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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
WWE Overload, Draft Lottery Returns?, 
Michaels' Surgery, Jarrett's Loss, and More 
May 27, 2007

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

It's been over a week since I first mentioned that fans were starting a cute little "NUTS to CBS!" campaign to save a show called "Jericho" (which just so happens to have employed my brother as a writer for the past year).
 

I mentioned it because my brother mentioned it to me, and basically, we both thought it was funny, but that it wouldn't amount to anything.

Well, 10 tons of nuts later, things aren't going quite as planned. Fans of "Jericho" have united, mobilized, and gotten tons of press for their campaign to inundate CBS offices with peanuts. And

with a little help from an online nut retailer, they've succeeded to the tune of 20,000 pounds of nuts shipped, with 6000 pounds (and counting) already standing by once business resumes after the long holiday weekend. Whoa. From a few personally-bought-and-shipped bags of nuts when I first mentioned it to TEN FRICKING TONS today.... I'd take credit. If only I could figure out how to do so plausibly.

If you want in on some of the fun, just go to www.nutsonline.com/jericho, and you can make a donation as small as $5 to the bulk/pooled order (five bucks actually is good for about 4 pounds of peanuts). If you don't care about the show, it's still a pretty funny bit of pop culture civil disobedience; and it also sounds like your donation will go to a good cause. All the nuts are being redistributed by CBS to homeless shelters (because if there's one thing we all know about the homeless, it's that they love shucking their own nuts!). And possibly to the Bronx Zoo. Ahem. But just tell yourself it's for the homeless; you'll feel better.

And if you DO care about the show, this seems to be the most efficient way to have your voice heard in a meaningful way. There are TONS of mainstream press articles about the NUTS campaign, and even though I stand by my opinion that the show isn't worth saving now that Major Dad (you may also refer to him as "Simon or Simon," if you're my elder) is dead, there are still lots of people out there who apparently liked different things about the show than I did. Some of the sickos even like Skeet Ulrich. Which is just  unfathomable to me. He's Hollywood's answer to Randy Orton: a boring, dim-witted, face-slappable, douchey pussbag who oozes mediocrity and forgettability from every orifice. The second you kill off his Kick-Ass TV Dad in order to ask him to be the most interesting part of any scene is the second you've made a Bluth-caliber Big Mistake. Like Young Randall, Skeet could be alone in a room with a bowl of Jell-O, and the Jell-O would be statistically more likely to be the first to say or do something interesting. 

But that's just one man's opinion. I still think the NUTS idea is hilarious, and I encourage you to participate. If it helps, it's sounding like CBS may have no choice but to give you fans of "Jericho" a two-hour TV movie next season to at least supply closure. And hopefully, to shut you up. If they're bending already and you keep raining nuts down upon the executives, who's to say you can't get another full 22 episodes? Well, CBS is to say, that's who! But what the hell? But let's just say they aren't the only network out there. And folks, I happen to know for a fact that nothing's for sure until contracts expire and people are released on June 30. And there ain't been no early-releasin' going on, so why not pelt a TV network with a bag of your salty nuts to see what happens?

Here's some holiday weekend wrestling tidbits:

  • Just when you thought that you couldn't get more burnt out on wrestling than you already are....
     
    WWE goes and embarks on a 10-day span (starting this coming Saturday, June 2) during which they will be asking you to give a shit about (1) the return of Saturday Night's Main Event, (2) the One Night Stand PPV, and (3) a special 3-hour Monday Night Draft Lottery Special. Along with the standard six hours of "normal" TV that will be sandwiched in among those things.
     
    I think I've proven, over the past 8 months, that writing about the important, notable, and worthwhile parts of wrestling does NOT need to be a full-time job. But WWE's setting out to turn WATCHING it into one. Oy. 
     
    To underscore the sheer ass-hattery of WWE, SNME and the ONS PPV will be headlined by THE EXACT SAME MATCH! Genius. It something that might work if the match in question was the Reanimated Corpse of Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit, since we'd know both matches would rule. But in this case, the match is John Cena vs. The [redacted] Khali. Which we've already seen once, just a week ago, and which nobody gives a shit about ever seeing again. Double genius.
     
    SNME will also feature an Edge/MVP vs. Batista/Benoit match that should be the show's "anchor" after whatever craptastic schmozz they do with Cena/Khali. From an NBC press release, I think you can infer that Boogeyman with either be wrestling Finlay's Midget, or that there will be a Boogeyman/MiniBoogey vs. Finaly/MiniFinlay match, too. Thank god this is now in a timeslot where NBC would be tickled pink with a 2.5 rating, huh?
     
    The ONS PPV is shaping up like essentially a re-do of the Judgment Day line-up, just with "hardcore" stips added to all the matches. Which means it'll probably be more "extreme" than the ONS PPV was last year, when it was ostensibly an "ECW" show meant to re-launch the ECW brand. Not that I'm somebody who notices such things.... regardless, that's as much an indictment on the short-sightedness of jumping to the "Joint-Brand PPVs" as it is a bitch about this 10-day stretch of WWE Immersion. You just can't freaking do PPVs 14 days apart and expect anyone in their right minds to give a damn. The things are supposed to be special: things you don't see every week. For 3 years, now, WWE has had a hard enough time with that keeping the brands separate. Today, it's doubly hard when they're allowed to laze it up and serve up the same PPV 3 times within 5 weeks.
     
    The one shining beacon in the darkness, here, is the announcement of a 3-hour RAW special on June 11. WWE has only announced that it is 3 hours, though USA Network's publicity has declared that this will be a "Draft Lottery Special." Huh. The cynic in me thinks they should just call it the "Restock RAW's Roster Special." The super-asshole cynic in me thinks they should call it the "Why Bother, You Haven't Enforced the Brand Split Since February, Anyway, Special." And yet, the fan in me gets sorta intrigued by things like this.
     
    If WWE really is planning on using that 3-hour special on June 11 to balance the brands with another draft, it opens up a lot of possibilities. Not just to redistribute current talent, but also to shift gears and create new options for injured talents upon their returns. For as much as I dread the idea of Mark Henry being lotteried over to RAW to be one of Cena's upcoming sacrificial lambs (I gather Snitsky is first in line after Khali, but then, Cena will need somebody else to deal with by July), the thought of using the draft to re-establish Benoit on RAW or to freshen up Rey Mysterio's list of opponents are undeniably tantalizing.
     
    One thing about the possible Draft that I'm unclear on? How does ECW fit in? Are they an equal of RAW and SD! in terms of picks? Or are they half of a RAW or SD! (since their show is only half as long)? Or are they a non-factor, since nobody watches them anyway?
     
    I think this is a good time to share an idea that somebody mailed in to me MONTHS ago (maybe even late last year).... instead of ECW being a "brand," WWE should treat that one-hour timeslot on Sci-Fi as a a no-rules, no-laws off-shoot of WWE. It'd be like Deadwood, like a Wild West town: still on the same continent as Washington, DC, but completely disconnected, and operating under its own laws in the absence of Recognized Authority. Fugitives from both RAW and SD! could show up on that one-hour show each week, and settle their scores (be they cross-brand or otherwise) in an environment that is parallel to RAW and SD!, but not in circuit with it. And obviously: the "lawless" atmosphere would also re-engender the Extreme Environment where matches are less about rules and winning and losing, and more about Ultra-Violence.
     
    I loved that idea when I saw it, oh so long ago. But it seemed a pointless pipe dream at the time. But now, with ECW's ratings tanking, with the split between brands becoming a foggy mess, and with only six months left on ECW's TV contract, why not try for the "Wild West" motif? It's a neat idea and it can't possibly do any worse or screw with WWE's internal business plans at this point.....
     
    Anyway, we'll have plenty of time in the coming weeks to talk about the draft and its impact on the brands. For now, it's enough to point out that WWE's got a busy 10 days ahead of it starting this weekend, and at this point, it's not the NBC Network Special or the PPV I care about... it's the draft lottery thingie that WWE itself hasn't even confirmed is taking place. Heh.
     
  • The genuinely huge news of the past week is that Shawn Michaels did not pass go, did not collect $200, and decided to go directly to pre-op.
     
    He was scheduled for surgery on Thursday, and I've heard nothing to suggest he opted out of it. The plan was for Michaels to have both knees scoped/cleaned-out.... but that was also the plan about 15 months ago, when HBK first started wanting to take a break from wrestling to get the knees taken care of. Needless to say, the lessons of RVD and Rey Mysterio have taught us that "minor knee surgery" can turn into 9 or more months on the shelf if you work through the pain for too long.
     
    At present, there are no indications that Michaels' surgery turned into anything more serious (i.e. correcting any structural issues).... so if it was just a matter of going in, cleaning out some cartilage/bone chips and tightening things back up again, the hope is that Michaels can be back in action in 3-4 months. SummerSlam would be a wet dream scenario, but I do think that there would be value in trying to time his and HHH's returns to be relatively simultaneous. I don't have any strong feelings as to whether they come back as a unit and stay a unit, or if they come back at the same time only to have a violent break-up.... I just think that having them back around the same time maximizes your overall storyline potential.
     
    Here's hoping that all is well and that Shawn gets smoothly onto the road to recovery.
     
    And obviously: the fact that Michaels went directly for the surgery this week is almost certainly part of the motivating force behind any plans to shuffle the RAW and SD! rosters using the draft. RAW already lost Edge, now they know for sure that the ticking timebombs that were Michaels' knees finally exploded, too. [Again, Michaels has been working in pain for over a year, but it was only after the arduous schedule of the Europe tour and a tweak to his knee 2 Mondays ago that he realized the jig was up.] Something's got to give, and the Draft should provide RAW with some kind of soothing balm until HHH and Michaels can get back.
     
  • Some sad news this week... after a lengthy battle with cancer, Jeff Jarrett's wife Jill passed away on late Tuesday night/Wednesday morning.
     
    Here at OO, we've been discussing Jarrett's "personal issues" in vague terms, because that's how Jeff himself was handling it backstage with his TNA co-workers. He talked to very few people about it, and they talked to even fewer. The result was a whole lot of uncertainty, and at least one misstep for which I'm very sorry: although I knew some of the details, I had no idea this was a terminal situation, and I joked a few months ago that Jarrett would ultimately use this as ammo for his babyface turn. D'oh. I am an ass. Apologies to any who deserve them, and obviously, condolences to the Jarretts and their friends.
     
    This does not, however, stop business from going forward in TNA. Jarrett returned to TV a few months ago, unfortunately, almost coinciding with Jill's turn for the worse. As a result, Jeff has been shunted into background programs; but as TNA approaches its Slammiversary PPV and the annual King of the Mountain Match for the TNA Title, the hope was that Jarrett would be able to be focused and involved in the title hunt.
     
    TNA has until its TV tapings on Monday to decide whether or not to put Jarrett into the match. In a lot of ways, I'm sure it's Jarrett himself who will make that call, depending on how he feels. If he needs to take the first month after his wife's death to focus on things other than wrestling (such as the three young children the couple have), I can't think of anybody who'd have a problem with that. But if he can muster up one performance on Monday's tapings (to qualify for the KotM match), then the Slammiversary PPV is still 3 weeks away, and he might be ready to deal then.
     
    And though I was an asshole for making the joke months ago, I do feel the need to underscore that this is NOT something that anybody should be trying to use as a TV storyline, to get sympathy for Jarrett. TNA's fans are of a type that they'll mostly know about what happened without having to be told, and treat Jeff accordingly... but to use this as a character-building angle on TV would just be distasteful on so many levels.
     
    And also: it probably wouldn't work, anyway. How long did the WWF manage to keep Jarrett a face after his tag partner Owen Hart died in 1999? Weeks. Not months.
     
    And christ. I can't believe it's been 8 years since Owen. Eight years this past week. And in one of life's cruel twists, it might have even been 8 years to the day between Owen and Jill. I'm not positive, but I think it was. Ouch. Best wishes, Double J: feel better when you can....
     
  • Some ratings....
     
    RAW was up a statistically insignificant tick to a 3.7. I won't even bother trying to supply theories about the "bump," since the Nielsen people are unable to prove that one of this size even, technically, exists. And yet: they sell their data to rubes, and advertisers use it as the justification for allocating hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Baffling. I guess that's what happens when you don't require college graduates to take any math or stats above the 200 level. But I digress..... point is, variations of one-tenth of a point aside, RAW's still down 15% from February in the macro. And the macro is what counts in the ratings.
     
    ECW on Tuesday was steady. Another 1.5. Next~!
     
    TNA on Thursday did another 1.0. Rock solid. No surprises there.
     
    SmackDown on Friday did a 2.4, down one-tenth for the second week in a row, which is officially the start of a Possible Trend. Except, it'd really only be a trend back to recent year-to-date lows for SD!.... like RAW, SD! is way off the mark since February, though UNlike RAW, it did enjoy a 2 week mini-boost of about three-tenths of a point, which it has now frittered away.
     
  • Another WWE release this past week (or possibly the week before, and I just didn't hear about it): Henry O. Godwinn (Mark Canterbury). Godwinn is a pal of the some of the older guard in WWE (like HHH and Undertaker), and got a job late last year under the "hire some vets, and let 'em work on the road with younger guys on house shows" philosophy. But as discussed last week -- with regards to 2 Cold Scorpio -- this philosophy died a quiet death once ECW house shows were shelved, and there was less room on the road for Developmental vs. Veteran matches.
     
    Godwinn had been working in the now-defunct Deep South territory to groom Terry Gordy's son, Ray. The two had even started doing a Godwinn Family Reunion gimmick as a tag team. Now that Henry is gone, I gather the plan is to scrap the Godwinn tie-in, and team Ray Gordy with The Fake Kane (whose real name, dammit, I am blanking on at this moment) as a new crew of hillbillies/hog farmers. Look for them on SmackDown!. Or don't. You won't be missing much.
     
  • It's rare, anymore, to hear about WWE stars getting permission to work at indie shows.... but this weekend, the Fed's top dogs showed up at a 1200-seat high school gym to support a good cause. John Cena, Vince McMahon, and a few others lent their services to a benefit show in suburban Boston, MA.
     
    The show was set up by John Cena's dad (who himself lived out a dream of being a wrestling manager on the show), and was in support of various anti-drunk-driving organizations. It turns out that one of John's brothers was injured by a drunk driver last year, and that's why his dad attached himself to the cause. It was a no-brainer to have the WWE champ come in for the show. And Vince, for all his foibles, is a decent enough person to throw in on a good cause like this by showing up and allowing other WWE workers to do the same.
     
    The show was an easy sell-out thanks to Cena's announced involvement (and Vince's surprsie appearance), and made a ton of money for MADD and SADD and PADD and DADD and all of them.
     
  • I think that's all the news that's fit to print for today. Because OO is a wrestling website, and has no particular expertise in the area of UFC, no matter how big that show was last night. Or in other words: it has the exact same level of expertise as Dave Meltzer. ZING~!
     
    Seriously: somebody tell Dave that when your fascination with various forms of combat extends to obsessing over the part where guys strip down to thongs to step on scales to the tune of 3000 words a day, you're probably not really contributing much to the discourse. And contributing even less to the discourse of the average wrestling fan.
     
    Oh, I'm just being cranky, now. Chalk it up to... well, just go check the last five days Reds' results, and you'll know at least part of what to chalk it up to. I shan't bother you with the rest of what to chalk it up to, but shall promise to catch you again later this week, as news and events in the wrestling world dictate.
     
    Enjoy the rest of the weekend, and may you endure the return of the dreaded week. Later on, folks....


  
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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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