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WWE Hits Year End Ratings Slump, plus
TNA, Heyman, a New Giant, Haas, and MORE 
January 5, 2006

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


The first "official" OO of 2006, and I want to start it on a shameful note... by admitting that I'm strapped for material so I hacked into Wade Keller's server and snuck a peak at an update he's got planned for later today. Hey, I need SOMEthing to take up space. Anyways, the always-thought-provoking Wade included this morsel of info:

OBSCURE WRESTLING REFERENCE: PWTorch reader Dumbo McAsshat wrote in to say that "i was watching the newz yesterday and it sez that those 12 minors in south virginia are really dead even tho last night they said they were alive. i thought you could tell all you're readers that cnn just totally ripped off the dusty finish and swerved all those stupid mark families. love the sight, wade!". 

Good eye, Dumbo, and thanks for bringing this obvious homage to the Dusty Finish to our attention. Fascinating material, which you can only find here at PWTorch. Thanks also for being yet another sterling example of the remarkable intelligence and literacy levels of the average PWTorch reader! 

OK, OK, I admit it: I didn't steal that from the Torch. Keller and his readers aren't clever enough to come up with an Obscure Wrestling Reference that funny, and we all know it.

And if *you* aren't laughing, then just lighten up and assure yourself that that ISN'T a "dead miners" joke. That's a jab at the stupid media (who actually broke into regularly

scheduled late night programming, robbing me of Valuable Comedy) who sent us all to bed last night thinking a miraculous rescue had been made, only to have been proven wrong come the light of morning.

Speaking of late night TV and dumb-ass media types, good lord was Letterman ever awesome on Tuesday night. His first guest was FOX News' Bill O'Reilly, and let's just say it took about 30 seconds into the interview before O'Reilly was coming off like such a clueless fucktard (it started with O'Reilly actually still wanting to talk about the "War on Christmas" that wasn't even an issue to any thinking American, and shouldn't be an issue even among retarded Americans now that Christmas is over) that Dave just laid into him for the remaining 8 minutes of the interview. The punchline of the whole bit was Dave just letting O'Reilly ramble on about something or other, and when Bill was done, Dave just deadpanned, "Why do I get the impression that 60 percent of the things coming out of your mouth are crap?" O'Reilly was flabbergasted. Paul Shafer chimed in with a funny "Sixty percent, really? That's all?".

From there, O'Reilly tried to defend himself with the standard "we all have opinions, and I'll respect yours if you respect mine." And yet another moron displays a willful equivocation of "subjective opinion" with "blatant, factual misrepresentation of fact" as it suits his purpose. We can "agree to disagree" on things truly subjective, but we canNOT "agree to disagree" when you say the sky is green. This annoying rhetorical tactic of saying "well, that's my opinion and you have to respect it regardless of its demonstrable falseness" is definitely on a fast track to be my Most Hated Pet Peeve of 2006. O'Reilly also tried to defend himself on the grounds that Letterman declared "Like most thinking people, I never watch your show, so I wouldn't know exactly how to go about debating you, anyway" (ZING~! the best shot to take a pompous assface is to tell him that he's not even important enough to pay attention to)... so, O'Reilly wonders, if Dave doesn't watch, how does he know 60% of O'Reilly is crap? 

As it turns out, the answer is because you've been sitting there across from me for 10 minutes now without saying anything remotely compelling or thought-provoking, and so I've kind of ballparked it based on that. And then, just to twist the knife, after an awkward pause, Dave gave it his best Fake Smile and handshake and said, "It's always a pleasure to have you on the show, Bill." O'Reilly, attempting to play the "good sport," instinctively gave Dave a dead-fish handshake and looked prepared to show himself the door.

A perfect, pitiful, shameful, humiliating exit for one of News Punditry's Most Ricockulous Cosmic Jokes. I fully expect O'Reilly's "comeback" will be to try to start a "flame war" on his own show (where he can control and frame the argument to his liking, in a way that you can't when you're sitting face-to-face with somebody who simply will not be bullshat), and I fully expect that'll go just about as well for him as it did when he tried to take on Jon Stewart. Which is "not very."

I know O'Reilly's brain-washed goons will try to spin this in their favor somehow, but just answer me this, morons: how can American take-seriously a man who goes on TV and calls Britain's intelligence service "M-One-Six"? Yes, he really said "one" in there at one point during Tuesday's show. So awful. And yet, so perversely amusing to watch a proven waste-of-sperm-and-egg dig actually HELP to dig his own grave on national TV.

[Added Letterman Love: just last night, he had a joke about "Dancing With the Stars." It was a "Late Show Equation" that wondered what is the answer if you take "Dancing with the Stars" and subtract "Celebrities." Yes, the answer was still "Dancing with the Stars," exactly as I predicted as soon as I saw the equation, and exactly as it should be. But even better, in then discussing the "Dancing with the Stars" concept, Dave free-formed riffed that "If somebody came to me and said [dumb guy voice]'Let's do a show with celebrities ball-room-dancing'[/dumb guy], I'd just pull out a gun and shoot them. But I guess people are actually watching that show, so what do I know?"... do you people begin to realize why I so enjoy watching the man's show?]

Anyway: Good times. But now I figure I probably need to get to the wrestling, no? 

  • With all the holiday/year-end stuff gumming up my works, I'm a day later than usual with this. So I think we can eschew the usual Bonus RAW Analysis, right? It was three days ago, now (or will be by the time you read this, anyway), and frankly, I had myself one hell of a good week on the Recap, so I think everything I wanted/needed to say made it into there.
    Just read it. It's not every week when I entertain myself to the point that I'll specifically brag on a recap in terms other than the usual marketing catchphrases I tend towards, so I'm confident you'll like it too.
  • What we *can* do is get caught up on a crap-load of ratings, since I think the year-end schedule shifting means that we haven't talked about them in a while.
    As you recall, RAW went into the holiday season on a hot streak, hovering at or just over 4.0. That streak did not survive the holidays.
    The Christmas in Kabul episode slid to a 3.7 (which is actually not nearly as big a slide as SD!'s past two Iraq episodes suffered, as WWE and NBC/Universal pimped the hell out of the show as a special event, rather than as a "week off of normal storytelling").
    Then, RAW just hovered at that same 3.7 for the next two weeks, including Monday's show. Although I was largely back to my usual schedule by Monday each holiday weekend, I guess that might not be the norm.... for instance, banks and post offices were still closed on Monday both those weeks, which struck me as an odd inconvenience, but which might have indicated everybody was giving themselves Monday as a Bonus Holiday.
    In that case, it might explain RAW's continued depressed ratings after the Afghanistan Gimmick Show. The real test will be next week, when there's no more holidays (and no more college bowl games) to provide any excuses in terms of the ratings.
  • SmackDown! has also had trouble the past few weeks. After hanging steadily around the upper-2's, the Best of 2005 show two weeks ago drew an anemic 2.2. Then the show this past Friday only bounced back up to a 2.5.
    SD! has no reason to wait until next week to prove their mettle, though. The number they do tomorrow night will indicate just how many fans are back on board after the holidays.
    For the record, I found last Friday's SD! to be kind of disappointing... the Melina/Sexual Harassment Lawsuit stuff was just so stupid and soap-opera-y and so full of basic logic holes; the only upside was that Melina was handed a sack full of lemons and really tried hard to sell us lemonade (but I still wasn't buying)... the prospects of the Boogeyman and JBL ever having a wrestling match scare the shit out of me... just to piss me off, one of the more interesting parts of the show, and my stupid UPN affiliate cut-out for 15 minutes right as the Kash/Funaki thing started.... and Mark Henry? Ugh. Just know, folks, that this is WWE's last ditch attempt to squeeze some worth out of the guy. They signed him to a mind-numbingly-retarded 10-year contract after the 1996 Olympics, and that contract expires later this year. Finally.
  • And TNA? Well, they're the ones who went most-head-to-head with The Holidays, airing on both Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.
    As we discussed last week, the Christmas Eve show did an inexplicably high 0.9 rating, on a night when the last thing on MY mind would have been wrestling.
    That didn't quite hold up on New Year's Eve. TNA was just below their usual averages, as they did a composite 0.7 for the 90 minutes worth of programming they did on Spike TV (an hour at 8pm eastern, and then 30 minutes at midnight).
    I got to see the show on the Monday night replay, and was mostly amused. Not anywhere near as blown-away as the week before, but amused. The most interesting thing, from where I sit, is that when they made the official announcement of Sting coming to TNA, there were SOME boos among the TNA wankers in Orlando, which is kind of what I suspected. Then they announced the next PPV will be headlined by Jarrett/Monty vs. Christian/Sting? 
    Let's just say I theorized that a Sting Heel Turn (to side with the "Establishment" since he HAS wrestled for TNA before, against the WWE/ECW "invaders") would work a few weeks ago. And this weekend's show did nothing to dissuade me from the notion that it still could. I'm NOT saying it's the best idea; I'm just saying -- because of TNA's uniquely ass-hatted fans -- it's something that should maybe at least remain on the drawing board until it's been fully explored.
    You can get more details on the New Year's Eve show in Jason Longshore's TNA Impact Recap.
  • TNA held another round of tapings last night in Orlando... Sting was present, but did not appear in the flesh (he did, however, appear in voice-over form during his clip-art Scorpion Light Show actually directly talking about going to the next TNA PPV to wrestle Jarrett/Brown).
    Also of note: some people -- if my e-mail is to be trusted -- made a big fat hair deal over Samoa Joe being "seriously injured" over the weekend. I glossed over it at first because, like most people, I had better things to do on New Years than shed tears over a sprained ankle.
    And then I wasn't exactly in any rush to do a Monday news update to talk about it because by then, the truth was out: the injury did motivate Joe to take the rest of the night off during a tournament for Bumblefuck Championship Wrestling, but the simple fact was that he also completed his first match on the "injured" ankle, and was mostly just backing out as a precaution because BCW isn't his #1 paying gig.
    Needless to say, Joe was good to go and worked at last night's TNA tapings, only a little bit sore.
  • FYI: other Joe rumors have him on the brink of walking out of TNA to go to WWE.... these are exaggerations at the very least. 
    Joe does have supporters in WWE who would be interested in bringing him in with a strong push, but the true power brokers (your McMahons or Johnny Aces) have never reached out to Joe with an offer... and secondly, the "friction" with TNA is likely to be resolved sooner rather than later: per a clause in his contract, Joe's elevated position on the card (versus when he debuted) entitles him to elevated pay. It's just an issue of the two parties working out HOW elevated.
    Joe is right to play a bit of hardball given the dollars TNA's tossed around to Christian/Dudleys/Sting lately... and TNA's not stupid enough to piss away a chance to lock up one of their few signature potential headliners who still hasn't hit his peak. They'll get it together.
  • Another VERY interesting contract situation is that of Paul Heyman. All indicators point to Heyman's WWE contract expiring over the weekend...
    But Heyman continued his duties at OVW's TV tapings last night, and didn't bother to mention anything about not continuing his duties in coming weeks.
    The interpretation among those I've spoken with: Heyman is NOT under contract yet, but is finalizing a deal to remain with WWE, and as a show of good faith is continuing his OVW duties until the I's are dotted and the T's crossed.
    This, if you ask me, is REALLY good news. Even if WWE never reverses it's ass-hattedness long enough to let Heyman contribute to the Monday/Friday programs, there are two other important reasons to keep him around: 
    (1) Any future ECW reunions/DVDs/anything NEED Heyman on board to approximate legitimacy with fans. With WWE already tentatively planning on another ECW PPV in June this year, it'd be foolish to not keep Heyman around in some capacity so he could be involved in that.
    And (2) even though final decision making rests with Johnny Ace and then with the creative team when it comes to Developmental Contracts and when to call up certain guys, WWE will be MUCH better off with Heyman doing the booking in OVW, where he'll showcase the best talents, and also create the kinds of gimmicks/storylines that will help WWE understand how to mask glaring deficiencies if they happen to call up somebody before he's ready. You know, exactly the opposite of what they've done with Chris F. Masters.
    So anyway: Heyman's probably technically a free agent at this point, but the buzz is he'll be locked back up to a WWE deal of some kind (probably with reduced pay/responsibilities and allowing him to do other outside projects as long as they are not wrestling-related, since I know that's something else Heyman's interested in). Definitely a Good Thing.
  • WWE had backed off of legal threats against Brock Lesnar (mostly because the initial ruling made it plain that the court didn't see any reason to grant an emergency restraining order against Lesnar wrestling in Japan, as any damages incurred as a result by WWE could be recovered during later litigation)...
    And as a result, Lesnar wrestled last night (or two nights ago, or something; DAMN YOU International Date Line!) at the TokyoDome in Japan, again successfully defending the IWGP Title.
    What's odd is that in a trio of reports I got, there seems to be a growing disenchantment with Lesnar, who came to New Japan amidst much hype and optimism. In this, his fourth match, he's still never wrestled longer than 10 minutes or had a match that Japanese fans would characterize as "good."
    But he's big and caucasion and he's still selling tickets, so.... don't expect New Japan to back down anytime soon.
  • William Regal recently did a very interesting interview with the Sun newspaper in the UK. As tends to be the case when the Lilsboys do interviews, it's a bang-up job and I encourage you to just read the whole damn thing yourself
    But just two things I want to pick up on and mention here.
    One is that Regal says he's in touch with Nick "Eugene" Dinsmore, and he's doing very well and should be back soon.
    The other is that -- when discussing the current WWE training program -- Regal is outspoken in his belief that anybody who is 19, 20, 21 and whose first paying job in wrestling is as a WWE developmental wrestler is not likely to succeed.  For the company, it's a disservice to hire and train these guys in only one style, and for the guys, it's a disservice to them to not learn their craft more fully by working in other companies and other countries. As an example, Regal says that no matter how much potential there is in Louisville, he looks like somebody like Harry Smith (Davey Boy Smith's son) who is working all over the world and gaining all kinds of experience and maturity, and when (not "if," Regal made it clear it's a matter of "when") Harry comes to WWE, he'll already be a ready-made superstar that fans will be instantly attracted to. 
    Huh. Interesting comments from Regal, and I mention them mostly because they vindicate MY long-standing theory that WWE's current youth-fetish does them no good. Trying to sign, train, and then push kids fresh out of high school doesn't make superstars. It just makes immature, slightly-dim-seemingly, not-personable/uncharismatic cardboard cut-outs like Orton and Masters. There's a reason why so many of the past two decades of stars didn't "make it" till their 30s (and why guys closer to 30, like Kennedy or Carlito, are the newer stars who have an intangible "it" factor that younger guys lack), and it's because most people don't "find themselves" until after the experience you would get in college or on the job and stuff like that. Needless to say, coasting to a C-minus average in high school and then having WWE hand you a contract does NOT foster any sort of maturity or experience level...
    Regal's slant is a bit different, and more based on the technical side of learning the business, but I suspect all these issues are very much intertwined.
  • Remember about 7 months ago when Sandler's remake of "The Longest Yard" came out, and he appeared on Conan and had a 7-foot Indian (Indian Indian, not Native American) come sit with him on the couch, and I wondered how long it would take before WWE got a hold of the guy?
    Well, the answer is apparently "roughly 7 months." 
    WWE has signed Giant Singh, who already has some nominal wrestling training (in California and also in Japan) to go with his freakish size. If I'm not mistaken, the reports I got to my ponderings back in May mostly considered Singh to be potential-laden, but still nowhere near ready-for-the-ring (despite wrestling as a gimmick act throughout Asia).
    Of course, this means you can expect him to appear on TV next week as Triple H's new body guard so that WWE can do a Big Show vs. Singh match at WM22 that'll be every bit as thrilling as Show vs. Akebono was. Oy.
  • On a more promising note, it looks like Charlie Haas is headed back to WWE. To say there were VERY mixed signals on this over the past week or two would be an understatment, but it now looks like Haas will be back eventually, likely on RAW (which leads on to believe he'd be involved with Shelton's storyline).
    I do know that some elements jumped the gun a bit, and were reporting that Haas was going to appear on this past Monday's RAW. I don't know where THAT came from, as nobody I talked to considered it a possibility. Haas actually has a few overseas commitments to finish up (including this weekend in Europe), before his schedule would be freed up to work for WWE.
    It's known that TNA coveted Haas, and they also employ his wife (Jackie Gayda)... if Haas comes back to WWE, let's us all just cross our fingers that they don't Matt Hardy him.
  • Speaking of Haas and possibly being a part of Shelton's storyline on RAW.... many have written in to inform me that Shelton's Mama is actually a fairly well-known comedian and character actor. Thea Something-or-other, I think. It doesn't really matter.
    Apparently, she even had her own ABC sitcom for about half-a-season back in the 90s.
    I don't know whether to joke that she's probably over-qualified for the WWE job, or to joke that she's a perfect fit, since now all WWE's failed sitcom writers have a failed sitcom star for whom to write.
    Ugh, it just makes me sick this is even a story. Just keep the faith, o my brothers and sisters.... Shelton's Mama -- according to the casting call -- only has a shelf life of "three to six months." Which is still 12 to 25 weeks longer than it did in my Fantasy Universe, but I guess I'll take it....
  • A more-expected WWE Return is coming this weekend on SmackDown!... Ken Kennedy will be back.
    Fucking thieves! I said on Monday that Kennedy's return would be a staple of my Fantasy Universe SD! this week, and now, lookit what happens? Life imitating art, and all that.
    All I can do is promise you that Mine Is Better. Unlike RAW -- where I was a bit handcuffed by having to stay relatively true to a PPV coming in just six days -- I kinda get to hit the ground running a bit with the SD! side. Including a Kennedy Bit I'm very proud of. And some other stuff that I think is quite good.
    You should check it out.
  • I think that's about all the important stuff I got for you today. Anything else would be delving into the realm of stupid minutiae. And you all know where to go if you want that, right?
    I can promise that OO will have more goodness for you in coming days. In fact, I'm projecting a possible Bonus Saturday Update, depending on how Years-in-Review fall, and how long it takes me to do the Fantasy New Year's Revolution write-up.
    And no matter what happens, you have a Very Excellent "Inside the Ropes" from Bulldog to look forward to, and the First Team Coverage PPV Preview of 2006, as well. All that, and who knows what else, over the next two days.
    Come on back and check it out, why don't you?

SMACKDOWN RECAP: Bonding Exercises
RAW RECAP: The New Guy Blows It
PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
RAW RECAP: The Show Must Go On
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Boot Gets the Boot
RAW RECAP: Heyman Lands an Expansion Franchise
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Losing is the new Winning
RAW RECAP: Say My Name
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Deja Vu All Over Again
RAW RECAP: Dignity Before Gold?
PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
RAW RECAP: Bigger IS Better
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Hitting with Two Strikes
RAW RECAP: Heel, or Tweener?
RAW RECAP: CM Punk is Not a Fan of Dwayne
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Returnening
RAW RECAP: Countdown to 1000
PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Friday Night ZackDown
RAW RECAP: Closure's a Bitch
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Five Surprising MitB Deposits
RAW RECAP: Weeeellll, It's a Big MitB
RAW RECAP: Johnny B. Gone
PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
RAW RECAP: Crazy Go Nuts
RAW RECAP: Be a Star, My Ass
RAW RECAP: You Can't See Him
RAW RECAP: Big Johnny Still in Charge
PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: One Gullible Fella
RAW RECAP: Anvil, or Red Herring?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Everybody Hates Berto
RAW RECAP: Look Who's Back
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Care to go Best of Five?
RAW RECAP: An Ace Up His Sleeve
PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Sh-Sh-Sheamus and the nOObs
RAW RECAP: Edge, the Motivational Speaker?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: AJ is Angry, Jilted
RAW RECAP: Maybe Cena DOES Suck?
RAW RECAP: Brock's a Jerk
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28



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




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