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RAW, Injuries Aren't cOOl, Savage Gone
From TNA, And a Whole Lot More News...
November 10, 2004

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


I'm none-too-pleased with the underhanded unretirement chicanery that landed him in Houston, rather than in pinstripes for another year, but still....
How freaking bad-ass is it that Roger Clemens mowed down the National League so decisively in his first season there that he was the easy, run-away choice for the Cy Young Award? His 7th one, and at age 42. Kick-ass.  And if there's any justice in the world, Barry Bonds should be winning the NL MVP award next week, his fourth in a row and 

EIGHTH overall, at age 40.  I know it's really hard to recognize true greatness and put it in context while it's still right there in front of you; in my 20-or-so years of being cognizant of sports, the only guy I've been lucky enough to see in his prime in my lifetime who I *know* I can tell my kids and grandkids about someday and they'll go "WOW" (the same way I go "wow" when my mom talks about being there to see Mickey Mantle in person at Yankee Stadium) is Michael Jordan....

But Clemens and Bonds: I'm starting to think that there's no doubt these two guys might just be the most dominant pitcher and hitter, not just of this era, but of all times (Clemens especially; and the case for Bonds might be stronger if only the dude didn't get pitched around 120 times per season more than any other hitter in history).  No matter how hard it is to ladle that kind of praise on active (until a season starts without him on a roster, I'm still saying Roger "99.9% Retired" Clemens is active) players, this might be a case where you really have no choice.

Kudos to the Magnificent Geezers! And I love the fact that they may not necessarily be the most popular performers in the world, too. They might even be total jerks!  But they're so good, they've earned that right, and you STILL have to respect them.

Kind of like a certain crotchety-but-incredibly-insightful wrestling columnist you just can't stop yourself from flocking towards!  Here's a fresh batch of my lovable assholitude:

  • Per custom, a few final RAW thoughts... although maybe even fewer than usual, since I really unloaded pretty good in the recap yesterday.
    I think my main thesis holds: that this was an adequate show, but that the way things had been set-up the week before and the way you should want to really hit your stride heading into a PPV, I still walked away with a vague sense of disappointment. Even discounting that I let myself build up unrealistic expectations for Benoit/Edge, I think the storyline side was kind of bungled.
    Again, I insert this caveat: UNLESS this bludgeoning obviousness of "everybody gunning for HHH" thing really is masking a HHH face turn. Because that would be a good thing, something I've been asking for for months.  It'd also be something I'd have handled a bit differently, but hey, beggars can't be choosers, and if slapping us in the face with how much adversity HHH must face is what they want to do, then fine.  But I'm still not holding my breath.
    In any case, I thought I couched things pretty constructively in the recap with regards to the top-level storyline; I was underwhelmed, not genuinely put-out, and presented a few minor tweaks of my own.  I'm surprised at the vehemence of some of the feedback I got, who really liked the way things played out, and who told me if I wanted to get mad about something, I should have gotten mad about Lita/Snitsky.
    Funny, I thought I got PLENTY annoyed about Lita/Snitsky, and not even in a VAGUELY constructive way.  That was just flat out being a dick about how dumb the bit was.  I retract none of it; and if you thought I went soft on it, try going back and reading again.  I just didn't bother to construct any alternate fantasy retrobooking for that part, so maybe it seemed like I was giving it a pass, or something?  I dunno.
    The only other thing from RAW that I want to mention is that I'm going to Re-Endorse an idea that I on the fly yesterday that I didn't even realize how good it was at the time, and I just tossed it in as a parenthetical!  What MUST happen on Sunday is that some kind of greivous injury must befall Maven on Heat (probably at the hands of Snitsky, just cuz that would fit his gimmick), and Tajiri must now be inserted into the Main Event!  Because Tajiri has more heat with Team HHH than Maven does at this point (heat with HHH over the impersonation, heat with Snitsky over the attack on RAW), and Tajiri would be WAY more amusing as a General Manager than Maven, anyway.  Anybody, I dare you to dispute me on this!
    Just an overall show where the mix of good and bad was probably still more towards good than bad, but where my own expectations and ideas for how the show SHOULD have gone down made it harder for me to appreciate that.  I don't know; the feedback I've gotten has made me feel like I had unwarranted sand in my vagina, at least, and that's the best explanation I can come up with.
    For the full explanation of where I thought RAW had missteps and where I thought it hit the spot, you can check the OO RAW Recap.
  • Before I get too far away from RAW, I did get one interesting e-mail from a guy who wanted to know why I was so sure that it WASN'T in "the plan" to turn HHH face or to have Tajiri step in and replace Maven, and why don't I just sit back, relax, and wait, because the WWE creative team might surprise me.
    And that got me thinking, albeit only for a split second, that perhaps I was being harsh when I talk about the WWE creative team... what if this *is* all part of a perfectly constructed scheme to start a HHH face turn and to put Tajiri in a PPV main event?  Well, I'll tell you what: if that's what this is, then I'll eat my crow, OK?
    Because for way too long, the standard operating procedure for WWE creative (and this is frequently evidenced in the final on-screen product) does NOT seem to plot things out so carefully for the long term.  They are going week to week, and depending on who's in charge or if Vince goes missing in a given week, you can end up with different places where the buck stops, and the end result is that I have VERY little faith in the WWE creative team's "Big Picture" capability.
    Look, I know I'm just a jack-off who sits at home and sometimes has what he thinks are good ideas, and a smaller subset of those sometimes finds out that others agree with him...  in my head, WWE should already know the finish of the Royal Rumble PPV RIGHT NOW, and the key weekly markers they need to get there.  There should be no rushing scripts to completion on the day of tapings, EVER.  The writing of weekly TV should be a breeze, a matter of filling in a skeleton that you devised months ago when creating the master plan for your next "season" (it's easy: each of the four joint-brand PPVs is the end of one season, and should be planned out in the weeks immediately before the preceding "season ending" PPV).  You have flexibility to alter things based on injury, better ideas popping in, and unexpected crowd responses, but really, you need to know where you're going, and have a 75% finished outline of how you'll get there.
    Anytime I've ever attempted a fantasy booking scenario that spans more than a week or two, the majority of the work is done on Reverse Engineering (crafting my desired climax, and then figuring out how to get there); then the final 25% of the work is done going forward again and fleshing out that skeleton.  I hope I'm being relatively clear on this....  because I think this is a method that would really help out WWE, and put an end to this feeling that there's little continuity from week to week, and that just because they introduce an element THIS week, doesn't mean they'll pay it off next week.
    To wit: the case of Tajiri.  Two weeks ago, he impersonates HHH, and that SHOULD be the basis of a cute little TV Special in which HHH (as he's done so well in the past) ALMOST convinces us he'll lose before winning decisively.  But no, that doesn't happen.  So why, pray tell, should I look at THIS week's Tajiri Development (attacked by Snitsky) and presume that it's part of a master plan to insert Tajiri into the PPV main event?  I don't think anybody other than me is really paying attention to these details... I really don't.  Otherwise, we wouldn't have all kinds of dangling issues all over the place (just with Tajiri: doesn't anybody remember that Batista put him on the shelf months ago?  Doesn't anybody remember that Rhyno eliminated him from a IC Contender's elimination match? I know Tajiri's a C-level superstar, but you're not even giving him a chance to move up if you don't bother to give closure on what passes for his storylines).
    Another example, and just because we're using The Rick's Personal Favorites, here: Molly Holly. A girl who chops her fricking HAIR OFF is an extraordinarily rare opportunity to do something unique, and frankly, I'm partially of the mindset that it's something that should even be rewarded.  So OK, you do the wigs and play it for laughs, but then, there was a period in May and June when Molly could have been pretty much the ass-kickingest heel of all times, just by playing up a sort of Reverse Sampson vibe.  But no: Molly goes through the ritual humiliation part of being shaved bald, but never gets the closure on the other end.  And now, the hair is coming back and is already to that odd poofed up kind of stage where I honestly thought it looked better a little shorter, and there's a few months to go before it comes out on the other end...  opportunity totally missed, because nobody was planning much further ahead than "Wigs with chinstraps will be funny."  Dumb.
    Anyway, to that guy and to anyone else who wonders about my lack of faith in WWE creative: this is where I'm coming from.  I think anecdotal evidence -- just what we see on TV -- is all I need to support my thesis that WWE creative could stand to be organized a bit better, with a greater emphasis on long-term planning.  
  • Potentially major story developing on the SD! side of things....
    Carlito Cool's remarkable rookie campaign is 90% likely to stall out next week.  He suffered a severe shoulder separation over the weekend, and unless the diagnosis has changed in the last two days, he will require surgery and up to 3 months rehab time to get healthy.
    Carlito will be limited, but will work at Survivor Series, and then the expectation is that they'll do an angle/match at TV tapings (RIGHT HERE, in Dayton, OH!) to alleviate Carlito of his US Title.  Too bad I won't be anywhere near sitting in camera range, or else I'd happily make a "Shoulder Injuries aren't cOOl" sign....
    This might actually be the argument for NOT doing more long-term planning, since I'll be a monkey's uncle if the plan wasn't to have Cena have to "earn" a US Title shot by going through Jesus, making his eventual win over Carlito that much sweeter...  now, the chance for a months-long build up to that match is out the window.  Sucks, storywise, and it sucks for Carlito, who could really have used those months to establish himself.
    Now, a too-soon title loss, and he runs the risk of losing his momentum, and coming back to find somebody else in his spot...  we'll see, maybe they can set things up so that Carlito can stay on TV fairly actively, and that'll keep things cooking?  
  • I guess you could call this a "potentially major story developing in TNA," except that it's so fucking stupid and inane that really, it ain't so far removed from Business As Usual...
    So you know that Randy Savage made a 30 second run-in at the end of TNA's Victory Road on Sunday...  and apparently, the plan was to have him headline the December PPV (with Monte Brown and AJ Styles, against Jeff Jarrett and the Outsiders).  Except now, he's done with the company, after no-showing TV tapings yesterday.
    And the story? It's so retarded that I almost want to declare that it can't be real, cuz normal people would never behave this way, and instead, it's a REALLY bad attempt at a "shoot storyline." But I actually don't think it is...  

    Here's the deal: Hulk Hogan was backstage at the PPV (he lives in the area, and his ties to Jimmy Hart are well-known, and even if he's not gonna perform for TNA, he figured he'd stop in and visit), and I guess when he and Savage crossed paths, Hogan tried to take the high road and let bygones be bygones, but Savage brushed him off. So Hogan then invited Savage to step outside if he wanted to air and laundry in private, and Savage against dodged Hogan.  Savage went on to do his ambiguous run-in as planned.
    But yesterday, he called in and claimed that TNA would be an "unsafe working environment" for him, and therefore he would not be appearing at the tapings. Which pretty much sealed the deal for TNA having any desire to include Savage in their future plans, I guess.

    "Unsafe working environment"? Christ, what a cop-out.  And like I said, this is SO dumb and unrealistic that it almost feels like it has to be made up.  And honestly, how easy is it to float the story that Savage was supposed to be on the babyface team in that main event, and then replace him with Jeff Hardy (I have no inside information here, I'm just saying if anything, it makes MORE sense to have Hardy in there than Savage at this point)?  Except that it doesn't make any sense for TNA to be trying to work people up over a match/rivalry that probably peaked in 1989.

    Then again, this is the company that currently has Roddy Piper and Jimmy Snuka working together, too, so who the hell knows?
    At this point, I guess all we can say is that apparently, Savage is done with TNA. And if this story holds up in its details, Macho Man is probably a bit touched in the head, and although he's kinda my favorite wrestler of that era who I wish could come on back and get a proper send-off, it's stuff like this (and his -- tee hee -- rap album) that make me realize why that simply will never be a possibility.  Too bad....
  • Possibly off-setting the loss of Savage: Diamond Dallas Page debuted at Impact tapings...  probably shouldn't come as much of a shock considering how tight he is with Marc Mero, and that Mero recently resurrected the Johnny B. Badd gimmick for TNA.

    Ought be interesting to see what Page has got coming back from a thought-career-ending back injury, though I've long thought that DDP is a guy who will eventually have plenty of value on the mic long after he finally decides to quit wrestling actively.
  • What's still unclear at this juncture is who, if any, of the recently released WWE talents TNA might pick up.  There are pros and cons to almost each of the 10 releasees...
    For as much as I might have been glad to see him cut from WWE, the fact is that Billy Gunn was never more amusing than when he and Road Dogg were the New Age Outlaws; even though neither could use their WWF name in TNA, it wouldn't be a stretch to see them back together and able to rekindle a bit of the old magic.
    Speaking of tag teams: both the Test & Albert tandem and the Billy & Chuck tandem (INCLUDING Rico, if they so desired) would be possibilities.  Again, hamstringing TNA is the fact that of the five, only Chuck Palumbo could use the same name he did in WWE.
    And pardon me for thinking that WWE has practically HANDED TNA a chance to create a viable women's division, if they so desire. Along with one or two in-house women, TNA already added Miss Jacqueline to the roster (at the PPV), and now they could add the equally seasoned Jazz.  Gail Kim and Nidia probably come about as TV ready as any of TNA's in-house women, too.  And I still got me my affinity for Gail, and think if she got a chance to shine a bit more in TNA, it'd be a good thing.... 
  • And again, more WWE cuts are likely to be forthcoming, as well; as discussed Monday, they may be delayed a bit (at least till after the PPV), and as a bit of a follow up, I guess now the story going around is that this might just be a ploy by WWE to NOT release too many talents to the open market at a time when TNA might be shopping.
    So delay the releases, and maybe make it harder for TNA to pick and choose exactly who they want to sign, and WWE figures they're protecting themselves a bit.  Needless to say, this suspicion sits REAL well with the WWE locker room, who are collectively on edge, and now, might see themselves as being used as little more than pawns in a petty move by WWE against TNA.
  • Actually, there has been one more addition to the WWE Cut List: I don't even remember his real name anymore (damn you, whiskey habit!), but he was Lamont the Butler in some Ernest Miller skits a while back.  He was working in OVW, maybe hoping for a shot as a cruiserweight, after Miller was released....
  • But WWE has also added a new developmental talent in the last few weeks: former ECW preliminary wrestler "Chilly Willy" (William Jones) reported for duty in OVW recently, and will be basically starting over from scratch after 3 years out of wrestling.
    Those three years? Spent serving in the Army, including at least one tour of Iraq.  Pretty bad-ass, and one would hope that WWE might find an Appropriate and Respectful Way of utilizing Willy's remarkable real life accomplishments to market him....
    Hint: this does NOT involve turning him into a latter-day Sgt. Slaughter to squash the Evil Islamic Insurgence of Mohammed Hassan.  You got that, WWE?!?  Good....  I'm sure I didn't even have to mention it, I'm sure the merest thought never even threatened to begin to suggest the possibility of crossing your mind.
    Anyway, Chilly Willy never amounted to much on ECW TV, but was always wildly popular because of his charisma and a cheap gimmick in which he'd always be announced as hailing from whatever town the show was being held in.  Depending on how quickly he adapts to the "WWE style," he might be a pretty promising prospect, though at age 36 (I think) and starting from scratch after 3 years out of the business, he might also be facing bigger hurdles than most if he doesn't catch on quickly.
  • About Hassan: OO Reader Gina Morgan and others noted something that evaded my eye....
    In replays of his original speech from the 11/01 RAW and in the new vignette from 11/08's RAW, there is a noticeable cut between the end of Hassan's speech and the start of Khosrow Diavari's translation (which, FYI, I've been told is Farsi, not Arabic).  What's missing?  "Praise Allah."
    Yes.  Good catch.  And probably a good move by WWE.  Again: the Rick is not particularly politically correct, but he also sees no reason to be SO stubbornly insensitive that you BEG the jerkos out there to get their panties in bunches.  There's enough about Hassan that average WWE fan should get the general gist of why he should boo him without bringing Allah into it.
  • To answer some e-mails: yes, Debra was backstage at RAW. But no, I wouldn't worry about her coming back to the company.
    I feel your outrage, as I, too, would see no excuse to be dismissing Gail Kim and Jazz, while entertaining Debra as a guest... except that it's really not like that.  Debra might like a job, but I don't see WWE offering one.  She was mostly just visiting old friends since she lives in the area.
  • WWE has announced that they will begin the switchover to broadcasting in High Definition...  and so I guess, "Yippee"?
    It's actually more a foregone conclusion than anything, since US broadcast standards require all TV to be HD by (I forget the year, but maybe 4-5 years, tops)... all this does is make WWE a fairly early adopter.
    And for fans like me who are plenty happy with Regular TV until they FORCE me to buy a PlasmaTron to be compliant with FCC regulations and have better things in his life to get worked up over than whether or not I can make out the individual beads of sweat flying off a just-tackled football player, it means even less.
    Hey, I also could never fucking understand any of the audiophile dweebs I've been in bands with over the years.... do you have a good guitar sound and some decent mics?  Well, OK, then TRUST ME, IT MAKES NO GODDAMN DIFFERENCE IF YOU RECORD IN ANALOG OR DIGITAL.  If it makes you feel smarter or something to pretend the difference is noticeable (or rather, that it MATTERS), then fine, have your precious HD or whatever.....
    The only thing I WOULD admit that I find annoying is that on all WWE broadcasts, anytime there is a major pyro burst or any other huge deviation in light/sound that happens REALLY fast, my picture pixelates pretty badly for a second.  What gives on that?
  • Fans of TNA -- or people who just have some free time on their hands tonight -- keep an eye on FOX Sports Net.
    Tonight is the first TNA-themed "Best Damned Sports Show Period" special, and it'll feature a few actual matches (which run the gamut from pretty decent-but-short to idiocy involving Tom Arnold and midgets) and a ton of hype for the TNA product.  
    You'll have to check your local listings for times, since we're fully into the swing of NBA basketball, and Best Damned ends up airing all over the place as a result.... I know I've got a Cavs game on tonight, so BDSSP doesn't come on till 11pm, for instance.  But be vigilent, since if nothing else, I figure this might end up being a bit more entertaining than your average edition of Impact...
    It'd almost have to be.
  • Last thing: remember, OO endeavors to be 100% free. But we also take a month a year to collect donations from you folks to help things operating smoothly and in the black.
    I implore you: if you like what you see here, check out the OO Pledge Drive page, and give what you think is appropriate. You got plenty of options (credit card/PayPal/e-check/even cash if you want to send by snail mail), and I appreciate your support for what I, secretly, consider to be a pretty sweet-ass pro wrestling website!
    Help out if you can. And if you can't? Well, keep on leeching for free, jerkos!  I'm here again on Friday, quarterbacking the OO Survivor Series Team Coverage PPV Preview!  See you then...

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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