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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
Ratings, Orton, Hogan, Other News... plus,
"Insubordination is Cool!"
April 20, 2007

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

Everybody out there celebrating 4/20, man? Dude, I sure hope not. It'd sure be a bummer to think that OO is frequented by Damned Filthy Hippies!

Begone, hippies! Back to mustering up the last dregs of your waning libido to masturbate to the centerfold of weed in High Times with you!
 

Today'll be a much beloved OO Tradition... the return of the Column In Two Parts. Which, as you all know is secret code for "There isn't enough news to milk a column out of that, and I couldn't pad out an opinion piece to be long enough to stand on its own, either."

Still, IT'S A TRADITION, DAMMIT! So we'll cover what passes for the news

of the day, and then it's my long-awaited defense of Carlito's recent behaviors that have gotten him in so much trouble with some WWE higher-ups.

Enjoy.

THE WEEKEND NEWSBITES

  • One of the trademarks of the post-WrestleMania "season" is that WWE usually calls up some developmental talents to debut on TV, or otherwise make it feel like a "fresh start" after WM.
     
    Brock Lesnar debuted the night after WM. Goldberg was brought in the night after WM. Perhaps not the best of examples, considering the way they both left the company in ignomy right after yet another WM... but you get the idea. Hell, even last year, Umaga debuted the night after WM22, and after a rocky start, he wound up having quite the productive year.
     
    So who gets the "call-up" this year? Well, as of Monday's RAW from Milan, it's apparently developmental Anthony Carelli, who was last seen by wrestling fans impersonating a Russian (Boris Alexiev), and who now claims to be a native of Milan, who just so happened to be a fan in the audience back on Monday. And who just so happened to win the IC Title from Umaga, thanks to interference by Bobby Lashely.
     
    Huh.
     
    My initial gut reaction? "This is a good thing, because it's certainly a fresh and surprising way to intro a new character, and also, they really needed to get the IC belt off Umaga." Now, Umaga can focus on ECW, where he would fit in great and be able to have killer brawls with Lashley if they ever decide to let ECW be, periodically, Extreme.
     
    My secondary reaction? "But I don't seem to remember Boris Alexiev being all that good. So why would they pick him for the big post-WM debut-and-push?"... and that's when I had a tertiary idea: because RAW next week is in London. And if we're going to have an American who is known for portraying a Russian pretend to be from Italy just to pop a live crowd, then I vote for having a born-and-bred Canadian trade on his father's heritage to pop the live crowd on Monday night in London.  That's right, I'm suggesting WWE bust out Harry Smith's long-awaited debut, and I'm suggesting *he* be the beneficiary of the REAL post-Mania debut-and-push as the new IC Champ.
     
    Then Smith should have plenty of sizzle to get him through the summer, while "Santino Marella" can either fade into the background, or go back to being Russian, or whatever they want to do with the guy. With all due respect, Smith's real-life legacy as Davey Boy Smith's son will translate really well to the average wrestling fan, while all "Marella" has is a fake last name that seems to imply he might be related to Gorilla (Gino Marella) Monsoon.
     
    Just a thought.
     
    The rest of the Milan RAW was... I dunno, it was pretty much downhill from the surprising open angle, I thought. A dearth of quality in-ring action, a plethora of time-filling fluff (because if you only visit Italy once per year, apparently you are obligated to shoehorn all the divas into one single pointless segment), and the only real fun part was how John Cena was savagely booed.
     
    I mean SAVAGELY. I don't think he's been treated that crassly since last year's One Night Stand PPV. For whatever reason: I gets me a kick out of that. You must be exuding some sort of natural facepunchability if you can convince an arena full of people to actually cheer for Randy freaking Orton.
     
    Of course, the fun of the main event with Cena vs. Edge/Orton was ruined when Superman managed to win the match despite what was eventually a 3-on-1 disadvantage (once Michaels came out and interfered). So annoying. Even back in the day, Hogan seemed to get the piss beat out of him in order to set up fans caring when he did the Superman Act on PPV 4 times per year. Cena supermanning 4 times per month goes beyond annoying to just-plain-boring. To me, anyway.
     
    Cena has now, effectively, won a match in which all 3 of his Backlash PPV opponents were involved against him. That means the Cena win at Backlash is significantly less special or satisfying, since it already happened. Unless, against all odds, somebody's decided that this will be the PPV where Cena loses the belt. [Like that'll ever happen....]
     
    Anyway, those overseas shows are sometimes odd birds in terms of WWE's ability to give those live fans something special while still trying to deliver the standard TV product back to the weekly viewers in the US. The balance tends to shift towards the fluffery and the local flavor, moreso than the aggressive focus on on-going storylines, and I think that's exactly what we saw on Monday: a surprising opening angle that came out of nowhere, and is likely a short-term throwaway gimmick to please the Italian fans who've never had a live RAW before... followed by somebody thinking it was a good idea to craft a show in which the longest and best wrestling match of the night was Jeff Hardy randomly paired up against Lance Cade.
     
    We'll see if WWE gets it back on track in London, where the fans all speak some mutant English dialect, and are a bit more used to getting TV events, so WWE might not have to pander to them as much as they focus on selling the Backlash line-up....
     
  • The rating for Monday was a 3.7, which is down another two ticks from the week before, and continues WWE's overriding trend of disappointing ratings since mid-March (in other words: as soon as WWE hit the homestretch for WrestleMania, ratings went south).
     
    RAW's average rating for the past 5 weeks has been a 3.85, as compared to a 4.25 for the same 5 week period last year.
     
    The rating for last week's SmackDown! was a 2.5, which I think might be a year-to-date low for the show (after the program had celebrated its best month ever since moving to Firday nights back in February)..
     
    Even ECW got into the act this week, as Tuesday's show scored a 1.5, down sharply from its recent average of 1.7.
     
    I wish I could say something profound about these trends, but the simple fact is that you can look back, and both WWE's main brands came roaring out of the gate pretty strong to start the new year, but inexplicably sputtered starting about a month before WM23. My guess is that this is simply a case of fans noticing the decline in show quality, and zoning out.
     
    Of course, this does not apply in ECW case, as nobody was really watching the show in January, and now, nobody's still watching it.
     
  • A potentially developing story: Randy Orton was sent home from the European tour yesterday.
     
    At the present time, there are two stories being floated. One is that this was related to an illness, and it was thought to be best for Randy to get home. The other is that he was sent home for disciplinary reasons.
     
    If you know anything about OO, you know which of the two stories we'll tend to believe. Because (1) if you've got a stomach virus and all the explosive emissions that go along with it, the most first thing you want to do is hop on an 8 hour trans-Atlantic plane ride. And (2) we do know that Randall The Wonder Douche spent 90 days being suspended in 2006, so it's only logical to assume he decided he was behind schedule so far in 2007.
     
    We'll have more on this, and whether or not it's a big enough deal that it'll affect WWE's plans to have Orton in the Backlash PPV main event in 10 days, in a column next week.
     
  • After a week of ticket sales for the "super indie" show in Memphis, TN -- where Hulk Hogan will face the Big Show -- fewer than 2000 tickets have been sold.
     
    Original estimates for the planned Hogan vs. Lawler match were that they could do in the neighborhood of 8000-10000 paid. The combination of low ticket sale so far and low ratings for the TV show that hyped the change to the main event have got to be troublesome, as it'll now take a miracle to reach even half of the original projections.
     
    The word is that the show should still be able to make money, as Hogan accepted a surprisingly miniscule guaranteed payment, in exchange for the chance to tape the show for his VH-1 program. 
     
    Additionally, some higher-ticket performers that they'd hoped would be on loan from WWE are now not available, as WWE is pulling all their workers from Memphis bookings as kind of a "screw you" to Hogan. They are not even allowing Lawler to work the big show next week (in a match not against Hogan), on the grounds that VH-1 cameras will be there. Obviously, this only further reduces the appeal of the show to a Memphis audience.
     
    It's kind of a silly bit of posturing and posing, but nobody ever said that Vince McMahon and Hulk Hogan were known for their level-headed maturity. 
     
    At the present time, it also appears that as a "screw you" back to Vince, Hogan will at least take a meeting with TNA officials while he's in Tennessee that weekend.
     
    If anything comes of that, I'd think the *real* story might end up being what becomes of Paul "Big Show" Wight... he left WWE on good terms, and accepting this Memphis booking as a favor to his friend, Hogan. It'd be interesting to see if his allegiance to Hogan extends far enough that he'd follow Hogan to TNA, and essentially piss away his existing in-ring legacy and chances to do movies with WWE films and all that goes along with being tacitly connected to WWE... if it's a deal where "As Hogan goes, so goes Show," I know which one of the two would have the bigger long term impact on TNA. And it's not Hogan.
     
    By some accounts, Show has lost 60 lbs., which puts him  little over halfway to where he wanted to be before entertaining an in-ring return... put who knows what the requirements of being a part of Hulk Hogan's vendetta against Vince McMahon will mean for the guy?
     
    Anyway, with less than 2000 tickets sold for next Friday's big Memphis show, there are -- as they say -- plenty of good seats available. About 16,000 of them, by my guess. Go nuts, folks: if nothing else, this is one of those odd shows (a planned WM23 match as the main event, but supported by what could be truly, truly horrible awfulness in the form of matches involving Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake) that I'd love to get some first hand reports from.
     
  • In a development that can only be called "a surprise to no one," WWE severed its ties with Deep South Wrestling, and as a result, DSW is out of business since there's no way it could remain financially viable without a roster of performers getting paid by WWE.
     
    Almost before DSW opened its doors in Atlanta, the whole operation seemed snake-bitten by poor-planning and in-fighting. Much of the past 2 years have been spent with on-going rumors that WWE was "thisclose" to severing the relationship... instead, DSW managed to keep hanging on by  thread, by having WWE regularly change their bookers/trainers in hopes of turning things around. Sadly, no matter who WWE sent down, they still butted heads with Jody Hamilton, who owned DSW on paper, despite it essentially having no value outside of its WWE affiliation.
     
    After 2 years of subpar deliverables and differences in vision, Johnny Ace and Simon Dean pulled the plug on DSW this week, and Hamilton wasted no time officially shutting down the company afterwards. At present time, the plan is for all WWE-affiliated personnel to be retained and relocated to other training facilities. Obviously, OVW continues to be WWE's top-level developmental, but the company has also re-opened a relationship with UPW in California, and may make increased use of Booker T's school/promotion in Texas.
     
  • Just a few quick TNA notes....
     
    Coming off of last Sunday's PPV, we're looking at Sting vs. Christian headlining the next PPV... all signs point to the Lockdown 10-man main event (in which Sting won to earn the title shot) was the highlight of an otherwise spotty show. Once again, the "all cage matches" gimmick seemed to create more problems than it solved, especially in the form a pretty silly "electrified cage match" between the Dudleys and LAX.
     
    "Fire Russo" chants were once again abundant, but once again were missing the point. A large majority of the stuff that TNA Wankers are upset with these days comes straight from the brain of Jeff Jarrett's own personal Johnny Ace, Dutch Mantell... Russo doesn't have all that much say in it.
     
    Jarrett's timing in returning to TV has also got some people wondering, as he's dealing with a very serious personal matter, and has been incredibly distracted lately, and has been arriving at PPVs/TV tapings late and leaving early to fly home. It's not that anybody is upset or is not understanding, it's just that the timing of Jarrett's return-to-TV could probably have been delayed and he'd be in a lot better mental state....
     
    But apparently, Jarrett is needed on TV, as TNA ran a planned angle this week that will result in Abyss being absent for a month or two, leading up to a huge babyface return. TNA has been pretty clever about cycling guys in and out, and it might have just been Jarrett's turn to cycle in while they "rest" the Abyss character.
     
    Finally: Austin Starr has been suspended by TNA for 90 days. His crime: being kind of a dick, and also not being popular enough that he becomes inexpendable. As a fringe/undercard player, Starr's attitude was deemed "not worth the hassle."
     
    Which is as good a place as any to wrap up the Newsbites section, and move onto an OOpinionated Rant about when a little attitude is completely appropriate, and when a company is best served to cope with it.... 

OOPINON: INSUBORDINATION IS COOL

So, in the week leading up to WrestleMania, Carlito was called into duty as Randy Orton's designated replacement for a bunch of interviews and media appearances. This was because Orton's name had recently been widely circulated as part of the on-going steroid scandal being investigated by Sports Illustrated, and WWE didn't want a noted dimwit like Orton having to try to answer questions about that controversy.

So, they sent Carlito out to hype WM23. Despite the fact that Carlito was not scheduled to perform at WM23. 

In what should be a shock to no one, some more intelligent reporters decided that'd make a good question: "Hey, Carlito, how's it feel to be out hyping WrestleMania when you're not even wrestling on it?"... and the answer was that Carlito thought it sucked, that he considered it "disrespectful" on the part of WWE to leave him off the card while -- and he called these matches out specifically -- the Great Khali and Diva Search Ashley got spots on the show. He made it clear that his anecdotal evidence was that fans didn't really care to see either of those two, but always seem to enjoy watching Carlito.
 
In the same interview, he also said it was stupid for WWE to be booking him as a babyface and that he hates working that style.

Needless to say, this got Carlito in some pretty big trouble. He was already dealing with some political heat because of a perceived lack of dedication and work ethic, and now, he's bad mouthing WWE in the media in the week leading up to the biggest show of the year. Granted, in that interview, he also tried once or twice to smooth things over and backtrack, going so far as to say "I don't want to get fired, or anything." But you wouldn't know it from some of the things he let slip out....
 
And more than a few within the WWE power structure would have been happy to oblige Carlito, and fire him on the spot for his seemingly on-going attitude problem. But then that didn't happen. Carlito even got to wrestle a pre-show dark match at WM23, and won (though I gather that tag match was more done as a gesture to Carlito's partner, Ric Flair, who was also upset about being left off the show). 
 
Why the lenience? Well, in my heart of hearts, I'd like to think it means that the less-vocal, less-sycophantic minority within WWE's power structure is speaking up and trying to point out that maybe Carlito's right about most of the things he said.
 
But more likely, it's just a simple matter of dollars and cents (the same thing that does NOT exist when TNA decides it can easily discipline curtain jerker Austin Starr). No matter what personality clashes exist, Carlito's still scary-good at what he does, he still has stronger fan reactions than the vast majority of the WWE roster, and firing him would be gift-wrapping another top star for TNA. Carlito's probably still got his job just for those selfish reasons; afterall, WWE can always try sticking him on Heat for 3 months, and see if he still gets fan reactions after that! And if not, THEN they can fire Attitude Boy and feel a little bit better about it.
 
Sadly, that thought process is yet another case of WWE's Institutional Retardation. But after I pondered it for a while, I decided it's also a symptom of WWE's Institutional Mandate For Mediocrity (which we talked about over a year ago in one of my more favorite columns).
 
To summarize for those who don't want to go back and get up to speed on a true Rick Classic, the short version is that WWE has created a culture in which -- through horribly over-writing their shows to rob intelligent and charismatic performers of the chance to shine, and through limited movesets and making even the most proficient in-ring workers use the generic "WWE style" -- all performers are seen as equal in the eyes of many fans. The problem is, they're only creating an environment in which they are all equally mediocre and forgettable.

To bring that thesis up to the present issue, I opine that a guy like Carlito intimidates the hell out of a lot of people in WWE. He's ultra-good at what he does, and he does it effortlessly. All while WWE retains more than a few people (be it in management, creative, and of course, on the active roster) who have to bust their ass and work their hardest to to approximate mere competence. To somebody who finds it really, really hard to turn out work that is barely acceptable, there is nothing scarier than being confronted by somebody who does his job, does it great, and doesn't appear to be having to try very hard to do it.
 
In "WWE Think," the solution isn't to change the culture and to start stockpiling Excellence. It's to browbeat your few truly excellent employees until they stop being excellent and showing up everybody else. It's to get them to do it "The WWE Way," so that they no longer show off any of that unique spark that gets them noticed and which makes performing such fun. Or, failing that, it's to make showing up for work enough of a chore that they get pissy and just decide to leave the company.

So far, WWE has tried to tell Carlito that he's lazy, that he doesn't work hard enough, and that he shouldn't be loitering around catering shmoozing when he OUGHT to be glued to a monitor watching the latest Chris F. Masters match or Vince McMahon cock-related skit. They even turned it into a brief TV angle between Ric Flair and Carlito in the hopes that somehow the "ritual humiliation" of being outted on national TV would cow him into being more humble and subservient. Apparently, this didn't really work, and Carlito still doesn't quite understand what he's going to learn about ringwork from watching Chris Masters or what he'll learn about storytelling by staying glued to whatever C-grade tripe is churned out by WWE's c-grade fine arts school graduates.

I, for one, don't blame the guy. WWE's attempts to "motivate" Carlito to "show more respect" and do things the "WWE way" or whatever is pretty much the same thing as somebody asking me to religiously read every precious word coming out of Dave Meltzer's keyboard so that I can learn more about how to really write the correct way. Objectively, it's just a stupid and pointless thing to ask me to do. And on a personal level, I'd probably feel annoyed and insulted that you'd even ask, and start acting like an even bigger asshole than usual, simply out of spite.

Carlito's controversial interview only strengthens my opinion that he's probably a more naturally perceptive student of Sports Entertainment than the vast majority of people making decisions for WWE. Shitting on the Khali and Ashley matches may have been kind of a dick thing to do, but it doesn't change the fact that he's right. I'm not saying there's anything inherently noble about acting like a dick if it can be avoided, but I'm always ready to grant leeway to the rare dickhead who is a capable dickhead who happens to be right. And going back to the example above: I also totally understand if Carlito just feels kind of insulted by the whole ordeal, and is acting this way out of kneejerk spite.

WWE doesn't see it that way, though. Instead of valuing Carlito's input, instead of giving him the freedom to contribute more, and instead of creating an environment where he's surrounded by other excellence and actually might feel motivated to do something other than act like an asshole, what's WWE do? They get all defensive, and make sure the handcuffs stay firmly in place so that Carlito (and guys like him, as there are more) don't really get to shine, and don't get to make boobs such as Khali look any less coordinated or less charismatic than they already do.

It amounts to WWE using phrases like "respecting the business" and "doing things the right way" to hide behind the fact that all they really want out of today's talent is "don't show me up by being noticeably better than everybody else." It's an easy way for the borderline-competent to feel better about themselves -- no matter which part of the business they are in -- to create their own decision heuristics that have nothing to do with isolating and nurturing talent and ability. Among wrestlers, this manifests itself in guys like Bob Holly, who are convinced that by sheer nature of tenure, he should somehow be a main eventer, despite said tenure being spent with fans not giving a shit bout him. In the creative department, it means hiring a phalanx of writers so unremarkable that they can't even get work on a shitty sitcom, and lamenting how it takes 12 people working 80 hours a week to do a job that should be relatively fun and easy for somebody who isn't trying to trick the world into thinking the job has mystical and complex elements above and beyond "giving fans stuff they can care about." In the front office, it means being Johnny F. Ace, and basing all your decision on what you think Vince McMahon wants to hear, because you figure if you do that, it doesn't matter who notices you are incompetent, because Vince will like you.

It's not just something that frustrates me as a fan, it's something that is ultimately irresponsible if these people view themselves as guardians of a business that they'd like to leave stronger than it was when they joined it. This culture in which anybody can rise up to reach his or her level of incompetence, and is then permitted to enforce a rule that states "Nobody may be better than me," is simply not healthy.

I realize WWE is far from the only entity around that has this sort of insecure/defensive mentality... and I'd warn that if you ever bump into it elsewhere in your life, you instantly consider it a red flag there, too. Anytime you see the higher-ups talking about "breaking somebody down, and then building them back up OUR way," or "respecting our way of doing things," or anything else that amounts to them trying to make their jobs seem more mysterious and complicated by insinuating that you could never do the job properly without checking your brain at the door and doing what you're told, it's a danger sign. It's not just an indicator of Institutional Insecurity, it's a sign of an institution that -- by definition -- will stagnate, because it becomes impossible to ever churn out a next generation of employees who are anything other than "exactly as good as what we got now." Maybe that's fine for the military, where there are literally life and death implications for a soldier in the field doing EXACTLY what he's been taught and ordered to do, but this isn't a matter of life and death. It's a matter of entertainment and expertise; if Mark Henry gets snuffed out by metaphorical sniper fire because somebody happens to outflank him and beat him to the target, instead of holding back and patiently covering for him like the assclowns in HQ says, trust me, nobody's gonna be too upset.
 
The chances for an institution to evolve and improve disappear the second that the inherently more-gifted are "broken down" and "remade" (or if they are just scared off to find another, more satisfying, place to ply their trade) to meet the low standards of the least common denominators who are already entrenched.

WWE, in the past, has had periods where they've been an evolving institution. In the early 80s, Vince McMahon broke just about every standing rule of promoting wrestling, and had his elders terrified that he'd ruin the business forever. Of course, it turned out that Vince was right, and the business moved forward and grew. Of course, it also turned out that from this point on, Vince was pretty much convinced that his way of doing things was the only right way of doing things, and in less than a decade, the company was stagnating badly, and by 1997 was taking out large loans to avoid bankruptcy.

But at the same time WWF/E was getting that influx of cash, there was also an influx of desperation from another source: from WCW, which had clearly overtaken WWF/E as the #1 wrestling company in the US. This created a new culture in which Vince had to accept the input of others, since what they were already doing was obviously not working.... from that desperation and openness to good ideas came another massive overhaul and an evolution that led to wrestling's most successful years ever, and the creation of the vast majority of stars who would carry the industry for the next decade.

Then all of a sudden, it's 2001, and WWE buys WCW, and has spent six years without a single real competitor. It was OK for a while; sure Vince fumbled the WCW Invasion story out of sheer dunderheadedness, but business was still good, and TV was still consistently watchable for a couple of years. But as the sheer necessity to be a nimble, agile, open-to-change company faded into the past, the lack of competition resulted in the company's top figures fortifying their positions and reverting back to the "my ways are the only ways, and please, nobody smarter or more talented than me is going to be welcome here" philosophy. By 2004, you had a completely remade creative team, you had top lieutenants like Jim Ross and Pat Patterson being phased out for being ornery sumbitches with opinions of their own, and you started to see the outflux of bankable talents (like Jericho, Christian, etc.) who simply stopped getting gratification from performing in an environment that had suddenly started this radical new Mediocrity Fetish.

And that's where we stand today. With WWE hiding behind all sorts of cliches and defensive insistence on everybody having to do things "the WWE Way" if they're ever going to be any good... which simply isn't the case when you have a roster full of guys with talent levels that vary wildly between where Carlito is at, and where Gene Snitsky is at.

However, instead of trying to seek out, hire, and encourage that effortless kind of talent while shedding the deadweight, WWE gets upset with those who dare to be more capable than average, and tries to embarrass them with pointlessly petty storylines on TV, and even toys with firing them.

But ultimately, they can't do that. They'll keep trying to browbeat him into mediocrity, and he might willingly leave the next time he has a contractual opportunity to do so. But they won't fire him. Nope, they'll keep running him out there to milk every easily-milked penny they can out of him, all while telling him that he sucks and that he's doing it all wrong.

Obviously, Carlito's recent Civil Disobedience and the trouble it stirred up backstage at WWE is the main inspiration for this piece, but he's far from the only one who is kind of in the same boat. Although most of WWE's more talented performers are willing to suffer silently, we cannot dismiss the Case of Rob Van Dam, who's star power and bankability is undeniable, but who has also done things like pretty much call Johnny Ace an inept buffoon in front of anybody who wants to listen. So with RVD's contract expiring this summer, guess why RVD has yet to be negotiated with in good faith by WWE? Not because there's any question about his talent and ability, but because he happens to know he's talented and able in a company where he's surrounded by retards.

In RVD's case, Ace's sandbagging is being offset by a concerted effort from an increasingly-vocal Shane McMahon, who thinks it'd be stupid to let a top star leave for something that petty... and maybe some day, Carlito will be the beneficiary of the same sort of politicking (or maybe he already has?). But it's still gonna take a lot more than a small minority of progressively-minded and intelligent folks to change a corporate culture that has been so effectively constructed by those who are most directly involved in crafting the product we ultimately see on TV.

I don't know how much influence I could possibly have, but I know as far as WWE employees reading OO, it's not zero. So maybe my closing wish is that -- in the absence of competition from the outside -- somehow we foment controversy and competition on the INSIDE of the company. Encourage a vocal minority to speak out. Encourage guys like Carlito to not buy into the "doing things our way" bullshit. The whole nine. 
 
The goal, obviously, is not to create a sort of corporate bloodbath that ends in massive firings because the Fortified Regime of Mediocrity has the power to do so; that'd be counter-productive.... the goal is to take things just far enough to at least force a Genuine Debate, and to get new ideas out there on the table (quite possibly for the first time in 3 years or longer) and discussed in a meaningful way.

Long live ability, intelligence, and effortless displays of genuine talent! Down with mediocrity, insecurity, and trying to make yourself look better by convincing people your job is more difficult and complex than it actually is.

Then again, keep in mind that the ONLY TIME I ever got in any trouble in high school (the only "demerits" I ever got in four years, actually), was when two friends and I used a Top Ten List to take a veiled shot at our incompetent new principal during our senior year. We were all given one day suspensions for "insubordination." It was, in fact, the only real trouble ANY of us had ever gotten into, as our trio included the class valedictorian (not me) and two other smart guys, all of whom  now hold at least one post-graduate degree. In fact, I'm pretty sure we were all so valued as Smart Guys that none of us had to pay for said graduate degrees, either (I know I actually got paid to get mine)..

Anyway, when our parents heard about Attitude Problems, they just thought it was funny as hell, and so the three of us got to spend our "suspension" day screwing around and going to the movies. The principal? Fired after two years.

Winner: us.

Needless to say, the lesson that Insubordination is Cool was instilled in me at a very young age. Your mileage may vary, but it's my long standing belief that if you're smart, able, and right most of the time, you really don't have to put up with any bullshit from people who tend more towards dumb, incompetent, and wrong. My own damned opinion, anyway....


  
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Bonding Exercises
 
RAW RECAP: The New Guy Blows It
 
PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: 18 Seconds? NO! NO! NO!
 
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
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Backfired!
 
RAW RECAP: Bigger IS Better
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Hitting with Two Strikes
 
RAW RECAP: Heel, or Tweener?
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Destiny Do-Over
 
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
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: In-BRO-pendence Day
 
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Five Surprising MitB Deposits
 
RAW RECAP: Weeeellll, It's a Big MitB
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: #striketwo
 
RAW RECAP: Johnny B. Gone
 
PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
 
RAW RECAP: Crazy Go Nuts
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: You're Welcome
 
RAW RECAP: Be a Star, My Ass
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Needs More Kane?
 
RAW RECAP: You Can't See Him
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Lady Power
 
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?
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: No! No! No!
 
RAW RECAP: Brock's a Jerk
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
 
RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
 
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28

 
 
E-MAIL RICK SCAIA

BROWSE THE OO ARCHIVES

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.