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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
A New Twist in the Angle/WWE Saga,
RVD/Sabu in Court, ECW, Edge, and MORE! 
September 4, 2006

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

Nothing fancy or earth-shattering here today, kids....
 

But there's enough of note to scrape together a barebones column, and if you think it seems a little bit shorter or more half-assed than is The Rick's norm? Well, just remember that I'm showing up to labor for you on Labor Day, so really, you've got no room to bitch and moan, OK, Potsie...

Also, I figure I want to get my laboring 

done pretty early. The Reds have this weird-ass start time of 5:10pm today (when at home, the Reds only start games at 1pm or 7pm so I thought maybe they were shuffling the schedule to accommodate a rare holiday weekend appearance on ESPN or something.... but nope: just FOX Sports Ohio, like always), and I intend to be on my couch, pretending like the Reds are still in the hunt for a playoff spot.

As a sidebar, I'd like to officially curse the Boston Red Sox for finding a way to violate me right up the pooper, despite the fact that they are sucking and will not be challenging the Yankees for a playoff spot. Sending Wells to San Diego just in time for San Diego to take over the NL Wild Card from the Reds? You fucking jerks....

Anyway, if I am to begin wallowing in my own crapulence at 5pm sharp, let's just get this thing started:

  • The situation between WWE and Kurt Angle took a turn for the unexpected over the weekend. Over its mobile alert text messaging system, WWE "broke" the story that the meeting last Friday between officials and Angle was heated and not at all pleasant, and that when Kurt left, he was an emotional wreck.
     
    This is in opposition to WWE's initial "reporting" on the situation, which painted the meetings as amicable and Angle's release as a mutual decision. Already, people are reading a lot of hidden motives into WWE's new twist on the Official Story.... I've gotten e-mails covering every slant from "This is clearly all just an angle and Kurt will be back in WWE with a new character who has a death wish" (this coming from the same camp of idiots who said Bret Hart was in on the Montreal Screwjob for weeks or months after it happened, just because they're too cool to get "fooled" by a work) to "This is clearly a sign that WWE is distancing itself from Angle because they don't think he's ever going to compete safely in a wrestling ring again and want to have that to hang over the head of whatever wrestling company employs Angle and has him die in their ring."
     
    As always, the truth almost certainly lies somewhere in the middle, but in this case, just as certainly lies more towards the latter end of the spectrum. There's simply no TV/storyline reason I can think of for WWE to sensationalize Angle's departure, but there are ample PR reasons I can think of for why they are changing the public story to make them look more pro-active (and make Angle look less contrite/more angry) in the deal.
     
    WWE's text message came one day after Angle released a letter to his fans on his website (kurtanglewwe.com, I believe)... although the letter ends with an apparently amiable comment about Vince McMahon, there's one version of the Angle/WWE split that would make that less an honest assessment of Vince and more an inside joke/ribpoke. And the rest of the letter talks about Kurt's desire to get back in the ring as soon as he is able (but does not make any specific mention of returning to WWE/ECW). The more conspiracy minded have already deduced that this means that Angle is only giving lip service to "getting healthy" but is really just sitting out a no compete clause before he finds somebody else to pay him to wrestle. And that WWE responded to that perceived conspiracy by re-telling the story of Angle's departure to look more like a firing than a "mutual release."
     
    That's probably getting a bit TOO Machiavellian, but again, without saying too much or getting too vested in these theories, I will also grant that WWE doesn't usually do stuff like this for no reason. So I do consider this unexpected bit of back-and-forth between Angle and WWE to have some significance.... even if we can't be 100% sure what it is just now.
     
  • With WWE running almost exclusively tiny markets in the south this weekend, house show line-ups weren't exactly fully loaded, and only ECW ran shows that looked like their standard fare. Meantime, both RAW and SD! made copious use of developmental talents to flesh out the rosters...
     
    Both Oleg Prudius (Russian stuntman) and Harry Smith worked on RAW brand house shows; Prudius is starting to get a bit of a buzz about him, although after nearly a full year of training, I'm not prepared to get behind a guy who has The Look and has perfected a grand total of about 2 wrestling moves.
     
    And SD! shows saw Montel Vontavious Porter and the tag team of Damien Steele and Ray Gordy working outside a DSW ring for the whole weekend; MVP you should know from watching SD! as they're doing a nice job intro'ing him as a non-wrestling character so far... Steele and Gordy have an interesting gimmick: Steele IS black, and Gordy THINKS he's black (in fact, despite being the son of Terry Gordy, they're sweeping that under the rug so they can have him call himself "Ray Geezy" as he takes Cena's gimmick to comical new extremes).
     
    Meantime, ECW reportedly played to the biggest audience of the weekend in Spartanburg, SC, and did so without needing to borrow any talent from DSW or OVW. Well, unless you count Neikirk and O'Reilly, but you shouldn't, since they've been working ECW shows since the brand came back (even though they've not yet been on TV). Odd weekend to say the least.
     
  • Speaking of the ECW brand and its roster: RVD and Sabu had their day in court on Friday, and neither is going anywhere.
     
    Once all was said and done, RVD only had to pay a speeding ticket and a fine for the miniscule amount of pot he had in his possession. Total cost: $150. But in one of those things that makes you go "Huh?", Sabu was actually given a 10-day suspended jail sentence and fined over $500 for being in possession of his prescription Man Boob Pills. That's just..... I dunno, but it doesn't make a lick of sense to me.
     
    Anyway, both are now in the clear as far as the Ohio State Legal System is concerned, and the same can be said as far as WWE sanctions go, too. 
     
  • There is a very cool interview with Edge over on IGN.
     
    In it, he's pretty much honest and wide open about a wide variety of topics... well, maybe he's a BIT too kind and charitable on the issue of Cena's boos, but it's more than made up for with his candid thoughts about his new Rated Bling Belt.
     
    Good stuff. Check it out.
     
  • How about talking about some things that you people are e-mailing me about, even though I hadn't really considered them worthy of either of our time? What the hell, gotta do something to fill up the column....
     
    First, yeah, I've heard that Vince is off on another one of his Batshit Insane Misprioritized Rampages.... even while the onscreen product seems to fluctuate most regularly between the forgettable (SD!) and the tolerable (RAW, on a good week), what's Vince worried about? Making sure that announcers stop using the words "belt" or "strap" to describe the company's championship titles. Why? You'd have to ask Vince, because I'm not batshit insane, nor do I have my head so far up my ass that I obsess over completely insignificant details that have nothing to do with presenting a quality product.
     
    And also: I think we're supposed to stop calling the backstage officials "Road Agents," and start calling them "Associate Producers." I shit you not. But hey, this is the WWE Way: presenting a clever and compelling TV show is HARD. Printing up new business cards, though? That's EASY!
     
    I am, however, not as clear on this rumor you've been reading about Johnny Ace getting fired. Such an outcome wouldn't exactly shock me, but I've heard absolutely ZERO that would indicate that this is suddenly an imminent/pressing issue. But let's just say there's a reason why OO has enjoyed making Johnny Ace a whipping boy over the past two years, and it's because he is an utterly incompetent boob, and 90% of people in the company know it. But: he's also an undisputed master of sycophancy and asskissery, whose job hasn't really been in danger because he's excellent at making the 10% of people in the company with the power to fire him happy.
     
    That said, there have been grumblings in the past few months that maybe some who had previously noticed it were taking a long hard look at Ace's work signing/developing new talents and his interactions with existing talents.... and weren't exactly impressed with what they saw. But that observation wouldn't completely undo 2 years of ass kissing, either. It would just open up the possibility of upper management finally starting to take a slightly more objective look at Ace's work going forward.
     
    Also: some who mailed in about this included a very specific rumor that Barry Windham had already agreed to come in and replace Ace. And that's where the legitimacy of said rumor kind of takes a nosedive for me. Windham has zero experience in this kind of work, and I'd bet my last dollar that if WWE ever does see fit to send Johnny Ace packing, Jim Ross would get the job back on a temporary basis, while a successor (or a couple of candidates for his successor) watch and learn and get groomed for the job. 
     
    Should I prepare a resume for you, JR? You know... just in case?
     
  • This weekend's SmackDown! did an horrifyingly-low 1.9 prelim rating (a number that could slide even further once the final national numbers are tabulated). This in a week that also saw ECW do its non-holiday low-rating-to-date and had RAW drawing 20% below normal due to US Open tennis and a move to a different channel. Almost certainly, that adds up to WWE's Least Watched Week (Domestically) in a DAMNED long time.
     
    But back to SD!... I'm no fan of "main event promos" nor of anvilicious "contract signing" angles, so I do have some gripes about the layout of the show. But I think if you'd shuffled some things around (maybe put the Booker/Batista contract signing in as the opening segment, or buried in mid-show; then let the pretty kick-ass US Title Match go on last), you did have the parts to construct a decent little show. Nothing all that thrilling, really, and outside of the US TItle change, absolutely nothing you'd remember the next morning.... but maybe like a particularly good episode of TNA, where everything's solid, sensible, and capped off with a bit of in-ring goodness.
     
    I guess if there was one thing about the Booker/Batista contract signing that did perk me up, it's the fact that it's for a match that is happening THIS WEEK (not at the next PPV)... that means one of two things: a title change on free TV, or the institutional lack of confidence in Batista is growing. We shall see. Depending on how the stipulation about Cena coming to SD! works out, would it be crazy to start thinking ahead to Batista being shuffled out of the title mix so that Cena can waltz in and get shuffled in for the October PPV?
     
    Dunno, but the wheels in the Big Ol' Brain have started turning, and thinks it's as reasonable an explanation as any.
     
    You can get the full details on the show in PyroFalkon's SD! Recap.
     
  • There's no rating available for last week's Impact just yet. Either my crappy sources or the holiday weekend are to blame, but in either case, I wouldn't be expecting much in the way of shocking news. The number will be somewhere between 0.8 and 1.0, and with Nielsen's margin for error, it really doesn't matter which of those numbers comes up.... it'll still just mean that TNA continues to draw roughly the same loyal audience week after week.
     
    For whatever it's worth, Impact this week suffered from the same fate as SD!, what with the Main Event Promo... and unlike SD!, they didn't bother putting in a particularly solid wrestling match before hand. Kind of a bland show, outside of the fact that I get a kick out of Eric Young.
     
    Oh, and I know this'll get me in huge trouble with the ROH/Indy Wankers out there, but if there's a reason why I'm supposed to care about Lo-Ki/Senshi, TNA's done a really good job hiding it from me. Two months ago, the belt in his possession was arguable the most important one in the company, and today, I honestly get a little jolt of surprise everytime I'm reminded that Senshi's holding it. That's how many compelling TV performances he's been given since winning the title..... honestly, if I were a giant jerk, I would make the joke that Senshi's lone value to the wrestling business right now would be if WWE could hire him and somehow invent the technology so that when Bobby Lashley's mouth opens, Senshi's voice comes out. That'd be pretty sweet....
     
    Of course, I'm not a giant jerk, so forget I mentioned it, and just get caught up to speed on all of this week's TNA action in Jason's Impact Recap.
     
  • I think the last thing for today is just a quick glance ahead to tonight's RAW... with only a Nitro vs. Jeff Hardy IC Title match announced, I'm sure we're in for another lite-on-wrestling/high-on-sports-entertainment night as the Fed crafts a line-up for the upcoming Armaunforjudgmalash PPV.
     
    Two matches are already set, and will surely have extra mustard applied tonight. Last week was a strong week for the heels in both storylines, as Edge decimated John Cena and decided upon how Cena's last title shot would go (in Edge's hometown, and in Edge's signature match: TLC), while the McMahons (with an assist from Big Show) brutalized DX en route to declaring it'd be the McMahons/Big Show vs. DX in the first ever handicap Hell in the Cell match.
     
    Slight tangent: last week's talk of how this is an unprecedented case of WWE putting both of its two most bankable gimmick matches on the same show got me thinking... what would happen if, during the TLC Main Event, the Cell somehow started descending back towards the ring? It wouldn't *quite* be my vision from 5 years ago for "TLC^3: Totally Loaded Cell," but it could sure get interesting, no? I know it's gotta be hard coming up with new ideas/spots, but if the Cell's already there, then consider this carte blanche to invent all new things that haven't been done before in any TLC match.
     
    Back on track for tonight's RAW, though....
     
    Two PPV matches are set, and we'll get the accompanying storytelling for those, I'm sure....  Jeff Hardy's (2-for-2 in not looking ridiculous since his comeback) got an IC Title shot against Nitro... and then you can bank on Kane/Umaga, Orton/Carlito, Trish/Lita, and (to a lesser extent) Spirit Squad/Highlanders to be nudged along towards inevitable PPV showdowns. All that, and probably some lame throwaway bits and enough John Cena Movie Hype to make you vomit. Which is WAAYYY better than giving us a Shelton Benjamin match, right?
     
    As things stand now, RAW should air live in its usual slot on USA Network (though to be honest, the US Open schedule got throttled by a couple days of rain, so it's possible there'd be a change of plans if there now is a marquee match-up that USA would like to broadcast), and you know that no matter how things end up going down, I'll be your huckleberry, and turn the 2 hour broadcast into the Greatest and Best RAW Recap in the World come Tuesday afternoon.
     
    So check on back for that, kids, and I'll see you then.... 


  
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RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
 
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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