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Will RAW Rule Again?, Lita Returns to Action,
Steamboat, Orlando, SD!, TNA, and MORE! 
January 23, 2006

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


OK, so starting off, this is probably something that only *I*, in my infinite assholitude, could find offensive. But it's my website, and my vagina, and if I want to pack some sand into it, that's my right.

Nay, my DUTY.

Because this little nugget of soul-crushing stupidity simply MUST be spotlighted in hopes of ending a trend before it catches on.

I'm speaking, of course, of the newswire coverage late last week of Osama's latest audio tape threats. I'm sure you all know exactly what I'm talking about, since I know you are all avid

readers who don't let a day go by without devouring a wide cross-section of Current Events Information. No? Dammit people, if you can't be bothered to read up, at least promise me you're getting your news from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert...

Anyway, whether you saw the newswire article or not is immaterial, since I can sum it up: basically, Osama released a new tape, promising Death To America.... UNLESS we got out of Iraq, in which case he'd consider a truce.

Problem is, in this article that was read by millions and circulated to lord knows how many major newspapers, Osama's demand was that we "quit Iraq." Three or four times in the article, references were made to "quitting Iraq," as if that was the precise quote from Osama's lips. Not ONCE in the entire 1000-word piece is there a reference to "reducing our military presence in Iraq" or "withdrawing from Iraq." Nope: for the entire article, all Osama wishes is that the US could "quit Iraq."

Clearly, this can mean only one of two things: (1) the quotes are accurate, and Osama's heart has been softened by the tale of two gay cowboys, or (2) the AP (or Reuters or whoever) writer who penned the story is a fucking hack who thinks a shittily-turned catchphrase from a movie is the best way to convey matters of international importance to a worldwide readership. If (2) is true, it also requires that the hack writer have an even bigger retard as an editor, since I can't see anybody higher up the journalistic totem pole than "high school newspaper" OK'ing the repeated usage of a borderline-grammatically-incorrect pop culture catchphrase.

And for crap's sake, can everybody just quit fellating "Brokeback Mountain"? Perhaps it's un-PC of me to not tolerate (and even CELEBRATE) the rights of two men to trade chuckle-inducing insipid dialogue along with their wet, sloppy kisses the same as more conventional couples always do in movies... but I'm betting that in about 10 years time, this'll be one that we collectively decide to pretend never won the Oscar. Just like "Titanic." They are essentially the same movie, from what I can deduce from clips and which scenes get parodied and so forth: it's just that while "Titanic" distracted an easily-impressed public from some of the most god-awful cheesy "romance" and dialogue ever dedicated to film with spectacular special effects, "Brokeback Mountain" distracts the same public with flaming gayness. And once America realizes there is not really anything trailblazing or shocking or special about two men kissing, it won't take long before America realizes it once again fell all over itself to hand out awards to an inane, hackneyed pile of schmaltz. [Note: since it seems to be a popular misconception about me, not a single word of the above paragraph is anti-gay in any way. It's just anti-gay-guys-being-portrayed-just-as-fakely-and-
percent-of-Hollywood-Love-Stories-and-winning-awards-for-it- probably-just-because-of-the-gayness-rather-than-the-quality- 
of-the-story. The gay community wants -- and certainly deserves -- equality and the exact same rights and treatment of heterosexual couples; so there you have it... equal mocking for exhibiting any annoyingly retarded behaviors! Thank you, drive through.] 

Shame on you, America. Shame on you. Although I must admit: it is kinda fun to rant about a movie (well, TWO movies, actually) that I have not seen and never will see. The "Never See Titanic" Rule might have to go into effect for "Brokeback Mountain," and for essentially the same reasons. Eat it, Hollywood! 

And I shall close this riffing with a quick Word Picture for you... because the whole reason that the newswire article about "quitting Iraq" stuck with me for 4 days is because immediately upon reading it, I had visions of President Bush getting up in the middle of a cabinet meeting about these latest threats, distractedly wandering over to a topographical map of Iraq, putting his arms around it, start sobbing gently, and then saying (in that patented Dumb Redneck Voice of his) "I wish I could quitchyoo, Iraq."

Once that image was branded into my skull, there was no way I was gonna forget about "quitting Iraq." And a winner was you! I hope you enjoyed your prize of a double-long Pre-Ramble. But now, we move on to the wrestling: 

  • It shall be VERY interesting to see what happens with tonight's RAW. Two weeks ago, WWE scored a big rating with an almost embarrassingly-bad show headlined by an awful "live sex" display. But then one week ago, WWE scored the exact same rating with a stunningly excellent top-to-bottom show headlined by a match that could well end up as a Match of the Year Candidate in 11 months time.
    Which WWE shows up tonight? It's anybody's guess.
    But looking at the planned line-up, there at least APPEARS as though there will be a bit more of an emphasis on the in-ring side of things, along with at least one potential kick-ass match.
    Shelton Benjamin's mama-assisted winning streak will be on the line in a match against Shawn Michaels. Eight months ago, Shelton was contending for the IC Title and had the hands-down Free TV Match of 2005 against Michaels on RAW... after a slow-steady decline over the rest of the year, Shelton has re-emerged from Heat-status and could sure as hell use a similarly-excellent outing to signal his return to full power. 
    I'm not even talking about scoring a win or anything like that (in fact, the less mama, the better the match will be; and the less damaged my ear drums will be; woman makes Jimmy Hart and his megaphone sound like Teller; of Penn and Teller fame? c'mon people, try to keep up)... I'm talking about delivering the kind of focused, full-speed performance that Shelton really hasn't had a lot of in the last six months of seeming distracted and unmotivated. There's no dance partner better than Michaels for delivering that sort of performance.
    Let's just say that a RAW taking its cue from last week would give Michaels and Shelton 16-plus minutes to do their thing and blow us away. A RAW takings its cue from two weeks ago will give them a 4-minute TV Special with a finish designed solely to further the Shelton's Mama Story. Everything we need to know about which WWE is shows up tonight will probably be contained within this match...
    Then there's also a potentially-solid "Dream Partner" tag match, which'll no doubt be our main event. John Cena and Edge will each get to pick tag team partners, and the teams'll square off. PRAISE JESUS! This means at least one more week before we are subjected to the hell that will be Cena vs. Chris F. Masters in a singles match! But sadly: I consider it pretty likely that the final teams tonight will end up being Edge/Masters vs. Cena/Flair. 'Tis the logical progression after last week.
    I'd give you all my ranting and raving about some alternate pairings that I think could result in a better match and lots more drama and intriguing possibilities, but why waste my breath ranting against a made hand? I'll just quickly say "Edge/HHH vs. Cena/Big Show," and leave it to you to figure out the many ways that could be pretty damned interesting, given HHH's speech of two weeks ago.
    Also on tap tonight: Carlito vs. Kane in a match that's the result of a random mini-angle last week, where Kane destroyed Carlito. My play in this match? Keep Masters way the fuck away from the main event, and have him interfere here (returning to his much-more-appropriate role as Carlito's easily-manipulated dumb muscle), and get a cheap win for Carlito, setting up a Carlito/Masters vs. Kane/Show tag title feud. You know, just to remind people that those titles fricking EXIST. Of course, this will not happen: CFM will be in the main event, and Kane will squash Carlito, and nary a peep will be heard about the tag belts.
    And finally: we're going to be treated to Trish Stratus and Diva Search Ashley taking on Victoria and... oy, I forget. One of her vapid valets. Probably Torrie, since in a battle between Torrie and Candice, Torrie's got slightly more business inside the ring. Of course, none of that will really matter, I'm sure. Victoria will shoulder the load for her team, and the match will probably be on the short side and dedicated mostly to telling the story of how Mickie James is pissed off about not being included in the match, and Trish is hanging out with Ashley, instead, no doubt resulting in some sort of outburst from Mickie that will cost Ashley the match. Which is all as it should be. Hopefully we punctuate that with more well-executed skits like last week (I figure one pre-match and one post-match should get the story told quite well), and we move ahead with the rebuilding of Mickie James as a psycho. Instead of as a dim-witted Girl Gone Wild (Dorm Room Fantasies Edition)....
    And with those four matches scheduled, most of RAW's going-concerns will be addressed. If HHH/Show aren't included in the Dream Partner Tag Match, then theirs is really the only other story/feud that seems to be of sufficient import to rate TV time.... beyond that, there aren't so many vital feuds going on, since the focus will more be on the Royal Rumble match, where 15 of RAW's finest (well, maybe about a half dozen of RAW's finest, and then a bunch of guys who tend to appear only on Heat) will be thrown together into one big match. Each brand only has to develop 2 matches for the Rumble PPV, and RAW's already got Cena vs. Edge. They'd be crazy to not have a women's match, too; depending on how the story goes Trish vs. Mickie or Ashley vs. Mickie or Trish vs. Ashley vs. Mickie or even Ashley vs. Trish could all work.
    Basically, that means that everybody other than Cena/Edge can kind of get away with futzing around and feuding with anybody they want to out of the 15 Rumble Entrants. Well, I mean, WWE shouldn't be quite THAT lazy about it, but it does open things up a bit, since it's not so important to focus so tightly on one-on-one feuds.
    I gotta tell you: my feelings heading into tonight's show are a definite blend of curiosity and anticipation. Curiosity, because I just don't know with certainty which WWE will show up. But anticipation, because last week's show was so good, and scored a strong rating, so I'm naively gonna hope for the best. The announced line-up certainly plays into that sense of anticipation, too. There is plenty potential for gOOdness there.
    And regardless of which WWE shows up, you know there's only one way OO rolls... which means that you can get the full results and analysis from RAW in the Finest RAW Recap In All The Land, courtesy of Yours Truly, tomorrow. Don't you dare miss it!
  • WWE had an interesting weekend of house shows. SD! ran a trio of shows in Mexico, essentially doing the same shows they'd run domestically, just with guest appearances by El Hijo del Santo and with Rey Mysterio being put over as pretty much the biggest star of the shows. Also, I believe Undertaker was back on the road again for these shows, which could well mean he's finished with his latest month-long vacation and will be back on TV this week to set up his (inevitable) entry into the Royal Rumble match.
    RAW, however, might have had an even more intriguing weekend, running a trio of shows throughout the boring old mid-south territory. How so?
    Well, for one: Lita returned to action, working tag matches with Victoria against Trish and Mickie James. By all accounts, Lita looked fine, but also didn't really do a whole lot beyond the bare minimum basics. Whether that's due to vestiges of her knee injury, or just simple common sense, since there's no point to Lita (working for the first time ever as a heel) flying all over the ring if people are supposed to boo her.
    And for two: Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat made appearances around the horn as the "guest" on "Coach's Corner." All appearances ended with Steamboat beating the crap out of Coach to huge pops. This is interesting because its the first tangible evidence that you should put ANY stock into the random rumors that WWE is considering doing a one-time Hall Of Famers Match at WM this year, between Steamboat and Ric Flair. Steamboat also got some face time and some lines on SD! last week. It's nothing concrete, but it's enough to make you wonder if something might not be up...
    A couple of OVW guys also got to work around the horn (and not just at the show in Louisville)... Aaron Stevens beat Shooter Albright in matches that were most likely pretty good, but which fans shat upon, since they didn't understand why two no-name jobbers were getting to work 12 minute matches. Albright, as you may know, could very easily be nicknamed "Baby Benoit," and would already be SD! hottest new star in some alternate universe, if only I hadn't pussed out on writing it.
  • Responding to a plethora of confused e-mails as to what I was referencing when I used Orlando Jordan as the headline picture for Canadian Bulldog's bi-lingual column last week...
    Well, basically, the deal is this: Jordan is going to be re-invented as a bi-sexual character. This, depending on who you talk to or how much of your business you think it is, might be a case of WWE incorporating a real-life trait into an on-screen character, as they are wont to do. 
    If I haven't talked about it on OO up till now, it's only because I have this long-standing policy of not talking about rumors that sound too stupid to be true. It's an out-growth of one of my less-proud personality traits, which is that if a problem can be ignored with no adverse consequences, then that problem MUST be ignored, and it's almost like it doesn't really exist.
    But at last week's TV tapings, it pretty much became confirmed that WWE will be running with Bi-Sexual Orlando Jordan; a real-life "friend" of OJ's was even circulating, apparently auditioning/screen-testing for the role of OJ's gay lover. There are also rumors that TNA's Trinity (she of a remarkable butterface, which could always be spun as her being a tranny, and don't think people aren't already making THAT leap of logic) could be brought in to flesh out the bi-sexual love triangle.
    For whatever it's worth, my concerns here are not that there's something inherently wrong with presenting a bi-sexual character. My concerns are that WWE has a shitty track record when they try to brush up against edgy/hot-button issues like this, and simply should not be trusted to handle this responsibly.
    Basically, it's a deal where for every one Eugene they handle perfectly there's.... well, there's every other example of WWE ever trying to do a sensitive/hot-button character EVER. Eugene's about the only one I can think of that WWE ever got right. Other than that, you have insulting stereotypes, and cases where attempts to reference current events end with Kurt Angle mocking the troops and, and stuff like that.
    The only real hope is that if this really is gonna be an on-screen out-growth of the "real" Orlando Jordan, that he'll have input as to how his storylines progress, and won't go along with anything stupid or insulting. But then, after he uses the bi-sexuality to grab our attention, the "Brokeback Mountain" Philosophy goes into effect immediately... [christ, do you people ever stop and ponder just how lucky you are to have me sitting around hand-crafting these missives for you, where what you think SEEMED like a pointless comment in a pre-ramble is suddenly the expertly-planted piece of foreshadowing to facilitate the ebb and flow of our correspondence? Seriously, Keller would probably fatally injure himself if he tried to approximate the same level of effortlessly casual, "speaking of which" conversational style that just comes naturally when you're a clever and engaging son of a bitch such as my self! I mention it only because I think you all take it for granted! I had an exchange last week in which a member of my own staff not only failed to be impressed with my mastery of segues, but was downright snarky when I demanded to be congratulated on a Really Clever One on the grounds that "You do that all the time, Rick; I'm used to it." PAH!]
    But the point was that the expertly-woven-in "Brokeback Mountain" theorem from earlier goes into effect within the on-topic realm of wrestling: if OJ continues to have zero entertaining matches after revealing that he's (half-)gay, then all the attention grabbing is gonna end up being for naught. 
  • MTV has announced plans to try its hand at wrestling... they will tape a pilot episode next month in Los Angeles. MTV's going partners with a production company, but there is no affiliation to any existing wrestling promotion.
    The as-yet-untitled wrestling show is being hyped as "unlike any wrestling show done before." Which, given MTV's track record, you can almost certainly translate as "will suck." The vast majority of MTV's programming is slammed together hodge-podges of stuff designed to appeal to those with attention spans of coked-up 1st graders. Whether MTV is contributing to the dumbening of America's youth, or their programming is a function of trying to appeal to a youth that has been pre-dumbened does not matter. It's probably a vicious cycle, the snake eating its own tail, or whatever...
    But the point is that any wrestling product MTV attempts to create in its own image will be roughly as unwatchable (and roughly as unable to present a continuous, cogent theme for more than 15 seconds without jump-cutting to a music video or a taped confessional or some other nonsense) as the rest of their original programming. Wrestling meets pop music meets reality TV show meets whatever other flavor of the month MTV wants to squeeze into a half-hour timeslot.... blech. Yes, I said it: BLECH!
    I, of course, would love to be wrong, because anything or anybody else that might cause Vince McMahon to feel a bit of heat and get his own ass in gear is a good thing. But I have my doubts that MTV's gonna pull it off. Frankly: wrestling at its best isn't really age specific, but MTV's gonna put forth a product designed almost solely for 13-21 year-olds (since that seems to be roughly the only people who could possibly give a shit about MTV's non-music-video programming). And WWE already has a stranglehold on teens; I know this because the only way to explain parts of what WWE does in terms of characters and storytelling is "because they aren't trying to appease The Rick, they are trying to appease teenagers." It'd be presumptuous of MTV to think they could draw those teens away from WWE. And it'd be outright stupid if MTV thought that they could attract grown-ups or those with IQs exceeding their waistband to a show designed to appeal to the MTV crowd.
    For whatever it's worth, the only really "big" names to be associated with the project at this juncture are Sean "X-Pac" Waltman (who probably closes the door on his association with TNA, assuming this pilot gets picked up) and Vampiro. New Jack and the former Justin Credible are probably the only other recognizable figures to be signed up. The show will also be the first national exposure for Bret Hart's nephew, Teddy Hart, who is loaded with in-ring ability, but is one of the industry's most disliked ill-character'ed personalities outside of it (which led directly to WWE dropping him from a developmental deal years ago despite Teddy being light years ahead of most his age from an in-ring perspective).
  • After this weekend's Rumble PPV, SD! serves up a PPV three weeks later, and then it's a nice, long 6 week break before WrestleMania.
    SD!'s No Way Out, of course, will more than likely beg to be dismissed an ignored as a mere blip on the radar, the same way we did to Armageddon. [Except, ouch, my alleged expertise: Armageddon last month out-drew the 2004 edition, and was the most-watched SD!-only PPV of the year. The hell? I can only assume that was due to the appeal of the Hell in the Cell gimmick, cuz nothing else on that show rated even an iota of our attention.]
    It's worth noting that artwork for No Way Out features Randy Orton extensively. Of course, this would have been artwork conceived of and finalized over a month ago, and to say alot's changed on SD! in that time would be an understatement. 
    There are other reports from Baltimore that WWE is locally announcing that the No Way Out main event will be Kurt Angle vs. Undertaker. Assuming that match holds up, it raises an interesting question: Who's the heel?
    SD! seems to have invested an awful lot in re-establishing Kurt as a babyface (perhaps they've done TOO much, since the last two weeks, some of Kurt's lame-ass "writer-y" punchlines to promos have made me cringe on his behalf)... and Taker hasn't worked as a heel in.... umm, let's just be vague and say "Many Years." And Taker hasn't been EFFECTIVE as a heel since 1991. It's just kinda hard to get people booing him at this point.
    So: babyface vs. babyface? Could be.
    Except that there are odd tag matches on SD! booking sheets starting next month, too: Kurt Angle and Randy Orton vs. Undertaker and Mark Henry. What. The. Fuck? I don't even know how to begin wrapping my brain around matches that feature such mind-bending elements as (1) Randy Orton attempting to be a babyface, and/or (2) Taker willingly consorting with a man who is now managed by Daivari (who was the mastermind behind some of 2005's most vicious attacks on Undertaker). I honestly have no idea what to think/expect here...
  • And since we're talking about SD!, I might as well touch on this weekend's show. It was, to be charitable, Not Very Good.
    There were two full-length matches, and one featured Mark Henry, which is instant death as far as I'm concerned. I just fast-forwarded to the last 3 minutes or so when Rey did an amazing job firing up and getting the fans into the match before losing (as he was pre-fated to do). And the other was Randy Orton vs. Orlando Jordan trying desperately to prove that either one had business competing in a 15 minute match on national TV when the combined Fan Interest Level in the 2 probably adds up to being roughly the same as the fans have in Trevor Murdoch. Again: maybe not outright bad, but it's like WWE just threw in the towel and INVITED me to fast-forward this boring-ass garbage. 
    A couple of notions after watching the show (in heavily-time-compressed fashion):
    When Simon Dean busted out a whistle as his new affectation while managing "Gymini" (a respectively impressive tag team who I might liken to the old Eliminators, from ECW, in that they might not really be THAT smooth or expert, but they have the look and the power so that they can really distract you with an effect set of tag-team moves), Tazz deadpanned, "Christ, that whistle. I'm having serious flashbacks, here, Cole."  Cole deadpanned back, "I bet you are." And for some reason, that hit me funny in a way that I *believe* justifies a "snerk" as a response.
    When Matt Hardy basically got served up as cannon fodder for the returning-after-6-years-and-looking-just-about-the-
    same-as-he-ever-did Fit Finlay, I sorta felt bad for the guy. For a second. Another part of me -- an assholish part -- kinda figures that Matt got his job back and chance to win the fans over, but it never really happened. And hey: now he's still got a job. The same assholish part of me had a strange vision for how Matt could get back on the radar with fans: by doing his own talk show segment. Stick with me, here: 
    The "Matt Hardy Show" (yes, that's the name, not a placeholder) would start with Matt in the center of the ring every week. He would greet us with "Hola, amigos" every week, because that's what he always did on his website, and as outlined in the past, people who habitually use "Hola" make me want to bust out my Punchin' Fist. He would then immediately say, "I wouldn't normally stand here and talk about myself, because that's not what I do," but then he'd go and do it anyway every week, because that's exactly how he prefaced just about everything he posted on his website, and which would have struck me as kind of an ironically-pretentious way of prefacing all your posts if only it wasn't all part of a "work" that got him his job back. His sour grapes theatre would continue for a minute or two, and make him out to be a really obnoxious, self-centered whiner. Then a guest would come out, and Matt would promptly proceed to talk only about himself and go fishing for compliments and annoying behavior like that. Just come off as very needy and wanting to manipulate the audience and his guests into loving and embracing him (since that's certainly one way you could read his public handling of the Edge/Lita situation from last year). This, of course, would have the reverse effect, and Matt could probably get WAY over as a heel doing this routine. Or at least: more over than he is right now as a babyface.
    [An absolutely pointless, but hopefully funny, aside: I've been having oddly detailed and vivid dreams the last 4 months or so, and am remembering more of them than usual. Just last night, I had a vivid dream in which my "Matt Hardy Show" wasn't just on SD!, it was a late night talk show. Matt had, as a guest, Star Trek's Mr. Sulu, George Takei. As per my imagineering of the show, Matt spent the whole time talking about him. Specifically, about his personal life and how he's so totally over Lita, and she was ugly anyway, and now he's with Diva Search Ashley, and man is she hot or what? Sulu tried to diplomatically give him a "sure, whatever," but Matt wanted to be told that he had the hottest new girlfriend of all times and kept on prodding. Until Sulu said, "I am in no way attracted to your girlfriend. Deal." Which left Matt crestfallen and confused. Because the joke is that Sulu turns out to be gay in real life, which is something a good host should probably know, but Matt's ignorance fits the self-centered gimmick to a T. See, even my DREAMS have great continuity and character development, people!]
    Back to SD!, I actually am beginning to dread that they're gonna be turning Randy Orton face. Or trying to. That's the only fucking reason I can think of for putting Orton out there for 15 minutes with Orlando Jordan. To subconscious trick the fans into thinking "I do not like either guy; but I am ragingly apathetic towards Jordan, and at least Orton creates some kind of visceral response, so maybe I will hope that he wins." Or something.
    Even in what passed for the fan reaction to the match, though, you could hear what fate awaits Randall Orton if they push forward with this.... in a BEST CASE SCENARIO, WWE might be able to turn him into SD!'s John Cena. In other words: hated by most, but beloved by a minority of squealing fan girls.
    If WWE's looking at the amazing mixed reactions Cena's getting and might even be trying to recreate that on purpose with Orton, I must caution them, though: because Cena at least has that "it" factor to him, which makes him fun to boo because of who he is. On-Screen John Cena is a petulant wigger, the type of guy you would actually sit around and make fun of if he walked into your bar and expected to be taken seriously. Orton does NOT have that. The best WWE could hope for is that Orton's polarizing factor is that guys will boo him harder because girls are cheering for him, which really isn't likely to happen. On-Screen Randall Orton just doesn't have any of the same innate boo-ability; if he walked into your bar, sure you might mock for a bit, but there's so little to mock (he's dumb, and his treatment of women seems to leave a lot to be desired) that you'd soon settle for just ignoring him.
    It's a subtle difference, and WWE's wrong if they think that they can fully recreate the BiPolar Cena Effect with Orton. That's because Cena, just by touching a microphone or prancing around to do the Five Knuckle Shuffle or whatever makes you want to see him get his ass kicked for being such a tosser. Orton, outside of a few well-scripted moments of intensity spread dangerously thin over a 3 year span, makes you kind of want to  get the guy off your screen so somebody actually interesting can do something, instead.
    I'm also somewhat confused as to what the upside to creating "babyface" character who only get cheered by women would be; I'd really like to see some updated demographic data to see if its justifiable. Because my instinct is that it's not really. UNLESS you can confidently recreate the Cena Effect, where the negative response among the much larger Male Demo is so strong that it creates this sense of tension, where everybody in an audience has an opinion one way or the other about the guy. But with Orton? That's simply not gonna happen, unless he really ups his game on the performance side of things; a lot of Orton's promos lack sizzle, he has a problem conveying any sense of personality, and he's working on a 3-week streak of having embryonic "boring" chants directed his way during matches. It's most definitely NOT the same thing as with Cena.
    You know what it is, though? Orton's the manquivalent of Candice Michelle. Because look: even I will check out Boobies McTitsalot's rack every now and again, 'tis the human condition. But then I go back to actually paying attention to an caring about Interesting Things. Anybody who would hold Candice up as the Paragon Of Feminine Desirability is either (a) possessing of subnormal intelligence, or (b) aged 15 or younger. And that manifests itself in the simple fact that Candice might get a cheap pop for a risque display of cleavage (or of alleged dancing ability), but any extended segment she's ever been involved in has died on the table because once you get past sneaking a peak at the Boobies, nobody fucking cares unless you're bringing something else to the table. This? Seems to describe Randy Orton to a T. All the ladies will look, and some of the younger or dimmer ones might squeal, but ultimately, Orton's true worth is going to be tied to his ability to do something OTHER than looking hunky.
    Equality in all things, so I say that unless Orton wants to quit befouling the wrestling ring, become exclusively a valet, and then be photographed on a leopard-skin rug massaging his lubed-up man-rod in "Playgirl" in time for WrestleMania, then there's really no point in trying to present him as a babyface that will appeal only to pitiable girlquivalent of the stunted male adolescent demographic who (apparently, since WWE keeps playing to them) only watches wrestling because they enjoy half-naked women devoid of any actual personality or skill because one of those half-naked bimbos gets naked every year around March. Whheeeeeee!
    But this is supposed to be a bullet point about SD!, right? Well, the Matt Hardy Vision and the sheer frustration I felt when slapped in the face with the idea that WWE might be trying to go a babyface route with Orton are really the main things I remember from a heavily-FF viewing of a pretty poor show.
    Oh, I remember one other thing: Daivari is a very bad shaver. I have essentially the same facial hair, and it's not exactly rocket science to keep your two sides level with each other, but Daivari had like a 3/4-inch divergence (his right side was higher than his left). Which is a stupid thing to remember, but on a show filled with mostly stupid, I think I'm within my rights.
    For more details about the show -- which did a 2.8 rating, down a good 12-15 percent from the week before -- check out the OO SmackDown! Recap.
  • And I guess lastly for today, I'll complete the weekend's TV wrestling analysis by touching on Impact.
    And while the show was a tad on the underwhelming side, with some pretty glaring disappointments, it was stronger than SD!, and even had kind of a similar theme to it in one regard.
    On the issue of possibly-forthcoming turns, there was a taint of heel to AJ Styles. It's an issue that Jason Longshore will confirm I brought up within hours of the PPV finish last weekend, when Styles threw in the towel on behalf of Chris Daniels, and I thought that given the way TNA fans react, it might mean some would view him as a heel, and basically the end result would be that TNA's stupid finish would have Styles, Joe, and Daniels all being cheered roughly equally.
    Well, after Impact, maybe I sense a method to TNA's madness, and they did that finish at the PPV with the precise goal of turning the fans against AJ. I gotta say, this would certainly suit him. For one, to say that the guy doesn't exactly come off as manly sometimes would be an understatement. To say he doesn't exactly come off as charismatic or sharp-witted would be the same. But there's enough good-looking, red-neck face-slappability there that Styles could really be the Fully Actualized Version of Randy Orton if he went full-speed as a heel. 
    Not only is there more of a genuine sense of cockiness to Styles (you could see him as being a guy who believes his own press; where as all of Orton's attempts as "cockiness" come off as shallow, fake impersonations of "cockiness" such as when he does the Pose of Ultimate Douchebaggery), but Styles could marry that character to matches that don't suck and don't inspire fans to chant "boring" at him for weeks on end. It could be a mighty cocktail if TNA tries to explore the possibility.
    Way I see it, the X Division is now basically written for the next month or two: Daniels costs Styles his X Title match at the next PPV, Styles and Joe get it together to FINALLY blow-off their long-standing feud (possibly with roles reversed), and Joe needs somebody else to step up from among the ranks to be Title Match Fodder. I cannot overstate the important of this enough: Styles/Joe/Daniels have basically taken the X Title to the point where it's separate-but-equal to Jarrett's, and the rest of the X Division guys are also-rans, off in the far distance. We either need to have the trio come back to the pack a bit, or we need a fourth to step up and start being taken seriously.
    And no: Shannon Moore doesn't count. For the same reasons that Jeff Hardy shouldn't. Let's just say that in a match where AJ Styles was trying to emulate Shawn Michaels by busting out the denim for a Street Fight, and wanted to look all butch and stuff, and ended up falling JUST SHORT of being the more silly looking guy in the match probably means that Shannon's gonna have some Image Issues to deal with if he's to be taken seriously.
    Other than setting the stage in terms of the X Division alignments, basically the only other serious development on the show was a touch of bait-and-switch with regards to Sting ("He'll be here tonight; no, wait, we mean next week, SEE YOU THEN!") and some drama over who's been given the next shot at Jarrett's title. Of all that stuff, about the only thing that got a rise out of me is when Jarrett was talking down to Christian, saying that Christian's a mid-card player and nothing more, but MAYBE if Christian wanted to go call his buddy Chris Jericho, THEN there'd be somebody deserving of a TNA Title Shot.
    Huh. To the best of my knowledge, t'ain't happening, but if you want to perk the crowd up, you couldn't really pick a better random name to spew forth.
    An odd note: as far as I could tell when scanning through my recording, there was essentially no hype for Raven being "fired" after losing his match. There are some who think that this might be a case of life imitating art, and some VERY long-standing tension between Raven and TNA (going back to the summer, when the NWA Title was taken off of Raven in what many felt was a pretty abrupt fashion) might have flared up again. Who the hell knows? It'd suck if Raven was off TV, but TNA is, for the first time ever, in a spot where they have enough other reliable players that they don't NEED Raven to lend their main event picture a bit of credibility.
    You can get plenty more of the detailed results of this weekend's Impact from Jason in the TNA Impact Recap. [Note: if you click this link and it doesn't work, it's just because I picked the wrong week to be bored as hell in front of my computer at midnight on a Sunday night, so I typed up the majority of this column before bed, with the intention of polishing and posting it early, during a lunch break on Monday, instead of updating late in the afternoon, as I usually do. I, of course, did not bother informing Jason of this schedule change. But I'm confident that the TNA recap will be live at some point this early evening when I check in on OO business again.]
  • And I'm pretty sure that's all I got for you today, kids. Enjoy RAW tonight, and I'll see you again tomorrow, I'm sure. 

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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