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DX Reunion Confirmed, but Questions
Remain... Plus ECW, Angle, Rey, and MORE! 
May 5, 2006

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


In sports news: the NBA is dead to me for another 11-and-a-half months, now. The Playoffs mark the start of pro hoops being entertaining, and the Pacers' exit from said playoffs marks the end. LaWho James?

In other sports news: imagine my sadness when I read today that Hootie Johnson was departing his post as the Head Guy In Charge of Augusta National Golf Course.... because making fun of secret- handshake-having, no-grasp-on-reality- possessing (other than on the cozy confines of a tacitly racist and sexist seven digit tax bracket "reality")  

jerks is even easier and more fun when their Leader is not only the biggest clueless jerk of all, but is also very comically-named. I think the article said the new guy is named "Bill." "Bill" isn't funny. Dammit.

In still other sports news: I mentioned me reading a sorta-golf article only because I dare not speak of baseball in this spot, lest I jinx something very unusual and very exciting and very unexpected that is happening. In the National League Central. You figure it out.

I have no additional time wasting observations based on my afternoon scan of the pertinent headlines. So I'll just move on to the Main Event: 

  • So you can breathe easy...  despite my cynical fears, it looks like all this Crotch Chopping and DX Iconography *is* going somewhere, and it's not just random stabs for cheap pops.
    At the next RAW PPV -- being held in Charlotte in about 2 months -- both cable operators and the arena itself are hyping that "Degeneration X Reunites." No other matches are listed, but the wording that it's a DX "Reunion" is (I believe) sufficiently vague that WWE's actions the past few days (trying to get PPV Websites to remove the mention) are a bit hyper-reactive, and represent yet another case of misplaced priorities.
    I mean: I'd conservatively estimate that 98% of fans have caught on and kind of expect and want a DX Reunion. So what harm's been done, really? It's still up to you, WWE, to tell the story of that Reunion in a way that's fun and compelling: so why don't you just keep focusing your energies on doing that, OK?
    But ultimate, spreading word of a confirmed "DX Reunion" should actually spur interest among fans, as it raises more questions than it answers. Now we can proceed to: is it just gonna be Shawn and Hunter? Or will there be more people involved? Will they be willing allies, and will this represent a full time return for DX? Or will they be thrown together unwittingly in what is little more than a one-time Special Appearance? Wouldn't it be cool if we got a Motorhead cover version of the DX Theme Song? Are these nightmares I'm having that Chyna might return to my TV Screen unfounded? Things like that....
    We also don't know the opposition, though there's a couple of obvious ways you could go. If it's a one-time/unwilling-partners deal ordered by Vince McMahon, it might fit if their opposition were also unwilling partners: Edge and John Cena would fit the bill, and it would also be pretty easy to get to there from here, storyline-wise. Or if it's a more consensual thing, DX vs. The Spirit Squad would be almost like shooting fish in a barrel (creatively-speaking, the thing would write itself, I mean).
    So I guess with the events of this week, we basically cease or worrying that WWE was tossing a red herring at us, and commence to Speculation Mode. Just one thing: I wouldn't bother digging to the bottom of that t-shirt drawer in search of 1998.... I'm sure WWE will be more than happy to sell you a new DX t-shirt for a modest sum of money here in the Year of Our Lord 2006.
    That wouldn't be the REAL reason behind a brief DX Revival, would it?  Nah....
  • ECW's revival is continuing on at full speed, with WWE even confirming a small batch of signees... but WWE's published list is apparently limited to only those who have already dotted all "I's" and crossed all "T's," which does not represent the full slate of talents who intend to be a part of the new ECW.
    It also doesn't include anyone currently under WWE contract (developmental or otherwise) who would appear in ECW. In fact, the past few days, I guess the consensus is that ECW will be getting a bunch of WWE's developmental wrestlers (just as we talked about on the very first day after this news broke). And a lot of people think that CM Punk will be Paul Heyman's first pet project in the new ECW... I know they've tried to scrub him up and un-scuzz his look a bit recently in OVW, but if he embraces his Inner Diseased-Looking Straight Edge Jackoff and brings his innately-dislikeable (to me, anyway) on-screen persona to ECW, you'd have an INSTANT pick for a top heel. Considering your top two faces are going to be a pot smoker and an alcoholic, and that there'll be a lot more of the same in the ECW Audience, Punk might get over big time.
    There will also probably be another slate of talents who don't work "full-time" on the road, but who appear at many TV tapings or major events (be they PPVs or ECW Arena shows, or what have you). Gloriously, I can report to you that this class DOES include Yoshihiro Tajiri (as well as other Japanese imports like Masato Tanaka).
    Something nobody's really talking about, yet: ECW's gonna need women. Probably at least 4 on the full-time roster. They've got Francine and Jazz already lined up, but I'm not so sure I see Francine as the long-term solution to anything other than shriveling my wang. Jazz is an interesting pick up, though, and I'd almost totally forgotten about her (which is all WWE's fault, since she should still be around, if you ask me). And if Jazz is here, that means there will be wrestling -- and not JUST cat-fighting -- involved, which is maybe a bit unexpected. Probably we'll just get ECW's Babe Quotient filled from the current WWE developmental roster... and I still have this nagging suspicion that Nidia belongs on TV, somewhere, too; before Melina, Nidia's the closest we've gotten to a 21st Century Sensational Sherri in terms of Valet Value.
    And no: not even I would suggest that ECW and Molly Holly would make a good fit. Molly's stated feelings are that she doesn't enjoy playing a heel, because it doesn't represent who she is and it makes her uncomfortable (which is too bad, since 2 years after the fact I still remember Molly-in-tight-jeans-and-leather's beatdown on Terri Runnels as just about the hottest she ever was!). And yet, if Molly went out there and portrayed who she really is and what she's comfortable with to an ECW audience, she'd be treated as a heel. For the same reason that CM Punk would make a good heel, SORT OF; except that there's nothing wrong with being a fundamentally sweet and decent person in real life, and truthfully, I've never met one of these Straight Edge tossers who didn't honestly deserve to be tossed off a tall building. Anyway, since Decency if frowned upon in ECW: thus begins an Infinitely-Repeating Loop in which there's no way for Molly to NOT be a heel in ECW.
    I was actually trying to do some mental arithmetic on this in the past few days, to figure out how big ECW's roster is gonna have to be to put on a weekly TV product and house shows and everything. Consider this: if you count all announcers, managers, valets, and wrestlers (male and female), both RAW and SD! maintain "active" rosters of right around 50 (though you may not feel that's the case if you don't pay attention to Heat). And TNA has a pool of almost 40 individuals at their disposal, despite having only one third the airtime as RAW or SD!.
    The notion that the New ECW will get by with maybe 2 dozen total alumni and not a whole lot of new blood then becomes a bit far-fetched, don't you think? Here's my guess: you need 2 announcers (Joey, and then at least one other person to conduct interviews or be a non-wrestling information-provider). You need at least 4 dedicated tag teams (and you can make other make shift tag teams, periodically to bolster the division); that's 8 more guys. Since this is going to be an unofficial "developmental territory" for WWE where not every guy on the roster will be polished, I think managers/mouth-pieces/valets will be important, and you will want a bunch of them. Maybe two dudes, and two purely-eye-candy cat-fighting women. Then you also (as mentioned above) will probably want four additional women who are cross-trained to have more competitive matches. So that brings our "support staff" section up to 8. We're already up around 20 performers on the roster, and that's without even broaching the issue of singles performers. And because ECW has a ton of natural divisions -- not just between main event, mid card, and curtain jerkers, but also between brawlers and technical wrestlers and high flyers, and between comedy acts and serious ones, and so forth -- you need a lot of bodies to make sure each niche is adequately filled. I honestly wouldn't want to try it with any less than 8 solo heels and 8 solo faces. And I'd probably prefer a few more on each side. But even at my most conservative estimates, I'm saying ECW needs 35 bodies. 
    The "confirmed" list of Sabu, Sandman, Axl/Balls, Danny Doring, CW Anderson, Francine, and Jazz doesn't get us any near that. Adding in already-contracted WWE wrestlers (RVD, Dreamer, Roadkill, the FBI, Joey, et al) doesn't, either. Which is why I continue to stand by my ideas from 2 weeks ago (which a lot of folks didn't really cotton to, at first), and think that what we'll get will start out looking a lot like the ECW we remember.... but within six months, it wouldn't surprise me if as much as a third of the total roster were new faces who never stepped foot in an Original ECW ring.
    And face it: if I ask you if you'd rather have the known-quantity that is Steve Corino masquerading as a main eventer or if you'd compromise and see if this CM Punk dude has got the chops, which would you prefer? I rest my case, Your Honors....
  • WWE.com tried (and failed) to make a big deal out of Joey's quitting and Vince McMahon's announcement of his replacement. It's Jim Ross.
    Further evidence that the WWE.com style of blending fact and fiction into shorks and woots needs to crawl up in some dark corner and just die already.
  • Oh, wait: and FURTHER further evidence.... did you know that Coach is missing? He's not been seen since Viscera squashed him 2 weeks ago on RAW, and his close friends like Todd Grisham are starting to get genuinely worried! 
    I would never have known this if not for Eagle-Eyed Readers who saw it, and mailed in concerned that maybe it was for-real. I can only assume that each and every one of you also spent the last 4 months genuinely worried about Tim White's mental health?
    Well, it's not real, I can assure you. And in fact, now that I've heard about this new stupidity, I'm going to take that as confirmation of a mild rumor that had Coach leaving the announce desk and returning to his Most Effective Role: that of a part-time heel putz. Coach for 5 minutes in a skit or promo? Gold. Coach for 2 hours straight? A living hell.
    A lot of people think Coach's personality would make him a natural fit as an "agent" or "advisor" to Shelton Benjamin (who could use Coach's mic skills and who *is* adopting the douchebaggy fashion sense of a clueless 20-year-old first round draft pick who needs a good slapping-around), or possibly to Chris F. Masters (or to both, since Shelton and CFM have been palling around the past 2 weeks). I'd tend to agree with those people. But if WWE.com is turning Coach's disappearance into a "storyline," why do I have a sudden fear that when Coach returns, it'll be with an all NEW personality after some traumatic or life-altering event, and now he WON'T be as effective a match for Shelton and/or CFM?
  • WWE has purchased the entire OVW tape library from Danny Davis and Jim Cornette. Why's it worth mentioning? Because, if one were a cynical ass, one might view this as WWE locking down the rights to all the "before they were stars" footage of their next generation of talents just before pulling the majority of their resources out of OVW (to help populate ECW) and leaving them to struggle to subsist.
    The key to the whole operation will be where WWE decides to utilize Al Snow. If he's to be part of the new ECW on a full-time basis, that pretty much kills off the WWE sanctioning of the training operation in Louisville. But if Snow's just an announcers for ECW or something like that (as he is for OVW, in terms of his on-screen work), then the Fed may well still intend to keep feeding OVW developmental talents when they are deemed ready for the Al Snow Difficulty Setting.
    Also: Snow has been handling TV taping duties (along with Tommy Dreamer, who obviously is also NOT a long-term solution for OVW) the last few weeks, working from outlines still supplied by the suddenly-very-busy Paul Heyman. Snow's importance to OVW's future standing as a top-tier, worth-talking-about indie promotion cannot be overstated.
  • Before I forget: RAW's next PPV isn't the only one that's been mildly "spoiled" by leaks.... SD!'s PPV coming up in 3 weeks doesn't have any officially announced matches, yet, but has 2 that are already being publicized in cable advertising and local advertising.
    The main event will be Rey Mysterio defending the World Title against JBL. Sadly, because of the way WWE mishandled the build-up to WM (with all the lame Ghost of Eddie stuff, and putting Orton in unnecessarily to sap Rey's credibility), I think we're gonna end up looking at Rey's title run as a failed experiment. It's not his fault: WWE just cut him off at the knees before they even handed him the belt. Mixed/mild crowd reactions and low ratings aren't Rey's fault, but he's the champ and you gotta blame somebody. It's a lesson Eddie himself learned the hard way...
    And you can pencil in Undertaker vs. The Great Khali, too. And I'd joke "Then you can pencil in Khali for the first flight back to wherever the hell he's from," but sadly, he's on booking sheets for the foreseeable future. Get this: there are even some three-ways with Mark Henry also involved. Oh good lord. Taker, what are you doing, man? You have the stroke to not be in the suckiest match of the night, so USE IT~!
  • Kurt Angle's also back on booking sheets starting in June, but that's no guarantee of anything. As I've said, Angle was originally still slated for TV tapings during this house show siesta of his, but that changed... so those June bookings could change, too, pending Kurt's health status.
  • And lastly, Monday's RAW did a 4.0 rating, which is down another tick from the week before, and sort of towards the bottom of the continuum of recent ratings.
    Which sucks, because I thought it was a very fun and eventful show which should have gone over well with almost all fans. The Joey stuff alone was huge, but there were other entertaining bits, too. Sadly, I think the problem may lie in the fact that John Cena vs. Kenny the Cheerleader might not have had a whole lot of cache as a main event.... so instead of a steadily growing audience as a snowball effect takes place as we approach a highly marketable and eye-catching main event, my guess is that quarter hour ratings will show suprisingly little fluctuation, or at least no steady upward trend. RAW's bigger ratings lately have all had that big-time build up to the final QH or two.
    As always, if you missed the show or just want my Expert Take on it, that's what the RAW Recap is for. Enjoy.
  • Oh, and that reminds me (and this is "lastly" FOR REAL this time): TNA had Impact last night, and I know Sting had another surprise for Jeff Jarrett. However, I've not yet watched my DVR of the show (and obviously there's no ratings info available yet), so any further talk of TNA will have to wait till Monday.
    In the meantime, a plug for Jason Longshore's Impact Recap is what I'll do here. Check it out.
  • And that, truly, is all for me today. Derby Weekend. I don't give a shit about horseracing, but I likes me some Juleps! Sadly, my local, downtownish (or "scary," if you're my mom) Kroger doesn't exactly have a well-stocked produce section and they were out of mint leaves yesterday. And I'm not driving 10 miles south to one of the more standard Fancy-Ass Suburban Grocery Paradise Kroger branches for 2 bucks of mint when I'm not even really up to my Normal Drinking Capacity yet, anyway.
    That's why god created Creme de Menthe. Lazy Man Juleps, baby! 
    And to bring it all back around to the start of the column (because whether you like to admit it or not, I am the cleverest conversationalist, the most masterful segue-artist, and maintainer of borderline-running-themes that you know!): I am roughly as bored by horse racing as I am by golf, and I loathe most of the "sub-cultures" spawned by both equally, as well. But I *do* likes me the funny names, even if I don't likes me the little hobby in question, don't I?
    So I OOfficially declare that if you don't put your $2 down on The Sinister Minister to win on Saturday, then you can't possibly be a real wrestling fan!

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
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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
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PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
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RAW RECAP: Closure's a Bitch
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Five Surprising MitB Deposits
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RAW RECAP: Johnny B. Gone
PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
RAW RECAP: Crazy Go Nuts
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PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: One Gullible Fella
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SMACKDOWN RECAP: Everybody Hates Berto
RAW RECAP: Look Who's Back
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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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