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Knee-haw?, Plus TNA Preview, New
Jack, RAW, and MORE...
January 12, 2005

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


I think I've gone on record with how retarded I think it is for WWE to be worried about dress codes and bullshit like that when they *should* be worried about the on-screen product....
I've never been as annoyed by the grooming requirements placed on players by my beloved New York Yankees, though. I can't explain why, but I think it was to do with the fact that even if "no facial hair" is a completely arbitrary and silly rule, it's still an arbitrary and silly rule that is being enforced only AFTER the organization has   

done the ten thousand OTHER things that are more important to winning.  WWE's dress code implementation is like frantically dusting your armoire while your house is burning down: you need to get your head out of your ass and pay attention to the important things. The Yankees' little rules? More like dusting your armoire because the rest of your house kicks ass, and you've got company coming over, and you want everything Just So.  Still kinda silly, but at least, understandable.

Or at least, understandable until last night.  When I saw clean-shaven, fully-shorn Randy Johnson on Letterman.  What an ugly, ugly man.  C'mon George, for the sake of Interstellar Aesthetics, can't we allow one goateed, bemulleted Yankee? ANYthing to create a distraction from the rest of that mug, I'm begging ya!  He'll still win 20 games and strike out 250, and isn't that what matters?

Here's some rasslin':

  • I guess before I do anything else, I need to just be upfront and eat my crow with regards to Lita and Eugene's injury status.
    On Monday, I didn't just report that they'd gotten off fairly light, and neither would miss more than a month, I even made that my headline for the day.  GENIUS~!
    All I can tell you is that at the time of that writing, what I said was entirely accurate: trainers were thinking Lita might only have sprained her knee, and wouldn't get confirmation on that until an MRI could be performed later on Monday.  And I know for a fact that Eugene's dislocated kneecap was popped back into place on Sunday night, and they thought that'd be the end of it (except for lingering soreness), although they wouldn't be able to confirm that until further tests were done on Monday.
    Needless to say, there was no "confirmation" of the best case scenarios on Monday.  When both Lita and Eugene underwent tests, they got the worst case scenario, instead.
    Lita didn't just sprain a ligament, she actually tore her anterior cruciate ligament (the ever popular ACL). Her surgery is scheduled for tomorrow, and an optimistic return to action would be in six months. After a 10-12 week rehab, she would be able to walk around and do light jogging and stuff, but my second-hand knowledge of this injury (based on following the recoveries of various athletes on my favorite teams who've had to have it) suggests that you don't get full strength back for about 6 months, and there's no way you step into the ring at less than 100%.
    So you're probably looking at 2 and a half months before Lita would even be able to resume a non-wrestling role on TV, unless they honestly want to be flying her around the country to hobble around on crutches, when what might be best is for her to focus her energies on the key early rehab. And I wouldn't go penciling in her return match against Trish anytime much before SummerSlam.
    Lita's absence from TV also probably has drastic effects on Kane, and on the imminent return of Matt Hardy. Kind of a trickle-down effect... and don't even get me started on what this does to the women's division. Unless something changes, for the next six months, we've got three women capable of wrestling matches, and because of idiotic creative work, only one of them is even remotely marketable.  Trish is awesome, but needs a dance partner; Molly's awesome, but nobody fricking knows it because she's the whipping girl of the creative team; and Victoria has flirted with awesomeness, but would need Stevie Richards and the Russian Lesbians back again to regain any of that.  Seriously, WWE, I hope you didn't lose Gail Kim's phone number...  bring her back, start as Molly's henchwoman, do the predictable face turn, and I still think it's an awfully thin "division," but at least it's back to the robust 4-woman roster that you had before Lita's surgery. Just please, SOMEthing; and something that doesn't involve any of the Useless Diva Brigade, who entertain absolutely NOone over the age of 14.  They are certainly qualified to pose in the magazines, but not to be wasting my time on a Wrestling Show.
    And then there's Eugene, who had the dislocated patella popped back into place, only to find out there had been some ligament/tendon damage done by the dislocation.  I have no precise details on the nature of Eugene's injury, nor on any set date for surgery...  but if Jim Ross' announcement on RAW is to be taken at face value, Eugene WILL be needing serious surgery to repair the patella tendon.  If it was a complete rupture of the tendon, recovery time could be even longer than Lita's, but depending on the severity of the injury and how he rehabs, it might be more like a 3-4 month lay-off if you want the most optimistic assessment.
    In any case, Eugene's definitely out through WrestleMania, and possibly longer...  which means that the tag team title situation needs to be addressed.  And if you think the women's division on RAW is a mess, how about the tag division? The idea of Jericho and Benoit teaming up full time would be delicious, if only there was adequate competition for them; instead, it's a clear demotion, where they'd be Division Killers surrounded by a Hellscape of Jobbers.  We'll have to see what happens, but I'm guessing once confirmation of the severity of Eugene's injury is received, they'll probably just vacate the tag titles, since they've already acknowledged on TV that Eugene can't wrestle.
    Tough break for both Lita and Eugene. Here's hoping each gets better as soon as possible...

  • And it gets worse... ANOTHER WWE champ is gonna be on the shelf with knee surgery.  Rob Van Dam did a stretcher job at SD! tapings last night (for Spoiler-Proofing, I'll not explain any further, other than to say that SD! *has* addressed their tag title situation already), and the assumption is that Van Dam will be taking time off to get knee surgery for a nagging condition that has slowed him down in recent months. At the very least, he's gonna have the doctor's take a look and see if there's any way he can avoid surgery, but the "write out" on SD! has everybody I talked to assuming the worst....
    It was presented to me as kind of an arthroscopic clean-up job that's needed (not major reconstruction of any ligament or tendon), more like what Big Show had to have done last year. Van Dam, not weighing 500 lbs., could conceivably miss only 6-8 weeks, if that's the case.
    Of course, the question then becomes: what does Van Dam come back to in 6-8 weeks? He's already a bit out of favor with WWE, and disappearing for 2 months might be just the excuse certain vindictive types would use for starting Van Dam at the bottom again once he returns.  It's also unfortunate that Van Dam will be off TV at the exact time that his DVD is released, probably cutting into its sales a bit.
    Again, here's hoping for a full and speedy recover for RVD... and if I was holding a title right now in WWE, I'd probably be VERY loathe to even leave my feet, lest the Curse Of The Left Knee bit me on the ass....
  • With the messes in both tag divisions, it's probably worth noting that the Dudley Boyz are due back from their well-earned vacations later this month (in time for the Royal Rumble, is what was laid out to me).
    That should, at least, shore up the SD! tag ranks a bit....
  • Speaking of last night's SD! tapings...  Hulk Hogan was there, which isn't exactly surprising.  Going back 2 months, I'd sort of kept an eyeball on this set of tapings because if the Kurt Angle Hometown Hero Challenge was gonna last, I always thought that Hulk Hogan popping up in Tampa might be a really cool way to give Kurt something (a) fun, but (b) not as physically grueling or taxing on his next as a match against a guy like Chris Benoit for WM21.
    But alas, Hogan didn't show up on screen at any point (Angle beat some other Tampa Chump, isntead). And Hulkster was just visiting backstage. There are all manner of rumblings that Hogan would like to be involved in WrestleMania in some capacity (he's shrewd, and he knows he doesn't want his WWE farewell to be jobbing while wearing a mask). If anything was worked out on that front last night, I'm sure we'll start hearing about it soon.
    You know, I could dig some kind of special appearance by Hogan... but if I have to listen to him referred to as "Hollywood Hogan" the entire time, you can fricking forget it. I'll put a brick through my TV. And then I'll sue Marvel Comics for compensatory damages. Those fucking clueless douches.
  • What DIDN'T happen at SD! tapings last night (or at RAW tapings the night before) was a try-out match for New Jack (yes, *that* New Jack, of ECW fame, who has, to my recollection, already retired at least 2 times that I know of).
    There had apparently been rumors about New Jack getting a look-see from WWE, and when people wrote in asking about that, I found out that there were, indeed, some discussions had about bringing in New Jack. It would probably have been a limited capacity thing, since what they wanted to do was reveal him as the guy who actually stabbed John Cena (or rather, New Jack himself might have lobbied for that storyline)...
    But then, although New Jack was (at the very least) at Monday's RAW tapings, he didn't get the try-out. I'm not sure why, but it could be as simple as there's really nothing to "try-out." New Jack himself would admit that he can't really wrestle a lick. But he'll brawl his ass off.  Which isn't really something you want to do in a dark match.  So why bother? WWE knows what New Jack can do if they've been even REMOTELY paying attention... now it's up for them to decide if they want to bring him in and let him do it, considering all the other baggage New Jack would bring with him.
    A word of warning: you have New Jack come in and reveal he stabbed Cena, and it might boomarang.  An actual black guy whose entire gimmick is predicated on being a "gangsta" and who can talk circles around anyone vs. A white guy whose entire gimmick is predicated on co-opting black culture and who increasingly likes making poop jokes? Tell me which one of those most people will find cooler....
  • Bill Behrens NWA Wildside territory won't be coming under the auspices of WWE any time soon...  I guess there was just too much political nonsense involved with how Behrens would go from an NWA-affiliated territory to a WWE developmental, or something.  I don't understand it.  I mean, I *would* understand it if I believed for a second that the "NWA" letters meant anything, but they don't...  so why not just do whatever's asked of you by the three letters in this business that DO mean something?
    WWE is still eyeballing a developmental territory that'd be based in Atlanta, though. At this point, they might shoe-horn the new developmental in Georgia just to be dicks: give a young, up-and-coming wrestler the choice between working in a WWE-affiliated territory and working for the NWA guy who doesn't even work for TNA any more, and who do you think they'll choose?
    And I still say WWE doesn't need a second southern-based developmental territory.  They've got that "old timey rasslin'" base covered with OVW.  They need to get into other geographic areas, where other things besides NASCAR and country music are cool, and where talents could get used to working in front of something other than the standard old timey rasslin' crowd.  I explained all this better a week or two ago, so check the archives if you really want the full spiel.
  • Speaking of TNA, they've got a PPV coming up this weekend... and in the name of being as fair and balanced as possible, I'm not going to give you some snarky asshole preview of the show.
    Because I'm not entirely sure I'll have a fresh news column for you on Friday (long-standing travel plans being shuffled for a rescheduled UD Flyers road game in Pittsburgh have me ALL discombobulated in terms of what I'll be able to get done for you), I've arranged for a very early Final Resolution PPV Preview for you, courtesy of Jason Longshore.
    Here's Jason's quick overview of the line-up, and what you might expect if you pony up the dough on Sunday night:

Final Resolution has a tough act to follow.  Last month's Turning Point PPV was TNA's best effort in their brief history, and one of the top PPV's of 2004.  Unlike last month, the main focus of this show is the NWA World Title, currently held by Jeff Jarrett.  As for whether that's a good thing or bad thing, check with me after the show.  Here's a look at the card, the history behind the match-ups, and a little personal commentary thrown in for good measure:

Sonjay Dutt v. "Prime Time" Elix Skipper:  There really isn't a back story on this match.  Sonjay has been lost in the shuffle a little bit since his mini-feud with Kid Kash abruptly ended.  Skipper was the show stealer at Turning Point, with his tight rope hurricanrana from the top of a steel cage.  Even without history, this should be solid.  Dutt plays a great underdog babyface while Skipper has shown a nice mean streak on occasion.  I think Skipper gets the win here, but it could really go either way.

Kid Kash v. Dustin Rhodes:  Kash, TNA's resident redneck prick, got the ball rolling with this one a few weeks back by dissing Dustin during a backstage interview.  It's a shame that Dustin can't be Goldust, as he's much better in that gimmick.  However, if there's anyone who can make you pull against them, it's Mr. Kash.  My guess is that Kash gets the win with his running buddy Dallas' interference.  I'm just hoping it's not a squash for Dustin so his Dad can push his into the World Title scene.  He's not ready for that just yet. 

Jeff Hardy v. Scott Hall with Roddy Piper as the Guest Referee:  This is replacement for the Hall/Hector Garza match that was originally planned.  There is a little bit of a story here.  Hardy lost his title match with Jeff Jarrett at Victory Road after interference from Hall and Kevin Nash.  Also, in another bit of trivia, Hardy's first ever WWF match was with Hall back in the early '90's.  I'm sure the Professor Mike Tenay will make mention of that.  As for Piper as the ref, he had backed Garza in the feud with Hall and I'm guessing he's just too insane at this point to ask to not show up.  If Garza can get his legal situation sorted out, which is possible, he could show up with a run-in.  Hall hasn't had a problem doing jobs, and Hardy needs a high profile win, so I think he'll get it here.  I'm not expecting much out of this one, but I'll be happy with some crazy Scott Hall taunting. 

3 Live Kru v. Frankie Kazarian, Michael Shane, and Christopher Daniels:  This is more of a chance to get six popular guys on the card than anything else.  Daniels and Shane had a match recently, with Daniels winning, so that could come into play.  They seem to be setting up Daniels for a run at the X Title after the PPV, so he should look strong here.  The 3LK are very popular, and have actually been pretty decent in the ring lately.  Konnan even remembers how to wrestle for at least half of their matches.  3LK will get the win here, probably after Daniels walks out on his teammates. 

Raven v. Erik Watts:  That dastardly Raven, he's been up to his tricks again.  Raven had been involved in a feud with DDP over some things that happened in the past between them.  He convinced their mutual friend, Watts, to turn on DDP at Turning Point.  It didn't help, DDP still got the win.  For weeks, he kept telling Watts that DDP didn't respect him, and never did.  Last week on Impact, DDP goaded Raven into saying that he had Watts wrapped around his finger.  Unfortunately for Raven, Watts was standing behind him when he said it.  You've got to hate it when that happens.  So, one beat down, which included a sweet drop toe hold onto a trash can by Watts on Raven, and we have a match at Final Resolution.  It should be no-DQ, that will play to both of these guys' strengths.  It should be some entertaining brawling.  I don't think Raven's dirty mind tricks are through yet though, we'll see what he has in store.  Raven should be the winner here, probably with the use of some shenanigans. 

NWA World Tag Team Titles:  Team Canada (champs) v. America's Most Wanted:  AMW became number one contenders after defeating the Canadians on Impact a few weeks ago.  These teams have crossed paths in the past, most notably in a strap match last summer.  Both have had their hands full recently though, until now.  This should be the beginning of something interesting, so I expect the Canadians to keep their belts.  Coach D'Amore and/or the rest of Team Canada will more than likely be involved in one way or another. 

NWA World Title:  Jeff Jarrett (champ) v. Winner of Monty Brown v. DDP v. Kevin Nash:  Brown, DDP, and Nash are scheduled to have a match earlier in the night, which I believe is elimination style, with the winner facing Jarrett.  Those three were named to the match by the Director of Authority Dusty Rhodes.  Brown has faced Jarrett for the title before on Impact, in a good match, and lost due to the Kings of Wrestling's interference.  DDP hasn't been involved with Jarrett at all since he showed up, he's been too wrapped up with Raven.  He did have an interesting confrontation with the KoW where they weren't hostile towards each other and agreed to stay out of each other's business.  Jarrett was not happy with Rhodes' announcement that Nash was part of the match.  Nash, however, seemed interested by the idea.  The KoW showed some dissension in the ranks last week on Impact, with Jarrett accidentally knocking Hall down in a brawl and Nash taking exception to it.  Although I'm afraid of a Nash win in the triple threat, followed by a "Finger Poke of Doom" sequel, I think the stage is being set for a Monty Brown win and World Title reign.  I really hope that's not just wishful thinking on my part. 

Ultimate X for the X Title:  Petey Williams (champ) v. AJ Styles v. Chris Sabin:  I'm saving this one for last because I'm hoping TNA does the same.  Turning Point benefitted greatly from having the Six Sides of Steel cage match in the main event slot, and hopefully TNA learned from that.  This should a whole lot of fun to watch.  If you haven't seen an Ultimate X match before, this is a good one to see first.  Sabin has won the most of these matches in the past, he's been in all but one TNA has held and has a 3-1 record in them.  Styles has been in one Ultimate X, while this is Petey's first time.  Williams has held the X Title since August 11th, and he's defeated Styles and Sabin at the last two PPV's.  Petey's really grown on me as a champion, especially after his match with Sabin at Turning Point.  However, I think his time is up.  TNA should send the crowd home happy and have AJ win the belt.  I'm really hoping for a Styles/Christopher Daniels feud, something they were headed towards before Daniels shoulder injury last Fall.  Hopefully, this will be the match people are talking about on Monday. 
Thanks to Jason for not just providing the preview, but also being kind enough to get it done two days early to facilitate what may or may not be my weekend travel plans.  I'll second his assessment that if TNA is smart, they'll say "to hell with the NWA Title and the rest of this underwhelming crap" and continue the trend towards putting the BEST match of the night on last. If the Ultimate X Structure doesn't betray these three guys, there's no reason not to expect pure awesomeness; Styles and Sabin are two of my favorites, and Williams, well he's OK, and he does have an awesome finisher.  We all already went out of our ways to watch a one-match PPV mere days ago...  perhaps you'll be motivated to do the same with Final Resolution?  And if not, Jason'll be back with the TNA PPV Recap on Monday here at OO...

  • And just to close things up, a quick recall of Monday night...
    I honestly don't know what else to say that I didn't in the recap, but I simply cannot get behind the sudden shift in focus of the Batista/HHH storyline.  Orton, yes, he's the right guy to be facing off with HHH (it should be his last shot, and then it's something new for Destiny Boy), but I didn't like the way they folded him into Batista's issue with HHH.
    The two could co-exist separately SO much better. Because taking the guy the fans desperately WANT to cheer and putting him under the mind control of the guy fans have already said "No thanks" to... that just doesn't help anyone. It'd be as simple as Orton offering up his sage advice to Batista, and then Batista (instead of the ham-handed, over-wrought tripe he got on Monday) saying, "Hey, Sparky, I'll handle this myself. And it's not like you've exactly been on fire since you left Evolution, so pardon me if I don't take my advice from you."  And then he and HHH can continue to have their dynamic (based on realistic conversations, instead of melodramatic acting), while HHH can do his thing with Orton off to another side, and Batista should maybe enter a phase of kicking ass on some random heel who crossed him at the wrong time, just to prime the pump for fans cheering him. And then you can pull that trigger at the Rumble, as Batista eliminates like 9 or 10 dudes in Old School Diesel Fashion, and whether he wins the match or not, it'd be his break-out night, and set him up to break off from HHH.

    But again, what do I know? I'm not a trained sitcom writer.  I just know that RAW fell flat, and that this was the first time in months that Batista and HHH were not one of the Good Things on the show.  They were talking and behaving reasonably.  They were acting and executing melodramatic nonsense off the written page.  Me no likey.
    You can get the rest of my RAW thoughts in yesterday's RAW Recap.
  • And on that note, I'm done for today.  Even if I don't have a standard news column for you Friday, I'll have something well worth your while in the headline spot...  it could be the long-awaited return of Scaiadamus, for all you know. And there's even an outside chance I might get lucky enough to just take the day off entirely.  Oh the drama! Anything can happen here at Online Onslaught dot Com!
    So I'll see you.... IN THE FUTURE!

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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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