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RAW in Japan, A Diva Quits?, Another
Diva Strips?, and Other Monday News
February 7, 2005

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


I already did my Super Bowl rant, but one other thing occurred to me over the weekend.... 
You know how networks usually try to counter-program against Monday Night Football? I mean, RAW aside, networks generally don't even bother going for the male audience. ESPN always does shit like Figure Skating on Mondays during the fall (or so it seems). They don't even bother trying.

But yesterday, it seemed like there

was a new counter-programming strategy going on. No fewer than three channels had poker rolling throughout the day. NBC even busted out a super-duper-mega-star invitational tourney to remind people that no matter how funny the idiots 50 channels up on "Celebrity Poker Showdown" might be, they are also shitty card players.

I would just like to say "thank you" to whoever decided that Super Bowl counter-programming should include options for Non-Retarded Males, as well as for the ladies. I mean, watching the actual game was all well and good, but anybody out there who watched more than 3 minutes of the FIVE FUCKING HOUR Pregame Show officially needs to have a metal spike inserted into his eyehole. You truly are Part of The Problem. 

Enough gabbing. Let's shuffle up and deal:

  • I am in an odd position this afternoon.
    RAW was taped three days ago in Japan, and yet, I have done a masterful job of keeping myself free from spoilers. So I stand before you the ostensible Wrestling Guru, but I'm sure the vast majority of you went ahead and spoiled yourselves on other websites, and today YOU are smarter than ME.
    But on the offhand chance that I've actually gotten a few of you to drink my Kool-Aid, and you want to be like The Rick, I'm still just gonna treat this like tonight's show is live, and do a little preview for you. Because it's what I do.
    So for starters, we've got a trio of VERY promising matches lined-up. And just going a bit deeper than that, this is a show that is likely to center on the in-ring action because (a) that's the tastes of the Japanese fans, and (b) doing promos and skits will have to be handled carefully because of the language barrier. Better to tell your stories in the international language of ass-kicking, I figure. Which means that the promise of the announced trio of matches stands a very good chance of being realized. 
    On top is kind of a confusing choice: Edge will challenge Triple H for the World Title. As I discussed last week, I believe this goes counter to Edge's character, since handing him a World Title Shot undermines his "everybody's trying to screw me" gimmick. Also as discussed last week, I thought giving Shawn Michaels the title shot would have been PERFECT, since not only would HBK and HHH deliver a killer match, but it would have been the perfect thing to do to increase Edge's pissiness over Shawn screwing him.
    Many wrote in after my little diatribe last week suggesting WWE could still do this, and have Edge somehow get screwed out of his title shot at the last second, with HBK stepping in. I rolled that around in my big ol' brain over the weekend, and decided that HBK works better as an "announced" opponent for HHH... but if they do run with a "screw Edge at the last second" thing, then I honestly believe the right man for the spot is Randy Orton. It fits because Orton pinned HHH in a non-title situation last week, so if Bischoff decided to change the match, there's the ammo for Orton, right there. And it works on a secondary level, too, since now that we can assume that Michaels/Angle is a WM21 match, and knowing that we all want Orton the fuck away from Batista/HHH, Orton "stealing" Edge's title shot could be a sly way to start (well, REstart) the feud between them, giving both of them something interesting to do at WM21.
    Just a thought. Of course, if they actually do run with Edge vs. HHH tonight, the obvious outcome should probably include Michaels somehow screwing Edge over, since that's the only way this match ends up benefiting Edge's character. 
    Probably the BEST reason to be excited for RAW is the Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho Submissions Match. The Japanese audience should be really into this one, and Benoit and Jericho should be in their element, maybe being allowed to work a bit differently to appease the live crowd, rather than sticking to the "WWE style." If this one gets 15-20 minutes, it'll be something truly special, I think.
    OMG WORKRATE~! aside, there's also a chance to do some storytelling here. I still don't know what the ultimate plan is for Benoit and Jericho, but at this point, the thing I'd prefer would be for them to feud with each other, leading to a WM21 showdown. Not a feud in the traditional sense of "I hate you for some soap opera-y reason," but in the sense of "I am a proud competitor, and you are a worthy opponent, and I'd like to see which of us is better." One way that could be done is if Benoit wins tonight (the Submissions stipulation would seem to play ever so slightly into his favor, since he's a bit better known for getting tap-outs), evening the "series" between the Chrisses at one win apiece. But the way I'd prefer would be to have Jericho once again beat Benoit, sending Benoit into a little spiral in which he starts acting a bit more intense and heelish. I think the latter would connect a bit better with the audience at large, even if the former would appeal plenty to all us internet jack-offs. In any case, who wins and how has me every bit as interested as how Jericho and Benoit fill up the preceding 15 minutes. It's a double whammy, and I am mega-stoked.
    The third announced match is La Resistance defending the tag titles against William Regal and Tajiri. The match is happening because Regal's partner Eugene is out with an injury, and after losing the tag titles to La Resistance, Regal still hasn't gotten his obligatory rematch. Wanting to stick it to Eric Bischoff after Bischoff kept Regal out of the Royal Rumble, Regal has enlisted the help of Tajiri (who has also recently been besmirched by Bischoff, and thus is more than happy to stick it to the GM). Regal and Tajiri also had a partnership back in 2001 for a while, if you want to get technical.
    So this is Regal's shot to regain the tag titles, albeit with a new partner. I'll tell you right now: I will mutiny if Tajiri and Regal don't win. It certainly seems a likely outcome, so hopefully I won't be disappointed. For one, it's just too perfect of a situation: Tajiri wrestling on his home turf, in front of his fans, he SHOULD get the moment (and not like the Regal Moment from last fall where they did a Dusty Finish in the UK; you get about one of those per year, and those batteries are not re-charged yet, OK, WWE?). Also, it would make sense to my wrestling mind: WWE wanted to keep the belts on Regal and Eugene, and putting them on Regal and Tajiri re-sets them back to wherever they'd planned on being at this point. Hell, it even opens up a new possibility: I'd *love* to see Regal and Tajiri win, and then have Rhyno get pissed at Tajiri for breaking up their team. A heel turn, find a new partner, and Rhyno/???? are instantly established as a viable contending duo (and ANY excuse to invent a new tag team is something RAW needs to examine; Stevie Richards might be a good fit, since he could mentally manipulate Rhyno into getting pissed at Tajiri, and then reap the benefits of having a dim-but-ravenous Rhyno as his new tag partner; I'd say Maven is a more traditional fit, but he's suddenly looking like a viable singles heel).
    Like I said, due to the Japanese fans' preference for in-ring action, all three of these matches could go 15-20 minutes. It wouldn't necessarily leave a whole lot of time to fill up... but there's a spot for at least one more match. To me, it seems like WWE should invent some reason for Ric Flair to wrestle on the show. He's huge in Japan, having defended the NWA Title there on countless occasions. Assuming my little fantasy booking deal with Orton taking over for Edge isn't happening, then Flair vs. Orton could be fun to watch, and it would fit storylines perfectly to have HHH interfere on Flair's behalf so he could get the win in front of a partisan crowd (I can't imagine Japan would cheer Orton over Flair). Also: they've been running Flair/Michaels matches around the horn, lately, and they're getting rave reviews, so that might be a fun pairing to put on TV.  But if they were gonna do that, I gotta assume they'd have announced it last week with the other three matches. Orton/Flair would be a more organic match to invent on the fly.
    Just to keep momentum rolling, I'd also try to squeeze in a squash for Batista. As outlined above, this isn't gonna be a week to be trying to convey a whole lot of subtle storytelling with skits and promos (unless they are things that are all edited in after the fact, like everything on SD! last week)... so let the saga of Batista/HHH simmer without much forward progress (just have Batista say he's "thinking about it" when the issue of which title he'll challenge for comes up), but in its stead, do a bad-ass match akin to what Batista did to La Resistance 2 weeks ago. Because Japan likes workrate, but they also have a fondness for bad-ass monsters. Those poor suckers are still under the impression that Goldberg is talented! 
    Other stuff: might not be much room for anything else, and I kinda hope that there isn't much of anything else... I think I've had just about enough Kane/Snitsky, and the next phase of that story is almost certainly gonna be more Kane/Trish, don't you think? And if so, then again, it's a story best put on hold till WWE is back in the USA where they can do more skits and promos.... other than that, I'd honestly rather see lots of time given to 4 or 5 lengthy, quality matches that'll play well with an attentive and appreciative audience than to feel the need to squeeze in Crash TV style 2 minute crapathons featuring Heat-caliber talent.
    We'll just have to wait and see. Or at least *I* will have to wait and see. I'm sure some of you are chuckling knowingly at Johnny Website's dumb-ass "preview" of a show that happened three days ago, but hey, I'll admit it: I'm a loser. Even without this line-up, my tendency would have been not to spoil myself... but once WWE put together these three matches? I'm looking at tonight like a Free Per View, and expect it to be tons of fun. Even moreso because I didn't feel the need to spoil myself.  Should even be a better night of TV than the Super Bowl, but sadly, the only person I'll be partying with is myself. That's OK, I'm my own favorite company!
    If you've spoiled, then you already know whether RAW is worthy of Free Per View treatment... but the rest of you, perhaps my enthusiasm will rub off on you? Check out the show tonight, and hopefully it'll be half as good a time as I'm envisioning. But if you opt out, well, that's why I'll be back here tomorrow with the RAW Recap, which promises to be massively entertaining every week, even when the source material isn't. That's just how OO rolls.
  • While I've kept myself assiduously spoiler-free, there was one news-worthy incident during SD! tapings in Japan...
    Akebono, the Hawaiian born Sumo grand champion, sat ringside for SD! and even did a little "show of respect" with the Big Show. At this point, nobody's suggesting that anything further will come of this... but that's OK, because I totally agree that just the visual of those two standing next to each other should probably be pretty awesome.
    Then again, for whatever it's worth, WWE and Akebono first started talking to each other about possibly working together back in 2001 or 2002. They could never get anywhere NEAR close to money/schedule agreement, and I gather Akebono opted to work only VERY sporadically for some MMA company over in Japan.
    But he will be stepping into a WWE ring this Thursday night on TV, so who knows? Just a one-off moment to showcase two giants next to each other? Or the start of something? I'd guess the former....
  • Not on the Japan tour? Booker T. He stayed stateside, and got married over the weekend to his long time girlfriend, Sharmell Sullivan. She was probably best known as Nitro Girl "Paisley" in WCW, but also had the proverbial Cup of Coffee with WWE after they bought up WCW. Congrats to the couple.
  • Last night and this morning, there have been rumblings that Diva Search Loser Amy Weber has quit WWE. And while I can't confirm that at this point, the rumor that wound its way to me SEEMS to have some teeth to it.
    At the very least: Amy started out the WWE overseas tour and was a part of the "super show" in Hawaii, but was mysteriously absent from the final leg of said tour last night in Alaska. Something seems to have happened in the interim, at least.
    Whether it's an outright quitting, or something a bit less dramatic that can be smoothed over, I don't know at this point. If the rumors are true, it's going to be because of Amy's displeasure with some of the locker room antics. There are two sides of that story, one which has painted Amy as a bit of a whiner and a diva (in the pre-WWE-co-opting-it sense of the word), and another which says that she's put up pretty well with the ribbing and hazing but that it's just too much (which also wouldn't surprise me, since there are a LOT of retarded things about the wrestler subculture's fetish for hazing and hierarchy, and not shockingly, many of them seem to stem from Bradshaw). In either scenario, I'd lean towards a week straight overseas is the straw that broke the camel's back. So like I said: rumor at this point, but the pieces certainly do seem to fit together.
    Let me be the first to not shed a tear. Nothing against Amy Weber, personally, but this just wasn't the job for her. I'd celebrate, but (a) that'd be kind of rude, and (b) this isn't gonna stop WWE from acting stupidly with regard to Diva Practices. Remember: just because the Diva Search Loser Twins haven't been on TV yet doesn't mean that they aren't gonna be. Christ, it's like you finally lop off one Diva Search Loser, and yet, they continue to multiply....
  • Speaking of the Diva Search: it's winner is apparently gonna to a nude lay-out for Playboy. Or so says a sketchy report in the Winnipeg Sun.
    This could just be a bastardization (or latest iteration) of the months-old rumor about a full "Women of WWE" feature in Playboy, but the new newspaper report says it'll just be Christy Hemme who poses. Which doesn't really make a whole lot of sense if the idea is supposed to be that a WWE tie-in helps Playboy sell more magazines.
    Then again, I appear to be the only one around here who doesn't quite understand what Spaz and the rest are supposed to be bringing to the table. Except, actually, I'd phrase it a little different: I appear to be the only one around here who actually understands what Spaz and the rest DON'T bring to the table. I again point to Randall Orton's impromptu lingerie show as all the proof I need that WWE needs to be more concerned with finding TV time for women that wrestling fans will actually CARE ABOUT, instead of just hiring random models and failed actresses and expecting them to generate anything other than apathy. 
    Anonymous T&A has its time and place, like when it's "Girls Jumping on Trampolines" at the end of the "Man Show." And if WWE was cognizant enough of what they (don't) have here and just turn all these Diva Losers into the 2005 version of the "Federettes" (no talking, no wasting time, just perhaps a lingering camera shot as she walks away after collecting La Resistance's robes), that'd be fine. But they won't do that. 
    Instead, it appears that the effort to milk some kind of return out of this idiotic investment in the "Diva Search" now includes taking a chunk of change from Hugh Hefner, failing to understand that Christy really isn't gonna have much more appeal to wrestling fans than any generic old Miss April. She may have a WWE contract, but she really isn't a "WWE Diva" in the same way that Sable and Torrie were established before they sold tons of magazines.
    Although, who even really knows if this is for sure what's gonna happen. Like I said, this story has been going around for months, and it's only now that latest iteration has this down to Christy. And the previous iterations were so laughably silly that they actually all sounded more like teenage fantasies than real news (which is why I never really mentioned it). I'm serious: I forget where (maybe in my very own OO Forums?) but I actually saw somebody had made up a list of all the WWE women, and how naked they'd be.
    And you have not lived until you've seen some 15-year-old loser's "diva wish list," complete with notes like "Trish Stratus: Thong Only" or "Torrie Wilson: Full Frontal" or "Victoria: Topless, Nude From Back Only" or "Molly Holly: Lingerie, Possibly See-Through, Only" and so on and so forth... it was kind of pitiable, actually. And since three-quarters of the diva roster are now Diva Search Losers, the thought of a "Women of WWE" pictorial also lost a lot of cache. At least with me. And even with the women who've had jobs for more than a year, Playboy is still the publication that managed to do a pictorial of Sable and Torrie last spring that had the two so ridiculously made-up and airbrushed that I swear to you it took me 30 seconds before I could figure out which one was which. Because heaven forfend a girl actually look like herself rather than like a generic and overly-made-up whore! Whee! But again: WWE's new business seems to be plumpening the wangs of 13-year-olds, and they'll pursue that niche aggressively, I guess. Hire Useless Divas, pimp them out to Hef, and if they want to quit, who the hell cares, cuz there are dozens ready to take her place. Don't let the door hit you in the ass, Amy Weber!
    This latest twist on my WWE Diva Search Crap now concludes. The whole point is basically: Red Headed Spaz, coming naked to a newsstand near you. Maybe.

  • Many readers have mailed in saying that they are being offered a "Best of WrestleMania" special for one cent... unfortunately, I believe this deal is limited to DirecTV subscribers.
    DirecTV will have the special in rotation the weekend of March 4, and again on WrestleMania weekend, so if this applies to you, keep an eye out. For a damned penny, you can't go wrong!
    And cable subscribers: beware that the "Best of WrestleMania" currently in *our* PPV rotation is NOT part of this deal. This one is part of the "Fanatix" series, and costs $10. And what might be worth a penny ain't worthy no ten bones. I wonder what it would take for WWE to get a placement on the "inDemand" channel (where they don't just have all the movies to pick from, but also have plenty of free features, like the State of the Union Address and lots of behind-the-scenes things) on cable systems that have yet to pick up "24/7"?
  • That PPV-for-a-penny trick? It's something TNA did about a year and a half ago to build interest in their product, actually... so see, FINALLY something WWE has decided is worth stealing from TNA!
    Ah, I keed, I keed. I merely use that little joke as a masterfully smOOth segue into this item: As TNA gears up for a PPV this coming weekend, cable operators have begun circulating the hype for the NEXT event... it'll be called "Destination X" in March. 
    Which is kinda promising, I guess. Sounds to me like a show that'll focus on the X Division more than anything else. Which is good, considering what's clicking and what's not in the company these days. This Sunday's "Against All Odds" PPV certainly seems like a one-match show where I sit, with Styles/Daniels for the X Title (30 minute Iron Man Match) looking damned enticing, while just about everything else looks somewhere between boring and silly. [Jeff Jarrett vs. Kevin Nash for the NWA Title being a fine example of the former; some 50-year-old NASCAR announcer wrestling being a fine example of the latter.]
    But that X Title match could be off-the-charts and more than enough justification to check out the show. And rather than me try to feign any particular interest or expertise when it comes to TNA, I'll just tell you that later this week, we'll have some notes from Actual TNA Fan Jason Longshore to get you more fully up to speed.
  • Last thing is just a quick note to anybody out there who watches Jerry Springer AND who has a text-capable cellphone...
    I got a note from NBC-Universal that says a few of the shows they produce are doing fancy text-message contests, and the prize for the Springer tie-in is an all expenses paid trip to WrestleMania 21 (including lots of spending money and access to something call the "Superstar Challenge" on April 1). Sounds like a pretty sweet deal...
    I'm not clear on any of the other parameters, nor on exactly why they settled on the WWE/Springer connection at this point... but I figure those of you unfortunate enough to actually watch Springer would appreciate the heads-up. I'm sure they will more fully explain all this on his show in coming days and weeks.
  • And on that note, I think I'm officially spent. Enjoy RAW, kids, and I'll see you again tomorrow with the Recap.

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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