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SD!/Ratings, Bret, Dusty, Molly,
B-Show Wrestler Debuts, and MORE! 
August 5, 2005

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


What to talk about today? 
Maybe let's just keep this short and sweet, because I ain't in the best of moods, and anything I'd use for pre-ramble material would end up spiraling into a 700 word rant.

I mean:

My favorite breakfast place burned... Gary Sheffield is doing his level best to explode whatever passes for "team chemistry" on the Yankees... we've

got a President who abuses his power to make poor decisions and who honestly believes in Creationism...

I could go on, but I'd only make myself sadder. What a crappy week, eh?

Let's just cut to the chase:

  • "Crappy" is also an adjective that could apply to last night's SmackDown!.
    Although the show was generally tolerable for the middle three-quarters (and in fact, had two matches superior to anything delivered by RAW this week), it was book-ended with the sheerest stupidity. The Eddie/Rey Soap Opera of Suck didn't just continue, it escalated.
    The latest twist: Eddie (accompanied by his lawyer) announced that since he's the biological father of Rey's son Dominick, Eddie wants custody. And he wants it next week, at 8pm on Thursday night, on UPN.
    Now see: to me, this is just a dumb storyline that has no business being used in a wrestling context. I know that in such an instinctive way that it's hard to bring myself to justify my comments or explain them. But if I had to, my starting point would be here: because how fucking retarded is it for Eddie to be insisting on taking custody of Dominick, but not wanting to do it till the next time SmackDown happens to be on the air?
    This is a problem that exists to a lesser extent in alot of wrestling storylines, but here, it's underscored because this entire lame-ass melodrama is already something that strikes me as something that reasonable people would handle away from work. But Rey and Eddie are bringing their drama with them to their jobs. And apparently, now with Eddie's latest demand, they are INCAPABLE of addressing any of their lame-ass melodrama when NOT on the job. So frustrating.
    Look: to go back to a standard mantra of mine, I don't necessarily need wrestling to be "real" to enjoy it. But somebody needs to realize that they need to keep the product realistic. Because no matter how many mission statements Vince might make or how many Hollywood Writer Monkeys Steph might hire, WWE is still a WRESTLING COMPANY, and has always been at its best when focusing on being the best they can be in that genre (instead of wasting all this energy, like they have the last 3 years, on trying to be an also-ran in just about every other genre). Wrestling, unlike just about every "fictional series" on TV, is something you can watch and consider it as being in the same "reality" as you. It exists in the same universe, and you're watching essentially-real people, not fictional characters.
    The reasons for this are myriad, and have also been discussed by The Me many times over. But in a nutshell, it boils down to the fact that, unlike any other TV show or movie, most "performers" in wrestling only end up being known for a single role; that character might evolve and change over time, but "Triple H" is still the same guy who we once knew as "Hunter Hearst Helmsley." And frequently, a guy will even use his real name on TV, further underscoring that these are people "in our universe," and not fictional characters. And don't discount the live performance aspect: because 20,000 people wouldn't show up to watch a live performance of "The Sopranos," but they do for wrestling, because fans think of wrestling differently than they do "The Sopranos." They think of it as more "real," or at least more "in the same reality as me."
    As such, trying to tell stories like you're a weekly fictional TV show is ALWAYS gonna come off as really lame. At least, to wrestling fans. And at this point, WWE should realize that they are not positioned (with the creative talent they've got on staff) to really succeed at appealing to a mainstream Network Drama Type Crowd... so they should at least do what they can to appease Wrestling Fans who know -- either by gut feel or because they actually think about this stuff more than WWE's own employees do -- what a PROPER wrestling storyline looks like. And they know it doesn't look like Eddie and Rey's last few month-plus of crap.
    Wrestling characters should "continue to exist" when they aren't on TV those other six nights of the week. Little promos, skits, and backstage interactions are always a tad more compelling when performers acknowledge this; GM Eric Bischoff sometimes does this, referencing some meeting he had with a Board of Directors or a plan he hatched during the week (which shows he's STILL GENERALLY MANAGING even outside of those 2 hours a week), and I still remember one of the cool parts of the RAW Love Rhombus was how Trish and Jericho would sneak in mentions of phone calls and voice mail messages and stuff like that (so that we knew there was more to their relationship than being in the same building two hours once a week, which is absolutely VITAL to making something seem semi-real).
    A little bit of creativity, and you can still have the Important Stuff in any storyline conveniently happen on TV in that 2-hour weekly window, but do it without slapping the home viewer in the face with the fact that he's now watching some shitty FOX Teen Drama instead of a semi-realistic wrestling show. If the Eddie/Rey story had been properly handled, this could be more about Eddie's choice of timing being a purposeful thing to add to Rey's public humiliation, something that Eddie is doing because he's still pissed off that he cannot beat Rey in a wrestling match. Instead, that element has long since been lost, and all we have is the crap-ass soap opera stuff, which is being presented as SD!'s lead storyline. And being presented quite badly, in my opinion.
    Eddie and Rey have left "our reality" and entered into another one where things can only happen during a 2-hour window on Thursday nights. Any normal, "real" person would spend the Friday after such a traumatizing Thursday night sorting this paternity crap out PRONTO. But Eddie and Rey, because of a stable of dumb-ass Hollywood Writers who are following the decree to make WWE as un-wrestling-y as possible, are now two-dimensional TV characters who are incapable of doing anything until next Thursday night. That's really, really dumb.
    Similar problems exist in spades in other storylines, too, and I think it's an easily solved problem: just DON'T DO THOSE TYPES OF STORYLINES. If you can't come up with a way to tell a story in a realistic fashion, and a way to pace it plausibly, then why the fuck are you bothering? Just to prove that you're now a "fictional television series" like Gunsmoke, and not a wrestling show? Sorry, but that doesn't cut the mustard....
    I know that's a long-ish rant, but goddamn does it ever seem like such simple common sense... and yet, WWE insists on forging ahead with craptacular storylines that aren't nearly well-written enough to appeal to the same Grade-A Morons who made "Desperate Housewives" a hit, and that ARE cheesy and soap-opera-y enough to alienate existing fans of the wrestling. It's a lose/lose situation. Now, more than ever, WWE needs my long-suggested "Stupid Patrol" to keep tabs on the creative team and veto them before crap like this actually makes it to the airwaves.
    Other than the Eddie/Rey stuff? SD! really wasn't that bad a show.... it's just that the way things were laid out, nothing else leapt off the screen and seemed anywhere near as important as the Eddie/Rey drama. So yes: Christian/Rey, and Benoit/Booker/MNM were both very solid matches... but did it feel to ANYone out there like they mattered? Nope: Christian/Rey was just a backdrop so they could get to the "Big Finish" with Eddie, and I *still* don't know what the point of Benoit/Booker/MNM was, since it seems to me Benoit chasing the US Title was already demotion enough. I don't see what'll really come out of a full time Benoit/Booker tag team.
    Batista and JBL did a nice little "contract signing" bit that actually seemed to showcase both men's strengths (i.e. Batista had a little bit of the calm, collected swagger, while JBL kept his rambling down to less than 25 minutes, so it didn't seem as bludgeoningly repetitive). Problem is, they signed a contract for a match that precisely no one wants to see. So that's a big ol' PLONK. The Orton/Taker thing was about the same deal: an OK promo/video interruption, but there really isn't a whole lot of "must-see" appeal to an Orton/Taker PPV match. We saw it once, it was better than expected, but that seemed like an end to the story, not the beginning... and now, they have mishandled the re-starting of the story so that it really doesn't have any of the sizzle it did this past winter.
    What else can I remember from last night's show? Ummmm.... Jillian "the Fixer" Hill seems like somebody's pet project; a horribly stilted, lame, and over-written promo established her "character," but felt more like there's a writer somewhere who has issues he still hasn't fully worked out.... if Animal and Heidenreich are the answer, I really don't want to know the question; I am now officially sick and tired of this particular Nostalgia Trip... and I guess the one unconditionally positive thing I can say about last night is that Christian hosting the "Peep Show" interview segment gives me hope that his profile is on the rise; but if I had been booking last night's show, Christian's guest would have been Benoit, and Orlando Jordan would have showed up to (a) claim he already beat Benoit in singles competition and also to (b) get on Christian's case about not helping him out in their tag match last week. This could have led to some kind of multi-way US Title Match in which there's a heel in the ring people actually care about (Christian), or at the very least would have kept the US Title visible (because otherwise, jobbing Benoit to OJ becomes even MORE retarded, retroactively, if that wasn't part of a mission to rehab the title and make OJ a more compelling star).
    Not an horrible show, really. Just one that didn't have any true blow away segments, and which limped home to the most soul-crushingly dumb finish possible... so it still managed to leave a horrible taste in your mouth. Bravo, Writer Monkeys, bravo. Big Danny T has more detailed results and analysis in his SD! Recap.
  • SD! did a 3.0 broadcast rating for last night's show, which I think is actually a drop of a few tenths from the week before. And it's also a half-point behind SD!'s standard rating when it's performing well...
    With a move to Friday nights now only about a month away, SD! seems to have already begun the process of shedding a few of its marginal viewers. I don't anticipate the move to Fridays will be THAT huge a percentage change for SD!'s ratings, but if you factor in maybe a half-point ratings loss and it's ON TOP OF this current half-point deficiency, that kinda does get to the point of being significant. SD! doing anything less than the mid-2's would be problematic for WWE...
  • Going back to one of the midweek update's bigger stories...
    Bret Hart has agreed to assist with WWE's upcoming 3-disc DVD retrospective on Hart's career. WWE.com has confirmed this, and has also added Hart bio info to the website, which I'm guessing ALSO means that Hart has agreed to terms on one of the new "Legends Program" deals that a bunch of other former superstars have agreed to in the last six months. 
    And not to lord it over anyone, but: neener neener neener. Next time I tell you somebody's just meeting with WWE about a DVD, maybe you'll believe me, instead of flying off the handle with Fantasy Booking Scenarios that involve Bret showing up at SummerSlam to screw Shawn Michaels.
  • And while nothing official has been announced by WWE, it's been confirmed that Dusty Rhodes met with the company regarding possible contributions to the creative team. No idea if a position was offered, or anything...
    The only public comment regarding Dusty came from Stephanie McMahon, who offered up the bland pleasantry that WWE is interested in working with Dusty and would be exploring all avenues.
    Going back to my own Wednesday comments: Dusty might be a bit of a help given who WWE current employs to write their shows, but he is NOT the solution to the core problem. Steph's Hollywood Writer Fetish was, at least, an attempted Evolution in the creative direction of the company. Now, things evolved along entirely the wrong lines, and I think it's obvious in the TV product, but at least they were trying to move forward. Dusty would represent a step backwards... which might be nice for righting the ship, but which is ultimately not what the company needs. What WWE needs *is* a creative evolution, just one that actually leads to a compelling on-screen product, instead of some kind of horrifying genetic mutant like we've got today. Call it Wrestling Darwinism, if you like, but SOMEthing needs to happen for WWE to adapt to the current environment.
    Of course, in "WWE Think," they believe they are SO advanced that they possess the ability to alter their own environment to make IT adapt to THEM. Witness however many dozens of different examples of WWE trying to cram some crap down our throats, instead of just listening to us and giving us what we want....
    But I digress.

  • Tatanka has NOT been signed to a WWE deal, contrary to my report on Wednesday. Turns out the information passed on to me by Many Loyal Readers was part of an intentional hoax by some jerko who stole Chris "Tatanka" Chavis' identity and posted that information to his official website's message board.
    The real Chris Chavis has since posted an update that explains the situation, and which confirms that he has NOT been offered a WWE contract, and that he only did RAW as a one-night thing. Which, truth be told, makes a hell of a lot more sense to me.
    Sorry for contributing in any way to the misinformation.
  • A few folks have written in regarding my Molly Holly "shoot DVD" comments from Wednesday... they said they had read on some Molly Holly fansites that Molly might actually have financed the DVD her own self, and suggested that I might want to take back my comments if that was the case.
    Well, I can't exactly un-say something I already said; most of you would probably be smart enough to not believe me, and those who would believe me would now peg The Rick as wishy-washy. What I can do is amplify my thoughts, though... and though a lot of those "fansites" for wrestlers make WWE.com look downright credible, I'll at least entertain the notion that Molly put together this project on her own, instead of just submitting to be interviewed by some money mark. And if so, obviously she can produce/market it however the hell she wants.
    But then I'd also cockily note that just like I could have promoted Molly Holly about a billion times better than WWE's creative team did and turned her into an important weekly contributor to RAW, I think I'd also note that I could have produced and marketed a Molly Holly Shoot DVD that would be about a billion times cooler than what "Shooting the Shi.... Crap" appears to be.
    And I could do it without resorting to including an entire second bonus CD-ROM with the package, containing hundreds of tasty Bootleg Photos from four years' worth of Diva Magazine photoshoots. Although, now that I think of it...
    Anyway, what this boils down to is me thinking there are probably better, more appropriate ways to market a Molly Holly shoot DVD to her biggest fans. I could probably word that a bit more strongly, but frankly, I'm already judging the DVD by it's cover (instead of by its contents), so I'm on thin enough ice as it is...
  • Promotional materials released for September's RAW-only Unforgiven PPV reveal that the main event is slated to be John Cena defending the WWE Title against Kurt Angle. So as if you needed ANOTHER reason to not be putting any money on Jericho at SummerSlam, there you go...
    Although, in fairness, these promotional materials would have been designed on the order of 3-5 weeks ago, probably, and a lot has changed in that time.
    For instance: the past week, I've been getting tons of e-mail from readers wondering about SummerSlam ads they are seeing.... according to these ads, the top matches at SummerSlam were going to be:
    Shawn Michaels vs. Hulk Hogan
    John Cena vs. Edge (WWE Title)
    Batista vs. Muhammad Hassan (World Title)
    Triple H vs. Ric Flair
    And clearly, today only one of those four matches has made it to the final card. Well: the jury's still out on whether they'd rush HHH back to TV to do that match with Flair at the PPV, but at this point they'd be really stupid to do that. Better to just leave HHH well enough alone till after the PPV, and THEN take the time to do things up right.
    This is an example of how fast (and how severely) things can change; the Hassan/UPN flap and the return of Matt Hardy necessitated some shuffling. I guess you could tell yourself that said shuffling could continue having a trickle-down effect even to September's PPV Plans.
    But at this point, it really does feel like Cena/Angle would be the next logical thing to do on RAW, so I wouldn't go getting my hopes up.
  • The CM Punk Saga continues...
    Less than a week ago, the current ROH Champion was slated to make his big WWE "debut" (i.e. "His first appearance NOT as a jobber") on Heat, with Alexis Laree at his side. But that match was pulled when WWE management decided it Punk didn't come off well.
    And now, it looks like they've taken away the pairing with Laree, too. Punk worked tapings this week, but as a tag wrestler (in dark matches). A significantly lower-profile gig than his proposed singles gig. It's possible the tag matches were just to get Punk more experience in a WWE ring and the gimmick with Laree could be re-instated, but at this point, it kinda feels like the Fed won't be rushing foreward with anything.
    Two interpretations are possible: (1) WWE got a look at Punk in a featured role and is no longer sure if he has the ability to be a singles superstar, or (2) WWE is *so* high on Punk's upside that they don't want to put him on TV until they can get the gimmick/timing perfect.
    You can pick whichever of those you prefer, but I'm kinda leaning towards (1), my own self. Then again, go back and read my comments about Punk last week, and you'll see even before WWE pulled the Heat match, I was expressing doubts over just how a "tweener" like Punk would fit onto the WWE roster.
  • In Punk's place, WWE went ahead and aired the TV "debut" of Johnny Parisi (formerly known as Johnny Swinger, and a moderate success in both ECW and TNA), which had originally been expected to be an unaired dark match.
    Don't know what to make of that, really, since I'm not too sure that Swinger's got any more upside than Punk, and if anything is a much more bland and boring character (in addition to being a "tweener" on size, too)...
  • This week on Heat, you can expect the "debut" of Matt StriTel (he of three failed Angle Invitational attempts).
    Actually, I guess he's working as Matt Striker, now that he's gonna be Not A Jobber. I didn't care so much about the guy's "story," but I was moderately impressed with his apparent personality and in-ring ability. Although the latter could also be easily attributed to who he was in the ring with....
    So keep an eye out for Striker: next time you see him, he WON'T be tapping out to an anklelock in three-tenths-of-a-second flat. 
    Something else to keep an eye out for this weekend: Velocity. Something important actually happens on the show. Something that I'm actually willing to consider a "spoiler," so I won't mention it here. I'll be remembering to set DVR tomorrow night to take a look, you might want to do the same....
  • Despite ratings that leveled off after a big debut, "Hogan Knows Best" is gonna get a second season on VH-1. That announcement was made yesterday.
    Great. Just great. So come the New Year, we can expect ANOTHER 13 weeks of incessant hype on RAW? If I didn't think this was gonna affect my Wrestling Show, I wouldn't care.... but I just know that it will. And I hate Hulk Hogan for it.
    But lucky you, Dimwitted American Populace! You now get a second season of your favorite reality show! You can wait with baited breath to see if the Hulkster ever fathers an actual son!
  • That's all I got for you today, kids. I hope you all get to enjoy your weekend, and I'll see you again on Monday.
    Something you might want to do to occupy yourself: check out Jeb's latest column. My guess is you'll either be offended that Jeb is clearly describing YOU, or you'll get a huge kick out of recognizing one of the more annoying archetypes of wrestling fan. 
    And the best thing is, Part Two is coming, and when it hits, those of you who are laughing now might not be in such a jolly mood. Tee hee.
    So check that out, enjoy your weekend, and here's hoping some cool things happen to put me in a better, more pre-rambly mood come Monday. Later on..... 

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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