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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
Edge Wins Title as a Result of Huge WWE
Shake-up; plus Kennedy, TNA PPV, More... 
May 12, 2007

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

Oh, WWE, you Bane of My Existence, you...
 

The only real good news to talk about all week, and it's something that counts as a "spoiler," so that means I can't talk about it till the weekend.

But then YOU go and spoil it yourself.

But then I remember the last time this exact same thing happened, and I decided it was OK to spoil things if YOU

did it, I caught 11 kinds of holy hell from readers who love their OO, but who never visit WWE.com (in other words, from my most intelligent and discriminating readers).

So what's Webmaster Boy to do?

In the end, I decided to wait. So now, you'll be reading this on Saturday (although parts of it were written as long ago as Thursday, before I made my final decision), and you should probably already know the big news of the day. To wit:

  • After on of the most tumultuous and unpredictable weeks in recent memory -- both on-screen and in terms of the backstage machinations that necessitated the flurry of on-screen twists -- Edge is the new World Heavyweight Champion on SmackDown!.
     
    By winning the World Title, I think Edge becomes only the fourth man to hold both the WWF/E Title (the one that goes back to the early 1960s) and the World Title (which was arbitrarily created in late 2002, so that WWE would have two champs for the Brand Split). I know Triple H, Kurt Angle, and the Undertaker had also done it. Shawn Michaels might have done it, too, but for some reason my memory is foggy on the timeline of his comeback and which title he held for a month during that period before he once again became a full-time wrestler.
     
    In any case, that's pretty select company for Edgeward. All the guy needs now is to have a reign that is measured in months, instead of in weeks (which is how things seemed to go for Edge's two cups of coffee with Cena's bling belt last year).
     
    Now, as to the story of how and why Edge won the strap...
     
    The tale starts with an injury to Ken Kennedy. Suffered last weekend, the injury was thought to be a triceps tear that would sideline him for 6 months. A subsequent MRI and evaluation reveal that tear is not as bad as feared, and that a non-surgical rehab process should be possible for Kennedy. His revised timetable calls for a return in 2-3 months.
     
    In any case, the injury meant that if WWE had plans for Kennedy's "Money in the Bank" title shot, they'd have to do some quick shuffling. So Monday on RAW, Kennedy put his MitB Title Shot on the line against Edge. In a match that was designed to protect Kennedy both in terms of his injury (it was relatively short and simple) and his character (Edge cheated quite ingeniously), Edge was victorious and took the MitB Briefcase.
     
    Note: to me, this is as good a sign as any that WWE had big plans for Kennedy, and that the whole "Kennedy Kountdown" to WrestleMania 24 was an intentional bit of misdirection. Afterall: if Kennedy was really not going to cash in the title shot till next March (after he'd already returned to TV), why would it have been necessary to take the briefcase from him? The only answer I'm coming up with is that the plan called for Kennedy to use said briefcase much sooner than he'd been letting on... and quite possibly in exactly the same manner that Edge wound up using it.
     
    Anyway, Edge walked out of RAW on Monday with the title shot. And then he walked out of SmackDown! tapings on Tuesday night as the World Champ.
     
    The scheduled Undertaker title defense against Batista went to a draw, when both men escaped the cage at the "same time." By which I mean "not even close to the same time, but once WWE's production monkeys had time to doctor the footage, they had a split screen that made it LOOK like the same time." In the match, Undertaker was battered and bloodied, but still fought valiantly to earn the draw and retain his title.
     
    Then, Mark Henry wobbled out, and attacked Undertaker some more. The less said about Mark Henry, the better. But that didn't stop Mitchell Cole from shouting incessantly about what a monstrous super-bad-ass Henry is, and how his attack on the Undertaker is the most heinous thing in the history of heinousity.
     
    And finally, the other shoe drops. Henry decides he's finally had enough of befouling TV screens across the nation, and leaves... and Edge's music hits. Edge is gesturing (in the finest manner of all gesturing, Broadly) to indicate he is in possession of the MitB Briefcase, and he'd like to cash in his title shot now, please. Right now. Post haste.
     
    Even though the Undertaker is currently lying in a puddle of his own blood after being brutalized by two men, the ref has no choice. He rings the bell, Edge covers, and..... WAITAMINUTE!!!!!! The Undertaker kicks out! Could it be?!? Well, actually, no, it couldn't. Edge just gets up, delivers a spear, then covers again, and this time, the ref gets to three. New champ. 
     
    To be honest, it seemed like there were a goodly number of cheers for Edge and his win. He did, however, seem to partially mute them when he interrupted his celebration to whack Taker in the face with the MitB Briefcase a few times.
     
    And so there you have it: the story of how real life injuries and on-screen twists have resulted in Edge winning the World Heavyweight Title.
     
  • Just underscoring a few of the injury items that were buried within said story....
     
    The savaging of the Undertaker sets him up for an absence of 6-9 months. By the time you read this, Taker will already have undergone surgery on his torn biceps tendon.
     
    As noted above, Kennedy got good news when he got a second opinion. His torn triceps will be good as new in 3 months.
     
    Before the revision to Kennedy's prognosis, I had actually envisioned a scenario where WWE could have made some damned tasty January Lemonade out of these May Lemons. Think about it: Edge won both the MitB Title Shot *and* the World Title itself in extremely cheap and diabolical fashion. If both Kennedy and Undertaker were on a similar timetable to return around the New Year, you'd have Taker pissed at Edge for stealing his title, and have Kennedy pissed at Edge for stealing the chance to steal Taker's title.
     
    Kennedy could come back first and start demanding a title shot from Edge. Then Undertaker could show up and be all "Not so fast, Junior." And all the while, Edge is chickenshitting his way out of facing either, and might even be deviously stirring the pot to keep Taker and Kennedy distracted with each other. You know how I loves me the compelling, multi-layered storytelling, and let's just say the opportunities with these three guys would have been off the charts (in the exact opposite way of how the Rey/Angle/Orton 3-way storytelling last year was lame and contrived).
     
    The only problem with my vision is that it would have been capped off by an Edge/Taker/Kennedy 3-way match at WM24, and I'm not sure that in another year we're still gonna think that an Undertaker title reign seems like a good idea. But it'd be an even worse idea to end his WM winning streak. So: Catch-22.
     
    But it's also a moot point now that Kennedy's gonna be back before the end of Summer. The drama now will be waiting to find out if he does it as a heel or as a babyface. I think it's a mortal lock that one of Kennedy or Booker T should return as a face to give Edge some post-Batista competition, but I can't for the life of me decide which one would be better suited for the role....
     
  • As noted above, WWE.com spoiled Edge's title win on Tuesday night, right after it happened. Then they also turned around and apparently had Joey Styles and Tazz spoil it during the live broadcast of ECW. Huh.
     
    Probably not the way I'd have done it, but it's their company. Even if they continue to run it in a bafflingly schizophrenic manner. On Monday, they're cursing the internet for giving away too many backstage tidbits. On Tuesday, they're spoiling World Title matches of their own free will. Brilliant. Glad to see everybody's on the same page up there at Titan Tower.
     
    Truthfully, this *is* a deal where word would certainly have circulated, regardless of whether or not WWE itself spoiled things. But there's a huge difference between giving fans the option of finding out Friday night's results on Tuesday and pretty much forcing them to hear about it... by taking that choice out of the fans' hands, I really do think WWE made a misstep on this issue.
     
    But hey, I tried to do *my* part to keep the surprise under wraps. Even with WWE.com and ECW on Sci-Fi, let's just say that leaves a LOT of discriminating wrestling fans who still had no idea what happened on Friday night's show. To those folks, I say, "You're welcome."
     
  • With Taker out of action, and with Edge's title win, it's widely expected that Edge vs. Batista will now headline the upcoming Unforarmajudgmalash PPV. It was originally gonna be a Hell in the Cell blow-off match to the Taker/Batista feud... now, it looks like chapter one of an Edge/Batista feud.
     
    Since WWE appears to be sticking to its guns on RAW -- where they are planning to have an unwatchable atrocity of a Cena vs. Khali title match as their top PPV match next weekend -- my hope is that Edge just walked into headlining a PPV, and that the Cena/Khali stinkfest is demoted to second fiddle status. I know right after Taker's injury was diagnosed, the idea of doing Cena/Michaels III as a huge PPV-saving main event was discussed; but as of today, it looks like Cena/Khali is locked in, and by any sane bit of reasoning, SD! should headline the PPV.
     
    My one mild gripe: as nice as it is to have Edge headlining on SD!, they really could have put more sizzle into the Edge/Batista match by doing things slightly differently on Friday. Batista should have won the title in a hard-fought match. Lumbering Oaf Mark Henry should have brutalized BOTH Taker and Batista, and then Edge should have swooped in and pinned Batista. I realize that would have made Taker's beatdown a bit less savage, but I think it would still have been bad enough to set up his time off without him losing any face with fans... and the gains you'd make in terms of setting up the Edge/Batista InstaFeud would have been well worth it.
     
    So says the man with 20/20 hindsight, anyway....
     
  • Moving down the depth chart to a few less-significant, non-title-change-related news bites... starting with some ratings.
     
    Last week's Impact (5/3) did a 1.0. This week's (5/10) did the same. No surprises there; just business as usual.
     
    Last week's SD! rating (5/4) came back up a little, to a 2.7. That's the best number SD! has done since the middle of March. The preliminary data for last night's SD! shows a dip back down to a 2.6; however, that includes a 2.2 for the first hour and a 3.0 for the second, so depending on how those numbers hold up once finalized, it might be that people did tune in specifically to watch the title change that WWE had spoiled. I guess that'd be good news. The bad news, of course, is that the first hour of SD! had a nearly ECW-sized audience.
     
    This past Monday's RAW did it's second consecutive 3.6 rating, and continues RAW's trend of poor performances since the middle of March, when WWE basically lost 12-15% of their Monday night audience in the span of a few weeks during the stretch run to WrestleMania, and has yet to see those eyeballs return.
     
    ECW on Tuesday night drew a 1.6. Like TNA, ECW appears to be slogging along with numbers that are nothing to write home about, but which seem pretty steady.
     
  • I love having Alert Readers. And I love having Randy Orton to kick around.
     
    For his latest trick, Young Randall managed to show up in a KMOV news report. Orton is shown attempting to purchase a gun. The news report? Is about how the state of Missouri needs to change its laws to make it more difficult for people with a history of mental illness to purchase guns.
     
    BWWWHAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
     
    Were I an honest and forthright man, I'd probably point out that Orton wasn't identified by name and was probably just in the wrong place at the wrong time when KMOV sent a cameraman out to get some stock footage of a gun shop. But I am neither of those things, and will derive my usual massive amounts of purest joy from Randy Orton managing to stumble into new and exciting ways to look like an ass. I guess Randy knew it was my birthday last week, and wanted to get me something special?
     
    Unless they have deleted the story, you can still view the report at KMOV's website. Many thanks to all of you who passed along that link, knowing just how much I would love it.
     
  • Remember that story about WWE setting up global territories/brands? RAW remaining the US/North American brand, SD! becoming the Hispanic/Latin American brand, new brands in Europe and in Asia, and so forth?
     
    Well, final tallies are in for ticket sales on that last mega-tour of Europe, and outside of the 4 TV tapings in Italy and the UK, crowds were way below expectations (in fact, I think I saw only one house show with attendance greater than 6000).
     
    Needless to say, internally, WWE's jets have cooled on this idea of being able to pull off successful overseas territories if they can't even successfully market the current Flagship Product. The globalization scheme is certainly still on the table, but it has been reprioritized to say the least.
     
  • Speaking of territories, WWE has finalized plans to replace the failed DSW developmental territory with a new one based in Tampa, FL. It will largely fall under the auspices of current WWE road agent Steve Keirn, who already had a part time training facility down there, and Tom Pritchard, who is back in the fold of evaluating/training talent.
     
    Most displaced DSW trainees are being re-assigned to Tampa as we speak, and the fledgling operation is going to rapidly get up to full speed with a name, a venue for running shows, and a local TV deal.
     
  • Another change that may or may not have a tangible effect on WWE's talent development....
     
    Stephanie McMahon has reportedly been promoted. Or at least, has been given a few additional duties on top of her existing ones. Now, in addition to being the VP of creative writing, she'll be the VP of Talent Relations. This is, in essence, a de facto demotion for Johnny Ace, who now has to answer to somebody other than Vince on matters of hirings/firings/contract negotiations.
     
    No word on whether or not the clusterfuck that was RVD's contract renewal talks is the basis for the additional oversight on Noted Incompetent Sycophant Ace.... but it wouldn't surprise me.
     
    We'll just have to see if Stephanie's the person to whip things into shape. I mean, I'm sure she's a sweet girl and hard-working and all that. But redefining mediocrity on a weekly basis while doing one job is not necessarily grounds to be given the chance to do the same on another job. So I guess for now, we just cross our fingers and wait...
     
  • For those who share my taste in fine women: Lilian Garcia is hoping to be back on TV by the end of the month. Though it will be longer before she's out on the road full time doing house shows, she's aiming to get back to TV no later than the RAW and Saturday Night's Main Event tapings on May 28. And maybe even sooner. 
     
  • A word on SNME: in deference to its craptacular ratings last year on NBC, the June 2 broadcast will air at 11:30pm, in the Saturday Night Live timeslot.
     
    On one hand, its clear that NBC is dumping WWE in a timeslot where they'll do the least damage. But on the other, this is how SNME got started, and it might be kinda fun to spend a Sunday morning watching my recording of SNME, just like I always used to. Although, in this case, it won't be because my parents refused to ever let me stay up that late when I was a wee young lad just starting to enjoy the spectacle of grown men in underpants pretending to beat each other up.
     
  • Ozzy's new single "I Don't Want to Stop" is the official theme song of the next WWE PPV. Which is fricking hilarious, since it was just 2or 3 weeks ago when I was talking about the song with a friend, and couldn't, for the life of me, decide how I felt about it. Was it a rocking fist-pumper that I liked? Or an over-produced abortion that simulated Black Sabbath being molested by Andrew WK? Was I happy for Ozzy to still be kicking out the jams? Or did the tone of the song make me feel kinda sad for him?
     
    In the end, the final verdict was, and I quote: "I don't know if I like it or not. But I know it's gonna be perfect for whenever ESPN releases Jock Jams VII. Or maybe for a PPV theme song." I'm like Nostradamus, or something.
     
  • But before we worry much about the next WWE PPV, our last item for today will be a quick mention of THIS weekend's PPV. Which is of the TNA variety, and is called Sacrifice.
     
    If you're stuck with me talking about it (and you are), then my take is that TNA is certainly staking their claim to the ability to "out-WWE" when it comes to promoting one-match PPVs. Tomorrow's Sacrifice PPV is headlined by a Christian vs. Kurt Angle vs. Sting match that should be quite excellent and has had quite a compelling build-up.
     
    The rest of the card? Not so much. And when you manage to take something like Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles and make it look and feel like a throw-away match, you're probably doing something wrong.
     
    Outside of what should be an action-packed and highly dramatic main event, the most intriguing TNA-related issue this weekend is what they're going to do about their NWA affiliation. I thought TNA had till the June PPV to sort that out, but apparently, they only have till Monday. D'oh.
     
    For the uninformed, the deal is this: when TNA was launched 5 years ago, they arranged to have the "NWA World Title" (and tag titles) as their top belts. This basically consisted of negotiating with a bunch of delusional losers who conduct board meetings in their parents' basements, as the "NWA" name has been essentially meaningless since 1991. But today, said NWA people have decided they want their belts back, apparently because they want to make sure they're even less relevant than they already are.
     
    Some TNA fans are wetting themselves over the possibility that this could be turned into a storyline in which Christian (or whoever is the champ) throws down the NWA Title and creates a new TNA Title. I, for one, think this would be silly, and think TNA should just ignore the whole thing and start calling Christian the TNA Champion without bothering to dignify the NWA's hissy fit with an on-screen response. Trust me, the glee that the Wanker Portion of the audience would derive from turning this into an angle is MORE than offset by the fact that 90% of TNA's audience couldn't possibly give a shit about these particular backstage machinations.
     
    I'm definitely thinking this is a "less is more" situation. But we'll know for sure how TNA's gonna handle it inside of 48 hours.
     
  • I'm pretty sure that's all I've got for today. I can't think of anything else particularly compelling, anyway. So let's just part ways, enjoy our weekends, and agree to meet again at some point next week, eh? Later on....


  
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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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