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RAW, Kurt Retiring?, Potentially Major
Hall of Fame News, and Lots More!
February 28, 2005

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


I was doing my usual Thorough Current Events Reading yesterday, and came across a rather disturbing item... an organized rally by deluded Trekkies to try to save "Star Trek: Enterprise" from cancellation.
Listen, speaking as about as big a Trek fan as you'll ever actually meet out in the wild (instead of holed up in his mother's basement), I'm fine with this cancellation, and so should fans of the series. The thing I read said the mantra at the protest march was "Star Trek isn't a TV show, it's a Responsibility" (or words to that effect). Which really made

me kind of sad and annoyed all at once. Because it so pitiably hyperbolizes the situation that any fence-sitters would turn against them, and also because it indicates a fundamental ignorance of the fact that "Star Trek" hasn't been good in years, and it might be time to let it rest for a bit. At least, until the idiots who took over the franchise towards the end of the "Next Generation" tank on a few non-Trek projects and become exposed as the morons that they are, and somebody else can take over a third generation of Star Trek.

Or maybe I'm still just furious that I had the idea for "Enterprise" back when "Deep Space Nine" was still the Franchise, and talked it over with my not-yet-Hollywood-but-learning-to-be brother, and decided that to freshen up the series, we needed to do a prequel. Years before Trek's idiot handlers stumbled on the idea, I envisioned the whole thing, and it was awesome. Of course, in reality, they went and cast Captain Quantum Leap as the star of the show, and even when they had decent story ideas, there was negative chemistry between any characters, and the thing just went belly-up. And deserves to, Trek Fans. B'lee dat.

As much perverse joy as I took out of some of this season's silly "we give up, so let's just satisfy the old time fanboys" mentality (including the return of the Orions and getting to see the Big Show painted green) when I'd remember to set DVR, it's time. And it's not like you don't already have a new "Battlestar Galactica" show to feed your "Unnecessary, Over-Exposed Sci-Fi Franchise That Fails To Realize It Just Needs To Leave Well Enough Alone" Jones... and how many "Stargate" TV shows are there on the air right now? As many as CSI, yet?

What's next? A "Save SmackDown!" campaign to stop UPN from canceling the show in 2006? There's gotta be better ways to use your time, people... like setting up a protest march in my front yard until I promise to get to the fucking point here today:

  • Tonight's RAW has a couple matches lined up, one of which could be pretty freakin' sweet, and has been subtitled "The Night of Retribution" by WWE...
    I kind of like the idea of presenting big matches in a "big match atmosphere," and sort of formalizing my long-standing concept of "free-per-view" episodes. I'm just not so sure that, given the flaccidity of the last few weeks of TV, tonight's line-up really has the atmosphere or "free-per-view" caliber anticipation level. 
    But still, on the so-far-rocky road to WrestleMania, I'll turn off at the exit where they promise me a Shawn Michaels vs. Edge match. And not just any match: a street fight, the likely climax of their long standing issue before Michaels has to start focusing on his WM21 opponent, Kurt Angle. As good as these two are on their own, as good as they've been together so far in their rivalry, I actually have a TON of optimism that tonight will be their finest hour, yet.
    The street fight gimmick means that they can just bring the intensity from the start, and go straight through with 15-20 minutes of kick-ass brawling, peppering in the more technical wrestling spots as needed (since lord knows both are more than capable) but without slowing the match down too much (as per the WWE Template of slow first-halves of straight-up technical matches).
    On top of that, the street fight gimmick means that Anything Goes. And by christ, not only would I love to see tables, ladders, and chairs get involved... but this is an engraved invitation for Kurt Angle to show up and interfere, and all of a sudden give the Angle/Michaels feud a second reason to exist. WWE's ham-handed storytelling since the Rumble has taken almost all of the sizzle out of the cross-brand feud, but a simple appearance by Kurt Angle, helping Edge to score a (tainted) victory, would sure go a long way to setting things right. It'd put some stank on the Angle/Michaels feud AND give Edge a win to brag about so that he doesn't get lost in the WM shuffle here...
    But right there, for all my enthusiasm, I fall right into the trap of talking about how WWE has done a piss-poor job building up WM. Even if Edge is "protected" with a cheap win over Michaels, where's he going? You don't know, you can't even really make a reasonable guess... all because WWE is doing perhaps it's laziest job of crafting a WM card since 2002's "Hogan/Rock, and then everything else" card (if not since 1997's even worse "Austin/Hart, and then a bunch of unmitigated crap" showing). Edge could just as reasonable end up in a tag match, in a reasonably high profile singles contest (maybe for the IC belt), or in a throw-away piece of shit... and the worst part is, even if he gets lucky and gets a good match, there's so little time to build it up that fans won't care much more than if he got handed the piece of shit.
    Speaking of pieces of shit: the other match announced for the Night of Retribution is Chris Benoit vs. Muhammad Hassan. Which itself isn't really a "piece of shit," but which could lead to one. If my fears come to fruition, tonight it'll take a save from Chris Jericho to keep Benoit from getting his ass kicked, and it'll all lead up to Benoit/Jericho vs. Hassan/Daivari at WM21. Which could not be a bigger waste of two of RAW 5 most talented and entertaining stars. At this point, even if their mutual feuds with Hassan lead to Benoit and Jericho facing each other at WM21 (a much more palatable scenario), I again point to the sign on the wall that says, in large neon letters, "It's TOO FUCKING LATE, WWE!"  These things needed to be set up much sooner and much more expertly... and until you show me otherwise, I'm just gonna go ahead and presume we're getting that shitty tag match at Mania, instead...
    The one thing that WWE cannot fuck up: Batista vs. Triple H. Or at least, I don't think that they can. As I noted last Wednesday, Batista's split from Evolution did monster ratings for RAW's last quarter hour and over-run (I already forget the exact numbers, but one or both of those segments did a 5.0, which is the first time RAW's been that high in a LONG time), and it's because this is the face turn the FANS demanded, not a face turn conceived of in a board room. The personalities of those involved in the story have been spot-on, and even when the storytelling takes a turn for the obnoxious (like last week's ill-advised backstage "reveal" of HHH's true intentions), people still just instinctively LIKE Batista, and DISLIKE Trips.
    Tonight, I'd love for Batista to finally address the fans at length. We've been teased on that for so long, and tonight's the night that Batista can explain how long he's wanted to split from HHH, why he stuck with him for so long, and how this is NOT just the result of one cheesy-ass eavesdropping segment... he can lend some real gravity to the story by telling the tale of how he's known for months that HHH was holding him down (there were certainly enough casual off-hand comments tossed in along the way that this would be believable), how Batista still did his best to keep the title around Trips' waist because NOW that he's earned his own shot at the World Title, he'd gonna get to take it directly from that jerkface, Triple H, and he's going to relish the opportunity. Dave doesn't have to shout or scream, and he really doesn't even need to talk trash. He just needs to tell us how we got to this point, and briefly forecast how we'll get to WM21 and see ourselves a new World Champ crowned. Should go over like gangbusters.
    As noted on Friday, fans local to Rhode Island are being promised a Batista/Randy Orton vs. HHH/Flair match. That has not been released in any WWE TV preview, so it might be a dark match. But it's also a match that I'd assume will make an appearance on RAW at some point before WM, just because that's how WWE thinks.  [If it's any consolation, this match made the house show rounds this weekend, with Orton and Flair just powdering out early after some brawling, and then the last 90% of the match was just Batista/HHH, so that the two can get used to working with each other.]
    I figure if they don't run that match on TV tonight, Batista can EASILY get away with just doing a promo this week, as long as it's a good one, and ends with some form of staredown with Trips. In the few weeks to go before Mania, figure he'll get one week where he can just kick some ass and squash somebody, and then there's a one-on-one against Flair he could do, and the tag match with Orton against Flair/HHH, too... and that should just about do it. No need to get fancy, here.
    Other stuff to look for tonight: for reasons indefensible, it appears that Spaz/Trish is gonna be our Women's Title feud at WM21, so look for more excitement there. If nothing else, it's an excuse for Trish to cut more of the same kind of promos that we've established give me raging erections of the brain. The only wild card: does Super Bowl Boob Girl figure in to this, now, too? If so, maybe Trish whipping ass on two useless divas in the same match becomes a worthwhile proposition? Except you know they wouldn't actually do it that way....  Shelton/Snitsky also seems like somebody's idea of a match that's gonna make it all the way through to WM21, so keep an eye out for those two staying married to each other... if Orton doesn't get the tag match with Batista tonight, then they'd fricking better do SOMEthing to give us a reason to start contemplating Orton vs. Taker at WM21, and it had fricking better not suck and be more lazy storytelling...  what the hell is Kane gonna do at WM21, and how soon before Matt Hardy returns so I can quit being so worried?... will the tag team titles appear on RAW tonight, or will WWE find some shitty excuses for making sure Chris Masters and Simon Dean get face time, instead?
    And of course, the most pressing question of all: with RAW in Rhode Island, will WWE come up with some excuse to do a skit at referee Tim White's bar, the site of many a crazy brawl in the past? I forget what the place is called ("famous bar in Rhode Island" is making me think of nothing but "The Drunken Clam," and I know that's not right), but I can't remember the last TV taping in Providence that DIDN'T find an excuse to run a skit at Timmy's bar.... is it time for Steve Austin to return, yet? Just please: I don't want to experience the horror of Randy Orton taking Stacy Keibler out for drinks and spirit-crushing attempted conversation... well, unless there's a Corona With Lime involved....
    It oughta be interesting tonight. One potentially show-making 20 minute brawl, accented by Batista's all-around awesomeness seem like they'd be enough to make tonight a good ol' jim dandy of a RAW... but then there's just this lingering cloud of lazy screwoffery hanging around the WWE creative team and making me really non-excited about WM21, and by extension, giving me reason to feel unsatisfied with RAW's week-to-week execution.
    At least this week, I can take a week off from repeating myself, and you can take a week off from reading me repeat myself. Because in celebration of the exact 2-year anniversary of her February 28, 2003, debut here at Online Onslaught dot com, Erin Anderson will be sitting around slaving over tonight's RAW Recap for you. That's right: OO, where my gentle wheedling to do my work for me and attempted guilt-tripping over not doing it more frequently GET RESULTS! And probably also are as close to "Happy Anniversary and Many Happy Returns" as I'll ever cop to, what with this stony facade of rugged assholitude of mine... so come on back for Erin's bRAWd Recap tomorrow. Whether you check out RAW tonight or not, the patented OO RAW Recap Formula in such capable hands will, as it does every week, insure an entertaining read (I dare say the finest recap you'll find in the entire multiverse of time and space; or at least that you'll find among the major wrestling sites).
  • I mentioned the Batista/Orton vs. HHH/Flair matches making the rounds on RAW house shows... well, one of those was at Madison Square Garden on Friday. 
    And I mention it mostly because contrary to some rumors that had started to spread last week (and which seemed dubious, at best, to my ears) Vince McMahon did make it to the show, although confined to a wheelchair the whole time. So much for that school of thought that said Vince would be too vain to show up in person at events until he had regained his pre-Rumble form....
    Travel logistics and Vince's immobility, not vanity, continue to be the main things that'll keep him from attending TV tapings between now and WM21.
    Also at RAW shows (including Springfield, MA, and Boston) around the horn: they ran nearly identical shows, with the aforementioned Batista/Orton vs. HHH/Flair match headlining all shows inside a cage. Shawn Michaels beat Edge around the horn, too, in what were universally praised as outstanding contests.  Also: Shelton beat Christian in good matches, Chris Masters squashed Val Venis in matches that were universally praised as very awful (boring chants abounded, but at least Venis will not require plastic surgery to put his face back together), Trish beat Molly/Victoria in a virtual replay of their RAW match from last Monday, Kane dispatched Snitsky with ease, and Tajiri/Regal defended the tag belts from La Resistance. The only real changes around the horn were that Muhammad Hassan squashed Rhyno the first two nights, while Benoit and Jericho wrestled very well received Submissions Matches (Benoit won both), but on the third night, Jericho had the night off, and Benoit faced Hassan (likely to get them used to working with each other before tonight's RAW); in that match, Benoit had to take a cheap DQ win because of Daivari's interference.
    Superstar Billy Graham also appeared at all three shows, and did a little ringside skit with Coach in which Coach acted like a dick and got punched in the face for it. Sounds like fun!
  • In the interest of equal time (and in the interest of this being rather a bit of an anomaly), I'll also pass along some quick info from OO Forums Regular, and Wrestling Show Road Tripper Extraordinaire, ConcreteTG, who attended yesterday's SmackDown-brand show in Columbus, OH...
    Because unlike RAW, which had a stable line-up around the horn, SD! really shuffled things around, at least for the Sunday show...  amazingly, the main event of the show was Luther Reigns and Rene Dupree teaming up to face Mark Jindrak and the Undertaker. All I can say to that is, "Wow." The Luther/Taker PPV rematch would have been curious enough a choice to headline a house show, but adding the severely out-of-place Dupree and Jindrak to the mix? Just "wow."
    Taker, of course, took care of business in the match and the Good Guys won, and there was some comedy afterwards in which Jindrak pretty much had to show deference to Taker (and Taker showed his "appreciation" by thwacking Jindrak in a manly fashion... but on his "injured" arm, to get a chuckle).
    In other matches: Big Show took a DQ win over JBL, and John Cena came out to make the save...Cena had previous beaten Orlando Jordan to retain the US Title... Booker T got another DQ win over Heidenreich (oy)... Team Velocity (Haas/Holly) got a win over two Developmental Guys... Eddie and Rey beat the Bashams in a good match... Chavo retained the CW Title in a good four-way match against London, Spike, and Funaki... and there was a T&A segment with Jackie Gayda and Dawn Marie.
    Kurt Angle, announced for the event, was a no-show.
  • Actually, Angle's situation continues to be a closely-guarded one. Angle has actually conducted interviews in which he says that he's going into WM21 considering the match against Michaels to be the last major match of his wrestling career. He's basically admitted to leaning towards a self-imposed retirement because of his degenerative neck condition.
    Within WWE, I know that this is something that the company is also aware of, although as recently as a month ago, they hadn't completely written Kurt off. There was, at some level, talk of Angle possibly continuing to work a reduced schedule and putting over Randy Orton in a SD! feud after Mania as part of the rebuilding of the "Legend Killer." Of course, a lot changes in one month, and current intelligence indicates WWE is NOT necessarily looking into a full-fledged heel turn for Orton in the near term, so who the hell knows?
    At this point, what we do know is that it seems unlikely in the extreme that Kurt Angle will ever be able to resume a full schedule. The "Kurt Angle Invitational" was designed to limit his work, and now, with Kurt himself talking about WM21 being his last major match (this was in an interview with the Cleveland UPN affiliate in the last week or so, according to several Eagle-Eared Readers), it might be time to start thinking about him not even working a part-time schedule any more.
    If that's what happens, it'll (from a purely selfish standpoint) suck for fans. But it's also just as clear that this is what's best for Kurt. I was talking about this with someone a few weeks back, marveling that for as bad as Kurt's hurting, his matches themselves still seem as sharp as ever, that when he flicks the switch into the "ON" position, you don't think you're looking at a man on the brink of retirement. But over the past few months, when you watch Kurt when the switch is in the "OFF" position, he really doesn't look like the same guy anymore: his body language has taken on the look of an old man. It's a testament to how badly Kurt wants to leave a legacy of excellence inside the ring, but also a testament to how badly he must be hurting.
    This'll be something to keep an eye on in the next few weeks. If Kurt really does put the foot down and tells WWE "This is it, no more," then they might weave it into the storyline he's got with Michaels, somehow. But if Kurt and WWE don't want to slam that door totally shut, they might handle this more like they did with Steve Austin: not mention it at all on TV, and try to keep the fans in the dark as much as possible. This has two benefits: (1) for a truly special occasion, Kurt (or Austin) could come back and wrestle a match without breaking any "retirement" promise, and (2) this way, Kurt could remain a TV personality, still only sporadically getting physical (a la "Sheriff Austin") and fans would buy it instead of wondering why a cripple is kicking ass on healthy superstars.
    One way or another, we oughta know what's what within the next month...
  • Speaking of Steve Austin and his "special appearance schedule"...  the same WM21 promotional materials (including a commercial that's already in circulation in Canada) that let the cat out of the bag on the Orton/Taker match is ALSO promising that Steve Austin will be a part of the event in some unspecified capacity.
    So, unlike the Rock, you can take Austin off the "maybe" list, and put him on the "fer sure" list. It's just that we don't know for sure what it is he'll be doing.
  • A lot of people have been writing in asking about Matt Hardy and Lita... and I don't really have any answers, folks: this isn't something that's any of my business, and is kind of on the list with all the Chyna/X-Pac crap as something that doesn't count as fair game for news.
    I basically know what you know, and if your own lives are so boring you must fascinate yourself with the details of the lives of others, I know that Matt himself has made some oblique (VERY oblique, since unlike the trainwreck that is X-Pac, he doesn't seem to care so much about airing laundry in public) references on his official message board, which you can check out for yourself at www.thematthardy.com.
    Until this has some direct effect on the TV product that'll be presented to us fans, I'll just go back to kind of passively wishing the best for everybody involved (be it knee-injury related or relationship related or whatever), and not sticking my nose in where it doesn't belong....
  • WWE has announced that the Hall of Fame ceremony on Saturday, April 2, has been changed from a 7pm start time to a 5:15pm start time. As soon as I heard that, I asked myself "why?" and I came up with only one answer...
    So that WWE could present the event live on TV on the east coast. Now, I don't know that for a fact, and I admit, up front, that I'm just coming up with a theory that happens to fit the facts...
    But starting the event in the afternoon, west coast time, doesn't seem to make much sense from a "local" perspective. As I recall, there is a dinner/meet-and-greet deal before the actual ceremony begins, which is something that's sure as hell seem to fit better at 7pm, no?
    Instead, the new start time suggests that the meet-and-greet stuff could be finished up, and the ceremony, proper, could start by 6pm local time (which is a TV-friendly 9pm on the east coast). With a HoF class that already includes Roddy Piper and which everybody suspects will also include Hulk Hogan, that'd be a hell of a lot of fire power, perhaps enough to justify a 2 hour slot on Spike TV...
    The other reason I theorize about a possible TV broadcast? Because, if it's true that TNA and FSN are eye-balling WM weekend for a prime-time TV special, it'd be just like WWE to send a giant "Fuck You" to them by putting together their own free-TV telecast to steal their thunder. They might even be planning it so as to go head-to-head with TNA.  If a Hogan/Piper-led WWE Hall of Fame special went head-to-head with a TNA prime time special, which one do you think would score better ratings?
    Again: I have no evidence that I'm right here... just a theory that seems to fit the facts. I think until Hogan is officially announced, I'd say my theory is a pipe dream. But if and when he IS announced (and it's sounding like more and more of an inevitability), then you suddenly have yourselves the makings of a prime time Hall of Fame special broadcast.  This could get interesting...
  • About the "dueling ECW reunion shows" thing mentioned in Friday's column... it appears the question has been answered, and appearing on one does not disqualify you from appearing on the other. WWE is still in negotiations with a bunch of guys (for their June 12 ECW PPV) who are believed to be locked in to Shane Douglas' June 10 indie event in Philly, so I guess WWE's not considering participation in Douglas' guerilla event to be a problem.
    Which, if nothing else, means it could be a fairly lucrative weekend for a bunch of ECW alums. Which they deserve... WWE got rich off the "Rise and Fall of ECW" DVD, and it'll be nice to see some funds flow to the guys who delivered all the top-shelf content that made the DVD a must-see.
  • I think the last thing I got for you today is just a quick reminder that The Rock is on Letterman tonight after RAW, and you ought to check it out. [Rock also appears Wednesday night on "The Daily Show" and Thursday night -- technically "early Friday morning," if you're that kind of fucking anal retentive douchebag -- on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien." All three appearances should be well worth the price of admission!]
    Should make for a nice capper on an all around Evening of Fun, if you do it up right. Myself, I could use a fricking relaxing, satisfying, entertaining Evening of Fun...  I take it my Dayton Flyers made SportsCenter and all the highlight shows on Saturday, and if you saw them, you know it was for a particularly painful reason. And if you didn't see the highlights, well, you don't care... but that still won't stop me from squeezing the fun out of tonight that I *should* have gotten over the weekend, if not for the dickweeds of George Washington University (with an assist from the ever-bumbling Atlantic 10 Referees!).
    Erin's got you tomorrow, so I'll see you again on Wednesday... later on, kids.

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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