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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
RAW, Rhino in TNA, New WWE Gimmicks,
Big Weekend for B-Shows, and MORE!
July 18, 2005

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

Is it just me, or did Hollywood apparently run out of ideas about 18 months ago, leaving us to endure a Summer of 2005 comprised almost exclusively of ill-conceived remakes? 
 
Obviously, the new Willy Wonka is the one that just came out and baffles me. Unless "remaking the title character into a creepy Michael Jackson clone" counts as a good reason (it doesn't), I'm having a hard time figuring out exactly why this thing even got greenlit. Other than the fact that Tim Burton is one of these Delicate Arteestic Wanker types who cares more about you seeing a

movie that you'll recognize as "his," rather than you just seeing a good movie.

You could make the case that "War of the Worlds" needed an update to the present day... but then I'd make the case that the movie freaking SUCKED regardless. The Secret Hollywood Truth: Spielberg didn't even want to make that movie, but half-assed it anyway for contractual reasons that will now allow him to make the Israeli Spy Movie he *really* wanted to have done by this summer. And it shows. Even Spielberg can be soul-crushingingly retarded and formulaic when he's not trying very hard. I guess the back-handed compliment would be that half of Spielberg's ass was almost completely indistinguishable from ALL of Jerry Bruckheimer's ass.

Strangely, from the commercials I've seen, I'm actually kind of torn on the Bad News Bears, though. As long as there are kids playing baseball (and not always very well) and gruff, booze-guzzling assholes in the world, there's always room for putting them together in a movie to see what happens. And it helps that Billy Bob Thornton decided to be true to the original character, instead of Michael Jacksoning it up like the aforementioned Johnny Depp. I might actually end up seeing that one of my own free will...

But enough chatter. Let's do some rasslin' here today:

  • Another Monday, another RAW. And at this point, I honestly don't know what to expect anymore in terms of how excited to get about the prospects.
     
    I mean, when I say I think RAW'll be good, it tanks. When I'm not all that fired up, they deliver strong outings like last week's... it's getting frustrating, since lord knows I don't like feeding you fine folks a bum bill of goods here in these RAW previews.
     
    I think maybe what I'll do today is admit that, yes, I really liked last week's RAW, and that, yes, there are some things I'm interested to see play out tonight. But also: I recognize that last week's show derived much of it's sizzle from gimmickry, not from the usual sustainably entertaining elements that you can cart out every week. So I'm not quite 100% confident that WWE can match last week's effort without a much greater focus on basic, quality storytelling and solid in-ring action (instead of big swerves and tons of over-writing) than what we got last week. There's only so many appearances by Hulk Hogans, Roddy Pipers, and Matt Hardys you can pull out of the bag: after that, it's sustainable episodic TV you have to put out there.
     
    Starting from the top down... in a lot of ways, I think Shawn Michaels heel turn on Hulk Hogan is pretty much the biggest story going on RAW, overshadowing even the WWE Title picture. First Hogan superkicked Hogan... then he did the same to Roddy Piper last week. It's like he's the Legend Killer who DOESN'T suck, or something!
     
    It all (presumably) leads up to Hogan/Michaels at SummerSlam, which should be really interesting. Michaels has worked more than a few miracles in his day, and taking Hogan on a 15-20 minute journey to points Three Stars and Beyond will take some doing. The expectation is that Hogan will be back on RAW after a one week vacation, and answering Michaels' challenge (in the affirmative) is probably the biggest thing he'll be doing. As I've been saying for a few weeks: with Hogan, less is gonna be more, since the line between "nostalgic" and "just plain old" is a fine one. So hopefully just some talking from Hogan, but not so much the attempting to have a match.
     
    That said, Roddy Piper *has* been folded into this whole mess, and I would not be averse to either one or two Hogan matches prior to SummerSlam taking advantage of Hot Rod. I talked about it last week, but Hogan/Piper teaming up would be an instant draw for RAW, and with the right packaging (either as a 2-on-2 tag, or even better, as a six man with Hogan/Piper/Cena vs. Michaels/Jericho/Carlito) could be massively entertaining, as well. So no, I don't want to see Hogan wrestle tonight: but I'd love to see WWE actually having a bit of foreplanning here, with the seeds sown for a "free per view" tag match in the next couple of weeks. With a Pit, a Cabana, and a Reel, there's really no excuse for not making good use of promo time, and in this case, you could even have all three of those elements woven together in a way that sets up a big six-man tag while also showcasing RAW's top two singles matches at SummerSlam. It's how *I* would play it, anyway....
     
    And of course, after Michaels/Hogan, the other singles match I'm referring to is Cena vs. Jericho, with Cena's WWE Title on the line. This is the logical outgrowth of the feud that started upon Cena's arrival on RAW, with Jericho first only on the fringes of a Cena/Christian rivalry, but then turning full-bore heel in order to challenge Cena one-on-one. Jericho thinks he's the biggest multimedia superstar in the universe (as well as a damned fine wrestler), while Cena thinks Jericho is full of himself and needs to be more "real." Pretty basic stuff, except for the part where most of it rings kinda hollow and has yet to really sizzle. Cena's pandering to his "chain gang" was back to obnoxious levels last week, and it goes without saying that anytime Cena talks about "real recognizing real," I can't tell if the tears I weep are from laughing too hard or out of genuine pity. For a little cherry on the sundae last week, Cena busted out the Petulant Brat Chops, the likes of which we hadn't seen since he "tagged" JBL's limo: specifically, Cena wanted a match against Jericho, so Bischoff gave it to him, and as a result, Cena F-U'ed Bischoff for no good reason other than because he wanted Jericho RIGHT NOW. Cena Wanty! WAAAANNNNTTTTTYYYY! I'm supposed to cheer for that? Bzzzt, don't think so.
     
    The other problem is that this little feud has been built up almost exclusive in interviews/promos for the past 3 weeks. Jericho hasn't been in a RAW ring at all in that time, and Cena's one match was the tag deal with Michaels and Hogan. I thought last week was the time when they should make this about more than gum-flapping, while also reminding fans that Jericho *is* a viable contender to the WWE Title. It would have been a simple enough deal to do a tag match (or better yet, a de facto handicap match if Bischoff wanted to take advantage of Cena's lack of "friends" on RAW) and give Jericho a (cheap) pinfall win over Cena and use THAT to set up the SummerSlam match. But I outlined all that in last Monday's column (and it's still a good read, dammit!), so I won't repeat. However I will say that even if WWE flopped the order around, they can and SHOULD still make it a priority to establish Jericho The Wrestler. I mean with Actual Televised Wins and everything. One should come over Cena at some point before SummerSlam, but other than that, he should also get a couple other victories or two just to fully wash the taint of defeat off him. It's also a nice pre-rinse kind of a deal to get him ready for losing at SummerSlam (which he will, you know it): Jericho's "teflon" and "bulletproof" and all that, but some of what goes into that is making sure Jericho gets well built-up before taking that big loss (i.e. the Love Rhombus leading into his WM20 loss last year).
     
    And then, on the third line... well, it's Matt Hardy. And it's Matt Hardy with Edge, Lita, and Kane. But I have no freaking idea how they intend to play this out. It's obviously not "real," but WWE went to great lengths last week to make it appear so and to just keep you on the edge of your seat wondering, "What'll they do next if they've already let ROH plugs get on TV?" Are there more guerrilla attacks by Matt on the horizon? Or has a truce been reached that would allow for a Matt vs. Edge match at SummerSlam? What the hell happens to Kane in all this, and why do I suspect it won't be anything good?
     
    Although to be honest: my brain starts throbbing the second I try to contemplate where they'll go with the Actual Storyline here, once they move past the "shoot-style" elements. I don't know if those will come next week or next month or what.... but I know that trying to explain why Matt Hardy is so pissed at Edge for stealing Kane's wife is gonna take some doing. There's a huge risk here that WWE will back themselves into a situation where they have to admit that "Oh, that whole Kane/Lita marriage thing was all just a storyline but *this* with Matt is the real deal," or something. Which isn't productive for ANYone. Everything made a hell of a lot more sense when we were envisioning Matt Hardy coming back to take Lita back from *Kane*, but now this whole thing really is sloppy from a "TV Storyline" perspective. We'll see what they do with the explanationing, and see what they do with these four starting tonight, though....
     
    Those three top stories are pretty much the only important, on-going things that RAW has simmering right now. Everything else is either on a slow-build or in a state of flux.
     
    An example of a Slow Build: Carlito's next major IC Title Challenger will be Rob Van Dam, but RVD's still in the final stages of getting his knee healthy and hasn't been on TV in 3 weeks, so that feud hasn't exactly been cruising along at a million miles per hour. Carlito has been able to get into a few little things with Jericho and Hogan to bide his time, which is fine, since Carlito holds his own onscreen with those more established stars... but we all know that there's a match with RVD on the horizon, and it kinda gives a sense of Marking Time to everything Carlito's done the past few weeks.
     
    An example of a State of Flux: the tag division. I know as well as you that Hurricane and Rosey are the champs, but who the hell are we supposed to take seriously as challengers? This is really an inexcusable state of affairs. You figure it'd take at least a month to properly build up some teams, and then another month after that to get the storylines in place for a match against Hurricane/Rosey to MEAN something.... so optimistically, you're looking at at least another two months of nobody giving a shit about the tag titles. Yee haw?
     
    Of course, there's always the Diva Search 2005 to be the glue that holds together a 2 hour show by sucking for inordinate lengths of time. The only bright spot: the more girls we eliminate, the shorter these stupid segments should get. Of course, last week, WWE made damned sure to offset the shortening by seriously ramping up the stupidness, so.... here's to the EuroBitch, the PlayboyBitch, or the IntentionalBoobieFlashBitch getting voted off the island this week, and here's to the other six having something better for us Deserving Fans than TV-G Rated S&M.
     
    Something else to dread: Chris Masters has smote Tajiri and will be looking for fresh meat. Won't somebody just send Big Show out there and let's be done with this lame, boring-ass nonsense, already? Do the predictably stupid thing of having Master claim that it doesn't count because he can't properly lock the full nelson on a man of Big Show's size, then have Show speak for the fans when he says, "You know what, Sally, I don't care. It's your own damned fault for picking such a shitty finishing hold, so let's do this thing." And after Show delivers the verbal smackdown, he can deliver a physical one. Then Masters can go back to blasting his delts or injecting his ass or whatever it is he's been doing when he should have been learning how to BE INTERESTING INSIDE A WRESTLING RING.
     
    The Viscera/Lillian thing continues to lurk on the fringes, if Heat is any indication, and you know my stance: Viscera ALSO needs to be ritually humiliated and sent packing from RAW along with Chris Masters (except in Vis' case, my long-standing vote is that he should be sent packing by a returning Trish Stratus). And I don't know for sure, but I don't *think* that Victoria vs. Spaz is entirely over yet, but with Spaz having her duties as Diva Search Co-host and with no other women on the roster who can wrestle, I don't really know what that leaves for Victoria to do...
     
    And hey: another RAW preview without mentioning HHH! And this week, I don't live in fear of him sticking his prodigious proboscis into tonight's show. As discussed last week: plans are to keep him off TV for a little bit, so as to freshen things up and let others take a stab at the spotlight.
     
    So I'll make no OOfficial Proclamation about how good I think tonight's RAW will be. I haven't exactly been scoring well with those guesses in the recent past, and with the puzzle pieces they've got to work with, WWE could deliver anything from a gem to a painful mish-mash of Purest Suck. The one thing I will proclaim, with 100% confidence, is that no matter how good or bad RAW is, the OO RAW Recap will be no fewer than 17 different kinds of awesome. I'll have that for you here tomorrow, so check on back for it.
     
  • Something I managed to completely whiff on last week: there were those "Boogeyman" promos on RAW and SD!, and despite a quick "stop-and-check" both nights, I fast-forwarded right the hell over them without really watching.
     
    Because I was convinced that it must have just been an ad for that stupid "Boogeyman" movie that came out a while back (and I figured was probably about due to be out on DVD, which is why there would be commercials for it during wrestling).
     
    Turns out it actually was a vignette for a new WWE wrestler, though. And he actually debuted over the weekend on some smallish SD! brand house show. At this point, I don't know if the gimmick is INTENDED to be so bad it's funny, or if it's just plain that bad, but basically, the guy is trying to do part Papa Shango and part Freddy Kruger, and ends up being 100% lame. But hilariously enough, the one house show report I got said that as soon as he finished up his pathetic spiel, thunder struck and it started pouring down rain (it was an outdoor show, and it did not resume after the Boogeyman's match).
     
    The guy playing "The Boogeyman" is a Tough Enough Loser (from which season, I don't know, but he's some black guy who lied about his age, and caused a Minor Controversy among those who have no lives and thus can count "paying attention to Tough Enough controversies" among their hobbies, if that'll help you ID him). In addition to making a few house show spots this weekend, the Boogeyman is working out the kinks down in OVW, where the gimmick is ALSO said to be tanking.
     
    But again: what's not clear at this point is whether or not it's SUPPOSED to be taking or not. It's entirely conceivable that if WWE is sick and tired of coming up with GOOD gimmicks for wrestlers, they might have set out intentionally to create a bad one in the hopes that it might generate a few laughs and catch on. In which case: way to be Writer Monkeys, you have found your niche! Spewing forth Utter Crap That Totally Sucks But It's OK Cuz You're Doing It On Purpose!
     
    And if the Boogeyman doesn't suck on purpose? Well, then that's a whole other can of worms.
     
    I'll actually have to make a mental note to be careful with the FF this week so I can catch the vignette and see if I can discern any clues as to whether the character sucks on purpose or not.
     
    And you know? This is the second time in about 6 months that WWE has managed to screw with me like this: when Simon Dean's infomercial-inspired vignette debuted I flew right past it without noticing. I even think that was an Erin Anderson Recap Week, too, just like last week was, and she didn't notice either one, either. Which is fine, except the ONLY RAW Recap I read (and the only one YOU should read) is the one that gets published here at OO, so in neither case did I realize I'd missed anything till confusing e-mails started piling up and sorting themselves out. I don't know whether WWE should be proud or ashamed that they are so adept at creating vignettes that look so much like Real Commercials that the VCR- or DVR-Savvy among us find them so easy to miss, even when we're trying to pay attention because we have recaps and columns to write. I'd probably say "ashamed." Again, piggybacking on a rant I did a few weeks ago, this all ties into WWE needing to realize the new ways people watch TV and adjust their TV formats accordingly if they really want to maximize their reach.
     
    Intentionally bad or not, I'd bet the Boogeyman is still weeks away from TV. If he ever gets there at all.
     
  • Another gimmick that's being tested out on house shows (RAW brand this time) is "Kerwin White." It basically amounts to Chavo Guerrero having fans chant "Chavo Sucks" at him, and then pretend to not know who "Chavo" is, because his name is Kerwin White ("It's not right if it ain't white," or something, is his catchphrase). Needless to say, reports are that "Kerwin's" ringwork is noticeably deficient as opposed to "Chavo's"....
     
    Also: "Kerwin" is using Sinatra ("The Way You Look Tonight," which is always a good 'un) for entrance music. I guess if JT Smith, who is decidedly African-American, can use "Fly Me to the Moon" to pretend that he's a Full Blooded Italian, then Chavo Guerrero can use Sinatra to pretend that he's some Country Club Douchebag. We'll have to see if it works... my guess continues to be "probably not." 
     
    Bonus Info: apparently "Kerwin White" is the actual name of a WWE Office worker. How much of Chavo's Country Club Douchebag Act is based on the real Kerwin, however? I have no idea, but creating characters like this based on actual people *is* Vince's idea of An Hilarious Rib.
     
    Is "Kerwin White" ready for Prime Time? Don't know... Chavo's smooth enough that he doesn't exactly need a whole lot of time working out kinks or anything on the house shows, so my guess is you'd pobably see Kerwin sooner rather than later on RAW....
     
    And then on Heat.
     
    And then, quite possibly, never again.
     
  • Somebody else who you will be seeing again very soon: Eugene. He also appeared over the weekend, and appeared to be fully healed.
     
    It'll be interesting to see how he fits back into RAW with Regal gone... there's always antagonizing his Uncle Eric, if you need a cheap and easy way to re-intro him.... I'm on record with my idea for Eugene being the "Wrestling Tutor" for dim-witted Maria the Mic-Stand... and just thinking off the top of my head, you could take that notion I mentioned above (and spoke about in greater detail last week) about Bischoff exploiting Cena's lack of "friends" on RAW to put him in a handicap match... only to have Eugene come out and declare his desire to be Cena's friends and tag team partner.
     
    Kinda cheesy, but two things: (1) it might force Cena to drop the poser act and be a bit more laid back and natural with Eugene, which would be good, and (2) if there's a Cena/Hogan relationship in place (and assuming there's a lick of continuity, there is) then getting Eugene into that mix could be fun, too, if only for a cute little posedown or two.
     
    Eugene, in any case, is probably even MORE of a "sooner rather than later" than Kerwin...
     
  • A quick report from a non-WWE house show, as Matt Hardy wrestled (and beat) TNA's Chris Daniels at a Ring of Honor show on Saturday night in Connecticut.
     
    Originally received as a babyface, and despite working a VERY good match against Daniels, large segments of the crowd booed when Hardy defeated Daniels, apparently because they view him as a visiting "WWE guy" who should have put over the ROH regular. 
     
    I really couldn't care less about this, but I HAVE to mention it because, if you go back and read my Wednesday column, I had it right there in black and white: I said Hardy was gonna have to be careful about his presentation in front of indie wankers who are the same basic class of fan as the internet jackoffs who ripped him for "selling out" to WWE when he showed up on RAW.
     
    Hey, I predicted it, and I understand they paid for their tickets and can do whatever they want... but that still doesn't make them annoying little putzes for living down to my expectations. Lord knows there's a ton of good reasons to not like a particular wrestler, but Matt Hardy's return to RAW provided you with NONE of them.
     
    Also, I don't know where the rumor got started, but I guess there was about 8 hours on Sunday morning and afternoon where Matt Hardy was supposedly in Orlando, ready for a special appearance at the TNA PPV.... which of course didn't happen. TNA itself announced that it WOULDN'T happen when the rumors started getting out of hand. Which is the right decision for them. Like I said last week: TNA would come off looking bush league and desperate if they let Matt Hardy show up on their show for one night to further his WWE storyline.
     
  • Randy Orton's return date isn't exactly set, but to borrow some baseball parlance, he's heading out on a Rehab Assignment and should be ready to return to SD! very soon. He's got at least one OVW date I know of later this month, and then it should be back on TV for Randall.
     
    Who wants to bet me that when Muhammad Hassan's Terror Cell next attacks the Undertaker (and you know it will), the leader will be unmasked as the notable NON-Arab (and due to below-average mental faculties, NON-terrorist-mastermind) Randy Orton? It gets Hassan a cheap win, it moves us towards Orton/Taker II, and it lets WWE thumb its nose at all the assclowns who had to turn this into something that it wasn't when it's revealed this was all just some white guy doing a wrestling angle: not a willful endorsement of Terrorism.
     
  • New gimmicks aren't just getting tested out on house shows: Rob Conway actually got to take his directly to TV. If you count "Heat" as TV, that is....
     
    He is now calling himself "The Con-Man" who does things the "Con-Way." Ugh. OK, so I like the idea of a fast-talking grifter (think the monorail salesman on the Simpsons, or Judge Harry T. Stone's character when he'd guest star on Cheers) and would have a blast writing for him.... but in execution, the "Con-Man" seems more about shitty puns than about clever schemes. Other than boasting about how he pulled one over on us all by pretending to be from Quebec for two years, he did nothing on Heat to further the "con man" character.
     
    Confounding. The other thing is that they apparently played him as a heel, but if you do it my way, he'd pretty quickly win the fans over with his guile (see "Guerrero, Eddie"), which would only be furthered by the fact that WWE is retarded if they don't have Conway vs. Dupree as a Heat-level feud to let those two La Resistance cast-offs try to score a hit with the fans and prove which one of them belongs on RAW, instead of working Sunday nights.
     
  • And while Heat had that little interesting interlude, Velocity this week actually came with so much buzz that I made a note and recorded it and watched it with relish yesterday afternoon.
     
    The thing everybody was talking about was a William Regal vs. Chris Benoit main event, which was the show-stealing match of the night at last Tuesday's TV tapings. They shaved the match down considerably for TV, apparently, but it was still damned good. They tried really hard to duplicate the vibe from the Pillman 2000 Show, but only ended up getting about 2/3rds of the way there (probably more due to the less-hot crowd and the ad breaks sapping the momentum from the uniquely-paced contest). Good stuff, and I'm glad I got to catch it.
     
    Velocity also had a couple other noteworthy items.
     
    First was just the peculiarity of seeing Simon Dean working a whole match and promo and everything as Simon Dean. He was "Hollywood Nova" just 7 days before.... so what gives? Is the bWo dead already, before it can even try to catch on with more goofy parodies? Because I realize the bWo may not be a license to print money, but entertainment-wise, it beats the hell out of being a purple-clad fitness fairy. Poor Mike Bucci. [And how about Simon's jobber for his match? Mike Krull, or something like that? The physical twin of Chris Masters, except he showed sparks of charisma and wrestling ability, which is obviously why he's the jobber and Masters is still getting a mega-push. My guess? I think I remember Krull as a jobber even back a decade or so ago, which means he may be a gassed-up bodybuilder which is just what the Fed likes, but he's also older than me, which means he's not worth WWE's time to develop. Hey, maybe in 10 years, Chris Masters will be as talented as Mike Krull! It's something to aspire to! And I'd certainly not mind if Masters was jobbing to Simon Dean in 10 DAYS, instead of 10 years!]
     
    And second was the underwhelming TV debut of Frankie Kazarian. He kicked off the show with a cold open promo, basically doing his tried and true "I am the future" shtick, which was actually lame since it practically SCREAMED "Indie Wrestling." And then he had a match against Nunzio, which was good and crisp but certainly nothing special. At no point did Kazarian get any real kind of response.
     
    It was at that point yesterday that I realized there is an underlying root cause to WWE's inability to create new superstars that I hadn't previously considered. And now that I have considered it, I don't know if I'm stating something so plainly obvious that I'm a tard for acting like I've stumbled across a universal truth, or if I'm needlessly overthinking things. You decide:
     
    The reason WWE has made so few true superstars in the last 4 years is because there's nowhere left for them to poach "ready-made" talents from.
     
    Whether you look at it as WWE taking a rough stone and polishing it up so that it can reach its full potential, or look at it as a hierarchy where WWF/WWE was the "major leagues" and they always had Triple A affiliates like WCW, ECW, and the AWA to supply them with new talent, it's the same deal... for the first time ever, WWE HAS to develop its own talent and can't just put some guy on TV and expect him to get an instant response because of his work elsewhere, and then build on that.
     
    And I say that with all apologies to TNA, but I'm being pragmatic here: who from TNA could show up on RAW tonight and have the crowd instantly go "Oh wow, I know this guy, and this oughta be good."? There aren't many (if any)... maybe Raven or Jarrett would pop a crowd but after that? You're deluding yourself if you think AJ Styles has the name recognition to be a hit with the crowd (or the personality to win them over), or if you think Abyss would be anything but an undersized 6'3" "monster" in WWE, or if you think that Monty Brown is ready for prime time, or if you think any of the X Division guys (no matter how good in the ring) would be considered "superstars" in the eyes of WWE fans.
     
    Instead of being able to reach out to stars in other organizations when they need to bolster their roster, WWE, at this point, is basically only able to pop a crowd by reaching out to PAST members of their OWN roster and bringing them back for a brief run. Like Hogan. Or for one-shot deals (like Austin and Rock).
     
    I'm not saying WWE doesn't have "star-making" ability. But I think what we're seeing is that they don't have "star-making-from-SCRATCH" ability. From the days of poaching Hogan from the AWA to plucking Austin from WCW to raiding the Dudleys and Tazz from ECW at a key juncture, it's been easiest for WWF/E to get guys over if they have a compelling and RELEVANT past in the wrestling business (RELEVANCE is capitalized because, again, I'm talking about a past known to the general class of Wrestling Fans, and not just to some tiny percentage of Indie Fans).
     
    And part of that isn't even WWE's fault, it's just the nature of the beast: the sense of there being a "free agent market," of there being different places for guys to work, it adds up to the perception that when you finally land in WWE, it's because you're ready for the show. That doesn't exist today. Today, 95% of WWE's "free agent signing" report to OVW for developmental work, because there's simply no benefit to be had by rushing them onto TV in their current persona. Which leaves it in the hands of creative to come up with gimmicks. Which, as we've noted time and time again here, is a risky proposition at best.
     
    I don't know if the solution is TNA getting off its ass and finally becoming the real national competition that WWE needs, not just to motivate the creative team and the performers but also to provide a national spotlight for a next generation of stars who can then be plucked -- ready-made -- by WWE when the time is right, and who'll instantly pop a crowd just by showing up on TV, instead of having to rely on Hollywood Writer Monkeys to come up with some cheesy vignettes announcing their arrival.... but that'd certainly work. So would WWE taking it's own developmental program more seriously, and letting OVW (especially now that Heyman's in charge) have the resources necessary to create a buzz and grow an audience that consists of more than a few hundred indie wonks in and around Kentucky.
     
    But something needs to happen to get us back to the day of a guy debuting on TV and the crowd already knowing who he is and why they should care about him. Frankie Kazarian's underwhelming debut on Velocity underscored that for me.
     
    And oh, by the by: on commentary we learned that Kazarian is a Killer Kowalski protégé... which was fresh info to me. But it did suddenly explain why HE was the guy chosen by WWE over numerous other more talented X Division guys. See: now you can't say that Triple H doesn't care about the cruiserweights! He does so!
     
    And with all this stuff happening on Heat and Velocity, this might be a good week for you to check out the Cubs' Fan's recaps of both shows. He still filed reports for the b-shows' recent "content free" editions, and this week, the Fed finally gave him something good to work with.
     
  • And last thing for today, well, I probably did this in the wrong order, since I just got done belittling them, but TNA *did* have a PPV last night.
     
    From a wrestling perspective, reports are the show was a success, with 4 very-good-or-better matches.... from an entertainment perspective, the reports aren't so good. Kinda comes down to what your personal tastes are.
     
    On a night of mostly treading-water, the one big storyline was Rhino (sho 'nuff, OO hit it on the head with Friday's "Y Not" headline a full day before TNA started circulating its preferred spelling around the intraweb). Jeff Jarrett started on the pre-show with declaring that TNA is all about him, not about new guys coming in from WWE. This created the impression that Rhino would appear to be a babyface against Jarrett...
     
    So of course after the main event (Raven d. Abyss), Jarrett shows up.... and then so does Rhino. And had I been watching, I'd have been rolling my eyeballs in annoyance at least 5 seconds before Rhino "shockingly" gored Raven and revealed his allegiance to Jarrett.
    Hasn't 2 out of every 3 TNA PPVs since last November ended that way?
     
    So for now, Rhino's a heel, which doesn't exactly strike me as the best way to get the most out of him during his first hot month in the company. And when the inevitable happens and Rhino and Jarrett can't get along when it comes to their NWA Title aspirations, Rhino's freshness will have worn off.... I guess the upside is that maybe we'll get some Rhyno/Raven matches out of this. Kind of a battle between two eras of ECW. Not that TNA can sell it like that, but fans can IMAGINE it like that....
     
    Jason Longshore will have a complete recap of last night's TNA No Surrender PPV at some point this afternoon. If I forget to update this paragraph when he gets the recap in, just hit the main page and find the link there. 
     
  • That does it for me. I'm back on RAW Duty tomorrow, so I'll see you then, kids.


  
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Bonding Exercises
 
RAW RECAP: The New Guy Blows It
 
PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
 
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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
 
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PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Backfired!
 
RAW RECAP: Bigger IS Better
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Hitting with Two Strikes
 
RAW RECAP: Heel, or Tweener?
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Destiny Do-Over
 
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
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: In-BRO-pendence Day
 
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Five Surprising MitB Deposits
 
RAW RECAP: Weeeellll, It's a Big MitB
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: #striketwo
 
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PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
 
RAW RECAP: Crazy Go Nuts
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: You're Welcome
 
RAW RECAP: Be a Star, My Ass
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Needs More Kane?
 
RAW RECAP: You Can't See Him
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Lady Power
 
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?
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: No! No! No!
 
RAW RECAP: Brock's a Jerk
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
 
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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