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Realistic Expectations for Jericho v2.0, plus
Ratings, Injuries, Firings/Releases and MORE! 
October 26, 2007

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com



I don't consider it a "spoiler" to say that Chris Jericho will be back on WWE TV within the next 72 hours or so. If the month-long "SAVE_US" campaign wasn't designed to whet our appetites for the return of Jericho, then all WWE did was waste a lot of time and effort prepping the fans to feel disappointed.

Plus: we don't know exactly when Jericho will show up. We sure as hell don't know what he'll do, or why he'll claim to have made his comeback. Paraphrasing the late, great Douglas Adams, these are issues which may still be safely made the subject of drama and uncertainty.

But let's take it as read that Jericho *is* coming back. And 

from there, let's ask ourselves one tough question: Does it really matter?

OO has been around for the better part of 10 years. OO has its well-known favorites, and even better-known whipping boys. You could safely say that OO is one of the most pro-Jericho Happy Fun Zones you'll find on the internets. But with all that said, OO is thinking that if your baseline expectation for Jericho's return is a full-blown WWE Renaissance, then that's not exactly realistic.

Or at least: not fair.

Chris Jericho left WWE over 2 years ago. The period of time around Jericho's departure can now, with 20/20 hindsight, sort of be seen as the end of a lengthy mass-Exodus/make-over that created "today's WWE." It was a tumultuous 15 months in just about every facet of the business. Almost everything that went into the product that eventually showed up on our TV screens was revamped and re-engineered by WWE in that time frame. We started that 15 month period with the towering high that was WrestleMania 20, but then had a few key front office changes: Stephanie McMahon took over all creative, and installing the current Failed Hollywood Writer Monkey System, where upwards of a dozen fine arts school graduates sit around generating pages and pages of copy and do the work formerly done much more informally by a smaller group of wrestling minds including Pat Patterson; Johnny Ace took over all talent development from Jim Ross, and essentially installed a the current system of just trying to give Vince McMahon what he thinks Vince McMahon wants, i.e. generic bodybuilder types, because he liked the idea of sucking up in order to keep his job rather than ACTUALLY DOING HIS FUCKING JOB THE RIGHT WAY BY ACCURATELY EVALUATING TALENT. Tard. 

We ended that 15-month period with a new, largely boring template for WWE TV storytelling, and with a talent cupboard that had been gutted and incompetently restocked. Almost a dozen bankable WWE performers were alienated/disillusioned and walked away from the company during this period to explore happier pursuits (running the gamut from megastars like The Rock and Brock Lesnar, who both last performed for WWE at WM20, to reliable and crowd-pleasing niche performers like Tajiri and Molly Holly). In the final throes of this makeover, the Dudleys, Christian, and Chris Jericho all had their WWE Farewells within about 2 months of each other, among them having held too much gold and delivered too many amazing moments and memories to even try counting. But just like that: POOF, gone, the final four-headed exclamation point at the end of WWE's idiotically-constructed 15-month-long run-on sentence of mind-boggling incompetence.

Some of the more insightful and perceptive pundits were pointing out the warning signs and the problems all along, right as they happened. And yes, OO lays claim to massive amounts of both insight and perception. Feel free to check OO's Archives if you don't believe OO. Others decided to roll with the punches, give WWE the benefit of the doubt, and saw WWE's business rebound ever-so-slightly in 2006 after a half-decade of steady declines as a sign that All Was Well. OO never let up, however, and continued pointing out the fundamentally unsound Core Business Practices that were leaving WWE closer and closer to a complete creative meltdown.

And I don't want to say "I Told You So," but... well, the past few months speak for themselves. (1) More talent -- the bankable, entertaining kind -- are walking away (in this case, Booker T has left, partly over frustration with a Wellness Issue, but also because of 3 years of pent-up annoyance with WWE's creative direction). (2) WWE came perilously close to having to either shut-down or marginalize the ECW brand (relegating it to a weekly webcast or a subset of the SmackDown! roster) before lowering its demands and accepting a one-year extension for a timeslot on Sci-Fi. (3) PPV Buyrates are down by 20% versus 2006 numbers, and that's *with* the "joint-brand philosophy" in place (and with PPVs being contracted from 16 in 2006 back to 15 in 2007 and 14 in 2008), which was meant to bolster this key area of WWE's revenue stream.

And most telling: (4) ratings for RAW, the company's flagship broadcast and the closest thing to a bellwether they've got, are scuttling along at what is essentially a 10-year low. RAW's 10-week moving average is a 3.4, a figure that was last reached around the holidays of 2003 (when the sheer awfulness of the whole Katie Vick mess combined with low-rated broadcasts on both Christmas and New Year's Eves). Before that, you have to go back to the Autumn of 1997 to find ratings sustained at this low a level over such a period of time.

In fact, taking a smaller slice out of the pie, RAW's four-week average (in other words: the average rating since Orton won the title) is a 3.15. Barring some kind of ratings miracle on Monday, RAW's October 2007 Rating will be around a 3.2. The last calendar month in which RAW averaged a lower rating? December 1997, when RAW averaged a 3.1 (up against three special, loaded, 3-hour editions of Nitro in five weeks).

You can probably point a lot of fingers when it comes to these ratings. Lord knows that, internally, WWE is inventing all new, previously-assumed-to-be-mythical forms of denial and buck-passing. Maybe it's still all Benoit's fault for creating bad press. Maybe this is just the continuation of Randy Orton's utter failure as a top level star (remember, his 2004 run as champ was the previous lowest-rated reign of the past four years before this current one, and was aborted prematurely as a result). Maybe the loss of John Cena to injury is behind this most recent final drop-off in numbers (and say what you will, Homey the Clown *does* have his fans, be they 15 years old and female or not), and WWE just needs to weather the storm.

You can rationalize it however you want, but the numbers are still there. USA Network is none-too-pleased with things. Reportedly, Vince McMahon -- pathologically insecure man that he is -- is over-compensating by acting all cocky and everything-is-swell in front of "the boys," to the point where it's obvious that he's taking cheapshots and making wisecracks at their expense just to make himself look better by comparison and make himself feel better (he reportedly even tried this on Shawn Michaels last week, with unpleasant results, as Michaels fired back verbally, in front of the full locker room). To me, all this bodes ill: at a time when WWE most needs a balanced, sensible evaluation of the problems its facing, their imperial dictator is essentially on Tilt.

I guess all of these last 5-6 paragraphs are my round-a-bout way of saying "What's wrong with WWE these past 4-6 months are the final pay-off of almost four years of screwing up. And now, I'm not even sure the pieces of the puzzle are in place to get things turned around."

Which brings us back to Chris Jericho, and his imminent return.

Jericho left in 2005, right at the conclusion of that 15-month make-over period. Now: every mistake made in those 15 months have -- here in the second half of 2007 -- come together and caused WWE to reach the logical and inevitable conclusion of this Perfect Storm of Suck. When Jericho left, he was but one of many whose absence left an indelible mark on WWE's on-screen product. Which leads me to remind you folks: he returns as but one man, and at a time when things are even worse than when he left and possibly the worst they've been in a decade.

In some ways, you could make the case that things are SO BAD that Jericho can only stand to help make a huge impact. That there might even be something borderline ingenious about his timing: by waiting till now, maybe he milked a more-desperate-than-ever WWE for a fatter contract than would have been possible otherwise. And maybe by stepping in right now, at this instant, with ratings at a 10-year-low, Jericho figures things can't possibly get any worse, and so an upswing is inevitable. An upswing for which he can claim at least partial responsibility if he makes sure it coincides with his return.

All of these are reasonable and pragmatic ways to look at the potential impact of Jericho's comeback. But the thing is: we all know that your most loyal and fanatic wrestling aficionados are anything but reasonable and pragmatic.

Monitoring the chatter and gauging fan feedback this past month (via your e-mails, and especially in an exceptionally active "Official SAVE_US" thread in the OO Forums), it seems like the ambiguity and creativity of the "SAVE_US" campaign have resulted in anticipation for Jericho reaching a fevered pitch. And with that level of anticipation comes a certain expectation level. Perhaps, an unfair level of expectation.

I mean: exactly how and when does Jericho re-appear? And can it possibly live up to the hype? 

I ask these questions not rhetorically... nor do I mean them in the standard ultra-cynical "WWE are a bunch of idiots, and they'll probably purposely fuck it up just because Triple H hates Jericho and doesn't want him to succeed" internet jack-off kind of way. I mean for you to think about those questions seriously. Because this is not 1999, anymore, and there's just no scenario even REMOTELY in the same ballpark as how Jericho debuted by interrupting The Rock available for him now, in his 2nd Coming.

Honestly: interrupting a Santino Marella promo? Jericho'd get the kneejerk InstaPop, but before the segment was even over, fans would get the message "Jericho's right back to playing around with midcarders." How about a more natural pairing, and Jericho cuts off Ken Kennedy to set up a verbal sparing session (and a feud that I think could be tremendous)? Better, but it still takes Jericho from this hugely-buzzed-about potential difference-maker and IMMEDIATELY pairs him with a guy still a few Gravitas Points short of headliner status, without even pretending for a week that Jericho's a main eventer. And what if WWE really wants to go "full out" and plug Jericho into a story with a top star? Well, this is where my cynicism returns, because nobody is more convinced of his own entertainment value than Vince McMahon, and I can just see him "offering" to "let" Jericho interrupt a Vince/Hornswoggle angle. Because Hornswoggle and Vince have, clearly, equaled ratings. Oy.

And again, even in my Vince/Hornswoggle/Jericho-reduced-back-to-court-jester nightmare scenario, I'm not suggesting it's some sort of malevolent, intentional, or malicious screw-up on WWE's part that will result is disappointment. Instead, if our expectations for Jericho are too high, and if disappointment is inevitable, it's because of WWE's utter failure to produce any new stars in the past five years who can provide the convincingly adequate counter-balance to Jericho. Or, in the case of Vince/Hornswoggle, it could also be due to Vince's well-intentioned, but ultimately-shitty, sense of humor (and even shittier sense of perspective).

At the end of the day, WWE isn't paying Jericho to come back with the intent of him being a disappointment. They just may be so poorly managed and so poorly equipped right now that they might not have a choice in the matter.

But let's be optimistic for just a moment. Is it -- somehow, someway -- at least remotely possible for Jericho's comeback to live up to expectations, to be magnificent, epic, and (above all) entertaining? Maybe. 

Most of my ideas for how to use Jericho were outlined about 3 months ago in a post to the OO Forums. Eerily enough, some of the same themes I suggested to build interest in Jericho's return are precisely what WWE has done with the "SAVE_US" campaign. The difference: I was less vague, using a "Countdown to the Apocalypse" clock (recalling Y2J's original "Countdown to the Millennium" clock) to set up the return of the newly re-monickered "The Messiah" Chris Jericho, who would declare it was the End Times; the End Times for boredom and mediocrity on WWE TV, and the righteous could all join him in a heavenly eternal nirvana of personality and athleticism. WWE's playing it a bit more coy, sticking with the "Save Us" and "2nd Coming" and "Savior Self" imagery during the little vignettes. But thematically, things appear to be headed in a similar direction...

Which leads me to Jericho's first re-appearance on that stage. Whether it's a countdown to an Apocalypse or a just Y2J's 2nd Coming, what I'm rooting for is that WWE has the balls to let Jericho come out and do -- almost verbatim -- the exact same promo he did when he interrupted The Rock 8 years ago. You know the one:

"A new era is what this once proud and profitable company sorely needs! What was once a captivating, trend-setting program, has now deteriorated into a cliched -- and let's be honest -- BORING snoozefest that is in dire need of a knight in shining armor! 

Let's go over the facts. Television ratings: downward spiral. Pay-per-view buyrates: plummeting. Mainstream acceptance: nonexistent. And reactions of the live crowd: complete and utter silence! 

And I know why you're silent! You're silent because you're embarrassed to be here! And the reason why you're embarrassed is because of the steady stream of uninteresting, untalented, mediocre Sports Entertainers who you're forced to cheer for and care for. No wonder you're not cheering! You could care less about every single idiot in that dressing room. 

You people have been led to believe that mediocrity is excellence. Nuh uh...JERICHO is excellence. And now, for the first time in WWF history, you have a man who can entertain you! You have a man who is good enough for you! You have a man who can make you jump up off your chairs, raise your filthy fat little hands in the air and scream."

As I noted in a highly-popular 2006 Column (which briefly caused the dimmer witted out there to think that *I* was Jericho, which come to think of it, would explain why I haven't written a column in so long, as clearly I'm training for my Huge Return! [dangeresque] Or am I? [/dangeresque]), the beauty of Jericho's August 1999 debut promo is that it was asinine heel bluster back then. But today, almost every word is true.

Jericho was booed lustily back then. Today, he'd be welcomed and his candor cheered. It's almost scary how perfect a fit it would be if Jericho just showed up on RAW in 3 days and re-read that transcript. You don't even have to play around with the wording. Well, I guess you'd have to change one "WWF" to "WWE." Also: I admit I have kinda stubby fingers, which is why I am a failed-guitar-player-turned-ass-kicking-bassist, but that's no reason to call my hands fat, jerko. Or filthy, for that matter. But other than that: verbatim, baby, and Jericho is gonna be hailed as a Truthbringer.

To me, letting Jericho hit those notes is vital to setting a tone, and WWE needs to have the balls to set it. Jericho's not being brought back just because he's Chris Jericho and he possesses a certain skillset. He's also being brought back because WWE (if they are honest with themselves) recognizes that there is something more compelling about the slice of time when Jericho was making his mark and establishing his track record than there is about the here and now. That's part of what's driving this personnel move. 

There are a shitload of fans out there who remember 2001's WWF fondly and who don't even watch wrestling today. The Rock and Austin may not be available; the Undertaker may be a mere special attraction at this point; Big Show and Kurt Angle may be gone; Eddie and Benoit are dead; Foley can kick ass as a guest star, but has learned not to come back if he's just gonna get handed a pile of Vince's turds to polish; Triple H may be the only bankable headliner left with that sort of "Golden Era" track record. Well, he WAS. Until now. Until Jericho.

WWE needs to have the balls to view Jericho's past track record and stored up goodwill as a POSITIVE thing. They should embrace and foster it, not be scared of it or intimidated by it. To get the most out of Jericho is to convince the fans -- right from the start -- that this isn't Chris Jericho showing up to fit into the 2007 WWE. This is Chris Jericho reminding you of how much he freaking ruled the universe back when wrestling was still good. To do that: you might have to let him shit on the current product by reprising his original promo. Sure, maybe some handful of adolescent Cena-loving, Orton-enduring Mediocrity Huggers will be mildly confused or annoyed by Jericho's self-important bluster... but by and large, my guess is that the fans in the arena will "get it" and cheer, and more importantly, you might set off a chain reaction that results in winning back some of the home TV viewers, just out of curiosity.

It wouldn't be instantaneous, and you'd be insane to think that today's WWE has the chops to ever regain the heady ratings of 1999 and 2000 (when ratings in the 6's were the norm, and Jericho debuted to a 6.8 quarter hour rating). You'd even be over-reaching if you thought WWE could quickly regain the status they had back when Jericho had his four-month Undisputed Title reign (RAW averaged a 4.7 during that time). But this 3.2 shit ain't gonna cut the mustard, and we know that there's still about another full ratings point worth of viewers out there who were following the WWE product at points *during 2007* and who might be lured back provided you CONVINCE THEM that you won't be repeating the nonsense that made them tune you out to begin with.

Jericho's return could actually be timely and have historic resonance in another way, too, should he be allowed to re-cut his original promo. We talked above about ratings being at a 10-year low. But what turned things around 10 years ago, what caused ratings to grow and the tide in the Monday Night Wars to shift? Well, if you want to give it a name, it was probably Steve Austin.... but in a more general, theoretical way, it was the evolution of "WWF Attitude." And essentially, that "Attitude" came into existence with the flip of a switch. Or rather: with the cutting of a single, shockingly honest and upfront promo by Vince McMahon himself.

Almost EXACTLY 10 years ago, Vince McMahon went on TV, and (in a pre-taped bit that was the first major on-screen acknowledgement of Vince as the "boss" of the WWF instead of just an announcer, thus setting up the context of the Montreal Screwjob) had the balls to say "Uhhh, sorry everybody. Our product has kind of sucked for the last year or two, but we've stepped back, realized our mistakes, and we're fixing it. We won't insult your intelligence any more, and stick with us, cuz we're kicking it up a notch." To me -- especially with business where it is today -- it'd be damned fitting for Jericho to not only commemorate his own original debut, but to commemorate that historic corner-turning Admission Of Suck from 1997. He could accomplish both in one fell swoop.

[Of course, as I say that, I realize that my hope is probably misplaced. Although Vince McMahon stunningly admitted fault in 1997, it was handled in such a way that Vince could mention WWF's sucking in the past tense, and then subtly shift the focus of the CURRENT suck onto WCW, the primary competitor at the time. "We used to suck, but now we're better. And implicitly, what I'm saying is that WCW sucks now," was the message. WWE doesn't have that alternative today. Today all they can do is admit to sucking, and then they actually have to CONTINUE the inward focus; they can't distract us with somebody else's failures. They ACTUALLY HAVE TO FIX THINGS, as they can only be judged on their own merits. And as we know: WWE no-likey the hard work or the being-held-accountable.]

Getting back on track: the goal as I've outlined needs to be to use Jericho's return to send the message that the WWE is going to step up to match the "Golden Era Gravitas" that Jericho brings back to the screen. It simply canNOT be a case where Jericho shows up and immediately regresses to a Forgettable Current Era cog in the 2007 version of WWE. Think about it as Jericho being Up Here (imagine my hand at eye-level) and WWE being Down Here (imagine my other hand at belly button level): what we need is for Jericho's return to lift WWE up. Not for him to be dragged down to WWE's level.

That's why my next idea -- after Jericho's initial taking-a-shit-on-WWE promo -- is a bigger one, a longer spanning one. Once again harkening back to a happier time for wrestling fans, Jericho should play the "Undisputed Champion" card as early into his return as possible. In 2001, as a result of the comically-bungled inVasion angle, there were two "World" titles in the WWF. Jericho, in one night, defeated Steve Austin and the Rock to unite those belts into one Undisputed Championship. [Four months later, Triple H won the belt, and it reverted to merely the "WWE Title," and four months after that, the "World Heavyweight Title" was created out of thin air, and we've had two champs again ever since. Note: Let's all be sensible adults and not waste our time mentioning the ECW Title in the same breath, OK?]

Jericho not only needs to remind us of his status as Undisputed Champion, he needs to make that be his Stated Goal upon returning: to once again hold both titles. I'm serious. It doesn't necessarily matter if it happens, at least, not in the short term; and it doesn't necessarily mean I'm proposing some ludicrous "end of the brand split" fantasy booking that completely lacks in feasibility.

What I *am* saying is that Jericho needs to make his comeback be about something tangible. The "Wrestling Messiah" and "Saving Us" and the crapping on the current WWE product is a great way to make a splash, but after that: Jericho needs a plan, a mission. How better to bring wrestling back to its Glory Days than to try to repeat history by holding the two recognized World Titles? Best of all, it's not just a tangible plot point, but it's also a useful bit of fluffery and boasting to help make Jericho look like the huge returning star he needs to be presented as. Believe it or not, there *are* some fans out there who weren't watching in 2001, who might not even be familiar with Jericho. But show clips of him pinning the Rock and Austin, and BAM: credibility established (or re-established).

As hideous as RAW's ratings are under Randy Orton's title reign, there's actually little reason I can fathom why you'd stick with the Mantard as champ. Jericho's "plan" could get its jumpstart by having him win the WWE Title before the end of the year. Then you can milk things for a bit; maybe you go as fast as having Jericho (already the WWE Champ) enter the Royal Rumble in an attempt to win a shot at the SD! Champ? You could decelerate and milk it further by having Jericho dick around and pretend that he cares about the ECW Title the same as he does about the other two belts (I do tend to think that Jericho is exactly the kind of guy who could get out of CM Punk the kind of thing that CM Punk needs to show us on TV if he's ever gonna really click with fans). You can go slower still and have Jericho volunteer to wrestle twice at WrestleMania 24: once in defense of his WWE Title, but once in the Match He Invented (Money in the Bank) in an attempt to earn a shot at the SD! Title. 
Lots of possibilities, lots of ways to stretch it out, lots of ways to be creative and innovative, and all without actually unifying the brands or going to ridiculous, fantasy-wanker extremes to turn Chris Jericho into some kind of uber-star who dominates on two brands at the same time.

Anyway, I'd like to see that "Undisputed Champ" plan be Jericho's initial storyline. It could stretch at least till WM24, and possibly through to next summer. Maybe he unifies the titles, maybe he doesn't, maybe he just wins both titles, but in succession, not simultaneously, who knows? But the point is: it creates a direction, it gets fans thinking and buzzing and interesting about the future. And if things are well-plotted and well-thought-out, that's where you get the beginnings of the return of Sustainable Episodic TV, where fans want to tune in every week. Not out of obligation. Not out of habit. But out of genuine desire to see What Happens Next.

WWE has lost that in recent years, and it became an even bigger problem in the most recent few months. WWE reverted back to an almost 80s style product where most fans higher up the evolutionary scale than "houseplant" knew what would happen next (at least, in so far as the top level Cena-centered storylines went). Much as with every Hulk Hogan match from 1984-1988, your enjoyment of the product didn't come from uncertainty over what happened next, but rather, was predicated on whether or not you derived visceral enjoyment from the predicted outcome. If you're somebody who marks out for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, the F-U, and the shittiest looking STF ever, then fine... RAW could still reach a satisfactory climax for you.

If not, though? Well, like I said, that's why we need for WWE to capitalize on Jericho. He can, in and of himself, perform effortlessly at a high level in a way few (if any) remaining on the roster can; but he also has value as a sign or a signal to fans that the things around him might be improving. Instead of the WWE being a throwback to 20 years ago, they might do well to recapture some of the magic from more like 10 years ago. Jericho just might be the one guy who is still young enough and healthy enough (and available/affordable enough) to accomplish this convincingly.

Obviously, this ideal outcome represents my HOPE for the coming weeks and months. But remember: my enterprise here is to remind everybody that hope is different from "expectations," and that as exciting a few days as this may be for fans awaiting Jericho's 2nd Coming, well... there are still plenty of impediments to Jericho's comeback being the sort of industry-boosting supercharge that some seem to be gearing up for.

Hope's a good thing. But maybe the giddy optimism is something we should keep an eye on and temper.

And hey: what's the worst case scenario? Jericho shows up, plays around on RAW for a bit as a ratings ploy, and eventually, it seems like a no brainer to me for him to end up on SmackDown, where -- gods of orthopedic health willing -- Jericho and Edge can have a lengthy headlining feud hidden away on the b-show. Away from Triple H. Under Stephanie McMahon's radar. And where Jericho (and Edge) can be at their best: being left alone to largely "produce" their own segments (as Jericho was often allowed to do before his departure, most notably in the Love Rhombus storyline) without too many Writer Monkeys or Road Agents spoiling the broth with over-writing, over-scripting, over-choreographing, and basically, over-sucking.

I could live with that.


  • It's been a while since I did a news-y column, so you've been left to stay abreast of mostly current TV shows and a few retro PPVs, courtesy of Pyro, Matt, and Adam.
    Well, I tried to weave a few recent backstage developments into my narrative above (about declining ratings, Booker's departure, Cena's injury, etc), but I figure I oughta spell some of the bigger items out, Bullet Point Style, just in case there are some philistines out there who don't enjoy my lengthy, philosophical OOpinions, so....
  • As touched on above, the "SAVE_US" thing really took off, at least around here. The official thread on the OO Forums dissecting the campaign -- as it morphed from SAVE_US.222 all the way through to this week's UPON_US.X29 -- is something like 20 pages long and has been viewed by over 30,000 fans.
    If you check it out, you may discover things about the SAVE_US vignettes you never noticed (or could have noticed, without the benefit of freeze-frame), and even some things that aren't really there, but which are fun to invent and speculate about.
    What's important at this point is that the latest clip retains all the ambiguity you could ever ask for. Though it seems a forgone conclusion that this points to Jericho (the secret WWE-sponsored websites and protected directories and hidden video clips discussed in the SAVE_US thread make that amply clear), there are competing points of view on WHEN the return will take place. A new "hidden" section of one of the websites has a password of "SUNDAYCOMING," which would seem to suggest Jericho shows up in two days at the Cyber Sunday PPV. Yet, the UPON_US.X29 could, with the assistance of Roman Numerals, be interpreted that Jericho will be Upon Us on 10.29. Which is Monday, October 29.
    Of note: Jericho has a public appearance in Philadelphia on Monday afternoon, plugging his new autobiography. Also of note: RAW is in Philly on Monday night. On Tuesday: Jericho is pimping hard covers on Long Island, and SD!/ECW Tapings are.... on Long Island. Coincidence? Probably not. Jericho has not deigned to fill me in on his travel itinerary for Sunday night.
  • RAW ratings since we last spoke have been a 3.2, a 2.8, and a pair of 3.3s. There was no direct or easily identifiable cause for the 2.8, but unlike an anomalous 2.5 rating over the summer, it was NOT an error or a glitch. It was RAW's actual rating. Welcome to the Randy Orton Era v2.0! God, do I ever love Randy Orton: he just won't stop being an utterly incompetent failure at everything he does. He pretty much sucks at everything. Speaking in complete sentences featuring polysyllabic words. Being a decent human being. Main eventing wrestling shows. You name it, Orton can't do it.
    Some have also pointed to the injury to John Cena as a root cause of RAW's final ratings decline. Meh. With a few exceptions, RAW's actually been right around a 3.4 since July, anyway. Not to belittle Cena's very real appeal and fanbase (which is strongest among your more casual fans), but the final drop of two-tenths or so is -- at most -- like a few ladles of fetid gravy spooned over an already-rancid piece of meat. The loss of John Cena hurts, yes, but it's not the real problem. The real problems date back to when Cena was still present, accounted-for, and superman-like.
    For those of you who are truly ill and have no lives and let TV poop into your brain for too many hours a day: Cena will be spending part of his convalescence on a celebrity edition of "The Apprentice," which is already filming, and will begin airing on NBC later this year. Please feel free to not keep me apprised of his performance. I already owe myself seventeen eyeball punches because of the fact that I actually know what happened to Diva Search Ashley on "Regular Non-Celebrity Survivor," despite my best efforts to not give a shit. Thanks for nothing, Alert Readers! 
    Anyway, "The Apprentice" should take Cena through the New Year, which is just about when he's due for another evaluation to determine what level of training/activity he can resume doing. His injury (a torn pectoral suffered in the middle of his last match versus Ken Kennedy; NOT caused by Orton's post-match attack) was the most severe of its kind; originally, it was hoped Cena would be back in six months (which would have made him a close call for WrestleMania 24). The severity of the injury was discovered during the surgery to repair it; now, Cena's lay-off could be anywhere from 8 to 12 months, clearly taking him out of the WM24 picture.
    With Cena sure to be off TV until next Summer, you'd have thought WWE might make a move to "un-gay" their title belt. No dice. Though the "spinner" is now locked in place, the belt being worn by Randy Orton is still a close variation of Cena's silly Bling Belt. Oh well. At this point, it's a stupid and pointless thing for me to get pissy about; my resistance has been worn down. I'm practically used to the damned thing. So: whatever....
    Ironically enough, in my big-ass Cena Title Domination Feature Article, I did attribute at least part of Cena's never-ending title reign to his good health and durability. Whoops. Looks like I spoke too soon. For those who care: Cena was stripped of his title on basically the precise 30-month anniversary of his first WWE Title win at WM21. When he lost the title, he was a 3-time champ who had held the title for a soul-crushing 113 weeks out of 130. Much as the injury sucks for fans, for Cena, and for WWE, part of me is looking forward to somebody who is Not Cena holding the belt for 40 of the next 40 weeks.
    Well, except for the part right now where it's Orton The Human Fast Forward Button boring me to death....
  • Cena's injury also resulted in Shawn Michaels returning from his little vacation about 6 weeks earlier than planned. Michaels, with an aching back and chronically bad knees that had needed surgery for over a year, finally got his time off back in late May and was told he could take until roughly Survivor Series before WWE would use him again. This wasn't really necessary (his knee surgeries were just arthroscopic clean-up jobs, nothing involving structural repairs), but was an added "make-good" of extra off-time since Michaels had put off his needed surgery and vacation time for over a year for the good of the company.
    Now that he's back, Michaels is hoping to enforce stricter guidelines over his usage and travel, closer to what was originally envisioned when he made his comeback in 2002 (instead of the essentially full-time schedule he got sucked into working in recent years). He'd still be on TV full time, but would work fewer house shows and no overseas tours. We'll see how that goes.... as noted above, Vince McMahon is in full-on insecure retard mode and managed to start some prickly heat with Michaels in the last 2 weeks. I wonder if this is the sort of thing where Michaels realizes (accurately) that Vince needs him more than he needs Vince, where Vince (stupidly) thinks it's the other way around, and we (the Fans) end up with another one of the very few bankably entertaining performers on the roster being alienated and marginalized.
    Anyway: if you were wondering why the last Unforarmjudgmalash PPV was so unpredicatable and fun, with Triple H shockingly winning the WWE Title before dropping it to Randall Orton and then mysteriously evaporating into the background to continue his feud with Umaga, well.... here you go: WWE pulled that night's show out of their ass, then brought Michaels back ahead of schedule to essentially plug him into a month's worth of Cena's scheduled bookings (while putting HHH right back where he'd been scheduled to work against Umage).
    The Ultimate Ironing: Michaels came back early mostly so he could headline Cyber Sunday against Orton as Cena's replacement (before stepping into whatever plans WWE had for his scheduled return in November).... but the fans aren't necessarily on the same page, with a strong upswelling of support for Jeff Hardy facing Orton. Ouch. Cut your vacation short *and* get upstaged by a "Rainbow-Haired Warrior"? That's gots to hurt.
    Huh. Maybe I *should* have gotten off my ass a few weeks ago and started that Internet Petition to get WWE to REALLY let WWE fans vote on what we get to see at Cyber Sunday. Because I have a feeling if "Tell Orton to Stay at Home Drinking His Womanly Citrus-Flavored Beer, and Let Hardy vs. Michaels Be a Ladder Match" was an option, it'd be a run-away winner.
    Also, a note to WWE (or to Jim Ross, or whoever is pushing for this whole "Rainbow Haired Warrior" thing): Stop. Please. If you don't know why, you're honestly beyond help. But you can start getting better by reading up on The History of the University of Hawaii Since 1990. "The Rainbows"? Gay. "Rainbow Warriors"? Still pretty gay. Just "The Warriors"? Welcome to BCS Consideration! Honestly: Jeff Hardy's got enough working against him, you don't need to add to the problem....
  • Nine out of the 11 men who WWE suspended in late August due to bad press related to Signature Pharmacy have since returned to TV.  There are two exceptions: Booker T (as noted above) and Chavo Guerrero.
    Booker was suspended for 60 days (the others for 30), and was released yesterday at the completion of said suspension. Booker was upset over the suspension and at some perceived inequities in the system. But he had also been working on a short-term deal with WWE since earlier in the summer, as he was also already displeased with other facets of the company (including WWE passing over his wrestling school/promotion in Houston for use as a developmental territory, as well as long term creative plans for his character). Additionally: Booker has long been amenable to a reduced schedule and possible semi-retirement. this goes back all the way to 2004, when there was another lengthy and drawn out negotiation process as Booker seriously considered walking away from WWE before finally signing another 3 year deal.
    Booker has said he intends to continue wrestling, leading most to suspect he'll be in talks with TNA as soon as he's permitted. Which might be right now, given the fact that Booker's standard long-term WWE contract expired in June or July. Obviously, he can't reprise "King Booker" for TNA, but any other variation on "Booker T" should be plenty legal. And somebody suggested that if Booker and Sharmell wanted to work the king gimmick, it might be fun (and legal) to call him "Royal T." We'll see.
    Chavo's also in the process of reworking a new WWE contract before he'll be back on TV. With Vickie Guerrero currently playing a key role as SD! GM, it seems like WWE and the Guerreros want to stay in business together, so presumably, this'll get worked out. 
  • Since last we spoke, TNA has expanded Impact to two hours on Thursday nights. The show has continued to average a 1.1 rating, which is roughly what the one-hour version of the show had been doing, and which is satisfactory to SpikeTV.
    So far, TNA's use of the extra hour has been handled well enough. They have basically employed a WWE model: enhancing the number of backstage skits and pre-tapes, keeping most segments/matches in the 4-5 minute range, but also expanding key segments in length so that there are now two "anchor" segments (usually one is an in-ring angle/promo, and the other a match) that approach or surpass 15 minutes in length. That simply wasn't feasible with the previous one-hour show.
    While I do not propose eliminating the "entertainment" aspect of the show (and in fact, the best reasons to watch Impact right now are Kurt Angle and Kevin Nash, who are on a collision course to wrestle each other, but before Nash deigns to make his in-ring return, Angle will be using the power of Free Porn to try to distract Master Nash, and all with pretty hilarious results), I am like many in that I'd like to see TNA try to emphasize some things that they can do differently from WWE, rather than emulating them.  And yes, that means more of the Wrestling, and maybe less of the poorly-conceived "entertainment" (other than when handled by proven commodities like Nash and Angle and others who are charismatic/funny/etc.).
    As a ferinstance: last week's lengthy angle/promo segment was a nonsensical, randomly-generated, logic-devoid "parade of champions" thing basically designed to include as many guys in one promo as possible, and to hell with it having any narrative flow or pay-off. I didn't enjoy that so much or give a shit. But Samoa Joe and Christian had a 15-minute PPV caliber match that I liked just fine and which supplied a more than satisfying climax to the show. Build on strengths; hide weaknesses; that's gotta be the goal, and right now, a lot of the "entertainment" side seems seat-of-the-pants, random, and therefore uncompelling, but the in-ring is clicking just fine.
  • While TNA and SpikeTV look at a 1.1 rating and see success, the same cannot be said when WWE and Sci-Fi look at ECW averaging a 1.3 over the past month or two.
    Is it that WWE simply brings with it higher expectations? Maybe. Or maybe it's the simple fact that ECW debuted at a 3.3 last year, held steady in the low 2's for months, and has now seen its audience erode to the point that -- one of these weeks -- TNA is going to bump up a tick or two and ECW is going to have one of its off-weeks, and suddenly, there will be a new #3 brand in American Wrestling.
    Anyway, the end result is that NBC/Universal were in no rush to renew ECW's TV contract (which expired following the December 18 edition of the show). Two weeks ago, WWE was internally forced to accept the likelihood that ECW would cease to exist as a TV entity at the end of 2007. As a result, WWE made a big fat hairy deal out of offering a new "Webcast Replay" of ECW on Wednesdays and created a temporary merger of the SD! and ECW rosters. This way, ECW could become a web-only show in 2008, while retaining sporadic TV exposure on SD!...
    Well: in the end, WWE lowered its demands and secured a one-year extension for ECW on Sci-Fi. It'll remain in place on Tuesday nights at least through December 2008, now.
    Too bad: at this point, ECW is so irrelevant that it'd probably be better to just let it die. It's not different, it's not  unique, it really has no reason to exist, other than to keep a handful of extra workers employed. At this point, since ECW is just another WWE-style show, you might as well just have those guys sink-or-swim. If they got the chops to play big league ball, then they'll do fine on Mondays or Fridays. And if not, why bother stringing them along?
    Plus, if ECW had died, I would have taken no end of pleasure in commenting that Purported Shitty Businessman and Fiscal Retard Paul Heyman kept ECW afloat for six years after he took it over. But under the watchful eye of Successful Entrepreneur And Creative Genius Who Is Never Wrong Vince McMahon, the new ECW would have died in 18 months flat.
    But no: ECW's not dead. At the end of the day, a 1.3 rating is still halfway decent by basic cable standards, and WWE does deliver a strong young male demographic. So ECW may be far from Sci-Fi's highest rated show (many weeks, it's not even the highest rated Sci-Fi show on Tuesday nights), and may be a ill-fitting promotional nightmare for a network that tries to build its brand identity on six nights a week of movies and sci-fi/fantasy shows but still has that pesky one week a night of pro wrestling, but it's still got enough of an audience that it's worth keeping around. Especially if WWE pretty much backs off and gives up hope on making any significant revenue off ECW's licensing fee/ad sales. Which I guess is basically what they did to retain the timeslot.
    [Actually, my "Ideal Dream Scenario" for ECW (which would never happen so long as Vince McMahon and Kevin Dunn live and breathe) was for ECW to lose the Sci-Fi timeslot, and then have WWE decide to rebrand their late-night Saturday show to be ECW. That's right: ECW at 2am on USA Network. I'm not kidding. For one, "AM RAW" already does about a 0.4 rating or so in that slot, which is actually pretty decent; even if ECW only did a 0.5, that's still about 300% the audience that an ECW Webcast would have gotten. Plus: ECW in late night might have opened the doors for SOMEbody to actually suggest that YOU MAKE THE FUCKING SHOW EXTREME. Or at least SOMEhow different from the standardized WWE tripe. It would be a chance to make ECW unique. To make it matter. Even if it is 2am. Plus: for purely nostalgic reasons, I like the idea of ECW at 2am. When ECW first got clearance here in Ohio, it was on "SportsChannel Ohio" and it was on at 2am every Saturday night, and it was Appointment Viewing most weeks, as this was early on in my development as a Professional Drinker and All Night Rock 'n' Roller. In fact, it was while I was underage, so it's not like there was any other place I could be. Legally, speaking. I digress: point is, I would have embraced ECW-at-2am as an opportunity worth exploring.]
  • A couple new tweaks to WWE's Wellness Policy.
    First, effective next week, anybody who fails a drug test or is suspended under the Wellness Policy will be publicly "outed" by WWE. They will announce the length and cause of your suspension to the public. So no more hiding behind mostly-bullshit rationalizations for certain performers I could name. This is probably a good thing, especially as Congress continues to breathe down WWE's neck. More transparency and up-front-ness in these dealings will certainly help bolster WWE's severely-deficient credibility.
    And second, WWE has added another layer of treatment/assistance to the program. Not only will they provide counseling and addiction treatment to those under contract who fail tests, but now, ANY FORMER WWF/E WORKER can contact the company and receive counseling or treatment for substance abuse on WWE's dime. There are no requirements or limitations: anybody who has had a performance contract with WWF/E (ever, going back to the TitanSports/Capitol Sports days, even) is eligible to receive this treatment.
    So far, no word on if there have been any takers. Though I thought WWE missed an opportunity to sort of publicize this new policy a few weeks ago when Kurt Angle was arrested for a DUI in suburban Pittsburgh (although he had made it home safely, he was still arrested after admitting that he had driven home from a bar, and was clearly massively intoxicated, which is one-part kinda-unfair-sounding and one-part Angle being dumb; also, at least one media report says the cops found Angle in the middle of chowing down on a mouthful of painkillers). Kind of a public "Hey, Kurt, you wouldn't take our help a year ago when we offered to keep paying you to get healthy. Maybe you'll at least take it now?" thing. If Kurt can keep on tossing out massive amounts of disinformation about the circumstances of his WWE departure, you'd think WWE might enjoy twisting the knife at least a LITTLE bit. Especially if it's the kind of knife twisting that might possibly, maybe, kinda, sorta result in a 2% lower likelihood of having to write some kind of sad column about Kurt Angle at any point in the next few years.
    Oh, and speaking of possibly-delusional wrestlers from Pittsburgh: apparently Bruno Sammartino got the letter from WWE about offering treatment assistance, and was so pissed off that he wanted to hold a press conference denouncing WWE and their public insinuation that he, The Mighty And Virtuous Bruno Sammartino, was a drug or alcohol abuser. Less retarded heads prevailed, and no such event ever occurred. Though I begin to think it would have been really, really funny (in a sad sort of way) if it had. Because Bruno might be sober as the reverse-of-a-fiddler's-bitch, but if anybody in the Wrestling Fraternity needs some kind of help, it's him.
    Or possibly Bret Hart. If the excerpts I've read from his upcoming book are genuine.
  • Speaking of guys who you kinda expect to have to write sad things about: Lex Luger was hospitalized last weekend following an unusual attack that left him partially paralyzed. In various places, it was reported as a heart attack or a stroke, but now, it seems it was a less severe condition: some kind of sudden nerve impingement.
    My understanding is that Luger was gonna end up being just fine. And another fine bit of luck that is for ol' Flexy Lexy: everything he touches may turn to crap, but in the end, he always turns out OK.
  • A few other WWE releases from the past 2 weeks... none quite as big as Booker T, but at least one of them will have a major impact on what you see on TV in coming weeks.
    And in fact, the release that'll have the greatest impact was the outright firing of a guy that 95% of you have probably never even seen, and wouldn't even recognize. Last week, WWE released Teddy Hart, who had been working in the developmentals for the past 6 months or so.
    Why is this impactful? Well, because, WWE was all set to debut The Next Generation Hart Foundation, with Teddy as it's leader (along with Davey Boy Smith's son Harry and Jim Neidhart's daughter Nattie). The Next Gen Harts have been perfecting their act, and were over huge in OVW.
    The plan was for them to arrive, together, on TV in time to do a big debut angle commemorating the 10 year anniversary of The Montreal Screwjob. From there, they would be installed as major players on SmackDown!. With Teddy getting the axe, that plan was immediately scrapped. Harry Smith (well, "DH Smith") has now debuted as a singles worker on RAW, and Nattie (and Ted DiBiase Jr., who also worked with the group) await further word.
    Teddy's firing can probably be filed under "Surprising, Not Exactly." Most folks report that the guy has a natural douchetasticness that makes Randall Orton seem like a well mannered prep school chess club president, except that (unlike Orton, who has an instinctive bit of self-preservation in him) he can't really turn it off in order to kiss the right asses. Teddy was actually dismissed from the embryonic WWF Developmental Program once before in 1999 for his raging immaturity. Apparently, it flared up again, and it cost him (and his Hart-family mates) a plum job.
    In some ways, I guess it's better for TV continuity that it happened when it did, rather than six weeks later. But for Harry and Nattie, it kinda sucks that their ticket to instant stardom was burned to ashes by Teddy's latest monumental fuck-up. Oh well: the only thing more pronounced than Teddy's immaturity is his undeniable in-ring ability, so he'll probably land on his feet. And he might even get to try for his third strike with WWE before all is said and done.
    Also released: Daivari, who left the company at his own request and on good terms, and Kristal Marshall, who was apparently dismissed as a result of daring to have an opinion about her on-screen character while forgetting she is essentially replaceable by pretty much any other Diva Search Loser.
    I'll miss both, as I think Daivari is massively under appreciated for meshing personality and ring-work together in a way that is Guerrero-esque. I get the sick feeling that we only got to see about 20% of Shawn "Khosrow" Daivari's potential on WWE TV, and the problems all started because of the downfall of the "Mohammad Hassan" character. WWE screwed up that gimmick, they couldn't see past Daivari's ethnicity, and thus, they ultimately screwed him up in the end, as well. Ugh.
    And Kristal? Well, on a WWE "diva" roster that is increasingly barren of any genuine talent or personality worth appreciating, Kristal was still packing so much Pure Unadulterated Wang Plumpening Hotness that she'd make me forget my status as a Discriminating Connoisseur Of Multi-Faceted Women so long as I could stand in awe of the single facet that was her rump. There are other facets, but that was definitely my favorite one of hers. But I guess she wasn't too keen on the next phase of her "fucking Teddy Long to death" storyline. I guess it might have involved her becoming Edge's new highly-libidinous Skank For Hire, and she wasn't totally comfortable with that and said she might rather just go to RAW to stay an interviewer or maybe be paired with her real-life boyfriend, Bobby Lashley, so.... buh bye, honey, apparently, you're not worth the hassle. 
    [PERSONAL NOTE: Damn you to hell, Kristal Marshall. You, in slutty Lita Outfits, saying and doing things to convince us you are an utterly magnificent and expert total whore in the sack? THIS is what you have you have deprived us of, and I, for one, think that's unconscionably ill-mannered and selfish of you. May you burn in a lake of fire for all eternity, vile minx. You vile, tasty, mouth-watering, self-absorbed, I-hope-you-make-peace-and-get-rehired-soon, evil minx.]
    Oh, and I can't remember if we talked about it when it happened or not, but Monty "Marcus Cor Von" Brown was released by WWE earlier this month, as well. Kind of a mutual deal, as well, as Monty was tending to a personal matter and not focused on WWE/ECW, having missed almost a month of bookings, and with no change in sight. His outro from TNA wasn't exactly pleasant, but I don't think it'd disqualify him from returning if he wanted to pursue that. I just question whether TNA should bother. It's like I always say: if I wanted to watch sloppy power-based matches and incomprehensible promos, I'd just go find my old Ahmed Johnson videotapes. 
  • On the injury front: Edge is all over promotional materials for next month's Survivor Series PPV, so that's when WWE is expecting him to return. That means, like Undertaker, he must have rehabbed like a son of a bitch, and will be beating most estimates for his return by roughly a month.
    The extra time should mean plenty of time to get the SD! Title picture set for WM24. I gotta assume that Edge is gonna be involved. Either versus Taker or Jericho. I'm fine either either one. And that's a far cry from where SD! was just a few months ago when Khali, Mark Henry, and Batista were front and center at the main event level.
  • A much more recent injury: fans who watched RAW on Monday were no doubt concerned following Candice Michelle's scary-looking tumble from the top rope. It appeared they were going for the standard spot where Beth Phoenix shook the top rope, causing Candice to lose her balance and "crotch" herself on the top turnbuckle. 
    Instead, Candice caught her feet/ankles on the top rope somehow, and flopped (seemingly face-first) into the ring. Luckily, she landed more on her shoulder than on her head: what could have been a serious head/neck injury has instead been diagnosed as a cracked clavicle. Surgery supposedly won't be necessary, so at least Candice won't be returning from this injury (in 6-8 weeks) with yet another Mysterious Elective Cosmetic Enhancement.

    I am not one to take joy in the pain of others and genuinely wish Candice a speedy and mostly-pain-free recovery. But hey, if WWE thinks now that they've lost 80% of their ring-capable women is the time to be trying 2-out-of-3 fall women's matches, and this means they'll be forced to let Mickie James work them, instead? This might be for the best...
  • Yet Another Clever Segue ALERT!!! Or: The Rick Is About To Use The Phrase "Speaking Of...." Again For the 18th Time This Column Because He Might Be The Master Of Natural And Logical Transitions But He's Not Feeling Very Creative Today ALERT!!!!!
    Speaking of injuries to the vapid and artificially-enhanced: Chris Masters will probably be MIA for about 4-6 weeks. He suffered an elbow injury during the recent tour of Europe.
    And nary a tear was shed.
  • Last, and certainly least: if you're keen on following his career, Brock Lesnar has officially signed a deal to compete for UFC, with an eye towards debuting in the octagon in February.
    Which means I've probably written my last newsbite about him, but that Dave Meltzer will be all over every minute detail of Brock's new career. Including Meltz's favorite part: personally attending the highly dramatic and important UFC Weigh-Ins, where he dazzles disinterested wrestling fans with his In Depth Expert MMA Analysis focused primarily on the subtle variations between how 10 or 12 different  men-wearing-nothing-but-banana-hammocks look to his well-trained eye. That's just how The Meltz rolls.
  • That's it. I'm sure I'll be back at you soon enough, even if only to keep tabs on how the Reality Of Jericho's Comeback compares to what I wrote about above. And if not? Well, if you notice me taking any sort of prolonged siesta, all I can do is tell you that you should go waste your time the same place I am.
    *YOU* trying to focus on writing a column about the wrestling industry while www.TheDailyShow.com (which just debuted earlier this month and is different from the Comedy Central subsite you might be familiar with) exists for the sole purpose of being the most awesomest and distractingly incredible website ever. Once you enter, you may not ever escape. It only has Every Daily Show Segment EVER (Kilborn Years Coming Soon). A complete 8 year archive of funny. I did the math, and it's probably about 600 hours of clips. Fully searchable. For free.
    You've been warned.
    [NOTE TO EVERY OTHER TV SHOW EVER: If you no-likey the YouTube/torrents/etc., then just do the same thing and put all your episodes, ever, up on the web for free. Otherwise, just give up, deal with us "sharing," and quit being closed-minded, litigation-obsessed cocks. That goes double for you, WWE. Because now we've all seen that it can be done, and with the only inconvenience being that I need to sit through that stupid 10 second blurb about Hyundai being a car company who cares every time I load a 6-7 minute chunk of an episode. A small price to say, says I.] 
    No matter what I'm up to or when my next column is written just remember: you'll have continued coverage of all relevant shows and PPVs, including full Cyber Sunday results late on Sunday night or Monday morning. Later on, 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.