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RAW/Ratings, Lots More on WWE
Dismissals, TNA PPV Talk, and Other News!
November 3, 2004

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Well, for the second presidential election in a row, I went to bed on Election Night not knowing who the next leader of the free world would be...  but at least this time 'round, it looks like we have ourselves a wiener on the Day After.
And thank christ, because last night, I really got a bit worried that I'd have to pop in here today and somehow defend Ohio against all manner of sordid accusations, like we're the Florida of 2004. In fact, I'm sorry to report that my little joke from Monday (about drinking myself past the pain) came to pass. In a surefire sign that I am either

a lush or am hyper-sensitive, I busted out the bottle to numb my pain after the 10pm Local News Insert in which it became apparent that (a) there were at least 3 outstanding legal cases involving voting irregularities in Ohio, (b) there were places in Ohio where people were STILL VOTING even though the polls had closed 3 hours ago, and (c) the vote tally was distressingly-close and all this other chicanery would surely call our state's outcome into doubt.

So yeah, I tried (in heroic quantities) to numb the dread; even with the Magic of DVR (the thing has two tuners, and I had one locked on NBC, while the other supplied me with Distracting Entertainment all night long), it didn't really work out too well.  I was paying half-attention as NBC awarded Ohio to Bush, and then took it away again.  The ugliness was afoot.  Then Edwards went on TV around 3am and basically said "we're not conceding anything, bitches."  Oy. Finally around 4:30am, I decided that enough was enough and that even though I had planned on a late night and had lightened my Wednesday load accordingly, we were STILL at the part of the night where I had to go to bed if I wanted to get 5 hours of sleep in.

And gladly, with the light of day came the revelation that Ohio would NOT be dicking the nation over.  We have ourselves our next President!  Meet the new boss, same as the old boss!  You know something? This is NOT the outcome I personally desired, but I find myself REALLY having a hard time giving a shit; for all this talk about how heated and spirited and divisive this election was, I honestly think it came down to a choice between two utterly unappealing candidates.  My guy lost, and I sit before you today more happy that things look controversy-free than I am sad that Bush got four more years.

How fucking pathetic is that?  Four more years of a Turd Sandwich, and I'm HAPPY because America showed that it's capable of holding an election in a slightly more orderly fashion than Afghanistan!  WHEEE FOR DEMOCRACY!

Let's try to talk some rasslin':

  • I honestly don't know what else I can say about Monday's RAW...  in the recap, I tried to convey how much I liked the show, and can only hope that came through even though I felt like I was kind of shorting RAW because I didn't go into the show with the best frame of mind.  I think I've explained this before, but basically, when I'm watching a show I know I've got to recap, I do it in a particular sort of way (cuz I'm not in the "type a recap in real time" guy, nor am I a "record the show and type the recap while watching a tape" guy; I'm a "watch the show once, watch the SHIT out of it, come up  with funny observations during each segment that you can use as anchors/markers, and then do the recap from memory later" guy). It takes a bit of focus and energy to watch a show in my Recappy Way... and going into Monday's RAW, I was honestly planning on just faking my way through a recap.
    So of course, THIS is the week RAW decides to kick all manner of ass.  I perked up a bit and was close to having my A-Game for most of the show, but I'm still not sure I did RAW justice.
    To be as concise as possible, I think what this show did that RAW hasn't been doing lately is that it put the right people in the right spots to be interesting/compelling.  There wasn't any sense of things being forced, which is an all-too-common vibe on RAW lately; I like when a show feels like the fans are on the same page as the show, rather than a show feels like the fans are being dictated to by WWE, if that makes sense.  On Monday, this is exactly what we got.
    Stuff like Edge stealing the spotlight in three segments and Bischoff adding completely new layer to his character...  well, actually, I'm gonna stop myself from getting off on a tangent, but there's just something a bit more realistic and interesting about stories and personalities that seem significantly more subtle and ambiguous than the bludgeoning force WWE has tried to bring to bear in the matter of one Young Randall Orton.
    To shift into another discussion area, I also think that a lot of credit is due to the performers who pulled it all off.  Yes, it's cool that creative seems to have (even if only for one week) gotten its collective head out of its ass, but cannot possibly say enough good things about how Edge is knocking the ball out of the park every time he steps up. I hesitated to accept this thesis, but upon further discussion, I think Edge basically needed this heel turn because he was never gonna get a chance to really shine as a babyface.  What we're seeing out of the guy now makes me think that RAW might have it's own Kurt Angle: a guy who HAS to be a heel, because the second he turns face, he loses his edge and his intensity seems sort of fake and forced.  I'm not explaining this totally clearly, but I think you smell what I'm cooking.
    I also thought that Trish Stratus was freaking awesome on Monday. I'm seriously looking ahead to Year End Awards Time, and thinking I might have to (for the third time in four years) consider her for "Most Improved." And this time, because of the mic work. I mean, thinking back to last year's infuriatingly-intriguing Love Rhombus, I don't think Trish's skills ever really stood out as anything more than "adequate." Certainly you can go back 8 months to a VERY awkward Highlight Reel appearance (her first heel promo), and say that Trish might even have been lacking in the acting ability.  And now, I honestly look forward to just about any time she's gonna be on the TV.  "Improvement" might be the wrong word, but at the very least, her increased Comfort Factor has made her one of my favorite parts of RAW.  The parallels between Trish and Edge coming out of their shells as heels are pretty amazing, actually...  and yeah, I know that for as much as I try to act like this is all just Total Respect For Trish's Hard Work and Talent, there's the tiny factor of Exceptional Hotness that might cloud my judgment; so keep that to yourself, and let me have my delusions of how Trish is just as awesome as Edge, OK?
    Even Bischoff, HHH, and Regal got in on the act on Monday, nailing their segments and just really making the entire 2 hour show a pleasure to watch.
    Wrestling-wise, the show probably peaked at "barely average" for the Benoit/La Resistance and main event matches...  but entertainment-wise, I just can't imagine a better-constructed show.  Check the Recap for all the details!
  • The rating for Monday's show came in at a 3.6...  I think that's a drop of one-tenth from the week before, but basically is a good solid number to start off Sweeps Month.
  • The WWE housecleaning is really our only other major story today...
    On Monday, we talked a bit about Billy Gunn and A-Train being released. In fact, as I wrote Monday's column, the news hadn't been confirmed yet, so the discussion was pretty abbreviated.
    Now, we know it HAS been confirmed by WWE.com.  As touched upon Monday, Gunn's release is really not a surprise given recent events.  But I was truly stunned by the A-Train news, as it seemed to come out of nowhere.
    In fact, even WWE's own publications division seems to have been blindsided by A-Train's release...  I got an interesting little note from OO Reader (and perhaps the lone Rational Orton Advocate I've ever gotten e-mail from) Gina Morgan, who says that in the December edition of RAW Magazine, A-Train is given a spotlight article.  That feature would have been decided upon a few weeks ago, but it's a surefire sign that until VERY recently, WWE was prepping for A-Train's return from injury instead of for his dismissal.  I thought it was partially vindicating to hear about the RAW Mag thing after I'd been caught so unawares by A-Train's release....
    And after Billy Gunn and A-Train, the story expanded to include the release of Test.  Again, this one has been confirmed by WWE.com; Test is gone.  And this is another one that kinda seems surprising.  [A note: one theory supplied to me in the last 2 days is that WWE may have been pretty satisfied with A-Train and Test as performers, but given downturns in business since they signed their current contracts, were considered vastly over-paid...]
    Of the three, Test is unique in that I'm almost sad to see him go.  I think I'm pretty well on record with how I don't think Billy Gunn was ever all that entertaining outside of the New Age Outlaws, and that A-Train was A Drain on the excitement level of any show he appeared on...  but Test is a bit different. 
    Granted, the last few years have been an endless stream of dead-end tag teams and stuff, and if we've seen the last of Andrew Martin, his greatest wrestling accomplishment might go down as "boning Stacy Keibler," in the eyes of many fans.  But go back to 1999, and I really think that we saw a spark of talent that was never fully utilized by WWF/E.  Test was a part of a pretty hot storyline when he was engaged to Stephanie McMahon, but it was actually in the aftermath of that angle that his career was torpedoed.  At a time when he might have used the momentum of getting left at the altar by Steph for his big breakthrough, Test was instead pushed to the side; instead of Test, Vince McMahon stepped in and got the first big feud with Triple H.  Left as a footnote in the creation of the McMahon/Helmsley Era, Test never really recovered, and struggled to even stick around the mid-card.  Which is too bad, cuz I really think that if you gotta have Vince McMahon's Big Man Fetish, we could use more guys like Test than like Heidenreich.
    Tough break for "Baby Nash."  But hey, speaking of Nash...  perhaps with this string of releases, we might finally get that reunion we've all been dying for!  T&A in TNA!  It's perfect, baby!
  • Joking aside, TNA does have its major PPV debut (after 2-plus years of "minor" PPVs on Wednesday nights) coming up this weekend...
    Now, I'm out of town this weekend, which has the net effect of making me NOT want to have to rush a column to completion on Friday when I need to be getting out of dodge... and helping matters is that I've been re-assured that Erin will be penning her first column in 3 months for Friday, which makes it easier for me to tell myself to take the day off.
    So if this is my last chance, I figure I might as well run down the TNA Victory Road card for you kids....

    The main event will be Jeff Jarrett defending the NWA Title against Jeff Hardy in a Ladder Match. Everybody knows what Hardy can do with a ladder, but few remember that Jarrett was actually a participant in the first ever WWF Ladder Matches back in 1992 (against Bret Hart for the IC Title), and performed admirably. So even though it makes me laugh a little bit to contemplate the idea of "Jeff Hardy: PPV Main Eventer," the match oughta be a jim dandy.  Storywise: Hardy emerged as a contender by winning a four-man mini-tourney... and the Outsiders (Kevin Nash and Scott Hall) are tangentially involved, as each one has promised to be in the corner of "Jeff."  The implication is that they'll be in opposite corners, but it seems stupefyingly obvious that we'll probably end up with Nash and Hall together.  But in whose corner?  If anyone's?
    On the second line, it'll be a three-way match between the three men who lost-out in the title-shot-mini-tourney: Raven vs. Abyss vs. Monte Brown.  The three started pissing each other off in said tourney, and though all three are pretty much de facto babyfaces at this point, the hostilities have escalated to the point that they agreed to this No DQ 3-way match.  As much as I'm a fan of Raven, I'm not sure what you can really expect out of this match, unless they really gimmick it up with the hardcore rules... Abyss is pretty much TNA's version of Kane (i.e. "pretty watchable for a big man," except that really, Abyss isnt THAT big, just big by TNA standards), and I simply do not get the fascination with Monte Brown (you see one Alpha Male promo, and that's basically his whole bag of tricks; after that, he's seriously a slightly-less-entertaining version of Ahmed Johnson).
    Third level: the X Division Title is up for grabs as AJ Styles challenges Team Canada's Petey Williams.  I won't bother disputing the essentially guaranteed goodness of this match; it'll put the NA in TNA, if you catch my drift. But it's kind of a deal where TNA's shortcomings are really spotlighted: Styles is damned good, but this thing just reeks of him slumming it to win the secondary "X Title" from a disposible mid-tier talent. Which is all well and good since I'm sure TNA imagines they'll be drawing in some new fans with the PPV, and this'll be a good spotlight for Styles... except that then, he's basically a "division killer."  I don't know...  I'm certainly able to get excited about the in-ring action itself here, but there is NOTHING in the story or the possible aftermath that could possible give fans any reasons to care.  Boo on that.
    After that, I really can't even guess at how TNA has prioritized the event, so I'll just briefly rundown the rest of the card/storylines:  Roddy Piper will have a "Special Surprise Guest" on "Not Piper's Pit" (WWE owns that name, so TNA has to lamely call it "In the Pit with Piper"), which if Piper's rambling TNA promo work to date is any indication should be quite underwhelming....  Vince Russo will be ousted from power by Dusty Rhodes in an ostensible "fan voting" gimmick (but Russo's really on his way out, and the fix will be in)...  Triple X (Elix Skipper and Christopher Daniels) will face America's Most Wanted (Chris Harris and James Storm) in a match that I secretly would consider to be the best reason to buy this PPV if they really let these four cut loose...  Team Canada's Eric Young and Bobby Rude put the NWA Tag Titles on the line against Konnan and Road Dogg Brian James (if Team Canada tries to play a numbers game, Konnan and James' 3 Live Kru running buddy Ron Killings should even the sides up)...  and I believe that TNA Diva Trinity will be wrestling, and that they've got the MexiMidgets signed to appear on the card (these guys really were awesomely fun when they were featured in the WWF back in the mid-90s, but as a reason to drop $30, I dunno)....
    Check out the Victory Road PPV on Sunday night, if you're jonsing for a Wrestling Alternative.  And remember: we'll have full coverage here at OO on Monday!
  • I know I talked about this back a few months ago, and I was NOT talking out my ass...  WWE is gonna be making a push to turn RAW into an almost fully interactive show featuring more immersive online elements and stuff.  I know when I talked about it before, I promised that the changes would be in place last Monday, but my understanding is that with all the chaos that was going on in Vince's absence, that was the last thing on anybody's mind, and they are now re-organizing and getting ready to launch the concept.
    I think it goes active next week, actually.  Well, actually, I know that there's already a section on WWE.com for this (and ahem, it notes that the RAW Interactive thingie SHOULD have started last week; see NOT talking out my ass!), but I think next week is when they'll actually start PROMOTING IT ON TV.
    I'll be curious to see if WWE really does this right (cuz I think this is an absolutely fascinating idea, with tons of possibilties), or if it just falls flat and is essentially lame like the Taboo Tuesday voting and most of the current content on their website...  
  • Speaking of wienie-rific WWE online content: they apparently know that they are toeing the line with this new Mohammed Hassan character, because their family-friendly parents section of the website has a disclaimer about how they are introducing the character to shed light on the struggles of Arab-Americans after the tragic events of 9/11...
    Goddammit, WWE, I'm not asking you to come right out and say "This is a blatant attempt to get cheap heat," but how about if you're gonna have the balls to run with the gimmick, you try having the balls to not write pandering tripe trying to justify your cheap heat as Extremely Considerate and Enlightened Behavior.
    Or at least wait until there actually *IS* a controversy over the new character before you start apologizing for it.  Seriously: I've not seen one single e-mail of outrage or anything resembling a controversy... mostly, the impression I get is that most people are like me: mildly concerned that WWE could take this in an unappealing direction, but basically nonplussed.
  • And when all I got left to talk about is how a current "news story" isn't really a story at all, that's probably my sign to wrap it up.
    Again: if I'm not around on Friday, you've been forewarned... and if it's till Monday that next we hang out, folks, enjoy the weekend and its start of College Basketball Exhibition Games (I'll be missing my ONLY Dayton Flyer home game of the year on Saturday night because of my other plans!) and its Alternative Wrestling PPVs and all that noise!
    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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