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RAW and SD! Thoughts/Ratings, plus
WWE/TNA Comings and Goings and MORE!  
August 19, 2005

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Well, *I* am back home, safe and sound, with my schedule slowly starting to return to normal...
So let's say the much-beloved OO PreRamble ALSO starts returning to its normal self. To wit: pointless ranting about various pop culture phenomenon. Such as:

So the new season of Celebrity Poker started up this week, and like the Creature of Habit that I am, I watched it. Well, actually, DVR recorded it (because I never deleted those

standing orders from last season), and then I kinda FF'ed through it. Because apparently, starting this season, "Celebrity Poker Challenge" is going to try to be 100% Celebrity-Free. The fuck?

I sit here at OO and have million-dollar ideas about Celebrity Poker doing a WWE-themed show now that WWE is back in bed with NBC/Universal (who owns Bravo, which runs the show)... and instead of that, the big Season Premiere for Celebrity Poker is.... wait for it.... wait for it... a Reality TV Alumni Theme Show! If I'm misunderstanding the concept of "celebrity," please feel free to correct me, people... but this struck me as about as awful a line-up of "famous people" as you could assemble, unless you were PURPOSELY trying to attract The Suck. Like Branson, MO, does, for instance.

 I recognized exactly two (2) of the participants. The bitch from "The Apprentice," just on the grounds that she was the butt of so many late night talk show jokes that I had no choice but to know who she was. Still doesn't stop her 15 minutes from being long-since expired. And then also Jonny Fairplay, who I only recognized due to the fact that TNA was once under the same misapprehension as Bravo regarding Jonny's "celebrity," and booked him for a few shows.

On the upside, the perpetually-drunk Dave Foley hit my favorite Zinger of the Week when he -- in his growing frustration with Johnny's lack of intelligence, wit, or poker ability -- noted, "If Andy Dick was neither funny nor gay, he'd be Jonny Fairplay." Take that, Reality TV Show loser!

Ah well. I got about 4 days of catch-up to do here, so let's cut the chatter, and get on with it: 

  • Like my last "catch-up" column, we'll kick it off with quick "brand recaps."
    RAW's first. And for the most part, I think Erin nailed it in the Recap: the show started off strong, seemed destined to be a solid pre-PPV effort... but then managed to do a ton of things wrong in the second hour to leave me feeling about as underwhelmed as is humanly possible.
    In other words: it's more of the same from the company that is doing its best to convince its viewers that 2 hours of TV every week is just REALLY HARD work to come up with. Unbelievable.
    Here's a blueprint for you, WWE: fire half your writing staff, just on the grounds that you don't need a dozen people to do the job of 6. Then fire the other half, because they appear to be borderline retarded, if this is the absolute best material they can come up with for the roster they've got. Then hire me and just let me fricking fix everything, already, OK? And if things aren't demonstrably better after six months of me busting my ass, you can fire me, and go back to the Vision of WWE had by Stephanie McMahon, Her Hollywood Writer Monkeys, and Johnny Ace. The one that has left a significant percentage of WWE's fans more aptly labeled as "former fans." And of those who remain, the vast majority sure as hell seem like they could be called "disgruntled." It's not like I could fuck things up any worse...
    There, I said it. Call it the "The Rick Invitational Challenge."
    Or you know what? Leave me out of it, if you're dead-set on the idea that anybody who hasn't (a) been in the wrestling business for years or (b) been a miserable failure as a Hack Hollywood Writer can't write wrestling. Just take the Paul Heyman Invitational Challenge instead. The guy probably wouldn't even need 6 months. Hell, just ONE month of him in charge of OVW has OVW's weekly TV show being widely regarded as the cream of the indie crop. And maybe even better than SD!... and sadly, I'm not due for my next shipment of OVW tapes till the end of September, so I can't really confirm; but at least this time when they arrive, they won't sit collecting dust for weeks!
    But I digress...  my point is that it baffles me how something so fun and easy as coming up with 2 entertaining hours of wrestling per week is so completely and totally eluding WWE's creative team at this juncture.
    On Monday, this was evidenced by the simple fact that the show opened with its strongest segment, and then almost immediately started fading. Shawn Michaels? Is simply awesome. Especially when he's playing the role he was born to play: the cocky asshole heel. It's how he made a name for himself after splitting from Marty Jannetty, and a few years after that, it's how he had his most entertaining run as a main eventer (as a Canada-hating, DX-leading jerk). Now, he's doing it again. He played Montreal like a fiddle, and everything down to his mannerisms (especially his fake-tantrumy "I bet you just wish some Candaian Hero would come out here and give me the what-for" thingie) oozed prickishness. But TV-G prickishness, which just goes to show that you don't have to offend the Baby Jesus' Ears in order to portray a Grade A Dillhole.
    The Bret Hart tease? Nicely done. I didn't get to see the show till Wednesday night, and when the music kicked in, I kinda assumed Bret wasn't showing up (because if he had, my guess is that I'd have had more than a few voicemails bombarding me during the last part of my vacation). So I didn't really get that "Oh, you assholes fooled me!" feeling (like I did on the Matt Hardy tease months ago). If anything, Shawn's claim that "you'll never see Bret Hart in a WWE ring again" is exactly the opposite of what I assume is the case: the mentions of Bret and the tease with his music (which, I'm sad to say, has NOT aged well, and belongs right next to the Legion of Doom theme in the "needs updating" pile) are proof positive that Bret WILL be seen in a WWE ring again. But when? That, I'm not prepared to speculate about... but the way Shawn talked about it, the stage does certainly seem to be set.
    Best part is, Michaels once again wove all these elements (some purely storyline, some "real") to get a single cogent point across. Because he wasn't referencing Bret for shits and giggles. He was doing it to illustrate that no matter how big you are, Shawn is capable of "screwing" you. And come hell or high water at SummerSlam, Shawn's not lying down for Hogan, so we'd all better get ready for another screwing. This whole feud has really been built on that ability to weave together the "real" and the "work" in a believable way.... I think the key might just be the hindsight and the years that have passed; unlike the "current events" nature of Edge/Hardy, the backstage personas of Hogan, Michaels, and Hart have been obscured by the years, with the lines between "real" and "work" sort of fading away, allowing for those things to blend together, even in the minds of the "smartest" and most well-read fans. Thank god, too, because it's the driving force being SummerSlam's lone compelling and marketable match.
    [Of note: just a small thing, but when the Hogan/Michaels thing was recapped on SD!, the video package was edited to almost completely omit mentions of Bret. Other than a droning "We Want Bret" chant in the background of one segment, you wouldn't even have known Michaels had spent half his promo talking about the Hitman. I like how that minor detail underscores the idea that Michaels was going "off-script" for those portions of his comments. Even though the effortlessness with which they tied into the things he then said about Hogan are even more convincing as evidence that he was perfectly ON script the whole time. Still, for those less-savvy viewers, I like that they aren't "sanctioning" Michaels' references to Bret, and thus creating the impression that Michaels is shooting all over the place and that Bret was genuinely cheap-shotted back on Monday.]
    Of course, after that opening promo.... all downhill. At first, not downhill very fast, as I got a kick out of Big Show doing one of his periodic Exhibitions Of Hugeness against the under-sized Heartthrobs; you can't do that every week (ahem: make a note of it, Legion of Doom 2005!), but every now and again, it's a fun diversion. And then the Eugene Invitational served a very useful purpose: letting Kurt Angle remind us that for as cute and fun as this storyline has been, he's still a mega-bad-ass who is not to be messed with. That's how you make the fans feel for Eugene... not like the previous week's abomination of moronic booking.
    But THEN somebody decided to goose the accelerator, because they were no longer satisfied with merely coasting down the hill in neutral. First you had the Diva Search thing kick off. And can somebody please explain to me how Elisabeth got voted off in third place? She pretty much won anything resembling an athletic contest, and is also one of the few contestants to show a spark of non-annoying personality. And she's not uneasy on the eyes, either (especially back before she was TRYING to be generically-hot, and as such, was just bringing the kind of real-hot that I likes). And instead, America has apparently been voting for Leyla, who has done the exact opposite of Elisabeth by badly bungling anything resembling a physical contest and doing it in fairly obnoxious fashion. I guess fake boobs, ricockulous hair, and orchestrated nipslips are all it takes to appeal to WWE fans?
    But I digress, because, in the end, Ashley won. Which is not too hateful. Did you know that Ashley's actually already held a wrestling title? She was one half of some tiny New York State indie fed's tag team champs. So you probably picked the right girl. I wish she'd have handled her win a bit more collectedly, but I guess a quarter million dollars will make a girl do strange things. To be honest, when she got booed for thanking the fans, even *I* thought that was a little cruel. Because she had so clearly lost it and was just saying whatever passed through her purty little head that it seemed unfair for the fans to boo like they knew they were being patronized (as they have frequently been in two years' worth of Diva Search crap). Trust me: Ashley simply wasn't together enough to be patronizing you at that moment.
    Did you also know: that Ashley has posed for Playboy under the name "Ryan Mackenzie"? I didn't, until I saw this. Some refuse to believe that it's the same girl, but going based on tattoos, I think it's Ashley. Consider this a "spoiler" for Ashley's near-term career. Because even if WWE's only way to recoup that quarter-million WASN'T pimping out the diva search winner to Playboy, we now know that Ashley's fine with, at the very least, tasteful toplessness. And also with (sadly) the generic over-done whoring-up that I've already tangentially opposed once in this column and thus shan't do it again.
    You probably don't even want to get me started on what came next.... Cena vs. Jericho/Carlito was a perfect embodiment of everything that's already gone wrong with this story. Jericho was anything but the compelling challenger to Cena, he was merely one-third of a conspiracy plot against Cena. And a poorly-conceived plot at that, since it FUCKING FAILED MISERABLY IN THE END. Cena, one-against-two, still manages to pin Carlito? I'm telling you: unless this actually is building up to the biggest swerve in the last couple years, and Jericho wins the title, then everything about this story has been grossly mishandled to the point where it'll be really hard to build to a big-time climax on Sunday night in the WWE Title match. Cena beating Jericho is simply going to piss off the (rather sizeable) group of fans who just plain find Jericho more entertaining than Cena. But even in the "mainstream" of fans who find Cena amusing, they will find nothing satisfying about him pinning Jericho, since Jericho's not really done anything the last 2 months to make himself seem like a viable challenger. It's a sad day when WWE's creative monkeys put more effort into making sure JBL is a compelling challenger than they do into Y2J....
    Oh, and if I thought, for even one second, that there'd be any follow-through on the fact that Jericho kinda hung Carlito out to dry (sort of looked up, decided not to save Carlito at one point, and instead saved himself up for the post-match attack) and THAT is why Cena could score the improbably win, maybe I'd be less upset with the match on Monday.... but they've had six freaking weeks to do subtle interwoven story threads with Jericho and Carlito and not bothered with them. So why would they start now?
    And then what in the blue fuck happened? Edge vs. Val Venis? Rob Conway vs. Hurricane? This is Hour Two of RAW material? Not on The Rick's RAW, it isn't. Erin mentioned to me that she felt bad about the recap job she did on those two matches, where her total verbiage was probably about the same as it takes me to get warmed up and about halfway through a "Celebrity Poker" rant... but goddammit, as long as WWE's intent on putting such flip-away-from-able fluff on in prime time, who the hell's gonna blame her? Not me. I FF'ed the majority of both these matches, actually, and don't feel like I've missed a thing by doing so. Nor by getting short-changed in the recap department. About the only thing of note for that entire 20 minute sequence on RAW: Rob Conway seems to have adopted the Macho Man Elbow as his new finisher. How far down the Hack "Wrestling Journalist" Continuum do you have to go to find a dork who'll make the joke about how it's clearly more of an homage to one of the Village People's two hit singles, and NOT to Randy Savage? Answer: apparently, you don't even have to leave OO to find him. But at least I don't actually think I'm being clever.
    Then you had the main event.... which was not bad. But nor was it good. Going in, I kinda thought it would be interesting to see Hogan in the ring against Angle. Something of a prelude to seeing what the Old Man has in the tank when he's forced to go 20 minutes (or more) with Michaels on Sunday. Sadly, from that perspective, I was not impressed at all. Remember that oddly-paced, but also oddly-compelling match that Angle drew out of Ric Flair 2 months ago? I was kinda hoping for something like that, something where Hogan left his usual crutches behind and showed up that there are other tricks up his sleeve when he needs them. Instead: just a standard 8 minute Hogan Match, where not even his standard moves looked that sharp (good lord, did you see the "Big Boot"? He was lucky to get Angle in the belly with that one). I don't necessarily write off Hogan/Michaels as a result, but now I also can't really blithely say "and no matter what you think about Hogan, he'll bring it here agaisnt Shawn" when I do the PPV Preview. The finish, although necessary, was also kinda predictable, and didn't exactly bring the show rushing to a big, satisfying finish.
    Then again: Shawn dickishly applying the Sharpshooter to Hogan to end the show? That actually WAS kind of an unexpected and cool final image. A standard "heel beats down the face in the last showdown before a PPV" thing still applied, but in this case, Shawn's choice of wrestling holds actually made it sizzle just a little bit more. Again: see everything I've said about how effortlessly they seem to be weaving in subtle storyline elements here, to the benefit of the feud as a whole. Nice little tag to a RAW that had really lost a whole lot of steam following a hot start.
    Anyhoo, that's what I got off my late night viewing of RAW when I got home on Wednesday. For an entirely more cogent and detailed rundown of the show, you are directed toward's Erin's bRAWd Recap, which should meet all your needs. I know it buttered my popcorn. Then again, I already knows me my Eddie Izzard, and if the cocksuckers at HBO hadn't taken Season One of "Deadwood" off my on-demand channel when they did (I was only up to the one where Veronica Mars was offed in rather unpleasant fashion, but HBO didn't care about me; NOOOO, the motherfucking sons of bitches just care about their precious DVD sales), I'd be fully up to speed on that, too. Oh well. Much as it might be more fun, we ain't here to talk about Izzard or HBO Original Series. We're here to keep trying mightily to do what WWE can't: make wrestling fun! So just go read the RAW Recap, if you haven't already.
  • The rating for Monday: a 3.8, which I think is a gain of one-tenth from the week before. And while any gain is good, this still keeps RAW slightly below expectations. Obviously, they have little hope of regaining the highs of the Draft Lottery, but they aren't even back up to pre-draft levels. Not a good sign heading into the ostensible #2 PPV of the year.
    Again: I know WWE isn't trying to suck on purpose, but I think it's about time that they do admit that something's not quite right on the creative front. Everything from talent development to staging/production of backstage skits needs to be looked at and overhauled, if you ask me. I think the guy who deemed Chris Masters as "ready for prime time" is just as big a problem as whoever booked the Kane/Lita ambulance abduction.... cuz it all ties together to create a product that is just a few degrees off target from giving the fans something that they care about and can connect with. The right talents being elevated and armed with the right material, and trust me, you wouldn't have house shows with attendance under 2000, and ratings that flounder for all but the stuntiest of stunt booking.
  • SmackDown!'s turn, now....
    And sadly, I don't have nearly as much to say. Why? Mostly just because I find it ever-so-hard to care about a show where JBL is still a #1 Contender. I don't fucking CARE if this was the back-up plan after UPN torpedoed Hassan... that's no excuse when three-quarters of your audience could have pulled a vastly superior back-up plan out of their asses.
    And then there's Eddie vs. Rey. Good lord. How can two guys I like this much, two guys who I'm so confident could rock the socks off a ladder match, end up contributing to such soul-crushingly bad TV? Simple: let WWE's writer monkeys hand them the material.
    I mean, christ, I'm nothing if not consistent, and my one big mantra for how to keep wrestling storylines reined in and "realistic" is just to remember that wrestling happens in "our universe," not some fictional one. Stories should, then, be bound by the same basic rules and logical causality that govern our society. So disregard my more nebulous bitching about "cheesiness" and "melodrama" and all that... just focus on the simple fact that NOWHERE in the history of time and space, have two parties decided to settle a custody case by hanging papers from the ceiling and then fighting to see who can grab them first. Listen, I know there's a lot silly about pro wrestling "logic" at times and I don't bitch about it just because it's so ingrained; but it's inexcusable that WWE would (instead of trying to mask that silliness and actually try to come up with compelling TV that fans might actually be able to relate to or care about) go out of its way to push the envelope of silliness so that it may include even more crap that some day (maybe years from now) fans won't think is as stupid as it actually is. This just isn't a good wrestling storyline. And it's not even a good Hollywood storyline. It's just crap. Unmitigated crap.
    What else? Umm, well, I thought one of the many good things that would come out of Randy Orton jumping to SD! would be the fact that -- once on the taped show -- he'd be less prone to coming off like a dimwitted language mangler. Well, I was only half-right. Because his pre-taped bit last night, talking about Taker, was about as bad as a pre-tape can be and still be allowed to make it to air. I have to assume that represented many takes, and was the best one. And it still wasn't very good. Randall avoided any major line fumblings, but he also avoided coming off as even remotely comfortable or smooth in what he was saying. It's no longer fun to mock Randy for this, but I think it's important to keep underscoring the problme until somebody figures out how to fix it (either Randall finds the maturity and personality to quit coming off so vapid, or somebody higher up bumps him down a few notches until he's FORCED to find that stuff before allowing to have his career continues).
    Also: Orton vs. Benoit actually turned into the Match of the Week. Well, WWE Match of the Week (I heard enough good things I actually engaged Bit Torrent and took a gander at Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles; far from the "career maker" some Salesfans might have you believe, but also quite excellent)... but even at that, it started off with some rocky moments at the beginning, as it seemed like Orton had some genuine Ring Rust (or at the very least, timing issues). By the ends, things started clicking, though... so that's a good sign, anyway. 
    And Benoit? A rematch with Orlando Jordan for the US Title materialized out of nowhere. Fuck. You. WWE. There MIGHT have been ways to justify OJ's title retention last month. But as soon as you revealed you had no conception of any of them, and did NOTHING with OJ the past 4 weeks, you get nothing but open mocking of your pitiable lack of creativity. So now, after zero creative effort, we're being asked to care a SECOND time about a match we only barely cared about the first time? And to care a second time after you delivered one of the most underwhelming and unsatisfying outcomes to the first contest? In what parallel dimension does this amount to Quality Storytelling? Because here in our universe, this is the kind of horseshit that really should be getting somebody fired.
    Hmmm... what else? Well, you had both Christian and Booker T starting some mildly confusing new mini-angles. Ones that won't land them anywhere near a PPV. Ones that I'm not even sure I "get." But they definitely represent somebody's attempt to come up with fresh material for the two poor guys. Christian may or may not have started a face turn last night; I dunno. But he WAS attacked by the Mexicools. And even in America, that might get him cheered. And Booker? His wife, once a very likeable sort of spitfire, has suddenly done the SmackDown! Shuffle, and decided to start exhibiting inexplicable new character traits out of nowhere. To wit: she got pinned by Melina, and after the match played the "You're my man, and you should be protecting me, but you ain't got your stuff together chump" card on Booker. What the hell? If (a) this new persona of Sharmell's had been built up believably over time and (b) I thought this was leading to a fire being lit under Booker's ass to turn him into a key player on SD!, then maybe I'd care. Instead, it's just like the Christian thing: I don't know where it came from, I don't know where it's going, and I find it real hard to care, no matter how much I like the guy.
    Also: the "new Legion of Doom" is already in Week 3 of over-staying it's welcome. And we haven't even gotten to the "big pay-off" of Heidenreich in full LOD attire, yet. Oy..... JBL made another "guarantee." Too bad they already blew their load on that one when he came up short against Cena 2 PPVs back. Too bad we're at the point where even if he made good on his guarantee, nobody would give a shit. Poor Batista; anybody want to tell me my off-the-cuff Fantasy Booking a month ago (in which the Hassan Axing would have been covered up by using Benoit as a one-time challenger to Batista) wouldn't have resulted in about one-billion-times-more-interesting a match-up? Of course you don't, because OO doesn't have very many readers who are retarded....   and we STILL haven't seen/heard a peep about the Cruiserweight Division, where there's a new champ. Does WWE honestly look at the ratings and think, "Eh, it's OK, everybody will see that on Velocity"?. I sure hope not.
    For a much-more-comprehensive look at last night's SD!, I encourage you to check out Big Danny T's SD! Recap. It's actually Danny's last week as our full-time recapper, and I'd like to thank him for his service -- through all the good times, like when SD! was actually the better show for a good while!, and the bad, which have been more prevalent lately. Who'da thunk that posting SD! thoughts on the OO Forums would have turned into a few years of full-time recappening, huh? Too bad Danny couldn't have gotten a better string of shows to go out on... but you know the OO Mantra: it's not the quality of the show that counts, it's the quality of the recap.

  • Last night's SD! did a 3.0 broadcast rating, a significant half-point drop from the week before. Some of that might be attributable to pre-emptions in a couple key WWE markets (including Philadelphia). But you don't lose 15% of your audience by missing 2 or 3 markets; the numbers just don't work that way...
    Instead, we have to consider the zany possibility that fewer fans bothered tuning in this week. Given the eyeball-rolling rut SD!'s been in (with JBL on top and the Eddie/Rey storyline), I know it seems tough to comprehend, but let's at least entertain the notion, OK?
  • And now, some other newsbite catch-up, now that we're all up-to-speed on RAW and SD!....
    Frankie Kazarian is done with WWE. About one month after a (kinda-underwhelming) debut on Velocity, he's asked for and received a release from the company, deciding that he'd rather pursue other endeavors.
    So the guy waits till he's on TV before he asks out? Either he was just biding his time, trying to get that one brief flirtation with mainstream attention on WWE TV, and then wanted to ask out to take his newfound fame elsewhere... or he just really, really, really didn't think working Velocity was worth it. At this point, the latter is a very real possibility, if Kazarian was unsure that he'd ever get pushed to the main show on Thursdays. Given that the Crusierweight Champ rarely gets that exposure, he'd be well within his rights to consider that alternative.
    In any case, Kazarian's gone. Not a huge hit, if you ask me. WWE's "style" doesn't exactly require the flashiest of cruisers, which is really annoying as a fan to knows what's possible when you cut these guys loose... but even with those limitations, Kazarian didn't seem like a guy who'd ever really stand out on the WWE stage. If guys like Spanky and Jamie Noble are coming back, there's a chance he was gonna be squeezed out, anyway... this might well be for the best for him.
  • Also departing his current employer: the former "Michael Shane," who had been a TNA staple almost since its inception. A month ago, he'd been forced to drop that name (as it's the name of a current WWE developmental wrestler -- one of the Shane Twins, who I believe were two of Hassan's Terror Cell during its two appearances -- and WWE has trademarked it for wrestling use), and was working under his real name, which was Matt Bentley.
    Bentley is in the midst of renegotiating a contract with TNA, and is playing a bit of hardball. With TNA's TV future established, and with the company imposing more stiff limitations on what indie shows their talents can work (which is HUGE considering that TNA only runs two shows per month at the present time, leaving their roster with little choice but to make other money on the side by working other shows), Bentley's trying to get as good a deal as he can out of the company. The company, so far, has been standing pat.  Result: no Bentley on the PPV or at this month's TV tapings. The REAL downside to this: no Tracey, either. And she remains one of probably 3 or 4 really good reasons to bother watching TNA.
    The thinking is that Bentley probably won't budge much, and that he'll end up a free agent in a few weeks when his current deal expires. Given that his trainer just so happened to be Shawn Michaels (who is also his uncle or his cousin or something), my guess is that Bentley's not too worried about his employment future. 
  • It's not clear at this point, but the bWo experiment might be over... Blue Meanie has not been flown in for the last few SD! tapings, and Stevie Richards has a match on this weekend's Velocity in his normal wrestling gear, instead of his Big Stevie Cool get-up.
    And yet another case of WWE taking a pretty un-fuck-up-able concept and discarding it for no good reason other than, "We're WWE and any idea WE have is gonna be better than one had by ECW." I'm not stupid, I don't think the bWo would have sold many tickets or PPVs. But they're also a genuinely fun and entertaining way to do some throw-away filler that WON'T leave fans reaching for the remote. Why WWE doesn't recognize the value of these niche performers is beyond me...
  • Speaking of "niche" acts in WWE.... two of them have just signed 3-year contract extensions.
    Jonathan Coachman re-upped, and despite the fact that his current value seems to be in limited doses (and NOT trying to carry an entire 2-hour telecast, where his shtick wears thin a bit too easily at this point), seems to be WWE's preferred option for their next generation color commentator. As long as the alternative is years and years of Lawler, I won't TOTALLY shit on this idea... but Coach needs to spend a bit more time making his heel persona a bit more internally consistant. Cuz even at his most annoying, Lawler USUALLY makes sense segment to segment... whereas Coach's gimmick of putting himself over more than the wrestlers sometimes leads to logic holes that are not becoming a heel announcer whose job it is to present the talent and the storylines to the fans.
    And also: with her quarter-million dollar Diva Search contract expiring next month, Christy Hemme has agreed to a 3-year contract. Apparently, she gladly accepted the reduced guaranteed pay and honestly is committed to making a career out of this. Hey, kudos to her; I honestly wasnt' sure how things would play out once Spaz was finished cashing the bloated Diva Search checks, but it looks like she's gonna keep on plucking away. And to be honest: I think her current thing with Eugene is the first time in 12 months that she's found a role that really suits her. From here, Spaz has an outlet for that boundless energy of hers, and will also not be asked to carry many (if any) Actual Wrestling Matches... she can improve out of the spotlight, which beats the hell out of being exposed as a rank amateur on the WM stage. Now that she's locked in for three years on a "non-gimmick" contract, I think the real learning and improving may begin....
  • You know that "Joey Styles Extremely Hardcore Wrestling" PPV we talked about a while back? Well, Joey's not gonna have anything to do with it.
    On the eve of the TV taping in Atlanta, GA, WWE stepped in and said, "Um, Joey, we signed you to a contract to do various PPV and home video things, and we just looked at the fine print, and it says you can't commentate on a competing PPV." Which I gotta admit is something I was curious about, since pre-taped or not, this seemed like the kinda thing that WWE might not have wanted Joey doing.
    So now, tonight's taping in Atlanta will need a last second replacement announcer as well as a new name. Cuz Joey can't be featured in any way. The announcer is actually the simpler of the issues, since you can always just dub that in later, if you have to. But a whole new name for the show? That's a bit trickier.
    In any case, it's not like this was really shaping up to be all that intriguing a show. DDP vs. Justin Credible was slated to headline. That should just about say it all. Because before there was JBL, there was Justin Credible.
    The taping is tonight in Atlanta, the PPV debut is three weeks from tonight. If there's anything newsworthy about the show, that gives me plenty of time to pass it along to you....

  • I think that's all the important stuff I needed to cover today... of course, this is also SummerSlam weekend, so we'll have the Team Coverage PPV Preview going up. That'll either be later tonight, or possibly Saturday afternoon, depending on how things work out. So you need to make an extra stop here at OO to get caught up on that!
    Then it's the immediate post-PPV recap on Sunday night, and the resumption of the normal OO Schedule on Monday. Thanks for bearing with me the past 10 days folks!  

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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