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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
Cause of Eddie's Death, and Some
Getting-Back-to-Regular-Business News 
November 16, 2005

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

I know only a real loser considers smalltalk about the weather to be interesting and worthwhile, but man alive....
  

The first two weeks of November have been more like the last two weeks of April around here. Getting up to around 70 degrees, kick-ass thunderstorms and torrential downpours, tornados in the region, the whole nine... usually by this point, I've had to fire up the furnace at least a few times. Not this year.

It's actually gonna be

tonight that marks the first Need for Heat. I guess after 48 hours of wicked storms and power outages and tornado watches, that pesky cold front has moved through. It's windy as hell again today, but with a minor difference: the wind is from the north and west, and it's got a bit of a chill to it. We haven't even seen the low side of 40 yet this fall, but tonight they're saying down into the 20s. And maybe some snow by the end of the week. Nutty.

I gotta say, I'm kinda glad... it finally feels like it's time for college hoops and Thanksgiving Turkey and procrastinating on Christmas shopping!

And past the ad box, it definitely feels like it's time to get on with the wrestling. Lord knows, we've got plenty to talk about. Eddie stuff first, obviously, but there's some other interesting thing to talk about today, too, as we inch towards normalcy: 

  • WWE.com has posted comments from Eddie Guerrero's widow, Vickie, concerning a preliminary cause of death. In short, the coroner found an enlarged heart and signs of serious heart disease. Although additional information and toxicology and stuff won't be available for weeks, you can go ahead and put down "Heart Attack" as Eddie's cause of death.
     
    Of course, that's pretty much what it boils down to for all these too-soon wrestling deaths, and what concerns people are the underlying cause. Or rather, what concerns some people but others try to sweep under the rug are the underlying causes. Too often, families or those looking to protect the wrestling industry will just say, "Nope, heart attack, that is all, nothing else fishy here. World class athletes die of heart attacks before age 45 all the time, quit snooping around." That is, very appropriately, not the case here. Eddie was open about his past abuses and proud of his ability to turn himself around, hoping that his life could be an object lesson for others. As such, Vickie Guerrero's statement pretty much point-blank says she's sure that all things Eddie put his body through in the past are responsible for his heart just not being as healthy as it could be.
     
    The theory then goes that the past abuses combined with the extremely hard work that Eddie did to stay in shape is what finally did Eddie in; that years of damage done combined with years of stress from working out in the gym and busting ass in the ring were just too much. Although everybody's very open about Eddie's drinking and recreational drug use, at no point in the Vickie statement or in WWE.com's coverage is any mention made of steroids or other training supplements (which are unlikely to have evaded Eddie's experimental phase, at the very least); such substances are also directly linked to putting undue stress on the heart, including fat-burning drugs -- both legal and illegal -- that artificially raise the metabolism (and thus, the heartrate). 
     
    It all adds up to a cautionary tale... probably wrestling's eight or ninth cautionary tale of the past 15 years, which just strikes me as too many, given that there are never more than a couple hundred guys actually employed in the industry at any given time. There's a reason like one type of World Class Athlete -- as a fer-instance let's say Lance Armstrong -- can work out and train at least as hard as a wrestler, and then go on Letterman to brag about his resting heartrate of 48, and is more likely to die from Alien Anal Probing than of Heart Attack before the age of 90... and why so many wrestlers, despite all the working and training that they do, seem to age unnaturally quickly on the inside no matter how great they look on the outside.
     
    Anyway, we might hit a bit more on that issue later on, as part of a bullet point about recent comments by Andrew "Test" Martin... but continuing on with Eddie, and temporarily ignoring underlying causes, Heart Attack is the cause of death. And though the heart attack struck suddenly and massively on Sunday morning, Vickie Guerrero's statement indicates it did not exactly come without warning: she says that Eddie had not felt well all week. But they simply attributed it to Eddie being worn out from his wrestling schedule, and nothing more nefarious.
     
    Is it too soon to make a joke about how the world might be a different place if only Eddie or his wife had Kevin Nash's judgment when it comes to putting oneself in the hospital with suspected heart problems? Eh, probably so, but somebody's gotta try to lighten the mood around here....
     
  • After Arizona newspapers reported that the Guerrero family planned a Wednesday funeral for Eddie in Scottsdale, AZ, the Guerreros apparently changed plans. As I mentioned Monday, the family wants to keep things private... and after the newspaper report, I guess that was going to be difficult. 
     
    I think the day changed, maybe the venue changed. I don't know, because it's none of my business, and if I didn't I wouldn't tell you cuz it's none of yours.
     
    In fact, I would hope that anyone in the sound of my voice (or sight of my words) would be considerate enough to not be part of whatever community of fans that has apparently driven the Guerreros to go underground with Eddie's funeral. The family and friends have decided how they want to remember Eddie: respect their wishes.
     
  • Speaking of those who will be remembering Eddie: with the WWE rosters now in Europe, a few wrestlers have stayed behind. Chavo Guerrero, JBL, Rey Mysterio, and Chris Benoit (along with agent Dean Malenko) will join up with their respective rosters on Saturday. I also have conflicting reports of Big Show staying behind.... but actually, you know what? It's like I said: at some level, this isn't really our business.
     
    It only bears mentioning as it will affect the WWE product as-seen by fans in Europe the next few days.
     
  • Last night on MSNBC, some woman named Rita Crosby dedicated half her show to Eddie Guerrero. Other than being overcome by a biological urge to get Rita a soothing lozenge -- because good lord, it almost hurt to listen to her voice, and I can only imagine what toll that must take on her throat -- there was not much to report.
     
    A prepared MSNBC video package was rife with inaccuracies and also contributed nothing to our understanding of either Eddie's life or death; at best, it was a primer for any casual viewer of primetime news/punditry who had no idea who Eddie was.
     
    When the show cut to Rita's guests, there wasn't a whole lot interesting covered, either. Vince McMahon was detached, but respectful: clearly not as emotionally attached to Eddie or able to share any stories outside of what Eddie brought to the table professional, and kind of spouting the same cliches over and over again. In Vince's defense, Rita struck me as a rather poor interviewer, asking Vince roughly 8 variations on the same inane question: "What made Eddie so special?". 
     
    Chavo Guerrero, oddly, seemed to get the least interview time. When he spoke, he covered a lot of the same ground that he did on Monday and in the Sunday press conference.
     
    JBL got a lot of face time, though, as apparently Rita is good friends with JBL's wife (who is talking head on some other MSNBC or CNBC show, or something), so they knew each other. She directed a lot of questions JBL's way, and steered discussion to him a lot. Why JBL, you might be wondering? Well, between Eddie's instinct to just help out anybody in the lockerroom who was having a tough time (which JBL did as he went through a divorce last year) and the fact that Eddie did for JBL, last year, a lot of the same things he did for Batista in the last five months (both professionally and personally), the two got very close very fast last year. Eddie was even in JBL's wedding.
     
    In fact, just about the only two entertaining highlights of the show were a wedding photo of JBL's groomsmen (imagine the Undertaker in a tux and smiling big, and trust me, you'll giggle), and an exchange between JBL and Chavo over how much make-up JBL was wearing because of a shiner he suffered during Sunday's TV taping in a match against Chavo. JBL, MVP of the Rita Crosby Show? Sure seemed like it to me...
     
    But that's kind of like being the MVP of the Single-A minor league affiliate of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, in this case. Don't know how or if MSNBC does replays, but this isn't a show you need to concern yourself with seeking out. Trust me...
     
  • On the other hand, the often-maligned (and deservedly-so) WWE.com continues to do nothing less than an outstanding job giving fans every outlet and every resource they could possibly need to remember Eddie Guerrero, and to see how Eddie's friends and co-workers are remembering Eddie. 
     
    On Monday, I mentioned some videoclips and a Jericho Interview as being very worthwhile. In the two days since, they' added tons more stuff. Included are lengthy comments from Jim Ross, Rob Van Dam, and others. Plus, there are additional Video Tributes that didn't air on Monday (and are not the ones slated to air on Friday's SD!), including Dean Malenko and Kurt Angle.
     
    Just about the only misstep: a new music video package, set to some awful, emotion-free AlternaSchmaltz track by 3 Doors Down. I mean, the clips of Eddie still get you in the gut, and you know WWE means well.... but there's just a huge difference between a song that some CheeseRocker pooped out as a brain-dead love song to the girl who left him, and a song that actually resonated tragically-well with what Eddie was about and which was re-invented by an artist who also knew what it was about and brought an emotional unpinning to you don't find in 99% of songs.
     
    I hope this is just a Web Exclusive or something, and WWE doesn't intend to make it the canonical version of Eddie's Tribute Video. If they do, it'll only mean one thing: crap can be had cheaply, and WWE didn't want to pay for the continued rights to something actually-good. And actually-fitting. So save those tapes from Monday until we find out just why WWE has gone and re-done Eddie's video... cuz trust me, you don't want to remember Eddie while having some douchebag emoting toolishly to his ex-girlfriend. Complete with non-existent lyrical or melodic hooks, but with plenty of lame keyboard string accompaniment. Just awful.
     
    But other than that: give WWE.com a solid going-over and pick up some of the other Eddie Goodness. There's a lot of it.
     
  • Without even trying to equate the two as being an even trade-off, Eddie death has apparently ended to the permanent demise of "Kerwin White." 
     
    Not only did Chavo participate as "himself" at Sunday's RAW/SD! tapings, but as of today, WWE.com's bio of Kerwin has once again reverted back to Chavo Guerrero, with absolutely no mention of the "Kerwin" experiment.
     
    Note to WWE: it absolutely should not have taken this to make you realize "Kerwin" was a dumb idea. But at least I'm glad you're sharp enough to not try to press ahead with it, any further.
     
    For the record: Chavo remains listed on the RAW Roster, though given recent troubles, it wouldn't surprise me to see him shuffled over to SD! -- where a lot of Eddie's friends are, and where his quest to preserve his uncle's memory might have a bit more resonance. Not to mention, SD!'s roster has just taken a few big hits lately.
     
    A word of warning, though, since those suspecting huge, main-event-caliber things from Chavo will probably be disappointed. I have no doubt that his short-term profile will increase, and that his desire to perform to his maximum potential will be great (and, not to be crass, but WWE will be willing to strike while the iron is hot)... but past lessons in similar situations have invariably indicated WWF/E (and, being perfectly blunt, its fans) have a short-attention span in terms of "sympathy" pushes.
     
  • Going back to Monday's RAW, I'm not sure what else there is to say, at my end. I tried to say it all in the Recap.
     
    In short: just a nearly-perfect show under the most-trying of circumstances. The only two missteps were ones that struck me as fairly glaring, and should have been easily fixable, no matter how distraught everybody was, but whatever: they combined for maybe 5 minutes of screentime. Take out the Eddie/Big Show Poop Highlight, and give John Cena somebody to face in the main event so that the match wouldn't outright suck (because I totally understand needing Cena to be in the main event, because his final gesture to Eddie was as touching, respectful and ideal a close to the show that I could imagine; looking at who's available, would it have been so tough to have Booker T take Orton's spot and get a less-clunky 5-6 minutes out of Cena?), and you've got it fine tuned to perfection.
     
    But I guess if we're gonna talk about Monday night, however briefly, I do need to castigate a few readers out there, who apparently have not taken a break from their Internet Jackoffery, despite the circumstances lately. Here are just a few of the complaints that I've seen, most of them dozens of times: 
     
    1) Randy Orton didn't wear an Eddie t-shirt, and was the only one all night to wear his own shirt. [Ummm, OK, so maybe Randall's a bit of a real life prick; but we've had ample evidence to suggest that already, so don't act surprised. Also: Simon Dean came out in his usual outift. Ditto Flair, Eugene, MNM, Big Show, Kane, and maybe a few others, I dunno. Unless you're argument is "Of all the guys who ONLY WORE T-SHIRTS, Orton was the only one who wore his own, instead of Eddie's," you're full of crap. Quit picking nits.]
     
    2) Big Show and Kane shouldn't have squashed the SD! Tag Champs like that. [I already prebutalled you, losers. Read the recap more closely.]
     
    3) Triple H is a faker who obviously didn't care about Eddie Guerrero and was reading prepared material instead of speaking from the heart. [Anyone among you out there who is using this tragedy as an excuse to set up rankings for the Top Ten Grievers in WWE can kindly go play in traffic. It's not up to you to rate how people deal with this situation. And while I am quite sure that Eddie and HHH were more professional peers than actual friends, that's STILL a closer relationship than any one of us ever had with Eddie. And how many of you have shed inexplicable tears over a total stranger in the past 3 days? So don't tell me HHH doesn't hurt the same as anybody else, and that he's a faker. I already explained why he might have made the "2 daughters" mistake in the recap, and if he had one prepared line that he knew he wanted to use before he wrapped up, that's fine with me. The fact that HHH apparently did spend time on Sunday thinking about Eddie and what he wanted to say actually undermines your theory that HHH doesn't care; on the contrary, he cared enough to put some thought into what he said. Now get a life, morons.]
     
    4) Triple H and Stephanie had no business making themselves the last two "main event" Taped Tributes, while Chavo Guerrero was lost on the undercard in the first hour. [You know what? WWE did themselves no favors here, but stacking Trips and Steph right on top of each other at the end. It's like they were practically daring you to go get your panties in a bunch. To me it's not a big deal, but if it's me making the decisions on Sunday -- or in editing on Monday -- I would definitely campaign to switch Chavo and Steph's tributes. Because (a) there's no need to give the jack-offs a reason to be pissy, and (b) HHH and Steph really did say a lot of the same things, and most of them more related to knowing Eddie professionally and feeling bad for his family, instead of related to their own genuine friendships with Eddie, so splitting them up would make both their comments stand out a bit more in comparison to what's around them.]  
     
    But if you guys only have one complaint out of four that holds even a little bit of water, you're not exactly winning me over, here... Monday's show was exactly what it needed to be, and under the circumstances, there's not a whole lot to complain about.
     
    And if you really are an irrational HHHater, just watch Friday, OK. Everything will be all better. Unless you want to accuse HHH of stealing Benoit's spotlight by staying in the ring too long after a match, consoling a sobbing Benoit until Dean Malekno can make it to the ring to lend a shoulder. And if you do that, you suck. Hopefully, I've not "spoiled" anything with that vague comment.... if you want to know exactly what happens on Friday, again, remember that Matt Hocking was there at the tapings live, and filed this report.
     
  • The rating on Monday night: a 4.5.
     
    Depending on how you want to massage the numbers for WWE's USA Network Homecoming, that is either the best or the second best rating since jumping back to USA, and in either case, is only the second time on USA that WWE has scored about 4.0 (in seven weeks; just under 30%). Contrast that with the first six months of 2005, before RAW's ratings went south on SpikeTV, when RAW had 10 nights at 4.0 or better (out of 26; almost 40%).
     
    Everybody thought the jump to USA would be an elixir for RAW: more cable homes, better promotion thanks to NBC/Universal, everything. Instead, they've needed on night of "Stunt Casting" and one real-life tragedy to still fall well short of approximating the ratings they did on their old network.
     
    Everybody knows why Monday's rating was up. And it's Eddie. But this isn't a reason to blame WWE for exploiting the death for ratings, or accuse the fans of being morbid sickos who'll only show up to bask in the tragedy of others. Instead, this is the bullet point where I'll try to segue away from Eddie and into talking about more wrestling-business-as-usual topics.
     
    Because what Monday's rating and Homecoming's rating prove to WWE is that there is an audience (of almost one million cable households, and lord knows how many individual viewers) that knows what goes on with WWE, but doesn't always watch the show because sometimes they just don't care.
     
    For the sake of this argument, we'll use the time-slot-corrected rating of 4.7 for the Homecoming Show, and combine that with the 4.5 rating for Eddie's Show. The numbers are strikingly similar, and at this juncture, might indicate roughly the top boundary for WWE cable ratings. That's simply the maximum audience size WWE can reach at this point. Now, this conflicts with when I did some cool "Calculus for Wrestling" last year, and came up with a 6.0 cable rating as the maximum boundary; but even in that analysis, I was vocally suspicious of WWE's data (which is what I used to crunch the numbers), and it goes without saying that a lot of other metrics have declined in the past 18 months, so it wouldn't be unusual if WWE's total potential audience had shrunk a bit, too.
     
    But essentially what I'm postulating is that at this point in time, wrestling wouldn't be capable of drawing any more than a 5.0 cable rating without actually drawing in new/casual fans with some sort of mainstream marketing plan or resurgence. The "bubble" of wrestling fans who could, in a given week, be coaxed into watching is the 5.0 cable rating (and likely a few tenths less).
     
    Contrast RAW's two recent exceptional weeks with the other four weeks on USA, which average out to a 3.7. That is a difference of a full ratings point between WWE's "potential audience" and WWE's "OK, I'll actually watch this week audience." Just think about it: the buzz around Homecoming was immense... after RAW's ratings nosedived in their final months on SpikeTV, any wrestling fan, no matter how latent, was gonna be excited to check out that show, with that guest list. They saw the commercials on TV, and anecdotally, I can prove to you there is a rather large audience out there who read my column but who don't bother watching TV shows anymore (because the shows frequently suck), but they wrote in to say they'd watch Homecoming. Thus, for Homecoming, RAW's rating rose almost a point-and-a-half.
     
    And this week for Eddie: fans see the tragic story on the news, or read it on websites like these, and despite having no original intention to watch RAW, they are drawn to the show. Result: RAW's rating rose over a point from the week before.
     
    These two (massively different) occasions are the only times in the past month-and-a-half that WWE has managed to reach its full audience of followers with a TV show. Those two times are also the only two times since June that WWE has come close to reaching that full audience. After flirting with 4.0 ratings regularly from February through June, RAW's ratings nosedived after July 1, hitting a low point in September (when the monthly average was 3.4).
     
    I begin to think that, more than ever, WWE has two audiences: the ones who watch every week, regardless, and the ones who won't watch unless they have a reason to believe they'll see something worthwhile. I've long suspected this "secondary audience" has existed, just not in substantial enough numbers that I could make a case that WWE should care. But as the quality of the product has declined the past 18 months, I think that secondary audience has grown, too; especially in the last six months.
     
    Using RAW, since July 1, WWE's primary audience averages a 3.6 cable rating. Not only is that down from the 3.9 that it averaged the first six months of 2005, but we can point to our suggestive data and say that it's down over a full ratings point from the 4.7 rating that could represent the maximum "aware of wrestling audience." In essence, what I'm saying is that WWE is now failing to reach a full 25% of its potential audience on any average week. That, my friends, is significant.
     
    And it should matter to WWE. But I'm not positive that it does. Even only continuing to appeal to that "primary audience," WWE is placating networks, advertisers, and shareholders. It's almost as if they are not aware of that another one million households per week that could be watching wrestling, if the product was consistently better, and if the "secondary audience" decided to tune in more regularly. This isn't some marginal fringe audience; this isn't a case where doing the hard work necessary to fix core problems would only result in two tenths of a ratings point over time. This is a case of more than a full ratings point, and the millions of fans that represents, millions of fans who would then become more likely to care about PPVs again, or go to live shows, or buy merchandise (other than the DVD compilations covering the times back before wrestling started sucking, which -- along with all retro content -- seems to be one of WWE's few booming business segments). To me, that's worth fighting for.
     
    Given how my own viewing habits have changed in the past 9 months or so, I think my voice is probably really close to being one that WWE needs to listen to, if they care about this massive "secondary audience." No, I have not stopped watching entirely; but if you mapped the nights I watched wrestling in "real time" (or close to it), instead of DVR'ing and waiting till some later, more convenient time to watch, I bet that you'd find my "real time" nights correlate pretty well with well-rated shows, and my "wait till later" nights correlate with lower ratings. DVR'ing and waiting is kind of my version of not watching at all; cuz I can't get away with not watching at all. I have too much ego to stop writing about wrestling for the big ol' audience out there, so I gots to watch...
     
    Another reason I'll have to speak for the "Secondary Audience" around here is because, to the best of my knowledge, OO has -- in the past 3 months -- become home to exactly one (1) Actually Card-Carrying Member of the Secondary Audience (the rest of us all cheat and will watch recordings or otherwise manage to catch most wrestling shows, no matter how disillusioned we may pretend to be)... and she doesn't care to write about it. I actually pitched the idea of a "Why I Don't Care About Wrestling Anymore" column to Erin a while back, and got a pretty firm "Um, dillhole, if I don't care enough to watch wrestling, what makes you think I care enough to write about why I don't care?". Good point; and there's no use playing to The Broad's ego or pride, either, as she doesn't share my need to be worshipped by tens of thousands of assclowns per week. 
     
    So for now: *I* speak for the Secondary Audience. Though I've heard tell that maybe, just maybe, if you're nice (and assuming the spoilers from the UK don't indicate a really lame show), Erin will spend her Thanksgiving Break doing an unscheduled bRAWd Recap next Tuesday, which will no doubt include a few gripes and possible solutions from an actual Secondary Audience member along the way... and frankly, those are the kinds of fresh analyses that always appeal to me more than the fully-immersed "experts" who are so beaten down and numb to the Suck that they think its vital to report on UFC commercials and the importance of the relative height of wrestlers.
     
    Viva la Secondary Audience! We are Legion! Not as easily amused as the sheep in the Primary Audience, but still just as passionate about our wrestling! I think the numbers from the last few months finally give us proof that we're big enough that it might be time for WWE to finally start giving us what we want: it's not like you're going to lose any of the lemmings from the Primary Audience by putting on a better show. So why wouldn't you want 25% of your audience back every week? 
     
    Think about it, WWE... and if you need help, Secondary Audience Member Operators are standing by to assist you. Just dial 1-800-OO-KNOWS.
     
    Actually, don't. For all I know that's a real phone number, and it's a sexline, or something. But you get the idea...
     
  • Speaking of ratings, TNA did a 0.7 on Saturday night for Impact. And while that's down one-tenth from the week before, I'm telling you: given Nielsens' data collection practices, you have no business putting any stock in a one-week variation of one-tenth of a point. 
     
    This week's 0.7 is just as telling a stat as the one week TNA got a 0.9. As long as every other week continues to be a 0.8, the story here is that TNA is retaining an audience of around 600,000 households per week, with weekly variations that are statistically insignificant.
     
    I'm sad to report that I only have the vaguest of memories of this weekend's Impact. I actually watched it on Sunday afternoon... after I wrote up the Eddie Retrospective. You can imagine that I wasn't necessarily in the greatest of moods. I just know that -- even with a fairly entertaining Styles/Williams "match" -- it didn't do anything to come even close to enticing me to buy the PPV. 
     
    Obviously, Eddie's death overshadowed all things TNA this past weekend, which is unfortunate for them. There's no bad guy or anything here, just a circumstance beyond human control. But if you're finally starting to feel in the mood to catch up on what you missed during TNA's big PPV weekend, maybe you're now ready to go back and check out Jason Longshore's Genesis PPV Recap.
     
    Hey, Christian was there. Don't you want to know what he did? 
     
  • On a week of special shows, even WWE.com's webcast is getting in on the act. Only difference: their special show has been scheduled for weeks and is not the result of a sudden tragedy.
     
    Bret Hart will be appearing on tonight's webcast. If you want to try to get in and actually ask a not-retarded question in the name of trying to make Todd Grisham's life a bit less miserable, check it out tonight. 
     
    Otherwise, the show will remain archived and available for viewing at your leisure, and OO's PyroFalkon has giddy with anticipation of actually getting to bring his razor-sharp A-game to the table with a recap of what should be the best Byte This since the ECW Episode of (ironically enough) exactly one year ago this week.
     
    Well, maybe not so ironically, since this is right about when everybody tries to release their Christmas season "tentpole" DVDs. Last year, that was ECW for WWE; this year, it's Bret.
     
    In any case, we'll have the full report of Bret's return to WWE "programming" here tomorrow at OO.
     
  • And finally today, we close with some notes of WWE's already-ongoing tour of Europe.
     
    First off, the Cruiserweight Title changed hands yesterday at the SD! kick-off show in Rome, Italy. Nunzio beat Juventud Guerrera in a match that I don't consider a "spoiler" because it wasn't taped for TV, it was already announced by WWE itself, and the title change probably won't last the tour.
     
    Rather, the change was done for two reasons: (1) on the last tour of Italy, Nunzio and the FBI were welcomed as heroes, so this was a big deal for the live fans... and (2) the show needed a special moment like that, because the SD! roster is so depleted until guys get back from Eddie's funeral. No Benoit, no Rey, no JBL; that's big. 
     
    And no Batista, although Batista did change his plans and *is* on the tour, just in a non-wrestling capacity. Rather than his scheduled matches against Randy Orton, Batista (at least last night) did a Piper's Pit segment that was crashed by the Ortons. Many really respect Batista's decision change to skip surgery and tough out his injury like this given the circumstances; but there are a few who think he's putting himself at risk of working hurt and eventually making things worse (whereas if he'd just gotten the surgery, he'd have been nearly a lock to be 100% healthy in time for WM22 next year, when he'll be needed).
     
    Undertaker joined the tour and faced Orton in the main event, though my intelligence conflicts on whether he was a late addition, or if he might have been slapped onto the tour a while back in order to get loose before returning at Survivor Series.
     
  • A second major note from the first night of the tour: Trish Stratus has joined the SD! crew, and will be working against Melina.
     
    You don't have to be a rocket scientist to put the pieces together: after the odd booking decision to have Melina defeat Trish on Monday, it looks like they'll be running a Trish vs. Melina cross-brand match at Survivor Series.
     
    Works for me: Melina's quite able-bodied so it oughta be a solid match in which Trish can "get her heat back" (not that Trish is in a position to really lose it, but in this case, it is fairly important to keep the women's title on RAW, barring overwhelming roster shuffling). And if this is a one-off thing to help keep Trish/Mickie James on a slower burn (and keep it better-told than it was those first few weeks), all the better.
     
  • Finally, and this could well turn out to be the biggest of the three news items from the tour, WWE has re-scheduled two shows.
     
    Both crews will now work double-shots on Saturday. The scheduled SD! show for Monday evening was moved to a Saturday matinee; same thing with the RAW show originally scheduled for Tuesday evening.
     
    How is this a potentially big news item? Well, it's not because of the miles both crews will have to log on Saturday to make this schedule work.... it's because this move is almost certainly being made to allow for two more "super show" environments with the last pair of tapings heading into Survivor Series.
     
    These moves allow the SD! crew to be available to appear on RAW's taping on Monday night (which is actually like Monday morning here in the US); likewise, now the RAW crew is freed up to appear on SD! tapings being held on Tuesday night.
     
    With the creative team no doubt in one of its most hectic scrambles of all time -- not just in terms of talents lost and planned storylines busted as a result, but in terms of losing a whole week of TV leading into one of the bigger PPVs of the year -- this will allow much needed flexibility.
     
    I am, increasingly, a fan of just scrapping the Brand Split entirely... if WWE goes with a week of 2 full-fledged cross-brand shows on Monday and Friday, I think you'll see that it really opens and freshens things up. If WWE's going to do this, I expect they'll probably make a big deal out of it on the website, starting after Friday's SD!.
     
    At the very least, this will mean select members of each roster will be available to make "invasions" on the opposing show. Given that it'd be hard to hold house shows without five top stars, even if WWE only needs the members of Team RAW or Team SD! to appear on the opposing taping, this schedule change was probably necessary.
     
    We'll see how involved the cross-brand stuff is next week, as WWE tries to get back on track for a PPV... I'll eat a bug if that's not the reason why WWE felt the need to re-schedule these two house shows.
     
  • That's all for today, folks. If there's a reason for me to be here on Friday, I will be... and I think at the very least, you can maybe think about stopping by over the weekend for a rare Saturday update, since one way or another, the SD! Recap will return this week -- and to be honest, I'm starting to think I wouldn't mind doing it myself as a companion piece to the RAW Recap. And that would mean it gets posted sometime on Saturday afternoon, cuz no way would I make you wait till Monday for what sounds like it'll be another very emotional, very required-viewing show.
     
    See you when I see you....


  
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RAW RECAP: The Show Must Go On
 
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PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
 
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PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
 
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RAW RECAP: An Ace Up His Sleeve
 
PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
 
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RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
 
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28

 
 
E-MAIL RICK SCAIA

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

 

 

 


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