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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
SD! Recap, Plus Weekend News
(Trish, Austin, Future PPVs, and MORE!)
April 22, 2005

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

To be honest, what I wanted to do today was give myself a day off... but no rest for the weary.
 
Turns out that at the very least, I have to apologize for something published on Wednesday... and then on top of that, I get home last night to find that Big Danny T is having PC troubles, so there was also not gonna be a SD! Recap.

Sounds like a job for the Amazing Webmasterboy to step up and earn his measly pennies off  

of banner ads for "Darth Tater" collectibles, eh?

I figured I was gonna half-ass any column I did today, anyway. Not only have I got Part One of Matt's final Lord of the Reign Satire *and* Jason Longshore's monthly TNA Check-up (including weekly TV summaries and full Lockdown PPV Preview) supporting me, so that you'll have plenty to amuse yourselves over the weekend... but now, on top of that, I gotta half-ass a SD! Recap, too?

Well, put it all together on one page, and it's like I'm using my whole ass! Or wait: is half-assery additive or is it multiplicative? Is a double does of half-my ass one whole ass, or one-quarter of my ass?

And why are we talking about my ass when there's two, two, TWO big ways to win here in today's OO? First is the quickie (by my standards, at least, since when I scanned through SD! last night before going out, I had no idea I'd have to be paying close attention so I could recap it) SD! Recap. And second will be Weekend News (in case you just want to skip to that). 

Enjoy....

SMACKDOWN! RECAP: New Champs Are Here

Opening Theme/Pyro/Etc., and we are not-even-close-to-live in New York City for an edition of SD! taped prior to RAW back on Monday. Tonight's main event is "champion vs. champion" (yet, strangely, in a double-non-title match), as John Cena faces Orlando Jordan. And kicking things off....

Booker T vs. Big Show (Contender's Series Match)

JBL came out first, still carrying the old WWE Title belt and declaring, as our guest commentator, that he is still the rightful WWE Champion. He makes absolutely no logical case for such a claim, but as long as John Cena is the option, then JBL Is My Champion. Then both Booker and Show come on out for their match. But before they can start, Kurt Angle interrupts and ALSO joins the commentary team.

JBL vs. Angle on commentary instantly became more amusing than Booker vs. Show in the ring. They were hilarious with each other, each confident that he'd win the #1 contender spot and then beat Cena. But in between the funny sparring, Tazz asked a Very Serious Question: "Which one of these two men would you rather have join you in the 3-way final next week?"... Angle thought and replied honestly: "Neither." JBL kind of agreed. And between the two, they went back and forth and realized that if neither man won the match -- say if it was a double count-out or double disqualification -- then neither man would advance to next week. As soon as they had this brainstrom, JBL immediately covered it up by turning "heel" again on Angle, saying, "Yeah, I guess that's true, Einstein, but I ain't afeared of either of these two." So of course then Kurt wasn't afeared, either, and the entertaining banter resumed.

In the ring, the match was not TOO shabby, I guess. Lotta Big Show dominating the middle stretch of the match, then a big comeback by Booker about 5 minutes in, which culminated in a Book End. Show kicked out. Booker followed up with some other old tricks we've not seen in a while (including the Missile Dropkick), but Show kept kicking out. Finally Booker was setting up for the Scissors Kick, but Show saw it coming, and instead got a running start and clothelined Booker out over the top rope. Show's momentum carried him out, too, and both guys were down on the mat right in front of the commentary table. So of course: JBL and Angle shared a glance, got up together, and JBL attacked Booker and Angle attacked Show. Ref had no choice but to call for the Double DQ. Nobody wins! Probably about a 6-7 minute opener, and like I said: more entertaining due to the commentary than anything, and also a set up for these post-match shenanigans....

After the Match: While Angle and JBL congratulated each other for their genius and started shifting gears towards hating each other for next week's now-one-on-one match, Booker and Show recovered... so Angle and JBL brainstormed once again and decided to leave the ring before trouble started. And they were cut off by GM Teddy Long who declared that next week, the final of the #1 Contender Series will now be a Fatal Fourway Match, with BOTH Booker and Show advancing. This infuriated Angle and JBL. But Teddy was just getting started... because later tonight, JBL and Angle will have to TEAM UP to face Show and Booker in a tag match. Holla holla holla.

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Carlito's Cabana: Taking a Bite Out of the Biggest Apple of All Edition

I'm begging the jerko Hollywood writers to steal from their own kind and give us the backstage exchange prior to a commercial break that I think would cure all disease and solve world hunger. I am, of course, talking about Chevy Chase showing up for no reason backstage for a guest spot. Or it could possibly be any other smart-ass babyface... doesn't matter. But I'm begging for:

Chevy Chase: Hey, I'm supposed to meet Carlito Cool?
Josh Mathews: He's in his cabana, sir.
CC: Oh, that's right. That's cabana six?
JM: [suspiciously] No, cabana one, sir.
CC: One, of course. How silly of me. Tell you what, why don't you fetch me a bloody mary, a steak sandwich, and... a steak sandwich.
JR: Certainly, sir.
CC: And charge it to the Underhills.

And when Chevy shows up on the Cabana sipping a bloody mary, in that instant, WWE's idiot sitcom writers would be given a free pass to execute any three (3) of their lame ideas for skits, and I'd promise not to say boo about them. Because they'd actually have gotten one (1) right, and for them, a 25% hit rate is something to aspire to!

But didn't I say I'd be brief here? So OK, Carlito's out for Episode 2 of his Cabana, and is greeted by enthusiastic "Carlito, Carlito" chants. Dare I say it? "Listen." Oh yeah, listen, baby, because The Rick's been telling you Carlito's had it dialed in, persona-wise since the very night he debuted and here, WWE's Early Adopters the savvy NYC audience, decided to agree. Of course, Carlito knows his job, and immediately manages to get the crowd back to at least a MIXED reaction by talking smack about how uncool NYC is, and how he'd take a bite out of the Big Apple and spit it in everybody's face at MSG if they dared to cross him. Nice work.

And then out to talk is Eddie Guerrero, and attempting to stir shit up is Carlito, who is clearly going for a patented shtick of "I'm not the kind of guy who'd bring up the fact that Rey Mysterio cost you a match last week, but..... SO HERE, WATCH THE FOOTAGE INSTEAD!". He did the same thing last week to Rey, and I think that'll be a hilarious hook once the fans at home latch on to it. Eddie gets serious and says that he's not mad at Rey, and in fact, wants to talk to Rey face to face, right now.

So Rey comes out, and Eddie very earnestly tells him that he (Eddie) is sorry for what happened last week, because it all goes back to the week before when Eddie selfishly cost Rey his shot at the WWE Title, and he understands where Rey was coming from, and after all he's been through in his career, Eddie feels like he needs to be thankful for the few things he's got, and one of them is his family. And Rey is family to him, so he just wants to bury the hatchet and be friends. Rey is suspicious, but is warming when we get an interruption...

MNM (Mercury, Nitro, Melina) are on the TitanTron, and they want a tag team title match tonight. Eddie proposes that they come on out to the ring and issue a challenge face-to-face like men, cuz otherwise, they won't get a shot. But we pan back to see they've got Eddie's Low Rider held hostage. Eddie starts sputtering as MNM tag the hood with their initials. Eddie is furious, and Rey's got his back, as the duo storm to the parking lot. Meantime, Cole is making a ginormous ass of himself. How? By acting like the spray painting is the most heinous act of vandalism he's ever seen, when just 4 weeks ago, he couldn't stop laughing at what a clever rebel John Cena was for tagging JBL's limo. Pick one, Cole. Just pick one and stick with it. Personally, I'd suggest that spraypainting  is neither heinous nor funny. It's just stupid and pointless. Unless it's wielded by Trish Stratus, as she has a very lovely penmenship.

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During the Break: Eddie and Rey got back to the Low Rider, and Eddie got very angry and said that OK, they'll fight MNM later on tonight, titles on the line. Rey is cool with this, since he's got beef with MNM from last week, too.

Backstage: Matt Morgan returned to SD!, but don't say "returned." He's debuting, according to Idiot Announcer Guy Who I Don't Recognize. And he's debuting at the World's Most Famous Arena, and how does that make Matt Morgan feel? It's what Matt Morgan has been waiting for all Matt Morgan's life, says Matt Morgan. Matt Morgan is going to dominate anybody who steps in Matt Morgan's path, and when Matt Morgan is done, everybody will know the name of.... Matt Morgan. But no, he didn't deliver it in a "Goldust" sort of way. Instead, every time he said his own last name, he stuttered heroically. The gimmick isn't that he's a stuttering retard (a la Language Mangler Randy Orton), he just has a bona fide speech impediment. Which is dumb, but trust me: if Morgan can deliver the goods in the ring and connect with the fans a bit, all you have to do is look to Buh Buh Ray Dudley, circa 1995, to see how this will play out....  Bubba was originally "Buh Buh" because when he debuted as the fifth or sixth Dudley, he was the stuttering one who couldn't say his own name, so he kept saying "Buh Buh Buh Buh Buh" and the crowd would chant "What's Your Name? What's Your Name?" at him. And then the night when Bubba finally spat it out without stuttering, the ECW Arena exploded, and Bubba Ray Dudley went on to become perhaps the greatest of all the Dudleys. So there *is* light at the end of this tunnel. Just as long as they don't start billing him as Muh-Muh Ray Morgan. To be honest: I'm surprised that the NYC crowd wasn't sharp enough to go ahead and jump start the gimmick with the "What's Your Name?" chant.... although WWE didn't give them a chance, as Morgan got no in-ring mic time.

Elsewhere Backstage: the Bashams are chatting, and in storms Orlando Jordan to tell them they better get their act together and help him soften up John Cena later tonight, otherwise JBL will fire them from the Cabinet. Upon the verbal dressing-down, D. Basham says "I'm getting really sick of this crap," while D. Basham eyes his brother with suspicion. Trouble in Basham Land?

[ads]

Matt Muh-Muh-Morgan vs. Some Guy

Enhancing the "somebody must have been watching his ECW tapes" vibe here: Morgan comes out to the "Theme From Rise and Fall of ECW DVD."  And then he basically assaulted a jobber, pausing frequently to shout "Are you laughing at me?" as he's clearly sensitive about his impediment. Morgan displayed a smoothly-delivered power arsenal that should make Chris Masters weep with jealousy. And then he finished off Some Guy with a cool move that I don't know what to call it: started as a vertical suplex, but at the apex, Morgan inverts the guy in a snap and turns it into something more like a Rock Bottom. C'mon, WWE fans: "What's Your Name? What's Your Name?"...

Backstage: JBL and Angle are walking down a hallway getting ready for their match. And the hilarious bickering? It continues still. They are actually arguing about which one hates the other more, but doing it in way so harmlessly 3rd-grade that it's just gut-bustingly funny.

[ads]

JBL/Kurt Angle vs. Big Show/Booker T

A match in two phases: First was a bit of feeling out, with frequent tags on both sides. Show and JBL started, Angle and Booker both got in... they sort of settled in just enough so that Booker could make the Decoy Hot Tag to Show at the 3-4 minute mark: Show came in, regained the offensive for a bit, but when he tagged Booker back in, THEN we settled in for the real Face In Peril Phase.

And with Booker in Peril, Angle did about 90% of the work for his team, so this was about as good as good can be. I don't want to jinx anything, but Angle's looking super-sharp lately. JBL was making himself useful, too, as he and Angle had a full plethora of Dirty Tricks Up Their Sleeves. This went on for a very entertaining 6-7 minutes, but Booker's biggest cheerleader (and his new mouthpeice?) was at ringside: his wife Sharmell cheered him on, and finally, he hit a DDT on Angle and was able to make the REAL hot tag to Show.

Show came in, went berzerk, having what honestly seemed like one of his most fun and intense 2 minute offensive outbursts in a long time. That's how you book The Giant, says I. This all builds up to a sweet spot where Show is getting ready to chokeslam JBL, but Angle comes up from behind and picks Show off with an Angle Slam. Straps down, and an "Angle, Angle" chant from the appreciative crowd. I'm with you, MSG! But the heels can't control things for long, after getting one near fall on Show, Booker comes in to help even the odds. But Angle takes care of Booker, while JBL ends up on the short end of the stick against Show. Angle eyeballs Show dominating JBL, and moves to make the save. But something in Kurt's head clicks, and he just walks away, instead. JBL barely has time to glance longingly at his hated partner before Booker and Show attack... and it sets up a HUUUUUUGGGE chokeslam by Show (it was like Cruiserweight Elevation, and it was on the 300 lbs. JBL). Three seconds later, Show's got the win, but Angle smirking at the top of the entrance aisle looks pretty damned pleased for a loser. Upwards of 15 minutes, and really quite entertaining. My Match of the Week, actually.

[ads]

Prostetnic Vogon Heidenreich's Poetry Moment

You know what sucks? The "Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy" movie comes out in a week, and I *thought* it was going to launch such obscure in-jokes like "Prostetnic Vogon Heidenreich" into the mainstream once America embraced the cult classic. But instead, I gather the movie blows chunks and was completely gutted of its unique charm and humor. We shall see, but I'm suddenly less confident that anybody will be flocking to understand just why a hOOpy frOOd such as myself always knows where my towel is...

Heidenreich hits the ring, and it's to talk, not to wrestle. Which means it'll still mostly suck, but at least nobody will get hurt. Right? He says that he's actually made friends in New York City, and he likes it here. NYC is not so quick to embrace Heidenreich, though. Until he decides to bring out one of his new friends: the Brooklyn Brawler. In inordinately large pop for the one-time jobber who we all know the real story about why he ended up getting pushed, now don't we? Then again, didn't I once jest that all things vaguely-gay tend to gravitate towards Heidenreich? HA~!

Heidenreich wants to read his new friend a poem, a poem about their blossoming friendship. But when Heidenreich is done with his "bad-but-not-nearly-bad-enough-to-be-funny" caliber verse, Brawler, every the Literary Critic, notes that it was "embarrassing." Heidenreich no likey criticism! But Brawler's not done: because the only thing MORE embarrassing was the way the Yankees choked against the Red Sox in the playoffs last year. Apparently, he's still not gotten the memo that Erin Anderson alone is responsible for jinxing the Yankees and breaking the Curse of the Bambino. So in his ignorance, Brawler decides to turn his back on all things New York, tearing off his Yankees shirt to reveal a Red Sox shirt. Boo!

Heidenreich does a quick bit of relationship calculus and decides if New Yorkers are his friends, but if Brawler is no longer a New Yorker, than Brawler is NOT Heidenreich's friend. Oy. You know, if I wanted to watch this sort of thing, I'd probably know which day of the week "Sesame Street" was on. But I don't. So once he puzzled out who is friends with whom, Heidenreich beat the shit out of Brawler to a tepidly-positive response. Whee. You know: if Heidenreich the character is gonna catch on, he's got to find a way to be not just bad, but so bad it's funny... and even if that happens, when you know that Heidenreich's gonna suck once the bell rings, he's still a hard sell for me.

[ads]

Rey Mysterio/Eddie Guerrero vs. MNM (Tag Team Title Match)

I shit you not: it seemed like this match started, and before anything happens that I even really remember, we cut to....

[ads]

Back, and the faces control for a bit, as we go back-and-forth with rapid tags. But then we have to settle in, as formula dictates. Eddie gets caught in the ring, as MNM display their teamwork. Tazz does a good job getting across the point that MNM have clearly been working together as a team for a long time, and that Eddie's accepting their challenge in the heat of the moment might be resulting in them not being quite ready for an unknown team. But then that's also countered by his point that the experience of the champs means that they're ALWAYS ready for a challenge, and that he's sure they'll get back in the match.

As if on cue, Eddie stages his comeback and tags in Rey. Some pretty wild Pier Four brawling, and we eventually get to Rey setting up Mercury for the 619... but that's when Melina made her presence felt: she hopped up and draped herself over Mercury, causing Rey to stop, since it's not cool to boot girls in the head. Eddie saw this and bailed out to ringside to yank Melina off the ring apron. But Melina, sensing an opportunity, leapt into Eddie's arms, burying his face in her amply-enhanced bosom, effectively blinding Eddie.

Meantime, in the ring, Rey was caught from behind by Nitro, and when Mercury recovered, they hit him with the same tag team finisher as the week before. Eddie finally seemed to begin trying in earnest to escape his own private (and chesty) jail, but once he pried Melina off him, it was too late: Rey had been pinned, and we've got new WWE Tag Champs. Hard to judge time because of the ad break, but I'm guessing it was maybe 6 minutes AFTER the ad break, and not too hateful: like I said, Melina has got some Nidia to her when it comes to understanding how to work herself into a match, and as time goes on I think we'll see that she continues to be a big part of the psychology of MNM's finishes. Which is good... gives 'em a hook. Now if we could just lose the fucking cheesy-ass fake paparazzi on the ring entrance (the clearly dubbed-in shutter-clicking sound effects are especially awful and embarrassing), I'd be pretty much sanguine on MNM...

The RAW Rebound: I don't recap recaps. Especially when it wasn't nearly as good as my recap.

[ads]

Backstage: MNM approach their limo, and Melina's trying to make it sound like Hollywood's A-list are catching private jets to NYC to party with MNM after their victory. At least here, the fake paparazzi seem a bit more in-context... you can play up the silly part of the gimmick backstage, but in the arena, it doesn't seem quite as right. A red carpet and a manager who'll help you win matches is plenty... leave the cheesy, eyeball-role-inducing parts to the skits, where it's OK to be funny, instead of convincing.

John Cena vs. Mainstream Popularity

John Cena hit the ring for the main event, but first, he wants to address all his fans in NYC. And although there was a VERY mild undercurrent of discontent from the second he opened his mouth (easily drowned out by the more vociferous "Cena, Cena" chants), Cena actually managed to press all the wrong buttons to INCREASE his lack of appeal. I can't believe WWE actually thought that -- amongst all the rest of Cena's already-patronizing pandering -- it was actually a good idea to obliquely reference 9/11 to try to get NYC to cheer him.

Oh, but wait: it wasn't JUST an oblique 9/11 reference, it had a double purpose! Or maybe when Cena ended his very somber commentary on just how special NYC was by noting, "And it's amazing that no matter what happens to you, you people here in New York City always overcome, and you adapt," he wasn't talking about 9/11 at all! Because 2 minutes later, he brought it all back around to HIMSELF by saying, and that's why unlike those stuffed-shirt traditonalists such as JBL, New York City has overcome and adapated and embraced John Cena by joining the Chain Gang! I shit you not: WWE sent Cena out there with a ramble that somehow managed to take something that I thought was an ill-advised reference to NYC adapting after 9/11, and turned it into Cena crediting NYC for adapting to join the Chain Gang. Christ... if it was just me, I'd not mention it, but from here on out, Cena was probably getting about 30% boos. And probably not from people feeling particularly sensitive about 9/11, probably just from people who hated that Cena's punchline was that "If you're cool and awesome like me, you'll have adapted and joined the Chain Gang, cuz anybody who hasn't is a loser." But NYC, showing they are, indeed, the early adopters, met that sentiment with a rather strong, "Um, no: in fact, we've adapted so quickly that you are now in danger of being yesterday's news, John Cena."

Still, a good 70% pro-Cena contingent is not to be trifled with, so when Cena declares that it's time for a fight, and that if Orlando wants some, he can [mic raise], he gets a little sugar from MSG. And a few boos, too. And that fight, by the way? Is coming up after these...

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John Cena vs. Orlando Jordan (Double Non-Title Match)

Only D. Basham is at ringside with OJ. D. Basham apparently decided to stay in the back because he's "sick of this crap." But one D. Basham is enough, and for about 5 minutes, this was mostly OJ in control, in part thanks to D. Basham's help. The target was Cena's lower back and ribs after D. Basahm rammed Cena into the ring apron during the early stages.

So it was a reverse bearhug that OJ opted for as his Easily-Fired-Up-Out-Of Resthold Of Choice...  sho' 'nuff, Cena begins feeling the energy of the audience (note: it was perhaps enough to light a 60-watt bulb, though it did pick up a tinch by the end), and escapes. Double count-down by the ref, and we enter End Game.

Cena started his rally, and managed to continually thwart D. Basham's interference attempts, despite ALSO stopping continually to do all his annoying affectations (Five Knuckle Shuffle, pumping up the Reeboks, et al). It's like John Cena is superman! Two men cannot beat him! But how about three? Because after one exchange in which Cena dispatched D. Basham and then still managed to catch OJ on the top rope before he could pounce (crotching OJ on the top turnbuckle), the ref got distracted by D. Basham, allowing D. Basham to making his SHOCKING APPEARANCE from underneath the ring! He was still on-board all along! So with D. Basham distracting the ref, D. Basham whacked Cena in the skull with the US Title belt. OJ re-ascended to the top rope and hit a Macho Man Elbow, but Cena kicked out.

From there, it was a re-fire-up with nothing but punchy-kicky by Cena. He quickly managed to get rid of D. Basham again, and then Irish Whipped OJ into the other D. Basham. From there, it was a simple matter of an F-U and a pinfall win. There continues to be an undercurrent of boos for Cena, just as there were for a few of his "trademark" spots: less than half the crowd, sure, but more than a few. Something to keep an eye on.

So much for softening up the champ, huh? Probably about an 8 minute main event and very flat for the first half (Cena didn't help matters with his promo, but I put this mostly on OJ being a non-compelling main eventer at this point; the 70% strong support for Cena would have been there in spades for him with a different opponent, I'd hope), but picking up in the final 2 minutes or so. Final shot is Cena rumbling, bumbling, and stumbling into the crowd so he can celebrate with Christian's Peeps.

WEEKEND NEWS: Ratings, Austin, Trish, and More 

  • First things first: on Wednesday, I mentioned a bunch of Trish Stratus interview quotes that had been mailed to me by Alert Readers cognizant of my fondness for the current WWE Women's Champ. The interview was apparently in Maxim Magazine, but I did (even back on Wednesday, check the column!) note that it was odd that I was only getting typed-out quotes, and not links to Maxim's website or anything... I theorized maybe it was a print-edition-only feature or something.
     
    Turns out, it was a made-up-edition feature. The interview, now, apparently doesn't exist and never did. About half the people who sent along the quotes sheepishly have e-mailed back in the last 36 hours to say that apparently the interview was a hoax, and that they'd only cut-and-pasted from various newsboards or whatever, but that they thought it was real and now the same crap-ass newsboards say it isn't, and they're sorry, and all that. And OK, so you folks are off the hooks... the other half-dozen or so of you who didn't have the balls to mail back and apologize for helping make me look like an ass? *YOU* I shall never forgive!
     
    Though to be honest, I'm not sure how big an ass I looked like... out of the gate, I didn't bother re-printing the entire block of text just because it seemed somehow.... I dunno... but just OFF.  Not right.
     
    And then I spent half that bullet point rambling about how vapidly fake-y most of the drivel spewed forth in Maxim (and its ilk) is, and how it wouldn't surprise me if the Trish quotes consisted of her exaggerating or fabricating stuff just to get a rise out of the under-sexed tossers who devour such publications. "Naked laundry" just seemed a little too good to be true, you know? And then lines like the ones where Trish critiqued her own ass (as being "Big and smooth, probably from all those years of working out') sure as hell seemed like they couldn't be said with a straight face, too.
     
    So guess what? I was right that the quotes weren't totally on the level! And I was right about that a full day before anybody else bothered figuring out the hoax! I was just wrong about WHO made the stuff up. I'd offer a bright, shiny nickel to anybody who *does* know the source of the hoax, but I just realized something: I don't care. Somebody who reads enough Maxim to be able to convincingly duplicate the genre is somebody I don't even want on my radar. Remain anonymous, Mysterious Toolbox!

    And my suspicions and oddly-perceptive presentation of the issue on Wednesday aside, it still boils down to me reporting a falsehood, which sucks. Sorry for any confusion. But this is just one of those things where it's easy to get hung up to dry: not a tidbit of news or anything, just a critical mass of e-mails reporting on an interview they saw, and it's easy to get lazy on double-checking such things. So if you ever want to know how to get the Rick to print something bogus, there you go: you and 7-8 of your friends just need to tell me about something you read/saw/heard, and even if you don't have a link to the real deal, I'll probably just believe it, make a note, and toss it into a column.
     
    [dangeresque]Or will I?[/dangeresque]  Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, and all that...
     
  • The rating for last night's SD! was a 3.2, which is back down a few notches for SD!. With Thursday's no longer the juggernaut of Must-See TV nights (thankfully, "The Apprentice" is now flopping, and that "Friends" spin-off is thankfully not duplicating the original's ability to garner an ill-gotten audience), it's not like you can point to competition as the reason for SD! coming up a bit short. Or at least, you can't point to it like you USED TO be able to point to it. I guess lots of people watch that "CSI," and that's on head-to-head with SD!...
     
    Still, a 3.2 is good enough for fourth-place on the night, and Thursdays remain pretty much UPN's highest rated night of the week. So bravo for a 3.2, even if it's about a 9% drop from recent averages, I guess? Viva la John Cena!
     
  • Actually, speaking of Cena as champ: it's looking like his first PPV challenger will be JBL in a rematch. Early promotion for Judgment Day apparently indicates that Cena vs. JBL will headline, and it will be an "I Quit" Match. Makes sense, as adding that stip would pretty much mean that if JBL has to say he quits, he also has to quit carrying around his duplicate WWE Title belt. I hope they can make a go of this feud the second time around... 
     
  • But then again: maybe Judgment Day isn't the end of the road for Cena vs. JBL. In a semi-surprising announcement, a SD! tour of Europe in June has been announced during the current overseas tour... and in June, Cena vs. JBL vs. Kurt Angle will be headlining shows in Dublin and Scotland.
     
    Adding to the intrigue: Steve Austin was announced as being the Enforcer Referee for those matches. Interesting not just because it might mean that Austin will also be returning to TV in order to justify this role... but also because it would mean he'd return to SD!, which is not what I would have expected.
     
    Then again, with a Draft Lottery slated to take place between now and June, who's to say that Austin's allegiance couldn't easily be addressed then? 
     
    But if you assume that, then does the fact that WWE is announcing JBL vs. Angle vs. Cena for June mean that all three will be staying on SD! after the Draft, too? Spoilers of omission, maybe? Or do we just chalk all this up to "Card Subject to Change" and move on?
     
    I say let's do the last one, otherwise our heads will explode.
     
  • Speaking of distant-future matches, some people wrote in in the last day wondering if it's true that Vengeance (now a RAW PPV, replacing Bad Blood in late June) is gonna be headlined by Triple H vs. Batista in a Hell in the Cell Match.

    I don't know about that. It makes sense from the perspective that it will have been one full year since the last Cell match come June, so the gimmick could be ready for another go-round, and from the perspective that an increasingly-desperate HHH (after Batista dares to kick out of his Extremely Awesome Pedigree of Extreme Awesomeness) might ask for that match for his third (and one would hope, final) rematch... assuming June would be deemed the end of Batista vs. HHH and time to start something fresh, I guess I could see them busting out HitC.
     
    But from a perspective of "WWE still doesn't even really know for sure what they're gonna do with the Draft Lottery," I wouldn't necessarily bet on anything. Again "Card Subject to Change" and all that...
     
  • Some news that is "big" in the same way SmackDown! being "cancelled" by UPN was "big".... namely, that it is a pretty major issue, but it won't be a major issue till September 2006, so there's no point getting our panties bunched for at least another 15 months or so.
     
    See, when ESPN took over the rights to Monday Night Football starting in the 2006-2007 season, that didn't really have much effect on RAW for us here in the US. If there is an effect, it'll be that MNF becomes an even MORE marginal phenomenon (ratings have been in decline for a while, as Monday night games no longer seemed much more special than any other ones, and the match-ups featured were often not the most thrilling). It's likely that ESPN will do MONSTER numbers with MNF, but just by virtue of being on cable rather than on ABC, the best they could hope for is roughly 85% of ABC's old ratings. And that's a best-case scenario with no other ratings erosion.
     
    That *might* mean a few more marginal fans in the young-male demo available to WWE during the fall months, but I wouldn't necessarily think too long or too hard about it. This isn't a big enough deal to have a massive impact on RAW, domestically.
     
    But in Canada? In Canada, this will be big. TSN currently picks up NFL games broadcast by ESPN. TSN also broadcasts RAW live on Monday's. TSN will have to make a decision by September 2006 as to what to do about that conflict.
     
    RAW is a strongly performing show for them, and has a fanbase that will be very vocal if TSN jerks them around. But NFL football would probably do significantly bigger ratings (I can only assume you wacky Canucks, if you can support your own cute little football league, also are big fans of the NFL, right?).
     
    Will TSN try to have its cake and eat it too (whatever that cliche even means; if you have some cake, why the fuck WOULDN'T you eat it?) by airing MNF live, and pre-empting RAW to a late night or Tuesday night slot? Would Canadians accept that? Would TSN actually pick live RAW telecasts over the NFL? Will WWE have to shop around for a new home in Canada?
     
    Lots of questions. But again: we've got 15 months to figure out answers, so I wouldn't get too worried. Personally, I'd say this: christ, TSN, even the crappiest cable packages in the US have at LEAST 3 different ESPN's on them. I think mine has 5. So why not just get "TSN2" on the air by 2006, and everything will be dandy... RAW live on TSN2 every Monday, with a late night replay on the Mothership, after MNF. It's just that easy.
     
  • Many people mailed in to say that they've read (uh oh! hoax alert?!?) that the Rock is under consideration to play "He-Man" in a new "Masters of the Universe" movie.
     
    And I feel comfortable mentioning it because if the Rock made every movie he was rumored to be attached to, he'd be putting out 8 films a year for the next decade. And since I trust that you all know that's not gonna happen, I know you'll take this with the shaker of salt that it deserves.
     
    Plus: I'll say that unless Steve Austin is signed to play Skeletor, Rock shouldn't take the job, anyway. And Steve Austin WON'T take the job, because he's locked up to make EXCLUSIVELY shitty movies for WWE Films!
     
  • And speaking of WWE's head-up-it's-own-ass and trying-too-hard-to-be-something-it's-not problems raring up to rob fans of an opportunity to be massively amused...
     
    It was announced yesterday that Jack Black has officially agreed to star in an as-yet-untitled wrestling movie. It's going to be the story of a Mexican priest who, to raise money for his impoverished worshippers, dons a mask and becomes a professional wrestler. YES~! And it's gonna be written/directed by the same folks who brought us "School of Rock" (which just so happens to be rocketing up my list of favorite movies ever, with each successive DVD viewing), so not only is the premise pretty funny, but I'm thinking the execution will be sweet, too.
     
    Now, see, here's the deal: Jack Black's gonna need to learn to wrestle a bit, right? He may not be at ALL a physical specimen, but he's a deceptively coordinated and graceful man, and I can only assume that (mask or no), he won't be relying exclusively on stunt men. So if I'm WWE and I DON'T have a a vest interest in trying to run my own crappy movie company, and I hear this? I start thinking about wanting to help out and see if we can't get Jack Black a bit of experience while helping ourselves to get access for a few weeks to a celebrity who is a proven live-audience commodity and could help the product.
     
    Here's what *I* am thinking....
     
    Jack Black is currently finishing up the first Tenacious D movie, I believe. Then it's some other project, and then it's the wrestling movie. Which means: when the Tenacious D movie is coming out and need publicity is just about when you can figure Jack Black is gonna be getting started on prepping for the wrestling movie. Perfect timing!
     
    Have Chris Jericho and his Token Guitar Player continue to periodically bust out the two-man jams to taunt opponents for the next 9 months or so... have them begin referring to themselves as the Greatest and Best Band in the World. And when the time comes, have their silly little songs be interrupted all of a sudden. The lights go out, devilish imagery appears on the TitanTron, 2 bars of tasty rock licks play over the sound system, and then.... everything goes back to normal. But Jericho and Guitar Player are spooked by the interruptions, which become increasingly ominous, and warn that if homage is not paid to the true gods of rock, then Jericho will be smited.
     
    But Jericho will not prostrate himself before any other rock stars! And so it is thus that Tenacious D is forced to come on to WWE TV to defend their crown as the Greatest and Best Band in the World. Conveniently enough, exactly at the same time they have a movie coming out. Obviously, the no brainer punchline to the whole thing is Jack Black getting some training (not much, as neither the movie nor any WWE match will be predicated on OMG WORKRATE~! but rather on Jack's physical comedy and ability to entertain, but enough to take basic bumps and hit a few big spots; my guess is he'd be better than Spaz in 3 weeks time), leading up to a Fozzy Lite vs. Tenacious D tag match in which Jericho and Jack do most of the work and KG and Jerihco's guitar player stand around, run interference, and try not to fuck things up too badly.
     
    But who cares about the punchline, when the month or so worth of appearances by Tenacious D would result in the opportunities for weekly hilarity the likes of which WWE has rarely seen. It'd be like a month straight of Rock Meets Eugene! The promos! The pre-taped skits! The live Rock-Offs! It'd be awesome! 
     
    I mean, everybody agrees Fozzy Lite's song from Monday was goofy, but they've got LOTS of room to go before they can match the intentional lyrical silliness of Tenacious D gems like this one: 
     
    Listen honey /
    Thinkin' 'bout a couple things to say to you /
    Showin', growin' /
    Man I'd like to place my hand upon your fuckin' sexy ass /
    And squeeze.
     
    And squeee-heeee-heee-heeeze!

    Take off your blouse and your underpants /
    Then take a look, cuz here me and KG /
    Come naked, out of the side-hatch /
    With the oils and perfume and incense.

     
    That right there is the blueprint for writing a lyrics so intentionally crappy that they actually boomarang back around and work! Forget crooning "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" to your lady, that's just BAD; what we need here is so bad it's good!  Look at it as a chance for Fozzy Lite to up its game, as they aspire to the D! Because Tenacious D is pretty much exactly what Jericho's gimmick SHOULD turn into if he and WWE wanted to continue running with it....
     
    And the D really are a surprisingly awesome fit into the WWE mold, in terms of types of things they do to entertain their audience. If you haven't seen it, the Tenacious D DVD from about 15 months ago should be required viewing for anybody who likes Rock and likes funny shit. And once you enjoy the whole thing, you'll see how perfectly the Tenacious D sensibility would work in a quick run for WWE: the live concert shows them working a crowd masterfully, complete with in-show heel turns and promo work. And the episodes (and especially the bonus mini-films) are the sorts of one-off little set pieces that would fit in perfect as backstage skits. 
     
    As soon as I read the announcement of Jack Black making a wrestling movie, I couldn't stop myself from envisioning the many glorious possibilities. Actually, strike that: glorious IMpossibilities.
     
    Because as entertaining as it might be for us fans to get a Celebrity Guest Star who actually brings something entertaining to the table for once, for as logical as it would be to promote a Tenacious D movie when it comes out, for as ideal an opportunity as it would be for one of the stars of that movie to get invaluable live wrestling experience before going off to shoot a wrestling movie, it'll never happen. Because (a) it really is a pretty fantastical scenario I just wove, there, now isn't it? Although I think it would be fun, there are just too many other factors in play to make it truly plausibe. [I do, however, stand by my other idea for a mainstream crossovery deal: that if WWE and NBC/Universal don't pursue a WWE-themed edition of "Celebrity Poker" on USA's sister network, Bravo, commensurate with RAW's return to USA, then all parties involved are retards.] So yeah, a fun idea, but also quite outrageous... 
     
    But the other (equally problematic reason) is because (b) even if the D was amenable and available for such an involved stint, WWE would be highly unlikely to invest 4 weeks of their TV promoting a movie they didn't make while also helping an actor to get trained for ANOTHER movie that they also aren't making. Because that's bad business.
     
    No WWE, it wouldn't be bad business: it'd be good TV. Bad business is what it was when you decided to start up a film division in the first place.
     
  • And hell.... when you get a lengthy outline of last night's drunken free-form Fantasy Booking of a Tenacious D vs. Tenacious C feud, you know I'm running out of material. Hope you enjoyed the yarn, at least, kids....
     
    So I think I'll tap out here today, and see you again on Monday. Enjoy your weekend, enjoy the TNA PPV if that be your cup o' tea (we'll have those results covered here Monday on OO, too!), and we'll be talking RAW again before you know it. 


  
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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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