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Weekend Wrestling Wround-Up, plus
Cornette, Mark Henry, Ratings, and MORE!
May 8, 2006

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


I've been meaning to mention this for a while... because the Sad State of Music in this country can be pretty well summed up by one observation:

There is something very, very wrong when one guy can step away from his real band, put together a borderline- novelty-act as his side project, and effortlessly churn out what has to count as just about as good (not just "entertaining" but GOOD) a rock 'n' roll record as we've seen so far this calendar year.

I speak, of course, about The Eagles of Death Metal. I would have brought this up sooner, but I'd really only heard the one single and seen the video ("I Want You So Hard"), and I didn't need any jerkfaces out there accusing me of praising them just cuz Jack Black and Dave Grohl show up in the video. But I finally gots me the full album -- "Death by Sexy" -- over the weekend, and can offer up an unqualified endorsement.

You can still easily tell that there's some Queens of the Stone Age in there, but the Eagles of Death Metal are minus 98% of QotSA's arteestic weirdness. And plus about 732% unadulterated, over-the-top Cock Rock Swagger. But just because there's none of QotSA's weirdness in there doesn't mean this Cock Rock plays like an AC/DC album where each track brings roughly the same throbbing baseline, double entendre lyrics, and obligatory solo. In fact, I was stunned by just how diversified Cock Rock can be, if you put your mind to it! Can Cock Rock be "pretty"? Well, check out "Death by Sexy" and then you tell me, Potsie....

Maybe two tracks on the whole album that didn't click with me. So that's like an 85% Hit Rate. Thinking back on the new records I've heard in the last year, year-and-a-half, not many of them score that high. And I repeat my main point: This is some guy's novelty act SIDE PROJECT. And with about half his ass, he's blowing 95% of today's AlternaDouche Whiners out of the water. 

Perhaps proving once and for all that rock 'n' roll isn't about how much of your ass you put into perfecting it.... it's about the BALLS. Yeah: I'd buy that.

And you'd but today's slim pickin's worth of wrestling stuff:

  • Might as well do the usual Weekend TV Round-Up first, right?
    We already tangentially touched on TNA back in my Friday column, but I hadn't actually watched my DVR of Impact yet, so let me throw in the quick notion that I thought the show tried to follow the same template as the week before (which was as very strong effort), but each segment came off about 33% flatter to me.
    Only the opening tag match (AMW vs. Styles/Daniels) grabbed and held my attention, as it featured both strong ring work and characters who require you to ask the question "Where are they going with this?"... nothing was a foregone conclusion which makes it a lot easy to sit back and appreciate all the action. Also: it featured Gail Kim, which me likey. Specifically: it featured Gail Kim hitting a hurricarana that should be making Lita weep with envy.
    Other than that? The Sting/Jarrett segment was basically a total re-do of the week before. And it was cute once. It wore on my patience the second time around.... the same "diminishing returns" affected the X Division thing; the week before was a spotfest featuring 4 guys I at least recognized the names of, so it was amusing enough. But THIS week, it was a spotfest featuring Petey Williams and 3 other guys who might as well all be jobbers for all I know or care about them; not so much fun for me.
    I'd be a liar if I didn't say the Christian/Shelley main event wasn't well-worked... but I'd also be a liar if I didn't admit that in the minds of any thinking fan, it was also basically a squash match with a foregone conclusion of an outcome. And again: the week before, I thought they found a good formula for taking that "squash" match and turned it into a "spotlight" match for Samoa Joe... this week, it didn't click that same way. And plus: given the role Shelley played in Christian's feud with Abyss, playing up some more story elements or doing face-to-face promo work or something would have given this enough sizzle that it could have carried the weight of the main event status.
    One little bit that I did love: Kevin Nash's effortless foray past "understated confidence" all the way into "delusional pomposity." The fact that he specifically mocked the X Division fills me with great interest in terms of what Big Kev might be coming back to do.... methinks you Workrate Wankers out there will have to sacrifice a few smaller guys if the X Division tries to rise up and catch Nash's eye. But once he swats away a few of those flies, methinks you'd all also enjoy the Moment of Truth when Nash realizes there's this guy named Samoa Joe who holds the X Title and represents something a little different than a glorified cruiserweight division. Could be very fun, if Nash is finally at the point where he's content to help put somebody else over. [And my understanding is that whatever Nash is coming back for, it's an idea that he, personally, had and which TNA is very interested in pursuing, so I doubt it's ENTIRELY a self-serving mission.]
    FYI: the rating for Impact was another 0.9, which is the same as the week before, and once again represents TNA holding onto about half of their UFC lead-in. Numbers like this are *not* gonna get UFC the extra hour of primetime it craves....
  • Then there's SmackDown!, which dropped another tick this week to a 2.3. SD! is now regularly performing a full ratings point below what it was pulling on Thursdays, and at least a half-point below the point where Friday ratings stabilized over the winter.
    Didn't Linda McMahon say that WWE was actually still in negotiations for the timeslot on the new CW Network in her last Investors Conference Call? They better have locked in that contract already, because the CW thing is moving REALLY fast, and from what I'm hearing/reading, the people involved are VERY amenable to changing things on the fly. They were one meeting away from changing the fricking name of the network just a few weeks ago. And to say that rumors about their programming strategy indicate just as much comfort with making unexpected, rapid-fire decisions would be an understatement. [My only hope is that whatever happens on the UPN/WB Retention Front, a certain teen drama does not get cancelled until a certain douchebag named Logan is either dead or imprisoned for life after having never gotten the girl. No matter that the show's Core Audience of under-sexed 30-something housewives/old maids and misguided teenage fangirls disagree with me, who probably represents about 1% of the viewing public!]
    But I digress. Because anything's more fun than trying to break down and analyze a show that featured Mark Henry wrestling in the main event. And worse: he pinned Rey Mysterio. Cleanly. In a non-title match. And per an agreement, once JBL wins the World Title from Rey, he's going to show his thanks for Henry's Softening-Up Job by granting Henry the first title shot.
    OK: so I change my stance again. There is no fricking way JBL is beating Rey for the title at the next PPV. Because there is no fricking way they could honestly expect us to sit idly by and let a JBL/Henry suckfest be shoved down our throats.
    In fact, if there was one heartening aspect of all the stuff Rey/JBL/Henry did this weekend on SD!, it's that it REALLY felt like JBL was doing his best to "make" Rey, and that this is building up to Rey getting the PPV win and getting one more chance at playing the Ultimate Underdog Role that WWE failed to present properly during Rey's run to WM. Less Orton, Less Ghost of Eddie, and Rey's WM win probably goes over a lot better. Almost feels to me like JBL's doing his assholish best to set things right by giving Rey the win he needed a month ago... we'll see.
    Wrestling-wise, the highlight of the night was a super-sweet Benoit/Finlay match which may not have been everybody's cup o' tea, but which sure scratched me where I itch. SD! was taped in Cincinnati last week, wasn't it? I guess Benoit just really likes having that style of match when in the Queen City... and Finlay's the kind of guy who can hold up his end of a stiff-ass slobberknocker. Odd that Finlay got such a relatively clean win (yeah, there was a chair involved, but I was thinking more of rolling Booker T out there to cause Benoit to lose, on the grounds that Booker's got about 8 months of experience that tells him he can't beat Benoit), but it does set up the King of the Ring brackets in the most sensible way. Now heel Finlay gets face Lashley in the semi-finals, and they've certainly given us enough reason to suspect Booker/Lashley will be our final match. Benoit had to be excused somehow.
    This just in: the Great Khali still sucks. Even worse than Mark Henry.
    All in all? I dunno. I liked the Benoit/Finlay match, and you had some requisite throw-away goodness with MNM/London/Spanky, but by and large, it was Just Another SmackDown!... a bit bland and uneventful. And with the added bonus of Mark Henry in the main event. Ugh.
  • Speaking of Mark Henry: many have written in commiserating that WWE has signed Henry to a one year extension. Huh?
    To the best of my knowledge, no such talks have even BEGUN yet (Henry's contract isn't up till August or September), and a one-year contract is simply not WWE's standard operating procedure.
    Obviously, we have to resign ourselves to the possibility that WWE (given its depleted SD! ranks) would actually pursue an extension with Henry when his comically ill-advised 10 year contract expires, but I don't think it's happened yet, and if it does, it'd be more along the lines of WWE's standard 3-year (with roll-over clauses) contract.
  • Before I linger too far away from SD! topics.... Finlay's getting a midget. A "leprechaun," to be precise. Huh. On one hand: midgets make everything funnier. On the other: Finlay's not a guy who I want to see turned into a comedy act.
    So what to do, what to do?
    I vote the leprechaun has the same shelf-life as Shelton's Mama... starts off trying to be friends with Finley. That eventually backfires and Finlay starts getting annoyed (like Regal, Finlay would make a great "Sap with Dignity"). Finlay must destroy the Evil Leprechaun. And there would be much rejoicing!
  • "Akio" (Jimmy Yang) is back with WWE, after working a Heat match at last week's TV tapings. Nobody knows if he's headed back to the Cruiserweight Division on SD!, or if he's gonna be part of the new ECW, but he's definitely back in the fold.
  • Many rumors place Jim Cornette as the leading candidate to be the new figurehead boss for TNA... and I thought Scott D'Amore filled TNA's quotient for tubby, unattractive men with a unique gift for public speaking and a thing for sports-equipment-themed affectations?
    I honestly don't know what to say, other than Cornette did recently finish cutting off all ties to OVW when he sold his half of the OVW tape library to WWE, and might very well be gearing up for a new challenge.

    I figure anybody's better than Zbyszko, but I worry if maybe the way they've been stretching this out and building it up, Cornette wouldn't be an anti-climax for the vast majority of fans? Then again, I don't know what would be a satisfactory pay-off at this point.... short of Eric Bischoff, there really aren't any "home run" figureheads out there on the open market. And Bischoff's not even really on the "open market" (not only was he at WM Weekend, but WWE's actually publishing his "auto-"biography later this year).
  • In something that could just be sort of a fluke of nature, or which could be indicative of what the hardcore northeast wrestling fans are interested in: TNA's show at the ECW Arena still has plenty of tickets available. Now, I'm sure they'll be sold out by the day of the show, but it's telling that the ECW event TNA is attempting to piggyback onto sold out in minutes, and that I'm sure ECW's own return to the ECW Arena will do the same.
    It wouldn't be an entirely unexpected phenomenon if TNA didn't have quite the success they wanted in Philly... even at the height of its national dominance over the WWF, WCW still carried with it a bit of a "southern" stigma and had trouble penetrating the bubble of the northeast. And TNA's got more than a bit of that same southern-centrism going on.
    Just an observation.
  • And lastly, just a bit about tonight's RAW, which is shaping up to be a jim dandy.
    Topping the list of reasons to be excited: Mick Foley vs. Edge. Now: Foley says he's been collecting and percolating some unique ideas, and that he took them to Vince McMahon about a week ago. And suddenly: he shows up on TV and challenges Edge to a WM Rematch. So Vince must have liked what he heard. 
    I have a vague notion of what Mick's got in mind, and I don't think I'd be spoiling anything if I said it will very likely play into the ECW PPV... but beyond that, the actual specifics of the deal ought to be pretty damned surprising. For the second week in a row, I fully expect that an ECW-themed surprise will steal the show.
    And that's really all I need to get fired up. Super fired up. We'll also have further developments in the drama of HHH and HBK's Meaningful Eye Contact, and how Vince McMahon responds to their antics... I think WWE's also announced Kane vs. Big Show (no gay spooky, please!) and Mickie vs. Maria (w/ Trish) in terms of matches. More than enough to make for a kick-ass show, especially if the main event delivers what it promises.
    No further RAW Preview here. Again, I'm back to an afternoon writing of this document, so why waste my breath on a preview that'll have a shelf life of all of 4 hours here on the east coast? I'll save my breath for the RAW Recap, tomorrow. The Rick, sadly, is not getting a bRAWd Recap for his birthday this week; instead, Erin got me a vague story about a crippling computer virus and/or her being PC on its deathbed. Tis the thought that counts?
    The upshot is that I'm looking forward to tonight's show, and I'm also on duty here for the Recap tomorrow, so I'm thinking this is a week when you oughta make an effort to check out BOTH versions of RAW. The one WWE serves up, and the one I polish to a glossy sheen to make it safe for human consumption. Later on, kids....

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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