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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
TNA Scores a Hit, SD! Slides, ECW PPV
Plans, Orton, Angle, Rey, and Lots More 
April 17, 2006

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

For as much as I hate Reality TV, I sure as hell have to give myself a load of credit for being able to think like the idiots responsible for it.
  

Like last year, when I had the idea for that CBS "Rock Star" show six months before it wound up on TV.

And now, an idea I had eons ago is so good, it's not just a show on one network; it's on two. "Hey, cooking segments on Conan or Letterman are always really fun," I figured, "So maybe famous people trying to cook could be an

entire TV series." I actually saw the ads for the Food Network version back about a month ago, but I didn't think to mention it because fricking Mario Cantone is less a "celebrity" and more an "unfunny boil on the ass of the comedy world," and thus, the Food Network's version didn't count as a full rip-off of my idea.

But over the weekend, I saw commercials for an NBC version with a few more moderately-recognizable stars, and I had no choice but to be half-annoyed and half-proud at my ability to channel TV Network Executives' thought processes, six months before they bother having the thoughts.

And speaking of Reality TV: did I really see an ad for a show where a bunch of dudes will compete to see which one is accepted to become a priest? And did the voiceover guy really say, "Watch as these men abstain from sexual relations with women"? And if so, what's so "Real" about this Reality Show? The Priest Show we NEED to have is the one where the guys abstain from having sexual relations with little boys. Then you'd have something.

Or not. Honestly, assuming the Priest Reality Show actually exists and I didn't dream it up in a drunken stupor, that's one TV Network Executive who needs to be jettisoned directly into the sun. Keeping him company on the toasty journey: any fucktard who'd actually watch that show.

Let's cut the silliness and get on to bidness:

  • Might as well start by giving it up for TNA, who took their new Thursday night timeslot and delivered last week's strongest wrestling telecast.
     
    Rather than the Impact Standard of trying to squeeze too many guys and too many matches into one hour, TNA took it easy on Thursday, and basically only focused on three things: (1) a very good Samoa Joe/Chris Daniels X Title match, (2) a brief Dudleys "street fight" that served as the excuse for Spike Dudley to make his TNA debut, and (3) an appearance by Sting to both wrestle and announce his partners for the NotWarGames Match.
     
    By the way, as far as Sting's partners go... when I discussed the issue last week, I could only come up with 2 of them off the existing TNA Roster, and spun a few theories about Guest Stars TNA might bring in for the match. Well, I'd just like to officially say "Ron Killings. Duh. I'm a moron." But that is TNA's own damned fault; one second, it feels like Killings is out from under the Suck that is Konnan and Billy Gunn and Road Dogg, and on a rocket ship back to singles stardom. The next second, TNA goes a month and a half without Killings doing anything.
     
    The highlight of the show was definitely the X Title match, though, with Joe winning back the gold. They took the concept of a "cold open" to all new heights by starting the show with the match already a few minutes in progress. This was not some accidental thing where the show ran long so they cut it down in post-production...  it was a conscious choice, as the very first images of the show were a pre-bloodied Chris Daniels getting stretched by Joe. And considering that TNA is trying to hold onto a lead-in audience of UFC fans, that makes perfect sense.
     
    Twas a good show by any standards, and you can get a more detailed rundown in Jason's Impact Recap.
     
  • Impact did a 1.1 rating, which matches the best number the show ever did on Saturday night; more importantly, it retained the vast majority of Ultimate Fighter viewers. Although TUF did a disappointing 1.3 rating, TNA kept most of those viewers around. That's what Spike TV wants to see...
     
  • For the record, TNA is calling Spike Dudley "Brother Runt." But since I'm making a point to keeping calling Bubba and D-Von "the Dudleys" (I have no patience for endorsing retarded name changes, when I bet every single one of our Inner Monologues still thinks of the Dudleys as "the Dudleys," anyway), I think I can officially declare that this is the first and the last time you'll ever see me mention the name "Brother Runt."
     
  • For reasons that appear to be a simple miscommunication about scheduling, Jushin Liger is off the TNA Lockdown PPV... there's no drama or ill-will involved, and Liger will still be involved in the International X Thingie.
     
    But this does leave Chris Daniels without an opponent for the PPV. Given that he just dropped the X Title to Joe, it'd be easy as pie to insert Daniels into the title mix at the PPV, where it's still (for now) scheduled to be Joe vs. Sabu, one-on-one, for the gold.
     
  • SD! capped off the wrestling week, and didn't really do so with a bang. Benoit and JBL tried to have the night's "anchor" match, going 20 minutes or so inside a steel cage. But just like Mania, the chemistry just didn't seem to be there, and it was flat.
     
    And the main event was Randy Orton's farewell performance, and at this point, I don't know if he was just being himself or if he was dogging it on purpose, but the match pretty much stank. In an 8 minute match, Orton did a 4-minute sequence in the middle of the match that was wristlock-chinlock-wristlock. Considering the match he put on against Rey just one week before, it's pretty stunning that Orton would turn around (against a similarly talented opponent like Kurt Angle) and have an outing like this, but c'est la vie.
     
    That left the "highlights" of the show to be Booker T and Sharmell being outstanding in a promo, and William Regal being hilarious while getting Besmirched. Those types of things are nice, but they don't really add up to a particularly memorable 2-hour TV show.
     
    You can get more details in Jeff's SD! Recap.
     
  • The rating for SD! is a VERY disappointing 2.4. That's a drop of nearly a half-point from what WWE and UPN generally expect. And there's no real good way to spin that.
     
  • Speaking of Orton and his farewell, I want to quickly mention something...
     
    Two weeks ago when the news of Orton's suspension broke, I wrote in my column that originally, when I'd gotten the news the night before, I had been told (in crystal clear terms) that it was an "indefinite suspension." Then, by the time I sat down to write the next afternoon, WWE had publicly addressed the situation and announced it as a "60-day suspension."
     
    Chalk one up for me probably being more right than I knew with the original version of that news item. There's a buzz going around that "60 days" might be the minimum length of time Orton's gone... but by no means are there indications that WWE considers that the maximum length of the suspension, either.
     
    And I'll go right back to what I've been saying for two weeks: this needs to be a growing-up experience for Young Randall, and I don't care if it takes 2 months or 6 months or whatever. In the long run, I honestly think it'd be best for everyone involved to take steps that Orton doesn't come waltzing back into the main event without proving he's finally a grown-up. Some people seem to be focused on Orton's immature behavior over WM Weekend, but anybody who buys into that as anything more than the straw that broke the camel's back is missing the point.
     
  • SD! house shows in the next month or two are looking pretty thin on top. Not only is Orton gone, but Kurt Angle is mysteriously absent from the vast majority of house show line-ups through the end of May. JBL and Mark Henry are in top matches on all cards. Ugh. Sorry 'bout yer damned luck, SD! House Show Attendees.
     
    Any time Angle gets unexplained vacation time, it's only human nature to wonder just how healthy the guy really is. This is not permission for y'all to go hog-wild with rumors of Kurt's imminent retirement, but it's just something to keep in the back of your mind.
     
  • Something else for the back of your mind: there's still people saying Rey Mysterio is working on a knee that could use a vacation, too.
     
    I'd been thinking that if that's true, then using a knee injury to cement a heel turn by Batista would be a pretty sweet angle to try... but at this point, I'm left to wonder if SD! doesn't need all the horses it can get. 
     
  • Harry Smith has been telling people that he's finishing up all his indie and international commitments (through the end of May), and then he expects to jump straight to the RAW Roster without a stop off in OVW.
     
    Most everybody thinks he's got the chops to pull it off, and from what I've seen I tend to agree (on the in-ring side of things, anyway)... what is curious is how he fits in on RAW. I would have thought he'd be a perfect fit for SD!, because you can try for a Hart family tie-in if you want (Benoit) or a British Thing (Regal). I'm not so sure I see any natural pairings like that on the RAW side.
     
  • Tickets for the ECW One Night Stand PPV sold out in minutes on Saturday morning. Granted, it's only about 2500 tickets, but with the cheapest seat in the house being $125 (plus whatever service charge is added by TicketBastard), that's still a brisk pace and a nice chunk of change for the WWE coffers.
     
    WWE, of course, has to turn around and spend some cash to try to secure a line-up of recognizably-ECW stars. Terry Funk is in, and is going to be a central figure in promotion of the show (raising some suspicions that this could turn into Funk's latest Official Retirement). Sandman is in. Tajiri's flying in. Lance Storm is gonna be in. From the current WWE roster, you have guys like Benoit, Stevie Richards, Tommy Dreamer, Rey Mysterio, Al Snow, Mick Foley, the Mexicools, Super Nova, and Rob Van Dam. Tazz is always around if he's up to something more than a cameo appearance. After last year, Mike Awesome and/or Masato Tanaka probably earned their way back for another go-round. And all signs point to Dean Malenko gearing up for one last in-ring appearance (many believe it'll be a match against Benoit, kind of in tribute to Eddie Guerrero).
     
    In terms of arithmetic, Heyman and WWE might have roughly the same number of ECW alumni available to work matches as last year. Foley didn't wrestle last year, nor did Snow; Van Dam was hurt; Funk opted to wrestle for the competing ECW reunion show that weekend; Malenko was interested in working, but his wife was VERY pregnant at the time and he passed. So right there: you got five new guys, all of whom would be instantly accepted as True ECW Stars.
     
    But arithmetic isn't the only consideration. Gone are the Dudleys, Sabu, Rhino, and Chris Jericho. There's an intangible factor at play here, and I'm not sure that you can possibly even imagine trying to replace those five (especially the Duds and Sabu). Then again, who knows for sure about Sabu? Nobody's ever really explained to me what his deal is with TNA...  and I guess maybe the same might be said for Raven, whose TNA Limbo is not easy to comprehend.
     
    Let's not get ahead of ourselves, though. Working with what we got and what we can safely assume will be available to flesh out the undercard (you're telling me that Mikey Whipwreck or Blue Meanie would turn down the payday?), you still oughta be able to put together one damned fine 3-hour show. Already pencilling in RVD vs. the WWE Champ (Edge would be the best match, but HHH would work, too; Cena, on the other hand, would likely be out of his element trying to hold up his end of an ECW-worthy RVD Match), Benoit vs. Malenko, and probably something that involves Foley/Funk/Dreamer all together in one match, and you're practically halfway to a full line-up.
     
    With less than 2 months to go, and with the ballroom sold out, my guess is we'll start hearing more about the show on WWE TV sooner, rather than later.
     
  • Also of note: WWE has revamped ECW.com for the upcoming event... and by "revamped," I mean they gave it a total 1997-caliber make-over. Which might sound like a rip, but it's not, really.... last year, WWE just shoe-horned all ECW web content into the standard WWE.com template, and that didn't "feel" right.
     
    This "new" look, though? Feels just about perfect. My guess is that this might have been one of the projects handed off to Joey Styles (former ECW.com webmaster) now that he's relocated to Connecticut and is an everyday office worker when he's not handling his RAW duties...
     
  • Although it doesn't look like anybody's gonna be trying to run a competing ECW Reunion Show the same weekend as One Night Stand this year (in fact, rumors are that WWE is including some sort of 2-week exclusivity clause -- and thus, adding in a commensurate increase in pay -- to prevent "their" ECW Alumni from working on any show that would try to piggyback on One Night Stand, thus emptying the talent pool for any such endeavor), it appears that there could still be some interesting options for fans in the northeast to make an Entire Weekend out of One Night Stand.
     
    Rumors abound that TNA's interested in running a show at the old ECW Arena the same weekend as One Night Stand, and possibly another show in the region, giving fans something to do on both Friday and Saturday nights before the ECW PPV on Sunday.
     
    With the recent influx of talents, TNA could almost have an "ECW Reunion" vibe to any show that they do. And at the very least, they have the talents now to run a show in the northeast and have it go over really well. I stand by my opinion that getting out from under the "southern" stigma is important for TNA, and they're not gonna do it with their current crap-ass house show philosophy. [Other than the one show in Detroit, their other "house shows" are really joint ventures with shitty southern micro-indies; they slapped a TNA label on one show this past weekend, and it drew less than 500 paid somewhere in Bumblefuck, SC. That ain't getting it done. "Invading" the northeast with a top shelf show and promotional effort, though? That might get you noticed with the right kind of fans.] So here's hoping there's a bit of teeth to these rumors, and this is something TNA is considering.
     
    If nothing else, TNA, just take a look at what ROH did piggybacking on WrestleMania weekend. Following WWE around, and milking the 10% "Internet Jack-off" portion of their audience dry, is a recipe for success! Let's make this happen!
     
  • Although Chris Jericho made his first appearance on WWE TV this past weekend on SD! (in cardboard cut-out form; Jericho's likeness has NOT been removed from Titan Tower, it seems, and a life-size Jericho was seen in a "Miz" skit), it's telling that he's decided to write an autobiography, and he's NOT doing it through WWE's publications department.
     
    Instead, Jericho went out and got his own book deal. But the catch is that the book will only chronicle his life and career up until joining the WWF. I'm sure there's nothing legally keeping Jericho from writing whatever the hell he wants for whatever publisher he wants, but it's an interesting little twist that shows some on-going level of respect and politeness between Jericho and WWE.
     
  • WWE has announced the upcoming release of a new compilation album of Entrance Themes.... it's called Ruthless Aggression, or Relentless Tenacity, or something.
     
    I mention it not so that you go out and waste your $16 come the end of May, but so that you'll be prepared when tons of new entrance themes start showing up. Triple H's new one has already shown up. And looking at the track listing, they might be trying to replace RVD's, Big Show's, Kane's, and a couple others that I'm forgetting.
     
    We've suffered through this process the other 2 or 3 times WWE's put out albums like this, and I believe the rule of thumb is that probably about 1 of the attempted Forced New Themes will stick. And in this case, I've got a sneaking feeling we already know it'll be Triple H's. Damn that Motorhead and their infectiously heavy riffs.
     
  • And lastly, we got a RAW tonight. But what's the point in doing a big-ass preview of a show that happens in about 5 hours, and which may already have happened by the time you read this? There isn't one, really....
     
    I'm on record predicting that there'll be another go-round for Edge/Cena/HHH, and that this week is Edge's week to shine. Don't know if I'd "bank on it," but it does seem like that's the next logical step dictated by what WWE's done the past two Mondays.
     
    JR has a sit-down interview with Chavo Guerrero. Maybe it'll be really good and a big step for Chavo's career. Maybe not. But at least JR shouldn't end the interview on fire.
     
    Speaking of which, Kane's latest stupidity will probably continue as we move closer to May 19 (MAY 19, MAY 19~!). FYI: the first screening of the movie came over the weekend, and multiple reports confirm that it's really bad. The one thing they couldn't agree on, though, is if it was "so bad, it's good" or not.
     
    Trish Stratus should be hilarious with her new Mickie James make-over... Carlito should be hilarious if he once again does something to outsmart Monkeyboy Chris Masters.... and Vince McMahon will be hilarious if he brings the same caliber of Blasphemy that he did last week.
     
    Could be a good one, could be a bad one. You just never know. We'll see how it all works out... and then you're under orders to return here to OO tomorrow, because there's no drama involved: the OO RAW Recap always kicks ass. Even when my Monday Night TV Viewing is going to be tragically affected by an interruption to pick my mom up at the fricking airport, I promise that will not lessen my attention to detail or ability to make fun of jerks!
     
    See you tomorrow, kids... 


  
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PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28

 
 
E-MAIL RICK SCAIA

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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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