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Touch o' RAW, plus Who's The Champ?,
Orton, Replays, and ANNIVERSARIES~!
December 1, 2004

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


You know what today is, people?  It is the exact 3-Year Anniversary of OnlineOnslaught.com going live!
Oh, sure, the OO domain became active within days after the abrupt shutdown of operations over at SportsLine... but for two months, it was stuff like directing you towards a mailing list, conducting an hilarious survey to determine if I should continue, and if so in what form, and then eventually, begging for money to  help me get started.  Hmmm,

speaking of which: I'm STILL begging for money, here as we conduct our annual Pledge Drive, folks! Seriously, I'm only gonna ask you one more time.  If you love me, you'll donate!  BEFORE you start wasting all your money on holiday gifts for your stupid family and friends!  I'll have to check my Miss Manners, but I believe the appropriate gift for a Third Anniversary is "Cash."  Yes, yes, it's Cash.  Or possibly a Credit Card or PayPal payment.  Checks are also accepted.  Thank you Miss Manners!  Now all you mind the nice lady; don't be a no-donating cretin!  I'll have you sitting at the kids' table, with Crazy Uncle Jeb, if you don't shape up!

But seriously: coming up with all the designs and graphics and crap took a while back in 2001, and it was on December 1 that we FINALLY got things launched. And in three years, well, a lot's changed (a good half of our original columnists/recappers are gone, though I'm certainly proud of the caliber of the new faces we've added in that time! And the New Logos, people!  Gorgeous, I say!), but I like to think the one thing that's stayed the same is that there ain't no better place on the interweb to get the wrestling news (that's actually IMPORTANT, and also NOT MADE UP), the wrestling analysis/opinion (that is actually insightful and intelligent), and also the wrestling extras (like humorous special features or the best damned wrestling forums in all the land).

Then again, I'm biased.

I wish I had anything even remotely good today, but it's kinda slow, and I DID sorta shoot my wad yesterday.  But hey, here it is, the Very First Episode of "OO: Season 4"!  Enjoy:

  • So do we start with RAW?
    Eh, why not. I'm really not gonna say a whole lot more about the show. I honestly think I said enough. That recap yesterday was -- what? -- twice the length of one of my normal ones. Believe you me, every observation/thought/insight I had about Monday's RAW made it into that document.  I got nothing left.
    That said, it's also one I'm perversely proud of. I've long thought that one of my jobs should be to be able to take a show that isn't fun and MAKE it fun for you folks. I wound up doing something even harder yesterday: I made Monday's RAW fun for ME.  Trust me, if you knew how rarely I make myself laugh, you'd appreciate this even more.
    Obviously, a lot of credit for that goes to WWE for putting on one of the most disappointing shows of the year. It wouldn't work so well if I decided to flip the Asshole Switch into the ON position for a halfway decent show. They gave me the source material! And it is my unique ability to thrive on the awfulness of others!
    Even then, though, it was probably my first instinct to just half-ass a recap. Blow through it in an hour or 90 minutes, get it posted, be done with it. That was a RAW that truly did not deserve my time or effort. First, I realized that I had many moons of pent up frustration that needed to get out, and that I really do like wrestling enough to tell it when it's fucked up, cuz I *do* want it to be better. And thank god my conscience didn't just take the night off, but ENCOURAGED me to bring the vile and venom!  Being a prick was the RIGHT thing to do, the conscientious thing to do, if I care about the product!
    Thank you to everybody who wrote in to say you enjoyed it. And to the handful who wrote in to say it sucked, or was too overblown, or wasn't even a recap, well.... "overblown"?  "More a commentary than a recap"? WELL NO SHIT SHERLOCK. The show fucking sucked.  Flat out.  Almost every segment had SOMEthing that made me go "Who in their right mind could have thought of that, and believed it was the best possible choice?".  You want a straight recap, with me making no jokes, with me just telling you what happened? I'd have alienated as many readers as WWE did viewers on Monday. And I don't roll like that: like I said, even when the source material blows, the Rick at least TRIES to make it tolerable to read about. So go screw, OK?  Really.  I have a feeling you're just Orton fans who couldn't even bring yourselves to ADMIT you're Orton fans after the night he had on Monday, so you went looking for another reason my recap was inadequate, anyway....
    And actually: I take that back.  Don't "go screw."  Cuz it really doesn't matter.  It's not like this is a tone I can adopt every week. Much like you didn't have to worry about the "Beavis and Butthead" recap showing up every week. Some things are just applicable in special situations, only.
    For one: it is my hope that WWE goes a long time before putting on a show that DESERVES this level of blunt mockery. I may get a kick out of doing this every now and again, but that doesn't mean I want WWE to keep bringing the Suck just so I can.  On the contrary, if they don't give me an excuse to Release the Krakken again for a year and a half, I'd be happy.
    And for two: c'mon, we all know I'm a basically lazy man. You think I want to type up 120KB Recaps every week when usually about 55-60KB suffices?  Of course not.  Nothing'll stop me from having the asshole observations during RAW, but Sweet Lady Clock will keep me from putting all of 'em into a Recap every week.  Somebody wants to set up a pirated satellite feed every Monday night, then I'll dub my commentary in for you (hit the SAP button on your TV!), but otherwise, tough titty, I don't have 4 hours EVERY DAMN TUESDAY to do something like I did yesterday.  
    In any case, yes, kids, I'm talking more about my recap than about RAW because one was good and the other was not! Truly, I am the biggest pompous ass you know!
    Here's the quick breakdown of RAW....
    Good: (1) Batista pulling the Diesel '94 act in the Royal Rumble and also displaying more character and personality in his backstage bits than Randy Orton EVER has. (2) Trish and Jericho reminding us that next week should be lots better. And (3) Maven turning heel on Eugene, including the backstage confrontation, especially.
    Bad: Everything else.  And I mean REALLY bad.  Bait-and-switch here, line-fumbling there, the worst continuity and production I can recall on a WWE show in a long time, and of course, the dreaded non-finish.  I make no apologies for anything.
    Please, for further details, you are encouraged to check out the rather-excellent OO RAW Recap.
  • Not sure if it's the Thanksgiving back-log or what, but no RAW rating has been made available to me as of this 4pm writing. 
  • OK: now onto ANOTHER issue that has gotten me a lot of mail... in the recap, I ragged a lot on the production of the show, and it was all in build-up to the fact that as far as I could tell, Edge's "tap out" was a phantom tap.
    Not that he DIDN'T tap, but that it wasn't caught on camera, and WORSE, there was not ONE SINGLE REPLAY to close out the show.
    Well, a virtual cavalcade of e-mail later, and people think I'm as dumb as Orton. Because they say Edge clearly DID tap out at the same time the ref counted Benoit down for three.
    But they lie!
    I went to WWE.com to check the footage, and the clip they've got IS the same angle I remembered from Monday night. And it's true: if you know what you're looking for, you can pay attention to Edge's arm flailing around, and you'll see when it stops being random flailing and turns into a more specific tapping motion.  HOWEVER: at no time do you actually see Edge tap the mat... that is obscured by the bodies of the two wrestlers.  You see Edge's arm flail downward, and now that I know what to look for, yeah, that's a tap out.
    But in real time on Monday? That was FAR from clear to me. And remember, I was EXPECTING it. Mostly, I just don't understand how -- given the dramatic way they portioned out replays of the Battle Royale finish -- they didn't have a few alternate angles loaded up of that pin/tap finish... or at least a slo-mo replay of the original angle, in which I would have seen the tap-out on a second try.  It ain't a big deal, but I'd definitely have snuck in a replay just to confirm to all the viewers EXACTLY what happened; the finish was dumb and confusing enough, it could have used the elimination of at least SOME of its lameness.  A 5 second replay would have done wonders.
    Well, not wonders, but I'd have appreciated it.
    And before you get started: YES, I have my precious DVR, and YES, I could have rewound and made my own replay. That capability is one of my favorites, honestly. But did you READ my recap? Do you think I was sitting there wanting to prolong the pain? An honest admission: the very second RAW faded to black, that was it for me. Wash my hands of it. Flip over to the other tuner and the Daily Show, and no self-made replays for me, Pedro. 
    Which is why when I was typing up the recap on Tuesday, all I had was my original memory of it being a Phantom Tap. I'd apologize, since I did kinda miss it, but really: my point remains sound. WWE COULD have easily taken care of that minor bit of confusion (since I'm SURE I wasn't the only one) with a replay or a better-positioned camera.
  • Something else from the end game of the recap that got me a ton of mail.... my proclamation about Triple H still being the World Champion.
    Needless to say, you don't like it.  I honestly don't know HOW I feel about it, other than to say that if you think he's out of the picture, you're deluding yourself.  Seriously: for one, it's just the rules... if Edge and Benoit went to a "draw" (which is how past double pins have been ruled; conveniently enough, I direct you to today's OOld Tyme Rasslin' Report, which covers EXACTLY this same kind of scenario between Shawn Michaels and the British Bulldog), then the ruling is easy.  In a draw, the champ retains. You can fancy it up however you want, but that's what it boils down to.  Unless a camera angle exists that results in one of Benoit or Edge CLEARLY beating the other first, then the match is a draw and HHH should still be the champ.
    The other thing: I'm telling you, there is a SHITLOAD wrong with WWE's focus right now, and a lot of those problems coalesced into one place on Monday. The company has all kinds of little heuristics to deal with things, but enforces these minor issues at the expense of ever once stopping to consider the big picture. I'm talking about stuff like checking my t-shirt at the last SD! tapings in town and having militant Sign Police out, when really, that'd be energy better spent, oh I dunno, FIXING THE PRODUCT!  I ramble.  Specifically in this case, there is a WWE Rule of Thumb that dictates that "When Intending To Deliver A Surprise, Announcers Are Not Allowed To Even Mention The POSSIBILITY Of That Surprise Ahead Of Time, Even If It Makes Them Look Dumb." And so when RAW ends with JR and Coach bickering over which of Edge or Benoit is the champ with NEITHER of them even ONCE stopping to realize that if the match is a tie (like the Battle Royale), then HHH is still the champ, to me, that pretty much confirms that WWE intends next week's surprise to be THIS week's Unspoken Anvil. They think they're being clever... but come to think of it, OF COURSE they think that's clever. You've all seen the caliber of some of the recent material; to these simpletons, this is "The Usual Suspects" caliber deviousness.
    Anyhow, I stand by that: HHH is, if *I* kept a Title Histories Page, still the World Champ. I honestly don't think WWE will deviate from that come next Monday, unless they insist on something REALLY convoluted (like: "HHH was the only man who DIDN'T pin or submit, but we're gonna say he was eliminated, and do a play-off between Edge and Benoit"), which really, that'd only serve to further weaken the belt. It's best if HHH be the champ and drop it directly to its next holder.
    Of course, all the fun of the Guest GMs leading into RAW is JERICHO was thinking that HHH would lose the title. But of everybody HHH could drop the title directly to, do you really think Jericho's the one he wants to put over? C'mon, you know the answer to that.
    None of these reduces Edge or Benoit's claims on the belt, either, so it wouldn't surprise me if we ended up with a four-way match next Monday.  Which would quite probably rule, as long as they have a real finish planned this time.
  • A pre-empted edition of TNA Impact aired yesterday on FSN. I checked it out.
    I can also, without hesitation, make this declaration: "This edition of Impact was most definitely, and indisputably, a television show."
    OK, I'll be nice, and will also say that there is exactly one (1) thing in TNA right now that's kinda got my attention: the Raven/DDP feud. Because I remember that fondly as one of WCW's real success stories, post-1996. But also just because any excuse for Raven to bust out the FOCUSED mind-fuckery (instead of just his "character-building" rambling, rhyming promos) against one opponent is a good one.
    But other than that? Well, let's just say I don't know what I'll be doing this Sunday night. But I know what I WON'T be doing. If you catch my drift.
    This might be a good time to run the Turning Point PPV card, but eh, I don't feel like it, actually.  I've forgotten to ask Erin the past couple nights, but she's cooking up a cool little column for you, and I don't know if it's gonna be ready for Friday or not; actually, I'm kinda guessing not, which means I'll for sure end up being here on Friday, anyway. And I'll fake my way through a Turning Point Preview then; I'll needs me the filler.
  • I've had a few people write in to say that for all my bitching about "Tough Enough," it got WWE on Jay Leno last night. Oh really?
    So WWE's shitty, misguided "programming initiative" got them on the shittiest of all late night TV shows? WHEEEEEE!
    But I jest. Actually, from the sounds of people who wrote in, this doesn't sound like it's much to be proud of. It's not like the Tough Enough guys got brought on as guests. Instead, they did some taped bit with some recurring character(s)... I dunno, I certainly didn't see it. I also didn't pay very close attention to the e-mails.
    To those of us with sensible taste in late night, I will TRY to translate, by telling you that this sounds like the same thing as if Lettermen sent the "Tough Enough" dorks out on some Comedy Bit with Rupert Jee. Or more akin to an Abe Vigoda cameo on Conan. Not exactly prestigious.
    But any publicity is good publicity, right?  Keep on telling yourself that, WWE...  and please, report back to me if even ONE extra person watches SD! this week because of this appearance on Leno. Cuz I'd like to know if I'm wrong. 
    But I'm not.
  • I think there's something I need to say. Again.
    Because I had to make this Crystal Clear back in August, as I was entering my third month of REALLY hating the way WWE was handling Randy Orton. And people kept getting the idea in their head that I blame Randy, that he's a deficient talent, etc., etc., etc...  and that's NEVER what I'd said.  I was, at every turn, criticizing the creative team putting him in spots he wasn't ready for, that were not RIGHT for him. And so the e-mail from rabid Orton Lovers who thought I really hated their hero dried up once I explained myself.
    And now, three-plus months later, apparently you've all forgotten the REAL point here. Either that, or there's an all new slew of Orton Lovers who don't grasp the subtlety of my argument. Because the "you're jealous of Randy," and the "Randy's awesome, he's really starting to pick up steam, give him a chance," and the "whether you like it or not, Orton's the top babyface on RAW, so shut up" e-mails are showing up again.  Idiots.
    Look: do I think Randy Orton and I are guys who'd be fast friends? No, not really. I mean, I don't know for sure, we really only MOSTLY know him from his on-screen persona, but I *am* a really good judge of character, and plus, remember kids, it's a shoot when I say I dont' much like 95% of everybody, anyway. Even if he DOESN'T act like a metrosexual douche with a 10th grade intellect in real life, Randy'd still have a long way to go before we'd be buds. But you see: that does NOT mean that I hate him, it doesn't mean I don't see his value to WWE, and mostly, it doesn't mean that I WANT him to fail.
    Consider this: if I didn't think Orton had a place in WWE, would I waste as much time as I have in the past (as recently as last week), coming up with ways for him to become the main event star WWE wants him to be? No, I wouldn't. When was the last time you saw me do a 1000 word Fantasy Booking scenario designed to get JBL to the WM21 main event, huh people? So seriously: think before you accuse me of hating too much on Orton.  The people I'm REALLY hating on are the creative team that has mishandled Randy.
    I mean, that probably DOES tie into me having a lower opinion of Orton than some of his biggest fans; his biggest fans are the ones who think it makes perfect sense to try Randy as a brand-carrying babyface. But evidence is against you. Just like it's against the creative team, and they're the ones who are getting PAID to be perceptive enough to know what'll work and what won't. When my observations are more accurate than theirs, we have a problem.
    Again (I *think* I've said this before, at least): anyone who comes at me with "Randy's getting settled in now, he's just about ready to EXPLODE as RAW's top star" need to get their heads checked. You don't "just get settled in" six months after the start of the single biggest push generated by WWE in years. If you haven't taken the ball and scored with it by now, then son, give it to somebody else to try, OK?  Seriously. Mixed reactions and being unable to carry even 5 minute promos consistently are NOT the earmarks of a Benchmark Babyface.
    But again, me saying that Orton has to give up this ball does NOT mean he has to stop playing the game. On the contrary. It just means he has to take another path. I still don't understand how WWE could ever have thought turning him face was a good idea. I really don't. A few pockets of fans here and there, and then one memorable match in which Orton had more fans than Edge when Edge was ostensibly a babyface? Sure, you hear that and MAYBE you pause to think; but then you look at the performer and his strengths, you look at his character and how it works best, and there's no way that ANYthing this past summer should have added up to "Orton Face Turn" if the monkeys at Titan Tower have any gray matter upstairs.  In fact, I'd go so far as to say that Results Prove that what WWE should have realized in June is that Edge needed a heel turn more than Orton needed a face turn; I wonder what website might have been endorsing that very line of action?
    I think Orton would have tremendous value as a heel. I think it's the only way he'll HONESTLY make main events in the future. For all my jokes -- just jokes, Orton lovers, but yeah, amplifications of what I think are real problems; not to mention gut-bustingly funny in many cases! --  I think there are things about Orton that simply make him a better fit that way. 
    Do I think that Orton is a metrosexual douche? No, of course now, but I think whatever his real personality is has yet to show up on TV, and I wonder if it ever will, and if that means he's gonna have to be FORCING this persona, that works better as a heel thing; the best faces never seem like they're pretending, they're just being natural and connecting with the audience at a basic level, something Orton won't ever do as long as he's only PRETENDING to have this eyebrow-twitching, fake-smirking, gay-posing personality.
    Do I think Orton is 7th-grade dumb? No, but I think he's a guy you DEFINITELY need to "write for," if you catch my drift. If half his brain is working on "faking a personality" and is worried about posing and smirking and all that, of COURSE, the other half is gonna have trouble completing sentences and remembering that there is a full week in between RAWs. Ah, you see, but now I'm joking again.  Seriously: I think you might be better off writing for Orton, and when you get into that, you're basically locking him in as a heel, since babyfaces need to connect with the audience and be real. But a heel? His job is to be a dick, to do mean things, to say mean things; and you can WRITE those things. And I think Orton's plenty capable of performing them. But you can't write "likable," and Orton sure as hell doesn't have it all by himself.
    So that's why I say: I don't hate Orton, I just hate Orton's direction. I *am* suspicious of exactly how well-rounded a personality Orton is, and that makes me positive he needs to work as a heel, where he can mask certain deficiencies with a strong creative team behind him giving him cool shit to do. And if he does enough cool shit as a heel? Well, then, THAT is when he'll start to turn heads, and maybe build up enough good will with an audience, that you might start thinking Face Turn. 
    But just not now.  That's all I'm saying.  That's all I've ever said.  Please note this and log it.  Thank you.
  • I think that's all for me today.  I know I said I had a big Why The New WWE Diva Strategy Sucks And How I Can Prove It riff to do...  and I still know I'm right.
    But I'm just having a hard time getting into it; I play around with it in my brain, and within two paragraphs, it turns into way too much of an expose into The Rick's Personal Tastes than I'm entirely comfortable getting into. That's NOT what I'm setting out to do, anyway. I want to show you how the MASSES would react as (or likely, EVEN MORE) positively to a well-run women's division as they would to pointless T&A divas... I do not want to end up 1500 words later having accomplished nothing but building up the Rick's Perfect Harem.
    I need to figure out the way to couch it, but till then, as my Main Evidence, I point you to RAW: where the women's MATCH started to apathy and had the crowd roaring by the end; but the lingerie contest started hot and ended with the crowd turning against it.  That's the SYMPTOM of the problem with WWE's current practices... 
    What I want to do is fully explain to you the DISEASE behind it, and without revealing too much about the way The Rick's man-crushes work.  So let me think on this, and then I'll get back to you.
    See you again on Friday, most likely!  Remember: Honk if you like OO!  And by "Honk," I mean, "Make a Generous Monetary Donation."  Thanks.....

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
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RAW RECAP: Heyman Lands an Expansion Franchise
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Losing is the new Winning
RAW RECAP: Say My Name
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PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
RAW RECAP: Bigger IS Better
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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
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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
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PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: One Gullible Fella
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RAW RECAP: Look Who's Back
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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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