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Punishment Doled out for RVD/Sabu, plus
Hogan, Tons of Ratings, Rock, SNME, MORE! 
July 10, 2006

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


You all know me by now: remarkably laid back and progressive about some things, remarkably grumpy and old-fashioned about others. And one thing I do not take lightly is the Pussification of the American Male.... so I stand before you today, prepared to admit that this was not exactly a banner weekend for me and manliness.

First, somehow a barely-necessary sequel to a good (but not great) popcorn movie became a full blown Event. Because when you think "effeminate pirates," you think "highest grossing movie of all time." And I was part of the audience.

Then you had Wimbledon, where that one guy who insists on wearing women's clothing was in the finals. I don't 

know who that Nadal guy is trying to impress, but unless it's somebody's idea of pandering to the Lightly Transvestite Niche (didn't Eddie Izzard once refer to this as the "Executive Transvestite"?), I'm not precisely sure who he expects to take him and his Capri Pants seriously. And yet, I was part of the audience to watch him play.

And finally, there was the World Cup, where I'm quite sure that the guys are all a lot tougher and manlier than all the shirtless dogpiles and likelihood-to-be-David-Beckham would suggest. But still, there's something less-than-masculine about a field full of drama queens whose #1 priority appears to be falling down at random and convincing the referee that an opposing player just caused them grievous bodily harm. [And where all the flopping and dive-taking is enthusiastically endorsed by the announcers as part of the game, unlike the gentle mockery that happens when a basketball player takes a particularly cheesy dive and gets away with it.] 

But hey, maybe Vince should hire a bunch of these elite soccer players? Put them in the ring with Randy Orton, and they might FINALLY be able to convince somebody of the deadly, mighty power of Randall's trusty Chinlock of Doom! Then again, even the best of soccer players only appear to have the dedication (or "psychology"?) to feign crippling injury for about 20 seconds before magically recovering to full strength to resume noodling about the ring until something else interesting finally happens. But hey, 20 seconds is 20 seconds, and Orton can use all the help he can get....

Of course, the ultimate joke here is on me, because: yes, I was watching yesterday. Hey, you boil it down to a nail-biting penalty-kick shootout and even *I* will become momentarily interested in watching Italy and France's slapfight to determine which one-time WWII SuperPower has regressed less into global irrelevance over the past 60 years!

And that's my report on how I spent my summer vacation enjoying less-than-manly pursuits. Yay for me getting in touch with my feminine side? Nah: not when I still ended the weekend wallowing in all the deliciously foul-mouthed, whiskey-fueled ultraviolence "Deadwood" could serve up! In the words of Kamala, "I am a MAN!"...

Degree of difficulty on that segue, bringing it all back around to wrestling? An estimated 8.7, something only to be attempted by the manliest of men. And now that we're here, let's disembark this PreRamble and get caught up on all things pertinent to the rasslin' world:

  • Assuming you've kept up on your RAW and ECW recaps, you know that WWE shook things up in a big way last week.
    And assuming you were reading the last time I had a chance to do just a plain-old newsy column, you know that the reason why is that Rob Van Dam and Sabu were pulled over and arrested on misdemeanor drug charges by the Ohio State Police late last Sunday night.
    From a legal standpoint, the punishments faced by both men will be barely slaps on the wrist (the amounts of marijuana and painkillers were negligible, and to answer a question that TONS of people have been writing in to ask about: NO, RVD was not impaired while driving, and was charged with only a speeding ticket) whenever they finally face the music. Their court appearances were pushed back from last week's originally scheduled date, but should really be a mere formality once they take place.
    But from a wrestling standpoint, the shockwaves were pretty enormous. Opting for the most extreme reaction possible, Rob Van Dam went from being both the WWE and ECW Champions to being belt-less and suspended in two nights.
    Although I continue to think RVD's main crime here is rampant stupidity, which commonly goes unpunished here in today's society (and almost ALWAYS goes unpunished by WWE), I guess it's hard to fault the Fed for taking RVD down as fast as they did. As minor as the transgression may have been, RVD still technically got "busted for drugs," which is the sort of thing that can turn into a public relations nightmare. Especially given what the company went through with Eddie and the resulting installation of an all new "Wellness Program."
    For WWE to not have taken such swift and decisive steps would have simply left them too susceptible to a tabloid press and too open to criticism from people too narrow-minded to delineate between degrees of wrong-doing. When you're a publicly traded company and there are investors to think of, it becomes irresponsible to try to smack sense into people by taking the stand "Hey, the State of Ohio is only gonna fine him $100, so why the hell should *we* be responsible for blowing this any further out of proportion?"...
    So blow out of proportion they did, and placated the PC-minded masses are (if the complete lack of any major mainstream backlash in the past week is any indication). RVD was relieved of both his titles, and suspended without pay for 30 days; already on something of thin ice with the WWE higher-ups, he may also have done irreparable damage to his prospects once he returns to action. Don't think for one second WWE cares all that much about 18 grams of pot and Rob's "wellness," but *do* think as long as you want that the company is pissed as hell that they put their faith in the guy, and less than 3 weeks into his run as the Top Guy, he was dumb enough to get caught. 
    Sabu's WWE punishment, as RVD's passenger and in possession of a few painkillers of his own, was less severe: a $1000 fine. The seemingly paltry nature of that sanction (versus what RVD's suspension will cost him in terms of money, as well as in terms of his standing at the top of the card) could easily be because Sabu wasn't being entrusted with the company's top title, and thus, the company wasn't nearly as pissed off and vindictive as they were towards Van Dam. It might not seem "fair," but given that Sabu caused the company a LOT fewer headaches last week, it does sort of "make sense" (if you can follow that distinction).
    The future ramifications are also worth noting... because under its stated policy, WWE is now entitled (if not OBLIGATED) to monitor and test RVD and Sabu more closely now that both have given them cause. If they hadn't gotten caught, believe me, WWE wouldn't have given a shit about them puffing the dum-dum smoke on their own time.... but now, things get different, and one of the things I've heard few people talking about this past week is how the two (especially Van Dam) would respond to increased testing. His favorite recreational activity isn't wrestling's worst-kept secret for no reason: the guy likes his weed, and now, he may have left his employer with no choice but to stop looking the other way. That's got Mexican Standoff written all over it, if you ask me.
    So anyway, for this bullet point, I think the Cliffs' Notes are: RVD is suspended without pay for 30 days, and Sabu was fined $1000 (although, ironically, he's also walked into RVD's spot as the headlining babyface on all ECW shows, which could -- for all I know -- result in higher payoffs that more than offset the fine).
  • How RVD's citation/suspension affected RAW
    They put the title on Edge for the second time. This was a VERY late decision, and as recently as a few hours before showtime, WWE was still planning on the "Dream Partner" Tag Match main event. But then the order came down from on high to relieve Van Dam of the belt, and the three Dream Partners (Sabu, Mick Foley, and Ric Flair) were given the night off so that RVD, Edge, and John Cena could do a three-way singles match for the WWE Title.
    To steal from Jim Ross, the story they told was that John Cena did all the "heavy lifting" by beating the crap out of RVD in the final minutes, but then Edge snuck in and opportunistically stole the pinfall on RVD after Cena hit the F-U. Obviously, this sets up Cena for The Chase, which is probably about the best thing for him at this point. Unlike HHH, Edge is actually a very strong heel, which should help Cena's boo-to-cheer ratio out versus what it was during the first few months of the year... and if WWE books Edge strong, I think the two could have a pretty solid SummerSlam contest.
    Of course, with Cena's first title shot coming in 5 days at Saturday Night's Main Event, they might also just be planning on making Edge's second title reign even shorter than his first. Which I think would suck, since if we're already going to be stinking up RAW's main event picture with the McMahons and Hulk Hogan wrestling at SummerSlam, I'd rather if the WWE Title picture focused more on Edge (whom I enjoy watching) than on Cena (whom I don't) for the next 2 months. 
    Can't really fault WWE for how they handled the title situation on RAW. But you can fault them for most of the rest of the show (which was another off-week, if you ask me), and was completely disconnected from the RVD/title re-writes. You can still check out the full details and analysis of the show in my OO RAW Recap.
  • Now: as forgiving as I am about how RAW handled the WWE Title situation, I'm not entirely sure that the ECW Title situation was given adequate thought. I mean, by the time ECW went live, those in charge had had a day-and-a-half to figure something out.
    But they still went and put the title on Big Show, which is the single least creative, least satisfying, most anvilicious outcome possible. I very seriously doubt there was even one member of the live or TV audiences who didn't know that Big Show was gonna win that match, and that, my friends, is an inexcusable level of inevitability.
    Heyman's heel turn being folded into Show's win provides some limited hope for future prospects, but they are predicated on Vince and WWE having the balls to do a storyline where they admit what a bunch of asshats they've been in terms of their vision for ECW, and then having Paul E.'s character be "the guy who realized which way the wind was blowing and sold out to be on the winning team." Only by having Paul E. acknowledge that "ECW is dead" which is why he threw in with his 7-foot WWE Giant can you salvage this storyline by giving ECW fans something to latch onto... 
    I'm also not as keen on Big Show/Tommy Dreamer ECW Title matches as you might think. It's got nothing to do with a lack of love for Tommy, it's just that he did make the mistake of becoming a comedy act in WWE, and since nobody anticipated him having to play a huge/main event/title contender role in ECW, rehabbing his character since the relaunch wasn't exactly a priority. So you've got a situation where -- outside of a few key markets in the northeast -- I'm not sure there are a lot of fans who see Tommy Dreamer and think "title-worthy." It's a sad state of affairs, all around, but pragmatically speaking, I think Dreamer is good (at most) for a throw-away Sci-Fi title shot, and then that'd pretty much be the pay-off for the Dreamer/Show "feud" that I can only assume was originally envisioned as playing out over a longer period of time.
    Sabu becomes the closest thing to a "money" opponent for Big Show, and as noted above, has already stepped into that role on house shows. But also as noted above, who the hell really knows if Sabu's a long-term solution once increased drug testing and whatnot go into effect as another result of last week's unfortunate incident?
    So I really can't find a whole lot good to say about WWE's decision process here. Despite having 36 hours to think things through, they've really painted themselves into an undesirable corner. Show is the worst of both possible worlds: the "wrestling fans" in the audience don't like him because he's big and slow and a WWE Guy masquerading as an ECW Guy, and "WWE fans" will view him as a "Division Killer" who cannot possibly lose. Part of your audience just wants the title off him, pronto, and the other part of your audience wouldn't accept him losing the title to anyone on the current ECW roster! Bravo, WWE!
    I've heard a lot of ideas about what ECW could have done differently, and the unfortunate thing is, I'm not sure any of them are any more feasible or plausible than what was done....  obviously, a ton of people have written in wishing that they'd given the belt to Kurt Angle. But unfortunately, when I asked a similar question last Tuesday or Wednesday, I was told -- rather ominously -- that "that simply isn't an option." Apparently, Kurt's little hiatus went from "voluntary and starting whenever it's convenient" to "mandatory and starting immediately" at some point during the preceding week. At no time did WWE consider calling Kurt in as an emergency stop-gap: he is being kept at home for a reason, and WWE only wants him back once he is well enough to perform safely.
    CM Punk was brought up by more than a few folks, especially because of the fact that ECW *will* be using his "straight edge" gimmick. Which puts him diametrically opposed to a hippified pothead like RVD. And while I'm sure that, in time, we'll see that feud and fans'll eat it up, the truth is that CM Punk is a non-entity to 80% of even the best-informed wrestling fans. He's a name they've heard, not a guy who would have a chance in hell of being a credible ECW Champ... the best Punk idea I heard is that he could have, at most, cost RVD the title match against the Opponent du Jour. Since it's hard to envision Van Dam immediately being given the ECW Title back upon his return, this would have set up a scenario in which Van Dam could be "distracted" by a feud against Punk, until such time as it is decided that RVD has paid enough penance and can once again wrestle in main events.
    Probably my favorite idea is one I had back last Tuesday evening as I settled in to watch ECW (and was trying to come up with something, ANYthing, that would be better than the obvious Big Show title win), and which one or two other people have also presented to me in slightly altered forms in the past week. Sadly, it's also an idea I had to dismiss almost immediately as soon as I had it, because I'm quite certain Mick Foley has no desire to keep a full house show schedule (even if he'd be cleverly booked to not wrestle in matches, it's the time away from home that's the deal breaker), and ECW's sad state means they can't afford to not have their champion present in some capacity on all shows.
    But anyway, the idea was pretty simple: Edge was still, technically, contracted to have a match against RVD on the ECW TV show, right? The match the night before didn't void that deal... so one kick-ass 15-minute opening promo, and you could EASILY have had Edge graciously step aside since he's already got one title. And Edge's bestest buddy, Mick Foley, could easily have been sent up against RVD, instead. And with more than a little help from Edgeward: Mick Foley becomes a heel champion that gets booed for the RIGHT reasons, and whom people would gladly tune in to see. And who also wouldn't be a "division killer" in any way, shape, or form.
    On the contrary, Mick's eminently-beatable status (especially if he plays up an anti-hardcore, teddy-bear angle) could set him up for a pretty lengthy series of well-spaced-out TV matches until the higher-ups can figure out a longer-term solution to ECW's woes. You would have obviously had Foley vs. Sabu at some point, which would rule. Foley vs. Dreamer, given their storied past, would have been a no-brainer. Foley vs. Funk might be a trainwreck, but it's a trainwreck that fans would want to look at. If it's RAW/ECW cross-overs you want, Flair could even get it in his head that a 17th World Title is now with his reach if he's willing to go to ECW to get it from Foley. [And if not? Hey, Flair/Foley kept for over 2 years before somebody finally dug up the quotes from Flair's book, so it'll keep for another few months until Foley's free to focus exclusively on RAW again.]
    And then, to keep Mick's required physicality at a minimum, in between those Actual Matches, you book him cleverly to keep the exertion level down, and to keep the heel heat high. On TV and house shows, he can frequently refuse to wrestle up to his Hardcore Potential, and could instead do a thing where he recycles Sandman's last Retardo-Victim, and goes through unnecessarily elaborate 3-5 minute "matches" chockful of headlocks and Zombie Dust flying everywhere and Macho Libre catchphrases. And through it all, keep in mind that Mick and Edge are both champions of their respective brands (and co-holders of that Hardcore Title), which could always be good for some hilarious crossover gold in any given week, too.
    'Twas my idea last week, and I definitely think it would have kicked all kinds of ass in the exact opposite way that Big Show as champ won't.... but I also recognize the fundamental lack of feasibility if you've gotta ask your part-time legend to go back to being on the road 3-4 nights a week. Too bad, though.
    This is another one of those deals where I probably shouldn't have mentioned my "fantasy booking," right? Cuz now, due to the sheer awesomeness of my ideas as compared to what really happened, I've just made it even harder for you to swallow Big Show as champ... well: deal with it. Now you know how I feel 90% of the time when I watch the latest offerings from the Writer Monkeys and know, with certitude, that there's a better way.
    Anyhoo, there was more to ECW on Sci-Fi than just Big Show's title win. You can get the full report in my first (and possibly only) ECW TV Recap.
  • In what I can't help but consider an Intriguing Development, Tommy Dreamer's latest ECW column was essentially a very brief "I'm Sorry" to fans, with a tagline that said "If I said what was really on my mind, this column wouldn't exist very much longer." Huh.
    So what's Tommy apologizing for? Something specific? The overall disappointment that has been ECW's revival? And why in the blue fuck does *he* feel responsible? He always was and always will be Heyman's right arm, but once Heyman was removed from power by Vince, Dreamer's already diminished responsibility for the product evaporated to zero. I think we all know who owes us an apology for presenting a Tuesday night wrestling show that feels like a glorified edition of "Velocity" and it ain't you, Tommy.
    Still, the vague apology, and WWE's willingness to post it and keep it public strikes me as interesting. I'll stop short of saying it could be that somebody, somewhere, has finally realized what's going wrong, and is going to fix it with some massive "work the smarts" angle where Dreamer and the old school ECW Alumni do something crazy like secede from the company to leave Heyman holding nothing but a bunch of never-wasses and his one 7-foot Big Slow, thereby forcing some sort of Extreme Reconciliation in which the company gets RE-reborn, this time, as something other than RAW's third hour. Whoops, I guess I said all that anyway.
    Well: if it helps, I don't actually believe a word of it. But I want to. Christ, do I ever want to.
  • Ratings round-up time... four nights, four brands, four numbers from last week.
    Monday's RAW did a 3.5 cable rating, which is obviously down a bit, but only by a little over half-a-point. That's actually less of a drop than I would have expected, given the long holiday weekend and the fact that I know lots of stuff was going on Monday night (since people could go out and still sleep in on Tuesday, which they couldn't do Tuesday night). I see no reason to consider that rating anything other than perfectly acceptable, under the circumstances.
    ECW on Tuesday, however, did a 1.4 rating, which is a HUGE drop-off from the week before. Obviously, the excuse is that Tuesday was the Forth of July, but ECW's drop was way bigger on a percentage basis than the overall decline in TV viewership for last Tuesday evening. Throw in the mostly-tepid offerings that WWE's been serving up with the "ECW" label, and I have a feeling there could be more to last week's rating than a one-time holiday hit. If ECW bumps back into the low-to-mid-2's this week, hey, I'll be glad to be wrong... but I do have my concerns that ECW's on a slow downward spiral, and when it hits bottom, Vince McMahon will have nobody but himself to blame.
    TNA on Thursday drew a 1.0 rating. Down a nominal one-tenth from the week before, but still solidly in meaty part of the curve. Internally, TNA is very mildly disappointed, since the Christian/Sting vs. Jarrett/Steiner main event was viewed as their biggest "free-per-view" give-away in company history, but it didn't quite pan out that way. But as you all know: fluctuations of one tenth of a point are statistically insignificant, and it's not important at all if this week's show did 0.1 better or worse than the week before... what matters is that TNA seems to have found its core audience, and they maintain it from week to week. [For the record, I think last week's show was one where your opinion will be largely based on how much Scott Steiner you can tolerate. I, myself, have a negative appetite for Steiner, so having him cutting promos, wrestling in main events, and doing a post-match angle with Joe is some serious Suck Overload for me. Add in Konnan's return and the apparent start of a Slick Johnson vs. Larry Zbyszko catfight, and that makes for a pretty high Rick Gripe Quotient. On the upside, we did have Nash back on TV being hilariously delusional. You can get the full report in Jason Longshore's TNA Recap.]
    And finally, SmackDown! on Friday did a 2.7 prelim rating, which is about as well as SD! has done in a while. And bottom lining this: the only real explanation would be the return of Batista. Which sort of casts some new light on the invented backstage drama of a few months ago (where some guys got pissy that Batista never "paid his dues" in the SD! locker room and didn't have any business carrying himself like the top dog on the brand; this led up to the Batista/Booker brawl that you might remember). Screw which locker room you "paid your dues" in, and screw shitting on the guy who is gutsy enough to take the job of being Top Dog seriously. Just take your one-third to one-half point ratings bump, and like it. Lord knows Rey Mysterio has been booked to fail, that Bobby Lashley's still too early in his development to be a ratings draw, that Mark Henry and the Great Khali suck balls, and that the Great American Bash is shaping up (for the third year in a row) to be the most mind-numbingly awful PPV of the year... Batista's return is pretty much the only reason why significantly more people tuned in to SD! this weekend than at any point in the last 2 months.
  • You think four nights of TV wrestling is a lot? Well, you're getting FIVE of them this week, as Saturday Night's Main Event returns this weekend.
    And the big news over the weekend is that WWE officially announced that Hulk Hogan and his daughter Brooke will be appearing on the show. Hogan and WWE have been in talks the last several weeks (and Hogan's been in talks with Brooke's management, who are purportedly very much against Brooke having anything to do with this silliness), and for a while, it wasn't entirely clear what -- if anything -- would come of it. Then it sounded like Orton himself was starting to hype a WrestleMania 23 match against Hogan... but then Hogan realized his daughter doesn't have an album coming out next April, so why not go against all sane advice, and do this angle with Orton this summer! Nee haw?
    I'll not go through the whole big spiel again, but I'll summarize why this is dumb: (1) the match will suck, and (2) in so far as a few fans will care, they'll probably be dimwits who'll cheer for Orton sleazing onto Hogan's virtuous young daughter since at least if she's well-roofied she won't be violating our earholes with any attempted musical performances. When it all backfires, don't anybody out there in OO Nation try to say you weren't warned.
    The announced matches for SNME: Edge vs. John Cena for the WWE Title... DX vs. the Spirit Squad... and Batista/Rey/Lashley vs. Henry/Booker/Finlay.
    It's supposed to be a three-brand card, but the top two matches and top angle (Hogan's deal with Orton) are all RAW-based, and near as I can tell, ECW's only announced contribution to the show is that Kelly Kelley will be appearing in a company-wide bikini contest. I do believe that tells you everything you need to know about WWE's Brand Priorities...
  • By the way, I guess there was some kind of major hoax over the weekend, where somebody started floating a rumor about Orton being caught with 8 bottles of painkillers and being in huge trouble with WWE management or something.... I don't know where it started, I don't know why it was started, and I hope none of you got suckered in. I mean, as soon as WWE announced Hogan and Brooke for SNME, that should have been a pretty dead give-away that Orton -- sadly -- was in nobody's bad graces.
    Does it make me a bad person if I admit that -- however briefly -- I felt a burst of joy when all the e-mails about Orton's faux troubles piled in and I thought there was at least a 1% chance that somehow this had really happened, and I'd just failed to hear about it before just about everybody else in the world? Oh, if only there were some real mechanism to get Orton off my TV for at least another 60 days....
  • In addition to "The Gridiron Gang" hitting theatres later this summer, another completed project of The Rock's may actually see the light of day, domestically, as well. After being universally shat upon at Cannes, "Southland Tales" got picked up for US distribution last week, and is expected to receive at least a limited release after being tightened up and pared down from its pretentious and arteesty 3-plus hour running time.
    So if you want to see the notable bomb that contains the Rock's first attempted "serious" acting performance, keep an eye out on your local art houses. Probably sometime early this fall.
  • MTV has picked up that "Wrestling Society X" pilot, and could start airing the part-wrestling/part-reality-show/part-shitty-music hodge-podge as early as November. After a few of the more recognizable names (X-Pac, Justin Credible, New Jack) declined contract extensions a month, the project is left without a lot of oomph on the wrestling side (the ultra-talented, but ultra-flakey-jerkface Teddy Hart is probably the most-intriguing/highest-upside guy still affiliated with the project), although now that there's a 13-episode commitment, you could see them try to put a few more recognizable faces under contract.
  • The Basham Brothers worked as a team on ECW house shows this weekend. And that's just dandy with me. Breaking them up never made a lick of sense to me, since even though I think most people project Doug as having the higher ceiling, he also doesn't really have any "it," so you just keep the guys together and let their sum be more than a total of their parts.
  • Eric Bischoff has been under contract to WWE for the past six months after being written off of TV last December... but that apparently changes this month, when Bischoff's contract hits its annual roll-over point (I believe he debuted on July 15, 2002?), with no apparent desire by WWE to roll it over or extend it.
    This does not necessarily mean the end of Bischoff and WWE working together, as they could work out alternate terms for a new deal... but it does mark the end of Uncle Eric being a little surprise that Vince had stored away in his back pocket, if needed. And it does make me wonder if TNA isn't kicking themselves that they shot their wad on making Cornette their new figurehead, when Bischoff would have been about a billion times more (no pun intended) impactful. Plus, unlike Cornette, Bischoff wouldn't have reinforced the TNA stigma of being southern/old-timey wrestling that still hasn't completely washed off from the 2 years they spent taping exclusively in Tennessee. Oh well...
  • WWE is finally returning to Madison Square Garden after a lengthy spat with building management... fact is, they can quibble all they want over how to slice up the revenue pie, but if they can't agree on the simplest of terms to even get WWE into the building, there's no pie at all for ANYbody to eat.
    So they finally kissed and made up, and tickets went on sale for the live 9/11 edition of RAW over the weekend, and moved very briskly despite elevated, almost-PPV-level prices.
    I'm not sure just how related this story is, but it just so happens that the MSG TV Network is also beginning to air repeats of classic WWF at MSG specials that they used to produce. Starting back in the very early 80s and running up through at least 1991 or so, MSG Network was allowed to broadcast WWF house shows held at MSG. I'm not positive how the licensing on that worked, but I always remember thinking it strange that "Prime Time Wrestling" would sometimes feature Major House Show content from Boston, Philly, DC, Toronto, and other places, but never from MSG. When I discovered the MSG Network while visiting relatives back east for a few Christmases in a row, I discovered the WWF/MSG TV specials, and in years since, it sort of created this notion in my head that those shows might be a rare case of WWF/E video content that wasn't actually owned by WWE. Perhaps there had to be some fancy negotiating done to get those MSG tapes back into the official WWE video library?
    Anyway, if you're really jonsing for wrestling-on-TV every single weeknight (and if you're one of the 15 percent of households that gets the MSG Network), then keep an eye on MSG every other Wednesday night (starting this week) for 2 hour blocks of Classic WWF.
  • One of the 8 Diva Search Finalists dropped out of the contest late last week. She has since been replaced. On the grounds that you can't possibly care why and won't even notice the difference, I do believe that's all that needs to be said on that subject.
    But this still has more to do with being relevant to pro wrestling than certain other sites expending thousands of words of barely-cogent verbiage to any part of this weekend's UFC PPV not involving former WWF star Ken Shamrock. ZING~!
  • And with that, I think you're pretty well caught up on the important developments of the past 4-5 days in the wrestling world. So we'll just quickly glance ahead to tonight's RAW, where I anticipate being on about 90 minute timeshift (damned Home Run Derby!), which hopefully won't translate into me being tempted to use more of the FF Button than usual. It's up to you, WWE!
    With SNME coming up, and with it being so RAW-centric (and with RAW not having an PPV concerns till SummerSlam), I actually do expect tonight to be kind of a fluff-heavy hype show leading into Saturday night.
    To wit: Cena and Edge will be there, but with an announced title match in a few days, there's no reason for them to do anything particularly dramatic. They both already know what's next on their plates. My guess: Edge and Lita present some twist on the "live sex celebration" gimmick from Edge's first title win (possibly the tried-and-true "Hey, you got to see Lita's nipple last time, you wanna see it again? Huh, do you?" and then as soon as the fans decide "Oh, alright, let's do this again," Edge and Lita say "No Soup for You!"), and somehow Petulant Brat John Cena gets involved for a quick brawl.
    Also: Vince has got his master plan in place for DX at SNME, and THEY will all have to co-exist tonight. Probably in the form of lots of sophomoric "comedy" that -- as I opined last week -- is largely coming across as way more lazy and "Butthead" than it is subversively clever and "Beavis." Which is too bad, since the more DX relies on Actual Laughs than on knee-jerk reactions, the more legs it'll have.
    You're gonna have to throw in a Randy Orton promo, too, I'm sure, just to set the stage now that it's been made public that Hogan's coming to SNME. And here we are three Talking Points into a RAW Preview, and it's worth noting that so far we haven't come even close to talking about a wrestling match. No matter HOW titanic a struggle it always is when Orton faces off against a live mic, that does *not* count, people.
    The only announced match for tonight, in fact, is Trish Stratus vs. Melina. And while they may be my two current favorite WWE broads, you know it's not like they're gonna be told to go out there and deliver 10 minutes worth of the goods. They'll be out there long enough to provide the backdrop for Carlito and Nitro to run in and get involved. Which is fine (and appropriate given the stories they're telling), but it still doesn't address the issue that I have this strong feeling that tonight's RAW will be way light on the wrestling side of things.
    And what's that last thing I'm repressing that is contributing to that strong feeling. Oh, yeah, right: first round of the Diva Search Eliminations kicks off tonight! Maybe 90 minutes of time shift will come in handy afterall!
    No matter the pain it causes me, it's my weekly cross to bear to bring you the Greatest and Best RAW Recap in the World, so whether you check out RAW tonight or not, come on back to OO tomorrow to see if I can turn the sand RAW puts into my vagina into a beautiful, shiny Pearl of Awesome Recappage!
    See you then, 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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