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Forecasting RAW, Buzz Continues to 
Build for ECW PPV, and MORE!
May 9, 2005

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


If it's May, that can only mean one thing... the return of the Annual Tradition of me trying to unload my family's Indianapolis 500 Tickets!
Even though scheduling conflicts have made it harder for my mom to make use of these tickets with passing years, they are simply too freaking good to give up, so she keeps on ordering them; I can't dispute the logic, since if we ever CAN go to the Indy 500 again, I want to fricking sit IN THOSE SEATS, and not have to wait another 30 years in order keep

moving up the Priority List before we'd get them back.

So, simply put: if you like auto racing at all, I've got your hook up for Sunday, May 29. Whether you're familiar with the 500, or if you're a NASCAR fan who might be interested in a slightly more exciting brand of racing, you'll have a blast sitting about 8 rows up from the track, and almost DIRECTLY on the start-finish line. So not only are you in prime position to have just about the best look at all the racing action coming down to the wire, but also of what's going on in the pits, and as a special bonus, you'll also be right there for all the pre-race pageantry and stuff. The feeling of satisfaction you'll have from knowing that there's a half-million people at the race, and 495,000 have worse seats than you will also be quite fulfilling!

The tickets are for the Paddock, Box 16; I don't have the specific seat numbers, since I stupidly forgot to write them down when I was at my mom's last night. But just check this here seating chart, and you'll get the general idea. Box 16 is right at the S/F line (about 15 yards past it, actually, so the flag-waver stand isn't in your way or anything), and just trust The Rick: you're in maybe the sixth or eighth row back from the track, and it doesn't get much better than that. It's a pair of tickets, face valued at $90 EACH (for a total of $180).

If you are interested, e-mail me. I'll give 'em to the first person to offer face value or better, and this won't turn into an auction or a scalping. We can arrange delivery of the tickets (if you're local to Dayton, I'll gladly play courier; otherwise we can arrange a pick-up if you have to pass through town on the way to Indy, or we can make a FedEx exchange on your dime; whatever works), and I'll also pass along a few other tips in terms of scheduling/parking/etc. for your day at the track.

Remember: this ONCE IN A LIFETIME OFFER will only be repeated on an annual basis, so act now! Or at least see if you and other frustrated readers can scrounge up $180 so that I'll quit rambling like this and just get on with the wrestling:

  • Tonight's RAW continues the little mini-experiment of naming what'll probably end up being a "Free Per View" challenger to Batista. 
    Going back to last Monday when we talked about the flexibility RAW's schedule allowed them, this is exactly the sort of way to create a month's worth of compelling episodic television to fill time until the Draft Lottery and the push to the next RAW-only PPV will begin in earnest.... three weeks of tournament matches leading up to a fourth week where Batista defends the title against the new contender? That works for me; and making it even more compelling: much to everybody's pleasant surprise, Triple H has already been eliminated from contention! YAY for something fresh!
    Although: HHH's story is almost certainly not done being told. He's still got that annoying dangling loose-end from the PPV, where he can claim that Batista never kicked out of the Pedigree and that a shoddy refereeing job cost him the title. I still vote that that is Quite Lame, and that for as flaccid as the "Unbeatable Pedigree" story was heading into the PPV, you just shoot your wad and have Batista kick out of the Pedigree right then and there. But NOOOOOOOO, we must give HHH something about which to blather on for tens of minutes at a stretch on Mondays, mustn't we? So even though four other men have advanced to the semi-finals of the Eric Bischoff Gold Rush Tournament, you can probably go ahead and set aside a good 15 minutes of time for HHH's mission statement tonight: he'll not get the tournament award of a FPV Title Shot on May 23, but conventional wisdom still says he's manuevering to be in the PPV main event against Batista in June.
    But for now, how's about we think happier thoughts? Because we do have 4 men competing in two semi-finals tonight. And three of them would make dandy challengers to Batista. Last week, we saw Shawn Michaels bust out some of his heelish chops against Shelton Benjamin, and pardon me for thinking that it'd be fascinating to see what HBK and Batista might do together. Remember: Michaels is the man what had ****+ matches with both Nash *and* Sid, and I think Batista's probably got a little bit more raw talent to start with than either of those two had. I shouldn't have to tell you about Benoit: I've only been stumping for a heel turn and a title challenger run for Benoit since, what?, January. You can probably explain my reasons why better than I could at this point. At least, if you've been paying attentions. And Edge? Hey, you can argue about the reasons why, but he's about as strong a heel as RAW's got right now who *isn't* HHH, so if you want to throw him in there against Batista, it works for me.
    Only Kane is really not all that thrilling an option at this point: he's got just too much other weird baggage. Is he a heel or a face? Or is he a face, but with a "wife" who is a heel? Do #1 contenders actually have feuds with Heat-caliber guys like Viscera? Nothing against Kane, but the Creative Team Unit needs to get his situation sorted out before they start throwing him into title matches. [I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention an outside fifth possibility, which many people wrote in about: they think that HHH will somehow get back into the tournament via a loophole where "concussed" Chris Benoit is not medically cleared to wrestle. This would also probably send me into a murderous rage, but as outlined above: I think we are doing this more to do a little Free-Per-View title match, and NOT to determine the next PPV challenger. They'll get the Gold Rush tourney and title match done just in time to do the Draft Lottery, at which point, things will re-reset. So no need to go theorizing about HHH conspiracies to win this tourney. All indications still point to him already having arranged to headline the June PPV against Batista, possibly in a Hell in the Cell match.]
    Tonight's two matches are Michaels vs. Edge, and then Benoit vs. Kane. The former should just flat-out rock, and the latter, I'm guessing won't be too hateful, either. Benoit's ability to sell an injury (a concussion) and establish the psychology of a match, and Kane's ability to be a convincing big-ass bruiser, should make for a nice meshing of styles.
    And better yet: I really don't know who'll win either match, and the winner of one match does NOT telegraph the winner of the second one. This is sweet, because if HHH had advanced instead of Benoit, not only would that have robbed us of a huge surprise last week, it would also have rendered the semi-finals BOTH into foregone conclusions.  Instead, now either man can win either match, and all four possible finals matches can, conceivably, work. I know conventional wisdom is that Edge "should" win, since he's a heel, and both the guys on the opposite side of the bracket are faces, but c'mon: is anybody in the general audience gonna be anything less than excited for the prospects of a Benoit/Michaels match, or something along those lines? I think not... so viva la ambiguity and uncertainty! I love not knowing exactly what to expect, while simultaneously feeling like any of the possible outcomes is desirable.... that doesn't happen often with recent WWE storytelling.
    Once we leave the realm of the Gold Rush Tourney, and the likely appearance for HHH to spew some Highly Predictable Verbiage at us, that leaves one more X Factor in the main event picture: What of Dave Batista? Last week, the champ's job consisted of unsmoothly hitting on Spaz, standing around an empty room watching TV, and then showing up for a 90 second run in at the end of the show... for as generally exciting as last week's RAW was, it was *still* not a win of a week for Batista, who has yet to be the star of any show since winning the title at WM21. I'd like to see that change with WWE finally realizing what it was about Dave Batista that fans like, and then focusing on those things. Instead of trying to make him into a ladies' man, or a dirty cheater, or a lonely TV-addicted goon, like they did last week.... we may have been distracted by other elements of goodness last week, but let's not lose sight of this rather major issue, OK, folks?
    Beyond that, RAW is just a wide open playing field. Because of the freedom to do basically consequence-free storytelling for a few more weeks until the draft lottery and the start of genuine build-up for Vengeance, we got a deal where there really aren't any complex or compelling storylines tying any wrestlers together into a feud. The new tag champs are without any top contenders. The IC champ kind of made peace with his last contender last week and now doesn't really have anything on his plate. The women's champ is out injured and even if she's on TV, her primary opposition is even more injured than her so they can't really do anything constructive there. The break-out star of the last month seems like he's practically punched his ticket to go to SD! already, and can only cut so many promos about His Peeps before it gets stale. Means there's lots of possibilities out there, but it also means that creating compelling situations out of such an Orgy of Disorganization is not exactly the easiest thing in the world.
    If I had to make a few guesses:
    (1) Feed the Heartthrobs to Hurricane/Rosey in the near term. Don't know if that necessarily means tonight, but we simply can't take anymore of La Resistance. And then, I remain steadfast that when Eugene is ready to come back, you will somehow want Regal/Tajiri in the mix, either as champs or as top challengers, and that then, one of Tajiri or Eugene should probably go heel and find another partner, and BAM, you'll have something fun in the tag division.
    (2) In WWE Logic, this is a week where Shelton needs a relatively easy win on TV. As the IC Champ, he got pinned last week, so he "needs his heat back." In Rick Logic, I say last week's match against Michaels was a "win," anyway, and that he won over more fans by losing a killer 15 minute match than he would be beating Simon Fucking Dean in a 3 minute squash. I'd rather they follow up by letting Shelton continue to showcase his ability in matches, rather than worrying about antiquated notions like "getting his heat back." You know what I'd LOVE tonight, actually: the re-emergence of Christian as an IC Challenger. Kills two birds with one stone, since Christian's also aimlessly wandering at this point. Also: the two are "married" to each other on house show line-ups into July, so that's probably something that's gonna be reflected on TV, no? And plus: if Christian's not jumping to SD!, I think having him take Shelton's title would be a very cool move. Again: Shelton is at a point in his career where if the matches are that good, he can "win" by losing... a nice long Chase trying to get his belt back from Christian would be neat.
    (3) Speaking of Christian, is it just me, or is the Lovely Miss Tomko maybe not gonna be his Problem Solver for much longer? Or at the very least, Tomko's seemed to go into business for himself against Kane the last few weeks, and Christian hasn't exactly had his back. I don't know if this is just how they intend to set up a Kane/Tomko mini-feud, or if it's really a case of Tomko branching off. I'd really hope they wouldn't break up Tomko and Christian, though.... the only other thing I'm thinking is that Tomko continuing to go after Kane could set him up to be Trish's next Hired Dude. And whatever other reasons there might be for putting Trish and Tomko together, you'll get the added bonus that if they are, Christian might not exactly be pleased that his ex is now fraternizing with his Loyal Valet. Or am I thinking too hard?
    (4) And the last thing that even remotely resembles a likely story possibility is the continued bitch-i-fication of Khosrow Daivari. Last week, he got slapped around by Muhammad Hassan, and still remained subservient. You think that's gonna last? If so, how does this vibe play into Hassan's matches? If not, is Daivari going to break out as the "reformed Angry Ay-rab" who realizes that America's not so bad a place, or something? I dunno...
    So like I said: a pretty wide-open night for RAW outside of the two semis and the inevitability of promo/angle time for HHH and Batista. Should be interesting stuff. And with plenty of other interesting things threatening to occupy my time tonight, I am very pleased to let you know that Erin Anderson's stepping in to recap this show. Which means that I can relax and take the night off from Careful RAW Viewing, but which also means you, the Loyal Home Viewer, won't miss out on anything: whether it's detailed results (because you missed the show) or pithy humor and analysis (because you saw the show and want somebody to make it more entertaining) that you want, the OO RAW Recap will continue to be the finest in the explored universe when it is published tomorrow. Be there, or kindly be square!
  • The June 12 ECW Reunion PPV continues to be the source of much excitement... not only are over $600,000 worth of tickets expected to sell out nearly instantly when they go on sale Saturday, but the start of promotion for the show has even jaded fans getting a little bit fired up.
    After initial indications that this would be a glossed-up "WWE presents ECW" PPV, all advertising for the One Night Stand PPV is curiously devoid of the WWE name or logo. This is both for TV and print ads that I've seen. A lot of people were concerned that WWE would put their stamp on the show in an effort to bring in more viewers, but in so doing, they would "water down" the ECW product to the point where it didn't appeal to the old school fans of ECW. Doesn't look like that's the case, as WWE is keeping their name out of it, and is doing a deliciously lo-fi job on ads: very true to the ECW spirit of letting the in-ring action sell itself.
    Also: some are getting excited about the prospects of a couple TNA-contracted wrestlers working the PPV for WWE... all I know is that there were some indications that TNA was loosening the leash and would let guys like Raven or Jerry Lynn work the show if they wanted. But that said, there's been no counter-indication that WWE has stepped in and made any deals.
    Then again: wouldn't that be kind of a cool "Holy Shit" moment? If an unexpected star or two showed up out of the blue on the PPV? That was sort of ECW's M.O. for presenting major shows at the ECW Arena: they might have one or two big matches to sell, but you came to the Arena expecting to be surprised and to see a few matches that you didn't know about ahead of time. This model doesn't necessarily translate so well onto monthly PPV (where you do need a set line-up to hype), but as a one-time deal? Hell, I'd love a free-wheeling, anything-can-happen, we-don't-even-have-an-established-card sort of ECW Arena Show vibe more than a standard PPV cookie-cutter feel....
    Part of me already doesn't want to dig too deep on these rumors... we already know about 95% of the available talent roster, so why not try to keep some semblance of mystery about the other 5%? That way, if Beulah shows up to get Sweet Sweet Vengeance on the Dudleys, or if Shane Douglas storms in with a live mic to cut a shoot promo about how his ECW Show 2 days earlier was better, or whatever, we can all wet our pants together in shock and glee.
  • Got a few notes from readers that SD! was pre-empted last week in Dallas, which is a huge market. That alone can't be the reason for SD! decline in the ratings, but I'm sure it didn't help any...
    It's unfortunate that SD!'s ratings seem to be skidding at exactly the same time they are churning out seriously good shows. 
  • A humorous note: on Friday, I made a joke about how Dayton's Hara Arena is our fair city's premier shit hole (and thus, the perfect venue for wrestling, toughman contests, and other low-brow entertainment).
    Well, how's this for irony: an Israeli reader mailed in to tell me that in his language, "Hara" translates literally as "shit." HA~! They pronounce it a little differently, he said (with a "hard" H), but still: that building could not have a more appropriate name.
    And who said you don't learn anything new by reading OO? I've just taught you to swear in a whole other language! Feel the Multiculturalism!
  • You know what? I don't know if it's just my malaise or easily-distractedness (or possibly just the fact that ABSOLUTELY NOTHING INTERESTING is happening in the wrestling world just now), but I think I'm gonna call it a day and get on with my evening. 
    Sound OK to you? Good.
    You're in the Broad's capable hands tomorrow, and then I'll see you again Wednesday....


SMACKDOWN RECAP: Bonding Exercises
RAW RECAP: The New Guy Blows It
PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
RAW RECAP: The Show Must Go On
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Boot Gets the Boot
RAW RECAP: Heyman Lands an Expansion Franchise
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Losing is the new Winning
RAW RECAP: Say My Name
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Deja Vu All Over Again
RAW RECAP: Dignity Before Gold?
PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
RAW RECAP: Bigger IS Better
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Hitting with Two Strikes
RAW RECAP: Heel, or Tweener?
RAW RECAP: CM Punk is Not a Fan of Dwayne
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Returnening
RAW RECAP: Countdown to 1000
PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Friday Night ZackDown
RAW RECAP: Closure's a Bitch
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Five Surprising MitB Deposits
RAW RECAP: Weeeellll, It's a Big MitB
RAW RECAP: Johnny B. Gone
PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
RAW RECAP: Crazy Go Nuts
RAW RECAP: Be a Star, My Ass
RAW RECAP: You Can't See Him
RAW RECAP: Big Johnny Still in Charge
PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: One Gullible Fella
RAW RECAP: Anvil, or Red Herring?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Everybody Hates Berto
RAW RECAP: Look Who's Back
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Care to go Best of Five?
RAW RECAP: An Ace Up His Sleeve
PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Sh-Sh-Sheamus and the nOObs
RAW RECAP: Edge, the Motivational Speaker?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: AJ is Angry, Jilted
RAW RECAP: Maybe Cena DOES Suck?
RAW RECAP: Brock's a Jerk
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28



Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.




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