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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
RAW/Ratings, Divas, Trish, Matt,
and Other Midweek News
June 22, 2005

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

Ugh. Do I have to talk about wrestling today? 
 
Probably not, but I will, dammit. And technically, make that "tonight" instead of "today"... because my Getting Home Present this afternoon was Technical Difficulties on the OO Forums. So I got to start working on that at about 5pm, instead of working on getting my column ready.

And now, the forums are fixed, but all I

really want to do is kick back and relax for a bit. I've already put more work into OO today than I do on an average Wednesday, dammit. This SHOULD be Me Time.

But luckily for you, the Reds played this afternoon (2-0 since firing the manager! whoo hoo?) and it turned out I had everything screwed up in my head and the new season of "Rescue Me" started last night, and not tonight (thank god DVR caught it for me, anyway, and it's still waiting for me when I get done here). So I guess I can go ahead and invest another 90 minutes of my precious time in entertaining the masses. There's really nothing else that pressing for me to put my time into; at least, nothing pressing enough that I'd feel comfortable mentioning it as an excuse for not doing an column.

So let's just cut the crap, and get this started so that it can get finished:  

  • An extra day of hindsight does nothing for me in terms of softening my opinions about Monday's RAW. It really was a show that seemed to avoid totally sucking out loud as badly as it might have.... but it also did almost NOTHING memorably positive.
     
    For every debut/surprise-title-win by Carlito, you had John Cena squashing Muhammad Hassan in 2 minutes for reasons I still don't comprehend. And don't get me started on the (proper) decision to roll with a tag team main event, but then being so ass-hatted to only give it 6 minutes.
     
    But hey: on the upside, the wedding didn't make me want to break anything. Which is a step up from most wrestling weddings. Then again: maybe that credit goes to me, not WWE... afterall, wasn't it in this very spot on Monday where I mentioned that my plan for the wedding was to lower my expectations so far that I could only be pleasantly surprised? In fact, it was.... so I guess thank ME for the wedding's tolerability!
     
    Perhaps the thing that made Monday's show so frustrating is that it didn't have to be so flamboyantly mediocre. It could have sizzled. It could have given fans something to be excited about heading into a PPV weekend. But for the second week in a row, it seemed like whoever is writing these shows came up with the ideas they wanted to present, and then made a SPECIAL EFFORT to make sure they presented them in about the worst way possible.
     
    I don't want this to become a weekly tradition or anything, but as I noted in a brief tangent to the RAW Recap, just off the top of my head, it seemed like there were pretty easy/obvious ways to reorganize the show... ways that would have NOT changed any of the final outcomes of the show, but which would have just gotten to those outcomes in a MUCH more entertaining fashion. It's the same exact problem that existed the week before, too: it seemed like WWE was practically inviting viewers to zone out, tune away, or (if the technology existed to allow them to) fast-forward.
     
    That's inexcusable. The goal should be TOO MUCH content, not so little that a 2 hour show is viewed in about one hour flat by even a relatively loyal wrestling fans who have to recap the damned show, and can't afford to scrimp on the details. Like me. And yet, this is two weeks in a row where RAW served up a show that had vast stretches of uninteresting, easily-dismissed crap.
     
    And it doesn't have to be that way. And just to be clear: I'm not suggesting anything radical... I'm not suggesting totally rewriting the shows (although you could do that, too, with good results). I'm just talking about using your fucking head so that you present the EXACT SHOW you want to present, but in a way that doesn't contain approximately 40% "piss break" content. Because it's bad enough that WWE seems intent on insulting our intelligence with certain gimmicks and storylines lately.... they don't need to go insulting the size of our bladders, too. On behalf of wrestling fans worldwide: One piss break in a two hour show is PLENTY, Writer Monkeys, OK? And what do you think commercials are for, anyway?
     
    So anyway, I already did my Rick Rewrite in the Recap yesterday. Moving the wedding up to the opening slot is a no-brainer, since having to kill 10-15 minutes on either side of the wedding for set-up and tear-down of the ring was absolutely AWFUL for pacing purposes. Then I'd vote for spending Segment 2's "tear down" time with backstage bits that would force some flimsy reason to do the Batista/Angle main event NEXT (instead of last); it'd be pretty simple to do the verbal confrontation, and have Batista's calm/cool/collected character say, "Fine, Kurt, you're panties are so bunched, let's just go out there and do this NOW"; also, this would be the spot where you'd be able to work in Spaz's interview and getting brained by Victoria, as well as Kane's "I'm Back" skit (although if you give me a chance, I'd redo the finish of the wedding so he does something a bit less pansified, so his "I'm back" actually rings true). So you do Batista/Angle in Segment Three, still with the HHH run-in/DQ and HBK save, but this time, when Bischoff makes the tag match, it's not "right now," it's for later in the show, in the Main Event slot. Segment Four can be the same "Bischoff still in the ring" thing to introduce Carlito and do the IC Title change; I'd love to see that match given about 4-5 more minutes, too (if I'd be allowed to axe Viscera, this is where I'd put that time). Segment Five I'd use for The Highlight Reel, to give Jericho a better stage upon which to explain his new motivations; Christian could be his guest, and the two could probably kill 5 minutes together acting alternately chummy and pissy with regards to their 3-way title match; then Cena could crash the party and put both in their places; then Hassan could show up and bad mouth all three, doing the same basic "you three have nothing to bitch about, *I* have something to bitch about" speech; Jericho and Christian could act like they sorta want to square off with Hassan, but they'd use the excuse "except I don't want to wrestle tonight with my big title match in just 6 days," at which point Cena would look at them in disgust and say, "OK pussies, *I* will take care of Hassan, and I'm gonna do it right now; why don't you stick around and watch how The Champ takes care of bidness?". So Segment Six becomes Cena/Hassan, and instead of a 2 minute squash, it becomes a 6-8 minute match in which Jericho and Christian try (while resting themselves) to make the match tortuous for Cena, softening him up for Sunday; Cena can either win via DQ or via a huge schmozzy thing where Jericho and Christian's interference backfires, depending on how big a hard-on WWE had for ending Hassan's streak, and either way, it'd have been better than what we got; you can then even finish the segment with Jericho and Christian getting back on the same page to kick the shit out of Cena, just like they did on Monday. Segment Seven should be a little downtime before the main event, and would feature some HHH/Angle and/or Batista/HBK skits to set the tone for the main event tag match (I vote for a touch of subtle tension between HHH and Angle, if nothing else), as well as VERY LIMITED PPV Hype (just one quick rundown of the card, not 3 separate instances of hype as on Monday), and finally the SINGLE Diva Search video package (the meet-the-finalists one, but the other bonus package they ran on Monday will be nowhere to be seen in my RAW Remix). And then Segment Eight is our main event tag match, and instead of 6 minutes, it gets 12-15 minutes and showcases all 4 men's best work; you do the same finish (HHH pins Batista), except that you make it less out of left-field and have HHH remember to punch Batista in the sac or something to set up the Pedigree at the end. And voila, you got yourself a show that keeps your attention from start to finish.
     
    Again: I don't want this "RAW Remix" thing to become a weekly gimmick, but I do want to make it clear to you Fine Readers that I'm not asking for the moon, here. I'm not some smark who wants the Rock to be making special appearances 3 times per month with Bret Hart coming out of retirement to attack Shawn Michaels or whatever other idiot things you see in most fantasy booking. I'm trying to underscore that there are simple, easy, do-able solutions to fix the problems that I seemingly spend so much time bitching about.
     
    That said: are the problems I bitch about REALLY problems? Or just things that sand my own anatomically-implausible vagina? If they are problems, am I actually fixing them? I honestly don't mean these as rhetorical questions.... I'd love to hear from you about these past two "remixes" I've posited. I don't care which way you vote, but tell me if I just rebuild RAW in a way that you'd have enjoyed more, or if you feel WWE's way was just fine. Drop me a line and let me know what you think; it'll help me hone my act and find the proper level of pissiness in coming weeks, if nothing else....
     
    And that said: for the second week in a row, my midweek RAWnalysis is pretty much just gonna be my thoughts about how the show could have so easily been fixed. I put all the rest of my thoughts, observations, top shelf jokes, and even some SD! Draft Pick Speculation into the OO RAW Recap yesterday. Not to toot my own horn, but it turned out to be a really good one, I think. And as a man who's not afraid to tell you he's half-assing it today, I think you can probably trust me to be a decent critic of my own work. So check it out.
     
  • The rating for Monday: a 3.9. Which is a nearly-insignificant drop from the week before. But what might count as bad news is that the rating peaked in the 10pm quarter hour (for the wedding), and then dropped precipitously for the next three QHs before getting back to a 4.1 for the overrun.
     
    Last week, my bitching about "pacing" and "formatting" and "time management" seemed to fall flat since RAW maintained (and grew) and audience over 2 hours. But this week, the way they put together the show really did inviite as much as 25% of RAW's peak audience to find other shows to watch during (parts of) Hour 2.
     
    You might be able to find ways to spin that which have nothing to do with my theory, but you canNOT find ways to spin it that are positive for WWE. In fact, the only other "spin" I can really think of other than "there was lots of crap in Hour Two" is that people were interested (in a car-wreck kind of way) to see the wedding, and they were massively underwhelmed, and then they tuned out afterwards.  That's still not exactly good news for the Fed.
     
    So coming off a week where WWE probably felt great about ratings, this week (the week before a PPV, no less), they get some less-good news... only a 0.1 drop in the aggregate, but the story told by the QHs probably indicates a fan base that didn't exactly end the night super-fired up for Vengeance. Tsk tsk.
     
  • Lotsa folks wrote in the past day wondering, so yeah, I'll confirm that my understanding was that Trish Stratus WAS supposed to be at RAW on Monday. And best information was that she was gonna be there for the wedding.
     
    But then she wasn't.
     
    There are a couple possible reasons that I'll throw out there for you to chew on. They are of varying levels of veracity, but hey, you people love unreliable rumors, right? Otherwise, please explain to me why so many of you wrote in telling me that the reason Trish wasn't at the wedding was because you read she's getting drafted to SD! this week.... the weird thing about that one is that I gather it got started at PWInsider, which might try to make Action Figure Releases into news stories and which is so loaded with disreputable advertising that on the rare occasions I visit there I always end up with a virus infecting my MS Media Player but which DOES tend to get its (real and relevant) news stories accurate.

    But I digress...  why might Trish have not been at the wedding? First, it might have just been a creative decision; it might have been decided (either by the creative team, or possibly even by Trish herself, what with her mild veto power) that this wasn't the right spot for her character to return. Second, it could have been a deal where WWE's mis-prioritization resulted in taking Trish out of the spot because the internet had already guessed at her being a surprise at the wedding; if so, I guess I'm sorry for using Trish as a headline item last Wednesday. Except I'm not, really, since it's WWE's own fucking fault if their so concerned with surprising 15% of its fans instead of doing the right thing for the other 85%. Or thirdly, just because I'm an asshole who wants to watch you lemmings march to my drum: perhaps playing Matt Hardy's theme was a decision made because Matt and WWE have agreed to terms for his return, and this was WWE's way of (re-)introducing him. Or at least: testing the response he'd get if they wanted to re-introduce him.
     
    Anyway, I figured I'd just quickly mention this, since so many people were concerned why Trish wasn't on RAW Monday. It's kinda funny that, outside of our little bubble of smarky speculation, she was never SUPPOSED TO BE in the first place, but her absence still ruffled some feathers. And won't somebody please think of poor, poor The Lovely Miss Tomko? He probably SHOULD have been on RAW, yet was suspiciously absent, and NOBODY seemed to miss him? Where's your righteous indignation and conspiracy theories, now?
     
  • A semi-serious note about Matt: he's posted to his website in an attempt to quash any rumors about him and WWE... or at least, any rumors about him and WWE that involve Sunday's Vengeance PPV.
     
    Matt says he's got a personal appearance scheduled for Sunday evening in North Carolina that he intends to honor, which makes it impossible for him to be appearing at the WWE PPV (as, I guess, many have speculated).
     
    That said: if these two parties AREN'T getting back together at some point (and soon), then WWE gets even more "dumbass points" for putting Matt (indirectly) on TV on Monday... it's just 2-3 weeks before Matt can start wrestling for other groups, and I'm sure they are loving the free publicity. We'll have to see how it goes, but my gut feeling is that WWE wouldn't have done that if they weren't at least considering mending fences...
     
  • Tons of e-mail about my extended Diva Search Ranting in the RAW Recap.... not entirely unexpected, I guess, since I did go on at rather a bit of length. Hey, what can I say: ice cream licking contests may be mind-numbingly stupid, but I get a kick out of showing off my big brain and my incredible skill for quickly and accurately "reading" people based on minimum information.
     
    I do it all the time, and as you recall, a year ago, I (sight unseen) selected Michelle McCool as the one of the 2004 Diva Search Contestents likely to ever amount to anything in WWE. A year later, and frankly, given what we've seen, I think I'm on pace to be mostly-right. Spaz seems to be getting an "A" for effort, but is being over-pushed in such a way that spotlights her shortcomings, while Michelle is just quietly biding her time and improving in the background and always looks more convincing than any of the girls around her on SD!.
     
    So yeah, I did a pretty detailed "roster analysis" of the 2005 Diva Search girls, based exclusively on 6 minutes of video footage. Hilariously, some of you did some research (or at least visited WWE.com), and came rushing back to tell me that I might be right once again...
     
    Because, you see, the two chicks that I sort of said seemed like the most tolerable and likeable? According to fine readers, they are also the two who have bios that include things like "gymnastics" and "softball" and "track and field." And less things like "Baywatch" or "E! Network" or "Maxim." So while they both do have some entertainment experience, it doesn't seem like that's the forte of either, which is probably why they actually seemed normal compared to the rest of the fakey, trying-too-hard types. And that's probably also why WWE deemed them "uninteresting" and gave them the shaft in the video package.... because in WWE Think, it's more valuable to showcase a girl who can annoy the piss out of you in 4 seconds flat that showcase one who might need a bit more time before you can get to something actually interesting and appealing about her. Idiots.
     
    There was also a third girl who apparently had more athletic experience than actress/model experience, but she was the freaking obnoxious "Just Bring It" girl who seemed about as bright and charming as a houseplant. And who also had a really bad boob job. She remains well off my list....
     
    A fourth girl, according to a few e-mails, is actually from a "wrestling family," with a dad and brothers in the business. This was the girl in the baseball hat and with the rock-star attitude who I thought was really just trying too hard to pretend to be the kind of girl that guys like me are supposed to like instead of just acting natural and like herself. "Show me, don't tell me" was my advice to that little bundle of energy. But I also got a different sort of e-mail about her that I'm not exactly sure what to make of... it was very protective (or maybe "defensive," depending on the source, which was not clear) and said that it might be true that this girl (Ashley is the one we're talking about here) might not have come off great in the video package, but that's not her fault, it's WWE's fault for the unflattering clips they picked, and that if I wait and give her a chance, she really will "show me" instead of "tell me" once she gets to be on live TV and can be herself, and thinks that if I keep and open mind she'll be my favorite Diva Search Girl inside of 3 weeks. Ohhhhhh-kay. That was an interesting bit of feedback. And all I can say is: my mind is always open. But it's also not easily tricked or fooled by baseball caps and sweet asses. I'm intrigued by the suggestions made in that e-mail, though, and also by the fact that she's from a wrestling family. Like I pleaded yesterday, prove me wrong, honey, prove me wrong.
     
    The other four? Nobody had anything good to say about them, and so I figure my assessments will probably stick. And that they'll also end up being the four final participants, because that's just how America rolls: with really, really bad taste.
     
  • Some readers have said that WWE.com has fucked up yet again, and may have telegraphed an upcoming Draft Pick. Apparently, Eugene was briefly listed as a member of the SmackDown! roster earlier this week.
     
    My thoughts about SD!'s next draft pick were covered in the RAW Recap, where I noted that Hassan is the only "name wrestler" from RAW without a PPV match, and thus is a possible favorite to be drafted this week. Other scenarios I cooked up included one of Christian or Jericho being drafted, since their PPV could then STILL go on, just as a one-on-one.
     
    But I forget about Eugene, who is nearly ready to return to action, and is definitely a "name wrestler." And face it: isn't the world clammoring for a Eugene/Heidenreich tag team? No? Oh well.... but you *know* that's how WWE thinks, and it wouldn't surprise me if they were eye-balling that. In their "I Love the 80s" mindset, it's a perfect pairing and then they can do the Dream Storyline of "Retard vs. Retard" when Heidenreich turns OMG HEEL~! on Eugene down the line.
     
    Whatever.

    I've again assiduously spoiler-proofed myself this week, so this might already have happened. Or it might be something WWE has planned for next week (when both shows get TWO draft picks). I dunno. But I thought I'd throw it out there.
     
    Then again, maybe the mere fact of mentioning this fuck-up by WWE.com will cause them to NOT make the intended move, in order to "swerve" the internet by not doing what the internet is reporting! Just like with Trish!
     
    If that's the case, allow me to be the first to report that Chris Masters is so totally going to be on TV every week for the next five years and will NEVER be released so that he can go ply his trade in TNA or some other place where I don't have to see him till he actually gets good. That's right: this will NEVER happen. Feel free to reprint this on as many other websites as you want.
     
    Oh, and for whatever it's worth, WWE.com has been oddly hit-and-miss the last few weeks.... apparently, they have draft picks posted to their new rosters within minutes after shows end.... but then twice in the last month, I've had readers write in, all alather, to tell me about how SD! results were inadvertantly published on Thursday afternoons, or something. Finding time to write wrestling columns as a semi-hobby might be tough, but if it's your fucking PAYING JOB, there's really no excuse for the WWE.com ship to not be run a whole hell of a lot tighter than it is.
     
  • Something from Las Vegas, where WWE held a Vengeance press conference on Tuesday...
     
    Vince McMahon corrected published reports (where they were published, I don't know, but I know I'd been seeing them in e-mail) that he met with Sabu at RAW Tapings on Monday... Vince says that did not happen, no matter what you might have read. But: Vince did say that he INTENDS to meet with Sabu in the near future....
     
    Interesting.
     
    The other rumor I can shoot down is that the Sandman has met with Vince/WWE. That has not happened, either, no matter what you might have read. And in this case, I don't believe that it is in the cards, either... at least, not in terms of any kind of full-time wrestling deal. A meeting to discuss future one-off ECW projects or to conduct interviews for ECW content on 24/7 or something like that could be possible, though.
     
    Also from that press conference: apparently John Cena and Spaz were totally in character, and thus, totally worthless, in talking about their PPV matches.... but the star of the show was HHH, who was out of character for 90% of the thing and just making tons of off-the-cuff remarks during everybody else's segments. Wow: off-the-cuff HHH being 1000% more interesting to listen to than overly-scripted HHH? Who'da thunk it?
     
    Besides me, that is. Thanks again, Hollywood Writers! Truly, you are saving WWE!
     
  • Alright, again, I feel like I'm probably shorting you a few little tiny morsels of news, but again: I feel like there's other things I should do with my time tonight. Like get the trOOps rallied for PPV Preview Team Coverage and watching "Rescue Me" and stuff like that.
     
    So I'm tapping out. See you Friday with the rest of the crew for everything you need to know about Vengeance, but were too disinterested to ask!  


  
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RAW RECAP: Maybe Cena DOES Suck?
 
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RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
 
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28

 
 
E-MAIL RICK SCAIA

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

 

 

 


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