other cursory issues explored on RAW, but I think the next biggest might not have anything to do with a PPV feud...  Eric Bischoff should be back on the job and calling the shots. Last week's hissy fit and retiring to the backstage to enjoy pansy cocktails in the manly company of The Coach could be the jumping off point for Bischoff doing something outlandish to re-establish his authority.  Screwing with Eugene is ALWAYS a possibility, but I'd say pretty much anyone would be fair game...
    As always, you oughta make sure you check it out tonight... but if you can't, that's why I'll slave over this keyboard for hours to deliver you the Finest RAW Recap In All The Land tomorrow.  So you can just wait for that and take my word for it, if you want!
  • I know I don't go out of my way to talk about it, but I actually do check out TNA's "Impact" every week.  Sometimes, I FF more than others, but I'm Fully Abreast of what passes for the latest deveopments and all...
    And I mention it today for what reason?  Because we got our first look at a New Scott Hall last Friday, and I'm not sure what to say...  he looked plus a good 40 or 50 pounds, and I'm not sure if maybe he was dyed blonde or what, but in the cheesy black-and-white vignette they did, his hair looked almost totally gray (but cut shorter).  And on top of that, he was back to TOTALLY doing the Razor Ramon voice and was even wearing an island-y cabana shirt.
    The net effect was that he looked like Razor Ramon's dad.  Very bizarre.  Because the thing is: it wasn't a bad look.  I can't explain it exactly, but it was oddly distinguished, even if very surprising for a guy who was working a marquee WrestleMania match about 2 years ago.  For some reason, the apparent changes and the return of some of the long-absent Razor shtick actually made me MORE interested in contemplating a brief WWE run for Hall in which he could "make" Carlito Cool.  I'll have to explain it another time, cuz I don't feel like getting into it now.
    For whatever it's worth, Hall promised to be in "Jeff's" corner at the Victory Road PPV.  Later, Kevin Nash fired back in a little vignette of his own (he's get the short blond OZ look, I guess), and Nash talked bad about Hall, but then ALSO made an unclear reference about having "Jeff's" back.  Oh, this probably makes more sense if you know that the Victory Road PPV is being headlined by Jeff Jarrett vs. Jeff Hardy.  See?  They're ACTING like their on opposite sides, but are they really?  So mysterious....
    I gotta be honest: more so than Roddy Piper (who comes in and whores out his legacy by earnestly claiming that he's excited to be a part of the "Biggest PPV in the history of wrestling"), Nash and Hall just seem to be "protecting themselves."  They're doing their little program with each other, they're tangentially referencing Jarrett and Hardy, but they're kind of keeping themselves above that fray. If this thing tanks, they can just sort of walk away, and nobody really remembers.  If it clicks, they can lay claim to being a big part of the main event storyline!  How very adroit of them!
    For all my snarkiness, I can promise you that OO WILL have coverage of Victory Road (not a full Team Coverage Preview, or anything, though), and you'll get to enjoy the results and analysis courtesy of Scotty Szanto-Nicodemus, who is a proud TNA fan, unlike Yours Truly here.  I, unfortunately, may or may not even watch the show, per some weekend travel plans that have also placed my Friday Column in some level of jeopardy.  But those of you who dig the TNA product, fret not: we'll have the recap, and we'll have it done by a guy who loved the TNA concept enough to order every Wednesday PPV for the better part of a year to recap them for OO!  That's love, kids....
  • I forgot to mention this on Friday, but my oblique mention in the SD! Recap was right on the money....  Carlito Cool's bodyguard "Jesus," is Aaron Aguilera, who bounced around the California and northern Mexico scene for a while, learning to work a lucha style that was pretty amazing since the guy is a full-on 6'4" heavyweight.
    He came to the WWF's attention maybe 3-4 years ago, when Edge and Christian did their last reprise of the "Conquistadors" gimmick.  Aguilera was Edge's double for a week or two of TV, and shortly thereafter got his developmental deal.  His progress was slowed by injury, but apparently, he's been deemed ready for the Big Time now.  He's certainly walking into a plum spot, as Carlito Cool is easily SD!'s best new character of the year....
    A bonus item I did *not* know: Aguilera and John Cena came up through the UPW training program together at roughly the same time, and probably worked together a lot.  Given that SOMEbody will be fingered in the "stabbing" of Cena, I gotta think this is NOT a coincidence.  Thanks to reader "AlKnows" for that little observation....
  • This is sorta sketchy at this point, but WWE has apparently released or non-renewed both Billy Gunn and A-Train. This seemed to become common knowledge over the weekend, but there's no confirmation from WWE.com or anything yet.  Seems pretty solid, though, so....
    Although Gunn ranks (ranked?) up there in terms of Total Service Time (he debuted almost 12 years ago, and never left the company), his dismissal wouldn't be a surprise.  Billy was sent home about a month ago, and was more and more considered a locker room liability.
    The A-Train thing kinda comes out of nowhere, though, as the guy was, as far as I knew, still recovering from injury, and not on any kind of shaky ground with management.
    We'll see if there's anything interesting in the way of confirmation/explanation, and talk about it Wednesday, maybe...
  • Yes, folks, thanks for the mails, but I know: The WWF (World Wildlife Fund) are suing WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) again...  kind of.  This time, it's not really anything new, it's just they final stages of the already settled litigation: the WWF wants compensatory damages for the period of time in which WWE was still using the WWF initials in breach of their agreement.
    I knew that, but guess what?  I don't care.  Honest to god. I got nothing against nature, but this is a fine case that illustrates that what is "right" is not always what is "legal."  I've ranted on this how many dozens of times?  Not again.  Not today, at least.  The WWF can go screw.
    In other news, WWE is suing their videogame licensee (THQ and/or Jakks, I'm not even really clear) over something or other.  At least the WWF lawsuit affected the product (I STILL hate the "WWE" name)... this one?  I was nodding off three paragraphs into reading what it was about in the brief I was sent.  Somebody alert me when and if this case begins to matter to anybody with a life of their own....
  • Last bit o' rasslin' talk is just a note to a bunch of readers mailing in about Simon Dean....
    Although there have been no "Simon System" ads on RAW the past two weeks, the gimmick is NOT dead.  I can't believe the tone of some of your e-mails, like you'd be sad to see it go, but FRET NOT!  Mike Bucci continues to use the gimmick at house shows, and is apparently still tweaking it.  I know for a fact he was on the RAW swing of house shows through the midwest this weekend. 
    The gimmick's not been killed off (a la "Hirohito"), and if I had to guess, I'd just say that if they've only got those two ads produced (lord knows, they were barely amusing enough to sit through once; please take note, WWE: when utilizing CRAP, like dumb-ass infomercials, as your inspirado, it works best to SATIRIZE it and mock it, not to just emulate it precisely!), then they decided they've got better ways to use their time than repeating them ad infinitum.
    So Simon Says: sit tight, and the man formerly known as "Nova" will get his shot on TV here soon enough...
  • I promised an endorsement. And an endorsement shall be given.  Those of you who don't give a rat's ass, you may leave now.  Those of you who desperately want to avoid the Wrath of Puffy, and are still looking for last second guidance, you should read on...
    Tomorrow, Americans will go to their polling stations and cast their ballots... for -- as South Park so concisely and accurately satirized -- either a Giant Douche or a Turd Sandwich.
    I know a few months ago, I was having my fun railing against the soul-crushing poorness of a political system that has served up two completely spineless puppets of candidates... and while I haven't softened my stance that both Bush and Kerry are essentially unvoteforable (to coin a word), we do have a choice to make, and the two men are NOT equal in their poorness.  They are each poor in their own very unique and special ways!  But after a few months of putting my bitching and moaning on hold to do a little soul-searching and reading, I've made my choice.
    For Giant Douche.
    I mean: for John Kerry.  The Rick and OO go for Kerry for one big reason that I REALLY fear hasn't been adequately explored by the media... even with the recent hospitalization of Chief Justice Rehnquist, this one has slipped under the radar and candidates have been given free pass to evade the matter with all manner of equivocation, in favor of focusing Memogate and home videos by some dude in a cave in Pakistan who has nothing to do with this election.  Way to go The Media! Is it any wonder I HEART Jon Stewart? 
    Anyway, my pet issue?  This next president will be appointing at least 2, and possibly 3 Supreme Court Justices.  And for everything that I feel like Kerry will fuck up in 4 years (which is pretty much equal in scope to what Bush would fuck up in the next four years, just Kerry would fuck up different parts), I trust him to appoint justices who will NOT be fucking things up for the next 40 years.  Nothing against George W. finding the Jesus and having it save him from a life of boozing and whoring; but there's a difference between using your religion as a personal reserve of inner strength and using it to make bad decisions for other people.  I basically decided one day about a month ago that I have no desire to wake up in 2008, and realize that I live in a country where all media are handcuffed to broadcast the most mundane tripe imagineable because the biggest threat to society are things like Janet Jackson's bare bOObie, no desire to live in a country where perfectly legitimate and worthwhile stem cell and genetic research goes undone, no desire (in short) to live in a country whose most basic tenants are decided by a high court that would pass the "W. Litmus Test."
    Right or wrong, that's the issue I really seized upon as important. There are battles that will be fought, won, and lost over the next four years; I have no particular faith in either Bush or Kerry to exhibit a significantly better win/loss record than the other. But if there are hugely important decisions to be made that CAN'T be undone in 4 years, like basically appointing an entire new third of the Supreme Court, I find myself leaning Kerry on that one...
    I'm not enthusiastic about it; but I live in a "Battleground" state, and I'm sure as hell gonna get out there and punch the ballot for what I think is less-wrong.  I won't pull some self-important crap by telling you to look deep down in your soul and do the same: but I figured I'd mention my thought process, just in case there are any more of the Conscientious Undecideds (you know: undecided because both options suck, NOT because they are dumb and ill-informed) among you.  Do as you will; and whatever happens, maybe join me in a drink on Tuesday night as I lament that American Democracy has been reduced to this....
    I'm sure that's what the Founding Fathers had in mind: a populace so utterly disappointed in their alternatives, that they take solace in bOOze! I'd volunteer to do something about it myself (remember, I'll be age-eligible for the Presidency in 2012, people!), but if John McCain is too much of a free-thinker to get nominated, then trust me...  I'm worthless in the realm of politics.
    But at least I got a few of you convinced I know what I'm doing in the realm of pro wrestling.  So I'll see you all tomorrow for my next display of wit and wisdom in the RAW Recap, and then again on Wednesday for mid-week news and views.  Later on, kiddies.....

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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