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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
RAW, Ratings, Lots More TNA Ranting,
Major Diva Turnover, and MORE!
November 17, 2004

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

I'm probably gonna be a bit on the short side here today.... 
 
That's cuz if you're really jonsing for more of me, there's the SD! Recap I wrote last night. And for once, YES, I do endorse the reading of Spoilers because this isn't just "Wrestler X beat Wrestler Y," and then "Wrestler Z said something backstage" sort of spoiler report. This is me being there at the show live, and putting every bit as much effort into making sure you get 

a feel for the details and nuances of the event as you will by watching on Thursday night. Instead of something that'll just ruin your Thursday night experience (which is all 95% of spoilers do), it's something to be enjoyed as an experience all its own!

Hmmmm, full of myself much?  Yeah, maybe a bit.  Here, I'll also admit that one aspect of the SD! Recap sucks: just because I was teetering on the brink of exhaustion by the time I got home and got really in depth with typing it up, I latched onto a handful jokes/crutches and REALLY drove them into the ground?  Trust me, I just re-glanced over the piece today, and I even annoyed myself in a couple spots!  But it's still a really fun, detailed look at a night out at WWE Tapings!  So check it out.

And then, you can feel free to donate to the current OO Pledge Drive so that I'll have SO much disposable income on my hands that I'll just HAVE to attend future events, too, no matter HOW much I'm sure I'll feel like a loser for doing so!  Thanks in advance for your support, everyone!

On with the shoe:

  • Starting back with RAW for a bit, I guess this might be a week when I could expand a bit on my thoughts since I didn't do that Recap.  But what you need about that show has already been said...
     
    Stuff like how Lawler had an even more obnoxious-than-usual week, or how I thought Benoit pretty much nailed the Promo of the Week in his bit with Maven, or how I was digging the ambiguity of HHH teasing Batista (HHH seemed fun and likeable for once, but Batista also seemed vaguely-sympathetic, which way do they go with that?)...
     
    I can't think of a whole lot more specific things that I'd told myself were worth talking about other than to say I vastly enjoyed the night as a whole, and right from the get-go, because the tag title change was a barrel of fun. I'm not much of one for cheesy, feel-good moments, but somehow, that turned into a VERY satisfying one for me, even though I like to pretend I'm better than that.  Sorta the same way I know the last 10 minutes of "School of Rock" are the most redonkulous, ham-handed tripe, but I can sit there and watch it and just grin like an idiot because it's so gosh-darned FUN.
     
    From that tag title change blossomed and entire night of mostly fun stuff. The little drama with Maven was intriguing, and though I fear it'll go nowhere in terms of upping his position in the company, it was well-crafted by the writers and Maven brought the intensity in the delivery/performance (in fact, face-to-face with Orton for their little skit, well... I'm not even gonna say it, but I think you know what I'm talking about), and if I came even CLOSE to losing interest in the show all night long, it was the stretch with the Pillow Fight and Simon Dean in back-to-back segments; but the former was short and relatively harmless, and the latter at least MIGHT get us to the point where Simon "One Trick Pony" Dean has to wrestle instead of talk.  
     
    What I want to know is why in the hell I take a week off, and suddenly THAT is the week where Randall Orton is reduced to a virtual cameo? A comedy match against Coach (with such tried and true shtick that it worked even for Orton), and then one brief skit in which Orton MOSTLY kept his mouth shut and let Maven have the last word? A show that ends with something other than "The Theme From Dumb Guy" written by The Even Dumber Guys for once?  Erin, I am insanely jealous, and just KNOW that I won't be this lucky again next week...
     
    You can get all the details from Monday Night in The Broad's OO RAW Recap.  Enjoy.
     
  • The rating for Monday's RAW was a 3.9 cable rating, a bump upwards of about one-third of a point.
     
    Does Maven = Ratings? 
     
    Does Post-PPV Interest = Ratings?
     
    Or maybe does Booking a Very Consistent Show That Doesn't Give Fans a Chance to Get Bored and Want to Change the Channel = Ratings?
     
    Not sure, but a gain of three ticks over recent averages is a good thing, although it'd be even gooder if they could maintain those gains in coming weeks.  If nothing else, I steadfastly believe that "RAW is JERICHO" has GOT to be -- just intrinsically -- a lot more marketable a night than "RAW is MAVEN," so let's hope...
     
  • In a story that I thought would just go away and die, but instead seems to be getting stupider, TNA is circulating a press release claiming that WWE has released the hounds on them.  Legally speaking, that is.
     
    WWE wants any footage that TNA might have taped during their "invasion" of a WWE soundstage at Universal Studios, and they want it RIGHT NOW.
     
    And again, I say "boo" on WWE for even bothering to acknowledge this situation. The only reason I can even BEGIN to think them getting the lawyers involved might be justified is if they think TNA might actually have gotten something of note on tape. Which STILL is retarded, since if WWE had reacted to the "invasion" in a rational way, TNA would have walked away with ZERO useful footage to begin with.  This is just so freaking dumb.
     
    And I reaffirm my belief that TNA, for all their attempts to act like this is a big deal, and they are clearly competitors and equals to Vince McMahon, needs to lay off the recreational pharmaceuticals. Fewer delusions of grandeur, and more trying to get your own house in order, TNA.
     
    This "invasion" crap was kinda funny and unique when the WWF pulled it on WCW in 1998, because the WWF had an audience and was red-hot and had a sense of "cool" to it. I can't overstate the importance of that last element.  DX and ECW could get away with "invasion" bits because they were kinda cool and hip, and there were significant numbers of fans who saw them as noble and respectable.  TNA, I'm sorry to say, might have some amazing athletes and periodically puts on matches that likes of which you won't see in WWE; but as long as they have a champion who likes to give himself nicknames out of a Toby Keith pick-up truck commercial and has no chance of drawing an audience north of the Mason-Dixon line, then you ain't gonna be cool.  You might have a shot at somehow being like NASCAR (i.e. "inexplicably popular thanks to the easily amused nature of the idiot American populace"), but "cool" will evade you.  
     
    I know I'm not exactly living in the Metropolitan Mecca of Massive Hipness my own self, here, but I do know that there's a reason why ECW probably had to be based in the northeast and managed to catch on and thrive, while Jerry Lawler's Memphis territory went through about 3 different incarnations during wrestling's boom phase; and it's because the Blue States might not have been allowed to pick the president this year, but they ARE still pretty much in charge of deciding the direction of pop culture to you back-water Red States, and even as much as I disagree with them, I *still* consider this a preferable alternative to letting bible-thumping Earnhart fans dictate what's cool to me.
     
    And that's why you should leave the attempted invasions of WWE alone, since all it'll do is remind 90% of the wrestling fans out there that you stink of desperation.
     
  • Before we leave TNA alone for the day: Randy Savage is back in the company, now.  He was at tapings yesterday, and it's just like he never left.  Except it was almost like he was never there to begin with, he came and went so fast the first time.  Except that I don't think I even care at this point.
     
    In any case, Savage will make a run-in on the "Impact" main event on Friday's show, which will set the stage for Savage/Jeff Hardy/AJ Styles vs. Jeff Jarrett/Kevin Nash/Scott Hall at the December TNA PPV.  Maybe.  Assuming Savage doesn't flip out again.
     
  • Speaking of ECW, the "Rise and Fall of ECW" DVD set was released yesterday, and ALREADY positive reviews are flooding in. Completely expected, says I.  Combine the massive amounts of awesome footage ECW has available with WWE's resources to assemble it into an amazing package, and of COURSE it's gonna be fun.
     
    What I'm gonna be interested to see is if I keep getting reviews, if there is any divergence between fans who lived through ECW and were a part of the expansion (because I'm not exagerating by much when I say that it felt like *I* had some kind of personal hand in it when ECW made it to PPV, just because of the amount of effort I put into following the product; trading for tapes, driving to Philly, and so forth; I, like many others, was made to feel like a stakeholder in the company leading up to the true National Expansion), and fans who will buy the DVD and view it more as an Historical Curiosity and who were never exposed to ECW in "real time."
     
    Because my INSTINCT is that non-ECW-fans checking out this PPV might be a bit underwhelmed by the whole phenomenon, and wonder what the hell was wrong with the idiots like me who invested so much energy into a product that doesn't seem so unique or innovative by 2004 standards. Then again, if the story is told well, maybe that grassroots energy will rub off, even 8 years after the fact and only on DVD, and the non-fans will feel the enthusiasm we all did, and also know why wrestling was as fun as it was from 1998-2001?  Don't know, but I guess this is kinda my way of saying, "Keep the DVD reviews rolling in as you watch, folks."
     
    I'm not only more interested in this DVD than any WWE has released since the Flair one, I'm also more interested in the response to it from the fans...
     
  • Not necessarily Spoilers, if you're trying to avoid those, but just one thing from last night's SD! tapings that I feel compelled to mention, because I REALLY want my displeasure noted for the record....
     
    Last night, three additional Diva Search Losers debuted with WWE (Michelle McCool, Amy Weber, and Joy SorrybutthistimeIhonestlydon'trememberherlast name). That brings to five the total number of Diva Losers in the employ of WWE (along with the one Diva Winner).  So we're what?  One set of twins and two other girls away from having the entire set of 10 on the roster?  And if you don't think that WWE has ideas TWICE AS LAME and TWICE AS POINTLESS for a set of twins that they have had for the other single Diva Losers, then you just aren't paying attention.  Or you have more faith in humanity than I do.
     
    So Gail, Jazz, and Nidia are all fired, and in the same month four additional Diva Search Losers are hired to fill useless capacities.  And kidz, here is where I got REAL worried: because in addition to the already-apparent turn-over, last night at the tapings, they filled some time with a BRAND NEW diva tribute video.
     
    So brand new that it was edited to ensure that we saw ZERO shots of Jazz, Gail, or Nidia. But there was TONS of the Red Headed Spaz, and even enough time for marginal "divas" like Lillian Garcia, Moolah, and Mae Young. And you know who was NOT in this latest re-mix of the Diva Tribute Video?  Molly Holly.  Not even for a second.  And like I said in the SD! Recap, I'm NOT trying to start any rumors and I HOPE there's another explanation for this, but I'm increasingly of the opinion that WWE has decided to go down a very specific route with their women. And I don't like that.
     
    It's like I said on Monday: I'm not dumb, I know that women's wrestling won't really sell PPVs, but it's also not a worthless endeavor.  What *is* worthless is WWE deciding they'll just hire attractive women to stand around and do nothing. And that baffles me. I do not watch wrestling because I need masturbation material. I watch it because I like wrestling. And therefore I have this sick fetish that makes me gravitate more towards performers (both men and women) who are good at things related to wrestling.  OK, so fine, I'm happy to grant that one Stacy Keibler is kind of a cute diversion and if you can find an excuse to get me one upskirt-cam-shot in a two hour show, I'm not gonna complain.  I'm not gonna particularly care either, but hey, its 10 seconds out of my life, and the view ain't bad.  But a roster where it's nothing but Stacy's? Where 10 second upskirt-shots become 3 minute excuses for Lawler to Bring The Suck? And where half of the new girls actually make Stacy seem sharp as a tack by comparison (man alive am I already sick to death of Maria The Mic Stand and her remarkable dimness)?  No thanks.  It takes a bit more to interest The Me.
     
    Then again, should I be surprised? This is a company that has decided that "Randy Orton" is the answer to some indeterminate question that I'm increasingly beginning to suspect should never have been asked in the first place. The new WWE policy: you need only be pretty, you need not be any good.  Orton and six hired Diva Search Losers prove it!
     
  • Don't know how much stock to put in this one, but there is a rumor going around that the WWE "Style Over Substance" policy actually DOES extend over to the men (making my Randy Orton: Pretty-but-Worthless jokes even MORE pertinent)...
     
    Of course, the smark fan underground is spinning it one way, which is that WWE will no longer hire any wrestler under 6'0" / 225 lbs. and that's why panties have become so spectacularly bunched in the last couple of days.
     
    I'd counter by saying: the WWE big-man fetish is NOT a new thing, and that you shouldn't act surprised that WWE has such a guideline in place.  And I *think* that's the key word: GUIDELINE. Because it's not like Jericho and Benoit and Eddie are all going to get cut from WWE when their contracts roll over next time.  
     
    But even while I'm trying to be the voice of reason, I'd counter my own counter by saying that even having such a guideline is pretty gay, and is further proof that WWE is focusing its energies on all kinds of the wrong things.  Which I don't feel like getting into just now.  For just a TASTE of their misguided efforts, ready my t-shirt checkpoint story from the tapings last night....
     
  • I actually think that's about all I got today.  But between this and last night's SD! Report, I also think it's enough. MORE than enough, really.  You all know how you can thank me.
     
    I'll see you again on Friday.


  
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E-MAIL RICK SCAIA

BROWSE THE OO ARCHIVES

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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