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RAW, Ratings, Heidenreich Released,
TNA's Big Plans, WWE's Response, MORE! 
January 18, 2006

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


In my standard reading of all things newsy, I think I may have stumbled across the scientific, chemical, documentable reason why John Cena's getting booed.

Well, PART of the reason, anyway.

That's because a new study proves that there is a part of the male brain that derives pleasure from watching a jerk get beat up. The same chemical reaction does NOT occur in most females. The study is not definitive, but this could be a result of learned gender roles, and not something hard-wired.

I am not making this up.

So basically it boils down to what I've been talking about for about a full year now: booing John Cena is FUN. It feels good. It's not "personal taste." Now it's SCIENCE! Cena acts like a petulant, bratty wigger, and our brains will release pleasurable chemicals into the system anytime he gets his bitch-ass beat. Well, provided you're a grown man.

Leaving only the misguided youth of America and Cena's fangirls to continue under the misapprehension that he's either cool or hot. You poor folks, with your under-developed brains. You don't know what you're missing.

But enough Science. Here's some wrestling:

  • Monday's RAW is still on my mind. Hell, yesterday evening, I even did something I haven't done in a LONG, long time: I rewatched my recording of the show for a second time before deleting it. Even on second viewing, I only fast-forwarded a few things in the middle of the show.
    So yeah: that was good TV.
    The bookends are clearly the highlight of the show. The opening 40 minutes had Edge's promo, Angle's interruption, the Angle/Michaels match, and then the Angle/Daivari break-up. All excellent. Then the final 20 minutes were the TLC match, which was even better. 
    In the middle hour, things were a bit mixed. The Cena/Masters stuff did absolutely nothing for me, and in fact only makes me dread the day (possibly next week) when Cena vs. Masters will be a marquee match, and will likely suck, and yet Coach will listen to the voice in his headset and declare that truly this match-up represents the Future Of This Industry.
    The handling of Masters annoyed me in another way, too: just last week, Carlito smoothed over their problems, started what sure as hell felt like it SHOULD be the mind-controlling of poor, dim Masters, and the two won a huge tag match as a result. This week, Masters is back to being pissed at Carlito. What?
    And it's not just a continuity problem in theory; in practice, Monday's Carlito/Kane mini-angle came off as a lot lamer and silly than it should have, simply because instead of feeling like it could be the impetus for a Kane/Big Show vs. Carlito/Masters tag title match, now it just felt like Carlito making a stupid boast and Kane coming out to beat him up for no discernable reason. The continuity issue creates some very real, tangible trickle-down problems in practice.
    On a happier note, I thought that the skit, match, and angle with Trish/Ashley/Mickie were all excellently handled this week. There are any number of ways to go from here, and all of them more interesting than having Mickie doing a lame Fake Lesbian Act, and making Trish have to come off as mildly-retarded by actually being intimidated by it (instead of just brushing off the comically bad attempt at a "mind game," like she should). A correction to my little notion that Ashley could slowly start a quasi-heel-turn on Trish: this was NOT the second week in a row where Ashley lost a match because of Trish's friend, Mickie. But it WAS the second week in a row where Ashley took an ass-whupping from Trish's friend, Mickie. And she might start getting annoyed with Trish for not just telling Mickie off. It's an idea, anyway, to keep Trish occupied with somebody other than Boobies McTitsalot.
    It all added up to a two-hour show where my gripes were minor, and my positive memories numerous. Flair/Edge really will -- if WWE's product in 2006 is roughly the same as it was in 2005 -- be a Match of the Year Contender. I'd rather it be the start of an upswing in terms of the WWE in-ring product and in terms of WWE's desire to deliver more than 1 or 2 "keeper" matches in a given year. But whatever: taint the time for grand theoretical analysis. Tis the time to just accept and appreciate that for one Monday Night, WWE got it right for once, and delivered an exceptional main event.
    You can get all the details in yesterday's OO RAW Recap. Oddly, I got a lot of e-mail calling it the best recap in a while. Which is "odd" because usually I have a pretty good sense of when I'm doing good work, and I was more just going through the work yesterday being grateful that the quality of the SHOW itself was making the recappening fun in a way that it usually isn't. But hey, I'm not one to look a compliment horse in the mouth. So thanks to those folks, and I'll try to figure out what it was that was so good this week, but which I didn't notice on the initial go-through. 
    And to everybody else: I guess you really have to go read the recap, now, don't you?
  • The rating for Monday's RAW was identical to the week before: a 4.3. Specifics (like quarter hour breakdowns) aren't available, possibly because of the MLK holiday, but the message seems to be that the lame-ass Live Sex Ending the week before didn't piss people off enough to turn them off (the way audiences dwindled because of RAW's initial awfulness upon the USA Network Homecoming).
    So the same audience showed up again this week, and clearly liked what they were getting, as they stuck around till the end. Best case scenario would be finding out that the TLC Match out-drew the Live Sex Main Event the week before... because otherwise, you never know who might get the wrong ideas about what should be showcased on a wrestling show.
  • The rating for this weekend's Impact was back to a 0.8. Not that there's anything wrong with that; it's pretty much the series average, and means TNA continues to play to roughly the same core audience week-in and week-out.
    If there's a downside to TNA's rating dropping by about 100,000 viewers, is that the drop came for a pre-PPV hype show that tried to do the final push for Final Resolution. Fewer eyeballs on Saturday night means fewer potential eyeballs on PPV.
    Not that I think it would have mattered. When I got around to seeing Impact, I was struck very early on that this was gonna be nothing but an infomercial. No good matches, no major angles, just hammering away and hammering away at the PPV's major matches. And just when you think they might finally deliver at least a solid main event (Christian/Rhino vs. AMW), it turns out that they do nothing with it, cut the match short, and finish the show with a lengthy Sting Angle and then a music video.
    D'oh. And it didn't help that Sting's voice-over, promising to make his return at the PPV, had all the cutting-edge attitude of a 2nd graders schoolyard taunt. "Queen of the Mountain?" "Alpha Female?" Methinks somebody needs a primer from Shawn Michaels what you can say and what thinks you need to avoid if you're going to cut a credible-sounding promo while not making The Jesus cry...
    And leave the superfluous video packages set to shitty douche-rock to WWE, OK, TNA? I don't care how much the record label might have paid you for the placement of the song, but it's not worth it. Trust me. Just focus on action, make use the stars you got that have personality, and don't bother emulating any of WWE's more-pointless practices.
    Then the following night, TNA had the Final Resolution PPV which -- by and large -- seemed to go about how I would have guessed. A lot of people apparently started thinking Sting would turn heel in his debut, but that didn't happen. Nor should it have; TNA first needs to gauge how fans are gonna react to Sting as a full-time performer, and create the long-term plan for Sting from there. And by the sounds of things, the fans were way behind Sting at the PPV, so a babyface he should stay.
    You can get all the other results in Jason Longshore's TNA PPV Recap.

  • Speaking of TNA gauging fan reactions, they also recognize the need to gauge reactions of fans OTHER than the wankers who often populate the Universal Studios in Florida.
    To that end, they are targeting house shows in major markets in the northeast and midwest this winter and spring. So far, the only confirmed date is Detroit, where Rhino could be Bigger Than Jesus. Or, considering that I think the date is March 17, Bigger Than St. Patrick.
    Kind of an odd date to choose for your first real house show, if you're wanting to draw young males out to the show.... then again, maybe St. Patrick's Day is just a Dayton thing? I think it might be that. Did You Know: That the University of Dayton didn't have a Spring Break until like the year or two before I began attending? But then, they suddenly changed the academic calendar because they were sick of getting on the national news for being incapable of containing the parties on campus. Thus was invented Spring Break, just as an excuse to kick the students off campus for St. Patty's Day.
    But I digress...
  • Perhaps not coincidentally, WWE has confirmed that Saturday Night's Main Event will air on NBC on March 18. And I don't know if this is confirmed or not, but they MIGHT run the taping in Detroit. If they actually do that, I'm guessing it'd be a live-to-tape deal held at a sensible hour here in the eastern time zone, and then broadcast at 11:30pm on NBC.
    Up until an e-mail about this possible Detroit Booking, I had been under the impression that WWE was planning on broadcasting the SNME special live, by holding the TV taping somewhere out in California (where 11:30 eastern is 8:30 local).
    Which means if that plan actually does change, and it changes to Detroit, you can almost bet your bottom dollar that WWE's just doing it out of spite, trying to force Michigan fans with only a limited budget for wrestling events to make a choice.
  • WWE has announced that Jon Heidenreich has been released. OMG~! It's almost as if somebody read my stupid digression in the RAW Recap about how big a pain in the ass it is to type Heidenreich's name, and did me a personal favor! 
    Or not. Truth is that Heidenreich has been off the road for over a month, now, and not exactly with permission. There are vague rumors about personal/family issues, but nobody in WWE felt like Heidenreich was shooting straight with them, and if he couldn't come clean, they had to cut him loose.
    If it's true that Heidenreich pretty much took himself out of circulation without permission, I believe it would count as an out-of-character act. In fact, if you've ever wondered why Heidenreich got so many chances and so many make-overs and so many pushes on WWE TV, despite a lack of real ability or connection with the fans, it's because WWE's management and trainers absolutely loved his dedication and work ethic. Others might be more naturally talented, but nobody worked harder to be almost-passable than Heidenreich.
    Road Warrior Animal is still hanging around, and is on some booking sheets teaming with Matt Hardy in coming weeks. Ugh. Heidenreich's dismissal would have been the perfect chance to quit beating that dead horse and let Animal fade quietly into the night.
    I mean, MAYBE if Heidenreich was still sticking around, you keep the team on TV for a few more months, just to do an angle where they lose matches and get lost in the shuffle, and then when the Legion of Doom gets elected into the Hall of Fame Class of 2006, Animal pulls Heidenreich aside and says that it's been great, but this Hall of Fame nomination has reminded Animal what the LOD really was, and how he wants to be remembered. Which isn't as a loser. So you give 'em one last big match, which they can win, and then POOF, no fricking more abominations featuring nostalgia acts overstaying their welcomes.
    But there's not time to re-do that kind of story with a new random "LOD2K6" partner for Animal, so why not just let it rest, dammit?
    Oh, wait: Johnny Ace. That's right.
  • Matt Morgan was hanging out at TNA Tapings last night. And he's a guy who I still don't know why he was released by WWE while Johnny Ace's brother turns a one-month nostalgia run into a full-time deal.
    Obviously, that means he could be a huge asset to TNA, if given a chance.
    But that's actually part of the problem: Morgan is almost TOO huge for TNA. Signing the 6'9" Morgan would throw the entire TNA Height Chart into disarray. If Abyss is billed as a 6'8" monster, you'd almost have to bill Morgan as 7'5" to make it believable.
    Well, maybe not quite, but you get the idea. There really is an issue here where TNA would have to think long and hard about how much they want to expose the difference between a "WWE-sized" wrestler, and their smaller, ultra-talented wrestlers.
  • TNA has also signed Jay Lethal to a contract. He's been exclusively a jobber on TNA TV so far, but got his contract mostly because WWE had come sniffing around, interested in signing the guy. In fact, Lethal might have had his choice of WWE Developmental Deal or TNA Deal... in either case, he's gonna be locked into TNA for a year, now.
  • WWE's countered by officially announcing the signing of that big Russian actor/stunt-man-guy that Jerry Jarrett brought to them a few months ago. In your face, TNA! Your co-founder just hand-delivered a 6'7", 300 lbs., no-talent actor to the competition! He has all the potential to suck as hard as Nathan Jones!
    Now to see which of Oleg Whateverhisnameis or Giant Singh is deemed TV-ready first so that Big Show can have yet another sucky WrestleMania match against a freakishly-sized opponent.
  • WWE has also announced that they are continuing to work out the details of a new drug policy, but aren't promising it will be implemented before the end of their current fiscal year (which basically ends shortly after WM)... 
    Don't know if it's worth the trouble to bring up the issue of possible feet-dragging or not. But probably not, since just looking at a few wrestlers, there might be evidence to support the notion that even just the THREAT of the new policy has scared a few guys straight. Hell, it might almost have been better to not say anything about a projected start date for the new policy (telling the roster "Hey, you got 3 more months, use 'em!"), and just let the wrestlers keep wondering when they might be spontaneously tested.
  • Batista has had his surgery (it happened last Thursday or Friday, I forget which).  The revised prognosis is that, optimistically, it'll be 2 months before he can resume full work-outs, and then maybe another month after that before he's cleared for the ring. Which is better than what had originally been feared, but also basically means you then look (in a best case scenario) for a return either at or just after WM22.
  • A lot of people have written in wondering how I could possibly leave Eddie Guerrero's Death off the list of "Most Disappointing News Items" in my Year-End Ballot.
    Well, it's simple: that category is not meant to "rank" deaths/tragedies. I realized this a few years ago when I was still doing the RSPW ballots, and decided to NEVER vote for wrestling deaths in that category, since I didn't want to contribute to what always ended up feeling like we were trying to quantify a guy's legacy by associating a weighted point value to his death.
    So once I started the OO Awardies, I kind of made that a rule. Because here in 2005, I don't want to have it turn out that OO agrees that Eddie's death is the #1 Big Winner, but then Chris Candido's death only appears in fourth-place under "also receiving votes." That would just be... I dunno.... but it wouldn't be right. Which is why our category just focuses on Industry News, not personal tragedy or the thing that made you feel saddest all year.

    But anyway, other than that, I haven't had too many complaints/debates from my ballot. Things'll get even more interesting on Friday when I present the Consensus Awardies, combining the votes of the entire OO Staff. I don't know if anything will really surprise you or not, but I do know that a lot of things I voted for won't make the top 3's in some categories, so it oughta be pretty interesting for you folks to check out.
  • Don't have confirmation on this yet, but apparently the Ultimate Warrior is contemplating or has already filed a defamation lawsuit against WWE for the "Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior" DVD.
    You know, I was more than happy to take a pass on the DVD, since I still have all two of Warrior's good matches still on VHS somewhere.... but if the Warrior Mocking was so quality that it's been deemed litigation worthy, maybe I DO want to see it afterall.
    Well, it's either that, or Warrior's a whack-job bringing a frivolous suit. But we can't say for sure either way, as this is matter for the courts to decide.
  • And finally, since we haven't had a chance to talk about it yet, we might as well touch on last week's SD!.... it wasn't a overall-good as RAW, but it was a very entertaining show. It also drew a strong 3.2 rating for UPN.
    Angle's Battle Royale Title Win was more surprising than it was the finale of a good match. In fact, the line-up of the match was such that as soon as JBL was gone, the thing was just boring as hell, because Angle was the only possible winner.
    Well, actually, there was a TOUCH of whimsical hope that maybe Rey Mysterio could win, but that came as a result of a very nice backstage moment as Batista, now a broken-down ex-champ, said farewell to his friend... and then told Rey "I believe in you, you can win that title." Batista left, and the camera lingered on Rey, making it clear that Rey didn't even believe in Rey. Until now. Obviously, Rey didn't win the battle royale, but I think this sets the stage for him -- be it at WM22, or some point later -- to actually challenge for the World Title.
    Benoit/Orton -- to settle the US Title series -- was the night's best match, although perhaps just a little over-long. But after Orton plodded the opening third of the match to an anticlimax (again, drawing "boring" chants for his exhilarating side headlocks), the final 20 minutes were probably about as good an outing as Randall has had in a long, long time. Benoit had some cool tricks up his sleeve (including an Homage to Eddie that resulted in Booker T and Sharmell being evicted from ringside), but it wasn't enough to win. So Orton wins the match, but Booker wins the US Title. And Booker owes Orton a favor. We'll see how that goes....
    A few readers who've been wondering if Orton is turning face so he can feud with Booker over the US Title need to kindly not give WWE any bright ideas. Orton as a face has already flopped once and would flop again at this point. The reason why Orton's dad has not been with him the past few weeks is NOT because they want you to start liking Orton, it's because Cowboy Bob is battling an indeterminate health issue.
    And lastly: the Boogeyman may not be my favorite, but him chewing that Thing off off Jillian Hall's face may be about as simple (if retarded) a way of ending that silly little gimmick. Kudos to you, Tommy Dreamer 2006! Keep eating gross things, nutjob, and you'll be a star someday!
  • I think that's about it. I have a UD Flyers game to get to. Can we manage to lose 7 games in a row for the first time since I was in school? It's Temple, so it's a very good possibility.
    At least Indiana's looking stronger and stronger, so I know I can count on them to keep me interested in college hoops past February 1. Flyer by choice, yes. But Hoosier by birth, baby!
    See you Friday, with the Consensus Awardies, and maybe some other stuff, if the news warrants it. Be well till then, folks...

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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