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Friday Night SD!, WWE Legal Wrangling,
Trish, Foley, Ratings, and Lots More News...
September 9, 2005

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Well, it may not be a long holiday weekend starting up in a few short hours... but it is looking to be a fantastical Pig-in-Slop Weekend of Sports Revelry.
It all kicks off tonight with a HUGE Yankees/Red Sox series. Huge for AL East Divisional reasons, but also huge for Wild Card Considerations. Six weeks ago, I was honestly concerned there'd be no reason to care about Yankee Games come September... but things are starting to come together. 

And then tomorrow? Well, if you've been

watching ANY SportsCenter the last 24 hours, you know there's a college football game of Intergalactic Significance taking place in Columbus, OH. You know it's big when it's a a top story on ESPN 48 hours  ahead of time. And I? Don't give a shit about college football. But for the sake of playing along and not pooping what could be one of the bestest parties of the year, I'll actually suck it up for once and PRETEND to like something I couldn't care less about! Go #4-ranked Buckeyes! Beat Whatever #2-ranked Texas' Team Name is! Possibly the Longhorns! I am not averse to another National Championship coming to my state... and also, I would like to note that #4 vs. #2 taking place 45 minutes away from my house makes #13 vs. #17 taking place 45 minutes from the house of a certain Unnamed OO Columnist last weekend look pretty lame, doesn't it?  

And Sunday, obviously, is the start of the NFL season. And it'll be the one week of the year where I can pretend like the New York Giants and the Cincinnati Bengals might still be relevant contenders, so I'll try to enjoy that before letting my interest wane. Then again: against my own wishes, I ended up in a Fantasy League (hey, it's like I said: I like to facilitate the parties, not poop them, and I was begged to join in this case), so I might have to pay some level of attention as the season progresses, even if only so that I can prove, once again, that I am smarter than all my friends. At least: all the ones in this league.

So join me, won't you, in wallowing in your own crapulence this weekend? There's something for everybody! Myself, I actually think I'll be most riveted to the baseball games (I know tonight's is on ESPN, and I have to assume we get the FOX treatment tomorrow afternoon while beginning the Drunkening for the OSU/Texas game). What can I say? I prefer the Thinking Man's Game to the Mouthbreather's Game.

But the reason we're all gathered here together on this supremely excellent website? So you can enjoy the Thinking Man's Perspective on a Mouthbreather's Hobby. Let us commence with me talking about wrestling! 

  • Without SD! to talk about, pickings will be very slim today... this is going to be an on-going problem, I fear. Anybody have any other ideas about something that could become a new Friday/Weekend Staple here for Online Onslaught dot com? Short of making me come up with Original and Creative Feature-y Ideas of my own, that is? I actually have about 4.5 of them in my brain, I've just never had the motivation to take them out of there and put them into text... and also: one of them is an idea that I insist be a collaboration, which opens up a whole other can of logistical worms. 
    But we'll see... maybe with Fridays becoming tough days for content, I'll get my ass in gear and start developing those things. I honestly haven't done a single "Signature Column" yet for 2005... I think I've continued getting better at making the RAW Recaps scintillatingly-awesome, and with few exceptions, those have been way better in '05 than in '04. But my column work has suffered. I had 4-5 things last year that I *still* think fondly of to this day; but not a single one of those types of columns for 2005, yet. I have recaps I like a lot, but no major "theory/feature" columns to speak of.
    Perhaps I should rectify that? Stay tuned, folks... the on-going de-emphasis on SD! (seriously, it's already the Minor Leagues of Wrestling, and now, it'll have to wait till Monday to get discussed here on OO? that's not good) could be YOUR gain, if it motivates me to pick up the pace a bit in my own work.
    And speaking of SD!? Again, if you missed it, WWE is trying to lure folks into still thinking it's a two-hour show.... but in reality, only the second hour is on UPN (at 9pm, eastern). For the first hour, you'd have to go to WWE.com and watch a webcast. Again, I feel compelled to make a joke about WWE stealing a tactic from TNA... one that, truth be told, doesn't even seem like a very good one to me.
    Anyway, I only spoiled one match for myself (so that I'd know for sure it's OK if I don't have the recap done till Monday), but I also believe that the line-up is such that the Actual Broadcast Hour of SD! will feature the Eddie/Rey cage match, the Benoit/Jordan IC Title match, and the Batista/JBL World Title match. My biggest hope: that this is FINALLY the match that we know Eddie and Rey are capable of having. The cage gives them a gimmick to work with, and Eddie's promo a week ago sure seemed to hint that they were trying to put the mano y mano intensity above all the shitty soap opera melodrama. I got really sick and tired of some of the storytelling, but I'll never get sick of watching these two work together.... hopefully this is the Big Finish to a rivalry that's been brewing for about 10 months, now. If we get that tonight, I think the first Friday Night SD! will go down as a success.
    I'll have the recap of the one-hour show on Monday (or possibly Sunday, if I feel like posting an update without actually changing the headline picture/story). And since it's me, I think we can guarantee that the first Friday Night SD! Recap will go down as a success. Then next week: it's forward with the Great Canuck Recapper Experiment of 2005!
  • And while tonight's debut of Friday Night SD! will be shorted an hour due to UPN's other broadcast commitments, RAW's USA Network Homecoming is now expected to be a 3-hour special.
    In addition to lining up a guest list that includes Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, Mick Foley, Triple H, and Vince McMahon, the 3 hour timeslot (starting at 8pm) pretty much guarantees that WWE will get either a jump or an even start with Spike TV's plans to feature UFC and TNA for its Monday night audience that night.
    It's a cool move, and it's one that underscores USA's commitment to working with WWE and promoting them as best they can. In fact, I've already spotted a few RAW commercials on USA... of note: they focus on John Cena, Carlito Cool, and Torrie Wilson. Huh. So is THAT why Torrie got traded over? Because WWE wanted to have a Playboy Covergirl available to help with promotion of the show? Nope, wait, that makes no sense, either.... they already had Spaz.
    Anyway, expectations continue to rise for RAW's return to USA in 4 weeks time....
  • For an additional dimension of Crapulence, some of you might enjoy a wrestling PPV on Sunday night. TNA's last show before re-launching the company is, I am told by Jason Longshore, titled "Unbreakable." Eh, no wonder I couldn't remember the name on Wednesday...
    But it is not the crappy name of the PPV that matters, it is the promising line-up, which includes a match that even I, the High and Mighty Rick, will probably end up downloading for free at some point next week! AJ Styles vs. Chris Daniels vs. Samoa Joe should be the show-stealer.
    The rest of the card (and hell, if we're honest, the rest of the company) is a bit less thrilling, as TNA's in Water Treading Mode until they get their big debut on SpikeTV in 4 weeks. Raven vs. Rhino for the TNA Title is the ostensible headliner, but I can't see a title change at this point, as Raven probably has a bit more legitimacy as TNA heads into its re-launch. Or at least: he's the guy who has been a TV jobber less-recently of the two.
    And I don't mean that in a snippy way.... I actually am a huge fan of Raven holding the belt. He's had plenty of time to rehab his image in TNA, where as Rhino hasn't been on TV since his last WWE appearance. And seriously: webcasts DON'T COUNT. So I think he will benefit from being booked properly by TNA starting in October, but for now, a lot of fans just wouldn't take him seriously yet as a title threat. Although hell: as long as it's not Jarrett, I'd be fine with anybody as champ.
    For a much more detailed (and expert) look at TNA's Unbreakable PPV, check out Jason's PPV Preview. With me not 2200 miles away from my home PC, Jason returns to the now-traditional format of rounding up his OO Forums Posse for an Alternate Universe Version of OO's Team Coverage PPV Previews. Enjoy.
  • Some news that certainly counts as "interesting"....
    We already knew about WWE's decision to put the kibosh on the Dudley Boyz using that name on the indie circuit. I don't think I mentioned it, but that included Spike Dudley, too.
    Now, word is getting out that WWE's playing some REAL Dick Cards... Justin Credible and Billy Kidman have also had their names taken away, despite the fact that both used those names before ever stepping in a WWE ring. In Credible's case, he should say "Thank you," because that name was one of Paul Heyman's most-annoying brainfarts. Hey, the guy is a legitimate wrestling genius, but tell me "Justin Credible" is a good name. I dare you.
    Kidman, of course, had that name foisted upon him by WCW when he broke in as an implausibly-young-looking lad back in the last 90s. WWE now owns all copyrights developed by WCW during that period. Just like they own all of ECW's intellectual property.
    It wouldn't surprise me to hear about more cases like this coming to light in the near future. In the case of ex-ECW stars, I think we can now safely assume (due to the fiasco over the assignment of the Dudley Boyz gimmick) that ECW didn't file any paperwork on ANY of their characters. Which probably means that unless one of their wrestlers then came to WWE, they'll be in the clear. The only way any paperwork would have been filed would have been by WWE. 
    But former WCW wrestlers? WCW was run professionally, and every gimmick created during the Turner Years would probably have been properly documented and copyrighted, with the rights belonging to WCW. All of which was part of the package that WWE bought for pennies on the dollar back in 2001. So yes, WWE is within their rights to be making these decisions.
    As to why they are being so aggressive now? It's two things, in my opinion. One: it's easy pickin's for them. Back during the War with WCW, they had to pick their fights, because they knew Turner/Time Warner had the resources to battle them in court. But here, they're only battling individual ex-employees (sorry, ex-independent-contractors) who don't have the resources to do anything but roll over and take it in the butt hole. And two: WWE might not publicly admit to considering TNA to be Actual Competition to them (and up till this point, they are right to have that stance), but there's uncertainty over what might happen in October. If TNA can show signs of life and become a legit competitor to WWE, then the Fed (reasonably) wants itself as well-protected as possible. That means keeping TNA from making Dime One off of any intellectual property owned by WWE.
    I think they'll be remarkably successful on both fronts. I can't see any of these guys actually trying to fight WWE for their name, just because of the costs.... and thus, I can't see the Dudleys (or anybody else on the free agent market) being able to significantly help TNA's Star Power Deficiency. A lot of them would flop and underwhelm in the same ways that "BG James" and "The Outlaw" and "Whatever They Decide To Call Sean Waltman In A Given Week" have flopped and underwhelmed. It's a sad-but-true commentary that, to wrestling fans, a rose by some other name will NOT smell so sweet.
    How's THAT for me going all literary on your asses?!?
    As for some exceptions, I've already had some e-mails on this topic (proving that SOME of you slutty readers are whoring around on other websites to get this news before *I* told you about it; oh, but it's OK as long as you still come back to The Rick at the end of the day).... Raven is still "Raven" because Scott Levy owns the gimmick; and rightfully so, as he basically invented it all by himself, despite the misconception that it was a Heyman Creation. That's why he was allowed to take it to WCW, and why he still is allowed to take it with him to this day. Diamond Dallas Page is another guy who I understand was very business savvy (well, either that, or it was his MBA-possessing, ultra-hot ex-wife, who is apparently as smart as she is bone-able) and had all his papers in order BEFORE taking his name to WCW as a manager (and then as a wrestler). And to answer a question had by 3 of you (which, if I do the math, and factor in the e-mails-to-readers ratio probably means about 500 of you have the same question).... YES, Chris Jericho owns his name, too. He doesn't own "Y2J," and WWE would probably fight him on stuff like "Ayatollah of Rock 'n' Rolla" or any other ancillary fringe elements of his gimmick that THEY might have filed the paperwork for (bascially: if it was ever on a t-shirt, WWE probably can make the case that they own it). But Jericho can definitely go somewhere else and still be Jericho (instead of "Irvine"). Thing is: apparently he doesn't want to. So unless something's changed, those of you who asked need to go back to some other wet dream.
    Speaking of those "ancillary" copyrights... my understanding is that WWE is even going to stop the Dudleys from using the team name "3-D" (which is what they came up with 2 weeks ago for their first post-WWE indie gig), as it's one of the things that WWE filed papers for. Man alive, that's harsh... then again, maybe it doesn't matter so much: my understanding is that the ex-Dudleys are maybe NOT in TNA's short-term plans, as there is some sort of scheduling conflict that would keep the Duds from working the October PPV. That gives everybody involved more time to figure something out. I remain a big fan of my idea from a few weeks back: I think the Duds should get themselves booked in OVW, and let Paul Heyman figure out the way around this mess. Cuz lord knows if I call WWE's writers "monkeys," that makes the inventors of TNA's creative direction at all points in the last 18 months something more akin to "squirrels." But I bet Heyman could book his way out of this corner, if given the chance.
    Anyway, it's a curious little development, I thought.... WWE's recent legal moves are completely legitimate, but I also think they illustrate a fundamental concern that they might finally be facing competition. Which they shouldn't be. And that's not a commentary on TNA.... that's simply my belief that you win market share by building a better mouse trap, and NOT by trying to sabotage the other mousetrap builders to make yourself look good by comparison.
    Who here votes that WWE takes 50% of its Legal Budget, sends it to The Rick every week, and then heeds my advice on how to fix the REAL problems the company is facing? The E's priorities are truly mind-boggling sometimes....
  • Since we're on the topic of Intellectual Property and mind-boggling news items.... I mentioned earlier this week about how part of Christian's "de-push" might be due to WWE finding out that somebody else owns the "Captain Charisma" copyright, which then drastically handcuffs Christian's patter (and also puts his merchandise sales in doubt).
    Well, I got an e-mail from somebody who actually was at Atlanta's SD! Tapings on Tuesday (and from the sounds of it, he was one of fewer than 4000 paid, as he had the cheapest seat in the house and was upgraded to the 10th row on the opposite-of-the-camera side; and to think I berated BOTH of my Atlanta-residing staff members for not attending, when it turns out they apparently just made the same decision as the rest of their fellow Atlantians).... he says he thinks the story might be bullshit. Because "Captain Charisma" t-shirts were on sale at the merchandise stands.
    Hey, it's like I said when I mentioned the story: it sounded fishy to me, too, given how assiduously WWE guards its copyrights. But it was something that MIGHT explain Christian's de-push, and it also IS a matter of fact that Christian has NOT used the "Captain Charisma" nickname for himself on TV in at least a month. I thought it was worth mentioning...
    We'll see. Maybe there really is a story here, but WWE is in negotiations to buy the copyright, or something like that, so they're still selling the t-shirts? I dunno. Maybe just to be safe, anybody out there who wants one should buy your "Captain Charisma" shirt sooner rather than later, though....
  • The delayed-by-the-holiday-weekend rating for Monday's RAW is in... it's a 3.6 cable rating. That's.... well, that's not good, but it's also almost exactly what I would have guessed. I think I would have picked a 3.5, but close enough.
    Obviously, you can make the argument that the final bits of Labor Day festivizing might have hurt WWE.... but I tend to make the argument that putting Chris F. Masters in the main event hurt WWE. I might have my issues with the presentation of John Cena, the character, but I again assert my claim that you'd have done better to push his match versus Tomko as the main event. It sends the message that the champ is the top of the card, and better yet: they actually had an exciting and climactic finish to that segment, with Angle coming off as the UberDick. Whereas the finish with Masters flopped in front of near-dead-silence.
    Not saying that this would have bumped the rating back up to a 3.9, or something in that respectable range, but I think it might have been good for a BIT of a positive trend that was not delivered by Chris F. Masters.
  • For those curious: Trish Stratus is again scheduled to make the rounds on RAW brand house shows this weekend. Since she didn't appear on RAW last week, my guess now would be that she'll be held off until either the Unforgiven PPV or the night after. But it still seems logical that she'd come back to TV in some capacity assisting Diva Search Ashley against Victoria and her Trophy Bimbos.
    That gives Trish a feud with Victoria to re-establish herself as a babyface. Remember that these two had probably the arguable best-women's-feud-ever back 2-plus years ago with Trish as the face and Victoria as the heel, including a couple of very solid matches. So I won't argue with that. Well, except for the part where I just KNOW my Trish Sympathy Gene is about to come under heavy siege again for the first time in 18 months. That was one awesome thing about Heel Trish: she had the perfect level of Bitchiness down so I'd love her promos/persona, but then in her matches she'd usually not do a whole lot of selling or crazy bump-taking. Methinks that's about to change....
  • Speaking of Diva Search Ashley, apparently her "match" against Torrie on RAW led to a firing.... but not of either Ashley or Torrie. Instead: of one of Steph's Writer Monkeys. Heh.
    Apparently, he's a guy nobody really liked, anyway, and the fact that he verbally confronted Ashley and Torrie for the poorness of their match was just the icing on the cake. The source who told me about this said I should mention it ESPECIALLY because what I wrote in the recap (about the crappiness of the match being possibly-excusable because it fits into the storyline of Ashley still learning) is EXACTLY what the Actual WWE Officials (including Fit Finlay and others) told Ashley and Torrie afterwards. They didn't sugarcoat it, but they said, "It's OK, you two. Just try to do better next time, because then we can keep on saying that Ashley's learing." And then later on, Monkey Boy finds the two and starts yelling at them for having a shitty match, when he so TOTALLY wrote it to not be shitty. Douche.
    And another example of a situation that makes me feel like maybe I DO have the knowledge and the intellect to be a new WWE Writer Monkey, my own self. I mean, if my read on stuff is the same as Fit Finaly's and Dean Malenko's, how far off base can I be?
  • For those curious about WWE's newest Writer Monkey, Dusty Rhodes.... he, it turns out, was NOT at SD! tapings this week. Instead, he reported to Titan Tower on Tuesday. This, I gathered, is part of the "slow immersion" he'll get, familiarizing himself with things before actually taking over as the real Head Writer for SD!. Meantime, Dave Lagana remains on the job.
    So this pretty much bolsters what I wrote on Monday: you won't just see a sudden shift in tone of SD!, or see Dusty's fingerprints on the show out of left field. It'll be a much more subtle process of bringing him (and his ideas) into the fold.
  • Don't think I've mentioned this before, but I should have....
    Mick Foley will be a guest on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" next week. This was scheduled at least 2 weeks ago (that I know of), so it predates his new WWE contract. That means the original intent was to have Mick out there talking about his book.... and given that it's now expected that we won't see Mick on TV till the October 3 jump of RAW to USA Network, I figure that's probably still the case. 
    Regardless, Mick's not showing up to be unentertaining. He'll bring his A-game, even if he's currently slated to be the B-guest. Ironically, Hannibal Lecter himself, Anthony Hopkins, is scheduled that night as the lead guest. That, my friends, has all the makings of a pretty kick-ass hour of Late Night TV! Make a note to check it out.
  • Finally: to those of you INXS fans who wrote in to berate me about stating that INXS was 15 years past their last pop culture significance and to tell me that I didn't have the idea for "Rock Star" on CBS four months ago because INXS had the idea for it four years ago, I say this....
    [imagine a giant farting noise]
    I felt wusstastic enough admitting that I'm watching that show. I don't need you piling on trying to make me feel like I *should* like INXS or that I *didn't* invent the concept for the show... I feel bad enough as it is. So I reassert my claim that *I* came up with the idea for this show as the "Better Version of American Idol" (lord knows I haven't been getting the INXS newsletter, so if they really did start talking about htis idea years ago, it was with my blissful ignorance) and think those of you who could stomach AI should watch it.
    If the winner of the contest gets to front INXS, you might not be seeing the birthing of a genuine new rock star.... but at least you won't be watching the birthing of some boring-ass vocalist who projects out to be the next Celine Dion, either.
  • I think that's about all I got for today, kids. Enjoy your weekend (at least enjoy it about half-as-much as I intend to enjoy mine, OK?), and I will see you again on Monday in Double-OO form. I'll have the recap of tonight's SD!, and I'll have the usual news/views/RAW Preview/etc., too.
    See you then. 

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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