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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
RAW's Wackiness, Ratings, Major TNA
Shake-Ups, Trish Update, and MORE!
April 20, 2005

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

So much for the Hot Papal Conclave Action.... it's all done, and rather anti-climactically, I must say. Proving that she knows God better than I, it's my mom who actually called it when she predicted they didn't want to pick a "real Pope" to follow JP2, and they'd just pick some old guy who'd do most of the same stuff, and once *he* dies, they'll get somebody more interesting in there who might shake things up and won't have to do it in the shadow of a beloved Pope like John Paull II was.
 
It also leaves me with next to nothing here for pre-ramble material today. I thought for sure I'd get at least three columns worth of crap out of the Papacy, but no dice.

I guess I could point out that my belief that "The Daily Show" is ripping me off was re-inforced last night... because exactly one week after I gave myself  

a chuckle with a mis-reading of a breast-implant-related headline, Jon Stewart spent an entire segment attempting to derive humor from the very same issue.

Sadly: it turned out that my way was funnier. But I guess everybody has off-nights. And it's not like there wasn't 19 minutes worth of other top-shelf comedy to enjoy besides the floptastic fake-boob story. C'est le vie.

OK, obligation fulfilled. Now begins the column:

  • I [heart] e-mail sometimes. I really do. I love hearing about how awesome I am, sure. But even when I hear about what a pompous ass I am, I get a kick out of that, too: very rarely, you might make me think with your criticisms... much more commonly, you make me laugh. I appreciate that. So yeah, I [heart] e-mail.
     
    A week ago, I didn't set out to do anything special, and somehow ended up with some of my most positive feedback in a while thanks to the recap.
     
    This week, we got a show that sort of felt like it might end up being significant. If, 4, 6, 8 months from now, we're talking about how RAW at MSG was a turning point for WWE, I wanted to be on record with a Recap of that show that did it justice and would hold up. And hey, if Christian's still losing 5 matches out of every 6, the Diva Search is eating up 20 minutes every week, and Chris Masters is the IC Champ in four months, well... in that case, RAW wasn't significant, and my Recap is still just another piece of fast-food that I served up that you can forget you ever ate, and that'll be that.
     
    But my point is: this week I *did* set out to give the Recap a bit of a special treatment, and you folks didn't disappoint in the letting me hear about it! Nee haw!
     
    I got everything from: 
     
    "Best-written recap in a long time (and I'm a fan of your recaps, so that's saying something)."
     
    To:
     
    "Not only was your column this week blissfully ignorant, but it was also gratingly annoying."
     
    I'd revel in my ability to polarize my audience, but frankly, when the former class of e-mail outnumbers the latter by an easy 4-to-1 margin, it's hard to do much besides pat myself on the back for another home run. Bravo to me!
     
    Hell, truth be told, there was a third class of e-mails that easily outnumbered the "ignorant/annoying" ones, and which actually made a point about something I might actually have misstepped on and which I could briefly take seriously, and which I feel deserves the benefit of a response. Turns out: there were a goodly number of folks not pleased with some of the riffing I did on "gayness" as it related to the Heartthrobs, and let me hear about it.
     
    Oy. How many times do I have to go through this, people? I think everybody is entitled to do whatever they want if it makes them happy and doesn't hurt anybody else. If that means craving another man's johnson, I don't care. If that means going to church and reading the bible, I don't care. If that means anything else between those two extremes, I still don't care. But there's no "life choice" in this world that entitles you to have any thinner skin than the rest of us: you are just as fair game for jokes and snarky observations as me or President Bush or even the fricking Pope himself. In 99% of cases, the jokes aren't even ABOUT the core of anybody's person: they are about the fringe things, the ancillary things (i.e. not about the gayness itself, but about the funny things that gay people do).
     
    So there: just fucking relax, OK. Just because I laugh at the Heartthrobs flaming gayness and hate "Queer Eye" doesn't mean I don't support your right to stick your wang in whoever you want. Also: last night, Erin Anderson not only told me to tell you that she's got my back, but suggested that anybody who is bugging me about this is clearly gay. And not gay as in "likes members of the same sex." Gay as in "lame." You know, like how it's used in "Gay Spooky." I think she's right, and I think I couldn't have said it any better myself, so I'll just stand back and repeat it. In your face, jerkos: now you can all sympathize with Kurt Angle after how he got Sharmell'd last week on SD!
     
    That's probably the worst mea culpa of all times, but hey, at least you get SOMEthing. The minuscule minority of negative nellies will get NOTHING from me. Except the suggestion that if they think *I* am somehow ignorant or out of line by making sensible criticisms of WWE's priorities, and if they feel the need to defend/embrace WWE's creative direction even in the face of Monday's evidence, then they sure as shit had better be getting serviced by Stephanie McMahon herself on a regular basis. No other explanation will suffice.
     
    Since I'm poking around the mailbag, I also just want to pass along one line out of another mail... just because it made me laugh, and made me sorry I didn't think to say it:
     
    "Trish was awesome at trying to bail out Lita... but I guess Lita is quickly getting used to innocent people taking the heat for her."
     
    ZING~!
     
    So anyway, thus concludes the part of the column where I talk more about the RAW Recap than RAW itself... because frankly, the Recap yesterday was another good, long one, and it pretty well covered all that needed to be said about the show. So you should just go read it, already.
     
  • For whatever it's worth, I liked vast portions of Monday's show, and I loved that we definitely had some Big Show Sizzle thanks to Hogan and a few other little unexpected twists.
     
    Obviously, contributing to those twists was a vocal MSG crowd. Some of their reactions weren't just personally vindicating, they are almost promising, because Vince McMahon himself places great value in the way fans respond at MSG, as the place is sort of a barometer and a harbinger of what fan opinions will seep out over the rest of the country. [Note: this is the difference between "Smart" and "Jack-off." There's no doubt the NYC crowd is smart, but they're also still fans first. But perceptive fans. "Smart" is not a naughty word, kids.]
     
    A huge beneficiary of that crowd was Trish Stratus, who was getting cheered by the appreciative audience out of the gate, and who only became more popular by comparison once Lita showed up. An even bigger beneficiary might have been Christian, who went toe to toe with the boss, and rivaled him for crowd reactions, and who also got the fans to endorse him as a possible WWE Champion. Nice work.
     
    An aside: does Monday mean that Christian could beat John Cena for the WWE Title today, and have it work? No. MSG is not an indicator of where all fans all around the world are at today. It's a harbinger of what COULD be. To me, that means WWE needs to be worried about another year for John Cena like the one he had last year that might alienate fans once they get sick of his pandering cartoonery; to me, that means WWE might take head and spend a year pushing Christian up the card to see where it gets them.
     
    Or WWE could decide to ignore the MSG crowd this time through, and stay the course. You never know with these cats. Like I said: I can envision Monday's show being something of a turning point, a night where WWE finally starts really paying attention to the fans... but I can also envision it being nothing but a blip on the radar, with the war between what the fans want and what WWE feels like serving up continuing unabated. It shall be interesting to watch play out...
     
  • Monday's RAW did a 3.9 rating, a bit of a dip from the week before. As I discussed last week, just because people stuck around in droves to give the Batista/HHH over-run a huge rating doesn't mean that they LIKED what the saw. 
     
    Ratings are retro-active in a way... a ratings dip THIS week kinda tells me that WWE fucked up the week before, since they couldn't retain that massive audience with the ever-so-enticing HHH vs. Jim Ross match.
     
  • Some pretty major shake-ups with regards to TNA...
     
    The big news is that Kevin Nash is probably gonna have to be pulled out of the main event of Sunday's Lockdown PPV, due to a staph infection. At present, no replacement has been named and Nash is apparently still hoping on an outside chance of being medically cleared to work, but TNA has publicly announced the situation to fans so that they know what they'll be getting on Sunday night MIGHT differ from the advertised card.
     
    Short of shuffling the card, TNA might have to ask somebody to work twice on the show to fill Nash's slot with a suitable replacement. Both AJ Styles and Jeff Hardy have had their issues with Jeff Jarrett and could fit in... but both are also locked into what should be two of the more grueling matches on the show, and working twice might not be an option. Styles would give them an interesting couple of possibilities, though: since he's in a #1 Contender's Match against Abyss, you could do something like have him lose that match, but then step into the main event and still pin Jarrett to establish his claim on the title... kinda a little ploy to boost up two guys instead of one, especially since they're two of TNA's only "homegrown" talents.
     
    The only other thing I can think of might be putting BG James into the match; they've kind of been doing this ham-handed, dead-end-seeming thing most weeks where 3 Live Kru thinks James is being wooed by his old tag team partner Billy Gunn. James could step up in this match to "prove" he's got no loyalty to Billy (who is on the opposing team)... or he could even turn on his own teammates in the match to help the heels win. Again: a few possibilities with James that don't exist elsewhere.
     
  • Also off the Lockdown card is Kid Kash, who apparently finally realized his dream of getting fired from TNA. Or so goes his story.
     
    He's certainly seemed to be at odds with TNA frequently in the last several months, but then his constant returns sort of muddied the waters and made it hard to tell what was real and what was hyperbole designed to make Kash seem like a dickweed heel (a role, by the way, that he's exceptionally good at).
     
    The latest twist seems to have been that Kash was going around bad-mouthing TNA and telling everybody that he'd love to work the ECW One Night Only reunion PPV, but he's not allowed, so he'd been trying to get fired. Now, trying to get fired from a good-paying job for one night's worth of work doesn't make a whole hell of a lot of sense, but there's enough other stuff about TNA that Kash didn't like, too, so who knows?
     
    As far as the TNA PPV goes, Kash has already been replaced by Sonjay Dutt.
     
    As far as WWE and the ECW PPV go? Well, I'd have to assume Kash would at least get brought in for the ECW show. And truthfully, he'd be a great addition to the SD! Cruiserweight roster, as he's a total package (ringwork and micwork, both)... but his relationship with management has been a long-standing issue, and WWE might not want to take a risk on a guy like that. We'll see...
     
  • The Edge/Lita/Matt Hardy drama continues to intensify... including with some comments from unexpected sources.
     
    Chris Jericho appeared on the "Opie & Anthony" radio show on Monday, and spoke in VERY clear terms about the many ways that Matt Hardy's release sucked. As Jericho -- quite accurately -- put it, Hardy lost his girl and his job, and it did it by doing NOTHING WRONG. I'm with Jericho on this.
     
    [As an aside, Jericho's candidness about the decision comes at an interesting point: he's only got 8 months left on his contract, and in the same interview, made it clear that it's not necessarily a slam-dunk that he'll re-sign with WWE. Probable, sure, but not a certainty. Once he said that, he tried to spin it as just being dead-tired from the Australia tour and not enjoying the travel, so much, but there'd have to be more to it than that, don't you think?  Seems like the guy might feel comfortable cutting loose if he knows he holds the high cards in a negotiation... then again, the mere fact that Jericho would consider not re-signing is indicative of what *I* think are pretty serious issues. The same way Molly Holly wanting to walk away from the company underscores serious issues. These are people who obviously love wrestling -- love it enough to actually get good at it, anyway -- and yet, they're comfortable contemplating a career NOT working in the biggest wrestling company in the world? Why would that be? I've got my theories, and I think you could guess at a lot of them... but a big one would have to be a total lack of faith in the people making the big decisions, and a feeling of not having any real input or control over making sure you're being given the opportunity to showcase your talents and entertain the fans in the best possible way, because the people making the decisions are doing so for selfish reasons, and not because they're listening to the fans and concerned with putting out a good product. Or maybe I'm just part of the problematic crew Jericho said would latch onto his statement and cause it to spin all out of control on the internet? End Tangent.] 
     
    Getting back to Matt/Lita/Edge, another country heard from on Monday was Edge's wife, who posted on Matt Hardy's official website... and let's just say no punches were pulled.
     
    In fact, her vitriolic rant against Edge and Lita was so strongly worded that a lot of folks have been writing in, asking if this isn't a work... part of some kind of angle. 
     
    I continue to advocate just using your head, here, folks: if it's an angle, how exactly does that benefit anybody? If everybody's in on this together, why would they do something that sure as hell seems to be having the effect of hamstringing Lita's career? And this simply isn't a storyline that WWE can use (on TV, Lita's with Kane and has never been with Edge, duh), so what'd be the point?
     
    And I say that as a man who -- in the nanoseconds before Viscera came out -- was half-hoping that Matt Hardy would make the save for Trish, and that *he* would be the one who gets to stand in front of Lita and kiss the girl. MSG would have exploded. But it also simply would not have made a lick of sense.... well, I guess if maybe you take Edge all the way out of the equation, and have Matt be mad that Lita's fallen for Kane, and have every promo Matt cuts be done so with the understanding that when he says "Kane" for TV purposes, he really means "Edge," then you might have something.... but still, c'mon...
     
    So as far as I can tell, this continues to be real. Given some of the things Edge's wife said, it continues to be ugly. And it continues to be something that I'm not so sure is all that much of our business.... I think we're all WELL within our rights to be pissed that Matt lost his job out of this, cuz that affects what we get to see on TV. But other than that? I just tend not to be so interested in the private business of other people...
     
    But if you aren't the same way, Matt's official website is www.TheMattHardy.com, and I'm sure they'd be glad to have you snooping around.
     
  • Speaking of Matts, Matt Morgan is finally getting called back up to the bigs. He'll re-debut on this week's SD!...
     
    He's a guy who, from what I see, seems like he should probably have been called back up sooner. For a guy 6'10" and cut, he certainly meets WWE's Cosmetic Requirements, and on top of that, he's about thrice the worker in the ring that Chris Masters is. I know there are concerns about his verbal skills, but isn't that what managers are for?
     
    Part of me was half-wondering if WWE was purposely "saving" Morgan for some super-duper gimmick, since there aren't many guys that size who'll work solid matches (Kane comes to mind, Taker on a good night, we're talking that ilk), and they didn't want to blow him on something silly. 
     
    Well, I guessed wrong. They're turning his lack of verbal ability into his gimmick. So get ready for: Matt Morgan, Stuttering Moron.
     
    I guess that seals it: Randy Orton's NOT getting traded to SD!... not if Morgan is stealing his gimmick.
     
  • About the Draft Lottery: the buzz is that it'll take place the Monday after Judgment Day (SD!-only PPV), on May 23. Or at least, that's the assumption many are making.
     
    And assumptions are all folks have to go on. Nobody really has any sense of who'll be traded, and the belief is because WWE itself doesn't know who'll they'll end up switching.
     
    There have been some pretty wacky scenarios floating around, including actually switching both champions. Some mention it because they think Cena's act might play better on cable where he can be about 13% more edgy without getting bleeped. [Note: this is the lamest reason imaginable to switch Cena. You can still only be TV-14 on RAW, and at this point, Cena's appeal is more with little kids than adults, so it's not like he's gotta be edgy to keep them entertained.] Some feel like switching the champs so that RAW has all the titles with the true WWF Lineage (while SD! has all the titles with the made-up/WCW lineage) is a neat idea. [Again: not necessarily the best reason for making such a major move.] Some others think that one of JBL or Triple H will be regaining his title, and that in such a champ-for-champ switch, you'd end up with them on the same brand, where they could pay-off on the neat little backstage bits and videotaped sniping they've done with each other over the last few months. [This? Actually intrigues me a bit.]
     
    But like I said, when the creative team doesn't even really know what it's gonna do, yet, that makes it hard to do any kind of meaningful speculation. I think about the only thing you can bank on is that HHH won't leave RAW; he's got the clout to make sure he stays on the flagship show. Even though I might argue if he's so supremely confident in his all-importance, might it not be the braver choice to say, "I'll go to SD! and strap that brand onto my shoulders, and carry them back to prominence"? Nah, of course not.....
     
    For whatever it's worth, the May 23 date makes a ton of sense: it lets the current cycle of storylines play out completely, and it gives a nice five-week buffer to re-set the rosters before the next PPV (the RAW-only Vengeance on June 26).  There actually is the ECW PPV on June 12, but luckily, that'll have nothing to do with standing RAW/SD! storylines, so you don't have to worry about that.... RAW gets the full five weeks to set things in motion without having to rush, that's the important thing. 
     
    An interesting possibility that just popped into my head: what if Paul Heyman crashes the lottery and uses it as the springboard for drawing attention to the ECW PPV? Lots of ways to do that, especially on a night where WWE will be acting like there's only two brands in the wrestling world... the only thing would be coming up with the right play so that you can do it convincingly, but also in a way that doesn't hamstring RAW and SD! and that can play out in the span of just 3 weeks and then go away again....
     
  • Of note: Trish Stratus is *not* competing on the current WWE tour of Europe, and at this point, may only appear at the RAW TV tapings next Monday. As discussed last week, Trish has been noticeably absent from house show line-ups for a while, and is rumored to be nursing a bad back.
     
    Without Trish, WWE now has no heel female on the roster. They had to cart out a Spaz vs. Victoria match in Germany last night (Victoria apparently played the de facto heel) to fill the Diva Slot. Of COURSE Spaz won.... she's the most talented wrestler in the world!
     
    Feel better, Trish... please, for the love of god, feel better! If not for me, if not for yourself, then at least for Victoria!
     
    Also, thanks to all who felt the need to pass along the naughty, naughty quotes from Trish in the latest Maxim magazine. Print version, I guess, cuz they all typed it up, instead of sending me to a link on the Maxim website....
     
    Too bad I tend to not put a lot of stock into the blithering idiocy printed in magazines like Maxim... the thought of getting the real dirt on chicks from Maxim makes me laugh about as hard as anytime I'm waiting in line at Kroger's and notice that Cosmo is telling the ladies how to totally figure out us guys. To think that an entire industry (on both sides of the gender fence) has sprung up that profits from just telling morons what they want to hear about the opposite sex, because that's ever-so-much-more-comforting than going out into the real world and discovering that there is no fucking 50 Ways To Please Your (Wo)Man that work across the board. The Generification of Society and the Marginalization of The Differences That Make Us All Unique.... those annoy the hell out of me. Anybody who checks out Maxim or its equivalents for anything other than the pictures is a tosser. How's about we, as a society, grow the balls to just be ourselves instead of being told how to be, and then give that same courtesy to others to let them be themselves, instead of always trying to pigeon-hole them into little niches that are all easy prey for a laundry list of tricks you read about in some braindead magazine?
     
    Anyway, the point? My whole "just telling idiots what they want to hear" thing means that it's my secret suspicion that a girl as sharp as Trish might decide it's fun to lie and exaggerate a bit, and in general toy with the vapid readership's sorry little heads. "OMG~! HOTT~!~!~! Trish Stratus is a moaner in bed~!"... christ, unless you're the reason why she is, then just put it back in your pants, Junior, because this factoid really doesn't concern you, now does it? You know what gets me a little hot and bothered? The filthy fantasy that maybe, just maybe, Trish would go so far as to fabricate a concept such as "Naked Laundry" just to get a rise out of the type of idiot who'd devour such nonsense (as long as it's SEXY nonsense)!
     
    But d'oh... what if she didn't make it up?!?
    In that case, methinks I could muster up a couple of loads for her, pronto!!
     
    Christ: that half-entendre was decidedly Maxim-caliber. Still better than Lawler-caliber, though!
     
  • But besting Jerry Lawler in a Dirty Mind Contest is nothing to be particularly proud of... so before I lower your opinion of me any further, I do believe I shall call it a day.
     
    I'll probably see you on Friday...


  
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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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