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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
PPV Fall-out, Looking Ahead on RAW,
Injury Updates, and Other News
January 10, 2005

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

We have entered a phase where if I have to fucking type one more word than absolutely necessary related to pro wrestling, I may spontaneously combust.
 
And the worst part is that I'm having to do all these different things (regular columns, recaps, tons of grunt work on the Year in Review, and more), and WWE isn't really giving me the inspirado to enjoy the work. They'll do good stuff in spots, but more than ever, they seem so creatively stunted, or so focused on something that they THINK is a good idea, but 

haven't actually stopped to consider completely, that they snatch Suck from the Jaws of Awesome.  From the last SD! (which had some really cool stuff, but then ended with some of the gayest Gay Spooky ever -- dig the awful sound effects~! -- and made the mistake of thinking anybody gives two shits about Heidenreich) to the PPV last night (which I've already discussed)...  it's frustrating.

So if I seem distracted or brusque or anything, that's my excuse. There are other things I'm writing now that are more for posterity and I want them to be good; which means I might have my A-game (and what passes for my enthusiasm towards wrestling) exhausted by the time I turn my attention to the daily grind of a news column.

Who knows? I might even be down to my C-game today.  You decide:

  • Like I just mentioned in the pre-ramble there, last night's New Year's Revolution PPV was massively disappointing to me. When your main event peaks about three-quarters of the way through the match, and then just limps to a conclusion the alienates the fans, you deserve to be called on it.
     
    So here: I'm calling WWE on it.  They put together the match using their own internal criteria (which includes "Hey, Randy Orton doesn't suck, not even a little bit" as a key component), instead of even once stopping to think what criteria the FANS might apply to the match.  I've already gotten a few e-mails from Orton supporters who read my recap, and said that it's not WWE's fault or Orton's fault, that they couldn't know that the fans would react (or in this case NOT react) the way they did. And you know what? Bullshit.  You give me a job, let me be the Stupid Patrol for WWE's creative team, and believe me, I'd have been whistle blowing all over the place; because you *could* know that that finish would be an anti-climax, if you've just been paying attention to the FANS, instead of living off in some insular world where you think you believe that Randy Orton must be involved in the Story of Evolution.
     
    It's as simple as this: I agree that WWE shouldn't have given the fans what they REALLY wanted (which was Batista destroying HHH).  Not yet.  But you gotta put him in there with somebody who will inspire fans to actually boo, who will give them something to really latch on to in that final quarter of the match. Cuz without the possibility of Batista vs. HHH, believe me, Batista vs. Orton and HHH vs. Orton are NOT gonna inspire anything.  Fans want to cheer Batista, and WWE should have let them.  Not to toot my own horn, but that was a huge part of the genius of my plan: Batista vs. Edge would have had that house rocking and rolling, since Edge actually *is* a bad guy to be booed (as opposed to Orton, who is technically a babyface, but is mostly just a sack of duh who commands only the apathy of a live audience).
     
    I really can't say enough good about the Elimination Chamber match up till about the 30 minute mark. But once Jericho and Benoit were eliminated in rapid order, the last 8 minutes or so just blew. I understand what WWE thinks it accomplished with regards to Evolution, but what they don't understand is that there would have been ways to accomplish those same things without boring the crowd into silence.  Yes, the story was furthered (Batista saved HHH, but HHH did NOT save Batista when HHH had a chance to do so), but if they'd just use their heads, they could have done all that AND MORE.  Again, I refer you to my little scheme from Friday (scroll down to my prediction for the Elimination Chamber), where I think I did EVERYTHING that WWE did with regards to Batista/HHH, just better. My only crime: thinking that Batista/HHH doesn't need the World Title to be a red hot storyline, and giving the belt to, oh I dunno, someone who MIGHT ACTUALLY BENEFIT FROM IT.
     
    I fricking HATE anticlimactic endings, so yeah, I'm pretty salty over this.
     
    And yet, it sounds like I might be a bigger fan of New Year's Revolution than some of you.  The hell?
     
    I mean, OK, I'll grant that it's the Worst PPV of the Year (so far).  But some of you are acting like this is the worst major event in ages... and I just gotta wonder: where were you for the Great American Bash last year?  Cuz yeah, NYR had its problems, but it was also not without SOME highlights.
     
    For starters, any douchebag who complained about the first two matches, kinda impale yourself on the nearest sharp, rusty object. It's not WWE's fault, not Eugene's fault, not Lita's fault that those two matches didn't reach their full potential. You can't count that against the show.  And for chrissakes, the opening tag match was probably about 97% done when Eugene got hurt, and it was a really fun 15-plus minute match. What the hell is your problem?
     
    And the Shelton/Maven match(es)? To everybody who wrote in and bitched that you didn't pay money to see two 15 second IC Title defenses, and cop a superior attitude about how "WWE just screwed Maven's heel turn," I play the Internet Jackoff Card on you.  You paid money to be entertained, and if you didn't get a kick out of this segment, then I can't help you. And trust me, in a lot of ways, Maven won by losing last night.  He's never been more entertaining, and at the end of the night, THAT is what counts. You people who complained about that segment are as bad as WWE: instead of living with your heads up your asses, why not poke it out long enough to pay attention to the fans (who, it should be noted, popped HUGE when Maven got beat for the second time in less than 10 seconds; it's just FUN).
     
    Of course then we will all agree on the next hour of the PPV....  Hassan/Lawler, Kane/Snitsky, and the stupid poolside stuff combines for a pretty soul-crushing stretch, but it's also really no worse than the Hour of Suck at Armageddon last month (the Angle/Santa thing, then Tough Enough, then a Bonus Bashams match, as I recall).
     
    And then the main event that was three-quarters mega-awesome, and then one-quarter crap.  Yes, there are fair criticisms to be made here, people... but let's not fly off the handle with "Worst PPV Ever" talk, OK?  It's hyper-reactive people like you who make people like WWE not want to take internet criticism seriously...
     
    And for anyone who wants more details about last night's PPV, then may I suggest you check out my well-reasoned and mostly-balanced, but still rather-critical (but only when it's deserved) New Year's Revolution PPV Recap from last night?
     
  • UPDATE: In the first round of PPV predictions for 2005, I'm proud to say that Online Onslaught whipped WrestleLine, with an impressive .800 accuracy rating for the trOOps! Every single member of the OO Staff picked at least 4 out of 6 matches correctly (I'm proud to say I got 5 out of 6, and if I hadn't dared to think creatively and come up with an Elimination Chamber finish that would have been satisfying and exciting, I would have been perfect; speaking of perfection, Canadian Bulldog pulled off that trick, putting himself in the lead for the OO Prognosticatory Crown after one event!).
     
    The full statistical breakdown of the cross-site PPV Predictions Battle has been compiled by PyroFalkon for your perusal.
     
  • And the PPV leads us to tonight's RAW, which needs to get us QUICKLY on track for the Royal Rumble PPV (it's in just 3 weeks), and by extension, for the Road to WrestleMania.
     
    One has to assume that if WWE hadn't already internally written off HHH vs. Orton as the WM21 main event, they have to have done so after last night.  Just as obviously, that means Batista's gonna be plugged into that spot against HHH.
     
    And to recycle a term I haven't stolen in a while, we might need to bust out the lead umbrellas, cuz I'm predicting partly cloudy skies with an 80% chance of anviliciousness.
     
    By wrapping the World Title into the HHH/Batista story, it seems likely that we can just expect a Batista Rumble Win to be the primary factor behind the eventual HHH/Batista match. Which, given how well the story has been slowly played out, strikes me as entirely too obvious and lazy. The HHH/Batista split has been set up so well that it could have continued without the title, without a Rumble win (although no matter what, you *know* I'd book Batista to dominate that match), and could've developed just out of the strength of the personalities involved.
     
    And trust me, I want HHH vs. Batista just like the fans do. But there's a difference between giving the fans what they want and giving it to them in the most exciting way possible. Putting the title back on HHH and playing things out in the most obvious manner possible is NOT exciting. Or at least, not as exciting as it could be.
     
    So there: I expect the status quo to be maintained in Evolution for exactly three more weeks, and then Batista wins the Rumble, and things change from there.  If I had to hazard a guess as to what the key feud on RAW will be for the next 3 weeks: Triple H vs. Randy Orton. See, aren't you STOKED~! for this?  Orton can claim that he pinned HHH last week on RAW and leverage himself into the World Title Shot against HHH that he's been craving for months...  and at the Rumble, he can also lose, get shunted off into some secondary program for Mania, and then I really think the kid just needs to get lotteried over to SD! where he might start fresh without the Stink of Failure on him.
     
    In addition to HHH vs. Orton, you'll need at least one other RAW match for the Rumble PPV. It's certainly looking like Michaels vs. Edge is gonna be the second biggest issue on RAW (well, given that Orton's in the other issue, I can actually see Michaels vs. Edge going over better), but I'm not sure if that means the two will go directly to the one-on-one match at the Rumble PPV or not.
     
    It'll be interesting to see what they do with Kane, now, too. Mostly because I don't know if we necessarily got everything we were supposed to last night on the PPV (due to Lita's injury, not only her match, but also Kane's, might have been affected).  As I talked about on Friday, I'd like to see Matt Hardy back in the mix here soon (he made a brief indie appearance over the weekend, I gather as kind of a final tune-up before he returns to TV) and there are a ton of things you could do with him and Kane (and Lita and Trish).
     
    Sure would be nice if they could come up with something worthwhile for the tag and IC champs. But I won't hold my breath. One good thing about the Rumble is that each brand can just take 15 guys and say, "Well, I can't think of anything really good for you right now: so into the Rumble you go!"... Shelton, Eugene, and Regal (among many others) can probably look forward to that kind of shoddy treatment the next few weeks.
     
    Tonight'll be an interesting show. Kind of a fresh start as we head towards Mania... but also not that fresh, come to think of it. Tonight's the start of HHH's 10th World Title Reign; methinks that makes him only the second man to reach double digits in that category.  [Hey, it's also the not-unimpressive start of Trish's 6th Women's Title Reign!] So check it out tonight, or come on back to OO for the Finest RAW Recap In All The Land tomorrow!
     
  • The injury updates on Lita and Eugene....
     
    Lita, for the time being, has been diagnosed with a strained ligament in her left knee, and at present, they're thinking a couple weeks of rest, and she'll be just fine.  Which is good news.  Again, I want to bitchslap WWE for putting itself in a position where an injury to one of its four female wrestlers can essentially put the entire division on hold.  Because this isn't just a 2- or 3-week inconvenience for Lita, it also essentially reduces Trish's usefulness to zero, and by extension reduces the visibility (and perceived importance) of the women's title. And yet, I feel quite confident that Stacy and Spaz and Mic Stand and the other wastes of space whose names I can't remember will be all over TV in Lita's absence.... this is so very, very wrong.
     
    Eugene, his situation isn't quite as clear-cut.  He dislocated his kneecap, which is an injury that is exceptionally painful but not really that severe. I can't confirm, but as of last night, they believed that the dislocation was a relatively minor one and that there was no additional damage to the tendons/ligaments in the knee.  This means that no surgery would be required, and Eugene could probably resume work in a matter of a week or two (albeit with his knee heavily braced for about the next two months until he's back at 100%); if the dislocation is as minor as originally thought, basically this means that there's no need to be thinking about getting the tag belts off of Eugene and Regal. Which is a good thing. Cuz where in the blue hell would you put them if you did? The tag division on RAW's almost as screwed up as the women's division.
     
  • Some quick ratings catch-up from last week....
     
    Last week's RAW did a 3.4 cable rating, which means the first post-holiday rating is STILL about a half-point below where the show had been scoring in November and into December. Although to be fair, "post-holiday" might be a misnomer, since even though life SHOULD have been back to normal for everybody last Monday, there was a major college bowl game that might have distracted a few fans.  I couldn't tell you the name of the bowl or who was in it, but it was basically for third place, so I'm guessing some folks watched it.
     
    But last week's SD! did get back to it's pre-holiday levels, scoring a 3.4 broadcast rating. It's kind of depressing to think that if RAW doesn't bounce back, SD! will again be the more watched WWE brand... in my face! JBL = RATINGS~!
     
  • One of TNA's very small handful of home-grown characters, Abyss, has split from the company. Apparently, his contract was set to expire at the end of the month, and when he dared to goose TNA about the issue, it turned into a dick-waving contest, and TNA basically sent him home and told him they wouldn't require his services for the final few weeks of his contract.
     
    I wish I could pretend like this was a real story, but I can't imagine how it is one.  I mean, Abyss has value to TNA, and it probably counts as a pretty decent loss for them, but not even as big a loss as the flare-ups with Macho Man Savage. And although many are speculating that WWE would make an offer to Abyss, I'm not sure why they'd bother.
     
    Look: in TNA, Abyss was a "monster." But in WWE, he'd be average sized. And Abyss' claim to fame was being a power wrestler and a brawler... something that wouldn't carry over to WWE, where he'd look pretty lame standing next to HHH or Batista. The best comparison I can think of is how absolutely underwhelming Mike Awesome seemed after he left ECW.  Also, Abyss' character would have to be completely overhauled in WWE...  at most, he's a guy who'd be put on a developmental deal, and who may or may not ever see the light of day on WWE TV.  Staying in TNA, though, he can continue to be a gigantic 6"4' "monster" with a mildly amusing gimmick.
     
  • After a bit of a roller coaster ride, Jesus H. Kidneypuncher *will* be getting neck surgery, afterall.  That was the original diagnosis, but then he got a second opinion that would have let him continue working after only some rehab, but WWE thought that was fishy and had him get a third opinion....
     
    That third opinion is that Jesus needs neck surgery. He'll be out for about 3 months, but could resume a non-wrestling role a bit sooner than that, if it is deemed necessary for Carlito Cool to have his bodyguard lurking about.
     
  • A correction/clarification from last week...  Bill Behrens -- who runs NWA-Wildside in Atlanta and is in negotiations to have that territory added as a WWE developmental -- is NOT the "NWA President" any more.  He lost that title in November.
     
    Silly me, not paying attention to the Very Important And Not Even Remotely Pointless NWA Political Scene. But hey, I was close!
     
    Anyway, Behrens is still talking to WWE about turning his territory into a WWE training ground, and curiously, was removed from his position as a backstage hand at TNA last week. The claim is that the firing has nothing to do with anything besides standard budget cuts, but still... 
     
    To reiterate my point from last week: this really isn't that big a story. Behrens in only a small cog in the TNA machine, and his territory becoming affiliated with WWE is something that would interest about one-half of one-percent of fans... the most interesting (hell, only interesting) aspect of all of this is that Behrens is the agent for AJ Styles and a few other TNA notables (including Christopher Daniels and I forget who else)...  out of the very small handful of guys TNA has who I think are cut out for WWE work, Behrens has in-roads on at least a few of them.  May mean something, may not.
     
  • WWE is hiring writers! But too bad you can probably expect more of the genius hiring that we've seen out of Stephanie McMahon's office... looking at the job posting, all that counts is that you've got a degree in film and have contributed to one or more of television's biggest steaming piles of turds in your illustrious career.
     
    I mention it only because it is very common for me to get e-mails that read, in part, "Hey, why don't you get a job with WWE? The stuff you write is 10 times better than what they're doing!"...  and folks, I appreciate that, my ego loves the stroking and all... but your answer is right there in WWE's own job posting.  They are under the misconception that if you went to school to learn how to write that you actually know how to do it, and under the even bigger misconception that if you know how to write a sitcom, you can write for wrestling.  Trust me, I think that's retarded, but it's their company, they can do what they want.  I won't bother them with a resume.
     
    And plus, even if I forged a resume and managed to get hired, I'd be fired within a week. Because I'd dare to think there's anything wrong with the product and might have suggestions to fix it. Paul Heyman's not even allowed to suggest there might be problems, what chance do you think the new guy would have?
     
  • People have been asking about The Rock, and whether he's coming back in time for WrestleMania again this year.... it certainly appears that he'd have the window to do so, as his work on "DOOM" is either done or very close, and he doesn't go to work on "Spy Hunter" until April, if my understanding is correct (it was gonna start sooner, but I think the Rock was pressed into publicity duty for "Be Cool" which is being released in March).
     
    The question becomes how much of his spare time would Rocky want to dedicate to wrestling.  Last year, he basically did just a 3 week cameo to set up his spot on the show. I wouldn't necessarily expect anything much more than that, but it would be a good time to start looking for spots and possibilities for Rocky...
     
    It's still a total crapshoot in terms of whether you can look for Mick Foley to become a recurring character again leading up to Mania. It seemed like everybody and his uncle assumed a Foley/Flair match would be automatic for Mania, but now folks aren't so sure after that purported Real Life Tussle the two had backstage last time Mick showed up on RAW.  
     
  • I think that's about all I got for you today.  Enjoy RAW, I'll have the recap for you tomorrow, and then mid-week news on Wednesday.  Later on, kids....


  
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E-MAIL RICK SCAIA

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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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