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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
RAW/Ratings, Lots of Stuff About Spaz
and bOObs, plus TNA, DSW, and MORE!
March 9, 2005

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, WHOA! Let me get this straight: Fred Durst has a sex tape he made a year-and-a-half ago that has just been leaked to the internet? 
 
Please allow me to speak on behalf of all of us, when I declare:

HOLY SHIT! I can't belief Fred Durst was still getting laid in 2003!

Seriously: I thought the guy's career peaked in mid-2000 when, at the age of 43, he was briefly able to divert attention away from his true nature as a fucking borderline- 

retarded fossilized poseur, and enjoyed a solid 11 months on top before pretty much everybody in the world who ISN'T Carson Daly started laughing at him behind his back. And hell, not even behind his back: by 2003, I recall hearing tales of Limp Bizkit getting booed off the stage for attempting to be the opening act for Metallica...

But I guess I shouldn't be surprised: it's a classic Durst move to rip off something that's already been done, make it dumber, act like you invented it, and hope that people will lap it up. In this case, Naughty Fred has (I'm willing to bet) leaked his own sex tape in hopes that it'll get his name back in the news and somehow extend his flailing career. But like everything else he's ever done, Fred's about 80 IQ points and 3 years behind the curve. It's been done, Fred, and by people lots more famous and attractive than you: America no longer cares. Please go back into your hole, and stick to humiliating yourself once every 2 years by releasing an album, OK?

And if you really want to make America angry, it'd probably be less traumatizing if you stuck to just massacring classic The Who songs and making even-more embarrassingly awful videos for said cover songs... speaking on behalf of the nation, I assure you that we have no desire to see the evidence that you are capable, in a pinch, of ineptly performing the reproductive act that could lead to Fred Durst Jr., in 2051 at the age of 47, becoming the "hip, young voice of his generation" by "inventing" a sound that had already been perfected in 2043 by Rage Against the Machine Jr. and could not be improved upon by replacing hard-rocking riffs with over-production and replacing cogent lyrics with braindead rhymes that would make John Cena Jr.'s poop-centric, penis-related freestyles of the day seem like Shakespeare.

Limp Bizkit fans, if you still exist here in the Year of Our Lord 2005, I await your indignant replies telling me all about how Limp Bizkit is still every bit as popular and relevant as they were 5 years ago (even though you'd have to ignore the fact that even VH-1 has given up the ghost and admitted what I, perceptive chap that I am, knew was true years ago: that Limp Bizkit is every bit as lame and unfortunate a pop culture fluke as Vanilla Ice was). Mostly, I look forward to knowing that you'll sit there seething for hours trying to come up with taunts and zingers, and what you'll come up with will be semi-coherent, playground-caliber drivel. Meantime, I just realized I threw some stuff out there off the top of my head in the last 3 minutes, and it's pretty fucking hilarious. Surely better than any of the carefully plotted and planned e-mails that I anticipate shall start piling up in five.... four... three... two...

One:

  • As I sit here knowing that I've gotta briefly touch on RAW, I also don't know exactly how I'll do it: without me realizing it, yesterday's RAW Recap ballooned into the longest one I've done since the Nitro is Ortin one last fall...
     
    Which means it already contains most of the pertinent commentary gravy that I'd want to ladle on top of the actual meat and potatoes of the actual recappening of events. I have little left to say that'd be fresh; but by way of maybe summarizing and hitting a few key points for those of you silly fools who DON'T read the Finest RAW Recap in All The Land, here's a couple quick thoughts....
     
    Two main gripes:
     
    One is easy... Edge vs. Jericho never got on track, and had about one really crisp and exciting 3-4 minute segment, but on the whole was about as forgettable a 16-minute match that you'll ever see out of two guys that good. There might be mitigating circumstances as far as Edge's state of mind goes, and I might not feel all that great being critical in this case: but it's still kinda hard to ignore when a match falls as flat as this one did, and was given nearly 20 minutes in which to fall flat.
     
    The other is harder to explain concisely... because I don't think many of you would take kindly to me spending lengthy paragraphs bitching about Batista/Triple H when, by and large, everything actually does seem to be going OK on that front. But while I can acknowledge that Project Batista is rolling along so flawlessly that WWE'd have a hard time screwing it up, that also doesn't stop me from seeing little ways in which it could be even better... in this case, that would have meant actually following-up on the week before, and playing Ric Flair as a tweener. It not only bolsters the HHH/Batista story if we don't know exactly where Flair's loyalties lie, but even if you just do it as a one-week swerve (instead of dragging the ambiguity out to WM), it's a great way to take advantage of geography and give Flair a night when it's OK for North Carolina to cheer for him. Instead, they just glossed right over the events of the week before, and in one lazy-ass 30 second speech, Triple H pep-talked Ric Flair right back to the old status quo.
     
    It's not so much that doing this was "bad," but if you can't at least agree with me that it was a Missed Opportunity, then I guess we just have different ideas on the kinds of things you should do as part of sustainbly-interesting episodic TV. In this case, following through on the week before would have led to interesting possibilities the next 4 weeks, and best of all: I think it would have made for a MUCH more entertaining main event match. Instead of something that added even one iota of sizzle to the HHH/Batista feud, we just got a straight squash by Batista of Flair, followed by approximately 38,827 "Thumbs Down" poses by Batista as a way of mocking HHH. And trust me, I already said my piece about cheesy, fake posing in the recap, so I won't repeat...
     
    You also had a couple boring/flat spots (HHH's squash of Rosey was the counterpoint to Batista/Flair: it didn't suck, but it also added nothing to on-going storylines... and don't even get me started on Randy Orton trying to keep the audience's attention by telling them something that most of them already knew), but by and large the rest of the show was a pretty solid hit with me. 
     
    Starting with the Michaels/Angle promo to open the show, RAW did a nice job actually getting me a bit more interested in some WM21 matches. Angle's half of that promo was particularly awesome, I thought, and pretty much pulled off the trick of making me think that -- for as crappy and late-starting as the storytelling has been in this feud -- there really is a backstory that goes back to 1996 here... that's cool.
     
    Also: the announcement of the stipulation for the six-man ladder match makes that a much more intriguing proposition. It's not for the IC Title (as I'd pretty much suspected). Instead, it's for a World Title Shot (which I'd actually publicly pined for in a wee bit of Fantasy Booking 2 weeks ago). There's a lot of ways you can go with that: sadly, you probably have to discount Christian from winning the thing (I'm no happier about that than you, but let's be honest, OK?), which MIGHT seem to make the heel Edge the odds-on favorite to earn himself a title shot against the new champ, Batista. But I'm not gonna let go of my notion that a rebuilding of Chris Benoit might not be the best thing for Batista, and by extension, for WWE... simply put, the 10 minute Benoit/Batista RAW match we saw about 2 months ago is the best singles match Batista has ever had, and having good, convincing main event caliber matches is gonna be MASSIVELY important to legitimizing him as champ. What better way to do that than by using Chris Benoit to help make the guy look like a million bucks come summertime?
     
    That actually ties into another aspect of RAW that I liked: the "Pick Your Poison" gimmick is a sign that maybe the creative team has finally found a groove and started planning more than 30 minutes ahead... because next week, we already know that Batista has picked HHH's poison, and it's gonna be Chris Benoit. Not only is that just flat-out likely to be a kick-ass match, but there's a lot of backstory here, and thus, at least a possibility of setting up new twists on the story. Triple H, we know, has never beaten Benoit since Benoit jumped to RAW a year ago... that makes Batista look Very Wise, if you ask me; what a superlative choice to "soften up" HHH. But what's Benoit feel like being used as a pawn in a feud that's none of his business? What's he feel like being ordered by Batista to face Triple H, but not even getting a shot at the title in the deal? Benoit just got done beating the IC Champ in a non-title match this week... what happens if he accomplishes the same thing NEXT week? Does he get bitter? Does he get salty? Does he finally make an enemy out of Chris Jericho? A story in which Chris Benoit vs. Batista headlines SummerSlam practically writes itself, and if the creative team is finally on track with its foreplanning, it's a story that could start being told next Monday night.
     
    A third match that I also got a bit more excited about was, quite unexpectedly, Trish Stratus vs. Spaz. Now, considering that it would have been mathematically impossible for me to get LESS excited about the match, that's not really saying much... but that doesn't change the fact that Lita showing up has caused me to See The Light, to some extent.
     
    To those who wrote in wondering if I'd had a lobotomy or something, and if that might explain my about face, let me try to clarify my comments from the Recap:
     
    First of all, this is STILL not the match I'd want to see on the WM stage. April 3 SHOULD have been the big-ass blow-off of Trish vs. Lita, by all accounts (supposedly in a cage match), and even after Lita's injury, if you'd give me The Book on January 9, I'm confident that I'd have had enough time (and enough creativity and bloody-mindedness) to tell a story in which Molly Holly'd get the match against Trish. But that didn't happen, and we're stuck with Spaz. I'm not happy about this, but I began to see possibilities on Monday.
     
    Because second of all: Lita returning to TV as Spaz's trainer adds a whole other dimension to the WM match. Lita will no doubt be at ringside; even if in a very limited capacity, she'll by a part of the dynamic. And assuming that the Matt Hardy thing blows over once Lita's outside of North Carolina, there is no more popular female on the roster... Spaz may not be over in any way other than the "Stacy Keibler" way (fans'll cheer if we can look up her skirt when she's a valet, but won't take her seriously once the bell rings), but putting Lita out there with her? Suddenly there's something here fans can care about; Spaz's tits are now a matter of public record (or will be on Friday if you have to wait till the magazine goes on sale at newsstands), so maybe we can drop this whole ricockulous "jealousy over Playboy" thing as make this little story about something not quite so patronizingly stupid. Spaz vs. Trish had little to recommend it (in my mind, and I suspect in the minds of most fans), but Spaz-as-Lita's-surrogate vs. Trish is suddenly a bit more tolerable.
     
    And lastly: I'm dead serious when I say that we might even get a genuinely entertaining 10-plus minutes at WM21 if all the pieces fall into place. Not just because you'll now have the option of using Lita for a few key spots and for telling some intra-match stories, but also just because if they've got the basic match mapped out already, and are already putting Christy through those paces, there's no reason why she can't hold up her end of a Sports Entertainment Segment. Yesterday, I likened it to how Steph has been a part of a couple of surprisingly decent women's matches in her time, despite not having a years-long grounding in wrestling fundamentals, and I used the example of Ultimate Warrior's heavily-scripted and heavily-practiced WM6 match against Hulk Hogan as evidence for how a carefully choreographed match can hide almost anyone's deficiencies. I'll expand on that today by also drawing what I've decided is the more accurate comparison: the Shane McMahon. Can Shane wrestle a lick? It never really looked like it. But were his matches always entertaining? Yep. Not as Wrestling Matches, but as Sports Entertainment Segments. Spaz has a chance to use Lita as her "Mean Street Posse," and there should be enough heat here that they can get away with masking a lack of pure wrestling with plenty of psychology and chicanery. The important thing to realize is that no matter how sloppy Christy looked in her two "Lingerie Pillow Fights," she'll be preparing for this match a lot differently.
     
    Unlike Trish and Victoria and Molly and... well, there aren't any others... but unlike those three, Spaz won't be learning fundamentals. There's no time for that. Maybe in three years, we'll all marvel at how hard she worked, and how she's the second coming of Trish...  but for now, Christy and WWE can't be concerned with teaching her how to call a match on the fly, or have perfect balance on a side headlock, or any of the other little bits of minutiae that go into learning the fundamentals and being able to hop in the ring with little to no planning and still put on a decent 5 minute wrestling match. Instead, she has to learn some highspots or key story moments of the match, and just repeat the hell out of them till they look good. And at WM21, if the trainers have done their job and Spaz has put her best effort into it, maybe for the short term, we'll at least give her the honor of being the Second Coming of Sable... it's hard to believe, but in 1997, even the most cynical internet jack-off would have told you that Sable was the most complete female performer in the business: all because she learned two highspots and looked great in skimpy outfits. But let's be honest: I have a strong fetish for focusing on what happens IN THE RING, but this does NOT necessarily mean you have to be Chris Benoit to deliver the goods. You don't have to chain wrestle to have an entertaining match: you just gotta make sure that the things you DO do are well-executed and in the context of something that fans care about. Which I think is not completely out of the realm of possibility.
     
    So see: there's my explanation... no lobotomy, no massive 180 degree turn. Just a slight change in WWE's presentation, combined with my own realization that there's evidence for this situation working out tolerably well in the past. Spaz won't be an accomplished grappler, ready to be crossed off my "Useless Diva" list, after WM21: but with the right preparation, she could create the necessarily illusion and maybe keep us distracted enough with that until she can put the time in to really learn the craft. Unless she's content with sticking at the Sable level and mastering nothing more than the t-shirt gun... I honestly don't if she's got as much of a desire to really pursue the in-ring side of things as much as Michelle McCool or not.
     
    And I think on that rather lengthy tangent, I've done a sufficient job of stretching out what was supposedly a RAW Thoughts Bullet Point long enough that I can call it quits.
     
    Again, a more detailed account of RAW's actual happenings (and a few more detailed-than-usual opinionated rants along the way) are yours for the taking in the ever-awesome OO RAW Recap.
     
  • The rating on Monday night was a 3.8... that's a drop of a third of a point from the previous week, and puts RAW back closer (actually about one tick below) it's recent averages.
     
    A big part of the problem is that the audience didn't grow over time: an indication that the way WWE set up the Batista/Flair main event, maybe it wasn't as thrilling a drawing card as it could have been.  Not that I didn't just get done explaining that exact same thing above, or anything...
     
    If it's not that, the only other explanations I can come up with for RAW losing some viewers over the course of time is perhaps that the over-long and under-exciting Jericho/Edge match right in the middle of the show, followed by Randy Orton's bothersomely anti-climactic promo, might have contributed to people zoning out or flipping away.
     
    Because other than that, I actually thought this was a RAW with fewer Instant Flip-Away moments than the last few weeks... Chris Masters was gloriously absent; no Simon Dean, no Snitsky, no 4 minute matches featuring Heat-caliber talent, and the only two meaningless squashes of the night were featuring RAW's two WM21 main eventers, so I guess that was a step in the right direction...
     
    But even with focusing on only the handful of RAW stars who'll likely be a part of the WM21 line-up, and leaving everybody else off the show, RAW lost some ratings momentum over the course of the show. Very curious.
     
  • Matt Hardy was, as you obviously know, NOT on RAW on Monday... but that was a relatively late decision. After weighing options, Matt was told to stay home to avoid any backstage unpleasantness... Edge is obviously in a key role right now, and getting Lita into the women's title story was deemed pretty important, too.
     
    Of the three players in that particular messiness, Matt was the one who was deemed most expendable. Which in a purely intellectual/logical way makes sense... but considering that he's the one good guy in this whole story, kinda seems unfair, too.
     
    For whatever it's worth, I got a note yesterday also saying that Matt has been pulled from all scheduled RAW house shows, which he'd been expected to start working either this weekend or next. At this point, don't go flying off the handle: this could just as easily be WWE's way of letting the worst blow over so that everybody can be cooled down before they start appearing in the same buildings 4 nights a week... no need to go lamenting Matt's banishment back to SD! just yet, OK?
     
  • Although, speaking of banishment to SD!...
     
    In addition to some of the things I talked about on Monday with regards to RAW house shows basically "writing Orton out" instead of letting him have a spot in main event tag matches with Batista, a reader wrote in to say that Orton has been pulled from some post-WM RAW house show line-ups. Obviously, I consider that to be telling, but then again, I've been the guy begging for Orton to get lotteried over to SD! for a fresh start since fricking November, so of COURSE I'm gonna like this news...
     
    For whatever it's worth, the basic idea I presented in Monday's column still seems to be about the only way people are seeing this play out: they try to keep Orton babyface till WM21, but then after he loses to Taker, he starts to have a breakdown, and ends up on SD!, where he completes a heel turn, spends a year killing legends and rematches with Taker at WM22. Which is all well and good, but I still think there's a billion better ways to get to the same basic place come March 2006.
     
    The one twist to the story that came on Monday: Eric Bischoff rambled briefly about how awesome it was gonna be when Orton represented RAW by beating Taker at WM21. Of course, then Bischoff got an RKO. And of course, I don't think anybody in their right mind wants to see Orton beat Taker at Mania this year. So what happens when Orton loses? Obviously, that'll be Strike Two with GM Bischoff... instead of being lotteried to SD!, perhaps Orton is actually TRADED by a vindictive GM who wants to put him back in the path of the Undertaker as punishment? It's still not perfect, but it might be a nice little sidebar to actually create a REASON for Orton going to SD!...
     
    Then again, this is the dum-dum who spent months talking about "Destiny" as if it were a deeply meaningful and real force in the universe, so part of me thinks it'd be deliciously ironic if Orton just kept meandering around in these weekly Continuity, Logic, and Grammar Nightmares, and ended up being thrown over to SmackDown! due to the whimsy of a ping-pong ball in a hopper. There's your Destiny, punk: now go stupid it up on Thursdays!
     
  • Apparently, Paul Heyman has been semi-officially re-instated as an advisor for the ECW PPV. It's not a huge deal, since I gather he'd already been unofficially consulting with Tommy Dreamer, anyway, but I think just from a public relations perspective, WWE would be insane not to let fans know that Paul E. is on board for this project, and it'd be insane to not have him be a part of the actual broadcast in June.
     
    So it looks like this new development goes a long way to fixing that possible little snafu. Heyman is NOT being locked out of the rebirth of his own baby.
     
    The line-up of ECW alums lined up by WWE continues to grow... to the point where it's easier to just say that pretty much anybody who was more than a bit player in ECW and who is healthy and contractually allowed to appear on the show, probably will. We're talking wrestlers, managers, even referees. From the sounds of things, the only four omissions fans'll probably really notice will be Rob Van Dam (injury), Shane Douglas (TNA contract), Raven (again, TNA), and Joey Styles (just because).
     
    And even then: I don't know if this is true or not, but Dreamer might even have contacted TNA about getting Raven and a few others (notably Kid Kash, but also possibly even Douglas) for the One Night Only PPV... but whether or not that's actually true, I have a feeling it got shot down if I haven't heard more details about it. Which is too bad. The cool thing about that weekend is that Douglas is running his own "ECW Alumni" show on Friday in Philly, and all these guys with ties to ECW are gonna make a nice little chunk of change for the two shows; with WWE seemingly going out of their way to make sure that their production is viewed as True To ECW (and not as a WWE Imitation), it almost seems to me like TNA would be wise to consider the ECW PPV as nothing more than letting their guys out to do another indie event, except one that people will actually watch. It's not like it'll be perceived of as a talent raid, or anything: if anything, it's a chance for exposure if a few old ECW fans see Raven, remember they really liked him, and start to wonder where he might still be wrestling today...
     
    We'll see how all this shakes out: there's still lots of time before June 12. Although I gotta say that already, just with some of the early buzz, I might almost be more interested in June 12 than I am in April 3. And coming out of the fingers of a guy who loves taking any chance he can to crap on TNA or the indies, how obnoxious is it that I've got my head so far up my own ass that I *can* still get this excited about a minor league operation that's been out of business for 4 years?
     
    I truly am a Singular Asshole and a Walking Oxymoron...
     
  • WWE's gonna be trying to milk a few more bucks out of the ECW franchise, too... a second ECW DVD set is planned for release either in late 2005, or possibly in early 2006. I don't think it'll quite be the sensation that the first one was, since it'll be more just a collection of matches, and without the bridging story of the "rise and fall." Still, quite possibly a nice reference item for fans who weren't operating their VCR's during the 1996-2001 timeframe... and hell, even for me who probably has a few hundred hours of ECW on VHS, but who rarely bothers ever firing up the VCR any more, it's the sort of thing where just getting some of that stuff in the DVD medium is worth it.
     
    The other big upcoming WWE DVD news is that they're talking about doing a Bret Hart DVD... but instead of the career retrospective that has long been discussed as a project that Bret would actually like to do with WWE, it's going to be an entire 2-disc set dedicated to the very end of Bret's WWE run, I gather. The title, anyway, is "Screwed: the Bret Hart Story" (or something along those lines).
     
    That's funny, cuz I already thought I had a DVD with the Montreal Screwjob Story on it. It's called "Wrestling with Shadows," and although it's not exactly the most totally honest version of the Screwjob Story, it still fills that void pretty well. I'm curious to see what WWE's take on it will be, or why they've chosen to make this the focus of Bret's first DVD set...  the "Screwed" DVD has, depending on who you talk to, been mentioned as WWE's choice for the November/holiday tentpole release for 2005, or might not be ready for release until Spring 2006. 
     
    Either one of those release dates would probably be adequate to get Bret's name out there before March 2006, and to remind us of his story... you know, just in case you want to start thinking ahead to the Hall of Fame 2006. With WM22 taking place in Chicago, that'd be the site of the break-out Austin/Bret match, and if WWE wants to keep the "theme" thing rolling for future HoF classes (like this year's is definitely a WM1 main event theme), then inducting Austin and Bret in the same year and at the same venue where they had that awesome match might be something WWE's already thought ahead to. And getting the Bret DVD out in time to get the Hart Buzz rolling would be just another sneaky thing those crafty devils would do...
     
    You know who else will be having a 2-disc DVD set coming out later in 2005, and who would make a GREAT choice for HoF 2006 induction in their semi-home-town of Chicago? The Legion of Doom...
     
    You know who ELSE has a 2-disc DVD set coming out later in 2005 that I'm sure WILL end up in the Hall of Fame someday, but I'm kinda not sure why? The Ultimate Warrior.  I shit you not: somehow, WWE has taken a man who I BELIEVE had a grand total of 2 really good matches (running time: less than an hour), and has designs on stretching that into a 3 hour DVD set. Oh, wait: two really good matches, and then perhaps my favorite cheesy angle from my days of youthful ignorance, when he got locked in a casket by the Undertaker.
    That was actually kind scary. But other than that: my main memories of Warrior are shitty matches, shitty promos, a LOT of energy, but the reliability of a 1971 Chevy Nova.
     
    I think that gets you up to speed on all important upcoming WWE DVDs... pretty much those are the big 2-disc sets for the rest of this year, and other than that, it's mostly PPV releases, and some of those crappy one-hour $10 recycled jobbies.  Oh, and the Divas 2005 one, too. Actually, shouldn't that be out already? I thought that and the Diva magazine always came out right around the same time as the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue?
     
  • Although, with recent WWE hiring practices, I'm sure their 2005 Diva magazine will have a heavy dose of all the generic Diva Losers that I'd have a hard time working up a filthy thought about. Molly Holly shall be relegating to a thumbnail on Page 71, while we'll all be treated to a six page spread of Super Bowl Boob Girl (Boobsie McTitsalot? I can never remember her name...).
     
    To ease my pain, Gail Kim -- whom I can quite easily and with no delay mentally place square in the middle of any number of filthy-but-mutually-gratifying scenarios -- has decided to steal the thunder of the WWE-Authorized bOObies.
     
    Let's just say new details (and new, non-pixelated pictures) have emerged since I mentioned this on Monday, and basically: Gail did some topless photos for a cell-phone ad campaign (or something along those lines) in Korea. She looks quite fetching. Or would look quite fetching, if only there were a place where you could see said pictures.
     
    Hypothetically speaking, of course. If you catch my drift.
     
    Seriously, though: in your face Playboy and Diva magazines! Hotter than Spaz, and she could actually wrestle? What's not to love? Except for the fact that, contrary to all logic, she doesn't have a job on RAW?
     
  • Quickly about Spaz: a few readers caught her on Howard Stern today, and thought that I'd like to know that she got slaughtered in a current events trivia contest (was even unable to remember who lost the 2004 Presidential Election to Bush/Cheney) by a 10-year-old kid.
     
    They also noted, however, that she was an exceptionally good sport the whole time, and played along with all the T&A stuff that was asked of her, and had no problem bluntly answering Howard's probing questions (Did You Know: that Christy Hemme has been monogamous to her vibrator since ditching her last boyfriend six months ago?).
     
    In essence: though the 2 folks who wrote in knew that I'd get a kick out of Christy's basic lack of intellect, she was a very fun guest, and that they thought if some of that starts to shine through on WWE TV (so far, she mostly seems kinda fake and patronizing; the Female John Cena, really), then the Fed might have a superstar on their hands.
     
    That might be true, but I'm supposed to take a shine to some girl who can't even muster up "Kerry/Edwards" when matched up against a 10-year-old in Trivial Pursuit? No matter how willing she is to put on a school girl outfit and get spanked by 50-year-old perverts (I bet Christy Hemme is now, more than ever, Jerry Lawler's favorite diva), that's just something I'd never be able to shake... but I'm sure that makes one of me.
     
    Either way, I'd be all for Spaz bringing some actual genuine, non-pasted-on personality to the table, since it sounds like she's got it in her from what these readers said. And it's not like I can ever imagine Maria the Mic Stand being able to muster up a Current Events question that'd stump her...
     
  • From the sounds of things, TNA and FSN have decided not to pursue a prime time special in April... mixed signals, but it's some combination of not being able to lock in the details fast enough to have sufficient prep time along with getting cold feet over going heads-up with WWE on either the Friday or Saturday night of WrestleMania weekend.
     
    If it's the latter, I must (since it's a pat-myself-on-the-back thing if I was right about this 2 weeks ago) wonder if the possibility of WWE presenting this year's Hall of Fame ceremony as a TV event on Saturday, April 2, has ANYthing to do with this decision.
     
    Although the April special is off the table, there is interest from both sides in taking the time to do a 3-hour "free per view" in the future. The latest twist I've heard is that they'd do something concurrent with TNA's 3-year anniversary in June. I think that's a much wiser idea than trying to steal any of WWE's thunder (and being squashed in terms of coverage) on WM weekend...
     
  • Last thing: it's taking forever to take shape, but WWE's new developmental territory/training facility based near Atlanta, GA, should finally be up and running at full speed in the next couple months.
     
    They've got a name: it'll be Deep South Wrestling (as far as acronyms go, DSW rolls off the tongue even worse than OVW, but hell, if they ditch the initials and call it just "Deep South" for shorthand, that actually has a nice ring to it). Jody Hamilton (an old WCW scout/agent) is heading things up, but it sounds like Bill Behrens (whose own "NWA Wildside" territory operates out of Georgia) is a formality away from joining the team as a promoter. Bill "Hugh Morrus" DeMott is gonna be the guy in charge of training.
     
    And although this'll give WWE more options for getting seasoning for their younger talents (something that has never been more obviously necessary than it was with the too-soon debut of Chris Masters), I think just creating a parallel of OVW in the south may not be the best way to go.  I ranted about this before, but in summary: another "old school southern territory" pretty much limits the kind of experience these guys will get. Strengthening ties with a company like UPW in southern California or basing a develomental in the northeast might be the way I'd go; in the case of the former, you learn a bit more about a flashier/glossier type of product, and in the case of the latter, you might see more of a market for hipper or edgier material, instead of playing to three generations of fans who to this day think that Nikita Koloff was a real Russian, and think the the epitome of "cool" to this very day remains the Rock 'n' Roll Express, if you catch my drift....
     
  • I think that's about all I got today... but hell, like the RAW recap yesterday, without me really intending it, this turned into a pretty loaded document. So I'm well within my rights to call it a day.
     
    I might see you Friday, or I might not see you till Monday. In addition to more of Matt's LotR Satire, we'll have TNA coverage heading into the Destination X PPV, a sweet new Hulk-tastic Inside the Ropes from Bulldog, recaps of Byte This and SD!, plus retro stuff from Adam and Denny. And last time I started making promises on her behalf, Erin made me look like a liar, but she's spent the last week assuring me she'll have an actual column coming, too. I might even have to shuffle some stuff around and save it for next week, there's so much!
     
    So really, would you miss me if I took a day off? Aww, that's kind of you to say... but we'll see how it goes. Some of my schedule will be dictated by basketball; I have no particular hopes for UD in the A-10 tourney, but I'm pretty sure we'll at least make it through to Thursday night. We might have missed out on a first-round bye, but as the best team in the conference who didn't get a bye, we draw St. Bonaventure tonight... which I'd hope is KINDA like a bye (the Bonnies have won, I think, two games all year). Then our season may well end Thursday night against Temple... but if we pull one out and make it to the semis on Friday night, I promise you bastards I'll be in my truck and heading to Cinci for the game on Friday night, instead of worrying about writing you all a fresh column.
     
    So: see you when I see you. Go Flyers!


  
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PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28

 
 
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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