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RAW/Ratings, WWE Banking on Legends,
Plus a New WM21 Match, Jericho, and MORE
March 2, 2005

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Somebody needs to explain something to me... because last night after I got home from the final UD Flyers' home game of the season (a win, albeit a painfully trying one that shaped up EXACTLY like Saturday's loss to GW until UMass MISSED their final shot; but a tie for first place is a tie for first place, baby!) and the associated post-game shenanigans, I was sorta paying some attention to the late night "Celebrity Poker" replay, and I saw an ad for something that caused my rectum to clinch in horror...
"Queer Eye for the Straight Girl"? Is this for real? And can someone explain to me why? It's bad enough that this little pop culture fad (which, believe me, we'll all laugh about 10 years from now, just like we do about Vanilla Ice) has guys acting like girls... but unless I missed something, there has been absolutely NO cultural outcry over girls not acting girly enough. If anything,

what this country needs is a weekly TV series "Guy Eye for the Girly Girl," in which I will gladly go around and help struggling young lasses to pry themselves away from the body glitter, eye make-up, and schnapps-based drinks every now and again, and then tutor them on how to look good in jeans and a t-shirt, how to drink beer and swear convincingly, how to throw a football, how to appreciate rock 'n' roll and movies NOT starring Julia Roberts and/or Hugh Grant, and to also make sure that they can explain the intricacies of the Infield Fly Rule with greater expertise than certain idiot TV baseball announcers named "McCarver." 

But instead of my grand vision for a Better America Stocked With Way Cooler Chicks, those of us who like to put the penis with the vagina are being preached to and brainwashed by mincing himbos who have never attempted such a coupling. Nothing against whatever lifestyle makes two people happy (and shame on anybody who decides to read any "gay bashing" into this; I'm merely Gay Cultural Imperialism bashing!)... but this really is quite patronizing, and anybody who goes in for these shows needs to have their heads checked. Because you won't learn anything about how to be a better guy or a girl from them, and because there's only one other reason to watch... but it's not polite to laugh at the flamingly gay, so that one's out.

End opening rant. If anything, I'm annoyed with myself for still watching "Celebrity Poker," even though I know that by tacitly supporting the Bravo Network, I'm probably encouraging more of the same. I'm part of the problem, dammit. If I just didn't watch, it'd be one less viewer for Bravo, and I could live in a world of blissful ignorance where I didn't know show such as "Queer Eye for the Straight Girl" exist...

It was annoying capper on my night last night, but still not enough to keep me from being essentially satisfied with a Flyer victory. And certainly not enough to keep me from finally getting around to the wrestling here today: 

  • Obviously, we start with Monday's RAW, which marked the first time this year that WWE attempted to give us a reason other than "Batista vs. HHH" to get excited about WrestleMania 21...
    But they still didn't exactly give those reasons to us in a particularly compelling way. Instead, they might as well just run a crawler across the bottom of the screen that says, "We're sorry folks; we did a really shitty job of planning ahead this year, and the few ideas we DID have for WM21, well, we're mercifully axing them, and now, because we refuse to hire anybody to write for us who actually has a lick of creativity or grasp on the form of wrestling, this is all we can do to set up matches"...
    Because Randy Orton eye-balling a magazine cover of the Undertaker? It doesn't get much crappier than that. What the hell is Orton's deal at this point? He's NOT doing this because he's heelishly wanting to rediscover his "Legend Killer" roots; he's doing it because he's a dumb, clueless putz who doesn't know what the fuck to do, so he's asking Superstar Billy Graham for advice. Also: Orton's so dumb that he actually gets his wrestling news in "SmackDown! Magazine," which has appeal pretty much limited to those at the 6th grade reading level. There's nothing appealing or compelling about the idea of seeing Orton take on the Undertaker. It's something that reeks of shit, because SOMEbody just pulled it out of their ass.
    Am I hyperbolizing? Maybe, but only slightly. Not only are there a ton of really good reasons to NOT do this match until NEXT year's WM (which I outlined last Friday), but if you insist on doing it this year, there are infinitely better ways to bring it together that don't make Orton look even dimmer than he already does. As much as I love promos in which more talented and charismatic stars like Graham and Shawn Michaels talk while Orton stands around mutely, pretending he understands, you have to let him be more pro-active than this. And now, because of this awful set up, when Orton DOES act (either cutting a promo on RAW demanding Taker face him, or showing up on SD! to do it face-to-face), it'll flop like the rest of everything he's ever done; WWE's clearly wanting this to be a face-vs.-face deal, but because of this set-up, in so far as fans will care, they'll only be backing the Undertaker, I'm sure. Well, except for the females between the ages of 13 and 24 vapid enough to think "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy/Girl" is contributing positively to society...
    This supposed "major" cross-brand showdown becomes a throw-away match that nobody really gives a crap about, and it's all WWE's own fault. 
    I won't even let them off the hook with the Jericho Challenge... even though that one at least looks like it'll be a really awesome match, it's also gonna be an awesome match that was called into existence less than a month before the PPV, which is inexcusable at WM time. Jericho posited a Six Man Ladder Match, and that's got all the makings of a jim dandy. When April 3 rolls around, that'll probably be the one match on the card that has the best shot of getting "Match of the Year" consideration... but no free passes from me in terms of build-up and conception of the match/storyline.
    Something VERY interesting: Jericho was VERY vague, and only mentioned (1) a ladder, and (2) five other superstars. Later in the night, I think it was JR who inferred that Jericho meant five other RAW stars... but Jericho himself didn't say that, and the one way I think you COULD turn this into an interesting story/match is if you go cross-brand with it. Then again, I'm the guy who had the hard-on for doing a Benoit/Eddie vs. Jericho/Rey match, so OF COURSE, I'm gonna say that.
    Imagine: Jericho vs. Benoit vs. Edge vs. Eddie vs. Rey vs. (RVD would have been AWESOME for this spot, but instead, I'd actually suggest using Big Show, who won't have anything else pressing to do by WM time, and who'd give the other five guys ANOTHER interesting prop to work with besides the ladder). "But then what hangs above the ring, since no titles would be on the line?" you ask... it's easy as hell to come up with something. Maybe immunity from the Brand Lottery that will follow a week or two after Mania? Maybe a Title Shot against your brand's champion (actually, that'd be a great idea, and I'd default to my idea of having Benoit win this and also manage to turn heel in so doing, since a lot of Batista's post-Mania success is gonna be based on his opponents helping him have good matches, and NObody has had better matches against Batista than Benoit had on the New Year's RAW)? That'd rule, it'd be one way to create some actual sizzle in such a short period of time, and it'd also be the best excuse to squeeze Big Show into an OMG WORKRATE~! kind of a match against these other five guys (since he's definitely a main event caliber talent on SD! who couldn't be ignored if this match came together with a title shot on the line).
    The much less exciting alternative: it *is* a RAW only match, and Jericho just left that detail out. Given the level of planning going around in WWE these days, such an omission wouldn't surprise me. If that's the case, then more than likely it's Shelton Benjamin's IC Title that is up for grabs, and the line-up would be something like: Shelton vs. Jericho vs. Benoit vs. Edge vs. Christian vs. Hassan. Which would be fine, since we know what the four Canucks are capable of in ladder matches, and we can guess that Shelton would bring more awesomness to the table... and Hassan? Well, he could keep up, I'm sure, or (depending on if certain rumors are true about a NEW plan for Hassan), he could be replaced by somebody like Maven (who has certainly proved himself on the mic in the last few months, but could use that One Match to prove to fans he can deliver in the ring, too). But I still like my cross-brand ideas better...
    The laziness in telling the stories of the two new matches is only underscored when you watch WWE turn around and try to sell the show on Guest Appearances. They've added Hulk Hogan to the mix, officially, as he'll be around that weekend (the fact that the announcement came sooner than I'd have guess based on my intelligence reports makes me wonder about ANOTHER rumor going around that I thought was still in the talking stages: that Hogan would also work a match at WM21, being the man who finally pins Muhammad Hassan)... and then there's a Piper's Pit, with guest Steve Austin.
    They make these announcements and sell them as hard as they did, and it just... I don't know, but it's not right. It's like WWE has decided to take a page out of the TNA Playbook: and it annoys me when they hype a Roddy Piper interview segment as a reason to buy a PPV, so why should I give WWE any more leeway? Just because they're actually ALLOWED to call it "Piper's Pit"? No... but maybe, just maybe, I'd cop to wanting to see Steve Austin as Piper's foil and see what those two come up with. Still: WWE expecting us to get fired up for guest appearances by geriatrics, instead of putting months worth of focus and storytelling into the MATCHES on the WM21 card doesn't sit well with me. It's like they're trying to buy their way out of the mess they've made by shelling out for Hogan and Piper to save the day... and kids, this is 2005, not 1985.
    You want me to give up my pissiness and just buy into this? Then WWE, get me Mr. T, and let's do it up right. If Pete Rose is in the "celebrity wing" of the Hall of Fame, then Mr. T deserves to be in there. And there may not be any reason to recreate the WM1 main event on its 20 year (plus 4 days) anniversary, but T doing a "run-in" on Piper's Pit and celebrating with Steve Austin would be a hoot, as would T being in Hogan's corner to counter Daivari in any proposed match-up between Hogan and Hassan. You see: I'm not made of stone, WWE... I'm just gonna insist that if you're gonna try to make cameos by legends seem like a big deal, then you TREAT them like a big deal and go all the way with them. In this case, I'm saying Mr. T is the cherry that completes the sundae.
    I think thus concludes my more theoretical ranting about RAW's overall "Road to WM" performance... it's a step up from recent weeks, but it's still only really a C-plus.
    Some specific thoughts about RAW: there were two highlights for me... first, and purely from a What Puts a Smile on My Face Perspective, was the Trish/Spaz segment. I guess I'm Person #2 who was looking at the Playboy cover from Spaz's shoulders on up, because the first thing I noticed might have been that Spaz didn't even look like Spaz once whored up in Generic Playboy Fashion, but not long there after, my eyes flashed next to the words "WWE Champion" in the over headline, and I became quite angry. On Trish's behalf, of course. Which was wholly unnecessary, as it turns out. Because what you gotta love Trish is that soon there after, she hit the ring, corrected the typo, and put Spaz in her place all by her own quite capable self. And along the way, she takes a moment to improv about Spaz's voluminous noggin breaking her shoe? I think I even love Trish's brain... the only thing NOT to love about the segment is the way the angle is still being presented in a way 15 degrees off-target by the announcers (and mostly, again, by Jim Ross).  They story here should be EXACTLY what Trish is giving you to work with: that she's angry at not having the RAW spotlight on her and the women's title. It's not "Playboy Jealousy," goddammit, and presenting it that way sends the message that "Playboy Pictorial > Women's Title" which is so fucking wrong. Make Trish out as a bitch who wants all the TV time for herself and her promos and her title defenses; but don't turn "nobody cares about women's wrestling" into a self-fulfilling prophecy by trying to sell us on Trish thinking that Playboy is greater than her hard-earned title. It's baffling that WWE doesn't think these things through for themselves, because it really doens't take a whole lot of time or energy to find the way that puts Spaz and her photo shoot over in the name of selling a few magazines, but WITHOUT hamstringing the women who'll still be trying to have wrestling matches long after Spaz's tits are long since forgotten.
    And the second big time highlight: the main event. Probably close to 20 minutes, and really not a moment of down time: it was full speed ahead from the get-go, and when Shawn busted out the PPV caliber Crimson Mask, I was fully vested in the match. No point explaining the play-by-play of it, though... it was just awesome. Only gripe: if Angle was gonna show up, it's like I said in the preview on Monday... there is NO FUCKING REASON to not have him cost Michaels the match. Purists will pooh-pooh me, saying that a clean finish is better, but that's because they are notebook-carrying, stopwatch-toting, Benoit-fellating wonks who learn a few concepts, but then don't bother to learn how to apply them in the real world. Simply put: there ARE good screwjob endings. Angle showing up 30 seconds sooner to give Edge the cheap win over Michaels would have been one of those good screwjobs. Because Edge needs the win more than Michaels does, and because it'd have been a more compelling Dick Act by Angle than just showing up to slap Michaels around after he'd already won the match. I just don't understand why would WOULDN'T do that finish... doing it this way just means Edge has lost everything he gained by beating Michaels at the Rumble PPV, and that Michaels/Angle has 3 degrees less heat on it than if they'd had Angle cost Michaels the match in addition to administering the post-match beating. Dumb. But not dumb enough to erase an absolutely awesome brawl.
    Everything else ranged from a toss-up to outright bad on the night...
    All things Batista/HHH were basically just treading water: they gained nothing, and they lost nothing. What HHH gained by cutting his creepy, "Luke, I am your father" promo and kicking the shit out of Hurricane at the beginning of the show, he lost back by playing the chickenshit later on. And as nice a touch as Batista's little casual exchange with Coach was backstage, he didn't really hit the ball out of the park with his first extended promo: at best it was a line-drive single that moved the runners over, and extends the inning. But again: Batista's so red-hot right now, that's all he has to do is tread water. Still, none of that takes away from my long-standing opinion that Batista needed to weave us a tale that goes back months and that explains the whole story of when he realized he no longer respected HHH, why he kept on fighting by HHH's side and keeping the title on HHH, all so that he could get to this day when he'd fight for the World Title, and he be able to take the thing directly from that asshole, HHH. I mean, it's not like I'm asking for too much, is it? Just last week, Batista prefaced his decision with the line, "I'm known what I was gonna do for a LONG time." So TELL US THE STORY OF HOW LONG, Big Man... or to the idiot writers: just LET HIM tell the story. Because you don't have to do anything, it's all already done. All the swerves and false starts and prickly moments between HHH and Batista going back to October: it's stuff those two character have already executed to perfection, and all you gotta do is let Batista explain things, and remind us all that he's as smart and savvy as the "Cerebral Assassin." Instead of that Home Run of a Yarn, though, we just got generic (if well-delivered) sentiment out of Batista this week.  Too bad...
    One thing I will mention: this could move out of the "toss-up" category and into a retroactive "big plus," depending on what happens with Ric Flair. I've long thought the right play with Flair was to keep him neutral between Batista and HHH, to milk that for some drama. And after Monday, they could DEFINITELY set things back to that being the case. HHH sacrificed Flair when he did his chickenshit thing, and THEN he put words in Flair's mouth when he got Bischoff to sign the Flair/Batista match for next week. If Flair's not happy about that, it sets up some interesting possibilities... it even sets up the possbility that Flair's only PRETENDING to be not happy, and then entire thing turns out to be a set-up in which Flair agreed to be the patsy so that he could earn Batista's trust be WM21... but then he ultimately turns against Batista and rejoins Flair during that match. That'd be a cool little subplot, man... the only way it'd be better: if Batista only PRETENDS to put his trust in Flair, and when Flair attempts to re-turn heel at WM21, Batista, our favorite Logical Monster, knows it's coming and cuts him off before damage can be done. Just thinking out loud people, but it'd be the PERFECT kind of intra-match storyline you could do to extend the length of drama of the Batista/HHH match at Mania in such a way that it doesn't over-extend Batista's cardiovascular abilities by focusing on storytelling for a bit (instead of using a chinlock as your "resthold").
    Other stuff: the Benoit/Hassan match was OK till the end, I guess, and then turned into an utterly unsatisfying and sloppy clusterfrick... Shelton/Snitsky was undeniably A Wrestling Match, but not a particularly entertaining one; the best part is that Shelton won clean and can hopefully move on to something better now...  Chris Masters vs. Some Guy was pure crap, and is a fine case of WWE wasting valuable resources on the Road to WM on a guy who will have no business working on the show, so it baffles me as to why they're bothering; Masters needs more time in the oven before he's done cooking, that much is clear, but like Randy Orton before him, WWE seems intent on pushing over-pretty, under-skilled guys when they're too young in the name of getting the most number of years of service out of them (unlike Batista, who at age 36 actually had the skills and maturity to turn the fans on to him, but only has about 5 years of shelf life, so it took WWE a while to get behind Project Batista)....  and Jericho/Maven was, again, not a particularly compelling match, and was mostly just the excuse to let Jericho make his post-match announcement which -- as promising as it might be -- still strikes me as lazy, last-minute storytelling by WWE.
    If my RAW thoughts have seemed more theoretically rantastic, and less specifically based on single matches/segments, it's only because Erin Anderson did a superb job of covering things in the OO bRAWd Recap. And not just covering them, but pretty much speaking for me on all matters, as if cherry-picking ideas and phrases out of my own skull. Did Erin really bust out "windbaggery"? That's either spOOky, or damned fine homagery. So read the recap if you want more Rick-sanctioned details and less Rick-sanctioned philosophical rambling, already....
  • The rating on Monday was another big score for RAW... a 4.1 cable rating, another tenth up from the week before.
    As last week, it seemed like Batista was a huge part of that, as the audience grew steadily up until his in-ring promo; that quarter hour did a 4.5, before things leveled off again to around 4. Things started ramping up again in the 10:30 QH (Trish promo, Edge promo, ring introductions for main event) and the 10:45 QH (Edge/Michaels), before topping out at a big ol' 4.6 for the overrun and the end of the main event and Angle run-in.
    That's a good story for a few reasons: (1) it shows that Batista might be able to carry this ball if it's handed to him, as this is two weeks in a row that he's been a ratings anchor. But (2) it shows that if RAW surrounds Batista with OTHER good stuff (like Michaels/Edge), fans will pick up on that and gravitate towards it as well, even if they powder out for a bit during crap like Chris Masters.
  • Here's something that could be HUGE, in the most literal possible sense of the word.
    Joe Petrow, a OOld pal from the days of RSPW and still the closest thing to OO's Eye on Japan that I've got keeping me honest to this day, wrote in to say that the word from the Far East is that American-born Sumo Champion Akebono *will* face off against the Big Show at WrestleMania 21.
    Now: WWE has coveted a chance to get Akebono in one of their rings for years (in fact, Joe's own joke every time he e-mails me a little something is that he broke the "story" of Akebono working for WWE something like five years ago; and that one of these days, it would come true)... but as we know, they *got* him in their ring during a recent visit to Japan, and filmed a little segment for SD!. 

    At the time, it could have just been a throw-away, since they finished it with the Show of Mutual Respect... but now it sounds like WWE has designs on turning that mutual respect into a WM21 showdown. Big Show is a legit 7-foot-even, and if he ain't 500 pounds, he's close.  Akebono goes 6'8" or 6'9" and I doubt he gives up anything, weightwise, to show.
    I honestly don't know what style of match they would do with these two: they could recall the first WM, where the "battle of giants" had Andre and Big John Studd in a Body Slam Contest... but these two guys not only would dwarf the "combined height and weight" of that first giants showdown, but are also both a bit more athletic. They might still do something gimmicky, like a Sumo Style match (where the winner has to toss the other over the top rope, instead of outside of the Sumo circle), but I bet it moves at a faster pace than Andre/Studd did, in any case...
    I tend to take this item at face value, not just because Akebono and Show have already laid the foundation for such a match, but also because if it's true, it probably explains why Show and JBL have been doing "Sumo Spots" in their house show matches lately...  Show's gotta practice, eh?
    I'll perhaps have confirmation on this by Friday, or SD! might announce it in a video package (like RAW did with Hogan) or something tomorrow night... this is another case where the Fed seems to be trying to skate by on buying their way out of a corner, instead of just using what they got and telling compelling stories, but still: a Show/Akebono match could make for a very compelling visual, if nothing else...
  • Those who read Monday's column knew I was treating it as an inevitability that Hogan would be announced for the 2005 Hall of Fame class... but even with that, I guess I was a week or two behind. Apparently the sides had been agreed in principle for a while... and it was only some detail work that had to be sorted out before WWE decided to pull the trigger on the announcement on Monday.
    One of those details, as hinted at above, is exactly what role Hogan would play on WM weekend. Induction into the Hall of Fame with 3 of the other players in the WrestleMania 1 main event is obviously a nice touch, but supposedly there's talks of more than that. Or there WERE (I'm already 2 weeks behind on this stuff, so who knows if the only reason WWE made the announcement is because the sides agreed to NOT to anything else)... one alternative offered to Hogan was the chance to beat Muhammad Hassan. Keeping in mind that the Iron Sheik is ALSO being inducted into the Hall this year, and this shit just keeps on writing itself, doesn't it? Anyway, it was something being kicked around. Current WWE storylines currently put Hassan in the middle of the Jericho Six-Pack Challenge, but who knows?
    Certainly with WWE already confirming that they're getting more out of Roddy Piper than just the HoF ceremony (with him hosting Piper's Pit, with guest Steve Austin, on the Mania PPV), it wouldn't be out of the question to keep pondering what role Hogan'd play on the pay-per-view itself, too...
    The other negotiations detail: figuring out what to call Hogan. You'll notice he was listed as "Hulk Hogan" in the video packages, which means the douchebags at Marvel Comics have, in the last several weeks, either come to their senses or have cut a deal to allow WWE to keep using the word "Hulk." Which is a huge bonus, since you already have to live in terror of Hogan over-staying his welcome on any Nostalgia Appearance, and it'd only have been worse to see the guy out there in red and yellow being called "Hollywood Hogan." That'd really have stung. But luckily, we won't have to deal with it.
    Hulk Hogan is gonna be back for the weekend at WM21, and I for one might not be able to get SUPER fired up about that, but I can certainly see the possibilities...
  • Speaking of Hassan...
    Erin absolutely nailed it in her recap: I can confirm today that the planned finish was Hassan getting a cheap pinfall win over Benoit after a ringbell shot, but that they changed it on the fly when Hassan failed to get the ringbell in position in time.
    That's good detective work by The Broad, as the little clues she mentioned did all fit together (Benoit kicking out at 1 as Chioda was talking to them after the whiffed ringbell shot, the sound guy not having Benoit's music cued up after the match, etc.)... as quick on the uptake as Trish, Erin is! But I can also now tell you that it's not just circumstantial evidence: WWE had DEFINITELY planned on Hassan winning that match, and certain people backstage were NOT pleased about having to audible that finish, since they were fine running DQ losses for Hassan on house shows, but they wanted to keep him unblemished and undefeated on television. Now, they can't do that: they have to do that convoluted thing where he's "never been pinned or made to submit," instead, which is a mouthful and not quite as convincing.
    I doubt seriously that this'll have major repercussions on Hassan's push, but like I said: there were some very displeased folks backstage that they had to change things around for Hassan to take an unplanned DQ loss in a TV match. Myself, I don't know whether to be happy or not: on one hand, it looked like shit and was an unconvincing finish, but on the other, hey, at least Benoit didn't get pinned by that guy...
  • Even if Mr. T's not gonna be there, WrestleMania will have at least one returning celebrity act: Motorhead will be performing live at the Staples Center. I'm not sure, since I'm more a fan of the IDEA of Motorhead (hard-rocking, hard-drinking, ugly-ass old men who can teach the kids a thing or two) than of the music of Motorhead, but maybe this is commensurate with a new album release or something?
    Cuz I'm sure they'll play HHH to the ring (which history has shown us is very cool), but then doesn't it seem likely they'll have to play another song for WWE to feel like it's getting its money's worth? Rifling through the ideas in my head for other Entrance Themes, the only ideas I got are Orton ditching "Theme From Dumb Guy" for a one-night only return of "Theme From Evolution," except that'd just open up a whole can of worms in terms of how HHH should get PISSED AS HELL at Lemmy if he let Orton have that song...  or maybe somebody's due for a new theme? Too bad the only guy I can think of like that is Batista (like HHH before Motorhead, he's got a decent-but-generic thing going, but imagine if it was kicked up a few notches, with some growling added and cheesy keyboards removed, by Lemmy and the Boys), and that's another case of HHH getting pissed off at his own "house band," se that won't be it.
    Well: even if they have to play a mid-show song nobody cares about, it'll still be way more tolerable than Limp Bizkit, dammit....
  • Many wrote in to tell me that the name of Tim White's bar in Providence, RI, is the "Friendly Tap." Dammit, I knew that... thanks, y'all, for freshening my memory, though.
    One reader even had a theory as to why the Friendly Tap was spared grievous property damage on Monday night: a snow storm was blanketing the region on Monday night, and unless they'd done it as a pre-shoot, it might have made travel between the bar and the arena tough in terms of getting talent and a crew out there in a timely fashion during the broadcast.
    And so the Friendly Tap gets off scot-free for the first WWE TV Tapings in Providence that I can recall!
  • There was also a SD! house show cancelled in Connecticut on Monday night, due to the weather. To give the talents extra time to make sure they got to Tuesday's SD! tapings in Albany, NY, WWE cancelled Monday's event, and rescheduled it for this weekend.
  • Got a little note from the folks at XM Radio yesterday... they want you all to know that this Sunday is the debut of a new hour-long show hosted by Chris Jericho.  It's called "The Rock of Jericho," and it'll be on every Sunday night at 8pm on Ch. 41 (which is nicknamed "Da Boneyard"). It's a pre-taped show, obviously, but I still wonder why they'd pick a timeslot like that: not just because it butts up against WWE PPVs 16 times per year, but also because: of all the times during the week when I like to rawk (which I'd guess is probably with 1200% the frequency of the average person), Sunday night at 8pm is just NOT one of those times...
    Jericho will play stuff he likes (expect lots of 80s metal, and newer stuff that SOUNDS like 80s metal), which could be pretty interesting for those of you subscribed to XM Radio... myself, I got to play around with my brother's XM Radio when he was home for Christmas, and while it was nice to have 4 channels of different holiday songs available without busting out old vinyl records (or wasting money on CDs you'd play one week out of the year), I mostly didn't see the appeal. Talk radio is for braindead idiots who are actually impressed by the only slightly-less-braindead idiots who have talk radio shows; and as long as I have a CD player in my truck, I can't imagine a time or place when I wouldn't have music I like at my fingertips... they liken XM radio to like what cable did to television, but I don't buy it: it's more like what releasing TV shows on DVD has done to television... namely, NOTHING. Well, in some cases (shows like "24" or "Arrested Development," for instance, that aren't in constant repeats) the TV DVDs are a good and necessary thing; but what kind of dolt really needs "Seinfeld" on DVD when it's played at least 5 times per day in every TV market around the country? Those DVDs, like 200 channels of radio that I could never possibly listen to, seem like overkill to me... then again, I select my new technologies a very finicky fashion: for ever DVR that I won't shut up about how awesome it is, there's something like the cell phone that I hope to NEVER possess as long as I live.
    But those of you already in on the satellite radio revolution, knock yourselves out, and maybe let me know what Jericho's got on his playlist, OK?
  • Lastly, the Rock was on Letterman on Monday night, and it was a largely uninteresting two segments... Rock did gloss over wrestling a bit, focusing on his Hollywood ambitions to the point where it bogged the interview down. Not because Rock didn't talk about wrestling (hey, he's there to promote a movie, not WM, so I'll cope), but because I just don't like it when people seem to take themselves too seriously...
    And trust me, there's a difference between doing things in a joking manner, or boasting like an asshole to get a rise out of people, or whatever, and actually just coming off as deadly serious... which is what Rock seemed like at times on Monday. Listening to him talk about his Oscar aspirations was only slightly less eyeball-roll-inducing than if Paris Hilton would spend a TV interview talking about how HOTTTTT~! it would be if she won the Nobel Prize in physics....
    Rock was still mostly very personable and charismatic, and it's impossible not to like the guy... but he also didn't really bring the funny all that much, or seem like he had the Grade-A improv wit; instead, it was just Formula Talk Show Interview #37b, where Dave held his hand and worked off the blue cards the entire time. Kinda bleh.
    The one time Dave did -- as he sometimes does, which is why I love his show -- kind of brush up against delicate territory like An Actual TV Interviewer, sadly, Rock gave him a brush-off non-answer, and Dave accepted it. In this case, Dave mentioned how steroids are in the press lately, and asked Rock about what he knew about them given his past as an athlete and a wrestler. And Rock just dodged it by talking exclusively about his days at the University of Miami, where they were a team built on speed, not size, so that just goes to show that you don't have to be huge to succeed in sports. Wow, Rock: thanks for the pep talk, but also, WAY TO NOT ANSWER THE QUESTION. He never outright said, "I've never used, and I've never seen anybody who used at Miami, steroids," although that was supposed to be the implication. It might have gotten interesting if Dave had followed up with, "Oh, so how about that surgery you had to have your manboobs -- a frequent side effect of steroid usage -- removed 5 years ago?"... but he didn't. Because he wants to have the Rock back on the show again.
    Still: if you're gonna bring up a subject, I still feel like you oughta follow through and get an answer, no? Ah well....
    For whatever it's worth, Dave was also VERY generous in terms of praising Rock's performance in "Be Cool." Dave is not alone: reviews of the movie has started to circulate, and while the movie is getting B-minus/two-star caliber reviews as a whole, every single reviewer notes Rock is the show-stealer. Again: not to say I told you so, but...  you know.
    Also: Rock will hopefully be a bit wittier and on his game as he spars with Jon Stewart tonight at 11pm on the Daily Show (also repeated late night tonight, again tomorrow morning, at at 7pm tomorrow night, not that I think everybody should watch the Daily Show every day even when the Rock ISN'T on it, or anything), and then again with Conan O'Brien Thursday night at 12:37am on NBC.
    And then, I think that's it for the Rock promoting this movie, actually. Well, save for whatever shitty-ass morning/girly shows he's done (I didn't even know Ellen Degeneres had a talk show, but thanks to HOT INDUSTRY TIPS~! I know Rock was/will be on it)... I think Rock's off the hook for a west coast swing past Leno and the other superfluous late night windbags out there.
  • OK, that is all for me today. Be sure to keep up with Matt's new "The Titan Towers" Satire. Part Two is up today, and Part Three will be Friday... and in true Peter Jackson form, Matt's already re-released Part One in an Extended Director's Cut.
    Well, not quite, but there was a fuck-up and an early draft of Part One was published instead of the intended final draft... so be sure to go back and enjoy Part One as it was intended by the author at some point, OK?
    And on that note, I am fully spent. A pretty good-sized haul of news and views today, though, don't you think? See you later, kids...

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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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