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Key ECW/WWE Stars Arrested, plus
Ratings, Trish, OVW, RAW, and MORE! 
July 3, 2006

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


I thought I'd be able to sneak by without doing a column today. 

Lotsa people are taking this as a four-day weekend (at least, here in the Lazy Man's Capitol of the World, the US of A), and I figured if people are too busy getting drunk and settling things on fire, you might not even miss me today.

But then? Ah, then, two major wrestling stars had to go and get caught (ahem) "celebrating" in their

own trademarked fashion last night (right here! in the great state of Ohio!).

Which means even though it's bad news, even though it's something that probably has consequences that make me tremble in fear for the on-screen WWE/ECW product, it's something that needs to be talked about.

So, even if the rest of the column is abbreviated, let's hit a few of today's not-very-happy highlights:

  • Last night, following an ECW event in Huntington, WV, Rob Van Dam (driver) and Sabu (passenger) were pulled over for speeding in Hanging Rock, Ohio (which is just across the river from Huntington, albeit in the exact opposite direction you'd be expecting them to be headed out of Huntington if they were trying to get closer to Philly for tonight's RAW tapings).
    And surprise surprise surprise.... the officer smelled marijuana, and decided to make a search of the car. He found a small amount of pot and some prescription pain killers in RVD's possession, and a handful of "unidentified pills" in Sabu's. Both were booked, and have a Thursday morning court date.
    You can get the full write-up from the local podunk newspaper right here.
    From a legal standpoint, I can't see the two getting more than a slap on the wrist, such as a fine and maybe some community service (unless there are priors involved that I'm not remembering/aware of). Pot, in this quantity, usually won't get you into any trouble, nor will a personal collection of fewer than a dozen pills. I'm sure there are hardcores out there who say that any amount of an illegal substance is bad, but out here in the real world, RVD and Sabu's transgressions don't sound like the sorts of things police and the legal system will bother going to war over. [For whatever it's worth: yes, my personal stance is that our drug system needs to be overhauled, including the decriminalization of marijuana possession; but only provided it is accompanied by the criminalization of "smoking pot in an annoying manner," which will make illegal the act of being a damned filthy shiftless hippie and the act of ever reading fucking "High Times" in a deadly serious and non-ironic fashion, among other things.]
    But even if it's just a slap on the wrist from the courts, the implications for RVD and Sabu in WWE/ECW could be gigantic. As a publicly traded company -- with a newly installed "wellness program" -- there are public relations issues here. HUGE ones, since RVD *is* the "WWE Champion," which is something a news-starved tabloid press could easily latch on to and blow out of proportion. Not to mention the fact that, to keep the "wellness program" legitimate and fair in the eyes of all employees, there's no way around both men facing some sort of suspension/sanction. The drug testing didn't catch them, but the cops sure did.... "allegedly," caught them, that is. Innocent till proven guilty and all.
    But actually: being caught by the authorities is MUCH worse than being caught by WWE, in this case. The language of the WWE's policy sets up an escalating series of suspensions and treatment options for up to 3 offenses, before termination is an option, provided *they* catch you. But if you are convicted of possession/use of an illegal substance, there is no proscribed penalty. Just a paragraph which grants the company the option to punish you however they see fit, up to an including an instant firing. Pending the outcome of the court proceedings, RVD and Sabu could both be facing indeterminate futures. Although, considering the substances and amounts in question, I'd have to hope it wouldn't come to that.
    For RVD, as the joint (HA!) WWE/ECW champion, he could either see the company cut him some slack and not punish him as harshly (or right away), in order to make sure that TV storylines are not massively affected by this. Or, given how purportedly insane Vince McMahon has been acting backstage the past couple weeks and how fast things are changing and re-changing, the pendulum could swing entirely the other way, and Vince could be so pissed off at Van Dam for screwing up once he finally got his one chance to carry the ball that he'd do something rash to get the belt(s) off him.
    My guess might be that they'd probably split the difference, and no matter what the original plans were, they'd take the title(s) off RVD in 2 weeks at Saturday Night's Main Event.
    For Sabu: there really aren't any mitigating circumstances to consider, unless you count the fact that without him (and without RVD), ECW will essentially be gutted and reduced to a few Alumni Jobbers and WWE guys. Hopefully this minor incident won't sour WWE on Sabu, whose resurgence has been one of the few undeniable highlights of the ECW Revival so far.
    Figuring out what to do with the WWE Title is pretty easy, especially with that SNME match coming up soon (RVD vs. Edge vs. Cena), but if there are suspensions and sanctions involved, the absence of RVD and Sabu really will kill off most of the interest "old school" ECW fans still have in the brand. The only way to salvage things might be to ask Kurt Angle to stick around and keep the ECW Title warm until RVD can come back. Hey, Vince, I know you're ECW-tarded and all, but even you should see the wisdom of calling up Rhino and seeing if he's inked that TNA contract yet... and if he hasn't, throw money at him until he agrees to come back to ECW to Gore the shit out of RVD and remind us he was never beaten as ECW Champion, OK? It's really your only out.
    Anyway: WWE hasn't publicly address this yet (in fact, there's a good chance they won't until after the Thursday court date), so what we're doing is engaging in a whole lot of speculation. My guess is we might be able to tell exactly how badly RVD and Sabu are in the dog house starting tonight on RAW, though... we'll just have to wait and see.
  • If the theme of the day is "bad news," then I might as well touch on a rumor that's apparently gained momentum over the weekend: that Trish Stratus is contemplating a hiatus from WWE when her contract expires in August.
    Which would, I should note, commemorate the precise one-year-anniversary of Chris Jericho doing the same thing.
    But all I can say is that this is the first I've heard of Trish possibly joining the Departing Class of Rick Favorites Who Want To Pursue Less-Frustrating Endeavors. All I'd known is that there would be another vacation for Trish this fall (she's getting married), but nothing had suggested she'd not bother re-upping her WWE contract first.
    I guess this could be a case of Trish playing some contractual hardball, since even WWE has to realize that after all their retarded roster decisions lately, if they let Trish go, the Women's Division essentially becomes the Kansas City Royals of wrestling: perpetually in a "rebuilding phase," just without that one anchor around whom to build. But it could also be that same sort of annoyance and lack-of-satisfaction that caused so many of my favorite wrestlers to request their releases from WWE (or to walk away at the ends of their contracts) in 2005... come to think of it, I think I read an interview about a month ago in which Trish was asked about the upcoming Diva Search, and instead of giving the happy, shiny Company Answer, she pretty much blew it off as a joke as far as what she thinks is important in hiring women for WWE.
    But whatever. I still have this gut-feeling that this story will resolve happily, so I'll refrain from another lengthy diatribe about the probable causes of so many of WWE's most talented and entertaining performers being so easily tempted to walk away from the company.
  • Some ratings catch-up....
    Thursday's TNA Impact did another 1.1 rating, which makes all involved very happy. And for whatever it's worth, it was a show that I thought came off really well in terms of "Big Event Sizzle." I mean, if you think hard enough, the internal logic of Jim Cornette's final proclamations falls to pieces, but it was delivered with enough gusto, and creates enough interesting possibilities (including Christian inching towards the heelish, which will have the net result of actually making him more popular, I get) that I got a kick out of it.
    Also giving me a few laughs: Jeff Jarrett's wardrobe. He pretty much *had* to wear the white pants again to facilitate a one-liner Christian put into his promo with Sting.... but that shirt? Jeff, buddy, kudos to you. Because I stand before you, being deadly serious, and I don't even know where one would go to shop for a shirt that gay. You've topped yourself once again.
    And Friday's SmackDown! did a 2.4 prelim rating, which means the show continues to suck as compared to the mid-3's that they were pulling as recently as January. But in the low-2's, SD! continues to suck at a level that is still making UPN/The CW very happy for Friday nights, which means WWE can be happy, too, and not worry about having the pride or the work ethic to compete against a higher set of standards/expectations than UPN's.
  • If you're wondering whether there was any significance to Gunner Scott getting easily pinned by Ken Kennedy and then destroyed by Khali, well.... you're right, there is.
    Scott was told at tapings that he was being sent back to OVW, "because creative didn't have anything for him." Um, dum dums, I realize that "what you had for him" involved Chris Benoit, and now Benoit's gone.... but if you want to continue having the label "creative," you really oughta be able to find something for a competent performer to do given how eviscerated your roster is. It's not like you've got a whole lot of other irons in the fire.
    [Here's a hint: there's a reason why -- in my aborted fantasy booking -- I was pairing up Shooter Albright with Ken Kennedy. I think you saw part of that reason in how well they clicked together in their too-brief match this weekend, which is just a taste of what they did in OVW. How hard would it be to come up with some scenario in which they are either heated rivals, or are buddies-who-eventually-implode-and-become-rivals? The answer: "Not very, unless you are one of WWE's Uncreative Team Members."]
    And although he got out from under the pirate gimmick, Paul Burchill's now going to suffer the same fate as Scott: I guess WWE's hired writers who can think of things for vaguely-gay pirates to do, but can't figure out how to write for a 6'4" Brit who kicks ass? Brilliant. Unpirated Burchill is still recovering from injury, but has apparently been told he'll be reporting to OVW -- and not back to SD! -- when he's cleared to go.
    You know? If I had even an iota of faith that Paul Heyman'd be driving the ship in ECW, I'd be ecstatic, since both they guys would fit that vision of ECW perfectly (and in fact, both flourished under Heyman in OVW).
    Instead, though, I have no particular reason to believe either guy would find his "voice" in Vince McMahon's ECW, and have to wonder why the hell WWE would remove two talented performers from SD!'s already wafer-thin roster. So Mark Henry and Khali can send viewers the world over searching for their remote controls? Again: Brilliant.
  • Speaking of OVW: apparently CM Punk is still their champ, afterall, which means his arrival as a full-time ECW performer may not be as imminent as I suggested last week. Punk lost what turned out to be a NON-TITLE match to Seth Skyfire last Wednesday.
    Apparently, folks in the arena were not sure, but when the match aired on OVW TV this weekend, it was made perfectly clear that the OVW Title was not on the line. My bad.
  • ECW's "vixen" roster is in a state of flux. Francine was off shows this weekend, with permission, but her bio continues to pop on and off of ECW's website, according to Eagle-Eyed Readers who think that something suspicious might be afoot. And Trinity (who had been paired with the FBI), just had knee surgery following a missed moonsault at the ECW Arena show last weekend, and is out at least two months.
    That left Kelly the Expeditionist to get full-body tackled by Jazz at ECW house shows this weekend before things segued into Mike Knox vs. Balls Mahoney matches. All I can say is that Kelly may have had 2 months of training in OVW, but if your only two women are her and Jazz, you're simply not gonna get the best out of either one of them.
  • I think the last important thing for right now is to quickly touch on tonight's RAW, which has an admittedly VERY interesting main event lined-up.
    It'll be a "Dream Partner" Triple Threat Tag Team Match. Rob Van Dam, Edge, and John Cena will all get to pick their own "dream partners" for a special tag match which previews their 3-way WWE Title match at SNME.
    Assuming the unpleasantness from the arrest doesn't have wacky knee-jerk implications, I figured it was a no brainer for RVD to pick his old partner Sabu. And then Edge picks Mick Foley. And then you can send John Cena home, because he'd just screw things up! Just kidding: I actually don't know for sure who Cena would pick... if Edge really would pick Mick, I can see doing an angle where Flair spends 2 hours campaigning to be Cena's partner, which would probably go over pretty well.
    An alternative: if Edge picks Randall Orton, and if the rumors are true about WWE eye-balling Hogan/Orton, then the Hulkster could -- apropos of nothing other than the fact that it's July 4 and he's a Real American -- be Cena's surprise tag partner. Only problem: in Philly, you'd probably be treated to Hogan and Cena getting booed out of the building for being such a pair of pandering douches. So maybe we stick with the original plan above....
    It's a neat idea, though, and I've always (in just about any extended fantasy booking I've ever done) loved busting out the "Dream Partner" concept.... only way it's better is if WWE had announced it a week or two ahead of time to give some sense of drama and build-up to the eventual partner selections. As it is, I still don't feel like I know (with certainty) who the Dream partners will be, and that's good, but a bit more time to simmer would have upped the anticipation even more.
    The other big thing for tonight is how DX will befoul Vince McMahon and the Spirit Squad. Vince has ordered that DX cannot appear on the show tonight, but you know that's not gonna happen.... so either some sort of storming-of-the-castle-gates will result in a DX Invasion. Either that, or it could be some kind of allegedly-live pre-tape if Hunter and Shawn just wanted the holiday off. Either way, here's hoping that the self-censor is in place so that DX can continue to crack my ass up, and do it without over-staying its welcome (as they did last week).
    You can probably figure out most of the rest of the stuff that'll need addressing tonight, and you also know what I said last week about RAW being in a loosey-goosey cruise control mode now that they don't have any PPV issues to worry about for 2 months. That makes accurate previewing extra-hard. So I won't bother.
    Instead, I'll tell you that I'm wrapping up this impromptu column for today, and I'll see you all tomorrow with the RAW Recap. If your holiday festivities continue over the next couple nights, just remember: have fun, but be careful and be safe. If you're not a complete professional, them coppers *will* get you. Just ask RVD and Sabu....

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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