Powered by LiquidWeb Search all of OO for news, columnists, and articles about your favorites!
News  -/-  Recaps  -/-  Columns  -/-  Features  -/-  Reference  -/-  Archives  -/-  Interact  -/-  Site Info

Donate to Online Onslaught!
     Daily Onslaught
     Obtuse Angle
     RAW Satire
     The Broad

     Inside the Ropes
     OOld Tyme
         Rasslin' Revue
     Title Wave
Crashing the

     Smarky Awards
     Big in Japan
     Guest Columnists
     2 Out of 3 Falls
     Devil's Due
     The Ring
     The Little Things
SK Rants
The Mac Files
     Sq'd Circle Jerk
     RAW vs. SD!:
         Brand Battle
     Cheap Heat 
     Year in Review
     Monday Wars
     Road to WM 

     Title Histories
     Real Names
     PPV Results
     Smart Glossary
     Message Boards
     Live Chat 
     OO History

If you attend a live show, or have any other news for us, just send an e-mail to this address!  We'd also love to hear from you if you've got suggestions or complaints about the site...  let us have it!

RAW's GM Madness, Kennedy Injury,
Christy Released from WWE, and Lots More! 
December 5, 2005

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


I suppose today's Pre-Ramble is something of a Choose Your Own Adventure dealy... and instead of turning to Page 78 and encountering Miserable Rick, I think I'll choose Option B, and turn to Page 96, where Grasping To Find A Silver Lining Rick lurks.

Let's just say I had a shitty day on Sunday, and leave it at that. Sadly, there is no spin-worthy yarn involved, so why bother unloading my drama upon others?

But I did get some measure of comfort as the night finally drew to a close. I had bent an ear or eleven (including the local authorities) with my Tale of Woe, and hadn't really accomplished a whole 

lot in terms of cleansing my mind or improving my spirits. It eventually got to the point of the night where the only thing left to do was sit in front of the TV and try to squeeze a good mood out of the evening. You know, so I could go to bed and maybe actually get some decent sleep instead of tossing and turning while I curse the cosmos. 

I had the Season Finale of "Curb Your Enthusiasm," which was good (but which is still falling short of 2 seasons ago, when "Curb" hit an almost inhuman peak of comedic genius), I guess.... but then, I scored a jack-pot: "Wrath of Khan" on HBO-Family. Oh did that ever hit the spot.... I hadn't seen it in a while (for some reason, the only Star Trek movies that get shown on HBO are #1 and #6). And for you non-dorky philistines out there, there is a solid rule of thumb you can apply to Star Trek movies: even-numbers are good (to the point where you don't even have to be a fan to enjoy them), and odd-numbers blow (exceptions: the last one, #10, was hella lame, and #3 wasn't too hateful). Number 2, the "Wrath of Khan," is still the gold standard by which that franchise is graded. And when you find it around 12:30am on a shitty Sunday night, you just settle in on your couch, forget your troubles, and flashback to when you were 7 and saw "Wrath of Khan" for the very first time on HBO when you were in second grade. Well, not quite: I didn't cry when Spock died this time, but still.....

That's good TV, it provided 2 hours worth of pre-bed mood-improvement, and it's the best justification I've had in months for keeping my 400 channels of crap. Which is nothing but an indictment on how much I'm overpaying for cable service, but still.... I wanted to share a happy story about me and TV for once. So there: you got it. TV may be facilitating the downfall of western civilization, and people watch way too much of it, but for one night, at least it had some healing powers.

Now, on the grounds that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few (or the one) -- and also on the grounds that the "needs of the many" thing is a PERFECT casual segue that almost justifies the subject matter of this pre-ramble and which should make hacks like Keller weep with envy -- I'll quit my self-centered anecdotizing and get on with what you all came for: some wrestling....

  • Tonight's RAW is being widely hyped as the end of Eric Bischoff's 3-year-plus reign as the General Manager of RAW. Or if you're WWE and you think shoving lame themes/catchphrases down fans throats is more important than coming up with compelling stories, tonight is the night that the McMahons "take out the trash."
    Let's just say that we've been through this enough times before that I can't see any fan with an attention span longer than a few months is exactly on the edge of his/her seat... it doesn't help that all indications are that Bischoff will remain a WWE character, no matter what happens tonight. At worst, this is the justification for Bischoff's annual month-long vacation. More likely, this'll be the 137th time in recorded history that Vince McMahon threatens Eric Bischoff, but ends up letting Bischoff stay on at the end of the night.
    In either case, it's part of the continuing RAW trend to focus storylines on just about everything BUT the wrestling. Not too long ago, the top story on RAW involved Announcer Drama; now, we're in the middle of a 2-week arc that centers on McMahons and GM Drama. I'm not saying there isn't a time and place for this stuff, but I would suggest that stacking these kinds of big, non-wrestler stories one on top of the other like that (especially when the whole Vince/Bischoff/GM thing is a re-do from multiple times in the past) sort of seems like a bad idea.
    I must also admit to an entirely-unbecoming "jack-off" notion that no matter who is the GM of RAW, it's still not going to fundamentally improve the core product. Oh, sure, Shane McMahon might have a week or two honeymoon where (to endear him to fans) they turn up the Sizzle Factor.... but ultimately, it's not the changing of a Figurehead GM that's going to get RAW back to the kind of sustainable entertainment that they last delivered for months at a stretch in early-to-mid 2004.
    Building on last week's angles/skits, it is Shane McMahon who is positioned to be the new GM, should a new GM actually be named. That hasn't stopped WWE from conducting various polls of fans, tossing out some Red Herring names of other "candidates." At last Monday's live RAW taping, I gather they stuck mostly the the expected names, as they conducted a Straw Poll of the live audience. Except they tossed in LaBron James, who, predictably, ended up as the landslide winner. Then, in a current WWE.com poll, most of the "expected" names are omitted, and in their places are some pretty oddball choices. Included on the list are Bret Hart, Chris Jericho, and Jerry Jarrett (not available on that poll are Shane/Steph McMahon, Steve Austin, Mick Foley, or Jim Ross, all of whom would be more "realistic" for a Stunt Casting GM Gimmick).
    All WWE's polling has accomplished is convincing me that the only way I'd really perk up and give a shit about a GM storyline is if it did, indeed, turn out that Chris Jericho returned to TV as General Manager, replacing the very jerk who fired him in ignominious fashion. Not only does Jericho generally equal good TV, but in this case, there's actually a storyline reason to care about him replacing Bischoff and possible storylines that could build off of that... just about any other replacement amounts to "Vince McMahon has once again made an arbitrary decision" in terms of story-telling, which isn't the most riveting of TV.
    Of course, Chris Jericho will not be appearing tonight as RAW's new GM, so don't bother taking that last paragraph as some sort of reason to get fired up. You want something more realistic to latch onto, just brace yourself for the highly non-anticipated return of 3 Minute Warning as Eric Bischoff's goons to be the main storyline justification to keep Bischoff on TV past tonight. 3MW, Jericho. Jericho, 3MW. It's about the same thing, right? Oy...
    The rest of RAW tonight is pretty wide-open. As of this writing, they have announced no matches for the program, nor provided any real hint of what's in store (other than the aforementioned "taking out the trash" GM Story Hype). Silly me, I don't comprehend how you don't have a given week's RAW polished to a glossy sheen by the preceding Thursday or Friday (especially considering that they have a creative team of a dozen or more doing the dual-brand work of maybe 4 people), but it certainly appears that as of noon on Monday, WWE doesn't even know yet exactly what's gonna be happening tonight.
    If I had to guess:
    I think they'll start shifting the focus of the WWE Title picture... with a new GM, or with a sufficiently-cowed Bischoff, we've probably seen Kurt Angle exhaust his shots at John Cena. It doesn't help that every time Angle and Cena are in the same ring together, it seems like more fans shift over to Angle's side. So it's time for something fresh. Angle's not currently expected to be in the mix for the Elimination Chamber Match coming up in a month. That leaves five other guys with whom Cena needs to start interacting... and sadly, it leaves Angle looking for something else to do, with all of RAW's top level guys already spoken for in that Elimination Chamber match.
    Triple H vs. Big Show is firmly entrenched as a mini-feud that will keep us amused over the next few weeks. Then, both men ARE in the Elimination Chamber match, so you can expect to see other things spin off of Show/HHH (it's a no-brainer to get Kane involved here, too).... you also had Carlito/Michaels hooking up last week for a surprisingly competitive match, and both of them are also in the Chamber line-up (as of last reports, anyway). It's just a matter of getting Cena somehow into the mix of one of those little mini-feuds to tie everything together into a nice, pretty package.
    In this scenario, it appears that the tag titles (held by Kane/Show) are essentially going to be forgotten. You could (obviously) use the tag titles as the impetus for some pre-Elimination Chamber tag matches, but the problem is that given the line-up, the only heel duo you could have to oppose Kane/Show would be HHH/Carlito. And that's an odd couple to say the least. If Angle was in the mix, instead of Carlito, you could at least do a thing where Kurt and Daivari relieve Kane/Show of the tag titles at some point during this month of Kane and Show apparently having singles agendas more pressing than their tag agenda. [I know that Kurt would also have a singles agenda in this scenario, but I'm just tossing ideas out off the top of my head... you *would* have Daivari as pretty much a subjugated man-servant and tag partner, though, which is better than both Kane and Show having separate-but-equal singles issues. And plus, you could increase Kurt's Prick Factor by having him do things like carrying both tag titles and pretty much down playing Daivari's role, since I think fans would get into a storyline in which Daivari eventually had to stand up for himself against Dickhead Kurt. Think Ted DiBiase and Virgil, except that in this case, BOTH guys have in-ring ability.]
    Hopefully, the IC Title situation will be addressed sooner rather than later, too, instead of being swept under the rug like I assume the tag titles will be. Ric Flair could either return to TV one of the next two weeks, still debilitated (or, if you're JR, "dehabilitated"; I love JR, but "dehabilitated" is to him what the comically-inappropriate use of "literally" was to Gorilla Monsoon), and drop the title to someone who actually needs it. Or if some mix of storytelling necessity and the revelation of Flair's legal/financial troubles means that Ric needs some time off to get his head straight, you could introduce the concept of stripping him of the title and putting it up for grabs. I favor the former, and think it's the more plausible scenario, since I've still not heard any word of plans changing to accommodate a long-term Flair absence. The recent in-ring improvements Carlito has displayed (washing the taste of his early-autumn in-ring outings from our mouths) make me curious to see Carlito/Shelton Redux for the IC Title.
    And then, not to get ahead of myself, I'm downright stoked for the idea of Carlito heading to WrestleMania with custom-made IC Title feuds all over the place. If Jericho decides he wants to come back, a battle of talk show hosts would be sweet. And more realistically: we KNOW Rob Van Dam is coming back in January, and when he does, he'll probably be looking for revenge on the guy who savaged his knee during RVD's last TV appearance. In either case, I see no reason NOT to get the IC belt onto Carlito, pronto. He's always gonna have the gift of gab to make fans care about his storylines and matches, and if he's gonna bring above-standard ring work to the table like he has in the last month? Bonus, says I....
    I'm not sure how to feel about this, but the simple truth is that the Women's Division is much better defined at this point than the IC or Tag divisions... we are clearly headed towards Mickie James Annie-Wilkesing Trish. It's just a question of when and how. For some reason, they are limiting this story to the finishes of matches and a few funny looks and glances and stuff... I'd like to see them actually "entertainment" this up a bit, since one of Trish's currently-underutilized strengths is conveying a genuine (and appealing) personality in backstage skits. Why you wouldn't start the process of letting her put Sympathy and Good Will in the bank with viewers, by having her play off of the over-the-top "#1 Fan" that is Mickie James is beyond me. I am not kidding when I say that, if told right (meaning with a bit more TV time and emphasis on backstage skits), Trish/Mickie could easily approach Trish/Lita in terms of crowd heat and stuff. Probably exceed it, actually. It's such a simple (but compelling) story to have Trish behave exactly how any of us would behave, but to suddenly find herself the target of a crazy "fan" who thinks that she's owed something by Trish. 
    It's a women's division story that's finally predicated on something that's not some variation on vanity and jealousy (such as Molly flying off the handle when falsely accused of having a fat ass, or Victoria periodically lashing out against girls she thinks are prettier than her, or COUNTLESS examples of the retarded "Girl X is insanely jealous that Girl Y is appearing in Playboy instead of her" story)... I'm not saying there aren't chicks out there who ARE that vapidly vain and image-obsessed. But I am saying they aren't the interesting ones, and WWE's writer monkeys constantly reinforcing and glorifying stereotypical behavior of the Obnoxious Un-Talk-to-Able Female gets on my nerves.... which makes me highly appreciative when we have prospects for a gender-non-specific storyline like the one that Trish and Mickie have lined up ahead of them.
    Last thing I'll predict: "The Cutting Edge" (if it's really going to exist) better debut tonight. Otherwise, what the hell was the point of that cool little throw-away dealy with "Da Meat Hook" Dmitri Young at the PPV?
    Everything else tonight? I have no idea... RAW really is in a phase where they can take things a bit slower since they have over a month before their next PPV. Last week, I suggested that meant a chance for shaking things up by perhaps supplying fans with "more Shelton" and "less Chris F. Masters." Instead, we got the exact opposite. Ugh. I won't bother making any grand prophecies about tonight's show beyond the established top-level stories. Well, OK, three of them: (1) Masters will appear, and will suck, (2) the mind-boggling singles push for Trevor Murdoch will continue, and (3) there will continue to be no mention of Show/Kane's antics on SD!, which apparently now exist in an alternate WWE Universe.
    Check it out tonight to see how it all goes down... or come on back to OO tomorrow, as I scribe what I promise will be the Finest RAW Recap In All The Land. You can also do both, if you've got the spare time on your hands.
  • This weekend's SmackDown! was yet another deviation from what had gotten the brand back on track with strong shows throughout October and into November. The reason is pretty simple: you replace the excellent Batista/Eddie friend-or-foe dynamic with Taker's Gay Spooky Assaults on Orton in the main event slot, and it kinda drags the show down a few notches. OK, a LOT of notches.
    I'm not a Taker Hater by any stretch -- in fact, I'm probably among his biggest remaining fans among the "internet jack-off" contingent -- but WWE's handling of his character makes it harder and harder to care. The Undertaker character has always been at his best when he's used his "mind games" in a more realistic fashion. Nobody -- and certainly not Taker himself -- should think he has any genuine Supernatural Powers. But what he *should* be is a guy with a creepy fascination with death, and who uses that to get under an opponents skin.
    Anybody who's ever experienced Taker's ring entrance (with the lights and that music and the ritual with the hat and the eyeballs-rolling-up) knows that there is a LOT cool about Taker's image and persona. I don't know how to explain it other than saying it's neat. The problems only seep in when WWE insists on trying to make it more than an image... Taker should have a kick-ass ring entrance.... Taker should periodically play with caskets and lock opponents in them (for an example of how impactful something so simple and pyro-free can be, witness how fondly people still think of the Taker/Warrior casket angle)... casket matches and Buried Alive matches should be signature matches used by Taker. But anytime you leave the realm of the "image" of a "Dead Man" and start trying to make Taker into a real supernatural being, you lose me, and you lose a goodly percentage of the non-pre-teen audience, too. Power Over Pyro/Sound System/TitanTron is bad (and it's why the whole redonkulous bit with Orton on Friday came off so lame), making clocks run backwards or having blood ooze out of monitors is worse, and I swear to god that if WWE ever (EVER!) lets that shitty-looking cheesy "lightning bolt" effect appear on TV again they are fricking morons.
    There are very cool things you can do with the Undertaker character in the realm of "psychological intimidation." But it only works if you scale it back and truly make it psychological. One might reasonable be creeped out by a guy who has an unhealthy fixation on funereal imagery. But one would only sit back and laugh a hearty laugh at a guy who apparently has the budget and the spare time to buy lots of shitty-looking pyro, stash it all over an arena, and set it off when he sees you getting too close. There are so many more possibilities for the "Dead Man" that simply didn't exist with the boring, castrated "BikerTaker." But WWE seems intent on only exploring the most silly and flamboyantly-gay of those options. Taker, in the flesh and doing things to intimidate an opponent? Good. Taker, in disembodied spectral form exercising supernatural powers that are not in the least bit scary or creepy? Sucks. 
    Anyway, gripes along those lines colored my whole opinion of this weekend's SD!, and in a negative fashion. Benoit/Regal (with Booker's excellent color commentary) and the formulaic-but-entertaining Rey/Kane/Show main event were actually pretty good, but they're also not the things you end up remembering on a night so clearly defined by silly, over-Hollywood-ized attempts at scariness.
    You can get the full report, courtesy of The Me, in a very special OO SmackDown! Recap. Hey, SOMEbody's gotta do it, and more than ever, I've learned the lesson that if you want a job done right, you gotta do it yourself. 
  • The rating for SD! came in as a 2.9, which is at the higher end of the spectrum for WWE's Friday night ratings on UPN. In fact, at a 2.9, SD! is roughly performing at the same level they did during their last couple months on Thursdays. Granted, those last couple months were a half-point off of SD!'s standard benchmark ratings, but I think this does mean that (after getting through the preemptions and stuff for the first month or so on Fridays), WWE has shown that they've retained just about their full SD! audience on a new night.
    And suddenly, I feel quite smart for being the guy who mocked all the doom-and-gloomers out there who thought that Friday night would be a "death slot" for WWE, failing to realize that wrestling fans (a) are largely dorks who have nothing better to do on Friday nights (or know how to operate a DVR/VCR so they can watch the show on Saturday afternoon), and (b) they "travel well" and will follow wrestling wherever they have to.
  • One of the bigger developments on SD! is the official announcement over the weekend that SD! will have a Batista/Rey vs. Kane/Show match on their Armageddon PPV in two weeks. It's a cross-brand match that seemingly exists without any storyline justification.... as referenced above, RAW's made absolutely no mention of two of their top babyfaces going over to SD! twice in the last week (to be heels), and SD! itself didn't give us any reason for why the wall between brands was being knocked down for those two appearances.
    It's a pretty gaping (and pretty annoying) continuity hole.
    And I mean, I can see *why* this is being done: SD!'s creative team is scrambling to re-create a long term plan after recent events, and this tag match gives them the chance to "hide" Batista and limit his participation so as not to risk a serious re-aggravation of his back injury. But still: is it asking too much to have those logical reasons accompanied by a compelling on-screen justification for what's happening? I don't think so....
  • Speaking of back injuries....
    Ken Kennedy has suffered an injury almost identical to Batista's. I believe it happened during his TV match against Matt Hardy (from the UK TV tapings), and could explain why Kennedy was absent from the Survivor Series PPV although I'd heard that WWE wanted to find some excuse to squeeze him in there.
    For his torn lat muscle, Kennedy is opting for surgery (which either has already happened or will happen early this week). Taking a lesson from Batista, Kennedy originally wanted to work through the injury or rehab it, but a combination of his injury being slightly more severe/painful and the fact that his position on the card was not such that it justifies risking a chance of serious re-injury just to stay on TV convinced him otherwise in the end. Kennedy will be unable to wrestle for at least four months, and a best case scenario would put him back in the ring just after WrestleMania 22.
    Obviously, Kennedy doesn't have to wrestle to be a valuable on-screen contributor to WWE. SD! doesn't currently have a "talk show" segment, which is a hole Kennedy could fill. Also: Kennedy has a kind of blow-hard aspect to his character that would make him an amusing color commentator (or better still: the "anchor" for a FOX News Style pre-taped segment where he pontificates about current events). Or combine the two ideas, and give Kennedy an in-ring "talk show" thing, but completely different from anything we've seen before. Give him a desk, and have him treat it like one of those brain-dead displays of punditry on FOX News.... he'd "moderate" one-on-one or roundtable discussions (with all the grace of Dana Carvey's version of John McLaughlin), and although there'd be some kind of rule that would forbid ANY physical violence, inane and irrational shouting would be encouraged as the primary means of furthering storylines. Some guests could even appear "via satellite" on the TitanTron.
    I'd dig that. And since the only other thing that I'm thinking of off the top of my head is that Kurt Angle already has a Personal Referee, so he could also use a Personal Ring Announcer (which isn't that swell an idea, since it'd only have the effect of making Kurt an even bigger babyface, I think, given how much people dig Kennedy), I think I'll stick with "24-Hour News Channel Punditry-Style Talk Show" as OO's official pick for what Kennedy should do while he's recovering from injury...
  • WWE.com has confirmed that Joey Style has signed a contract to be the full-time voice of RAW. It's a five-year deal, and I could not be happier.
    Well, this is probably a situation that shouldn't even exist in the first place, since there's no earthly reason why Jim Ross shouldn't have had the chance to be Announcer Emeritus for WWE until whenever he goddamned well pleased... but if Vince McMahon truly has it in his head that the prettiness of a play-by-play man is the biggest problem facing WWE, then I don't think any of us can argue with this ultimate outcome. Joey's about as good as it gets, and has been rock solid over the past month.
    He'll only get better as he settles in, and after WWE (hopefully) removes Coach from the equation so that we can focus on developing some actual chemistry between Joey and Lawler. JR and King had a good thing going on that front, and I think a "separate but equal" type of chemistry could develop in time... but only assuming the distracting influence of Coach is eliminated.
  • Joey's contract signing was largely considered to be an inevitable foregone conclusion by most... when you're 6 weeks into a 3 week try-out, chances are good you're gonna be retained for the long-term.
    But as logically underwhelming the signing of Joey is, I must admit to almost-complete bafflement at the announcement of WWE latest release:
    Christy Hemme has been cut loose by WWE. The announcement on WWE.com does the standard thing of painting it as a mutual agreement, though this has come so far out of left field that I don't have any idea how that could be the case.
    In fact, Christy had recently been assigned to OVW, where she was to get a final polish before returning to SD! (or to RAW), and it seemed as though there was a long-term plan to get her ready to legitimately contribute on the main roster. She'd also just signed a 3-year contract extension in September or October (and at a reduced rate of pay from her bloated $250,000 Diva Search contract), and over the past 15 months has been widely praised for her desire to learn and get better.
    So what happens? Why, as soon as Spaz starts finding herself a comfort level inside the ring (as evidenced by her first passable wrestling match ever against Melina two weeks ago on SD!), she's released, of course. Makes perfect sense.
    Only thing I can figure is that there was some clause in Christy's new contract that allowed WWE to reduce her pay to developmental levels if she was removed from the main roster to train in OVW, in which case, I could see some kind of friction developing, resulting in her release.... but even if that's the case, it becomes frustrating that WWE wouldn't make some kind of effort to smooth things out and keep Spaz around. Especially if they are willing to continue paying Candice Michelle Main Roster Money every week to contribute essentially nothing that any random fake-boobed Aspiring Actress Type couldn't contribute for half-the-money. At least Spaz was trying and making demonstrable improvements in her ability; her biggest fault wasn't even *her* fault, it was that WWE torpedoed her credibility by pushing her into a Women's Title feud at WrestleMania about a full year before she was ready to perform believably at that level. But all signs pointed to her possibly being ready to regain that spot, justifiably, before too much longer.
    If there's any additional story here, I'm sure we'll have it on Wednesday or in a future update.... but for now, every possible angle I can come up with to roll around in my head pretty much comes back to this being Reason #37878873 why Johnny Ace is a sycophantic, incompetent fuckwit who shouldn't even be trusted with his household's weekly grocery budget much less with managing the WWE roster.
  • Does this give TNA another WWE cast-off to pursue? Quite possibly. I'm not sure it's gonna fix any of TNA's core problems -- especially not when TNA's building a women's division of almost exclusively "works in progress," such as the notably-awful-but-I-have-to-assume-improving Jackie Gayda and the still-untested Traci -- but Christy's somebody who could come in, under her own recognizable name, and already be a good amount of distance down the road of being a well-rounded competitor.
    And speaking of TNA, I thought their show this past week was an interesting, and at the very least illuminating, experience. There were certainly a bunch of holes once again, but at least they started things off on the right foot (with a solid four-way X Division spot-fest) unlike last week.
    But the main thing I took away from the show was that I think a case can officially be made for Jeff Jarrett as Heel of The Year when year-end voting takes place in the next couple weeks. I mock TNA's fans, and rightfully so.... but I didn't notice till yesterday afternoon just how masterfully Jarrett is pushing their buttons.
    Oh, the crowd chants "boring" at him. But the funny thing is: THEY CHANT IT BEFORE JARRETT EVEN COMPLETES A SENTENCE. That's not a crowd that's bored. That's a crowd that fucking hates Jeff Jarrett, but is so concerned about retaining their "street cred" with other internet reading, indie loving, workrate dorks that they can't admit it. Instead, they've decided to hide behind the concept that Jarrett is "boring."
    People: we've all seen boring. And when we see it, the response to a guy like Chris F. Masters is deafening silence. Nobody is leaping to their feet to chant about how sucky Masters is. They're sitting back, bored to tears, and deeply annoyed that Chris F. Masters is being allowed to appear on TV in a prominent position every week, when what he really needs is another 2 years in OVW to forget how to stick things in his butt and learn how to, oh I dunno, SPEAK or WRESTLE.
    It's one thing to hop on the internet and write incisive analyses that take the time to point out the shortcomings of a wrestler who is clearly failing (on every level) to connect with an audience... that's merely an observation of the relatively obvious, and it's completely normal to point those kinds of things out. But it's a whole other thing to go to a live event and fall all over yourselves to start negative smarky chants at a wrestling you don't like.
    The former makes you a credible observer of the industry. The other makes you the biggest fucking collection of clueless marks assembled in one place since one of Tugboat's Get Well Hulkster Friendship Bracelet Rallies held in 1990. It becomes a thing of beauty to watch this audience that is so full of itself, so insistent on being "part of the show," so intent on proving it's "smartness" by never booing heels because they "respect the workrate" be played like a fiddle by Jeff Jarrett.
    And also by Christian, who -- just seconds after the crowd serenaded Jarrett with "We Want Wrestling" chants -- got a huge pop for coming out to continue with the non-wrestling, and who also punched a few of the same buttons to get cheap pops out of the crowd.
    I know that the idiotic wankery of the audience isn't TNA's fault, but it is something that I continue to think has a tangible influence on any fringe fans or non-fans who see TNA and try to decide if they want to become fans. The fans' insistence on cheering heels to prove their smartness removes all sense of tension or drama from matches, since it becomes hard to get that visceral sense that it matters who wins. And then, when the loudest, most intense chant on a show calls the TNA Champion "boring," doesn't that send a pretty negative message to any fans seeing TNA for the first time? "Watch Impact and be bored to tears by our Champion!"
    I'd love to slap around a few of these TNA fans and tell them what whatever "persona" they have for their wrestling blog or whatever should probably go away when you attend a live wrestling event. That's what wrestling fans do. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I used to tease Fellow Marginal Wrestling Pundit Herb Kunze for being the kind of guy who'd go to a wrestling show with a notepad and a stopwatch, instead of going, having a few beers and enjoying the show. Today, it's a whole other class of loser fan that earns my ire for being apparently incapable of just attending a live event and enjoying it like I and other normal people do.
    It's OK to flip a switch and be "smart" when you do stuff on the internet, but it should be a different deal when you're actually enjoying a wrestling show. If you don't, all you do is "out" yourself as a fringe minority whose chants and cheers have no relevance to an actual mainstream product which SHOULD be viewed and enjoyed by an audience that is comprised of 75% people who don't give a shit about internet analysis of wrestling.
    A good "internet analysis" is identifying what works and doesn't work with that 75% of the crowd, and trying to illuminate those issues in an eloquent fashion. But an "internet jack-off" is somebody who thinks that all fans should know insider lingo and use star ratings and love workrate and in so doing makes his/her pet product seem exclusive and unappealing to the mainstream audience.
    The funny thing is that I honestly do think that there are some "staleness" issues with Jarrett on top of TNA, ones that could be the subject of high quality "internet analysis." But the problem is, as long as Jarrett's got TNA's entire audience eating out of his hand like he did this weekend, it's hard to knock TNA keeping their hottest, most hated, most over heel on top, and letting their gullible little marks chant their faces off. You go, Heel Of The Year, Jeff Jarrett!
    God, I know I shouldn't care so much about this, but when the biggest laugh I got on all of Impact was watching these supposedly "smart" fans be exposed as the most gullible of marks, it becomes a major speaking point for me. Nothing else stood out anywhere near as much.... it was just another show where water seemed to be tread, making the upcoming PPV matches neither more nor less appealing.
    One exception: the highly prized (and increasingly rare) "sustainable episodic TV" vibe was in full effect when Christian got blind-sided by a Team Canada guy. You have to have some level of multi-tasking and layered storytelling to keep fans enthralled, since if all you have is "Hey, these guys are gonna have a match at the PPV, now watch them wrestle meaningless matches against other people until we get to the PPV," it ain't gonna work. But in this case, while Christian's over-riding PPV issue is with Monty Brown, the Team Canada attack plays on a simmering background issue, and it gives Christian a MEANINGFUL match (I assume, I didn't read spoilers) against the Team Canada Guy on the primetime special on Thursday night. Those are the kinds of things TNA has to do to make their weekly TV more of a must-see affair for fans, instead of a water-treading place-holder that marks time between PPVs. Because imagine: if you can start having matches fans can care about for free on Impact, then fans will care EVEN MORE about those big pay-off matches on PPV. It's a fairly simple formula, and TNA gets credit for pulling it off in at least one segment this weekend.
    For a more detailed breakdown of what happened on the show, I encourage you to check out Jason Longshore's TNA Impact Recap. (If link is dead, just give it a little bit of time; Jason's promised his recap will arrive at some point this evening.)
  • SD! was taped last night, as members of both WWE brands leave for Afghanistan tomorrow morning. They will perform a show for our troops that will be broadcast as the now-traditional holiday special the week of December 19. RAW will definitely feature the for-the-troops thing, and I'm still not clear what's happening with SD! that week.
    As discussed last week, the trip will also be chronicled by husky-voiced Rita Cosby on her MSNBC show on Wednesday and Thursday night this week (9pm, eastern), should you desire a sneak peak.
    As the tour is voluntary and will obviously have a cross-brand flavor, you won't really see any meaningful storyline development during that week of TV. But it's always a unique show, and worth checking out. And my guess is you'll be able to tell who made the trip come next Monday night, simply by looking for the most exhausted guys (and girls, since nothing says "thanks for all the hard work, fellas" like plenty of good, old fashioned American T&A) after the 20,000 mile round trip.
  • Yahoo had a news item today about The Rock entering negotiations to star in a Disney movie, in which he would play an ex-football player who becomes a "fish out of water" when he discovers he has a teenage daughter who's suddenly in need of a daddy. Sounds like a real winner to me...
    And what the hell gives, Rocky? Are you just giving up and accepting the Vin Diesel Path to Action "Star" Obscurity? Cuz once you sign up to star in your first Unfunny Rated-G Family Comedy, there's no going back....
  • I think that's about all I got for today. I'm here again tomorrow with the RAW Recap, and there's midweek news on Wednesday. If you enjoy the non-stop Rick, you can encourage me and help fill the coffers to pay for bandwidth (and recoup some recent property damage losses) by throwing a few bucks towards the OO Pledge Drive. You have Amazon, PayPal, and cash/check/snail mail options, and your generosity in keeping OO afloat and free is much appreciated.
    See you tomorrow, kids....

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.




All contents are Copyright 1995-2014 by OOWrestling.com.  All rights reserved.
This website is not affiliated with WWE or any other professional wrestling organization.  Privacy Statement.