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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
ECW, ECW, ECW, Some TNA, ECW, 
ECW, Ratings, ECW, ECW, and RAW 
June 12, 2006

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

I'm a sucker for pointless bits of data that I can use to somehow prove that my own eclectic and specific personal tastes are better than yours.
  

To wit, here was a funny thing I saw on PTI last week:

Did you know that Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals was seen by fewer than 900,000 viewers and was more than doubled-up in the ratings by a women's college softball game on ESPN2? I didn't, but once I did, I laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

I figure the blame

either goes to the NHL for being unable (after their ass-hatted strike year) to get a real TV contract, and thus having to accept a deal to be on the Rodeo-and-Bicycle-Racing Network here in the US. Or it goes to the fact that the NHL finals are Edmonton (which is not in America, and thus will not be a ratings draw on an American-based cable network) vs. Carolina (which is a stupid place for a hockey team, since no city that doesn't actually have a snow-producing winter should not be allowed to have a hockey franchise).

In either case: TNA Fans, Rejoice! Because your product may only be on the fringes of the wrestling industry, but you still have more weekly viewers than hockey, which is on the fringes of being a sport that Americans ALMOST give a shit about! Nee haw!

Let's get on with the wrestling for today:

  • About 18 hours later, and I'm still a big fan of last night's One Night Stand PPV. When your only real complaints were a disappointing (but very short) Balls/Tanaka match and the fact that WWE didn't shell out the money for Sandman's proper entrance music, everything else adds up to a strong effort.
     
    I'd say that Tazz/Lawler, Angle/Orton, and RVD/Cena all maxxed out their potential, and that's all you can ask for. Tazz/Lawler was a 20 second ass-whupping. Angle/Orton had a *** WWE semi-main event type match (which is definitely incongruous on an ECW show, but it's not outright BAD), and RVD/Cena didn't have much of a psychological flow, but it had enough spots and it had the happy ending and it had TONS of heat, and that added up to a satisfying experience.
     
    Toss aside that Balls/Tanaka match, and the other three contests all easily exceeded expectations. FBI/Crazy/Tajiri went longer than I would have guessed, and used that time really well to be the easy third-best match of the night. And there's nothing more I can say about Rey/Sabu or Edge/Foley/Dreamer/Funk: both were amazing matches of an ilk you just don't get to see everyday. Those two matches alone should make checking out this PPV (either on replay, via nefarious means, or waiting for the DVD) well worth your time and effort.
     
    I refer you to last night's One Night Stand PPV Recap if you want full results.
     
  • Coming out of the PPV, there are a few issues that I can tell you folks want addressed....
     
    First is the WWE Title situation. A supposed "spoiler" has posters for RAW's Vengeance PPV featuring Cena vs. Edge for the WWE title, so everybody's been writing in wondering how (and how quickly) they'll find an excuse to steal the WWE Title back from Van Dam, since Vengeance is in 13 days. All I can say about that is that if WWE's gonna have RVD drop the title inside the ring in a real match, it won't happen tonight on RAW. Cuz Cena and Edge are otherwise occupied.
     
    I still like my idea from the PPV preview, which is to have Van Dam hold the title until one last obligatory WWE defense at the PPV. Whether it's against Edge (the established #1 Contender) or a three way against Edge and Cena, you can have the stifling WWE rules (and biased WWE officials) create a scenario in which Van Dam loses the title in a way as screwy as he won it. My only hope is that somehow, along the way, RVD has the chance to completely destroy that gay-ass Bling Belt, and force whoever holds the WWE Title next to utilize a respectable looking belt.
     
    And the second big issue is that of injuries.... specifically, a lot of folks thought the end of Rey/Sabu looked so horrific that maybe the no decision was an unplanned finish because both guys really were hurt. Well: not the case. That was the planned finish, although earlier in the match, the ref did briefly hold up the dreaded "X of Actual Injury" on Sabu's behalf. But Sabu shook off an arm injury and continued, and by all accounts, both Rey and Sabu were checked out backstage and given clean bills of health. Certainly they're battered and bruised, but nothing super-serious.
     
    Terry Funk probably got the worst of it, in terms of the number of stitches he needed to get cleaned up last night. WWE.com, grotesquely enough, has some footage of that stuff, if you're interested.
     
  • More ECW: instead of getting the June 24 ECW Arena show cancelled and replaced by a TV taping on July 4, Paul Heyman will now run the old ECW Arena twice in a 2 week period. The tickets for the June 24 house show sold out in minutes, and when tickets for the July 4 taping go on sale, the same should happen. [And yet, TNA did not sell out the Arena for their show last week, even with a month of ticket sales. Hmmmmm...]
     
    ECW will get to book venues like this for TV tapings on any Tuesday when WWE runs Supershow tapings on Mondays. After the week of July 3, I think there's another Supershow either later in the month or in early August, and ECW wants to book the Hammerstein Ballroom for that live Sci-Fi taping.
     
    To be honest, I can see no reason why you wouldn't turn those into double-dose tapings... tapings done in a true ECW venue with an ECW audience are just gonna come off so much better than they will in front of SD! audiences, so why book an entire taping and only get one hour of TV out of it? Start those tapings at 8pm, go live-to-tape for that night's Sci-Fi show, and then tape the next week's ECW show right afterwards. You could probably easily squeeze in a third week's show if you really wanted, at these "Genuine ECW" Venues, but then you *would* get into the issue of maintaining freshness.
     
    Just a thought....
     
  • The WWE vs. ECW special on USA did a 3.1 rating, which is not too shabby considering the criminally limited amount of hype the show got, and the lack of an announced line-up or anything. 
     
    I've got nothing much of import to report from being at the show live and in person except for two things: (1) I was VERY pleased with my fellow Daytonians for booing Cena so vociferously. We are not the most cosmopolitan of metropolises, but I guess even we're sick of the wigger act. Then again, as strong a market as we were for ECW, maybe it's just that those lapsed fans came out to the show with a pro-ECW agenda? I dunno. And (2) I'm going to pretend that Lilian Garcia busted out the classy, non-whorish version of one of Lita's mind-clouding tops especially just because she knew I'd be in the building. So hot. Even hotter than Lita, actually, since nothing about my appreciation of Lilian makes me feel guilty the same way I do when Lita pretty much forces the issue so that my brain just fast-forwards right to the obscenely biological portion of the fantasy.
     
    I digress. I thought it was a fun show live, and I thought it came across pretty well on TV, too, as a unique viewing experience versus the usual, predictable, sometimes-tepid tripe served up by WWE. And different may not always be good, but in this case, it worked. Few, if any, bloated video packages and what-not, and everything just crackled from start to finish.
     
    The 3.1 rating clearly doesn't represent what ECW on Sci-Fi should expect, but considering that Sci-Fi would be happy in the mid-1's and would wet themselves with anything over 2.0, I think ECW oughta be OK in that regard.
     
  • SmackDown! last week did a 2.3 prelim rating, which is another week of abysmal performance. 'Twas not a strong show, and the lack of marketable star power is really starting to show. 
     
    There's gonna be problems holding onto even LOYAL fans when your top two matches are a 15 minute Lashley/Regal contest and a Mysterio/Finlay main event. And I say that as a fan of all four men, it's just that I recognize both Regal and Finlay more as "guilty pleasures" of mine who should be eating up valuable minutes on the mid-card, and NOT be asked to carry entire shows in front of philistines who clearly don't share my refined tastes.
     
    Ken Kennedy also returned, and even though he tried to be the heel against Scotty 2 Hotty, I don't see that lasting for long. He also debuted a new finisher: Jeff Hardy fans will insist on calling it the Swanton Bomb, but it looks WAY more devastating when not performed by a 180-pound fruitcake.
     
    I wish I could say more about the show, but to be honest, it was stultifyingly dull in parts, and I watched it superlate on DVR near the crack of dawn on Friday night/Saturday morning, so that added up to a lot of FF'ing.
     
    And I wish I could kick you over to a recap, but apparently Jeff Snider's UPN affiliate is one of the ones that's pitching a hissy fit about "The CW," and to get revenge on being left out in the cold without a network affiliation this fall, they are dropping all UPN content effective immediately. This has happened in a few other markets, and may happen with more in coming weeks.
     
    And so the curse continues: OO can't keep a SD! Recapper for more than a couple months at a time. But unlike my personal life where the past 5 years or so of increasingly-unsatisfactory girls has me relatively content with lengthy stretches of solitude in between 8-week bouts with annoyance, OO really *does* crave a long-term relationship, here. If you're interested, and if you promise to be reliable (and will swear on your children that your local affiliate won't flake out or be subject to tons of pre-emptions), maybe drop me a line. As was the case last time I did this: Canadians (or possibly Brits) who get the show early and could file a recap by early Friday evening (eastern standard time) are actually my strong preference. But reliability and quality are my even more important criteria.
     
  • And Impact last week did a 1.0 rating. That's down from the past couple weeks, which is unfortunate, since TNA had been hoping for a record-high rating when they booked the Sting vs. Steiner match.
     
    What they couldn't have really foreseen, though, is that (1) I think most fans are pretty clued into the fact that Steiner sucks ass now, and (2) the first game of the NBA Finals did monster ratings for ABC on Thursday night, and that young male demo is even more vital to TNA than it is to WWE. In fact, UFC's ratings that night were significantly down, too, pretty much pointing the finger at the NBA for stealing those viewers.
     
    For me, one of the weekly highlights of TNA these days is Kevin Nash's deluded ranting about the X Division. And if you happen to be a non-wanker who agrees with me, my understanding is that you should tune into Impact this coming week for a VERY Entertaining Segment. I try to avoid spoilers, but I *was* told about an interesting personnel decision that was made at the last set of tapings, and can only assume that it had something to do with Nash's plans.
     
    I might even piss off some of the level-headed non-wankers when I say that this is so much fun right now that I'd really be pissed if Nash lost his match to Sabin at the PPV. Keeping in mind that I'm a Sabin fan, I still think he's just a lower-level stepping stone to a more believable and compelling pay-off to this whole Nash/X-Division deal. Have Nash beat him, but then have Sabin strike back by beating Shelley in a follow-up match(es) (since Nash has already shown he's not gonna bend over backwards to help Shelley, he's just using Shelley).
     
    Just my own damned opinion, anyway.
     
  • TNA got great news late last week, as Rhino apparently made his decision, and decided in favor of TNA. He would have been a free agent on or around July 1, and it's no secret that he was wanted by the new ECW, and it's no secret that he very seriously contemplated the offer.
     
    But at TNA's show at the ECW Arena, Rhino told the live crowd that he's planning on turning down that offer in order to remain with TNA. Other info I've gotten seems to indicate that TNA would like to lock Rhino in to a multi-year contract this time (not just a one-year deal), and that the paperwork would be completed at this coming weekend's TNA PPV.
     
    Hey, I guess at least this means that TNA's nervous-nelly booking of Rhino (where they had him jobbing to fricking Bobby Roode) will end, and they'll get back to trying to utilize him properly. Or at least they'd better, otherwise, I can't see why Rhino would agree to stick around when he'd literally be walking into main events as the "reigning" ECW Champion if he'd jumped.
     
  • Spike Dudley also made a big, fat, hair deal out of being offered a contract by WWE at the TNA show this weekend. Unlike Rhino, ECW only wanted him for the One Night Stand PPV (where Spike would have reprised his role in amazing, kick-ass matches against Bam Bam Bigelow by getting thrown around like a rag-doll by the Big Show). Then Spike could have gone right back to TNA with no hard feelings.
     
    Spike turned down the pay-day, but not for any reasons of personal pride or anything. Because at the TNA show at the Arena, he basically did the exact same match WWE wanted him to do with Big Show, it's just that he did it by getting his ass kicked by Abyss, instead. Huh. Well, I'm sure in Spike's head there are very good, altruistic reasons for not taking the one-off match, but as a fan, I wish he had. Cuz Show/Spike would have ended up being lots more fun that Balls/Tanaka turned out to be....
     
    Only thing I can figure is that maybe there was a concern that even though nobody would fault Spike for losing a match to the Big Show, the announcers might have been tempted to bury Spike or the other Dudleys, and *that* might have caused some collateral damage to TNA... I dunno.
     
  • With WWE's next round of Financial Disclosures coming later this week, much is being made of the recent strength of the company's stock's performance (which even after an overall stock market tumble last week, is still hanging around a 5-year-high).
     
    In a way, it's strange to read all these articles distilling down WWE's performance to dollars-and-cents (where the company is doing better this past year versus the couple of years before, largely in part due to the massive growth of DVD/home video and strides made overseas), without an ounce of regard for the quality of the product. It's the inverse of the approach we, as fans, take around here and on most other level-headed websites. And it's a cold glass of water in the face to us, too, since at the end of the day, what do you think Vince McMahon cares more about?
     
    Faced with real competition and the chance of being perceived as #2 in the marketplace among their core audience, Vince and the creative/personnel decision makers would get motivated to care about the product. But as long as they are #1 in a one-company marketplace, they'll be looking at the bottom line and patting themselves on the back. Lucky us.
     
    To me, as a fan, the only numbers that really interest me are TV ratings and PPV buyrates (with house show attendence as a distant tertiary issue). Because these are the numbers that reflect the week-in, week-out quality of the TV product and whether its drawing more or fewer fans in. Everything else is completely unrelated to anything I give a shit about; as a fan whose only wrestling merchandise purchases in the past 5 years have been a handful of DVDs, I frankly don't give a shit about the non-stop parade of embarassingly-cheesy t-shirts, or the Matt Hardy necklace pendants or "Chain Gang Hottie" panties-and-halter-top set, or whatever other crap they're selling. And it goes without saying that shitty movies starring wrestlers don't instantly rate as worthy of my $9.
     
    I'm not saying that, if there's money to be made on these ancillary items, you stop pursuing them. I'm just saying that there's no fathomable reason why having a movie division and having eyeball-roll-inducing merchandise is mutually exclusive from ALSO putting a top-shelf effort into the on-screen product. You can, I do declare, do both at the same time. Maybe the extra, marginal 1 ratings point of normal people you'd get watching the TV shows casually couldn't be milked for any of your other shitty companion items... but they'd give you a decent barometer about the upswing in the quality of your TV product, and probably result in a few extra bucks from advertising sales, at least, right?
     
    Anyway, that's my rant about all these articles about well WWE is performing financially the last 2 quarters or so. And now, it's over.
     
     
  • As my last item for today, a quick look at tonight's live RAW...
     
    Two matches are already announced:
     
    (1) John Cena vs. Edge. Obviously, this is a result of Edge contributing to Cena's title loss last night at One Night Stand. It's sure to be prefaced by Edge's explanation for his actions (which I look forward to hearing, since there's a couple different ways to go). Figure whatever RVD does tonight, it's also tied in here, since he'll be obligated for at least one final WWE match, defending his new title at Vengeance against one or both of these men.
     
    (2) Triple H vs. The Entire Spirit Squad. And if this match doesn't exist as the excuse for Shawn Michaels to finally come out -- quite possibly wielding a crutch -- to help HHH and solidify the reunion of DX, then I'll eat a bug.
     
    You can also pencil in Ric Flair for a return to RAW. He got married right after the last PPV, and now that his honeymoon is over, it's time for me to look at my notepad and realize "Holy shit, the next PPV is in Charlotte, so there's no way they don't find a spot there for Flair." Sadly, revenge on Umaga seems unlikely at this point, but I'm sure we'll know after tonight what's in store for Naitch in his hometown.
     
    And then: Kane vs. Kane is a going concern...  Carlito seems to have established himself as the #1 Contender to Shelton's IC Title... the women's division is a mess with Beth Phoenix now sidelined, but if Trish is feeling gutsy, she's right on the cusp of being cleared to return to action, I believe... you oughta be at the ready for a couple possible debuts: Harry Smith is waiting in the wings, and the Highlanders are clearly gonna debut right into the role of #1 tag team contenders... and ugh: Randy Orton is back on RAW full time now, and they'll no doubt try to give him something to do other than standing around being of sub-normal intelligence. Which only means that Erin Anderson is going to continue lying about the extent of her computer problems for another month, or till she thinks I'll forget that she promised to get back to recapping a RAW here or there for the sake of my sanity.
     
    We'll see how they balance the need to focus on this RAW PPV that's taking place in only 2 weeks with the need to focus on One Night Stand fall-out so as to provide a push into the ECW debut on Sci-Fi.... there's enough material to work with here for tonight's show to be pretty excellent (including two in-ring matches that should both EASILY exceed anything served up during last week's wrestling-deprived 2 hours), but you know how it goes, sometimes. It's execution that matters, not how it looks on paper.
     
    So check out RAW. Or barring that, you know full well that you should make it your goal every Tuesday to check out the OO RAW Recap, which has the magical ability to polish most any turd! You could even check out both.
     
    I'll 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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