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RAW/Ratings, More on The Rock/WWE,
plus Lesnar, Molly, TV Appearances, MORE!
February 16, 2005

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


With *no* due apologies to that unfunny piece of crap Jeff Foxworthy (and with full knowledge that by ripping off his hacky shtick, I'm no better than him, except for the fact that I hope you know I'm doing it, like, ironically or something), you *might* watch too much wrestling if.....
You were doing your daily news reading yesterday, and when you saw the headline "Deal for Jericho Handover Delayed," you immediately began wondering if you missed some sort of RAW/SD! trade.

Cuz that's what happened to me. A hugely significant major news story, and just because I see the word "Jericho," I can't 

help but think about Y2J. Even if it was for only 2 seconds or so before I got my bearings, I still fucking suck. I try to make myself feel better by telling myself that maybe I'm OK, since at least after 2 seconds, I knew exactly what the story was about... unlike the vast majority of the Foxworthy-caliber intellects who join me in watching the rasslin'. Whew.

Of course, then I made it worse for myself by spending significantly longer than 2 seconds trying to figure out if I could fashion a Mohammed Hassan/Jericho joke out of the news story, given the recent events on RAW. Luckily for you, I gave up on that operation.

Which leaves us to just cut straight to the chase. Unlike the Israelis handing over Jericho, I shall NOT delay any further in passing along the finest in wrestling news and views to you, the finest in wrestling readers:

  • We gotta go back to Monday's RAW for a bit of more-grandiose philosophisizing than what I managed to sneak into yesterday's Recap...
    Because although RAW had some definite high points, there was also thing kind of lingering, murky haze over the entire night: it was impossible to see forward to what WWE thinks are possible money matches for WM21. And with the Rumble firmly in the rear-view mirror, we shouldn't be having those kinds of problems. Six weeks out, you should generally be able to identify the matches and feud so special that they deserve the WrestleMania stage.
    As it stands, the one match we can ALL identify and are all looking forward to is Batista vs. HHH, but for dramatic purposes, WWE is actually going out of their way to make it SEEM like that won't be the WM main event (teasing us with the jump-to-SD! elements). Which makes for kind of an uninspiring Road to WrestleMania at this point...
    [OK, you got me: there's Michaels/Angle, too, but even that one is gonna have to wait till after Sunday to kick into gear.]
    Instead of stories that seem big and exciting, what kinds of things did we have introduced on Monday? Snitsky vs. Shelton Benjamin; which might be a nice way for Shelton to kill a week or two, but this is NOT anything that'll outlast the month of February.  Trish vs. Spaz; which, OK, it gives Trish the opportunity to cut killer promos that'll scratch me where I itch, but which ALSO strikes me as a shorter term thing designed to make sure Christy gets some TV time over the next 3-4 weeks before her Playboy comes out (as Spaz's in-ring repertoire seems limited to fumbling through even the most basic of wrestling holds and then hitting some ridiculous looking pinning combination that includes Allegedly Sexy Pelvic Thrusting, I, for one, do NOT want to see this make it through to WM21 as our Women's Title Match).  In the tag division, hell, Regal and Tajiri dispatched La Resistance in the latter's one obligatory rematch, and now have nothing on their table. And Chris Benoit? Completely absent...
    You folks see what I mean? Instead of it feeling like every segment including some compelling drama that would converge at the biggest show of the year, we had time wasted on a damned TV commercial actress and Simon Dean... which, even if in the micro ended up being harmless segments, in the macro strikes me as a phenomenal waste of time and energy at this key juncture of the booking year.
    Some other comments/observations/amplifications from Monday...
    The opening segment really was quite bad. And believe you me, I'm about as big a Jericho fan as there is... but unlike some of you opined, I don't think I was being too harsh when I said he'd brought his own material down to pretty much the level of the rest of the segment. Yes, as a few of you noted, he was still a notch or two better than John Cena, but it's not like this is an unprecedented situation: I'll stop short of calling it "laziness," but Jericho sometimes does seem to only rise up to the level of the material... like if he realizes he can't make it any better, he doesn't bother trying. I remember quite vividly that this happened on the very first night of the Diva Search. He failed to get anything useful out of the nearly un-talk-to-able Candice, and once Hassan and Daivari hit the stage, it was nothing but gay jokes (and not even funny ones, at that). Tell me how I'm supposed to do anything but label that "WKR(a)P in Cincinnati," folks... cuz I thought I was fair.
    On the other hand, the Orton/Christian match was quite good. And believe you me, I'm about as unenthusiastic about Orton as anybody out there. But to those who wrote in to say I was smoking something funny if I thought Orton/Christian was better than Orton/Benoit (either one) or the first Orton/HHH, I stand by that claim. [Oh, and to some of you: I made it clear I was only speaking of Orton SINGLES matches.] Maybe there have been other Orton matches since the one against Foley that were longer or more workrate intensive or whatever, but for simple ENTERTAINMENT, this was the best Orton's been in 9 fricking months. I honestly believe that, I certainly give a lot of credit to Christian for being a big enough dick of a heel to help keep the heel/face alignment more firmly in place than it has been for any Orton match in the past month or two, and almost making myself sick for having to say these things in defense of Young Randall.
    And onto a third semi-controversial statement I made, I think the main event segment and angle was nothing but a win, all around. Where are you people getting the notion that WWE "sacrificed" Edge to Batista? Quite the contrary, I think the match was designed perfectly so as to protect Edge and give him all kinds of ammunition for future promos. He certainly didn't get squashed in the match (rather, for the five minutes it lasted, it seemed like more than half that time had Edge in control), and although he was on the cusp of defeat, Edge can technically claim a DQ win over Batista. It's actually PERFECT for Edge's character, since he can go on TV in a week and talk about beating the #1 Contender, and by the time he gets done twisting the facts around, believe me, he'll be even more over than before. This is a good thing; quit yer bitching.
    And as to the alleged JBL closing angle? Perfect... obviously, I'm biased since I kinda called for something along these lines in my Monday preview, but actually, if anything WWE trumped what I was seeing in my mind's eye. Instead of a promo or something, this mysterious limo attack is ideal, since we never DID see JBL... it all plays into the possible revelation that it's Triple H who is playing these mindgames on Batista to get him to jump ship. I've assiduously not spoiled myself with regards to SD!, but if JBL doesn't get a promo in which to proclaim his innocence, I'd be shocked. It sets up a perfect "whodunnit" to span the PPV and then spilling over to next week's RAW, where Batista will sign his contract (and more than likely, reveal that he knows it was HHH all along).
    For whatever it's worth, I'm enjoying some of the alternative fantasy booking theories you folks are supplying... but I really do think that this is a case where the "obvious" move is also the right one. HHH should be behind this, and if you want some mystery/ambiguity, that's where Ric Flair's allegiance comes in.  [Randy Orton is the leader among the fantasy bookers; but I can promise you I'd blow a gasket if they put him back into this story. Also: Orton was off holding hands and making googly eyes with Stacy when the limo attack happened. I fail to understand some of the logic behind stories that would reveal Batista himself has "set himself up," but that's another one. The one that I'd buy into the most would be that it's Teddy Long or somebody on SD! who is honestly trying to get Batista to jump; the "Paul Heyman pulling the strings and eventually co-opting Batista to get his revenge on the Undertaker" idea is one I must admit to liking... except that I like the idea of Batista vs. HHH even better, so sorry.]
    I think that's about all the RAW Bonus Coverage I got for you... just remember: my day after day after ranting is no substitute for the finest Day After Recap in all the land. So check that if you need a more detailed rundown of RAW's happenings...
  • Monday's RAW rating was a 3.9, a bump of two ticks from the week before, and putting RAW back where it was for much of November and early December (prior to the holiday ratings swoon). Other than the one post-Rumble number, there doesn't appear to be any significant ratings momentum building on the Road to WM... we'll see if any of that changes once we start locking in a few matches and getting the cross-brand stories cooking.
  • As has been widely discussed (even here, in the backwater burg of OO), one thing you shouldn't hold your breath for is a return of the Rock in time for WM21....
    As has also been widely discussed ONLY here at OO (while I gather others are falling all over themselves to drastically overstate the "doneness" of Rock's wrestling career over the past 2 weeks), the relationship between Rocky and WWE is still a going concern.
    Case in point: at this week's tapings, WWE showed the trailer for the Rock's new movie "Be Cool" on the TitanTrons for the live crowds. Now, this also doesn't mean that Rock's necessarily on his way back to save the day, or anything, but it's just a show of good faith by WWE.  Nothing less, nothing more. This was just as I was starting to "get smart," but I seem to recall the WWF showing trailers for Hulk Hogan's "Mr. Nanny" even after he'd split from the company in 1993, mostly just to keep the lines of communication open. Of course, that didn't end well, and Hogan was in WCW less than a year later, but still... 12 years later, WWE's gonna be extending the same courtesy to the Rock.
    FYI: "Be Cool" opens on March 4, and that means we get to be treated to the Rock on non-WWE shows...
    In the week before the movie's released, Rock is hitting the 1-2 punch of Late Night Talkshows... on Monday, 2/28, he'll be on with Letterman. And then on Thursday, 3/3, he'll visit Conan. Should be good times, even if Rock doesn't even remotely touch on wrestling (as has been the case the last few times he's made the rounds)... then again, maybe as his "thank you" to WWE for hyping his movie, he might sneak at least a tangential plug for WM21? You'll just have to ditch that putz Leno, tune in, and find out for yourself, folks!
  • I guess in the interest of equal time, I'll also mention another pending TV appearance... and folks, I swear to christ I did *not* intend to do this when I made my little joke at the top, but sometimes, I'm just such a damned clever son of a bitch that without even trying I stumble into ingenious running themes in columns.
    In this case, I'm talking about nonmedian Jeff Foxworthy's "Blue Collar TV" show. I made a few jokes about it back about a month ago when TNA sent a few wrestlers to tape a show with Foxworthy, and until no totally forgot about the stream of pissy mail I got claiming that whatever I think about Foxworthy, his show is alot different than "You might be a redneck if..." and has other people besides him on it and I should kindly shut my yapper. Well, sorry folks; I admit I haven't seen the show, but if it's FRICKING GOT JEFF FOXWORTHY IN IT, I can't see ever making an effort, and "Blue Collar" is on my list of Danger Titles. That's just one of my rules. Like "Any movie with Brendan Fraser will suck" or "Anybody who likes Limp Bizkit, even a little bit, cannot be my friend." I'm sorry to make such broadly sweeping generalizations, but it's how I am. So thanks for trying to set me right folks, but I'm afraid I can't trust you: you like Jeff Foxworthy.
    I had a point: the episode that they taped last month (which features Jeff Jarrett, and I thought some other TNA stars) is airing this week. For some reason, I thought this show was on Comedy Central (hell, I KNOW it's on Comedy Central, I just saw ads for it in the past few days during the Daily Show), but I guess the WB has picked it up and airs the first-run episodes now or something.... so this Friday night, on the WB, at 9:30pm (eastern), you can watch your favorite redneck comedian frolic with the stars of your favorite redneck wrestling company on "Blue Collar TV." Wheeeee! [And in all seriousness, I'm positive that it then repeats either over the weekend or next week on Comedy Central, but the silly press release I got doesn't list those airings.]
  • I guess if I'm doing this, I might as well do it right....
    Also appearing on non-WWE TV will be Triple H and Stephanie McMahon... I'd never heard of the show myself, but it's "The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch," and tonight's episode (10pm, CNBC) is the one that'll feature the Most Hated Couple In Wrestling.
    The two folks who wrote in to give me that heads-up say that the show is basically like a casual current events roundtable, not really financially or politically driven at all... so that could mean almost anything for Trips and Steph. Also: the only reason I even know who "Donny Deutsch" is is because he was on a Celebrity Poker show, and (a) I had no idea who he was or why he counted as a celebrity, and (b) he was so obnoxious that it was NOT much of a stretch to imagine that his perfect wrestling name would be Triple D.
    I'll leave it up to you to figure out what the new first "D" would stand for. It's one of my favorite words, though. And on that note, I think I've exhausted the wrestlers making TV appearances theme....
  • Following up on my pre-pissiness about Chris Master getting the call-up ahead of others...
    His house show routine has mostly gone over like a box of rocks, but in a pre-RAW dark match on Monday, he added in a bunch of new frills: He's doing the full Rick Rude/Val Venis thing, I guess. How thrilling. I cannot deny it worked amazingly well for Rude. Though it never quite caught on the same way for Val, and unlike Masters, HE actually had some charisma.
    Even if it gets him a bit of cheap pre-match heat, that doesn't carry over to his ringwork, which continues to be described as underwhelming at best.
    I guess in addition to just kind of wondering why WWE is calling up this guy and giving him this gimmick, I'm also curious about the timing... unless WWE just REALLY goes on tilt and overpushes the guy, he will (and should) get lost in the shadow of WM21. WWE's really not doing the guy any favors on ANY front.
    Then again, I dunoo: maybe the thinking is that they just let him simmer for a month or so, and then after WM, he'll be more Ready For Primetime than if they waited till after the show to debut him....
  • No further progress on the Brock Lesnar/WWE situation... other than to point out that some current SD! stars (led by the Big Show, most notably) have been quoted in interviews as being very upset at Brock for his departure, and saying they don't want him back in the company.
    If there really is that much hostility in the locker room, it's a hurdle I wouldn't have anticipated for Lesnar's return... most guys, I figured they'd look at Lesnar and see him as a guy who could help them all make money together. But at least in the case of Show (who rightly considers himself one of the two guys who did the most work -- along with Angle -- to "make" Brock, only to have him leave the company before he could repay any of those favors), it almost seems personal.
    Purely as a fan, I say that sucks. Brock could do a lot of good for WWE right now, and if guys are upset that Brock never gave back to the company that made him, I'd just counter by saying he'll NEVER get to give back if you don't let him back in...
  • A shitload of readers passed along a link to a newspaper article talking about Molly Holly. To a man, they latched onto one line in the article, and "commiserated with me" that we won't get to see Molly naked in Playboy. 
    For the record, the article is right here.
    But also for the record, I want everybody to read very carefully the part where the author mentions Playboy... because that was really just a bit of rhetorical smoke and mirrors, and at no point does Molly actually address the issue of Playboy. [Rather, the author cites nebulous "websites" about the Playboy rumor, and then cuts to a Molly quote that could be interpreted as relating to those rumors. Very crafty, those media hacks!] 
    And you don't have to commiserate with me, people. At least, not about the Playboy stuff (I have a fully operational imagination, if need be)... but man, maybe I need to be consoled about something else. Because I've certainly been aware that Molly's one of the nicest and most decent people in the business, and I'm not one who'd ever belittle something that gives somebody else comfort and meaning in their lives... but how can this be the same woman who listed rat-faced, foul-mouthed, filthy-minded, and yet frequently-hilarious Jay (of "Jay and Silent Bob" fame) as her "Celebrity Crush"?
    I guess there's no commandment that reads "Thou Shalt Not Find Total Assholes Charming." And nobody's luckier than me that that's the case.
  • Last thing for today... just a quick note from TNA tapings: it looks like Frankie Kazarian (a former X Division Champ) intends to leave the company... he's already been working on just a week to week deal the past couple months, and now there are rumors that WWE has come sniffing around, so he's told TNA to go screw.
    Of course, isn't this kind of what happened with Abyss a while back? Who knows if the WWE interest is genuine, who knows that Kazarian won't decide that he'd rather be a bigger fish in a smaller pond?
    It *is* known that WWE is looking to bolster its cruiserweight ranks. Why, I don't know, since it's not like they don't already have a good half-dozen criminally under-utilized talents on the roster, but we already know Psicosis got a try-out a few weeks ago, and know that WWE has intense interest in bringing in Super Crazy once he gets healthy... and now this rumor about TNA's Kazarian.
    Truth be told, if a cruiser is gonna come to WWE, it's not even a question of high flying ability. Because Kazarian in TNA does stuff that he'd probably never be allowed to do in a WWE ring... that's not the issue when it comes to WWE hiring cruisers. I think given that WWE will "cap" every cruiser on their roster at "less amazing than Rey Mysterio," you want to start looking at other traits... a unique look, charisma, stuff like that. Which makes Kazarian kind of an odd choice for WWE, since he's never struck me as having any of those intangibles (despite being a very exciting high flyer). If I was WWE and coveted TNA cruisers, I'd be all over Chris Daniels and Elix Skipper in a heartbeat; most of those other guys need to stay in the oven a bit longer until their other skills are done cooking.
    We'll see what "The Future" holds for Frankie Kazarian in the coming weeks, though.... HA!  I am so clever!  Somewhere, Don West has just slapped himself in the forehead and muttered, "Damn, that Scaia is good." Idiot.
  • That is all. Well, except for a purely selfish moment: if there's a Kevin R. Kerns out there (and I have to assume there is), I'm sorry to say I don't believe I've got your e-mail address, but I did just want to say "thanks."
    And to the rest of you: Friday, I assemble the trOOps for PPV Predictioning! Everything you ever wanted to know about No Way Out and then some shall be covered...
    So I'll see y'all then...

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PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
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PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
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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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