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SD!'s Suckiness, Lots of Rock/Austin News,
and the Rest of the Weekend Update
January 21, 2005

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


This lovely Friday afternoon, I've just gotten done scanning through last night's Late Night Programs (hey, we had a 2" of "light snow" turn into 5" of "closing schools left and right snow" on Wednesday night; following up on that, now they're promising "4 to 6 inches" tonight and tomorrow, which I'm just gonna give up and assume will be more like 12" since they haven't gotten it right yet this year; I wanted to get SOME fun in last night, just in case I end up housebound for the weekend)... and I was struck be a couple things that REALLY annoy me.
First, you can take every snarky thing I've ever said about WWE's Useless Diva Brigade, multiply it by 17, and you MIGHT approximate my feelings about Nicole Richie. Her one talent in life appears to be getting born to a quasi-celebrity. Because I can't remember a more annoying, uninteresting, and un-talk-to-able guest on a late night show 

since Courtney Love. And for whatever reason, Dave didn't do his usual act of "turning heel" on a stupid guest. He was really trying to help her out, be the Good Host, ask the leading questions and give her a chance to say something undumb.  Didn't work. Sometimes, I think she actually cut him off in the middle of questions to say something EXTRA dumb, just because Dave had started to use words she did not comprehend.  I'm not making this up: Dave asks some deeply probing question about her experience working in a firehouse, and what she might have learned and whether she had a newfound respect for the amazingly heroic work done by firemen. This girl's response: to cut Dave off before the end of the question to say, "Well, it was pretty sexy."  Slap~! But no: no slap, instead, Dave just chuckles, shakes his head, and tries desperately to save the next 3 minutes.

And then on Conan, there was a heavy "American Idol" quotient, since (a) the new season apparently just started and (b) somebody from the show was a guest. And my stance on "American Idol" should be well known by now, so I won't bother with that... but I WAS deeply annoyed when Conan made a comment about the show starting its "third season," and a sizeable percentage of the crowd grumbles and shouts back "FOURTH SEASON!"... an audience that had responded tepidly to a few Actual Current Events jokes earlier in the monologue gets indignant that Conan doesn't know pointless "American Idol" trivia? Luckily, Conan *did* turn heel on the audience with an hilarious riff about how "I ask you people about the inauguration, and nobody watched it, but I say something about American Idol and suddenly you're all experts? What has become of America, people?"...

What *has* become of America, people? I'll make you a deal: I'll shut up about reality TV and "American Idol" and all this crap, and in exchange, you can watch it, but only AFTER you've read or watched at least 30 minutes worth of real news every day, OK? It's like having to eat your vegetables before getting dessert: oh, you'll bitch and moan, but in the end, you know it's the right thing to do. And once you do this, maybe you'll start to realize there are more important things going on in the world than some guy named William Hung putting out a Christmas Album...  I swear to you, Conan and that American Idol guest guy started talking about this like it was actually interesting in any way, and I couldn't keep up, because I was too busy wondering, "William Who?".... and I don't feel bad about that at all. Because I may not know William Hung, but unlike you, I can name more than one member of Bush's cabinet.

Oh, and I don't care how many vegetables you eat, America, you're not allowed to make marginal celebrities out of useless, vapid, untalented people anymore. Under my regime, you will actually have to be good at something to become famous!  Remember: Vote Scaia in 2012!

Am I rambling because I once again have a rather thin slate of news? Maybe. But maybe not. You'll just have to read on to find out. You might as well, you're already here:

  • Last night's SmackDown! was...  I dunno: soul-crushing, spirit-sapping, mind-numbing, pick one.  It wasn't very good, and further, I can't understand how ANYone in a position of power would have read the format and thought, "Oh, this looks OK to me."
    It wasn't just bad, it was bad in a way that honestly confused me. Useless Diva Joy is once again the lynchpin of the entire show, and is featured in the main event (again this week, not a match, but a silly skit)? How am I supposed to muster up any interest in this? It's like WWE is intent on proving their recent diva roster moves are the right ones by shoehorning some girl nobody cares about into the main event after dismissing a few women who actually did have marginal value to a wrestling company. And they can shoehorn all they want: it's not working. I joked last week, but it REALLY is quite an accomplishment: WWE has made me not want to watch Kurt Angle. I didn't think such a thing was possible, but they've done it.
    And on top of everything else, the show seemed to be put together in such a way as to appeal to second-graders. The entire over-riding story of the night was that Kurt Angle did something bad last week, and so Principal Teddy Long called him into the office, and told him he'd have to apologize. What in the blue fuck is that? Two hours of build-up to an apology ordered by a GM? Maybe I *will* sign that petition, Carlito.... it's one thing if Big Show wants to beat an apology out of Angle: "Kurt, you did something bad to Joy, who, for reasons that I don't quite comprehend has apparently become my onscreen girlfriend, so I shall pummel you until you apologize." But the GM ordering an apology? Like I said, pure grade school... and on top of that, they hyped it up for the entire show... so dumb.
    It didn't help that the only person who didn't see the "shocking swerve" ending coming would also have had to have been in second grade. Or be Randall Orton. JBL might as well have just said in his promo that he'd be secretly partnering with Angle later in the show to get the better of Big Show. The writers tried to get cute and fine with it, and instead, just wound up putting in a few too many unsubtle, unclever clues. And even in final execution, the swerve ending was idiotically staged. You could have wrung at least SOME drama out of it, if you had Angle back off of JBL's cabinet, all the way back into the ring. Show, thinking he had an alliance with JBL, would wait while the Cabinet enters the ring, too, forming a semi-circle around Angle. And then BAM, you do a quick reveal, having Angle turn around and attack Show, and have JBL and the boys instantly join in.  Would have been a lot better than that stupid thing they did in the entrance aisle, which left Show having to stand in the ring like a moron even after the not-so-shocking revelation so he could wait and get his beating.
    The Undertaker/Heidenreich thing was also dumb as can be. Gay Spooky, personified, it was. Although I think it's kinda funny they busted out the "Heidenreich in a casket" gambit, since for some reason I flashed back to when Taker did something similar (I think with Nash, right?) and wondered if it might be time for the old dog to bust out some old tricks. Sure enough a week or so later: there it is.
    Just about the only real high point of the show was Rey Mysterio vs. Chavo Guerrero. About 12 minutes, easily the Match of the Week, and a fine example of how, if you take the writers out of it, and let two talented individuals go out and tell a good wrestling story, it can be pure gold. No Hollywood jack-off told Chavo how to work that match, but he still managed to basically turn himself heel within 5 minutes, and by the end of the match when they were exchanging highspots, the crowd was red hot because of that intramatch psychology.  A thing of beauty.  Surrounded by so many turds.  Dammit.
    For more details on exactly what happened last night, I refer you to Big Danny T's SmackDown! Recap.
  • The rating for last night's show? Goddammit, it's a 3.6 broadcast rating, which means SD! once again performed quite strongly, following up on last week's 3.8 (which was its best rating in 2 years).
    So SD! turns its two top line storylines into pure crap, and all of a sudden America is watching? I don't get it. As I said last week: I used to think I bridged the gap between Understanding Actually Good Wrestling and Understanding What Will Sell To An Average Wrestling Audience, but I guess I'm losing my touch.  I cannot envision any reason why any fan of reasonable intelligence would be excited by SD!'s title picture or the Taker/Heidenreich nonsense... and yet, the ratings say you're loving it.
    I'm not quite to the point where I'm as confused by wrestling as I am by most of the other crap you watch, America... but it's close.
  • And the delayed-by-holiday rating for Monday's RAW is a 3.8, which I think is exactly the same as the week before, and basically in the same ballpark that RAW's been in since November.
    The only interesting thing is that RAW's solid, if unspectacular, ratings have it mired firmly as WWE's #2 brand at this point, which is unbelievable.  Remember a cable ratings point only equals about 85% of a broadcast ratings point, so you gotta work that conversion.
  • There is a really cool interview with Batista on the Sun's website. He's very honest and candid about everything EXCEPT his storyline with HHH and prospects for main eventing WM; and hey, if the guy wants to keep us in suspense on something, he picked the right thing.
    Other than that, he's very open about trashing SmackDown!, he admits that even though he had a breakthrough night with fans in the Elimination Chamber it's the other five guys who did all the work to make the match so entertaining, further admits that ring-work-wise there are things he can't do ("look at me, I'm not exactly an endurance athlete"), he calls Goldberg a "paycheck player," and he says his first favorite wrestler was Ricky Steamboat.
    Steamboat, eh? Quit stealing my shit, Batista!
    Actually, here's an EXACT QUOTE from the interview: "
    We do have to follow certain storylines and scripts on the show, but we also ad lib a lot. It's more natural that way and the crowd respond to it much better. I don't like sticking to a script and speaking words that a writer may have written that don't sound like they would necessarily come from you."
    Jesus! That's taking stealing my shit to all new levels! I guess Batista may not like sticking to a script, but there's at least one writer in the world who's been scribing words that are now coming quite naturally out of his mouth. Whether he knows it or not.
    The lengthy interview is a good read.  You can check it out by clicking here.
  • The Steve Austin/WWE movie deal went down pretty much as expected on Wednesday, and in all the public appearances after the press conference, there was very little said about Austin returning to WWE television in any capacity... they stuck mostly to the movie talk and then to more general wrestling issues.
    On the Best Damned Sports Show Period, Austin was pressed on the comeback issue a little bit, though...  and basically, his response was exactly what we've all known for the past two years: that he's "mostly retired" but you also never say never in wrestling. Austin did say he might have one more trick up his sleeve, though, so...
    Well, like I said, Austin's value to the film division is gonna be predicated on his appeal with fans...  the only way to build that up is to appear on TV. So I'm sticking to my theory that Austin will be at least a bit player, maybe doing something a little more intensive that The Rock schedule, but perhaps not by much.
  • Speaking of The Rock, there's apparently some buzz going around that his relationship with WWE is (pardon the almost pun) rocky... I don't know how much of that is true, but I do know that Rock's last contract extension took him through mid-2005.
    Now, the nature of Rock's contract is obviously quite unique, since he's anything but a full-time wrestler at this point. But something I'd imagine is quite important to both sides is Dwayne Johnson getting to call himself "The Rock"... and to this day, I'm still not clear on exactly how that works. Rock himself has claimed he "owns" the name, but many question that. The warring view is that Rock has the right to use the name only if a movie's producers pay WWE a fee.
    Actually, at some point last year, I remember hearing that WWE and Rock had altered their relationship on that front, and that WWE would now get substantially less money for each movie Rock made, since it had been something like $5 million per picture...  that fee made more sense when Rock was a fulltime wrestler and his time away from WWE cost the company revenue. But now, Rock genuinely is an actor first, and extorting $5 million from every production Rock's a part of seems silly.
    BUT: even if Rock and WWE altered their agreement to be less of a drag on Rock's movie career, there may still be a simple issue that their agreement is only in place as long as Rock has a valid WWE contract. And if said contract is expiring in the next few months, well...  suddenly you can see why I'm not writing off these rumors as unfounded.
    One of the big reasons Austin's back and deciding to make films with WWE is just because it's the only way he can call himself "Stone Cold." WWE owns that name. And if they own "The Rock," it wouldn't surprise me if there is some friction there.  Rock may be at a point where he doesn't need the nickname anymore, but it sure does make things easier when he's doing publicity; and WWE may be at a point where they don't need $5 million per movie, but they might kind of like to have it back anyway.  Who knows what the issues would be, exactly... it seems like something that should just work itself out very easily since it does end up being best for both sides to be in business with each other.  But you never know; WWE and Vince McMahon have never been ones for "common sense," so it's something to think about before you just pencil Rocky in for a WM21 gig, anyway.
  • And you know what? I think I'm done for today. I could pad this out more, but...
    Well, let's just say I've got a giant stack of notes of stuff about Sean Waltman and Chyna that's been piling up for a month, and it ain't seeing the light of day here at OO. Chalk that up to my "no more useless celebrities" mantra... if you people are jonsing for the silly drama of uninteresting people, you can find all your Chyna/X-Pac news somewhere else.
    And then you can probably find out when that dumb-sounding Nicole Richie/Paris Hilton show is on, and glue yourself to the tube for that, too.
    And then, you can try not to be insulted by my superior attitude, and come on back here to OO on Monday when I'll once again be bringing you the important news (filtered for your protection) and incisive analysis you expect.
    Enjoy your weekends, folks. Try to enjoy it a little bit extra, actually, to make up for the quarter of the country that's looking at a foot of snow, OK? See you Monday....

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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