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RAW, Dudleys, MORE Playboy News,
and Even More to Kick Off the Week!
February 14, 2005

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


I'm sure everybody out there knows what today is. It's a very special day. A day that only comes around once a year and DEMANDS that you tell that special someone just how much you truly appreciate (perhaps even LOVE) them. 
No, you schmucks, not Valentine's Day; you should probably have gotten that out of your system at some point over the weekend, Rico Suave. [Oh, and FYI, my befuddlement over heart-shaped pizzas was misplaced; I just wasn't thinking like an old guy. A bunch of folks mailed in and said that they get the heart-shaped pizzas for themselves and the kids. Huh.  

So there you have it: pizza chains that make stupid gimmick pizzas are smart, and *I* am dumb. There *is* a market for such an item: older married couples who aren't gonna be gettin' it on. Meddling kids.]

I am, however, speaking of today being the start of the goddamned Westminster Dog Show. And as wrestling fans, it is our duty (nay, our HONOR) to fix a nice dinner for Spike TV. Maybe some Barry White and a little foot massage afterwards. And then, hey, whatever Spike TV wants, it can have, and we'll give it up gladly. Because thanks to Spike TV, RAW will be live in prime time tonight in its usual slot!

Hell, maybe some of you don't even remember the pain: cuz thanks to Spike TV (and before it, the New TNN), it's been 5 years since we last had to have our Monday Night Wrestling Fix pre-empted till Friday (or time-delayed till midnight, or some other massive inconvenience) because of a dog show. I realize pro wrestling's no more noble a pastime than dragging a poop machine around on a leash, but I'm a selfish, selfish man, and I could never forgive USA Network for it's annual pre-emption of wrestling for a dog show. The US Open Tennis thing? That I could almost understand.... but a dog show?

Well, at least we won't have to deal with it tonight, folks. Be grateful. And be grateful that I'm moving on directly to the actual news and crap for today:

  • I suppose if I'm celebrating the fact that RAW will indeed by live tonight (just a few miles down the road from me, in Cincinnati, OH, as a matter of fact), we can start with a quick look forward to tonight's show.
    With no announced matches, and with RAW pretty much able to take its time and do what it pleases between now and WrestleMania in 6 weeks, it's kind of a tough show to preview in any kind of detail.
    Although that does give me a notion that the SD! brand PPV in six days might, in fact, play a larger role in tonight's show than you might reasonably suspect. Follow along, if you will...
    Batista won the Royal Rumble, and his option to wrestle for the World Title on RAW or the WWE Title on SD! remains open. As of last week, he was still "thinking about it." The stars seem to be aligning to shuttle Batista towards SD!: mysterious promos by Big Show and JBL have aired on RAW, with both men taking potshots at Batista, and now even Batista's boss (and current World Champ) Triple H is suggesting that the best thing for Evolution is for Batista to go to SD! and win their title so the faction can rule BOTH brands.
    It certainly seems like Batista would be best served by going over to SD! and defending his good name, while also extending Evolution's reach. Except for two small problems: the fans don't want to see that, and Batista's not dumb enough to fall for this.
    The JBL/Big Show promos have aired mysteriously at awfully convenient moments. And Triple H's original boastfulness about WANTING to face Batista rang false, while his more recent suggestions to Batista to jump ship are more in keeping with the HHH we saw throughout much of December and January. It leads one to a very obvious conclusion: that HHH, the Cerebral Assassin, is pulling some strings to try to trick Batista into leaving RAW for SD!.
    But like I said, Batista's no dummy. It's likely he'll figure this out; it's even possible that he already suspects it. But the way I see it, tonight, we're gonna get ANOTHER "Convenient SD! Interruption" of some kind, perhaps even at exactly the moment when Batista's ready to announce his WM21 intentions. I figure Big Show got last week, so this week, you either go to Angle or Cena (the two possible SD! #1 contenders at WM21) talking bad about Batista, or you go back to JBL. Although Cena would be a really interesting choice (since he could talk about getting screwed at the Rumble and wanting another piece of Batista), I'm actually leaning towards a JBL interruption. Why? Because if WWE doesn't milk this out by having Batista sitting ringside at the No Way Out PPV this weekend (as the invited guest of Teddy Long, to scout the possible competition, if he wants), they are missing out on a golden opportunity. I don't *think* fans would necessarily bite on Batista really considering SD!, but given what happened with Goldberg last year, maybe they would. I think WWE should do it, and I think JBL getting under Batista's skin again tonight at an inopportune time would be perfect. Or rather: Triple H pulling the right strings to make Batista THINK JBL's the one who's got it in for him.... you know what I mean...
    In any case, what this comes down to is the Batista/HHH story once again inching forward just a touch, but ultimately sticking in a holding pattern... I think it's NEXT Monday when Batista reveals which champ he'll face, and the only real drama left is whether or not Batista uncovers that it was HHH all along who was calling in favors to get the JBL and Big Show things on TV.
    Something that I'm personally curious to see tonight is how Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho interact. They seem to be running hot and cold over the past 6 weeks: partners one Monday, opponents the next. That could mean they're buddies again tonight (in fact, just off the top of my head, if I wanted to book a main event that pit two teams that had just smidges of dissension against each other, a Benoit/Jericho vs. HHH/Batista match could be quite good tonight)... but then again, with the "series" now tied at one match apiece, maybe they'll just quit pretending to be buddies altogether and try to settle the friendly rivalry? I don't know... if I had any real inkling of what WWE had in store for either guy, I might be able to hazard a guess. But I don't. I really WANT these two to be opponents at WM21, if for no other reason than because there's nothing better for them to do, but who can tell...
    Speaking of having nothing to do: Shelton Benjamin is your IC Champ, and despite scoring decisive win after decisive win, doesn't really have any major feud on his horizon. I continue to suspect that Muhammad Hassan will graduate to IC Title level by WM, and will probably make it work. 
    Edge and Shawn Michaels still have issues with each other, and will probably be on opposite sides of the ring again a few times in the next 6 weeks... but ultimately, Michaels is expected to focus his energies on a cross-brand feud with Kurt Angle, leaving Edge as a back-burner issue. If it wasn't so out of character for him, I'd love to see Edge swallow his pride and get into the IC mix, since he and Shelton could do some pretty interesting things. [Hell, if they did that, then why not get Benoit and Jericho in there, and have it be a killer 4-way match at WM21; on top of the blow off at the PPV, imagine all the iterations of great matches we'd get for free on RAW leading up to it!]
    And what of Randy Orton? Once the signature babyface on RAW, now he's just a Lucky Dumb Guy who gets knocked loopy and somehow still manages to win matches. This latest "Concussed Idiot Savant" gimmick, at the very least, keeps him out of the way of Batista and HHH (which was my main concern). But it does leave me wondering what's next for Randall.
    In the short term, he's clearly got a mini-arc with Christian going on. Orton beat Tomko last week, but Christian Unprettiered him, and you know Randy's not gonna take that lying down. I *wish* I thought WWE had re-assessed Orton's value accurately enough that they decided to just keep a mid-card feud between him and Christian rolling till Mania, but you KNOW that's not gonna happen. Christian's gonna be RAW fodder for Orton. Maybe even as soon as tonight. So that way, Orton can move on to bigger things (and unless it's a heel turn, he probably doesn't really deserve them).... maybe Orton gets the WM21 feud with Edge?
    If Orton/Christian doesn't happen tonight, it'll probably be because somebody finally realized that having Orton wrestle every week despite a series of concussions was not exactly the most realistic scenario. Of course, WWE getting "realistic" in terms of a scenario in which doctors forbid Orton from wrestling tonight leads me to a Nightmare Scenario Possibility: Randy Orton and Stacy Keibler's Very Special Valentine's Day Dinner Date. [You KNOW WWE's gonna do SOMEthing really gay and Valentine's related tonight, it's just a question of what... and if Orton's "not allowed to wrestle," I wouldn't bet against this. And even if the head injuries caused Orton to be rude to Stacy as part of his heel re-turn, these are no skits I want to see ever, as long as I live.]
    Who was completely absent from RAW last week? Kane (and Snitsky). One can only assume that won't happen again this week. And while I'd welcome Kane back on TV to move ahead with some sort of Trish-centric storyline, I live in terror of Snitsky showing up to ruin things. Not just remind me that we more than likely have a Taker/Kane vs. Snitsky/Heidenreich match staring us in the face at WM21, but also just because as long as Snitsky around as Kane's main arch-nemesis, and as long as Trish also wants to get revenge on Kane, we are living under the shadow of a possible Trish/Snitsky partnership. I'd say I'm afeared of ANOTHER possible Valentine's skit in which Snitsky wants Trish to be his Valentine; but I don't think she's exactly his type.
    The alternative is just to have Trish forget about Kane now, and remember that she's the women's champ. Except that then she'd remember that she has no viable opponents at the present time, and there's only so many times she can cut promos on Lita while Lita's out injured before it gets old, so.... AAARRRRGHHHH, WWE, do I really have to point out again how easy it would be for me to trade the entire Useless Diva Brigade for just ONE Gail Kim? You idiots.
    Not much better is the tag division: William Regal and Tajiri oughta be a lot of fun just in terms of some skits and stuff like that. But ultimately, as the new champs, they need quality opponents. I guess La Resistance gets the contractually obligated rematch, but after that, what? I'm gonna go back to an idea I half-explored last week and say that I like the idea of Rhyno confronting Tajiri about "breaking up the team" to go with Regal... solidify it as a heel turn by having run in and beat Tajiri up in the middle of a tag match, or something. Then Rhyno needs a partner: I've re-thought it, and I say Maven's the guy. Maven's the mouth of the team, Rhyno's the muscle, and though they don't exactly seem like they'd mesh, they SHOULD compliment each other well.
    I think that's everything that you should keep an eye out for tonight. Like I said, I kind of hit on a bunch of things and spun off in lots of different directions, but that's only cuz RAW has a lot of time to try out some different things before they really need to start hammering things home for Mania.
    Gives 'em lots of leeway and means tonight could be an eventful and surprising night. So you oughta check it out. Or if you're too busy watching America's loneliest and most socially awkward spend their Valentine's Day parading their dogs around, you can always count on OO to have your back. The Finest RAW Recap in All The Land shall be yours tomorrow if you stop on back!
  • For those wondering about Those Damned Dudleys, they've been resting and recouping (for the first time in damn near 10 years)... the much-needed and well-earned vacation, however, is about to come to an end.
    The Duds have been down in OVW the past 2 weeks, knocking off some of the ring rust. They are ready to return to WWE TV whenever WWE needs them. My thinking? That No Way Out is really not shaping up to be all that interesting a show, and the Duds returning on TV this week to get a match would be a good idea.... but more likely, the Dudleys would return either AT the PPV or at TV tapings next week. And from there, there's plenty of time to set things up for WM21.
    My instinct is that it'll be hard to get fans to boo Bubba and D-Von upon their return, so it'd be best to not even try... that said, here's how I'd handle it:
    This week on SD!, have Spike Dudley DEMAND his contractually obligated rematch against Funaki for the Cruiserweight Title (you know, he might have gotten said rematch already on Heat or something, but I don't remember it, so just go along with me, OK?)...  Spike acts like he's got an ace up his sleeve, or something. And then, at the PPV, Spike gets in trouble in the match against Funaki, and all of a sudden, out from the crowd come Bubba and D-Von. Funaki gets distracted, and Spike looks hopeful, and takes advantage.  But moments later: ref bump. Spike gestures Bubba and D-Von into the ring, playing The Boos to the hilt. But when he tells them to get the tables, Bubba and D-Von pause, and instead, 3-D Spike. The ref and Funaki come to, Funaki hits one last move, and retains the title. Just like that Bubba and D-Von are babyfaces out from under Spike.
    The alternative, of course, is if you think fans WILL boo the Duds, then they show up and actually help Spike win the title back at the PPV, which might not be so bad either, since "The Boss" was a damned hilarious character, and for the last 4 months, Spike's been the boss of nothing.
  • Despite his interest-killing vignette NOT playing on RAW last week, Chris Masters ain't going anywhere, kids. And trust me, you'd probably prefer if he did. I only saw a week or two worth of him in my tri-annual Developmental TV Spree, but his in-ring ability seemed unspectacular and his charisma/persona skills were below average. Couple that with a gimmick that just outright blows, and well...
    Let's just say he made the house show run through Ohio this weekend, and reviews were universally negative. Just like they were for a dark match appearance a few weeks ago at RAW tapings.
    But hey! He LOOKS like a pro wrestler, so let's put him on TV before he's read!  [Note: Masters is like 22 or 23, I think, and is being pushed ahead of other, more experienced -- and more talented -- developmental talents based on look. Go back to re-read my Maturity Rant for more on why I do not agree with this policy.... feel free to skip the first half of it that's all about Orton, if you don't want to listen to more of my Orton Bashing. But the latter half is more broadly theoretical in nature.]
  • We're all (well YOU'RE all) so worked about about Red Headed Spaz getting naked in Playboy next month that we've glossed over the fact that The Rock is interviewed in the magazine THIS month.
    The March issue hits stores this week, but as I noted last week, subscribers have already gotten their copies, and a few folks have passed on some highlights...
    Actually, in terms of clarifying Rock's situation with WWE, there's not a whole lot of help. The interview was conducted months ago, so it WAS after the expiration of Rock's WWE contract, but before whatever flare-ups might have taken place in January when WWE and Vince weren't as accommodating towards Rock as they might have been (with regards to his possible involvement in WM21).
    About the only interesting thing on that front is that even if he's not under contract to WWE, Rock says he *does* have the right to use that name in perpetuity, as part of what sounds like a gentlemen's agreement between himself and Vince McMahon. Don't know if that's binding or not (especially if Vince decides to be ungentlemanly), but it's an interesting little tidbit...
    It does sound like there's a rather lengthy and touching passage in which Rock talks about the Hart family, and specifically about the night Owen Hart died. For whatever it's worth, that's the section of the interview that was most positively reviewed by the two smuthounds who mailed in with their thoughts.
    And I use "smuthounds" affectionately. Hey, they actually stopped to read the articles! You can, too, once the issue hits newsstands this week! Just don't go mailing me about what you do with the magazine AFTER you're done with the articles!
  • The SD! rating I passed along last week was the prelim rating... the final rating ended up being a 3.5 (one tenth higher than I'd reported). As if you care.
    But I care, since I'm a dork who actually keeps charts and graphs one these things, for use as historical reference items...
  • And the last thing we get to talk about today is last night's TNA PPV...
    And Against All Odds, Against All Odds delivered not just the expected stellar X Division Title Match, but also a very entertaining NWA Title Match.
    Integral to the hyper-active booking at the end of the Jeff Jarrett vs. Kevin Nash main event were the TNA debuts of Billy Gunn and X-Pac. Well, except that neither one is allowed to use that name. And except that X-Pac actually has had a cup of coffee with TNA in the past... but you get the idea.
    Gunn (or whatever they eventually decide to call him) came out first, and tried to assist Jeff Jarrett. That's when X-Pac came down to even the sides and help out Nash. When Jarrett and Gunn still got the better of it, the Degeneration X overtones kicked into high gear, as Road Dogg (now, BG James) came out and sided with X-Pac/Nash. After all those extracurriculars, Jarrett was still able to retain the title in what sounds like an exceptionally entertaining (if not exactly workrate-driven) main event.
    Not knowing where they're gonna go with the Gunn/X-Pac/James/Nash/Jarrett stuff, it's still a cute little cowinkidink that the next TNA PPV is called "Destination X." All these former DX members are up to no good as he head to a PPV that shall be abbreviated DX. Feel the Cosmic Significance!
    Other than that, Style vs. Daniels apparently ruled. And then everything else pretty much ranged between "sucked" and "bland." Still, Jarrett and Nash putting together the second best match of the night, and TNA putting what sounds like its strongest contiguous hour of PPV since changing business models is a good thing.
    For a complete rundown of the PPV results, check out Jason Longshore's Against All Odds Recap.
  • That's all I've got for you today, kids. I'll see you tomorrow with the RAW 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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