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Steroid Scandal Expands, Ratings, Tons of
WM23 News, WM24!, Sabu, Goldberg, More... 
March 23, 2007

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Words of warning: (1) to anyone who insists on getting up in my face to tell me how awesome "300" was, I will punch you in the trachea to teach you a lesson about thinking before speaking. And (2) if your opening gambit is to babble incoherently about what an amazing look "300" had and how it will "change filmmaking forever," I will simply murder you on the spot.

It was a popcorn movie, and maybe a B-grade one, not even a particularly excellent one. And just because some wieners decided to put more effort into non-stop, crap-ass green screen effects (which struck me as about as distractingly obvious as ones seen in some of your lower budget History Channel shows) than they did into a compelling script doesn't mean it marks

a victory for the Art of Filmmaking, either. It just means that a bunch of delicate arteestic wanker Creative Types had a budget and way too much time on their hands.

In the end, watch as this "industry changing" trend of trying to make movies that look like comic books ends up being every bit as permanent as the slew of movie-making tricks introduced in "The Matrix." Yes, it'll seem cool for a while, maybe some movie like "Spanking Tiger, Horny Dragon" will come out that gets those techniques the Oscar Loving, but within 3-4 years, the equivalent of "Charlie's Angels 2" will come out and abuse all these new tricks to the point that the movie-going public is mostly just annoyed and fed up with them, so they go back to being niche tactics used in moderation and only when appropriate. Mark my words, people, mark my words.

And in the mean time, if I want to spend two hours staring at something that resembles a comic book, here's hoping Hollywood will trust that I still remember where the Local Dork Shop is (it's where I once visited weekly for sundry Star Trek related items, in my youth), and I can get a comic book for significantly less than $9.50. I assume, anyway. It's been at least 12 years since I bought one.

PS: to anyone thinking about writing in and saying ANYthing that involves the phrase "graphic novel," please don't bother. You can call it whatever you want, but they're still comic books. Same way as people can call them "animated series," but South Park, the Simpsons, and Family Guy are still just CARTOONS. I got no problem admitting that I watch cartoons, so just nut up, Dork Squad, and admit you still read comic books.

Thus endeth today's bitchslapping of pop culture.... thus beginneth today's bitchslapping of Young Randall Orton:

  • As I said two weeks ago, when Kurt Angle was being held up by Sports Illustrated as The Only Wrestler Ever To Take Steroids, this whole mess is gonna get lots uglier before it starts getting better...
    To wit:
    In an update to the SI investigation into the federal bust of several doctors and pharmacies last month, the names of an additional 11 professional wrestlers have emerged as clients of these shady proprietors. SI only deigned to reveal the names of 5 additional performers, the ones affiliated with WWE. The other six are apparently retired or working in the "minor leagues," and thus were not "sexy" enough to be outed.
    Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio were both listed as receiving prescriptions for two different kinds of steroids. That was also Angle's "crime," and I gather that the way these things work, you have to use two different steroids in tandem, because you body stops responding to one, so you switch over to a different one to keep the mass, and when your body gets used to that one, you switch back, and you keep cycling through.
    The article was also more than happy to point out that Eddie died in late 2005, with an enlarged heart (due to steroid use) being a contributing factor in his death.
    Edge and Gregory Helms were both listed as receiving only Human Growth Hormone (but no steroids) through these purveyors.
    And in the thigh-slapping kicker to all this: Randy Orton was listed as receiving six different substances, including 4 different steroids, testosterone, and Clomiphene Citrate (which, according to several online medical sites is used "primarily as a treatment for male infertility and impotence"). 
    Allow me to just say: BWWWHHHHAAAAAAAHHAHAHAHA!
    Oh, Randall, why must you make it so easy for me? Now, there's simply no way I can continue this column without insisting that, henceforth, when you're out and about and trying to be all smooth, you must take the sissified citrus out of your girly Corona Lite, and replace it with some Citrate. Specifically Clomiphene Citrate. That way, you make sure folks around you get the full and complete message, "Not only do I, Randy Orton, order the most womanly of drinks, but as you can see, my genitals are also shriveled and ill-functioning!" 
    The ladies are gonna love you, Randall! All the brains and charm of K-Fed, combined with the exact same amount of throbbing virility a fresh-out-of-the-box Ken doll! Orton fans (if there are still any of you out there) tell me again how this guy ISN'T the Wonder Douche of the Century?
    [For the record: though it's not listed near the top of any online medical sites, apparently an unspoken tertiary use of Clomiphene Citrate is to block estrogen and prevent man-boobies from appearing on guys who use steroids. But (a) we already used up most of the jokes on that topic 8 years ago when the Rock was dealing with it, and (b) making fun of yet another less-than-masculine trait of Randy Orton's is just WAAAYYYY more fun than if he was just using the drug for it's unwritten man-booby purpose.]
    WWE's official response to the latest SI article was brief and to the point: it underscored that all of the transgressions uncovered (so far) by SI pre-date WWE's current Wellness Policy by a year or more. They also went ahead and administered a big ol' round of urine tests at TV tapings on Tuesday. The results, conveniently enough, probably won't be in until after WM, but still: kudos for a rare PR move that can still have positive effects no matter how self-serving the motivation.
    It should also be noted that under the Wellness Policy adopted in early 2006, drugs obtained legally and with a prescription to treat a legitimate medical condition are OK, *BUT* drugs obtained over the internet or with prescriptions obtained over the internet are *NOT* considered acceptable for treating a LEGITIMATE medical condition.
    In other words: WWE apparently presaged this turn of events, and their talent have known for a full year, now, that they are not to be caught up with these shady internet doctors and the compound pharmacies they serve. 
    It'll be interesting to see if the "good behavior" of the roster holds up as SI continues to dig deeper into the records of the already-busted doctors and pharmacies (and as the feds continue to go after other performance-enhancing drug rings, considering the wide positive public response their first sting generated): it's difficult to envision (even with something as shocking as Eddie's death in November 2005) an entire ingrained subculture doing a 180 degree turnaround that fast... then again, if it turns out that additional, post-Wellness-Program transgressions are found, WWE may be poised to say "We know, we caught them, and we administered the appropriate sanctions already." I mean, Randall the Wonder Douche *was* suspended for a total of 90 days in 2006 (60 of them spent at home, and the latter 30 spent working TV tapings without pay under a new clause in the Policy). There were countless other Wellness Violations, as well, some of which we (as fans) didn't even really hear about once the policy was changed to allow "suspended" wrestlers to still appear on TV so as not to screw up storylines. WWE could, then, paint themselves as effective Self Policers in the same vein as other sports leagues.
    As tersely effective and straight-forward as WWE's Official Response to this matter has been, they've not been so lucky in terms of individual talents going out and speaking with the press. Granted, some of the more ridiculous and evasive comments have come from guys like curtain-jerker Kenny Dykstra and the not-currently-employed Dallas Page... but no less than Vince McMahon himself was asked about this, and responded in a fashion that made himself look like an utterly delusional boob when he said that this is not a problem at all for WWE, and that it's just too bad that the press has decided to focus on something that is only a problem with a "small minority" of WWE performers.
    I always figured Vince wasn't much of one for the book learning, but I had assumed he'd completed at least grade school math and a Vocabulary Workshop or two, so that he'd have learned some fractions, and comprehend that "minority" equals "less than one-half." But I guess not. Either that, or the denial is strong in Vince, and he refuses to go down any path that might end with the embarrassing (but anvilicious) revelation that he's been on the juice since the 70s.
    Two of the men named by SI have been pro-active in addressing the matter, with varying results. The day after the SI story, Edge posted a message that basically amounted to "Duh, I already copped to this in a TV interview two years ago. Way to go Woodward and Bernstein." He was upfront about the timing of his experimentation (it was during his recovery from spinal fusion surgery), his exact thought process (which included his own research to reassure himself that this would be a benefit to his injury recover), and so forth. If anything, the implication is that when more digging is done, Edge knows his name might be found a few more times, and he's saying "Hey, I did this, I admit it, at the time I thought it was the right thing to do, so let's get it out there and then move on." That's not an ignoble way to handle things...
    Shane Helms also went on the offensive, posting a message yesterday to his fans. A little less blunt and a little more wordy than Edge's, it did have more of a tinge of "he doth potestest too much" to it, but he did hit most of the same notes as Edge when it came to mostly experimenting for injury reasons and not being particularly obsessed about his size. [A cynical asshole might also point out that Helms might just be trying to shoehorn his way into this Hot Steroid Controversy, just so people keep on mentioning his name in the same breath as Edge, Orton, Eddie, and Rey. ZING~!]
    Somebody you WON'T be seeing address these latest accusations is Randy Orton. WWE has actually pulled him from all WrestleMania promotional appearances for the next week or so (replaced, when feasible, by Carlito, who ironically enough ISN'T EVEN ON THE WRESTLEMANIA CARD). I know it's not fair to continuously kick a limp-dicked, dim-witted tool while he's down, but this just adds to my schadenfreuede-fueled laughter at Young Randall's expense. Not only is he the only guy to get busted for more than 2 illicit prescriptions, but 2 of 4 "extra" ones imply a lack of masculinity, and now, he's the only one of these four guys who won't get a chance to defend himself in public because he's a noted retard and WWE doesn't trust him to go on radio/TV and not say something stupid when confronted with the issue.
    It's really just too perfect. Then again, of the guys listed, Orton's the only one who has no injury-related fallback story to use as an excuse. Not only was he caught out with double the steroid prescriptions as anybody else (so far), but Orton's prescriptions were all issued at a time when he was healthy and at (what passes for) the top of his game. Orton's prescriptions were all from the spring and summer of 2004, which, as you'll recall, is when he was put on top of the RAW brand, and immediately drove RAW to its worst 3-month string of ratings since 1997. Isn't it nice to know that while Orton was bombing heroically, he was at least doing it while at his buffest and most virile?
    The irony of "protecting" Orton from making an ass out of his intellectually-stunted self is that the media has largely given WWE a pass on this since the news broke earlier this week.... though it's been mentioned everywhere from ESPN to the 24-hour "news" networks, the underlying tone of the coverage has been "it's wrestling, are you really surprised by this news?". Which maybe is fair, maybe it's not.
    I just know that every single concern I registered two weeks ago in my first column on this topic still stands, as this is just the tip of the iceberg. Not only for wrestling/WWE, but for all sports. Presently, the authorities are only interested in prosecuting the purveyors and distributors of the illicit substances, but over time, the users and abuses of the substances are going to be vilified by the American populace, and will quite probably end up having their role in this be criminalized as well.
    Just because wrestling is "fake" (or "not legitimate competition," anyway) doesn't mean it won't continue to get lumped in with baseball and football and boxing and whatnot as these busts and investigations continue. I'm still struggling on just how to feel about grown men doing what they want to their own bodies in an industry like wrestling (where it's not like they're tainting the Sanctity of the Game by gaining a cosmetic advantage).... but I'll say this: the advantage really *is* only cosmetic, and while that might help in luring the eyeballs of Vince McMahon and his cadre of other Creepy Bodybuilding Magazine Ogling Perverts, it does nothing to help you become more charismatic or better on the microphone. It does nothing to help you chain wrestle crisply or tell a story in the ring. It, in short, does NOTHING (zero, zilch, bubkis) to add to any tangible or relevant skill that is actually required of a pro wrestler.
    Which is not to say that any of us are jonsing for the day when the roster is full of Trevor Murdochs... but let's face it: the two most bankably entertaining performers on WWE's flagship brand are Edge and Shawn Michaels. And whatever either of them has done/taken in the past, I think it's a safe bet that neither is doing/taking them now. Yet, they're excelling at talking, at wrestling, and in general, at connecting with the audience.... and still looking reasonably convincing while doing it, all while Chris F. Masters is celebrating 2-and-a-half years of looking convincingly huge (but also epically unworthy of his TV time). If that's not an object lesson in how WWE could easily play this in a "better safe than sorry" way, and still retain plenty of compelling performers, I don't know what is. 
    That's all stuff that'll make for tough decisions down the road, though.... in the here and now, I still think we're just unraveling the second of several layers to the story, and I'm also more than confident in wagering that somewhere Vince McMahon is in a (possibly-pharmaceutically-aided) rage that this shit had to hit the fan so close to WrestleMania. Ah well, you reap what you sow, or so I've heard....
  • Something else unpleasant that's happening just as WWE hits the stretch run to WrestleMania 23: TV ratings are mysteriously bottoming out.
    The last two weeks, SmackDown!'s final ratings have been a 2.5 and a 2.8. That comes after a month-long string of averaging over a 3.0, and marks the worst back-to-back numbers for SD! since last year. The 2.8 last week could be attributable to NCAA hoops (or possibly early St. Patty's Day reveling), but the preceding 2.5? Near as I can tell, that just means there were fewer people interested in watching.... even with a deceptively entertaining roster, SD!'s just not doing a whole lot interesting with any of the guys outside of Batista/Taker (and even that story has kind of stalled after seemingly getting off to a pretty cool start). 
    Then, there's the case of this past Monday's RAW, which drew a 3.7 rating. Monday's 3.7 is:
    (1) Tied for the lowest RAW rating of the year with the Jan. 8 edition of the show. [Note: Jan. 8 was the night of the BCS National Championship game, head-to-head with RAW.]
    (2) Not up against any significant competition. Just your standard Monday night programming, the same as it has been since January. [Exception: well there is that new show "The Riches" on FX on Mondays, which I'll tentatively endorse to you, OO Nation. The pilot episode was, well, "pilot-y"; a bit ham-handed and bludgeoning. But the second episode was freaking hilarious, an effortlessly amusing 60-plus minutes of A-plus TV, and portends a bright future for the show. Provided it doesn't get cancelled because blatant Hunter S. Thompson rip-offs are too abrasive for TV and 9-year-old transvestites are too creepy for most people.]
    (3) The worst rating since 2003 for an edition of RAW airing in the corridor between No Way Out and WrestleMania. In other words, the lowest rated "Road to WrestleMania" episode in four years. [Note: in 2003, WM only drew 600,000 buys, a distressingly low figure. Since then, WM has scored 900,000 or more buys each year.]
    There is, really, no good way to spin Monday's rating, and it becomes doubly troublesome for WWE because this is supposed to be the time of the year when RAW turns into a run-away freight train in terms of momentum. Instead: I thought RAW was cruising along amazingly well the past 2 months or so.... until last week. That was kind of a "water tread-y" show, but what it lacked in substance, it made up for in style, which a fun, fluffy Trump/Austin climax, a cameo by the Rock, and what not. This past Monday, however, there were no special appearances or cameos (well, other than two of them by JBL, and in neither did he wrestle, as advertised), so not only was the show water-tread-y, but it was water-tread-y without the benefit of any extra sizzle to distract you from the fact that nothing new or interesting was happening. FYI: Eugene getting a hair cut does *not* count as "interesting."
    It's almost like the Writer Monkeys busted their asses to get all their WrestleMania ducks in a row a little earlier than usual this year, but now they're left with 2-3 weeks before the big show, and they're back to being as clueless as ever when it comes to generating ideas to fill up the time. *MY* ideas would probably start with FUCKING DOING SOMETHING BETWEEN CENA AND MICHAELS ALREADY! I know ambiguity is good, but there's a difference between ambiguity and repetition, and it seems like every segment between those two has ended the same way for the past 74 billion years. It's the curse of Cena, when it comes to putting him in the ring with anybody but the strongest of heels: it seems WWE gets complacent (or scared), and just decides to skate by on the fact that there WILL be a crowd response because Cena is the most polarizing main eventer in recent memory. Instead of, you know, defining his character in any significant way or trying to tell a story. Ah well.
    Credit for one bit of particular cleverness on Monday: after a week of word spreading about Edge being injured, the Money in the Bank "Buy Back" Battle Royale was a nice red herring. Probably more than a few internet-reading wonks thought they were really gonna have to write Edge out of WM23.... and when it turned out to not be the case, it probably meant more than a few noses were out of joint. Crafty. 
    Whatever good was done by that diabolical bit of booking was more than undone by the sheer awfulness of the Shitty Full Nelson Challenge segment. As long as it dragged on, I don't know whether to joke that WWE took 5 minutes to accomplish something that should have been done in 30 seconds. Or if I should take the wider view and joke that it took WWE two-and-a-half years to accomplish something that should have been done in 30 seconds.  The Shitty Full Nelson has finally been broken!!!! Now can we finally send Chris F. Masters back to OVW?
    In response to the flagging momentum, WWE at least seems ready to deliver the goods next Monday on the last RAW before WM23. A reprise of Cena/Michaels vs. Taker/Batista, some kind of zany Vince vs. Lashley Sports Entertainment Segment, and presumably an Austin cameo (at the very least), and you shouldn't have to worry about another 3.7 rating. I don't think....
    Also: ECW on Tuesday did a 1.6, which means that at least they aren't totally bottoming out, anymore, not even in weeks when there is no stunt casting. Highlight of ECW this week: a video package announcing the Sheik being inducted into the Hall of Fame. [The Wild Samoans and Jim Ross should round out this year's class, unless for some reason the late addition of the Sheik means JR's gotta wait another year.]
    For the time being, WSX remains cancelled (though it is now in reruns on MTV2) and there is not yet a rating available for last night's TNA Impact. [Last week's Impact did a 1.1, which is basically business as usual for them, but is KINDA remarkable given that it came up against the first round NCAA Tourney games. Then again, the Thursday NCAA games were all boring as shit, so maybe it's not so surprising, afterall.]
  • Since we're kind of looking at all of the news today through the filter of "what's it mean for WrestleMania," I figure I'll pass along a HUGE bit of positive info for WWE on that front. And I say "huge," I mean YOOOOOOOOOGE.
    Donald Trump has been booked as the lead guest on Letterman next Friday, 3/30. In recent radio/TV interviews, Trump has, admittedly, sometimes forgotten the names and dates of WWE related persons and events.... but he's also been good about mentioning his involvement in WrestleMania, and has had this endearingly old school manner about him where he steadfastly refuses to admit that pro wrestling is anything but 100% real.
    WWE getting some hype on the last Letterman before WM is a pretty big deal, especially since they couldn't manage to get any of their other stars booked on any other TV talk shows next week. At least, not that I know of, so far, and this happens to be one of the few things where I have a better inside track on info than some of your other "wrestling journalists."  Austin sneaking in as a late addition to Conan or something like that could still happen, I guess, but he's really just about the only other WWE alternative at this point, in terms of being "big" enough to warrant a guest spot, so it looks like it's all up to The Donald to sell a few PPVs....
  • WWE has also confirmed that, after a month of begging and groveling, they've convinced USA Network to broadcast a condensed version of the Hall of Fame ceremonies next weekend. A roughly one-hour version (probably more like 65-70 minutes, just like last year) of the festivities will air on USA at midnight on Saturday night. A replay may be worked into USA's Sunday afternoon/early evening line-up, as well.
    At present, I don't know if WWE plans to simulcast the entire 3-plus hour event live on their website (as they did last year) or if they'll just make you wait till early May to pick up the Expanded WrestleMania DVD (which will include the ceremony in its entirety).
    If you're looking at the HoF Class of 2007, and kinda wondering who stands out above the rest as deserving the "headline" spot (as Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart have received in recent years), you wouldn't be alone. This is a class of guys who I guess I know, intellectually, are all deserving, but that doesn't mean that me (or fans of my age, plus or minus five years) really give a flying crap about Nick Bockwinkel. It's not a particularly "sexy" class of inductees, and of what we got, I think "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig might be the only guy I have any real fond first-hand memories of.
    However, it appears WWE has made its choice as to who will be headlining the HoF Class of 2007, and it'll be Jerry "the King" Lawler. As an announcer: bleh. But as a wrestler whose career happened entirely before I was cognizant of his existence: it's probably more than deserved. How do we know Lawler's been tapped for the top spot? Because, WWE has shelled out to get William Shatner to come and give Jerry's induction speech. 
    I don't fricking care if Lawler's first 3 choices all got vetoed by Noted Fuckit Kevin Dunn, and I don't care if Shatner's "WWF Career" consisted of one whole night of TV tapings in which he beat up Lawler. It's Captain Freaking Kirk, people! And the fact that I still remember the night on Conan when Shatner could even remember the name "Captain Kirk" means that I can see Shatner trying to fake his way through some obligatory wrestling function where he has no business remembering any details turning into an utterly hilarious Shatnerian train wreck! This is gonna be sweet TV.
    Also: based on his one-night-only WWF history, Shatner's presence means that when Yokozuna is inducted into the Hall of Fame, there will be only one logical man to give his speech. Chuck Norris, baby! Don't pretend like you don't remember Survivor Series 1994! Even if you wish you didn't, you still do!
    You can also probably start banking on Mr. Perfect's induction being the other "anchor" of the televised portion of the show. WWE is going to announce Wade Boggs will be Hennig's inductor, as the two were friends, and Boggs was involved in several of the "Perfect" vignettes. Eh, not a bad choice. I guess they were close enough that Boggs will at least have some good, personal stories (which I doubt Shatner will have). And Flair's probably the best "in-house" choice for an inductor, but I think he might still be in hot water for his booze-inspired, heavily-edited induction speech for Roddy Piper 2 years ago. Heh.
    We also know for certain that "Magnificent" Don Muraco will induct Mr. Fuji into the HoF, and that WWE intends to make public the other "inductors" over the course of the next week, probably with most of them being less glitzy than Shatner/Boggs. Like Sabu (maybe with RVD, so as to ensure that Sabu doesn't have to totally tank his "aura" by speaking at length for 10-15 minutes) inducting the Sheik.
  • Speaking of celebrities, I believe it is a done deal that Aretha Franklin will open WrestleMania 23 with "America the Beautiful," just as she did 20 years ago in Detroit at WM3. A very nice touch, and a better choice, I cannot imagine.
    I believe the Urban Legend is that Aretha got to WM3 about 10 minutes before showtime in 1987, due to the unexpected crush of traffic around the SilverDome. Soundchecks? The First Lady of Soul don't need no steenking soundchecks! I don't anticipate WWE letting the same debacle happen again this year. And I also don't anticipate me hearing Aretha's name and thinking "Cool, she's the lady that sings Freeway of Love!" like I did back when I was a stupid, uneducated little 11 year old philistine.
    I've also heard some people saying that WWE is trying to get Ludicris to perform at WM23. Why, and to what purpose? Damn fine questions in my book. I fear the answer(s) may basically boil down to "So Entertainment Tonight will talk about us."
  • Sick of hearing about WrestleMania 23? Well, how about WRESTLEMANIA 24??!?!
    WWE has announced that WM24 will take place next year in Orlando, FL, at the Citrus Bowl (a decrepit 60,000 seat outdoor stadium in such disrepair that a third-string Florida football program recently opted out of their arrangement to play home games there in order to move into a smaller, newer facility). This will be the second outdoor WrestleMania (the other was in Vegas in 1993).
    Weather in Florida is generally not a problem this time of year (how many spring training baseball games can you think of that get rained out in a given year?)... and even if there are issues there? Well, the NFL just made 80,000 people sit out in the rain for the Super Bowl this year, and being a wrestling fan doesn't make you special. Cut a head-hole in a garbage bag (enterprising entrepreneurs will no doubt be selling Heftys for $3 each in case of such an event) and deal, Sally. If anything, I think that'd be kinda cool.... then again, I consider all football teams who play in Domes to be pussies, and have been on record for years saying that the antiseptic nature of "domed" Super Bowls gets on my nerves, too.
    In announcing the decision, WWE said it was made easier by the fact that Orlando is the first venue to openly campaign for the event since Donald Trump sought to bring WM4 to Atlantic City in 1989. By moving WM up a week on the calendar (to March 24, I believe), WWE has hopes of structuring an entire week of events around the WM PPV, drawing on the fact that this time of year has tens of thousands of visitors in Florida for Spring Break and Spring Training Baseball. In addition to FanFest type events, WWE has already decided that they'd like to run the 2008 Hall of Fame at the 15,000-seat Orlando Arena (or whatever Corporately Sponsored Name it has, now), a far cry from running the event in 3000 seat theatres, as they have the past several years.
    A quick check reveals that the current attendance record for the Citrus Bowl is around 72,000 (with the addition of temporary bleachers). One would assume WWE would, even with elaborate staging blocking some seats, be able to crush that figure by adding not only all manner of temporary bleachers, but also seating on the field. Though we bitch and moan and mock WWE's creative direction, the fact is that they've got the marketing machine well oiled enough that whatever line-up they serve up should be enough to break the Citrus Bowl attendance record and deliver a legit sell-out.
    I seriously doubt we've got another LA Coliseum/WM7 debacle in the making here....
  • A few readers have written in to say that the recently released "Royal Rumble Anthology" is significantly less fucked-with versus the previous WrestleMania Anthology DVD box set. Essentially: a lot less work has gone into blurring/bleeping instances of the WWF logo or the initials "WWF" in commentary/promos.
    I believe (if I'm remembering my small print from last year's WWE Annual Report correctly), this stems from a ruling made in England in which WWE regained the HISTORICAL and archival use of the "WWF" initials/name, because they were able to show that altering their entire video library was a virtual impossibility, and the court finally decided to show some mercy on them.  I'm sure this caused all the tree huggers at the other WWF to get their unwashed hemp underpanties in a bunch, but who cares? It's like a wise associate of mine once wrote: "Those wildlife assholes really just need to get their dicks outta the pandas and their heads back into reality, where they can discover that Vince McMahon has nothing to do with them." Five years later, and the loss of "The F" still strikes me as one of the most retarded legal rulings in the history of time and space....
    Anyway: look for less obtrusive blurring/bleeping in other future WWF/E archival video clips/releases, too. That's a good thing.
  • If you're wondering what happened to Vickie Guerrero's promise of some sort of major announcement, well: the deal is that she was going to take over as SmackDown! General Manager (with Teddy Long returning to a managerial capacity; one guy I talked to was giddy over the prospects of Teddy becoming Lashley's mouthpiece for a bit until the big guy gets more comfortable and charismatic, and I gotta admit, I was nodding in agreement at the mental image).
    That might be on hold, as somebody realized that Chavo Guerrero's WWE contract expires in a couple of months, and nobody's clear on what his intentions are, yet. With TNA recently signing Hector Guerrero, some of the higher-ups at WWE might have taken that as a red flag, and are sandbagging with Vickie until they get what they want out of Chavo. [Note: Chavo is the Cruiserweight champ, but jobs to Jimmy Wayne Yang in a non-title match tonight on SD!, and isn't currently slotted for a spot on the main WM23 card.]
    Granted, this is mostly speculation (albeit from somebody who I trust to be informed enough to not totally be making shit up), but if Vickie has somehow become little more than a bargaining chip between WWE and Chavo, that kinda blows. No matter how annoyed I might get that WWE carts her out on TV to perform (usually not very convincingly) under the guise of "We're doing this to help her make money and support Eddie's kids" (when simple logic tells me that they could produce an Eddie DVD or issue a new t-shirt, and promise Vickie all the proceeds, and she'd probably make more money off that than off of 4 months worth of awkward skits with Chris Benoit), it would blow for things to have degenerated to that level of pettiness.
  • Lilian Garcia missed RAW again this week (second time in 4 weeks), this time due to a skiing injury. She will be recovered in time for WrestleMania. And in time for the much more significant event the next night, when she next visits Dayton, OH, (for RAW taping). 
    No more skiing for you, Lilian. In fact, nothing more strenuous than going shopping for a Rick-pleasing ensemble for April 2, please. Something back-less always works for me, honey. 
  • Sabu was late to TV tapings on Tuesday, as he got separated from his luggage by the airlines (that's why he wrestled in Daivari's ring gear on ECW that night). Of course, this just serves to feed the notion that WWE is upset with Sabu, and that he'll be joining several other "ECW Originals" in the unemployment line by summer.
    Well, Dreamer will be kept around in a non-wrestling, front office capacity, and there are still a TON of people that would like to lure RVD into a contract extension (Board-Certified Megatard Johnny Ace isn't one of them, however)... but regardless of how hard they are pushing with the Originals vs. New Breed story now, a lot of people still anticipate a far-reaching "New Breed" make-over is coming sooner rather than later.
  • Lastly, Goldberg recently conducted an interview in which he basically said the only thing keeping him from TNA is money. He says he'd love to go and save the company, but if he's going to be the one putting asses in seats, then he should be the one getting paid the most. But TNA won't pony up the dough to make it happen.
    Umm, Billy? Tell you what: I'll meet your bafflingly unfounded self-aggrandizing bravado halfway, and say that you can deserve to be paid what you want AFTER you prove you can put some asses in the seats. Because your ability to do so in the past is a matter of some dispute, and your ability to do so now, five years after your last relevance to the wrestling business, is even more questionable.
    Then again: forget I even extended that offer. I don't want to see you in TNA. Because I know those twits would just end up wanting to put you against Steiner, and the mere thought of those promos makes my brain hurt. One man speaking entirely in marble-mouthed moonman tongues, and the other using the word "ass" as a noun, verb, adjective, gerund, and preposition (all in a single sentence). That might set records for the least literate 5 minutes on TV ever.
  • I'm done for this week, folks. Remember, I'm still collecting and grading your assignments regarding WWE PPV Philosophy. If you missed the homework (and the associated study guides and helpful charts) due to spring break or St. Patty's Day or NCAA hoops or whatever last weekend, please go back and read my Previous Column, and get cracking! A full 80% of your semester's grade depends on this project!
    I'll see you again next week as OO (and all of us) gear up for the final Countdown to WrestleMania, 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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