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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
SD! Delivers Strong Show, A Few Injuries
That Could Hamstring WWE, and MORE!
April 15, 2005

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

I have to get past the ad box? Goddammit, I'm on empty today, and my little txt file full of harebrained pre-ramble ideas is exhausted, too...
 
I hate the phone company.

I hate the phone company.

I hate the phone company.

I hate hippies.

I hate the phone company.

I hate the French. 

I still hate the phone 

company. A lot. Burn in hell, SBC. The reasons why do not matter, at least, not to you.

Because I'm past the ad box:

  • Last night's SD! was, for the most part, an excellent show. And by "most part," I'm of course speaking of the main event match that took up then entire final half-hour of the show...
     
    Eddie Guerrero and Kurt Angle tore the house down with a match that might even top Angle/HBK at Mania for "Best of the Month," depending on what sort of criteria you want to apply. Where as Angle and Michaels had a straight-up, no-frills, kick-ass wrestling match, Eddie and Kurt wove in more character and storyline elements to create an incredibly entertaining 30-minute match. Eddie's lying, cheating, and stealing was in full effect, as was Kurt's ability to counter most of those antics, and in the end, it took a run-in from Eddie's increasingly-estranged tag team partner, Rey Mysterio, to bring the match to an end after each man had escaped the other's finisher. Just great stuff.
     
    By winning, Kurt joins JBL and the winner of next week's Big Show/Booker T match in advancing to the next phase of the #1 Contender's Series. I'm assuming Show wins that, and then we pick up with a re-do of that crap-ass 3-way feud that we had running back in December and January (the one predicated on useless divas attempting to masquerade as main event caliber personalities). And from that 3-man logjam, it's sure seeming like JBL is the man who'll get first crack at Cena.
     
    Cena's "Championship Presentation" promo was pretty much more of the usual out of Cena. Ten minutes of gum-flapping of varying appeal to me; it's still baffling that the SD! crew at least realizes the importance of letting its new flagbearer go out and carry the show, while RAW seems to be willfully hiding Batista, but whatever, this isn't about that...  Cena still very much comes off as a guy playing a character, instead of as a real guy, like he is (on the fly) having to put each of his thoughts into "street" before he allows it to escape his mouth. It's really distracting to me, and I may never get over that; especially not coming from a guy from the rich suburbs of Boston.
     
    But thanks to an interruption from JBL, the segment *did* have some sizzle, and wasn't allowed to turn into the usual cringe-inducing pander-fest. JBL thought he'd intercepted the new WWE Title Belt, but instead got a box full of "guts" for his troubles. On the continuum of Cena's lame pranks, this one at least seems like it might be the least juvenile of the batch. Or at least: took the most planning-ahead. And with JBL thus doused in pig guts, Cena brought his new WWE Title belt down from the rafters and showed it off. Wheeee! It's not too hateful, but like just about everything else related to John Cena's on-screen character, it just seems cheesy, unnecessary, and over-the-top.
     
    The *only* value I'm coming up with for the new title belt is this: JBL had possession of the old belt, and Cena never bothered to take it away from him... which could lead to JBL claiming that he's still the REAL WWE Champion, and Cena's title is just costume jewelry, or something like that. Since there's no other earthly reason (no GOOD one, at least) to create an unnecessary new belt, I could see this simmering into a major issue... maybe JBL could even take to defending "his" WWE Title, and you could hold off on the JBL/Cena rematch until pretty far down the line (like SummerSlam), instead of doing it instantly? The only possible problem is that if Cena's act doesn't get toned down and more real, I wouldn't be surprised to see an upswing in "JBL is MY Champion" signs in the crowd...
     
    Anyway, that's a thought I had... don't know if you could necessarily settle it in a ladder match (a la the Dueling IC Title Belts at WM10), since the thought of Cena and JBL trying to have a ladder match is kinda scary, but you could definitely build up to it as the final victory for Cena over JBL, which by christ you NEED to make seem special somehow, given how absolutely awful the WM21 build-up and match were.
     
    Carlito continues to impress me as a likely Next Big Thing with the effortless and natural way he performs on the stick. His "Carlito's Cabana" segment should be outstanding for stirring the pot on SD!, and I'd be remiss if I didn't note Carlito's mention of Jericho's Highlight Reel and wonder if that might not be an early contender for a Crossbrand Feud that I'd get excited for next January-March. The segment also served as a very effective debut for Joey Matthews (d'oh, sorry: Joey MERCURY, now), Johnny Nitro, and Melina (the latter two of whom both had cups of coffee on the RAW roster)... their attack on Rey Mysterio and the absence of Eddie Guerrero set up the next logical progression, which is Rey and Eddie dropping their titles en route to further in-fighting.
     
    For whatever it's worth, I've seen some of MNM from OVW, and they're a very solid duo in the ring. And given that I've seen Nitro do some decent mic work, I'm not so sure that letting Melina do the talking for them was wisest (what you saw last night is about as good as I've ever seen, and wasn't so smooth), but there's good chemistry among the three, and as far as being a valet goes? Melina's been well-trained, and I definitely project her as the "Next Nidia." Which is a compliment to her ability to play a vital (physical) role in matches when she's at ringside, and not a jest about her implausible top-heaviness.
     
    Speaking of women being smooth on the stick: how good was Booker T's wife Sharmell? I loved that little bit... Kurt trying the "Oh, so you're gonna let your woman do your talking for you?" line... Booker kinda smiling and sitting back as if to say, "Well, as long as she wants to and she's good at it, why not?".... Sharmell tearing Kurt a new one, and Kurt having absolutely no retort.... funny stuff, and performed well by all three.
     
    Other stuff: WWE wants so badly to get Heidenreich over, and it's a sad commentary that the closest he's ever come to it was last night when he read a fart-related poem....  other than the Heidenreich bit, the only other part of the show that was a "loss" for me was the attempted women's match, which was just a baffling waste of time... but at least the two worst segments of the night were also the shortest!... lastly, they're half-trying with Paul London, at least; trying to make a one-on-one match between him and Chavo seem like a big deal; I hope they continue to put that effort in, and don't pull the plug...  
     
    You can get the full report on SD! in Big Danny T's SmackDown! Recap.
     
  • The rating for last night's show was a 3.5, which is up a tick or two from the week before, and puts SD! right back in line with it's recent averages.
     
  • Possibly big news from the RAW side of the roster....
     
    I'd known that RAW did NOT have it's scheduled dark match on Monday, but it wasn't until after Wednesday's column that I found out the reason why, and also got some semi-ominous information from SD! tapings.
     
    Namely, that Triple H was injured in his match against Hurricane and Rosey (I believe the consensus is that it was the Butt Attack in the corner that whiplashed HHH's neck). The belief on Monday night was that it was just a stinger, but then I guess the over-the-top bump in the main event segment shook Trips up again, so they didn't want to take any chances, and the dark match was called off.
     
    Obviously, though, HHH got the injury checked out, and that's when things got interesting, as Stephanie McMahon was absent from SD! tapings on Tuesday to stick with her husband, and also causing some to begin speculating about the severity of the injury or the updated diagnosis. Compounding matters, that diagnosis is being kept pretty strictly under wraps in the McMahon family inner circle at this point, and most people don't know what will happen when HHH hits TV tapings on Monday (there are no house shows this weekend, as the crews are being given time to recuperate from the Australia tour and to get ready to leave for Europe after Monday's joint RAW/SD tapings).
     
    Since it seems a truism that nothing travels faster than bad news, I think we can safely assume that HHH is probably good to go, and that things aren't too awful. I mean, on Monday, he's got Jim Ross... that shouldn't exactly be a physically-grueling affair. And from there, he could have another non-active role on the following weeks RAW so as to get as healthy as possible for the PPV match against Batista. The only catch: HHH will have to make the Europe tour (in some capacity), since TV is being taped over there (yes, on Apr. 25, we COULD conceivably have RAW Spoilers,  folks, but you know OO don't roll like that!)... and say what you will about HHH, but if he's on the road, you'll have a hard time keeping him on the sidelines.
     
    And that kind of creates an interesting scenario... Trips, obviously, doesn't want the product to suck, and takes a personal interest in giving all he can of himself to the product. Sometimes, unfortunately, that takes the form of him giving TOO MUCH of himself for the tastes of many fans. But the intentions are good ones. And although Triple H had what I thought was his best year in a long time in 2004 (thanks in large part to spending most of the year "married" to Benoit and Michaels, but also due to him being healthy and able to perform to his peak), the memories of the oft-banged-up HHH of 2002 and 2003 lingers... and if this is an injury a bit more serious than a stinger, or something that will keep HHH at less than 100% for weeks or months, then part of me thinks it would really be a good idea for HHH to make a concerted effort to NOT try to work through the injury, and to let others step up and shine on TV. It'd be a win/win: a chance to freshen up the show when it's starting to seem like a lot of fans are getting antsy at the Weekly HHH Show, and a chance to get back to 100% healthy in order to perform at one's best when it's time to return to an active role instead of forcing fans to suffer through another phase of Half-Speed HHH.
     
    Obviously, we don't know that such a break will even be necessary. Trips might be just fine and ready to go by Monday... but if a little vacation is what the doctor orders? I think we'd all kind of like for HHH to take it, rather than feel obligated to work through it: in this case, he'd probably be helping the product out by doing less. You could even turn it into a little storyline thing: have HHH lose to Batista, and from there, he decides he and Flair decide it's time to start recruiting for a new Evolution. You could do "scouting" vignettes each week of OVW talents, you could have Flair or Trips do walk-ons on Heat to look at the C-crew, you could even have a pre-tape bit where HHH could visit with Randy Orton to set up a possible dynamic there for when Orton's ready to return to TV.... lots of stuff that could keep HHH a going concern for 2-3 minutes each week (instead of 15-20), while he relaxes and recoups. And when it's go time (be it in May or June or whenever), a new Evolution attacks, en masse, and takes out some poor schlep, and it's Game On again.
     
    Just an idea. We'll clearly have a better idea of HHH's condition following Monday's RAW, not just from what we see on screen, but from what word goes around backstage...
     
  • Speaking of injuries of unknown severity...
     
    In my Molly/Mid-Card/Women's Division rant on Wednesday, I included an off-hand comment about how Victoria should be one of the ones most upset by Molly's departure, because it will limit her house show appearances (and the associated paydays) to weeks when Trish Stratus goes out on the road.
     
    I'd made that off-hand comment, because Trish had missed a week two of house shows and also didn't make the Australian tour, and I figured it was just a function of her contract or number of obligatory appearances, but right after I said it, I got a note telling me that Trish is suffering from an unspecified back injury, which is why her house show appearances and globe-trotting have been curtailed lately.
     
    In its own way, this is every bit as big a deal as HHH being incapacitated. But in this case, it's a mess of WWE's own making. Trish is good. Damned good. But no matter how good she is, it's not fair to ask her to basically be the whole women's division, which is essentially the position she's in. She's not just the champ, she's also the last heel female on the entire RAW roster (even counting the Useless Divas). If there's no Trish, there's no women's division.
     
    That said, even if she's only working TV, Trish still looked far from incapacitated in Monday's tag match. Even if Molly did carry the lion's share of the match for the team, Trish got plenty of ring time, too. So this might not be a huge deal... at present, Trish *is* expected to make the Europe tour next week, but again, a lot of that might be the simple fact that they're taping TV over there, so skipping it is not an option (as it was for the shows in Australia).
     
    Here's hoping Trish is OK and will stay that way... but if she's a ticking time bomb, would I be so wrong to point out that still having Molly around might be nice? Think about it: if Trish needs time off, how hard would it be to have Lita somehow cheat and help Spaz win the title, and then in Spaz's first title defense, she has to face Molly one-on-one... and Molly crushes her (Molly's losses to Spaz have only been in tag matches, but take away the distracting elements, and Molly wins, so it isn't too unbelievable), and takes the title, and keeps it warm while Trish takes a rest and gets better. And when it's time, you have tons of options for getting back to the Trish/Lita Pay-Off Match... but instead you got the company running Molly out on a rail, so there's no option there. Boo.
     
  • Many Concerned Readers have pointed out another Extremely Disappointing Element of Molly's departure from WWE....
     
    The E has now unveiled a "Viva Las Divas" section of their website, with bonus photos of all the women. I think we can now safely assume that Molly's will never see the light of day. And I think I can safely say that, based on the pics we have seen from the diva shoot, this is a Bad Thing.
     
    Then again, Amy Weber was still included in the Divas DVD, so who the hell knows? I'm sure you'll all alert me if Molly's pictures do surface, right? Thanks, kids...
     
  • Still no word from Camp Molly on what might be next for her, but the fact that she asked for her release makes me suspect that she probably didn't get particularly favorable terms, and at the very least will have a 90-day no compete clause to deal with. I don't think this would preclude non-televised appearances or working overseas, though; then again, it's been pretty much 5 straight years of working and traveling for Molly, so maybe a 3 month vacation is all she really wants right now....
     
    Word from Camp Hardy is that even though Matt was GIVEN his release, his 90-day no compete is also in full effect, so don't look for him to just pop up on TNA out of nowhere.
     
    But meantime: Rhyno is working a big show Puerto Rico this weekend. Huh. My guess would be that those were WWE-sanctioned bookings, which means that they would allow him to make that appearance. Also, the consensus seems to be that WWE will want to make a deal with Rhyno to appear at the ECW One Night Only PPV... but a 90-day no-compete WOULD keep Rhyno from appearing at Shane Douglas' alternative ECW reunion show.
     
  • Speaking of Shane's "hardcore reunion" (any use of the letters "ECW" in connection with the event actually gets you in legal trouble with WWE! I must be more careful!)...
     
    The two main matches will be Sabu vs. Shane Douglas vs. Terry Funk and then also Raven vs. Sandman. Tickets are currently on sale at hardcorehomecoming.com for the June 9 event taking place in Philadelphia at the For-Legal-Reasons-Not-ECW Arena.
     
  • Meantime, WWE is playing it pretty close to the vest in terms of what matches they'll feature on their ECW PPV two days later. The only match that has been talked about that I would tend to put stock in is the Dudley Boyz taking on the Full Blooded Italians.
     
    It's also unclear how much, if any, TV support the ECW event will get, or if WWE will bank on alternative means of promoting the matches (possibly limited to pre-taped bits on RAW and SD!, and also a special publication coming out in May).... but other than Douglas and Raven, WWE will have access to just about all the same free agent talents as Shane and ALSO has a ton of their own roster who are ECW alums that Shane doesn't have access to, so they should be able to put together a pretty amazing card....
     
  • I also added Jesus H. Kidneypuncher and Chilly Willy to the list of WWE releases in Wednesday's column...  I neglected one final name:
     
    Paul Bearer.
     
    Although he's been off TV since last June (since his character is dead), WWE kept rolling over his contract, I guess just in case they ever came up with another idea for the Ghost of Paul Bearer to make an appearance. And zip it: I know WWE retroactively made Bearer be NOT dead to appease sponsors and parents' groups, but you know what I mean....
     
    Anyway, after 9 months of inactivity, WWE decided they might as well quit paying Paul. It didn't come as a shock to anybody, and the parties are still on dandy terms on the off chance Bearer's services WOULD be needed again in the future....
     
  • A few folks tipped me off to a Sports Illustrated website article about the best episodes of Saturday Night Live hosted by athletes. The feature article runs down a columnist's selection of the best 10, and does NOT include the Rock...
     
    But a reader poll on the same page? The Rock is the landslide winner, with over 50 percent of the vote. And justifiably so; the Rock's first SNL (the one with HHH, Foley, and Show popping in) remains one of my favorite ones from that cast/era.
     
    You can check out the article and cast your vote here.
     
  • Another thing brought to my attention by a Loyal Reader....
     
    I've refrained from making much in the way of value judgments or a big deal over the Ultimate Warrior's recent comments during a recent political speech at UConn... because I wasn't there, I don't know how it all went down, and the mere fact that it took 3 days to turn into a big deal means it probably wasn't one.
     
    But I will not apologize for finding some of the fall-out hilariously funny and trying to draw your attention to it if I can. Specifically: this fall-out. I won't spoil the fun for you, but I guess maybe you don't want to cross Warrior and his crack legal staff.
     
    Or maybe you do, if you're up for some good laughs. Hey, Rocky Swift: you still got that one piece on the back burner? You know which one I'm talking about...
     
    And thanks to Josh for the heads-up on this one.
     
  • Here's something I wish you HADN'T alerted me to, since it further destroys my faith in humanity and also has nothing to do with wrestling.... but if I don't mention it, I can't mock the shit out of, so here goes:
     
    Eric Bischoff and his Longtime Companion Jason Hervey are producing a new reality TV show that will star Fred Durst.
     
    BWHHAAAAHHHAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAA!
     
    The concept of the show is that it will feature Durst hanging out and interviewing his remaining celebrity friends who don't have the nerve to tell him that he's no longer a celebrity himself. I suspect this will include a LOT of appearances by Noted Choad Carson Daly (who continues to impress me with what an unengaging and very dumb, dumb man he is any time I make the mistake of watching his TV show to see guests such as David Cross earlier this week). And then there will also be footage of Durst going about his daily business. Whether or not this will include Durst's primer on how to leak your own sex tape to the internet in a desperate attempt to get people talking about you, I can't say.
     
    The fact that this is the sort of thing Bischoff would be attracted to  is not exactly shocking. He and his houseboy Hervey really don't have a track record for developing particularly appealing, fresh material. A lot of reality shows that never get picked up, and Girls Gone Wild PPVs and shit like that.  Bischoff's lone success story was WCW, and more and more, people look back at that and realize it had more to do with Ted Turner's checkbook than with Bischoff's creativity.
     
    That said, supposedly there are already two interested cable networks in this new project, so maybe it'll get off the ground and provide yet another surefire sign that the apocalypse is near. You can read more about the deal at MTV.com; curses to those of you who just HAD to bring this to my attention!
     
  • Alright, I think that's about enough for today. Enjoy the weekend, kids; I know I will be. And then Monday, it's RAW/SD! joint tapings at Madison Square Garden, so we should have a LOT we can talk about...  see you then.


  
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E-MAIL RICK SCAIA

BROWSE THE OO ARCHIVES

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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