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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
SD! Special, Ratings, WWE Visiting the
Troops, Diva Re-Debut, and Lots More 
November 30, 2005

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

So I saw Tom Hanks' kid on Letterman last night, and for the first time since he's been a nominal celebrity (how many years has it been since "Orange County"?), I was actually struck by how freakishly similar to his dad he acts/looks...
  

Which I mention because it reminded me of a funny sort-of wrestling-related story...

A girl I know recently confided to me that the worst thing WWE ever did is put "Cowboy" Bob Orton on TV. Because she could suddenly see that Young Randall was his father's son, and thus, could suddenly see Young Randall in about 15

years. Now, this girl -- probably exhibiting at least one of the reasons why she's only really on the fringe of my social network -- is a fan of Young Randall Orton, and even she admits it's got pretty much nothing to do with him seeming like he'd be any good for the talking-to. But apparently, the appearance of Cowboy Bob has motivated her to try to enjoy as much of the looking-at as she can, because the verdict is in, and Young Randall ain't gonna age gracefully.

I got a kick out of that, and I don't know if it'll actually come to pass or not... but when she brought it up, I was left with the mental image of a 40-year-old Orton still trying to get by on being oh-so-pretty (and not-so-talented) come WrestleMania 35.  That mental image first made me laugh, since I could totally see Orton being the kind of shallow putz who will not realize he's passed some line of Cosmic Ridiculousness when he continues to take advantage of his legions of 19-year-old ring rats despite approaching his fifth decade... but then the mental image made me cry, since the thought of Randy Orton at WrestleMania 35 brought up accompanying images of how many times he'll have held the World Title and how many palpable Hate Rays I'll have shot out of my eyes and into my TV, with no effect, by then.

And anyway, that's my pre-ramble for today. Bet you were expecting something about the Dayton/Cincinnati game, weren't you? Well, guess again. The final score says it all for me. Give us our game against Miami back to play again, and I'm almost starting to feel semi-positive about our squad's prospects this year. If nothing else, Brian Roberts is a name that any even-casual observer of college hoops is gonna hear a lot of the next three years. Now, we just have to get the local media around here to stop calling him "B-Rob." Fricking hell: only in Dayton would "J-Lo'ing" somebody's name still be considered cool. If we're gonna do that for a Flyers' player, my stance remains that we should do it for Freshman Phenom, Charles Little.

I'll give you a moment to piece that together.... aaaaannnnnddd.... got it? 

Good. Then we can move on to the wrestling:

  • Last night, the second-biggest show in Cincinnati was SmackDown! (reportedly held in front of a record-small crowd, numbering less than 3500 paid; in an arena capable of holding 15,000-plus). And they didn't just tape Friday's broadcast, they also had a special one-hour telecast on UPN.
     
    And to say that the show ruffled some feathers would be an understatement.
     
    In addition to featuring two matches, the show was also partially constructed to be a Tribute to Eddie Guerrero. WWE dusted off the (shitty version of the) Music Video Tribute, had a couple other Eddie highlights interspersed throughout the show, and had Rey Mysterio dedicate his match to Eddie's memory and even had him drive a Guerrero-style low-rider out to the ring for his match.
     
    Sounds fun enough, right?
     
    Well, then the show ended with a bafflingly-over-booked schmozzy no-decision in the Rey/Big Show match.... a bafflingly over-booked schmozz that also featured Randy Orton crashing Eddie's low-rider through part of the SD! stage, setting it on fire, all in an attempt to injure the Undertaker.
     
    I believe I can accurately sum up the majority of the criticism about the show by saying "Everybody thinks this was in incredibly poor taste, and disrespectful to the memory of Eddie Guerrero." As is my "gimmick," I'd like to tell everybody to settle the hell down just a little bit. That low-rider wasn't Eddie's, Eddie never owned a single one of those cars he drove to the ring... it was, in short, a prop.
     
    If you want to be offended by something, just be offended that this was an incredibly lame angle. A mix of Gay Spooky, with Awful Pyro Effects, and lots of just plain Unnecessarily Hollywood-Style Vehicular Stuntery.
     
    I think I probably speak for all fans when I say that, as I was watching the show start to reach a crescendo, all I was wanting was to see Rey Mysterio score the upset pin over the Big Show, just like the Dayton Flyers had upset the Cinci Bearcats a few miles to the north. They'd done a great job building it up as the only satisfying finish possible; they'd had a really fun match and told a really good story. Even *I* was wanting it. But I should have been able to suss out that it wasn't to be.
     
    You see, all night long, Tazz and Cole were blatantly commentating in a different fashion than usual. They were commentating as if they were talking to a room full of small children. Obviously, WWE thinks they were going to be playing to an All New Audience due to the Tuesday night timeslot, so they had to be explaining everything in General Entertainment Terms, instead of in Wrestling Terms. I fricking should have been able to guess that that meant WWE would want some crap-ass silly Hollywood-style "General Entertainment" climax, instead of just going a rock-solid, satisfying Pro Wrestling Ending to the show.
     
    Going back to the original Halftime Heat (with the awful "empty arena" Rock/Foley cheesefest, and the even awfuler Vince McMahon commentary), this has been WWE's M.O. when it comes to presenting shows that they think will capture some percentage of non-fans.
     
    So the audience that watches America's Next Top Model, or whatever other crapfest is on UPN on Tuesdays can't be trusted to understand the appeal of a 5"4' guy beating a 7-foot giant in a match the little guy dedicated to his dead friend. Nope. Nothing compelling about that. But if we have those guys just powder out and disappear, and do a big stupid stunt involving Randy Orton, the Undertaker, and a car, those non-wrestling fans will come back for more on Fridays! Yeah!
     
    I'm genuinely more put-out by the fact that WWE felt the need to do this, that once they decided to do it, they came up with something really-lame, and that the net effect is basically WWE saying, "We'll piss on our entire existing audience if it means that we might, somehow, attract 12 new viewers who, for some reason, forgot the flip the channel away from UPN at 9pm on a Tuesday night," than I am put-out by the notion that this was some who a willful desecration of Eddie Guerrero's memory.
     
    WWE probably didn't even really consider that aspect of it, it's not like some evil they perpetrated on purpose. It was thoughtless and maybe negligent, but not evil. I'm not gonna ask any of you out there to just sign off on this as "totally OK," or anything, cuz I know that I'm somehow wired just a little bit differently from most when it comes to tolerating "bad taste." But I will ask that if you're going to continue e-mailing me or otherwise spreading your opinion, that you axe the part of your theory where WWE did this on purpose to "use" Eddie for ratings or otherwise to their benefit. I REALLY don't think that part holds water.
     
    Also on the show: Booker beat Benoit to go up 2-0 in their best of seven series. Pretty good stuff, but also roughly what you'd expect from those two. Nothing too unique, although I did like that they're already starting the process of "changing up" their arsenals to address the fact that each man is becoming more familiar with his opponent's moveset. In this case, that meant Benoit changing up his Suplex Hat Trick; when the Germans didn't work, he worked a trio of belly-to-bellys instead. Finish seemed a little screwy, if I recall correctly, like they might have fucked it up (Benoit didn't kick out after one move, but the ref said he did; then they appeared to improv a quick deal where Booker hit the axe kick for the win).... but that would really be the only gripe.
     
    FYI: I happen to know for a fact that SD! was *not* live. They recorded it "live-to-tape" at the start of the tapings, and then broadcast it at 9pm. That allowed them to tape Friday's SD! contiguously as the tapings proceeded. Rey and Show both ended up pulling double duty, as did Benoit.
     
    In fact, in homage to the Pillman Memorial Match they had in 2000 (in Cincinnati, on the campus of the Hated Xavier Muskateers), Benoit and William Regal hooked it up for a SD! match. Was said to be pretty good stuff, if you likes the stiff-ass mat wrestling. And even if you don't, just as a change of pace, it's apparently something to look forward to. It'll be interesting to see how they present it, what with Benoit already down 2-0 in his US Title series, and taking on tough opposition while Booker takes the night off.
     
    But Friday's Friday.... for now, we're concerned with last night's Tuesday Night SmackDown!. In my opinion, it was a Different Final Five Minutes away from being a very strong hour. But those last five minutes just did a whole lot of things wrong (and for all the wrong reasons, too), and left a bad taste in my mouth.
     
    You can get the full report, courtesy of The Cubs Fan, who unexpected stepped up and generously provided this Tuesday Night SmackDown! Recap.
     
  • The rating for last night's special was a 2.4 broadcast rating.
     
    Ahem.
     
    In other words, the show scored a half-point lower than SD!'s usual Friday rating. And probably reached almost ZERO new viewers. Which makes the asinine booking of the Rey/Show non-finish all the more frustrating, since WWE did it for the benefit of non-fans who might watch (instead of for OUR benefit), and seemingly none did.
     
    And christ, why is WWE so attached to this notion that somehow airing in a different timeslot will result in different people watching them? This isn't fricking 1968. There are more than 3 channels. A TV Viewer doesn't just put on a channel for one show, and then, when the intended show is over, keep on watching whatever's on next. This is the day and age of 400 channels of crap, DVRs, and viewers being more selective than ever because there are so many niche programs out there, some of which will appeal only to them. People don't watch TV shows by accident anymore.
     
    This is all tied together by one over-riding issue, one that results in some of the most extreme vaginal sandification that I suffer in a given month.... that issue being that WWE has this throbbing hard-on to be something other than what it is. Being a kick-ass wrestling company doesn't appeal to them; they want to be all things to all people at all times, and that means anytime they think they're reaching new people, they'll sublimate all things that make wrestling what it is and make wrestling fun to watch in an attempt to give those new people something familiar to them. Something lame and Hollywood-y.
     
    One of these days, I'd love to have a light bulb go off at Titan Tower, and have somebody realize, "Oh, wait, pro wrestling is now an accepted Entertainment Genre, and has been since roughly 1985." And then they start trying to be the best damned wrestling company they can be, embracing (not retreating from) all the unique aspects of pro wrestling that allows wrestling to do things differently from other genres in an attempt to satisfy the audience. Instead of insecurely repressing all those unique aspects of wrestling, because you want to be taken "seriously," like other entertainment forms.
     
    And trust me, maybe wrestling ain't rocket science, and maybe it won't cure world hunger.... but there's also abso-fucking-lutely nothing noble about aspiring to be taken as "seriously" as "The Biggest Loser" or "The OC."
     
  • Going back to Monday's RAW.... well, you know what? Let's not, really. There isn't a whole lot to say that wasn't said in the Recap.
     
    Carlito/Michaels, good. Pretty much everything else, ranged from forgettable to soul-crushingly retarded.
     
    Need more? Just read the recap.
     
  • As fundamentally lame as I thought RAW was (especially in the second hour), the show did end up scoring it's best non-Eddie rating in a month. RAW did a 3.9 cable rating, and that was up against a very highly-anticipated Monday Night Football game.
     
    You know my stance: ratings are reflexive, not indicative... they reflect the interest level that an audience had for the show heading into the show, not how that audience felt about the show itself. I had this discussion with a friend a couple weeks ago, and I have officially decided to call it the "Al Capone's Vault Theory." The TV special from 15 years ago where Geraldo Rivera opened Al Capone's vault and found nothing was the highest rated syndicated program EVER (at the time, anyway). But that only meant that the preceding build-up and interest was strong.... I guarantee you that if you ask anybody who watched the show (I was one of them), they'd do whatever it took to UNwatch the show and have those 2 hours of their lives back.
     
    Which suggests -- in my mind, anyway -- that RAW's odd ratings rebound for a shitty show only means that interest in WWE at 8:59pm (eastern) was about a half-ratings-point higher than the week before. As to where interest in WWE was come 11:05pm (eastern)? Well, my opinion is that it was probably down, but we'll know more come NEXT week's RAW rating.
     
    The ratings bump could be a lot of things. Simple interest in finding out what happened at Survivor Series from the (likely large) group of fans who sort-of follow WWE, but won't pay for PPVs is a likely one. Also: the previous week's RAW was a pretty good one, and certainly seemed to suggest that cross-brand hostilities were really kicking into gear, so some people might have seen/heard-about that, and thought this week's show would feature more of the same.
     
    Or who knows? Maybe America just really loves Chris F. Masters, and once he was announced for the main event, phone lines across the nation lit up with people telling their friends, "DUDE, you HAVE to switch over to RAW. Chris F. Masters is gonna wrestle for the WWE Title!".
     
    Or not.
     
    What it was, WWE still can claim its first respectable RAW rating in over a month for Monday's show. Good for them.
     
  • While on the ratings news.... TNA bounced back to a 0.8 this week. Dammit, isn't that EXACTLY what I said would happen back last Wednesday when I was theorizing that we finally had seen the start of a meaningful ratings trend, and then TNA would turn around and get back to "normal" just to spite me?
     
    Anyway, my "reflexive" theory of ratings goes about quadruple for TNA, especially this week. The previous week's show scored a series-low 0.6, but was also the best episode of the show ever.... the bounceback to a 0.8 probably just indicates that the positive word of mouth got around, and people who had started drifting from TNA came on back to see what all the fuss was about. I mean, hell, if THE RICK says TNA had a good show, it MUST be worth a look!
     
    Sadly, the show they came back to look at was not exactly a jim dandy. With the next PPV's matches set following an unusually-strong story-side outing the week before, TNA resumed its general vibe of just treading water and not having a whole lot of sizzle.
     
    Of course, it could just be that I watched Impact in a semi-foul mood while sore and achey on Sunday afternoon, after not nearly enough sleep, and to make matters worse, TNA "welcomes" me with an opening segment that features (1) a Monty Brown Squash, and (2) Lame 3 Live Kru Drama. You want a recipe for making me pissy, it might go a little something like this:

40 seconds of Monty Brown sloppily "wrestling"
5 minutes of Konnan
1 Billy Gunn (whole)

Sprinkle liberally with Road Dogg. Let linger on your television for about 12 minutes, or until it begins to emit a foul, poop-like odor. Do not Fast Forward. Enjoy.

Needless to say, even if my Logical Mind recognized that Abyss and Jeff Hardy had a decent match later on, my id was still stewing about the opening 12 minutes. And plus: even my Logical Mind doesn't really like Jeff Hardy at all.
 
Random Observation #1: "I'm Kip James, Bitch!"? Umm, Billy, 2002 called. It wants its Annoyingly Overused Pop Culture Reference back. Then again, I guess that beats recycling "Suck It" by at least 4 years, eh?
 
Random Observation #2: With each passing week, WWE becomes more and more Retroactively Retarded for letting Gail Kim go. So hot. So capable of speaking in complete sentences. So had really started improving in the ring just before they fired her. Dummies. Of course, TNA's not exactly displaying any brain power here if all they can come up with for opposition to Gail is Jackie Gayda.

Random Observation #3: Jason Longshore is right, and AMW's distinct personalities are really starting to shine through. I'm, like, 3 weeks away from finally learning which one is Harris and which one is Storm, and REMEMBERING IT! More than ever, AMW are on the VERY short list of TNA talents who I look at and think "Whoa, they would so be stars in WWE." Their ring-work always struck me as having that necessary touch of Actual Psychology (to go with the ability to just flat out highspot their way to ****), they've got good size, and now they're adding charisma? Not counting the four recent WWE cast-off acquisitions (Gail, Christian, Dudleys), AMW would probably be at the top of my list of TNA stars WWE should cherry-pick.
 
You can get full details on the last Impact from the aforementioned Jason Longshore in his latest TNA Impact Recap, which I forgot to mention on Monday, on the grounds that I also forgot to even mention Impact, on the grounds that I didn't think it was a very good show. Dammit, that's not exactly gonna be the sort of Hard Sell that gets people clicking, now is it?  Oh well, as the Slickster always said, "Honestay is the best Polisay." At least you people know I'll never lie to you...
 

  • Something else that didn't get mentioned Monday (because the Canadian Bulldog snuck into PyroFalkon's house, screwed with his files, causing PF to send me his PPV Picks again, instead of the PPV Stats)...
     
    Everybody say "congratulations" to the Cubs Fan for hitting a perfect 6-for-6 on Survivor Series picks... but then save some back for me, who finished second with 5-for-6.
     
    But then, it gets even more exciting.... because after 11 months of Red Hot Prognosticatory Action, I, Your Humble Webmaster, The Rick, have finally ascended to the top of the 2005 Cumulative Standings. With only one PPV to go, my 70.4% PPV Predictions Accuracy Rating is best on the entire staff! That's a mighty big turn-around from a year ago, when I finished the year tied with Erin Anderson in the Staff Basement, at or around 50% for the year!
     
    It's far from over, though. Adam Gutschmidt and Matt Hocking are both only a couple of matches behind me, at 69.1%. If Jeb Lund shows up for Armageddon, he could easily make up ground from fourth place (68.7%). I believe both the Cubs Fan (67.1%) and Canadian Bulldog (66.7%) are also still mathematically alive, though they'd need lots of help.
     
    By our "points system," it looks to be down to between me and Adam. Adam's actually in the lead over me (241-237) on the grounds that -- despite my remarkable overall percentage -- I have whiffed on four main events this year (which receive the most weight by points).
     
    You can get the full, penultimate report in PF's PPV Predictions Stats Report.
     
  • Bobby Heenan appeared at least night's TNA tapings in Orlando, FL. That's a mild surprise to me, as Heenan's under one o' them WWE "Legends" contracts, I believe (he was featured as a contributor to WWE.com as recently as last week).

    It's unclear what the TNA/Heenan relationship is, at this point, but at the very least, in addition to a bit cameo on this weekend's show, he's also part of a little throw-away angle involving a few Chicago White Sox that'll air on TNA's next primetime special (next Thursday).
     
  • WWE will be taping NEXT week's SD! on Sunday night, instead of Tuesday. This is because BOTH WWE brands will be headed to an "undisclosed location" to perform for the troops in the middle east, as part of the now annual Christmas Tradition.
     
    Actually, WWE might want to get with the PR people at NBC Universal, because I (and presumably just about anybody relatively high up on the wrestling-website foodchain) got a press release indicating that the WWE tour will be headed to Afghanistan this year. It's the first time they won't do the show from Iraq.
     
    The Christmas from Kabul (OK, I made that up, and it's probably in pretty bad taste, right, PC police?) special will then air the week of December 19. At this point, I am unclear as to whether both brands will feature matches from the overseas tour, or not. At the very least, I know RAW will on the 12/19 broadcast.
     
    But NBC/Universal wants you fans to know that if you're interested in a sneak peak, husky-voiced Rita Cosby will be traveling with WWE, and will air a two-part special chronicling the tour on her show (9pm on MSNBC) on Wednesday and Thursday nights next week.
     
  • WWE has acknowledge Ric Flair's arrest on their website (although, if you want Flair's mugshot from when he turned himself into authorities yesterday, you know you gots to visit OO's friends at the Smoking Gun dot com, right?)....
     
    For whatever it's worth, OO got the story pretty much exactly right on Monday, and Flair has gone on the record stating that there was mutual provocation in the "road rage" incident, and that he'll be exonerated. More than likely, this is a case of somebody getting into an unexpected tiff with a celebrity, and trying to make a mountain out of a molehill, in hopes of monetary compensation. Not defending Flair for contributing to a "it takes two assholes to create a scene" scenario, but to me, this makes the other guy an even bigger twit.
     
  • Diva Search Loser Kristal re-debuts for WWE this week on Friday's SD!.... she'll apparently be used as an interviewer. I just got a memo from down south. It reads "BOI-OI-OI-OI-OI-OI-OI-OING!"
     
    Ummm, I mean: "Well, she can't be any worse than that tool Steve Romero." Yeah, that's what I meant.
     
    Make me wonder what the hell's up with another rare Rick-Endorsed Diva Search Loser, Michelle McCool. I know she was ill a while back, but I heard she was all better and ready to go.... we've finally established that Melina's ring-ready. And all due respect to Spaz, but if Michelle (with a year of intensive training) isn't better-prepared than Christy, I'd be shocked.
     
  • I said we didn't know for sure who'd be in the Elimination Chamber match that's already been announced as headlining January's New Year's Revolution RAW PPV.... I lied.
     
    Additional advertising for the show now reveals that (per the current plan) John Cena, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Big Show, Kane, and Carlito Cool will be competing for Cena's WWE Title.
     
  • You may kindly stop pestering me... the Carlito Back Breaker that I mentioned in the RAW Recap, it turns out, has been seen before in WWE: Maven used it as a finisher for a while. So even if I wanted to accuse somebody in TNA (I think it was probably that no-personality-having hack AJ Styles) of stealing it from Carlito (which is something I would do, just to get a rise out of TNA wonks), then I'd have to admit that Carlito stole it from freaking MAVEN.
     
    So I guess just scratch that whole line of thought.
     
  • And I think on that note, I'm about fresh out of anything really important for you to read. And even if I had something, I'd still want to powder out and start getting ready for a possible second consecutive night of Mild College Basketball Upsets.... I'd LOVE it if Indiana could beat Duke. I might be a Dayton Flyer by choice, but I'll always be an Indiana Hoosier by birth, baby!
     
    See you kids Friday, I guess...


  
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Bonding Exercises
 
RAW RECAP: The New Guy Blows It
 
PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: 18 Seconds? NO! NO! NO!
 
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
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Backfired!
 
RAW RECAP: Bigger IS Better
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Hitting with Two Strikes
 
RAW RECAP: Heel, or Tweener?
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Destiny Do-Over
 
RAW RECAP: CM Punk is Not a Fan of Dwayne
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Returnening
 
RAW RECAP: Countdown to 1000
 
PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Friday Night ZackDown
 
RAW RECAP: Closure's a Bitch
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: In-BRO-pendence Day
 
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Five Surprising MitB Deposits
 
RAW RECAP: Weeeellll, It's a Big MitB
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: #striketwo
 
RAW RECAP: Johnny B. Gone
 
PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
 
RAW RECAP: Crazy Go Nuts
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: You're Welcome
 
RAW RECAP: Be a Star, My Ass
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Needs More Kane?
 
RAW RECAP: You Can't See Him
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Lady Power
 
RAW RECAP: Big Johnny Still in Charge
 
PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: One Gullible Fella
 
RAW RECAP: Anvil, or Red Herring?
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Everybody Hates Berto
 
RAW RECAP: Look Who's Back
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Care to go Best of Five?
 
RAW RECAP: An Ace Up His Sleeve
 
PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Sh-Sh-Sheamus and the nOObs
 
RAW RECAP: Edge, the Motivational Speaker?
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: AJ is Angry, Jilted
 
RAW RECAP: Maybe Cena DOES Suck?
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: No! No! No!
 
RAW RECAP: Brock's a Jerk
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
 
RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
 
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28

 
 
E-MAIL RICK SCAIA

BROWSE THE OO ARCHIVES

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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