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Orton's Baffling Douchebaggery, Backlash 
Preview, Ratings, Hogan, TNA, Lots More... 
April 27, 2007

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


As I'd hoped, last week's "Insubordination is Cool" column generated a goodly amount of feedback and discussion.

A lot of it came in the form of rabid agreement and praise. And in a few cases, it almost sounded like I might have inspired a few folks out there to exercise a little civil disobedience at their own jobs. Good for you. Just remember, while you're showing up your borderline incompetent bosses, most of you also promised to NOT hold me accountable if you get fired!

But hearing about how smart and insightful I am is only interesting for so long... so we turn to some of the dissenting views. They came in three basic flavors: (1) Carlito is not as talented as I said he is, and doesn't deserve special treatment. (2) Carlito may be as talented as I say, but it doesn't matter because if you act insubordinately, you deserve what you get because the boss is always right. And (3) "The Rick" is not as smart as he claims to be and is a totally rude, pompous dick for writing a column that says it's OK for the smart and gifted people in all walks of life to behave differently than the dumb and inept.

In the case of #1, I think we have a case of Typical Internet Smark Wanker behavior. "Workrate" this, "moveset" that, "star ratings" the other, you know the deal: basically a bunch of armchair sports entertainers who think they know enough to quantify and critique every little nuance... all while ignoring the big picture and how things fit together. A simple metric to determine how effective a performer is: how do fans react to him? They always react enthusiastically to Carlito, both in terms of his mic work and to the majority of his matches. And to the subset of Wankers who believe they have spotted Carlito being "lazy" or "sloppy" in his ringwork lately, how about drawing up a correlation between his "moveset" now (as a babyface) and his "moveset" back when he was a heel. He's doing a lot more high flying type stuff now, which are bound to look a bit less crisp than heelish punches and stomps. You see "lazy," I see "Law of Averages." Same thing tended to happen a bit when Jericho worked as a face, too.

In the case of #2, I'm just gonna have to wuss out and "agree to disagree." Because if you think the boss is always right, then you just managed to miss the ENTIRE FUCKING POINT of my column, and there's no amount of shouting till I'm blue in the face that's gonna change your mind. I hope you continue to unquestioningly enjoy your flamboyantly mediocre WWE product.

In the case of #3, I got the sense that none of you bothered to go back and read the "Culture of Mediocrity" column from a year ago (which I had linked from last week's column), because it's one that sort of laid some groundwork for last week. And it contains pretty much every rebuttal/explanation to your criticisms. None of which will end with you thinking I'm any less of a cocky asshole, but will at least stop you from writing in, thinking you're learning me a lesson in tolerance when I've already addressed the issue at length. Bottom line: that thing that says "All men are created equal" is pretty easily exposed as a damned lie. There is a shallow end to the gene pool. And I'm sorry, but it makes me very angry when people decide that the only fair way to structure things is to accommodate the lowest common denominator. In wrestling, in the workplace, in government/law-making, I don't care: it's just pathetic that it's considered inappropriate to be intelligent/gifted/capable because that's rude to the other people around you and makes them feel badly about themselves. We're trying to run a society here, people, not run a school for special needs children. I think the exceptionally-able should have better things to be doing than taking time out of their days to make sure they out buckets and buckets of shiny gold stars to people for doing the grown-up equivalent of a D-minus job.

Also: I really am as smart as I say I am. Not to mention as funny, charming, massively well-endowed, and of course, humble.

I think that wraps up the handful of things I wanted to say about the feedback to "Insubordination is Cool." So let's table that issue for now, and clock in with a handful of weekend newsbites:

  • As briefly discussed last week, Randy Orton has been disciplined by WWE. He was sent home from the European tour, was absent from Monday's TV, and although he's still being advertised for Sunday's Backlash PPV Main Event, it'll once again be a night where Young Randall will be working for free.
    The best rumors available seem to indicate Orton threw a drunken hissy-fit and trashed a hotel room to jumpstart his latest suspension. In other words: the culprits were probably equal parts Lite Beer, Citrus, and Phenomenal Douchebaggery.
    It's unclear what lies in store for Orton beyond Sunday's PPV. Last year, WWE changed its policy to allow for suspended wrestlers to still perform on TV (without getting paid for it) in order to protect storylines and that wrestler's "spot" on the show. That policy, however, was instituted primarily to accommodate Orton's second suspension of 2006. One has to wonder just how smart it is to once again tell Randy "OK, so you're suspended, but we'll keep putting you on TV to save your spot." Just send the guy home, don't use him on TV, and whenever it's deemed time for him to come back, make him fucking EARN his spot. Lord knows that in Randall's case, he's never been asked to do that, and it might be a good bit of experience for him.
    For whatever it's worth, even Jim Ross seems to have reached the point of frustration. Or at least, as close to it as he'd ever let on. Normally, JR takes a stance that internet rumor-mongers are a bunch of clueless idiots who'd be better served to mind their own business than blather ignorantly about the more personal elements of a wrestler's backstage business. But in his latest blog, JR said he's sure that Orton's probably a good kid who means well, but also bluntly stated that Orton has developed a bit of an attitude from being handed too much too fast (like a lot of other young athletes, JR notes), has displayed "poor judgment," has anger issues, and pretty much needs to get his head together or else he may never fully realize his potential.
    Again, it's all put pretty diplomatically, but that really is the first time I can recall seeing JR come that close to calling out someone who was an active WWE employee. It's almost like he's given up on apologizing/covering for Orton, and is saying, "OK, internet jerks, if you want to write about how Orton is a massively immature douchebag, I can't really stop you this time." Not that I want to put words in JR's mouth. It's just that I can't get enough of making fun and name-calling when it comes to our favorite Line-Mangling, Beer-Fruiting, Chin-Locking, Bag-Pooping, Limp-Dicked, Ass-Injecting Metrosexual Mantard.
    Pointing out the many ways Randy Orton is worthless is like Jello: there's always room for more!
  • As noted above, Orton is still expected to be a part of the four-way Backlash PPV main event on Sunday. It's a show that marks the end of the Single Brand PPV Era, and ushers in a new Era of Still Not Really Giving A Shit About Off-Month PPVs No Matter How Many Brands Are Involved.
    Although the Backlash PPV line-up is nominally stronger than what you could have expected out of a RAW-only PPV, the simple fact is that the underlying problem isn't the talent pool WWE is drawing from, it's the slipshod and uninspired storytelling since the beginning of March.
    And on top of that, I still haven't fully thought it through, but it almost seems like the new Joint Brand deal is essentially a case of WWE robbing Peter to pay Paul. What I mean is that Lashley vs. Umaga could probably have been a pretty solid anchor for an ECW-only One Night Stand PPV in June. But instead, we're getting it on Sunday (for what feels like the umpteenth time this month), and its marketability has been decimated. So yes, Backlash has the benefit of pulling in stars from other brands, but is that coming at the expense of over-exposing and reducing the value of the same set of top stars? I dunno for sure, but it's something I've been pondering...
    Backlash's line-up:
    John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Edge vs. Randy Orton (WWE Title Match): There's no reason for this one not to be really good. Even if Orton decides to dog it like the immature little bitch he is, the other three guys are more than up to the task of carrying things on their shoulders. I'd say "It feels like this might be the month where Cena loses his stranglehold on the WWE Title." But I feel that way every month, and I'm always wrong.
    Undertaker vs. Batista (World Title): straight-up rematch from WrestleMania, where these two stepped up and stole the show. It'll be tough for them to duplicate that feat, if only because this time around, they won't benefit from non-existent expectations. I vote for Taker retaining and finally moving ahead with a full-on Batista heel turn.
    Lashley vs. Umaga/McMahons (ECW Title): I don't get the logic of a handicap match for a title, but I'm probably just thinking too hard.  I expect pretty much a re-do of WM23's wacky sports-entertainment-y brawl, except maybe this time, Umaga wins, cuz I think he'd be a good fit for a top heel in ECW.
    Hardys vs. Cade/Murdoch (RAW Tag Title): Apparently schizophrenic Vince is once again OK with the idea of the Hardys being a full-time team. By the logic that Cade and Murdoch both scored singles wins over the Hardys in recent weeks, it stands to reason that the Hardys will get all their heat back with the PPV win here.
    Melina vs. Mickie James (Women's Title): I'd gladly muster up some interest in cheering for Mickie, except even if she wins, there's nobody for her to wrestle. Other than Victoria for about the billionth time.
    Chris Benoit vs. Montreal Voluptuous Porter (or NAMBLA, for short): another WM23 re-match. Another yaaaawwwwwn. MVP shocked the world by being Adequate in a 15 match against Benoit at Mania, so I'm sure his mediocrity and the fact that nobody still gives a shit about him will be rewarded with the US Title win here.
    Deuce/Domino vs. London/Kendrick (SD! Tag Titles): Deuce and Domino are the champs! Why? Probably because somebody got sick of having to keep track of London/Kendrick's position on the "All Time Longest WWF/E Tag Title Reign" List. So give the Greasers a one week reign, and make London and Kendrick start over from Day One. Nee haw?
    I think those are all the announced matches. If so, Backlash will be a curiosity in the sense that all seven announced matches are title matches. Boy, it sure seems like a long time since the good ol' days of there only being 3 titles in the whole damned company.... and one of those rare and precious belts was the IC Title. Which isn't even one of the 7 being defended at Backlash. FIE ON YOU SANTINO MARELLA~!
    Anyway, I'll have full Backlash results for you at some point late Sunday night/early Monday morning. I'll try to get them posted not too far after midnight (eastern).
  • Tonight's "super indie" show in Memphis -- where Hulk Hogan will face Paul "Big Show" Wight -- is looking at a paid attendance of around 5000 (unless there is a big walk-up). As touched on last week, that's probably a bit disappointing, and is also below the projections they'd had for the originally-planned Hogan/Lawler match.
    If anyone attends, drop me a line, because anytime you bust out Ko Ko B. Ware and Brutus Beefcake, the chances for unintentional awfulness are good. And I'd love to hear all about it.
  • Monday's RAW did another 3.7 rating. The exact same as the week before, and continuing the trend of poor WWE TV ratings since the middle of March. RAW's down just about 10% since that time.
    Monday's show was a treat, however, to those who did bother to tune in. A fast-paced and inoffensive opening hour, and then the second hour was an absolutely tremendous 57-minute match between Shawn Michaels and John Cena. You can say they had to do it to cover for Orton's absence, or you can say it's the "make-good" from their disappointing WM23 match, or whatever.... I'm just gonna say it was fantastic, and I appreciated it regardless of what inspired the match to take place.
    You got to give credit to Michaels, as between these two, you know he was the one quarterbacking things. And he did it despite his SURGICALLY RECONSTRUCTED LOWER BACK~! continuing to give him problems. Problems that I'm sure are only amplified when you're spending as much time in airplanes as it takes to navigate to and around Europe. But let's not leave Cena out of the equation: it's getting to the point where he's in the vicinity of a goodly number of tremendous matches, and maybe that's not entirely a coincidence or good luck on his part. Not every one is a gem, and his superman act may grow tiresome, but the guy's PPV track record in the last year is solid, and he brought the A-game again in this rare example of a free-per-view match.
    Good stuff on Monday. 
  • WWE also took ratings hits on their other shows. Last weekend's SmackDown! was down to a 2.4 rating; since February, SD! has lost about 25% of its audience. Not good. Not good at all.
    And Tuesday's ECW did a 1.4 rating, which I think ties the year-to-date low for the show after it had averaged a 1.7 for most of March and into the first week of April. Also not good.
    TNA, at least, can lay claim to holding rock steady with back-to-back 1.1 ratings the past two weeks. Other than a statistically significant dip a few weeks back when Impact was pushed back to an 11pm timeslot, TNA appears to be able to bank on the same rating every week. Seeing some audience growth might be preferable, but at a time when WWE shows are losing 10-25% of their viewers, holding steady is probably a moral victory.
  • The final tally for TNA's Lockdown PPV in St. Louis was 5200 paid fans, and a few others who got in for free, making for about 6500 fans in the buidling and TNA's largest audience ever. Well, "largest domestic audience" if you want to play silly games in terms of whether putting a few TNA stars on a show in Mexico or Europe instantly turns it into a "TNA show."
    The company is definitely gonna try to stick to the "every other PPV outside of Orlando" schedule. June's Slammiversary is already confirmed for Nashville, and the company would like to be in Chicago for October's Bound For Glory. Potential sites for the August PPV include other arenas around Florida (where TNA would really like to get an "in" so that they can also think about moving some Impact Tapings out of Orlando, as well), and Atlanta.
  • I don't know if it'll be acknowledged/publicized or not, but the WWE Women's Title changed hands twice at a house show in Paris. Mickie James won the title by pinning Victoria in a three-way match, but Melina regained the belt later on in the night by pinning Mickie in a one-on-one match.
    All signs point to the original 3-way match having a botched finish, requiring the re-do and the double-switch. If nothing else, when WWE is going to pull one of these surprise moves, they usually have a handheld camera to capture it, and I gather that wasn't the case here. Thus, it's safe to assume that even WWE was surprised when Mickie won the title.
  • Super Crazy was injured in a match during the Europe tour. A further examination upon returning to the States was going to reveal the full extent of the damage, but it was thought to be a torn knee ligament, which could mean a goodly number of months on the shelf for the guy. D'oh.
  • I think that's just about all the important stuff for today, kids. Remember to say your prayers, eat your vitamins, and not act like a phenomenal douchebag! And then I'll see you again with PPV results either Sunday night or Monday morning. Later on....

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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