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RAW/Rating, Brock Lawsuit, plus Other
Legal and Diva News, and MORE!
February 9, 2005

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


I got nothing here today, folks.
So pardon me while I type up just enough words to get us past this box ad. 
Words like:
Asshat, and
Just because words like that make me laugh, and I don't know why, exactly.

And just like that, we are clear. And I bet I also just confused the hell out of anyone reading this on WL instead of at OO! Let's ride: 
  • Last night's RAW is certainly one that entertained me thoroughly, but I still say it's one that skated by a bit on the unique atmosphere, instead of actually being a home run of a show.
    I re-assert that opinion cuz I got a bunch of e-mail after yesterday's RAW Recap that said I was a bit harsh towards the show's second hour. Specifically, that the main event was better than I'd given it credit for and I was just being unfair because it was heel vs. heel and thus didn't have the kind of sizzle we expect out of main events. Well: my rebuttal would be that the Japanese crowd doesn't care so much about "heel" and "face" distinctions, they just care about the action, and they weren't giving HHH and Edge the same kind of love as they gave Benoit and Jericho. I think they were probably on to something, there... 
    That said: RAW still came home strong with the closing few moments of the match and then the final visual of Batista and HHH eye-balling each other (and the World Title belt).
    I also got plenty of Orton Lovers wondering why I can't just sit back and let WWE try something new with Young Randall. Of course, not a one of them admits, "Well, Rick you were right all along, and it's a good thing WWE is finally changing gears." And now that WWE IS going a new direction with Randy, I'm still being a dick for not loving it. Just like I was a dick when I didn't love the initial face turn. Even though the unstated truth of the matter is that I was RIGHT last time, if WWE feels the need to try something new. Oh, you Orton Lovers: always matching your hero's tenuous grasp on logic and good sense!
    Anyway, I am more than happy to grant that if this is a set up for "Concussed Randy" to start acting heelishly, then fine, it's a step in the right direction. But so far, everything in the presentation of Orton in the last 2 weeks points to this being WWE's idea of trying to make Orton a sympathetic, heroic babyface. And they're so far off base that it's not even funny: there is nothing really cheer-able about a guy who gets knocked loopy and somehow lucks into victories. The gimmick also hamstrings Orton's already-dubious ability to have exciting matches: by necessity, the climactic moments of matches in which he's been concussed have to move at half-speed so he can sell the "far away look." Not exactly thrilling TV. And not that I like coming up with new evidence that Randy Orton is a dumb guy, but Orton's decision to keep on wrestling despite a series of concussions? Not exactly bright: again, if he was a stronger, more likeable babyface, then JR's comments about Orton's heart and desire might ring true, but in this case, I really can't think anything other than "Orton's an idiot for wrestling if he's really in such bad shape."
    So: if this is the start of a heel turn, fine, you all know I'd get behind that. But it sure doesn't feel that way just now. And no amount of promise for the future changes the fact that last night's match against Tomko was in no way entertaining.
    And throw in that Diva Fashion Show thing, and I don't think I'm too far off the mark to suggest that RAW had some mild pacing issues in the second hour. I never said the show sucked, though, folks. Only that it had some holes.
    The first hour was very strong, though, and I think they once again did a near perfect job with the brand's main story (Batista/HHH), so it was still an easy Thumbs Up of a show. So relax, folks. I really don't see where you got all that negativity out of the Recap. 

    And for anybody who still needs details from Monday's RAW in Japan (or who wants to double check to see just how much I shat upon the show), the RAW Recap is still available for your amusement.
  • Monday's RAW did a 3.7 cable rating, a pretty significant drop from the previous week's 4.1, and a couple of ticks below RAW's recent averages.
    So the ratings gains last week were apparently just tied to Rumble curiosity... it's not like there was anything all the spectacular on Monday, in terms of ratings competition. It's just a drop off because people didn't really care. D'oh.
    The "no real competition" thing does not apply to Heat, though, which did a worst-ever 0.4 rating on Sunday due to the Super Bowl. And also probably due to being nothing but a recap show with no first run material.
  • Before we get away from RAW, OO Reader Mariko Tanaka wrote in to say that Bischoff using a translator was almost certainly a calculated move to get heel heat... WWE had experience in the past with Shane McMahon getting booed for using a translator on past tours, and when Shane welcomed the crowd before RAW tapings, he knew enough to not repeat that error.
    Instead, Bischoff was sent out with a translator to get under fans' skins to open the show. Funny stuff.
  • OK, the "big" news of the day. Brock Lesnar has filed a federal lawsuit against WWE, citing restraint of trade.
    Specifically, he wants to void the no-compete clause he signed last year when WWE let him out of his contract, and revert to the existing no-compete clause that had existed in the contract. Confused?
    Here's the deal: Brock had just signed a 7-year contract in 2003, and as part of that deal, Brock had a 1-year no-compete clause if his relationship with WWE ended prior to 2010. But when Brock decided that he wanted to quit WWE IMMEDIATELY after WM20 last year (instead of giving adequate notice, per the terms of his contract), he negotiated his way out of his contract, and as part of that deal, Lesnar gained his immediate freedom to try football, and in exchange, gave WWE a no-compete promise for the remaining 6 years of his original contract.
    Now that football hasn't worked out, and WWE has decided to play hardball in terms of bringing Brock back (they are offering less money and requiring more dates than what Brock wants), Brock suddenly wants the freedom to work for other wrestling companies starting this April (one year after he left WWE).
    When I first started getting my first notes about this on Monday, I kind of dismissed it, figuring "Either this is a work, or Lesnar's a moron."  But this is not a work, it's real. And I still can't envision a scenario in which Brock gets his no-compete voided by a court. He signed it, he was not under any duress, and in fact, he received a benefit (the immediate release from his WWE commitments) by signing it. Where you find an opening in there to over-turn the clause is a mystery to me.
    Reading some of the comments made by Brock's lawyer don't help me out at all, either. He blathers on about how the no compete is "too broad" and "unfair" and "prevents his client from making a living his his chosen field." If those first two labels are fair, then why the hell did Brock happily accept the terms a year ago? And as to his last claim? Hey, if Brock's "chosen field" was wrestling, none of this would have been an issue, cuz he'd never have left WWE in the first place. And furthermore, if wrestling is once again his chose field, WWE would almost certainly be happy to have him back, just not under the ridiculous terms Brock is demanding.
    To me, this just sounds like a guy who realizes he has probably made a mistake and he wants to turn back the clock without there being any repercussions for said mistake. And life doesn't work that way. I fricking HATE pointless lawsuits, and this strikes me as being exactly that: you can't use litigation as a time machine, dammit. You simply have to deal with the decisions you've made.
    For whatever it's worth, I do think that Lesnar could probably have done a better job negotiating his exit package last year, because agreeing to a full 6 year no-compete and not putting some kind of clause in place that would allow for his return to WWE on pre-agreed-to terms if his football career failed is flat-out stupid. But I'm sorry: the fact that you agree to a bad deal doesn't give you the right to weasel out of the deal.
    Best case scenario, in my opinion: this case never makes it to court. Instead, they try to negotiate a more fair no-compete deal between themselves (maybe knocking a couple years off it, maybe freeing up Lesnar to work in Japan sooner, maybe WWE getting a "booking fee" for any matches Lesnar works for the duration of the original 7 year contract so that they can get a return on the investment they put into Lesnar's huge 2-year push). 
    I say this because if the two sides at least get to talking, and if both sides can approximate calm, rational behavior -- instead of litigating like idiots -- the day might come where Brock DOES step into a WWE ring again. And that's all I really care about.
  • Speaking of lawsuits that probably don't need to exist: Steve Austin is counter-suing his ex-girlfriend Tess Broussard for some ridiculous amount of money. Like $185 million.
    I've covered most of the details of their stupid drama here before. Some people just have a knack for getting into destructive, unhealthy relationships. You can get caught up to speed at the Celebrity Justice website, if you want.
  • Speaking of Stupid Drama: it looks like I was right to be a bit cautious in how I talked about the Amy Weber situation on Monday... because indeed, efforts are being made to patch up the situation, and Amy's walk-out appears to have been a heat of the moment thing.
    You know what makes me ill? That WWE is bending over backwards to retain the services of a Useless Diva who has contributed little, if anything, to the wrestling product and who is apparently a bit of a load behind the scenes because she's used to being pampered on modeling jobs... but meantime, WWE cleaned house last year on a bunch of girls who can actually wrestle and who can handle life on the road without getting all hyper-reactive and dramatic. 
    It's crazy. I honestly suspect that WWE could have another Useless Diva show up as JBL's new "image consultant" next week, and not a single fan would give a shit. Or even notice, I bet. And yet, all efforts are being made to get Amy back. Wheeee!
    The funny thing: the new twist on this story is that Amy left in a huff because some of the wrestlers found flyers for a strip club in Tokyo that used Amy's picture (illegally) to promote the club. And Amy didn't like being teased about that. Jesus, get over yourself, honey: and if you want to get mad at somebody, how about directing your self-centered melodrama towards the strip club jerks who stole your image? If you can't laugh off a bunch of sophomoric jackasses offering you $500 for a trip to the VIP Room, then you really need to relax. It might cease to be funny after the first dozen times, but it's also not grounds for pitching a fit.
  • Speaking of the Useless Divas, you can stop e-mailing me about Candice Michelle in the Super Bowl ad. I know all about it. I also don't care. And neither should you.
    Unless you have a fetish for divas who really shouldn't even be a part of WWE being at the center of controversies that shouldn't even exist. It's like a double whammy of pointlessness!
  • Speaking of Useless Divas, yet again: the latest issue of Playboy has started reaching subscribers, and sure enough, in the "coming next month" section, there is a blurb promising that Christy Hemme will be naked in next month's issue. That'll be the April issue, which quite logically, comes out in March. Which is just in time for WM.
    Everything I said about Spaz being the one to appear in Playboy back on Monday still stands, but I guess if WWE thinks that this is somehow gonna raise awareness for their biggest show of the year, fine. But I still get annoyed at the thought that if it works, WWE will basically have attracted a few marginal fans who are more interested in anonymous boobies than they are in wrestling. At which point they might suddenly have fans who care about all the Useless Divas. Which will have the end effect of making WWE right and me wrong on the issue of the Useless Divas.
    DAMN YOU, YOU EVIL BASTARDS!  Always finding ways to outfox The Rick....
    Note: please observe how this is FOUR consecutive bullet points that start out with "Speaking of"... because when it comes to effortless transitions and smooth segues, I am the master. Where else you gonna go and find five stories as disparate as these linked together so seamlessly? Nowhere! From Brock Lesnar's lawsuit to naked divas; truly I am the master!
    But now, the seamless transitions must end, as I have no other way to get into this next bullet....
  • The Rock continues to distance himself from WWE in interviews, and at this point, not only can you probably write him out of your Fantasy WrestleMania 21 plans, but you MIGHT just go ahead and call it a career for the guy.
    In an interview with IGN, Rocky actually says his WWE contract has already expired (this conflicts with reports that his contract was due to expire later this year) and declares that he's "done." Which I'd caution you is maybe not as final as it sounds. I can already envision other jackass websites with headlines about "Rock Retires From Wrestling" or something like that...  but all Rock's really saying is that his current deal with WWE is done. NOT that there's no chance of him ever appearing on their stage again. So beware what I'm sure you'll be reading elsewhere about this...
    But Rock also takes a few veiled potshots at WWE Films, making it clear that he has no plans on going that route with his own career.  Ouch. Stuff like that DOES indicate that WWE and Rock aren't necessarily all chummy at this juncture, but again, does not preclude the two going into business together again in the future.
  • I think that's about all I got today, folks. See you again on Friday.

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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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