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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
SD! Thoughts/Ratings, and Other
Super Bowl Weekend Rambling
February 4, 2005

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

Super Bowl Weekend?  Wheee? 
 
I guess it's an excuse to eat and drink like a pig, and an excuse for me to go visit the 55" TV that once lived in my house before that roommate moved out... but honestly, football is WAY behind baseball and college hoops on my "sports I find inherently interesting" depth chart. So if I don't have a rooting interest in a team, the Super Bowl is Just Another Football

game. And unlike the baseball playoffs or pretty much any night of ESPN hoops coverage, football just doesn't grease my cookie sheet as entertainment. Just about the only thing I can really say about Sunday is that I guess maybe it'll be cool when the Eagles lose, since I'm probably supposed to hate them since they are divisional rivals of my New York Giants.

But secretly: I don't care. I'll be more in it for the social gathering, and will be rooting for the game to be over as quickly as possible, since I am kinda interested to see if "American Dad" is any good. I'd joke that I'm unAmerican or something for not acting like the Super Bowl is the biggest thing in the universe, but honestly, we all know that Americanness is measured by Mom, Baseball, and Apple Pie. And I love all three of those things. So fie on all of YOU for not making this big a deal out of the World Series every year!

I mean, jesus, I know America has Attention Deficit Disorder, but why wouldn't you want to throw in on a killer, possibly week-long party for a 7 game World Series, instead of putting all your eggs in one three hour basket? Even if it's a lame pairing like the Hated Boston Red Sox vs. the Hated St. Louis Cardinals, baseball is still not only the greatest game we play, it's also the greatest SOCIAL sporting event. Think about it: a baseball wonk like me CAN hang on every pitch if he wants to, but unlike football, you don't HAVE to be a hyper-obsessed goon. In fact, baseball frowns about chest-painted mouth-breathers who care more about "supporting the team" than about "understanding the game."  Plus, the pace of baseball is such that you can ignore the game for minutes at a stretch to tell stories, discuss situational strategy, drink your beer, and all kinds of things. And it's only when you hear the thwack of bat on ball that you have to turn and pay attention, if that's your style.

And if it's not, well, that's what college hoops is for: 2 hours of non-stop high-fiving, chest-bumping, second-row-sitting, flask-drinking, voice-losing, Xavier-hating ecstasy. But since I can envision few scenarios in which UD makes the Dance this year (stupid A-10 being a one-bid conference this year), I still say Spring Training can't start soon enough...

And plus, at no point during the World Series will I want to defenestrate because of a non-stop litany of embarrassingly retarded TV commercials dreamt up just for the event, and which become as big a part of the event as the game itself. Is America REALLY that starved for entertainment? [glances at prime time TV schedule] Oh shit, I guess it is...

Alright, enough. Here's what passes for a wrestling column today. Believe you me, this is mostly just Contractual Obligation Theatre here today, as if the Super Bowl rambling didn't tip you off. What you NEED to do, if you crave quality wrestling entertainment this weekend, is check out Matt Hocking's Lord of the Ring Satire. It is now complete, and I've added handy navigation at the bottom of each page so you can scan through the whole thing with a bare minimum of clicking.

So enjoy that. And endure this: 

  • Last night's SmackDown! was...  I dunno: not exactly encouraging, maybe?
     
    There's no one thing I could point to and say "That sucked," really... but there's also not one moment on the show where I really thought anything substantial clicked. I mean, just look at the main event: you give Eddie Guerrero 20 minutes (against Booker T, in this case), and the match BARELY makes it up to "mediocre"?  There was just something "off" all night long.
     
    The Taker/Dupree match was also yawn-inducing at over 15 minutes long. But credit where it's due: I assumed we were still building up to the inevitable Taker-beats-three-guys finish, but instead, they had the balls to.... well, not exactly job Taker, but to do the double count-out. That was mildly surprising.
     
    Also: both the Taker/Dupree and Booker/Eddie matches were opening round matches in an 8-man tourney to determine JBL's (or Big Show's) WrestleMania opponent. Teddy Long also announced that if Batista comes over to SD!, then it becomes a 3-way match at WM21, but frankly, it's so obvious that's not happening that it was almost not worth the trouble to bother mentioning it.
     
    The opening promo last night pretty much shouted, "John Cena will face JBL at WM21."  And Cena was so fucking obnoxious that I promise you this right now: when that match happens, I will be CHEERING FOR JBL. It's not just the pandering to the crowd like a desperate housewife, it's not just him cutting a promo in which he talks about how edgy and controversial his "Ruck Fules" hat is (even though it is oddly never blurred when it appears on a fan in the crowd!)... it's a whole mélange of annoying things, a veritable potpourri of Suck. I mean, Cena's not a "gimmick" in the same way Doink the Clown is, but he's going so overboard with his poseurriffic jackassery that there's no longer anything even remotely realistic about Cena's presentation. He's a cartoon character, he's not a real person. And worse: he's a cartoon character who is really, REALLY fucking annoying. Just as a ferinstance: not once, but twice, Cena did that mocking, high-pitched noise that I guess is supposed to be a laugh, but which I wouldn't even venture a guess as to how I should type... all I know is you've heard this noise made before, and would recognize is as the Sound A Douchebag Makes When He Mistakenly Thinks He Actually Just Said Something Clever And Which Is Probably Grounds For An Eyeball Punch. And Cena did it twice. Not because it's natural or anything, but just because WWE has decided that Cena's character should co-opt as many douchebag traits from pop culture as possible, and then turn the dial up to 11 so that even if there WAS something cool about the shit Cena's saying and doing, it'd still be really fake, obnoxious, and over the top.
     
    Cuck Fena, says I. Leave it to WWE to take a guy who really was kinda cool and edgy 18 months ago, and misunderstand his appeal so badly that they've turned him into this. Just in time to push him into the SD! main event at WM21, too. Fanfuckingtastic. 
     
    The table really is set for Cena vs. JBL at WM21. Not only did Cena F-U JBL in their confrontation last night, but Cena's first-round opponent is Orlando Jordan, which is another chance to tell more story there. Also: the final first round match is Angle vs. Rey, with the winner getting a bye into the finals (due to the Taker/Dupree double count-out). I fully expect Angle/Rey to rule, and to have this set up Cena vs. Angle at the PPV.
     
    Let's see, what else can I bitch about? How about two Useless Divas arguing over a dry cleaning bill? That was not just a retarded concept, but it was also very badly acted.
     
    And I think that's pretty much the show. The two tourney matches took up over half the show, and the opening promo was a pretty long one.... oh, I guess in the middle both Rey and Angle had meaningless matches, which wasn't so bad, but also not exactly thrilling. As of this writing, I can't tell you to check out Danny's SD! Recap since I've not received it yet... but you can keep an eye out on the main page, and if I get it over the weekend, I'll throw it up there immediately.
     
  • The rating for last night's show: a 3.2. That's down another tick from the week before, and a pretty solid indicator that whatever it was that boosted SD!'s ratings up for a bit last month was a passing thing.
     
    Ratings the last two weeks have settled in slightly below SD!'s usual average, which is fitting, since the show's quality has certainly been mired in the slightly-below-average realm, as well. 
     
    It's curious that whatever momentum may have been built by Monday's huge RAW rating did NOT translate over to SD! despite the start of cross-brand storytelling. One has to wonder if that'll even out as they start tying together the Angle/HBK story and other "interpromotional" matches for Mania...
     
  • On SD! last night, they announced the first five members of the Hall of Fame Class of 2005.  They are: Paul Orndorff, Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff, Jimmy Hart, and Bob Orton.
     
    Orndorff is actually a very solid pick, as he was more instrumental than anybody really remembers in "making" Hulk Hogan and carrying the mid-80s WWF as their top heel who could actually wrestle (Piper was the mouth, but Orndorff had the in-ring credibility).
     
    I don't think there's any problem with the Sheik getting in, either. And even just hearing the brief snippet during his video package last night where he said, "Cam-a-ra-man, ZOOM IT!" was good for the soul. Volkoff is a slightly shaky pick, but I guess most fans remember him and Sheik as a package deal, so inducting them together is fine with me.
     
    Jimmy Hart? In some ways, you can argue that this is clearly just an "olive branch" to Hulk Hogan, inducting his buddy and maybe trying to get him included in the WM21 festivities. But Hart actually is a worthy inductee on his own, too. Not just for the years of service he put in in the WWF, but also the role he played in Memphis before that; he was a huge part of the Lawler/Kauffman story, if nothing else.
     
    But Bob Orton? I dunno about that. I'm also not so sharp on Orton's pre-WWF resume, but I know once he showed up in TitanLand, he held no titles, headlined no shows, and basically peaked as the hired goon of Roddy Piper before getting lost in the shuffle. His ubiquitous arm cast was probably more over than he was. Well, that might be overstating it; but I really do feel like if you throw open the doors for Bob Orton, you're kind of lowering the bar below the point where it should be.
     
    I'm betting WWE's thinking is that by over-selling Randy's dad, it'll somehow rub off on Randy. I'm not so sure we're that dumb. But I can also envision a potentially funny moment if Randall has another one of his Spells at the induction ceremony, and in the middle of his speech inducting his dad, he blanks out and RKO's daddy instead. Another Legend Killed? I dunno, just a thought...
     
  • Oh, another little "extra" from SD!, while I'm thinking of it... sho 'nuff, the movie parody ads for WM21 are an ongoing series. Last night, they debuted a Braveheart-inspired ad with HHH in the role of Mel Gibson. And Ric Flair as the only guy who bought into HHH's speech. Pretty funny stuff.
     
    I hope these keep on coming. The don't do dick in terms of selling the wrestling aspects of WM21, but if WWE insists on wasting its time on pointless endeavors, it's at least nice to be having them waste it on kinda funny ones. And again: there is a TON of opportunity here for this series of ads. I'm sure they're all already in the can, but there honestly should be enough material here to unveil two of these per week for the next 2 months.
     
  • In a recent interview, Rob Van Dam revealed that his knee surgery was more serious than it'd originally been expected to be. The best case scenario is still a return in 4-6 months, but depending on how he responds once he starts rehabbing, he could be out the better part of a year. Which would suck.
     
    Not to harsh anyone's mellow or anything, but: Rob Van Dam would pretty much been the no-brainer headliner of the expected June ECW PPV. And now, it'll take a "best case scenario" for him to even be ring-ready by June, which kinda sucks.
     
    WWE knows that they'll need more than just the current core of ECW Alumni to make the show fly. Not necessarily because they need more bodies, but just because even if Nunzio is an ECW alumnus, he's not a guy who is so identified with ECW that he'd be a drawing card. There are a handful of guys not under WWE contract who the company would probably want to go snag. Raven and Shane Douglas are probably out because of TNA commitments, but Sabu might be available and I don't know about Jerry Lynn's TNA deal, either. Sandman's not doing anything...
     
    A curious situation develops when you think about commentary, too. I'd doubt that WWE and Joey Styles are exchanging Christmas cards, but if they can't put their differences behind them to put together this one-night event, you've got a major hole to fill. There was never an ECW event that DIDN'T have Joey on commentary. Much as I would love to see Tazz hop in the ring for the special occasion, I'm guessing he'd call the show. Maybe unearth Cyrus or something? That's not a great fit, but anything to avoid the travesty that would be Michael freaking Cole calling an ECW event.
     
    It's actually a kinda fun little exercise to think ahead to this ECW show and piece together where WWE has holes to fill that they CAN'T fill from their own roster. In RVD's absence, the Dudleys become the next obvious "headliners," but you can also start wondering if WWE might be giving Mick Foley WrestleMania off this year, hoping to use him on the ECW show, instead, and stuff like that...  the mind races with possibilities.
     
    And you know my mind: when it races, I end up ejaculating 5000 words of dense, self-absorbed fantasy booking. So I'll just throttle back now, and maybe save that for another time...
     
  • Four days after getting snagged Driving Under the Influence, Lex Luger was in court again, getting sentenced on charges stemming from the night Miss Elizabeth died at his house (and Luger's personal pharmacy was discovered by the authorities).
     
    Luger wound up getting five years probation on the drug possession charges, though the judge was aware of Luger's Monday DUI, and warned him that any more behavior like that and he WOULD end up being bars. Here's to Lex getting his life in order... 
     
  • In the on-going drama of where WWE programming will end up once current contracts expire, we got another little wrinkle this week...
     
    Les Moonves himself decided to cancel "Star Trek: Enterprise" on UPN, after a few weeks of ominous comments about how Star Trek might not fit in with his intended new image for UPN. Those are the very same comments made about SmackDown!...
     
    I think this pretty much proves that Moonves wasn't just posturing: he's dead serious. Star Trek has been absolutely integral to UPN's existence. In fact, UPN was launched primarily on the strength of the Star Trek franchise (UPN launched with a new Star Trek series in 1995). Paramount has been willing to bend over backwards to keep "Enterprise" on UPN, since even if the show only does mediocre ratings for UPN, Paramount stands to make a ton of money in coming years off of repeats and DVD sales and milking the Trekkies for every penny they can. And for the past few years, UPN has always crumbled in the end, and renewed "Enterprise."
     
    This year: no dice. The lesson: if UPN is willing to ax the franchise that gave it life, they won't have any problems axing the wrestling show that doesn't fit in with their new image.
     
    But again, before we worry about SD! and UPN, we've got the RAW/Spike contract up this fall. We'll all want to keep an eye on this situation.
     
  • Speaking of UPN and TV series that are on the Renewal Bubble...  So Michael Cole and Tazz think "Veronica Mars" is a cool show on UPN and we should all watch? Pardon me for joking that the judgments of two guys who thought Armageddon was a rocketbuster of a PPV might be rather dubious.
     
    But in this case, I'll go ahead and give my stamp of approval to UPN's ham-handed attempt at cross-promotion last night: Cole and Tazz might be unconvincing spokesmen, but I'm a credible critic. I'll spare you the details of how and why I got hooked on a teen drama, but it's telling that while my Hollywood Brother was home for the holidays, we got to talking about the shitty state of new TV shows this season, and simultaneously blurted out how there's only one new show either of us watch. Still embarrassed to be watching a cheesy teen drama, I made him go first, but sure enough, he'd gotten hooked on "Veronica Mars," too. So it ain't a dumb show, folks. But it also gets about the same ratings as Star Trek did, so if this is the last ditch effort by UPN to try to attract some more viewers from its top rated, I'm OK with that. Better this than hype for "America's Next Top Model"...
     
    Although I will say this: you'll be a LOT less uncomfortable watching it once you know that the actress playing the almost-unreasonably smart, funny, and hot titular high school girl is actually 25. I know it was a load off my mind...
     
  • Yes, when my bullet points get this pointless, it's time to stick a fork in myself. I'm done.  Enjoy the weekend, folks, and I'll see you Monday with RAW preview (no spoilers here, folks! I want to watch RAW fresh!) and other news.
     
    Later on....


  
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PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28

 
 
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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