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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
SD! Thoughts/Ratings, Fixing WM21,
Rock Turning Heads, and Lots More News!
February 25, 2005

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

I could waste your time in any number of different (and expert) ways here in today's pre-ramble...
 
I could, for instance, make small talk about Il Papa, the Holy Father, his Holiness, Pope John Paul II. I am, afterall, still technically a Roman Catholic, and I actually love all the wacky pomp and circumstance that goes on at the Vatican. Until I fulfill my lifelong dream of being excommunicated, I'm proud to be a confirmed member of the religion that  

might not get it exactly right, but which at least always gets it wrong IN STYLE, baby! Except that I know some people are kind of sensitive about organized religion, so I'd better keep that to myself...

Or I could make this the second Friday in a row where I talk big about the Dayton Flyers. Sure, it's not Xavier on ESPN tomorrow afternoon, but it *is* a game between the two teams tied for First Place in the A-10 West Division (with seeding in the A-10 tourney, which I honestly DO believe UD can win in this down year for the conference, on the line; we MUST receive the first round bye!). And on top of that, it's the annual spectacular known as The Flyer Fun Fest. For reasons related to a guest's unapproved pantlessness last year, I have opted to NOT host this year's event at my house, but I anticipate it to be quite the shindig, nonetheless. But none of you care about my Flyers, so why go there?

I could even approximate Pop Culture Awareness by doing some Oscar Talk. Except that the one thing that I'd REALLY want to say is that people need to chill the fuck out about "Ray." It is, granted, an absolutely amazing performance by Jamie Foxx (if he doesn't win Best Actor, it's a crock), and there's a distractingly cool soundtrack. But it's just not a memorably entertaining movie once you get past the parlor trick of Foxx's stellar work. It's more like a slightly-higher-budget Saturday Night Live skit with an uncanny impersonation by a single performer, but which just meanders along and then peters out because the writers figured the impersonation would carry it despite the lack of any real jokes (or story, or whatever). The acting was superb; the movie was merely "OK." I ranted about this to a friend who said, "Well, that's the curse of the bio-pic," except then I rattled off 5-6 bio-pics that I honestly liked a lot. So there!  Of Foxx's two movies, I can safely say that "Collateral" was about 10 times more entertaining as a movie, even if it was only one-tenth as amazing an "accomplishment." I also think that the best picture should either be "Sideways" or "The Aviator" (see, THERE is a cool bio-pic! when you're done you feel like "Wow, I just watched a MOVIE," instead of a 200-minute impersonation... and trust me, no fan of Leonardo DeCaprio am I) which are the two of the nominated movies I'm gonna be most fired up to watch again on cable or DVD (I haven't seen "Finding Neverland," admittedly).  However, I know sentiments such as these peg me as an insufferable prick who can't just sit back and appreciate something without being critical, so maybe I should keep that to myself, as well...

D'oh. Me and my big mouth. Oh well: consider it a Choose Your Own Adventure... you have THREE big ways to get pissed off at me before we start with today's attempt to cover the wrestling world:

  • Might as well talk a little bit of SmackDown!, eh?
     
    Last night's show didn't even accomplish as much as Monday's RAW with regards to WrestleMania 21... but at least along the way it seemed to have a few more entertaining segments than Kane/Tomko or Simon/Jericho. It's kind of a crap shoot as to which deserves to be tagged the better brand for the week...
     
    On the "entertainment for entertainment's sake" front, SD! had some hits with the opening PPV Tag Title Rematch (more slow burn tension between Eddie and Rey, but they still work well enough together to win and have a solid 15 minute match), with the very amusing (and surprisingly over) Carlito/Teddy confrontation, and with the cruiserweight match and Paul London run-in POSSIBLY suggesting that the Cruisers might be a focal point heading to WM.
     
    In fact, special shout-out to Carlito: I put him at #2 on my "Break-Out Performer of 2005" voting only because it'd be impossible not to project Batista ahead of him... but even injured, he's shined bright in his storyline with Teddy Long, and delivered the kinds of effortless, in-the-moment promos that make him seem like a natural. Once he's back from injury, and assuming Cena makes the WWE Title his business, Carlito's gonna open some eyes on the US Title front, I think. And before that? It seems pretty obvious that he's gonna be Teddy Long's houseboy (or something) for the short term, which should be amusing in its own perverse way.
     
    But other than that, SD! did almost nothing to really whet any appetites for WM21, the same crime for which I raked RAW over the coals just a few days ago.
     
    JBL vs. John Cena isn't so much a cathartic blow-off as it is a manufactured eventuality. I mean, nobody's been more shocked than I have over how JBL has developed as a character in the last 5 months or so since he found his comfort zone... and nobody's had to eat more crow than I have over how JBL has actually made a go of the "Honkytonk Man" heat as WWE Champ. But the fact that people seem to be itching to see JBL drop that title doesn't mean that WWE should have taken it as permission to not really tell any story for JBL's first-ever WM title defense. John Cena has just materialized, the deus ex tournamenta who gets next dibs at JBL for no particularly compelling reason. I fricking hate that. I hated it last year when they used this scam TWICE on RAW (within three months of each other, too; and the second one set up Orton's horribly ill-advised title shot and win), and I hate it now...
     
    I mean, we all know that I have my Cena Issues these days, but this is really more a WWE Creative Team Issue: essentially, when WM21 hits, the Cena/JBL feud will be 5 weeks old. That's just not right. Rather than telling a story about why Cena should be the guy to take JBL down, they seem to be banking on Cena's run-away popularity being enough to mask the fact that there is no story. Except that WWE miscalculates: Cena's certainly got fans, but he's not Batista, and part of the reason why Batista is so bullet-proof (no matter how shittily RAW handled the backstage skit on Monday) is because of the story that preceded his ascension to the #1 contender spot. Cena got none of that build-up, and SD!'s main event is gonna hurt for it. [And yes, above and beyond that, it wouldn't surprise me if cracks start showing in Cena's popularity, either; his insipid and pathetic pandering will eventually turn some off, and I remain steadfast that Cena is such a caricature that he might alienate anybody over the age of 15 in the name of appealing to kids. In short, Cena is "hip," but he sure ain't "cool." The difference is that "cool" is always "cool," but "hip" is something you look back on 10 years later and laugh at. Evolution is "cool." Class is always "cool." John Cena, by pandering to the This Moment In Pop Culture, is "hip," and I think at a very base level, wrestling fans have a sense of that, and do NOT want to see the prestigious, classy WWE Title belt all blinged-out and customized by some assclown who's 10 years away from doing Bonus DVD Commentary Tracks consisting of "I have NO idea what I was thinking by saying/wearing/doing that, other than I guess it was hip at the time" and little else. This is something WWE and Cena need to guard against as they forge ahead with the push.]
     
    The other WM21 story that was address on SD! was Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels... and just as on RAW, it was addressed in the most flaccid, careless way possible. Angle just walked out before answering the challenge. Look: I'm all for slowing things down, but before you can slow things down, you need to have HAD SOMETHING HAPPEN. So far, WWE is predicating the Angle/Michaels thing on a single PPV brawl, and the notion that fans are so dazzled by the cross-brand nature of the story that they instantly care about it. It just seems lazy to me to expect the fans to do your work for you, and to get excited about something that you're presenting in the least exciting way possible.
     
    As I mentioned above, it does seem like Chavo vs. London will be the WM21 Cruiserweight Title match, and that was handled well enough. But that's because a CW match that'll get 8 minutes of PPV time (if it's lucky) can make do with 5 weeks of build-up.
     
    What else am I supposed to latch on to? Jindrak vs. Luther Reigns? Christ, I *might* be able to, but why do I suspect that in "WWE Think," Jindrak's gonna be presented as the babyface here? Given what we've seen the last few weeks, that's so ludicrous I don't even know where to begin, other than to say, Viva La WWE's Tunnel Vision! They know what they're doing, and the fans in the seats and watching on TV will learn to love it!
     
    So again: entertaining in spots, for sure... but it did even less to make me optimistic about WM21 than RAW did. You can get the full details of last night's show in Big Danny T's SD! Recap.
     
  • The rating for last night's show was a 3.2, which is another slight drop, and puts the show about a third-of-a-point off its desired pace.
     
    The lower rating is double bad news, since it comes for the first show after a PPV, and also comes right in the thick of WM21 build-up. Although, for all the building up WWE's doing, maybe it doesn't matter so much if fewer people are watching at this point...
     
  • Speaking of WM21, it's now being widely accepted that that Randy Orton vs. Undertaker match we first talked about last week *will* happen, and is *not* the "horseshit rumor" that I'd pegged it as.  Supposedly, there are even WM21 promotional materials circulating that promise the Orton/Taker match, and present it with Orton still playing a babyface. 
     
    So instead of it being a "horseshit rumor," I'll now switch gears and just tell you this is a Dumbass Idea.
     
    For (1) we've seen absolutely NO set-up for this, not one oblique reference, not one inkling of motivation from either guy. Again, my "WM Mentality" is that matches should have 4 MONTHS of build up, not 4 WEEKS (which is all this one will have if it comes to fruition). Which (2) means that Orton's "Legend Killer" gimmick will probably have to figure into the sudden materialization of the match, which in turn makes it impossible for me to accept that he'll be able to pull this off as a babyface. And (3) I actually LOVE the idea of this match... but not till WM22. Orton and WWE just need to swallow their pride, trade him to SD!, turn him heel, and let him spend a year re-establishing himself as something other than a massively disappointing flop. SD! will need a heel, somebody who can oppose Cena, Taker, and Show, since once JBL drops the strap, it's mid-card city for him, and nobody's sure what the future holds for Angle. And THEN, after a year of that, how hot would it be to have the Legend Killer (at full speed, fully rehabilitiated as a character, and with MONTHS of established backstory) try to kill the Legend of the Undertaker's Undefeated WM Streak at WrestleMania 22?
     
    The mere prospect of how valuable that could be to NEXT year's show (if everything is handled correctly in the interim) is all the reason I need for declaring that throwing it together in ham-handed fashion for THIS year's show is the dumbest idea I've heard in a long time.
     
    And Orton Lovers? SHUT THE FUCK UP!  This is not me hating on your boy! This is me telling you POINT BLANK how your boy could be a super-duper-mega-important part of WWE plans in the future if the creative team just did right by him for once! This is me hating on that creative team for giving your boy the wrong things to do in the short term. If anything, you Orton Lovers should be WITH ME on this, instead of firing up the pissy e-mails telling me how I need to lay off Young Randall.  I'm honestly TRYING TO HELP. Which you'd realize if you didn't share reading comprehension skills and intelligence with your favorite wrestler...
     
    So, assuming that Orton/Taker is added to the WM21 card, that makes yet another match I don't give a shit about, simply because there is no way in hell that they have the time or backstory to MAKE me give a shit. Theoretically, yes, it oughta be better than the Tag Team Match of Suck we'd all been fearing (Taker/Kane vs. Heidenreich/Snitsky), but it's still not even close to WM-worthy.
     
    In fact, if I had to guess right now, here's the WrestleMania 21 card that I think WWE wants to present (with my Anticipation Factor -- on a scale of 1 to 10 -- in parentheses):
     
    RAW
    Batista vs. HHH -- World Title (8)
    Benjamin vs. Snitsky -- IC Gimmick Match/Brawl (2)
    Benoit/Jericho vs. Hassan/Daivari (3)
    Trish vs. Spaz -- Women's Title (2)
    Tajiri/Regal vs. Edge/Christian -- Tag Titles (6)
     
    SD!
    JBL vs. Cena -- WWE Title (5)
    Eddie vs. Rey (7)
    Big Show vs. JBL's Cabinet (2)
    Dudleys vs. Kenzo/Dupree -- Tag Titles (3)
    Chavo vs. London -- CW Title (7)
     
    CrossBrand
    Angle vs. Michaels (8)
    Orton vs. Taker (4)
    Special Catch-all Battle Royal Of Some Kind (for Booker, Kane, Luther, and others left off the show, possibly with some prize tied into the Draft Lottery; 3)
     
    That's 12 matches total with a battle royale, one or two of which could always appear on Heat.  Although (ACTUAL NEWS ITEM ALERT), it has been confirmed that WM21 will be a 4-hour event, running from 8pm till midnight on April 3, so there might also be room for all this on the show itself (especially considering how short/pointless a lot of these pairings should be).
     
    Again: just watching WWE TV the past 2 weeks, THESE ARE REALISTIC PROJECTIONS. Really the only two things I made up entirely were the two tag title matches (and in so doing, I tried to make them better than what I suspect WWE might really have in store)... the rest follow logically from what WWE has been doing on TV in the precious weeks leading up to WM. And I am not pleased.
     
    Could I do better? Yeah, but not by much: it's just too damned late to get any of those "anticipation ratings" all up above 6-7 (which is where they should be for WM21), no matter how good the pairings are. Put me on the job in December, and it'd have been easy, though.  I think the real problem is that WWE's tunnel vision had them locked on to some VERY shitty ideas, ideas so shitty that come January, they HAD to shift gears... except that once they decided to shift gears, they didn't have any good ideas for where to shift to. Orton was ejected from the World Title hunt, the Taker/Kane tag match was axed, and it probably didn't help that Lita got hurt and took away what I believe was gonna be a blow-off cage match in the women's division... with the exception of that last thing, though, not realizing until too late that your old ideas were crap is no excuse.
     
    Off the top of my head, here's what I'd probably try to throw together in the next few weeks for WM21 if I instantly was handed The Book, and had to make do with the turds I'd been handed:
     
    RAW
    Batista vs. HHH (duh, nothing wrong here; just carefully map out a 20 minute match within Big Dave's capabilities, and this one's golden)
    Orton vs. Flair (let Orton keep ramping up the Douchebag levels, let the fans align themselves how they want, likely backing Flair; and use this as a springboard match for Orton's jump to SD! where he'd be a heel; this is as close to "beating" Evolution as he'll get on his way out the door on RAW; also, as SOON as Orton ends up on SD!, I suggest that he ditch "The Theme From Dumb Guy" and dickishly declare that HE is Evolution, and he's starting his own version of Evolution on SD!; I would LOVE to have Luther be Batista to Orton's HHH; this could be mirrored with HHH's rebuilding of Evolution on RAW, and set-up any number of awesome crossbrand stories: are the two Evolution's friendly? if so, does Flair become a "roamer" who advises both groups? or is HHH's Evolution the only real one, and might be a tacit babyface in a later cross-brand feud against Orton's Evolution? Lots of cool stuff that beats the hell out of pulling an Orton/Taker match out of your ass)
    Kane/Spaz vs. Matt Hardy/Trish (you can follow through on Spaz/Trish, while not completely eviscerating the legitimacy of the women's title this way, while also kicking the Kane/Lita story to the next level by having Matt come back as Trish's smitten little boy toy; Lita need not make an appearance here: one Red Headed Slut is enough... unless you're talking about the drink, in which case I need about a half-dozen before I get my buzz on)
    Shelton vs. Snitsky vs. Hassan vs. Edge (IC Title Match; again, this way you get some play off of the Shelton/Snitsky crap while also hiding it behind more interesting stuff; Hassan can talk himself into this match as the undefeated superstar that he is; Edge can make a big Prickish show of "lowering" himself to the IC Title, and guaranteeing that he'll win it... three convincing heels versus one poor babyface could make for a nice Shelton vs. The World feel, which ties in nicely to his Open Contract gimmick)
    William Regal/Tajiri (with Eugene making a surprise appearance in their corner) vs. Christian/Maven (with Tomko) (a tag title match that is the weakest of the RAW offerings, but which could deliver a feel good moment if Eugene can hobble his way out to ringside and lend a hand, and which I think could be the start of a useful full-time pairing if WWE wanted to put Christian and Maven together; either that, or Christian and Rhyno)
     
    SD!
    JBL vs. Cena (duh again, not much I can do about this one; all I can say is Cena would lose, if I'm booking it; but when he wins, I hope they vacate the US Title and that it's won by a healthy Carlito Cool)
    Big Show vs. Luther Reigns (I see Luther's potential as a bad-ass babyface, but WWE's gonna want to get there another way: I say have Luther wipe the mat with MetroSexual Mark Jindrak, and set his sights on Show; I even say Luther wins this match, and as per my "New Evolution" theory above, when Orton comes to SD! and puts together his version of the group, their first feud would be with Show, as he'll want revenge on Luther and then will move his way up the ladder to deal with Orton)
    Dudley Boyz vs. Orlando Jordan and the Bashams (probably shouldn't have taken the belts off the Bashams to begin with for this to work, but hey: all we need is for Eddie and Rey's miscommunication to reach a point where they drop the titles back to the Bashams in the next week or two, and they're KIND OF upset with each other; not enough for a blood feud of their own, but very prickly... meantime, the Duds return, and are immediately granted a tag title shot at WM21; the Bashams go to GM Teddy Long and say that isn't fair, since they haven't even been active for 5 months, so Teddy is strong armed into allowing OJ to help them defend the titles in a Handicap Match; should add some ambiguity... maybe the Duds will win, but maybe they'll get cheated and have to face the Bashams another time)
    Paul London vs. Chavo Guerrero (CW Title Match; again, a "duh" since it just makes sense and should also be quite awesome if it gets 10-12 minutes of PPV time)
    Booker T vs. Heidenreich (make this a No DQ match, following up on what happened at No Way Out; it'll still suck pretty bad, and isn't "WM worthy," but Booker deserves to be on the card, and this is the only current issue for him, so we gotta run with it; I say Booker wins it pretty easy, getting himself healthy in the eyes of the fans, and sets himself up to be the primary babyface foil for Carlito when the US Title Tourney takes shape)
     
    CrossBrand
    Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels (duh yet again, I'd just ramp up the intensity by having these guys show up on each others shows, instead of telling the story the way WWE's been doing so far)
    Chris Benoit/Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Jericho/Rey Mysterio (here, you build on tensions between the partners, and you have Eddie and Benoit starting to call each other on the phone and stuff, lamenting where they were a year ago versus where they are now, stuck in dead end tag teams; the friction isn't outright hatred, but it's enough for Jericho and Rey to both say, "Hey, if you love the other guy so much, why don't you form a tag team with him instead of me"... and out of that would come this cross-brand tag match of extreme awesomeness.  My Masterstroke: you play it as face vs. face, with Benoit/Eddie at MOST leaning tweener. But the finish will be them winning cleanly over Jericho/Rey. And just when you think you're gonna get the four-way handshake of mutual respect, Benoit gives Eddie a look and nods "yes." Eddie looks unsure. But Benoit wants to execute the Secret Part B of the plan: and so Benoit clocks Jericho in the face. Eddie actually tries to pull Benoit off, but in the heat of the moment, Rey jumps onto Eddie, and Eddie reflexively defends himself. Benoit just beats the piss out of Jericho, locking him in the Crossface, while Eddie extricates himself from Rey by tossing Rey over the top rope.  Eddie then tries to plead with Benoit, and eventually pries Benoit off of Jericho. Benoit gets up, yells at Eddie for being a puss, and shoves Eddie to the mat before leaving to a chorus of boos; meantime, Rey has gotten back in the ring, and is not happy with Eddie, either. Jericho's KO'ed, Eddie and Rey are staring each other down, and Benoit's overseeing the carnage he has wrought... this sets up Benoit to re-emerge as a main eventer, albeit as a heel; this is VITAL because he's the one guy who has dragged the best matches out of Batista, and can be used by WWE to make Batista look good over the summer. I envision Batista vs. HHH and Benoit vs. Jericho rematches to carry WWE through May and June, and then by SummerSlam, we turn a page, and it's Batista vs. Benoit. How awesome would that be? And meantime, Eddie and Rey can do their feud as a more tweener thing on SD!, and depending on crowd reactions during May and June, Eddie might go full heel, or they might blow it off by those two finally deciding to stay friends. So much good could come out of this WM21 pairing, not just at the show itself, but afterwards and through the entire summer... of course, this means WWE will not allow it to happen)
    Some Kind of Diva Crap (because it's not a PPV if we don't take advantage of the chance to bust out the TV-14 thongs; and it could also be useful if they use it as a chance to get all the Useless Divas -- Stacy, Maria, Candice, Melina, Rochelle, Lauren, Joy, and whoever else I'm sure I'm forgetting -- in one place, and then letting Michelle McCool do something awesome to kick all their asses while also looking quite fetching in her thong. Whether or not you follow up on this by lotterying Michelle over to RAW is up in the air; she might take another year of training and standing head and shoulders above the SD! divas before jumping over to RAW, actually...)
     
    And that, folks, is still not a great show, but it's one that would fire me up a bit more, and which squeezes the most lemonade out of the lemons WWE has currently stocked up on. I know this isn't any kind of a Dream Line-Up, but I also don't think anything in my scheme is unrealistic at all, which is what I set out to do: to fix the problem without resorting to fanastical crap. I think I come close. Throw in a few appearances by guys like Austin and the Hall of Famers, and it might even feel like WrestleMania....
     
    And christ did I ever just waste WAY more time on this WM21 bullet point than I'd intended to.  Sorry.
     
  • Moving on to WM22: it has been confirmed that next year's Mania will take place in Chicago, as we discussed on Wednesday...
     
    And the venue will be the old Rosemont Horizon (currently the Allstate Arena, I believe), which means that building will be hosting its third WrestleMania (tying it with Madison Square Garden for the most ever). SkyDome, Trump Plaza, and the Anaheim Pond have all hosted 2 Manias.
     
  • You can add another media appearance to the Rock's New York Tour next week.... in addition to Letterman on Monday (2/28) and Conan on Thursday (3/3), the Rock will be on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Wednesday (3/2).
     
    Those are the only three late night shows you need, people, and the Rock's hitting them all. I'm betting all three appearances are quite fun.
     
    Oh, and although the Rock himself wasn't on Letterman last night, his "Be Cool" co-star John Travolta was, and the Rock was the topic of discussion for quite a bit. Dave and Travolta both noted that Rock's performance was "break-out" caliber, and the clip Travolta brought to the show was one featuring the Rock (as the gay bodyguard with Hollywood aspirations, Rock's character did an audition for Travolta's character where he performed a scene from the classic film "Bring It On"). The movie may or may not be a hit, but remember: it was a year ago that I told you this would be a HUGE break-out role for Rock, and it's suddenly starting to look like I knew what I was talking about....
     
  • Things are heating up on the ECW Reunion front... not only has Tommy Dreamer been put nominally in charge of running the event for WWE's PPV (indications are that Paul Heyman has no official ties to the project, although it'd shock me if he and Tommy weren't in contact unofficially), but he's already tried to lock in Sandman, Sabu, Justin Credible, and a few others to augment the ECW alums on the WWE roster.
     
    And things get curiouser and curiouser, because apparently, Shane Douglas has gotten it in his head to run an ECW Reunion Show of his own... and he wants to do it the same weekend as WWE's ECW PPV (which will be June 12, from New York City). Shane is currently targeting Friday June 10th, in Philly, at the ECW Arena... no word on whether the two shows will co-exist peacefully, of if ditching Shane's show will be a prerequisite for getting a WWE pay-day working the PPV.
     
    It could turn into quite a pissing contest if it becomes a "one or the other" proposition, although on the good side, that might have the net effect of driving the asking prices up for some of the very deserving ECW alums who haven't had steady work in a while... preferably, the true free agents would be able to work both events, though, and nobody'd begrudge them getting two pay days while creating a potentially VERY special weekend for fans in the northeast. 
     
    As far as "non free agents" go, obviously WWE has the inside track on the rather sizeable number of ECW vets on their roster, guys who will not be permitted to work Shane's show in a billion years. But Shane's event would have the inside track on any ECW alums in TNA (like himself and Raven) who wouldn't have the option of working a WWE television event.
     
    Could get interesting...
     
  • My worst fears are being realized: WWE has gone ahead and started announcing Batista/Orton vs. HHH/Flair matches for house shows...  CHRIST, Batista doesn't need Orton, this storyline doesn't need Orton, and whatever you're GONNA do with Orton (even if it's that silly Taker thing) isn't gonna be served by putting him into this storyline.
     
    I kvetch MOSTLY because this match has been added to local publicity for Monday's RAW in Rhode Island... no word on if it's being hyped as a "special attraction" (meaning "dark match") or if it's actually gonna be part of the show. I'd HOPE not part of the show, but at this point, I'm pretty much terrified of every move WWE makes...
     
  • I think the last thing I got today is just a quick rebuttal to a few e-mails I got in the last couple days... apparently, daring you to get more upset with my RAW Recap wasn't the wisest move, since a few of you did oblige. Requiring me to re-explain myself...
     
    About the final backstage "HHH reveals the evil plot" skit: I stand 100% behind calling it an atrocious, retarded misstep by WWE. I also stand 100% behind my analysis that it ultimately doesn't matter because Batista's appeal is just that strong. It's not like Project Orton, when the creative team needed to be careful and vigilant to put him in only the best possible positions to TRICK the fans into buying the face turn (note: they failed)... it's a deal where the fans asked for Batista to turn, so it'd be real hard for WWE to fuck it up too badly.
     
    I still say they came about as close as humanly possible. The reveal took Batista from a perceptive, intelligent guy who could figure things out, and turned him into an eavesdropper. It turned HHH from the Cerebral Assassin who knew enough to keep his mouth shut, and turned him into Aunt Blabby for no other reason than it was the required plot contrivance at this time (why not let Ric in sooner? why not leave Ric in the dark at this late juncture? telling him now accomplishes nothing, except that it erases the possibility that they could have done a few weeks worth of drama about where Flair's allegiance lies)...
     
    And worst of all: they did these things in the kind of Hollywood-ized crap-o-ramas that I just hate. Look, if you want to be an "entertainment" show, and treat yourself like you're a Movie, with the Movie Rules of Cameras and stuff like that, I'll think it's a mistake, but IF YOU'RE FUCKING CONSISTENT ABOUT IT, I'LL LIVE. But WWE's not consistent about it. Some parts of the show, talents address cameras in interviews, some other parts, they pretend cameras are not there. Some parts of the show, talents are allowed to be watching on monitors what is happening; other parts, they have to feign ignorance of what the home audience already knows. I fucking HATE that inconsistency. 
     
    So that's where I'm coming from people: pick one point-of-view and stick with it. That's why I consider that backstage skit a horribly suspension-of-disbelief-killing atrocity. And why I'll continue to consider all others like it the same way: you can't be a sports show with interviewers in one segment, and then turn around 10 seconds later and be a movie where the camera makes elaborate moves and has to be "invisible" to the talents in the skit.
     
    If you must insist on me elaborating further, a lot of my general theories on this topic are covered in this old column. The specific references might be dated, but the ideas hold up well.
     
  • And on that note, I'm spent. Go Flyers, etc., etc., etc., and I'll catch you all after a hopefully satisfying weekend of basketball, boozing, and whatever else I can get myself up to.


  
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E-MAIL RICK SCAIA

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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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